Friday, September 26, 2008

Bon Jour, Mon Amie's

I survived my trip to O Canada last weekend. The weather was great, the family was wonderful to me, and I had a wonderful time. We got to our hotel around 9pm on Friday night after 5 hours on the road. We met up with George's brother and his wife who were staying at the same hotel and spent a little time in their room before calling it a night. I was very happy to jump in the shower and crawl into bed.
Saturday morning we drove over to Uncle Cleo's and Aunt Sylvia's, where I met pretty much the whole family. Cousins came out of the woodwork, aunts and uncles galore. George's mother was one of 18 children and although half of her siblings are now deseased, it still leaves a very large family.
The guest of honor arrived around noontime. He is Uncle Leonid, 90 years young. Uncle Leonid is a missionary in Peru and this was his last visit home. He is really too old to travel but wanted to come home one last time to say goodbye to the family. He plans on remaining in Peru and will eventually die and be buried there. He has been a missionary for over 60 years and considers Peru his home.
The entire afternoon was full of stories and memories, and the event had a bittersweet feeling to it. Everyone was happy to have this last time together because usually the only time people come together like this are at funerals. Uncle Leonid was thrilled to be able to celebrate his life with everyone. But at the end of the day, there were tears both happy and sad. Even I was bawling and I had just met the man. It was very easy to get caught up in the emotion because they all have a very strong sense of family and I could see that even though many live hundreds of miles away, everyone is very close.
George's cousins took pity on me and most of them speak a little English so it was easy communicating with them. George's cousin Diane has a 14 year old son and he asked if he could sit beside me during lunch so he could practice his English. What a remarkable young man. His name is Jean Pierre and he is already training to be a pilot. He is in the Canadian Junior Air Corps and will be able to fly a plane in a couple short years. Part of his training requires him to be bi-lingual and his English is really good. Much better than my French, that's for sure. It was a pleasure to talk with him.
George's cousin Denis also thought it was his duty to teach me the most important words in the French language. Unfortunately for him, I already know all the dirty French words. LOL
Lunch was served in a small restaurant below the apartments in the apartment building where Uncle Cleo lives. We had smoked salmon on a bed of lettuce with onions and capers and fresh fruit to start. Cream of Cauliflower soup followed and then a choice of either chicken with a mustard sauce or salmon in a citrus sauce for our entree. George and I both chose the chicken, which was delicious. That was accompanied by mashed potatoes and a mix of vegetables. For dessert we had a wonderful cake with peaches and mango and a buttery demi glaze. Everything was very yummy.
After lunch we visited and chatted and posed for pictures. The party broke up around 6pm and George and I went back to the hotel to relax but that didn't happen. His brother Ray and his wife Diane wanted to go out for a late supper so we joined them. Once we got back to the hotel we were joined by a couple of Aunts and Uncles who were also staying at the same hotel. It was a very long day and a late night but I had a great time and I crashed out once my head hit the pillow, even though the bed was miserably uncomfortable.
Sunday morning we all met for breakfast and George and I were on the road by 10:30. Another long ride home, but I could tell George was very happy that I had accompanied him. (Apparently his wife was not one to make those trips with him.)

I also took time last weekend to get to know George's sister in law, Diane. She's a wonderful person and very funny. She has been through a lot in her life but she has an awesome attitude and never feels sorry for herself. She has been in a wheelchair for 15 years because the Muscular Dystrophy that she's had since childhood has affected her legs. Several years ago she had surgery which was supposed to help her but is was a temporary solution and consequently left her speech affected so now she has a hard time communicating verbally. She does get a good part of her point across but sometimes gets stuck so she has to resort to writing things down. She and I got along beautifully and we share a sarcastic sense of humor. She is very quick witted and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her. She calls me her new sister so I guess that means I am now part of the family.

The street signs in Quebec are in French but luckily for me, just about everyone there is bi-lingual to some degree. The menu's in the restaurants are also written in both French and English and I was able to find some television channels in English. We didn't get a chance to see much of the city but Quebec City seems to be a very happening place. Our hotel was surrounded by night clubs and there are malls and shops everywhere. We are planning to go up again in the spring so we can actually enjoy Old Quebec, which is rich in history and very beautiful. I wish we had more time because they are celebrating Quebec's 400th anniversary and it would have been fun to take part in that.

