Tag Archives: Costco

Cruciferous Vegetables, Cheer Competitions, Cakes, and Canada…

Jim and I were happy to survive another busy weekend…back-to-back cheer competitions for Anna and Hope Saturday and Sunday!

Jim dropped Anna off at Simonds High School for her competition for 9 a.m. on Saturday…on the way home, he and Brianna and Hope stopped at Costco for some essentials (and not-so-essentials)…I got my mango juice, and Anna got her fix of Veggie Sticks.  We’re also stocked back up on acetominophen and allergy meds.  While they were gone, I got up and checked my e-mail, and watered my plants.  The cruciferous vegetables are taking off nicely…I have broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and purple Brussels sprouts (will post photos later this week)!  So far, Jake hasn’t made an effort to jump up on the table and destroy them!

We got to the cheer competition fairly early, and Hope and I went in and grabbed seats in the bleachers while Jim parked the car. We brought our pillows again…there were 10 teams competing, and we knew we were in for a long afternoon! Luckily, the gym at Simonds is fairly large…

Anna’s team looked tired during their performance…all those extra hours of practice seemed to take their toll. Anna is covered with bruises from people falling on her (she’s a “back” and catches people). I was surprised when they made callbacks again, along with three other teams!  Five out of ten teams dropped their flyer at least once (no one hit the floor, thank goodness, but there were far too many “close ones” for my liking).  A toddler about Elise’s age who was sitting behind us cried for most of the afternoon…taking little kids to a three-hour event is not a brilliant idea!

The Harbour View High girls nailed their second outing! They were enthusiastic, and tight…I thought surely they’d place in the Top Three this time…I was wrong! Foiled again…their Provincial Championship is two weeks from now. Maybe the third time will be the charm?

Anna also performed with a quad or stunt group at this competition.  She had a different flyer than her usual one during the team events.

Anna (top left) with her quad in their final pose...photo by Jim

We stopped at Dairy Queen on the way home for a snack, and also at Canadian Tire for some rope…Hope had asked Jim to make her a tire swing in the back yard.

When we got home, we discovered that Jake had been having fun with Jim’s lunch bag in our absence…another Rubbermaid lunch container was now history, and a new lunchbag would also need to be purchased.

We were pretty exhausted Saturday night…I didn’t do any laundry, and no swing was installed out back.

Sunday morning, Jim got up early to drive Hope to her Middle School Provincial Cheerleading Championships…the girls had to be there by 8 a.m…luckily, the venue was Devin and Brianna’s high school (and Jim’s alma mater), Kennebecassis Valley High, so it was only a 15 minute drive from our house.  Before they left, Jim took some photos of Hope before her very last cheer competition (she doesn’t want to cheer next year).

Hope before provincials...photo by Jim

There was a huge lineup when we got to the school…we grabbed the first seats we could find!  Jim took his camera and roamed around, looking for the best photo ops.  After a long competition (12 teams – boy, did I regret forgetting the pillows to sit on!), Quispamsis Middle School wasn’t called back, but had improved significantly since their last outing.  It was fun to see some “different” creative stunts that some of the teams performed (and it was another accident-free competition…hooray!).  I appreciated that the DJ at this competition remembered there were some members of the crowd born before 1995, and played some 80’s music instead of the constant current pop drivel that normally dominates these events.  Anna was suitably horrified when I started bobbing my head when they played “Footloose” (my work here is done!).

Since it was Hope’s last competition, Anna decided we should celebrate by eating supper at Vito’s (somehow, I missed the part where she offered to pay for it!).  We had a fairly relaxed meal.  At one point, Hope commented, “Hey Anna…I can sit with my legs apart because I have spankies on!”  We all laughed (we weren’t nearly as amused when Hope started blowing her straw all over the table).  My Creamy Pesto Chicken Club sandwich wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, but the fries were great.  Jim polished off his Chicken Parmigiana in record time, and Anna finished her Gnocchi au Gratin with some difficulty (we also had a lively argument about how to pronouce “gnocchi” – I was right).  Hope had the last half of her pizza packed up to take home…she took it for her lunch today.

