Thursday, May 31, 2007

Visions of Nintendo Wii and a 42" Flat Screen Danced in his Head

The following is a sponsored entry:

Since moving into the condo, Mark has had the idea of getting an oversized, wall mounted flat screen. Now, after spending part of our vacation in Idaho playing Bryan’s Wii, Mark not only wants a 42” flat screen, he also wants a Wii. Of course, the simple fact that we just went on a holiday so soon after purchasing a condo and an adorably expensive Boston terrier means that his visions of jumping around the condo squashing demented bunnies (for those of you who don’t know that is a crazy Wii game), will not soon turn into reality. Before you go feeling sorry for him, I did just get him the Xbox 360 for Christmas and the TV we have now is perfectly adequate.

Anyway, last night I think he came to the realization that if he wants to get his two dream items anytime in the next six months, he will have to get them from alternate means. Since he is an honest guy and completely non-violent, I guess that means he is going to have to try and win them through some sort of a sweepstakes!

Luckily, there is a new reverse auction site (where the lowest bid wins!?!) called and I just checked, they have both a Wii and a Panasonic 42" TV & Bose DVD Theater System among their many free gifts up for grabs. Mark works in a shop and does not have daily access to a computer like I do but that is not a problem. actually allows him to text in his entries and I have been assured that Bid4Prizes is very fun and user friendly. Oh and get this! Even if he does not win one of the prizes that he is bidding on, he still has the chance to win cash prizes. He will also collect points every time he bids, which he save up for...oh say...a designer purse for me! You know, to go with the 6 or so pairs of shoes I bought on this last vacation....

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Idaho, the Land of Amazing Shoe Sales

I ended up spending a good portion of my vacation at my friend and recent graduate, Bryan's apartment in Moscow, Idaho. I usually hate staying at other people's houses but Bryan is a fun guy with a spare bedroom and a shower that has great water pressure. He also has the Nintendo Wii (graduation present). The Wii is a lot more fun then I thought it would be. Usually when there are more players than controllers sheer boredom will ensue for the person whose turn it is to spectate. With the Wii, though, it is just as fun for the person who is waiting for her turn because she gets to choose between watching a bunch of demented bunnies get smushed on screen or her equally demented friend and boyfriend jumping up and down, swinging their arms as if they were being attacked by killer bees. Now that is good entertainment!

I had forgotten how CHEAP everything is in Idaho! We went to the bars and enjoyed $1.50 well drinks and $3 marguertitas! Oh, and ladies play pool for free! Cheers to chilvary not being dead! I also bought about 6 pairs of shoes, jewellery, a watch and gifts for almost everyone I know. I barely even went over budget....okay I went quite a bit over budget but the deals were just too good! Perfectly understandable of course; everyone but my boyfriend would have done the same.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Stuck in a Snowstorm, Dreaming of Hawaii

The following is a sponsored post:

In my last couple of posts, I have been discussing (in much more detail than anyone probably cares for) my recent vacation. At the rate I am going, I am probably not going to get to the part where I got stuck in a snowstorm in Montana wearing capris and flip flops for at least three more posts. Yes it actually happened! And while stuck in the snowstorm, admittedly with a great set of friends who were equally as cold as I, I could not help but resent them just a tad for graduating from The University of Idaho. Of course, I also graduated in Idaho and never would have met them if any of us went somewhere else for college but still...I couldn’t help but think to myself “I could be on vacation in Hawaii right now!”

I will be honest, it has always been my dream to go to Hawaii. I even looked into options for Maui vacations before remembering that my two best friends would kill me if I skipped out on their graduation. I am hoping that next year, after they have had time to find excellent jobs with even more excellent vacation pay, we will all be able to meet up in Hawaii for a well deserved vacation; a vacation involving snorkeling, scuba diving, glorious beaches, and absolutely no snow. All we will have to do is go to, pick out a Maui vacation rental and then all meet up for two glorious weeks of sand filled beaches and icy marguerites!

