Tuesday, August 24

Oh Canada, eh?

For my birthday in July, a bunch of girls from work (OK, every female in the training department) went to Vancouver, BC to celebrate. Let me tell you, I LOVE an international flight that is less than two hours long.

Lisa arranged for us to stay in a house, rather than a hotel. As we arrived at the house from the airport (we rented a large SUV… large enough for all five of us), we were all a little nervous. The GPS announced that we had arrived as we pulled in front of a house that, let’s just say wasn’t what we were hoping for. I really wish someone had taken pictures. Fortunately, it wasn’t the house – this was (and it was really cute):

The house had two bedrooms, a pullout couch, and two bathrooms. We didn’t do to badly leaving the house on time with five females sharing two bathrooms.

We arrived on a Thursday evening. We didn’t do much, however, we found the BEST Greek restaurant ever. It was yummy.

Friday… let’s see, what did we do on Friday? Oh yeah. We drove to Granville Island and went to the big market over there. Had doughnuts for breakfast (with chocolate milk, of course). So healthy, I know. Then I think we just spent the day walking around Vancouver. We walked to Chinatown, saw a drug deal going down on Hastings Street, ate yummy dim sum, went up the Vancouver Lookout, then went to see Inception (great movie, by the way). Now, every time we drove from our house to Vancouver, we had to drive down Hastings Street – what a unique experience, let me say. And actually a little sad…

Steam Clock in Gastown

Granville Market

Dim Sum

On Saturday we drove to Lynn Canyon and walked across the suspension bridge. We ended up doing a little hiking, which was really awesome to do in my flip-flops – but it was a gorgeous area. We then drove to the Capilano suspension bridge, but decided that since it cost money (Lynn Canyon was free), we’d skip it. We then took the gondola up Grouse Mountain, where we had lunch and also some awesome views of Vancouver. That night we grilled steak and shrimp for my “birthday” dinner. That was one advantage of staying at a house – we got to cook at least one meal (but really, when I’m on vacation, do I want to be cooking?).

Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge

Grouse Mountain

Sunday was fantastic. We drove up the Sea to Sky highway on our way to Whistler. There were several scenic pullouts (including one fantastic waterfall). But our real goal was Whistler where I had arranged for us to go ziplining. Only Allison had ever been ziplining before, so we were all a little nervous. In fact, Amanda said something along the lines of “you get me in to the craziest crap.” But it was SOOOO much fun. I highly recommend it (and I will be doing it again).

Horseshoe Bay

Sea To Sky Highway

Shannon Falls

Monday morning started really early. We took the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria. Once in Victoria we went to Butchart Gardens (really, one of the most beautiful gardens in the world). While at the Gardens, we had an afternoon tea. Even though four out of the five of us aren’t tea drinkers (three of us had herbal tea), it was REALLY good, and it was just something we really needed to do. After the gardens, we went to visit a couple of other castles (Hatley Castle and Craigdarroch Castle – we didn’t go in to either, though). In addition to all that fun, Allison mistook a seagull for a bald eagle, and Lisa thought a deer was a goat.

Tuesday afternoon was our flight home, so we decided to take it easy. We went back to Granville, had doughnuts for breakfast again, and did some shopping. Then we just went back to the house to relax until we drove to the airport. My silly mistake of the day was that I thought that Brg. was an abbreviation for Brigadier instead of Bridge. Must be all of that Doctor Who.

We didn’t do to badly for five alpha-females. No huge fights, no tears, maybe a little bit of frustration and annoyance, but everyone had a really good time. Whew!

Sunday, August 22

80 is the new 60

I know, I’m really behind in blogging, but I’ll try to make it up to you (if you care).

In June, my mom celebrated her 80th birthday. So, to honor her, on June 26th we had a huge family reunion/open house. Of course, when you get a family together, there is always drama, right? We didn’t disappoint.

We scheduled a family dinner from 2:00 – 4:00, then an open house from 6:00 – 8:00. My brother the chef was not only in charge of the food for the dinner, but for the open house as well. As it turned out, my nephew had his Salt Lake wedding reception the night before, and my brother catered it, so we were able to use the fruit and veggies for both events. My sister-in-law’s sister-in-law (confusing enough for you?) was awesome enough to provide tablecloths, and my sister-in-law’s sister let us use the left over brownies and mini-cheesecakes. Unfortunately, I hadn’t planned on these goodies, so I had already ordered 4 cakes from Costco (and we all know how large cakes from Costco are) – one for the family dinner, three for the open house. Needless to say, we had almost all of the cakes left over.

My brother got up late on the 26th, so he had to recruit me to come help with the food preparation – thank goodness we were able to use the kitchen where he works in Orem. OK, did I mention that the family dinner was supposed to start at 2:00? Well, my brother and I arrived with the food AT 2:00 – I was still in shorts and a T-shirt, not to mention the fact that I was all sweaty from the food prep. Luckily, my mom hadn’t even arrived yet, so…

Roger and I went home where I took the fastest shower in history, and got ready. Of course we were taking pictures, so, of course, I look gross – but what are you doing to do?

So, I think the dinner finally started at 3-ish. We had the open house at the clubhouse of a housing community where my cousin lives. My sister decided that in the two hours between the dinner and the open house, family could swim at the clubhouse, or come to mom’s house (which lead to hiring cleaners to come clean the house). Since we were running on Blomquist-standard time, we didn’t have two hours between the dinner and the open house; we barely had enough time to clean up from the dinner and get ready for guest by 6:00.

All in all, it was a success! Lots of people came, and I think my mom really enjoyed it.