When we got home, Hope was happy to see that Grandad was hanging up the tire swing…she helped by holding the ladder steady.  I started four loads of laundry while Jim refilled the bird smorgasbord…he reported seeing another pigeon out there…luckily, we don’t get many of those!  Anna and Hope went out to try out the new swing.

Later, the girls and I watched Cake Challenge on the Food Network: The contestants were asked to make a cake to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Dora the Explorer.  One young woman’s design included a 4-foot Dora figure with a 2-foot wide head…huge mistake!  As one of her competitors commented after Dora lost her head, “That was cake carnage!” I have to say that I was impressed that the baker and her husband/assistant took the “epic fail” a lot better than most people would have…very classy!

Dora, before she became The Headless Toddler...photo from blog.oakleafcakes.com

We watched Amazing Race before going to bed…let’s just say “whiners can’t be winners”!  I also don’t think I’d want Gary and Mallory or Zev and Justin rescuing me if I were ever buried during an avalanche!

Today is an important day in Canada…we are voting in a new federal government. We have been in “election mode” for about six weeks here, and will finally get the chance to cast our very important ballots. Jim and I will be stopping on the way home from work to exercise our right (and indeed our responsibility as Canadians!) to vote. If you are eligible to vote today, please do so…together we can decide the future of our great country!

Google Canada's election graphic

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Yes, We Have No Wine, and Other Random Things…

Welcome to another chapter in my oh-so-exciting existence! We’ve got lots to cover…the transitions will be abrupt, so please keep a firm hold on your tea, lest it spill as we careen around corners!

1. Monday morning was sunny…I hated to have to work, but came into the bookstore anyway…I had three boxes of books to photograph, and 90 pages of our database to print off!  Hope was off school that day, so she came into town with me and helped take the pictures (it’s much easier for a 12-year-old to get up and down off the floor than it is for me!).  Anna and Brianna went to the mall…Anna used the money I gave her for jeans to buy shorts (because apparently 47 pairs aren’t enough!).  Brianna got some nail polish which is the perfect colour for my toes…maybe she’ll let me borrow it!

Anna and Brianna goofing around with the webcam last fall...

2. My friend, Dale, surprised me by dropping into the bookstore…I first met him in 1980 when we worked in two neighbouring stores in the Quinte Mall in Belleville, Ontario (I worked in a camera store, and he worked in the record store next door). I used to go into the record store and buy all kinds of albums (that was before I had kids to spend my money for me!). The following year, my boss decided to move his store to another strip mall in town, and Dale and I lost touch. Fast forward to the early 2000’s: I was receiving correspondence about an upcoming reunion of some of my buddies from Loyalist College, and saw a familiar name on the e-mail list. I e-mailed the guy and asked “Are you the same Dale who used to work in the record store?” Sure enough…turns out Dale went to Loyalist about the same time I did, and used to hang out with the radio guys I knew! We were reunited at the reunion, and have been in touch ever since…coincidentally, Dale now lives in Moncton, New Brunswick, which is only a little over an hour’s drive from where I live now. We chatted for quite a while, and then Dale left to get to a business meeting, promising to return soon to add to his “classics” collection.  We’re planning to meet up with some more friends from school this fall at the Gregg Allman show at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in Fredericton in September.  I’m looking forward to seeing them all!

3. When we got home in the afternoon, Hope checked her e-mail, and excitedly called me over to the computer.  “Look at this, Mom!”  There was an e-mail from the Marketing Coordinator for Market Square…on the weekend, Hope and Gabrielle had sent her a clip of them singing “O Canada” and had asked if they could sing the national anthem at the Canada Day celebrations on July 1st.  The reply said that she would like to have the girls sing, and would be in touch soon to arrange the details!  Hope called Gabrielle right away to tell her the good news!  We were really proud of her for taking the chance to do something like that!