After the Montana debacle involving a four hour road trip that turned into a two day excursion without the benefit of hair or toothbrushes, I am sure it will not be difficult to convince my friends that a Hawaii vacation is the way to go. I am going to send them the link to before the sting of potential frostbite has faded from their memories!

Canada's Borders Need More Tourist Appeal

After making our way out of Banff National Park, I complained to Mark that I hadn't seen any mountain goats. Despite the fact that I had been through Banff several times in the past, I had yet to see a single one of the goats that are supposed to be so plentiful in that area. This has always been a sore spot for me because, well, I am a lover of all animals but especially the ones that do not get enough respect and adoration for simply existing to be the marvelous creatures that they are. My boyfriend then complained to me that he hadn't seen any hot rods or antique cars yet (even though I told him about a fofillian times that he would see them once we hit the Idaho/Washington area). Of course at this point a hilarious debacle ensues but I have already written it once on helium so please go here to read it. It's short, I promise.

After that incident was over, we headed to the border without any further life threatening experiences. I was fairly certain that we would not have any problems getting into the US but I was totally freaked out any way. Being a past foreign student in the U.S. (with a student visa) I still get all trembly and sweaty when crossing. There were some instances, especially right after 9/11 that I was given a really hard time when going back and forth between USA and Canada. Even a lot of the U.S. citizens I talked to mentioned to me that they had an easier time getting into Canada than back into the States. Yet apparently, there is a real concern that the Canadian border does not cater enough to the USA and their tourists. I am not joking, here is the article I found this morning in Northern Ontario Business. Apparently, our border needs to become more "American tourist centric" or our economy is going to suffer. Serves us right for having such a small population and so many campgrounds, I say.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Brief Stay In Banff, Alberta and Grandma's Potty Mouth

So after stopping in at Canmore for coffee and Mark's first and only Italian Soda, it became very apparent that we weren't going to make it much farther. Our flight had left Toronto at 7am and we decided that we should get to the airport at about 5:30am, which turned out to be the exact right time because we weren't rushed but we definitley did not have time to lolligag either. So we caught an express coach from the Westin Harbour Castle at some crazy time like 4:50am. The coach was excellent. It cost $17 per person, one way and made the rush to the airport much more relaxing. The night before we had dropped Stella and Nellie off at my mother's and then went home to finish packing. We ended up getting less than three hours sleep!

We pushed on to Banff despite our quickly draining energy. We arrived at about 5pm, Alberta time. It was just in time, actually to see a forest fire in cation. Some kids' campfire got away from them. A helicopter awas called in to drop water on the fire and we left when it became apparent that it would quickly be under control.

After briefly considering a $150 stay at the Hot Springs resort, we chose an $85 dollar room at the other end of town. The hotel was clean and comfortable. Our room had two double beds and we promptly fell asleep on top of the covers, horizontally across the one farthest from the window. We woke up fully clothed the next morning. So much for our plans to enjoy the spring weather and quaint town with a leisurely stroll to one of Mark's favourite Banff restaurants. We had ambitiously hoped to enjoy the Hot Springs after dinner.

In the morning Mark and I did visit the hot springs but they were closed until 10am so we just went for a mini hike and headed out. We have both been to Banff before (although not together) so I wrote a review of Banff on Helium, please check it out.

Last night we went to Mark's Mom's for a big family dinner and were telling some of our vacation stories. Other people started telling their vacation stories and that is when I remembered that vacation stories are rarely fun for anyone other than the people who were actually on the vacation (yet here I am insisting on blogging about my holiday in great detail). Mark's grandmother started to get bored with the conversation. I must of looked bored too because she started whispering jokes to me. At first they were kind of lame and I giggled mostly to be polite. Encouraged by my giggling, she told more and more and they proceeded to get dirtier and dirtier! This 82 year old woman was telling me the most uncomfortably dirty jokes ever! I am not going to go into detail but several involved May West and one invoved both May West and a cow....yucky.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Brief Stay in Canmore, Alberta.

