Wednesday, December 31, 2008


No, I'm not having a meltdown, but am pretty much at the edge. The snow has kept us all house-bound for days on end. And I've shoveled my share of the rather long driveway enough times. My grandparents have been hostages in their home and I have yet to see them since I've come back.

The rains have come now after almost 45+cm of snow. (Hard to tell as it melts a bit and then we get another bit of snow.) If the weather here were colder year round, we'd be buried in snow all the time. That would probably mean better efficiencies at the airport so that people didn't have to miss their flights home for Christmas.

The good(?) thing about being house-bound is that I've been in lockdown mode in the basement. I call it the the torture chamber, but mom refers to it as the Garden of Plenty. Plenty of crap that is. I've finally detached enough to toss out my grad school stuff, along with a lot of other memorabilia. This includes letters that I wrote with friends when I was in school. Yeah, letters. Who writes those anymore? The weirdest coincidence was a friend who mentioned a couple of guys at her school, who I believe is the husband of one of my staff. Such a small world. I also tracked her down and we have since reconnected. Perhaps it's the fact that I won't be coming home for a whole year that has motivated me to just toss things like there is no tomorrow. And the fact that I really don't want to move all the crap with me when my parents finally decide to sell the place. Plus, all this tossing out of stuff is in a way liberating. It's my new year's resolution to live more simply. Happy new year to all. :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

escaping the snow for more snow

It's gonna be a white Christmas across Canada for the first time since 1971. What a treat! We have over 40cm of snow so far and it is still snowing! Spent the morning running around in the snow...was like being a kid all over again, except we're severely house-bound this time around. (When I was little, even 10cm of snow was a lot... now that I'm older and bigger, more snow is needed to create that same feeling!)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

winning the snow lottery

I busted my second umbrella this week. In fact, I broke my second one just a block away from my apartment when the wind whipped up the snow and snapped the top off the bottom.

My newest staff member asked whether our office would close due to the snowstorm. Unfortunately not, I told her. We got an email advising us that we could leave early (but no earlier than 3:30 in the afternoon), and would have to make up the time the following week. Really??! When we have a foot of blowing snow due? How generous...

With most flights cancelled out of Toronto, and roads treacherous, I trekked home and packed, so grateful that I had booked this flight more than half a year ago on the right day. Another snowstorm is due on Sunday, both in Toronto and Vancouver. My sister also squeaked in on the same day. Though my flight was packed with screaming kids, I really lucked out. Both airports were not able to handle the overload of passengers and many had to spend days in the airport. I thank my lucky stars that I was not one of them!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

from one cold place to another

The country, or at least North America is under some sort of deep freeze. We are due for some serious snow storms here and the west coast is shivering with 10 days ahead of sub-zero degree weather. Most unusual. My mother has emailed my sister and I, advising us to bring home warm clothing. The airlines have taken the step to actually allow people to change their flights - for no charge - so that the predicted mess will have less people loitering/sleeping at the airport.

Wow. It's like the airlines have woken up!

Travel Advisory For Flights to, from and Through Toronto on Friday, December 19

MONTREAL - In view of the severe winter storm conditions currently forecasted for Toronto for Friday, December 19, Air Canada advises of the following:

* Customers with flights to, from, and through Toronto on Thursday, December 18 or Friday, December 19, who wish to make alternative travel arrangements to travel earlier or later can do so without penalty, space permitting, through Air Canada Reservations at 1-888-247-2262; TTY hearing impaired: 1-800-361-8071. Certain conditions may apply.

The volume of calls to call centers is expected to be heavy and we thank our customers for their patience.

It is recommended that customers travelling in the coming days check on the status of their flight prior to leaving for the airport by consulting the Air Canada website online at, or by calling Air Canada's automated flight information system at 1-888-422-7533, or by using a web-enhanced cell phone.



Winter weather advisory

Winter storm conditions are expected across Canada from Wednesday, December 17, Thursday, December 18 and Friday, December 19. These storm conditions may result in WestJet flight delays and/or cancellations.

Guests travelling on these dates who wish to make alternative arrangements may do so without penalty, based on availability, by contacting 1.800.538.5696. All other guests travelling are advised to check on the status of their flight prior to leaving for the airport by checking the Flight Status link located at

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

the rockies

Calgary was fine, but Banff was awesome. When I landed last weekend, it was sunny, with blue skies and yellow wheat fields with bales of hay. The drive up to Banff was a little iffy - the monstrous mountains were obscured by fog and light drizzle. I wandered the streets of Banff with my counterpart from Montreal, and we were there in time for the Santa Claus parade! By that time, it had begun to snow and I dragged the poor man through all the snowboarding and ski shops.

I was looking for a new pair of snowboard boots; my current pair is comfy, but as a result, I get blisters from wearing it a solid day since my toes are flapping around. This time, after hitting the last store, I asked the guy if they had any boots from previous seasons on sale. He pointed out 3 to me. Two were white (ick), and one was a sweet pair of black Burton's. The tag said there were a few sizes but when he checked, the one that was on display was the last pair. So... I crammed my foot in it. It was a tight fit. The big toes were rubbing but my other toes couldn't move. I was salivating over the boots, wondering if I could withstand the pain. The guy did tell me he could use a heat gun to mold it to my feet. So we went to have dinner (poor man was starving) and then returned afterwards. These boots are sweet, I tell you! They are the top of the line women's boots from a couple of seasons ago, with black and white houndstooth, and patent leather upper. The intention was to ride with them the next day.

I did not regret the purchase. I did regret the falls I took though. I had to rent a board (shorter than my usual) with new bindings, and being on a new mountain (Sunshine, which is ironic considering it snowed all day), and with the poor visibility took a few tumbles that stayed with me for the next several days.

And this is more for preserving my own memories than for you readers:

Sun night at River Cafe

Native Candied Trout, Wild Boar Prosciutto, Salt Cured Bison
Pork & Game Terrine, Smoked Rainbow Trout
Grilled Apple & Turnip Relish, Red Onion Marmalade
Brassica Mustard, House Made Crackers. (Serves 2)

Grilled King Oyster Mushrooms, Burdock
Dungeness Crab, Miso

Toasted Marshmallow, Maple Caramel
Lemon Gernium Ice Cream

And Monday night at Rouge:

Appetizer: Rabbit Confit Tortellini & Chanterelle Mousse

Main: Seared Mahi-Mahi, Deep Fried Lobster Risotto, Squash Coulis

Dessert: Yes, I had to pass cuz I was too stuffed!

Friday, December 05, 2008

the pleasures of business

I used to think business travel was so glamorous and fun. Jet-setting on the company's tab? Sounds great. And then I did it over the summer and found it exhausting and wondered why anybody would sign up for it.

This upcoming meeting is inevitable. It was supposed to be at the end of November, but perhaps it's better this way. Why? Because even though it's cold in Calgary, it's supposed to be colder here. -8 apparently with windchill this weekend, bringing it to the high-teens. And Calgary? It's supposed to be warm (relatively speaking) at around 0. I'm not complaining... I'm heading off early so I will be able to board at Banff this weekend. None of the little mole hills out here! Of course there's always a price to pay. This time it will be two solid days of meetings before getting back around midnight. But it is a price that's worth it. At least that's what I tell myself. We'll see once I return!