Gabrielle and Hope singing at a Talent Show last fall...photo by Jim

4. Monday night (after writing my Easter blog post), I remembered that Tuesday was our long-awaited book club meeting…we hadn’t gotten together since bidding our friend, Selina, “Adieu” in December when she moved to Winnipeg. We usually bring food of some sort for book club. Our book was “Secret Daughter” by Shilpi Somaya Gowder, which is set mainly in India.  What I know about East Indian food would fit neatly on the head of a pin (and I don’t eat much spicy food), so I Googled a local store where I might find something to bring to the meeting.  Upon reaching the website, I was confronted with the name of the product, a photo, and the price…no description whatsoever.  Back to Google…Nanak Gajar Halwa: “carrot fudge”? That sounds disgusting!  Nanak Rasmalai: “Soft Cheese Patty in thickened milk and sugar sauce”.  My lactose-intolerant stomach actually did a somersault after reading that!  I decided to go with something a little safer…I had a bag of Ganong Chocolate Marshmallow Eggs I’d bought on the weekend…everybody likes chocolate in our book club (and these are made in St. Stephen, New Brunswick)!

5. Tuesday morning was rainy, but at least I didn’t have a lot of work waiting for me at the store when I got there…I took the opportunity to catch up on the 40-50 blog posts I hadn’t had a chance to read over the long weekend!  It took me a long time, but there weren’t many customers wandering in to disturb me, so I was able to get it done!  I bought a Meditteranean Chicken Salad from Sagratti’s in the City Market for supper, and brought it back to the store to eat (I picked out the black olives…yuck!).   I hoped the family would save me some of Jim’s famous Turkey Soup…

Jim's soup and homemade biscuits...yummy!

6. I was the first to arrive at our Succulent Bookworms meeting (as usual – I don’t like to be late!).  I chatted with our hostess, and one of her three cats soon curled up on my lap, where it stayed for the rest of the night (if only I hadn’t been wearing black…oh well…that’s why they invented lint brushes!).  My friend called to me from the kitchen and offered me a drink, apologizing that she didn’t have any wine on hand, but that one of the other girls would probably bring some.  I declined…book club is the only time I get to indulge in red wine…I would wait until it arrived!  When she came back, she extended a ceramic plate towards me with little brown things on it.  “Oooooh…what’s this?” I squealed, thinking these must be some of those unidentifiable Indian delicacies I’d seen on that website.

“They’re the marshmallow eggs that you brought!” she prompted.  “Don’t you remember?”

I’m sure I turned about three shades of red before muttering, “Oh, yeah…” (damn peri-menopausal mushbrain!).  The chocolates looked a lot classier on that plate than they did in the compostable bag they came in!

The other girls trickled in over the next hour-and-a-half…nobody brought wine, but we did have a nice selection of food to choose from by the time everyone arrived!  There were two kinds of naan bread with mango chutney and guram masala for dipping, some pita chips with yogurt dip, some mini caramel muffins, and some decadent squares which were purely Western but awesome anyway!  We had some delicious mango juice to drink, which I’m planning to seek out next time I’m at Costco!  The hostess’ 3-year-old daughter demonstrated some of her ballet moves for us before her dad took her up to bed (he was mumbling something about getting her away from us before we corrupted her…another Bookworm man thinks we’re “witches”)…

We chatted about the book for a while (everybody liked it – excellent choice for a book club read), and then got off on our usual tangent…that was the first Worms meeting I’d ever attended where no one was drinking!  It was weird, but good…I can’t wait for the next meeting!

I was happy to get home to bed soon after 10:30…it had been a long day…

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Popcorn, Puddin’ Pop, and Provisions for the Privileged…

Sorry for the long break between posts…it was a busy weekend.  I’ll do my best to catch you up on happenings in Hammond River over the last little while:

1. Popcorn.  Jim, Anna and I finally got to see The King’s Speech last weekend.  We loved it!  It had sharp writing, pathos, and humour all in one p-p-p-package!  Helena Bonham Carter was particularly good as the Queen.  If you haven’t seen the movie yet, please go…you’ll be glad you did!  While we were enjoying ourselves in the company of civilized adults, Hope and her friend, Gabrielle, were down the hall in another theatre, watching the premiere of the Justin Bieber movie, Never Say Never, with two or three hundred screaming tweens (I felt sorry for the theatre employees who had to clean up afterwards).  I did appreciate Bieber’s impression of Obama when he was a guest on Conan the other night…it was bang-on!