After finally getting out of Calgary we drove our Budget Rent a Car in the direction of the border. We stopped in Canmore and I made my boyfriend try his first Italian Soda. He did not like it. We saw a very cool looking doggie boutique called The Mut Hut but we did not stop in because I was afraid I would buy Stella and Nellie a foffilian presents that we would have to lug around the rest of the vacation. Instead we made Canmore our last stop on the way back to the airport at the end of vacation. I made very modest purchases in only the way that someone who had spent her entire vacation budget on shoes can; I bought Stella a pink camoflauge dog bone for about $14 and I bought Nellie a laser pointer shaped like a mouse for about $6.99. Excellent gift choices if I do say so myself. Stella has been chewing on her new toy on and off since we gave it to her Thursday morning and it has yet to tear. The cat enjoys stalking the red light on the floor for about two and a half minutes. Then Stella tries to join in the game by jumping on Nellie's head and then the fun is over...for the cat anyway.

The owner of the Mut Hut seemed very nice and she is thinking about expanding. Whilst in Toronto, she stopped in at the Bark & Fitz, Beaches location where I do a lot of my shopping. She liked the boutique a lot and is considering expanding in the same manner that Bark & Fitz has. Actually, The Mut Hut reminded me a lot of the Bark & Fitz except they had more of an emphasis on toys and less on dog food and treats. They did not offer grooming services but they did have a pretty great selection for cats.

Anyway, we only stayed in Canmore for about an hour and we were off to enjoy the rest of our holiday!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Spring Vacation Part One: Leaving Our Pets Behind

I have been on vacation for the last week and despite my best intentions I did not write a single blog on this, my personal blogspot, or on my Temple Treats site. My main vacation destination was Moscow (pronounced Mos-coe), Idaho. Two of my very best friends from college were graduating and who knows where they will end up (one already accepted a position in Tacoma, WA) so I thought I would try to get the three of us together for post-college fun while there was still time.

My boyfriend and I left Stella and Nellie with my mother and brother and took a flight to Calgary. The first thing I did after landing of course was call my mother and inquire as to the status of Stella whilst ignoring my boyfriends eyerolls and distinct "you are wasting money" sighs - the first of many on this trip.

The brief call with my mother only served to heighten my worries about not taking Stella with us. My mother had only had her for one night and a few short hours of morning but she had already broken one of the cardinal rules of Stella-sitting. My mom had left Stella alone in the house withut crating her! She had to run Joe his lunch at school down the street and because Stella was snoring so intently in her doggy bed, my mom decided not to wake her. Exactly 8 minutes later when my mother returned (she apparently timed this debacle), Stella was found cowering and shaking in the closest thing she could find that resembled her crate, Nellie's cat carrier. Poor Stella!

I explained to my mother for like the umpteenth time that a house is too big for a little puppy to be left alone in and that Stella needed her crate to feel safe. My mom was lucky that Stella did not act out by tearing the house apart. That dog could do a lot of damage in 8 minutes! I patiently went over the list of do's and dont's for Stella sitting with my mother one more time. I had emailed her a copy of the list already and she swore she did not need another copy but I made a mental note to email it to her again anyway when I arrived in Moscow.

Calgary was incredibly confusing, to say the least. They have like four streets named 4th street, four more named 3rd Street, and the map of calgary looked like a hodge podge drawing of what some who had never before seen a map thought one should look like. It took us about 3 times longer than what it should have to get us out of Calgary and then we were on our way!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day Musings

This weekend was crazy busy! I had a show on Saturday (a school fair where I sold my organic dog treats and accessories) and it was awful. I had never sold so little at a fair! I did not even cover the cost of my booth. Although I have done lots of school fairs, I have never been at one of this format. It did not work well at all so I likely won't be doing one like it again any time soon. Stella got her third set of shots on Saturday as well so she was feeling kind of tired and yucky, just like me!

On Sunday, My boyfriend and I took his mother and father to The Old Mill for Mother's Day. It was so great and she had a wonderful time. It was a little more than we could afford (okay, a lot more), especially with us going on vacation next week, but it was worth it. The food was incredible and there were a lot of vegetarian selections for me. The setting was beautiful and we walked around the gardens after brunch, taking a lot of photos.