I will post pictures as soon as I can. For some reason I am having trouble downloading them onto my laptop and once I figure out how to rectify that, I will get them posted.

It's a cold and rainy day today so I had to turn the furnace on this morning to get the chill out. I may have to turn up the heat, my hands are freezing.
Have a great weekend!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

This and That

Sorry I haven't been posting much lately. Not a whole lot to post, just the day to day stuff like work and such. My life lately has been full but not full of interesting things. Just busy but I have been trying to keep up with everyone's posts and figured I'd better let you all know I am still among the living.

Things around here have been a little chaotic. I've been trying to purge this place, getting rid of things I don't need in order to make my move a tad bit easier. It's not a simple thing, I've been living in this house for almost 19 years and I have accumulated tons. I am willing to part with most of it, so I've been making side trips to the nearby Goodwill and the town dump. My neighbor had a yard sale this past weekend and after looking at her 'junk', I know I can get rid of a lot by doing the same thing. I have a lot of 'good junk' that I won't be needing to take with me. George's house is well stocked with all the essentials and I can sell or give away all of my small appliances and things of that nature. I have a bedroom set to sell, a couch to give away, a couple of desks, coffee tables and end tables and a couple of TV's and phones to dispose of too. The washer,dryer, stove and fridge are staying with the house so we won't have to worry about moving that. I kind of want to take my china hutch with me but there's no place to put it in the kitchen/dining area. I might just pack up my china and sell it. I do want to take my everyday dishes though because they are nicer than what he has. Donna left him with a partial set of old dishes and some even older pots and pans. They have a court date in a couple of weeks and once the divorce is final, I will be able to start moving my things in. Hopefully I will be all moved in and have my house cleaned out and closed up by Thanksgiving. Eric is still interested in renting my house once his lease is up so I will probably just close the house up for the winter and have it waiting for him when he is ready. Anyway, that's what I have been doing in my spare time.

Last night we went to a Pampered Chef party. Eric and Jessie hosted the party which was attended by Jessie's parents and her aunt as well. It was fun, and Jessie sold a lot of items so she will be able to get a lot of things that were on her 'wish list'. Her parents also bought a couple of things on the list so they will have quite a few new things in their kitchen.

Next weekend George and I are going to Quebec City in Canada for a family reunion sort of thing. His Uncle is a missionary in Peru and is coming home for a visit. It will probably be his last visit home since he is around 90 years old so the family wants as many of the family to be there as possible. He is George's favorite uncle so naturally he doesn't want to miss seeing him. George's brother and sister in law are also going up and will be staying at the same hotel that we'll be at so I am looking forward to having them there as well. At least there will be 3 people there that I know. And they can all help me with translation since most of the family speaks French and not much else. I can understand a lot if people speak slowly but you know that's not going to happen. I also think that everything is written in French there too so I won't be able to read menus or street signs. I am looking forward to the whole Quebec experience. I should have plenty to blog about when we get back.

OK time for me to get the laundry done and then I can kick back and watch some football! Have a great Sunday.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Weekend Update (Labor Day Edition)

OK Styxie I can take a hint. I was going to wait until tomorrow but I suppose I better get this done now. LOL

So, the long Labor Day weekend is now a thing of the past. All I can say is there never seems to be enough time in the day lately.

Friday I had the day off, giving me an extra day to do whatever needed to be done, or whatever I felt like doing. I spent the morning doing laundry, getting groceries and making Avon deliveries. Luckily I only have 5 customers in town so that didn't take very long, but I also did my banking while I was in town. I then came home and put the groceries away, folded laundry, and took care of some chores while I watched a few soap operas. Yes they are a guilty pleasure for me since I usually only have every other Friday off and that is the only time I can really watch them.

George came over after he got out of work and we went out to Applebees for supper. They had a pizza party at work for lunch so he didn't want pizza again for supper. Can't say that I blame him there. There aren't too many places around here to eat a decent supper so we went to Applebees. No complaints, both of our meals were very good and we didn't have to wait for a table.

Saturday morning George ran his errands and then we booked our vacation for February. We will be going on a 5 night cruise to Jamaica, Grand Caymen and some other port that escapes my memory at the moment. We will be leaving out of Miami on Valentine's Day. I am very excited since I have never been on a cruise and it is something I have always wanted to do. Once we got that squared away, we headed out to Concord to meet Rose and Steve at Olive Garden. (We were supposed to attend Big John's Pig roast that afternoon but I could tell George's heart wasn't in it so we decided to not go. According to a few who did go, we didn't really miss much.)