Hope with her idol outside the theatre...photo by Jim...

2. Puddin’ Pop.  For new readers of my blog, “Puddin’ Pop” is what I call my 17-month-old granddaughter, Elise.  On Friday, I was called upon to babysit while Kaylee and Scott went to Moncton to see the Great Big Sea concert I gave Kaylee the tickets for at Christmas time.  Despite the fact that I have three children and two stepchildren, I don’t consider myself “the mommy type” and was a little nervous about spending several hours alone with no backup “Aunties” to help care for my Puddin’ Pop.  Kaylee took pity on me, and prestuffed the liners in the cloth diapers (which I’ve never used…they’re a lot fancier and more expensive than they used to be…velcro and liners and snaps, oh my!).  Jim dropped me off at Kaylee and Scott’s on the way to work.  The first thing we noticed was that Scott had shaved off his beard (yay…I like beards on certain people…my son-in-law is not one of them!).  He was all ready for those questions at work like “Where’s your beard?”  He saved the clippings in a Ziploc bag, so he could pull it out and say, “Right here!”  All together now:  “EWWWWW!”

Elise and her bearded Daddy at Christmas time...

Kaylee gave me detailed instructions about when and how much to feed my granddaughter (the milk with the cow on the pitcher was for Elise), and when she went to bed.  She showed me the gold-plated baby toothpaste ($4 for a tiny tube).  Scott showed me how to get Netflix on the Wii (they only have 21 channels on the TV)…seeing the blank look on my face, he wrote it down.  Kaylee put the baby down for a nap about 11:30, and she and Scott left shortly after that, almost forgetting the sushi they’d bought to eat for supper.

Puddin’ Pop woke up a couple of hours later.  The next five hours is a blur of activity: trying to get her to eat something besides grapes and baby banana rusks, chasing her down the hallway when she tried to “escape” to her room, watching “Barney” on Netflix, reading stories (Elise recognizes her letters already – she is also learning sign language), and taking the lid on and off the wooden block container (over and over and over again).  By 6:30, one of us was ready to crash…I put Elise to bed too, after putting the triple-stuffed nighttime diaper on her.

"Whatchoo talkin' about, Gramma?"

 

I went back into the living room and turned on Cake Boss…on one of the episodes, the bakery had run out of sugar…how ludicrous is that?  Puddin’ Pop took a while to settle down, but she seemed happy to talk to herself in her crib.  I was ready to go to sleep by 10:00 p.m.  I changed into my jammies, and curled up (or more accurately, “doubled up”) on the loveseat.  Kaylee had suggested I bring our air mattress, but I was afraid her cats would poke a hole in it.  I woke up in the middle of the night with one of the cats’ faces peering intently into mine…Yoko is the one that races you down the hall to the bathroom to get a drink if you’re foolish enough to turn the faucet on for her (I’m not that gullible!).  Cats aren’t nearly as good at cleaning up under high chairs as dogs are either…

About 8 a.m. the next morning, Scott brought Elise in to change her diaper.  “Hi, Sweetie,” I called, as they went by.  The response was considerably more masculine and mature-sounding than my granddaughter: “Hi!” answered my smartass son-in-law.  After we had breakfast, and the kids told me about the concert (uncomfortable seating, the “yelling yahoo” sitting beside them, etc.), they drove me home.  I stayed in my jammies for the rest of the day…I was exhausted!

3. Provisions for the Privileged.  Jim, Hope and I went to Costco yesterday.  We left Anna at home, because I didn’t feel like spending $200 in one go.  We needed acetaminophen, and their price was far less than the drug stores (I remembered afterwards that we also needed allergy meds…oops!).  As we were going in, Jim flashed his member’s card at the doorperson.  Hope asked, “Do you have to show your card?”  