When we got back from brunch with Mark's parents, we rollerbladed to Ontario Place where we spent the rest of the day with my mom and brother. That was also a lot of fun although my brother was acting like a total brat. It was a little too cold for the log ride he really wanted to go on so he really acted up. He was definitely not acting his age.

In my opinion, kids get away with way more than they should these days. My mother never put up with bad behaviour from me when I was a kid. If I had tantrummed like my brother did yesterday, she would have taken me straight home after thanking me for ruining an otherwise perfectly nice Mother's Day. I would have spent the rest of the day in my room. Now here she is, same mother 20 years later, buying him ice cream so he will forget about the log ride. It did not work, by the way.

Oh well, I guess that I shouldn't judge. I am not even a parent after all....cats and puppies don't count.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Bath Tub: My Dog's New Play Place

My puppy, Stella is full of odd behaviour. Usually her antics are some crazy combination of cute and completely infuriating.

One of her more cute, less infuriating behavour patterns is this. She hates taking a bath. The minute I put her in the tub she shakes and shivers, looking at me with those giant googly eyes. The second I turn around she tries, and has recently figured out how, to jump out of the tub. At the same time, whenever I am in the shower, she whines and cries to get into the tub!

Yesterday, I was showering with Stella whining and crying on the other side of the curtain and I decided "why not?" I picked her up and dropped her in the shower with me. She had a ball! She ran around chasing water and knocking over shampoo bottles. She really loved her shower! So much so that later that day she figured out how to use her crate (which is right next to the bathtub) as leverage to haul herself up, over, and into the tub. Now she can not only get out, she can get in, too.

So now the bathtub is her new favourite play place. She brings her toys in there with her to play. It is great because I can get a lot more done around the house when I am not chasing her around attempting unsuccessfully to thwart her bad chewing behaviour. What a crazy little dog!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Blue Jays vs. Red Sox Game. A Review from Someone Who Knows Nothing Much About Base Ball

First of all, I would like to say that I was wrong. $2 Jays games on Tuesdays is not happening for the next month or so. Apparently we got our dates wrong, we missed the last two $2 Tuesday games and next Tuesday (May 15th) is the last game. Ah well, it is only like $9 for the cheap seats on a regular day anyway so it is no big deal.

Now I have to say (and in my mind I am saying this in the voice of comic book guy from The Simpsons) "Worst Blue Jays game ever"! I can't believe it. The game went on until like 10:30 at night even though we pretty much handed them the win by the second inning. The game was so boring that people started throwing paper airplanes and the crowd started cheering that instead of the game. An airplane would start making its way down from 500 level and it would look like it was going to make it onto the field "oh! OH! OHH!" and finally "ohhhhhh...." if it dipped back into the crowd before making it onto the field. Some did make it to the field thouh and the whole crowed would cheer! One actually swooped down and turned itself around to fly right into the Jays dugout. We cheered like crazy - "That's how we do it up here in the 500 level!"

Anyway, I don't understand how a game complete with a fan jumping onto the field and making it almost all the way across before being tackled by three security guards, a batter for the Red Sox being hit by a 94 mph fastball, and tons of home made paper airplanes (one that made it onto the field was about 2 1/2 feet long) could still be so insanely boring!

I had much more fun watching the Jays last season. Oh, and had much better nachos. Last season they had these big portions of real salty nachos with spicy "cheese" (I use the term "cheese" loosely). I used to share with my boyfriend because I couldn't finish them on my own. This year they had itty bitty portions of bland nachos bland cheese.

Ah well. I have complained enough for one day, I think. Besides, I did go with my awesome friends and there we had a pretty good crowd up in the 500 level. A girl in our section even had a cow bell with her and everyone knows how awesome cow bells are. We kept yelling "I need more cow bell!" but I am pretty sure you had to have seen the Saturday Night Live Christopher Walkin skit to find that funny...and even then.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Just Say Hi to This Free Dating Service

I have more than a few friends who are on dating sites. Some of them have more luck than others and I think all of them have better luck than they would if they were looking for love in bars and clubs. The problem my friends have with most dating sites, though, is that they end up costing way too much and it is difficult to meet people in a desired area. One of my friends here at work had to break her lunch time habit of chatting on one particular site because it was simply costing too much money. After much moral support from her fellow female coworkers, she went cold turkey, poor girl!

Today, I found a new dating site to tell her about. It is called Not only is 100% free, it can also be local! You just type in your postal code and how far you are willing to travel for that perfect find. There are about a billion profiles and photos to look at; this free dating site obviously has a huge network. I am sure my coworker will be impressed. So much so that when she is next ordering the office supplies, she will finally order me purple Post It sticky pads and a matching highlighter I have been requesting instead of those boring yellow ones!

Any way, the url is: I have already emailed the link to a couple of single friends and hopefully they will post some great feedback soon!

Okay! Blue Jays! $2 Tuesdays are Back!

I am so excited today because $2 Tuesday Jays games are back! Every Tuesday for the next month or so, Torontonians (and visitors) can get cheap-seat tickets for the Blue Jays at the Toronto Sky, Rogers Centre. Last year my friends and I went almost every week, we just bought a block of 10 or so tickets and we would all just meet up after work. I have been looking forward to doing the same this year. I almost feel guilty paying so little to watch The Jays play. Luckily my guilt is washed away with $10 beer and $8 nachos.

I am actually planning to join a baseball team this year on the Toronto Island. Normally such a thought would never cross my mind (I have not played baseball since I was 12) but this is just a casual game of pick up – is that the right term, pick up? We all just get together and take the water taxi over and have fun. From what my friends told me, there isn’t even any strike outs. Hopefully that means I won’t be too embarrassed by my lack of skills!

Anyway, back to my plans tonight: Okay! Blue Jays! Let’s! Play! Ball!

Monday, May 7, 2007

My Brother's Birthday: 9 Kids, 6 Adults, 1 Cat and 1 Dog in a 630 sq ft Condo

I hosted a birthday party for my brother and his friends this weekend. My condo is so tiny, I put a limit of 6 kids on the party. Of course that means 9 kids and 3 parents showed up (totalling 6 adults). Once again I was really impressed with the layout of this condo. It seems like there is so much more space that there really is, even with so many people in it. Of course we did not spend a tonne of time in the actual apartment, maybe 2 hours tops. The kids went swimming and then we all watched a movie in the theatre room. My brother picked out "The Quest For The Holy Grail". In fact, the whole party was knight themed, starting with the invites, which were scrolls tied with ribbon. The kids even wore knight costumes and before going down to the pool, they made knight helmuts using duct tape and fun foam pre-cut from patterns my mom found online. In the pool, the kids had sword fights with water squirting foam swords.

The cake was a masterpiece of course. My mother does the most amazing cakes every year. This one was a castle surrounded by a moat and it had the funny French guy, the cow thrown by the French guy, and the killer bunny from Quest For the Holy Grail.

The kids had a great time and so did I but, man I am glad it is over!!!

Friday, May 4, 2007

My Boston Terrier is Teaching Herself Tricks!

Stella is 12 weeks old now and she is getting so much bigger! The breeder said that he did not expect her to get any bigger than 18 pounds and I am certaintly hoping that is true. A 630 sq ft. condo is not a lot of space for a girl, her boyfriend, cat and dog! Stella is starting to show a lot of muscle definition and a bit of brindle in her. It's nice because it will help us spot her in a crowd.

Stella is also getting a lot smarter and cheekier! She has figured out how to secretly hold cat food in her mouth and nonchalantly make her way over to the sofa. Our only clue to her sneaky behaviour happens when we hear her crunching away from under the couch!

She has also figured out that we give her a treat and lavish her with praise every time she pees on her puppy training pad. While this revelation has not made her go on the pad every time, she will arbitrarily squat on the pad and pretend she is peeing! Sometimes she will do this after she has had an accident somewhere else!