“Yes,” I replied.  “They don’t let just anybody into Costco!”  It was at that point that I realized just how “lucky” I am to be one of the families they admit to the home of the biggest jars of olives you’ll ever see…three years ago when I was a single mom, I couldn’t have afforded the membership fee.  My parents certainly would never have been able to swing it when I was a kid either. 

I don’t enjoy going to Costco…it represents the kind of greed and consumerism I hate, and it’s a cold experience to shop there.  Nonetheless, I spent $55, and picked up a few bargains on essentials.  While we waited in the checkout line, Hope wondered why the clerks didn’t have a microphone to call on when they needed something, instead of just yelling out?  Why indeed?  She was also surprised that we didn’t get bags to put our purchases in.  I explained that that’s how they were able to offer such low prices…no frills! 

I would like it if I got a warm and fuzzy feeling shopping at Costco, but I don’t think that’s ever going to happen… 

4. Bonus: Hope-ism of the Week.  When Hope brought me a form to fill out for cheerleading, I asked her why she didn’t do it herself…she knew all the information.  “My messing’s writey!” she replied.  She’s also left-handed…

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Still Learning in 2010…

Taking the lead from my blogging friends, Todd Pack, Izzie Darling, and Lady Justine, here’s a list of the things I learned this year…if you want to read the full story on any of these lessons, search a keyword or click the appropriate tag in the sidebar:

1. Our dog thinks porcupine poop is dessert.

2. Hope loves Jake enough to share her toothbrush with him.

3. Homemade rolls don’t have to be “pretty” to taste good.

4. Egg cartons are not good containers to start plants indoors in.

5. Dogs love to destroy egg cartons with seedlings in them.

6. Jim’s parents are our biggest supporters.

7. Bleachers are hard things to sit on for more than a couple of hours.

8. I am really out of shape.

9. Seeing a toy from your childhood 40 years later brings you right back to that time in your life.

10. If the winter is mild enough, spinach from last year can survive.

11. Maple vinaigrette makes spinach salad a beautiful thing!

12. There’s no such thing as “too many bird feeders.”

13. Squirrels can do amazing tricks to get to a bird feeder.

14. Some people keep their toilet paper in the breadbox.

15. Mothers-in-law are often right.

16. More people in Saint John knew when the new Costco was opening than were aware of the city’s 225th birthday this year.

17. Rhubarb runs amok if left to grow unchecked.

18. Orthodontists make more per hour than most of us.

19. Sometimes plants get a lot bigger than the seed package says they will…my five-foot sunflowers ended up being seven or eight feet tall!

20. I like portobello mushroom/swiss veggie burgers.

21. Our dog enjoys eating Popsicle sticks.

22. Cosmopolitan was a literary magazine back in the early 1900’s.

23. There is only one kind of hummingbird which frequents New Brunswick: the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.

24. I love Mint Crisp M&M’s.

25. I learned what a “fisher” was, after seeing one cross the road in front of our car.

26. Before you construct a really big birdhouse, figure out where you’re going to put it and how to get it up there!

27. My dad’s a good singer, and I’m not the only one who thinks so!

28. They sell live ladybugs at Home Depot.

29. Right after you purchase twenty tomato plants, the forty you started from seed will rally.

30. Ladybugs aren’t always red with black spots…sometimes they’re brown with cream spots.

31. As long as they’re under warranty, Vogue Optical will replace glasses which have been chewed by a dog!

32. We have a cherry tree, and eight high-bush blueberries I’d never noticed before.

33. “Beaver Tails” are too expensive to buy now.

34. Hope really likes getting muddy.

35. Wallpaper is nearly impossible to find.

36. Hummingbirds are fearless.

37. The Chinese cabbage I planted is not the “head” type.

38. How to make good piecrust…the secret is lard.

39. Some people will ignore a sign that says: “Danger – Do Not Touch.”

40. Deer can be aggressive.

41. Organic broccoli often goes to seed faster than I can harvest it.

42. I love rutabaga!

43. I found out what “purslane” looks like.

44. It’s never a good idea to put a chicken burger into a toaster.

45. I don’t hate all sci-fi…I enjoy “Eureka.”

46. You can purchase a sailboat on the Internet.

47. Ripe canteloupe is not a good lunchbox food.

48. Picking things from the garden in the dark is really difficult.

49. I suck at “Musical Chairs.”

50. The blogging community is full of incredible people…I am so happy to have made their online acquaintances!

I’m looking forward to learning more in 2011!

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Random, Rants, Roughage, and Rodents…

This is going to be a very random post, as we are heavily into planning for our upcoming 10th Anniversary Open House at the bookstore this weekend (http://bit.ly/aZc2SH ), and I’ve been busy trying to get the stacks of books under some sort of control…

1. Ridiculous customer: We have a really BIG Bible: about 6 inches thick, and at least 10 lbs.  On this Bible, there is a small plastic tag that reads in BIG RED LETTERS: “DANGER – Do Not Touch.”  On Friday, I watched a woman move the tag off the top of the Bible, set it on the shelf, and proceed to haul the big honkin’ Bible off the shelf and down on to the FLOOR, so she could look through it!  Apparently, she could read the word “Revelations,” but could not comprehend the shorter ones: “Do Not Touch.”

2. Reluctant body fluids: I am an occasional blood donor – I had an appointment to make a donation on Friday.  I made my way through the incredibly detailed questionnaire designed to safeguard our blood system (no, I’ve never visited Africa, been in prison, or worked with monkeys or their bodily fluids).  Unfortunately, I hadn’t had much water to drink (“I drank tea,” I reported hopefully, but that was no good), so they had a terrible time even finding my small “rolly” veins.  Apparently, it helps to be hydrated…they did finally find a vein, and got the process started.  As usual, my blood flowed as slowly as molasses…after about ten minutes of me squeezing a small rubber ball, the flow stopped completely.  I felt like an utter failure: “Sorry about that,” I mumbled dejectedly.  “I’ll try to drink more water next time.”  The nurse told me not to worry about it.  As I nibbled a cookie, I chatted with an acquaintance of mine, who has over 600 donations under his sleeve, and volunteers at the clinics when he’s between donations!

Canadian Blood Services logo...

3. Rampant greed: I made my first visit to our new Costco on Saturday (Jim had already been there a couple of times with the kids – one trip yielded the biggest jar of olives I’ve ever seen – I don’t even like olives!).  I was amazed when the cashier informed us that she had to take some money out of her till, because earlier she’d had a customer pay for a $2400 order in CASH!  We bought a few useful things, including giant boxes of cereal, rechargeable batteries, 300 ZipLoc freezer bags in two different sizes, and a 36-double roll pack of toilet paper (that should last a couple of weeks!).

The toilet paper we got...I'm sure that embossing will make all the difference...

4. Rodents: Anna informed me when I got up Sunday morning that she had seen a BIG raccoon on our back deck during the night…he was apparently enjoying the eggshells that I have in a bucket out there for the garden.  Jim’s bird seed is also attracting other critters: in the morning, Anna saw a big RAT!  She snapped a picture of it, but deleted it before I told her I wanted it for my blog! 

5. Roughage: I spent Sunday in the garden, harvesting various vegetables and greens.  We had company on Sunday night, and I served salad which was a combination of stuff from my garden, and purchased ingredients.  We also had Swiss chard/beet greens, mixed snap beans, and my first Red Kuri squash, which I picked even before it had a chance to turn red!  I was also thrilled to discover at least one baby pumpkin, a couple of Dakota Dessert squash, and three decent-sized zucchini.  The best news was finding out that my broccoli is finally forming tiny heads!   I also picked more blueberries and a handful of blackberries.

Red Kuri squash before it got red...

Baby pumpkin...

This zucchini is destined to become chocolate zucchini bread...

Uncle David's Dakota Dessert squash...

Baby broccoli head...this is only about 3 inches across...

6. Recognition: My blueberry pie was a big hit with our company https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/i-owe-it-all-to-pig-fat/:  Jim’s parents complimented me on how tasty the pastry was, and Jim asked for seconds after they were gone!

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