I guess that is the thing with Boston Terriers, they are smart and comical. In other words, they are little monsters!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

5 Questions Every B2B Cold Caller Should Ask

I am writing this as I am on the phone with a media vendor. He has been going on and on and on without taking a breath. He hasn't let me get a word in edgewise. He did not even ask me if I am in charge of marketing decisions.... omigod, he is finally asking me a question and it is an inquiry as to the origin of my did he go from discussing mining tradeshow publications to asking about my name? I wouldn't know, I guess because I tuned out. Nevermind, this is just silly.

Why do media representatives call a person and then bulldoze him or her into a one sided conversation? They should at least ask questions first to qualify the prospect as worth their time, I would think....he just ended the conversation now....that a media rep would not want to waste his or her energy on someone who obviously was not going to purchase. So why not begin a phone call with questions like:

1. Are you the decision maker?

2. Who is your target market?

3 When do you make most of your marketing decisions

4. (after receiving answer to 3, which in our case is October) Would you be willing to make an exception if I had a great opportunity that fit your target market perfectly?

5. What would be the most convient way for me to get my media kit / information package to you?

I am not a professional media rep but I know that I listen a lot more attentively to (ie. I would not write a blog while on the phone with) someone who begins a sales call by making sure she or he is not wasting time, mine or hers.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

On Being Vegetarian in a Meat Loving Office

If the sales guys in my office reach quota for the month, we are all treated to lunch. Lunch comes in the form of gourmet sandwiches. They are said to be incredible. I wouldn't know because I am a vegetarian and the sandwiches are available in only three varieties: chicken, beef, or veal. I once asked if the restaurant had a veggie sandwich but alas I was told "no". Accompanied with this verbal response was a very strange facial expression that could only be deciphered as "...and you are demented for asking".

I used to give my sandwich to one of the particularly piggy sales guys who was not satisfied with just one free lunch. Now I give my sandwiches to my boyfriend for his lunch. He is not a vegetarian at all. He eats whatever I make for him for dinner and lunch, of course,and he usually enjoys it but when we eat out, he goes straight for the burgers. I am not complaining about that either. It is my personal choice to be a vegetarian, and while I believe that in a perfect world, no animals would die for human consumption, I can't force other people to think and feel the way I do about everything. Hell, I am proud of myself for curbing his habit of leaving cupboard doors open and uncovered food in th fridge. I can't imagine taking on the challenge of getting him to stop eating meat!

I understand that my employer is being very nice to offer all of his employees a free lunch. And I do believe that it serves to motivate everyone to reach quota. I don't even mind that they do not order me a veggie sandwich. I could do with out the dirty look, though. I try not to pass judgement on their eating choices and habits, I would appreciate the same courtesy.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Fart Sniffing Dog is Ruining My Professional Image

A common problem among Boston Terriers is that they often, well, fart. And not girly little farts that make guests giggle, I mean really smelly, eye watering, clear out a room, silent but deadly killers. I have explained this to my friends and most are very forgiving although still grossed out when it happens. The funny thing about my Boston, Stella is that, unlike everyone else within 20 feet, she does not seem to notice her own gaseous emmissions. At the same time, if anyone or anything else lets out a little fart, her ears will perk up and she will exitedly sniff out the source of the offensive odour. Her cute little pug nose will follow the trail right to the offender.

This weekend I had a couple of friends over for conversation, wine and appetisers. We were all having a nice time when all of a sudden the room filled with that familiar, Stella induced stench. Everyone in the room turned to my Boston Terrier puppy and in almost perfect unision exclaimed "Stel-la". Well, Stella's ears perked right up and she started sniffing the air. My boyfriend and and I stared at eachother in horror as she excitedly started following her nose. My guests did not immediately understand what was happening but all watched Stella with immense interest. Before I had time to react, Stella quickly sniffed her way over to one of our guests (who just moments ago had accused her of being the odor causing culprit), struggled up onto the sofa and shoved her face right in his butt! She was so excited and proud that she found the source of the smell, she started barking and growling.

How embarrassing! Of course, with the exception of one very embarrassed guest, every one of us started laughing. Most of us laughed so hard that we cried! Even though it happened a couple days ago, everyonce in a while the image of Stella sniffing out that fart will pop into my mind and I will start laughing all over again. I have burst into laughter twice at work today, once in the middle of a meeting!