The weather had been pretty good all day, I would guess 75-80 degrees and sunny but as soon as we got in to Concord, it clouded over and started to rain. It came down pretty hard for about 5 minutes and then the sun was back out and except for the puddles, you would never have known it had rained. When we got to the restaurant, there was a huge line of people outside waiting to be seated and I thought we were going to have quite a wait on our hands. But I saw Rose in the crowd and she had the foresight to go on inside and get a buzzer (or whatever you call those alien looking things). We waited about 15 minutes and Rose started to vibrate so it was time to go in and get some food!
We were seated and a nice looking young man named Colin came over to tell us he was our server for the night. We ordered drinks and started yacking away. Rose makes me laugh so much, it is hard to study a menu or make any kind of decision but we managed to finally order. The guys got steaks and Tuscan Potatoes, Rose got Seafood Alfredo and I decided on the Tour of Italy which consists of a very nice piece of Lasagna, Chicken Parmesan and a portion of Fettucini. This also comes with the most delicious breadsticks known to man and your choice of soup or salad. I chose the salad as did Steve and Rose. George went with the soup since he does not eat his veggies, but only had a couple of spoonfuls before deciding he would wait for his meal. My guess...he didn't realize there were going to be veggies in his soup, too. LOL He is a very fussy eater, strictly a meat and potatoes kinda guy.
We talked and ate and talked some more until we were all full. I really LOVE Olive Garden. :-)
After supper we went over to the Steeplegate Mall and walked around for an hour or so, just talking and window shopping. I didn't spend a penny. Now had we gone to Wal-Mart...

Sunday we got up early and had breakfast, then got ready to go to Massachusetts. I was pretty excited to finally meet Brad's family and I wanted to make a good impression so I dressed up a bit instead of wearing my usual jeans and a tee shirt. It was a nice ride down there, about 90 minutes, and we found their house with no problem at all. We were greeted by Sara and Brad and Brad's dog Gizmo in the driveway. We made our way to the back yard and met Deb and Wayne, Brad's parents, and Brad's Auntie Laura. All are very nice people, very gracious and I felt quite comfortable right from the start. Brad's brother Joe and his wife Karen arrived a bit later and they brought their yellow lab Riley with them. Well so much for me dressing up, Riley wanted to play ball and I got selected to be the ball thrower. She dropped her dirty wet tennis ball right in my lap, and kept nudging me until I gave in. Oh well...cotton washes pretty easily. LOL
We all took turns playing with her and did our best to tire her out. The guys played horseshoes and frisbee while all the ladies gabbed away out by the pool. It was very relaxing.
Wayne was the chef for the day and he made a delicious meal of lemon pepper chicken and roasted potatoes on the grill. He also made crabcakes and bbq kielbasa and there was a variety of salads to choose from as well. Everything was so good and we really did enjoy the day getting to know them all. Deb was having way more fun than all of us though and she got really trashed. It was kind of embarrassing and I really felt bad for Brad and Wayne, who kept apologizing for her behavior. I will say she is a quiet drunk, not at all loud and obnoxious like some can be. But still embarrassing, nonetheless.
We were invited to stay the night but I thought it best that we head on home. Those poor people were humiliated enough. We left around 8:30 and I was home and in bed shortly after 10pm. I don't know if Deb even remembers we were there. LOL Sara said she hasn't even mentioned us being gthere. Probably too embarrassed to bring it up.

George went home late Monday morning so he could beat the traffic and I did a little cleaning until noonish. Then I went to my parents house to wish my youngest brother a happy birthday. (He is now 43) I stayed for some cake and then headed home so I could relax at least a little bit before having to go back to work on Tuesday.
I was pretty tired actually and ended up going to bed quite early. There's nothing like your bed after a very busy weekend.

This week has been fairly quiet except for one little bit of drama. Sara called me on Tuesday to tell me that Brad's dog Gizmo passed away sometime during the night on Monday. He was 14, deaf and had cancer. The docs had orignially given him 3-4 weeks to live some 5 years ago, so I would say he did really well. I'm glad I got to meet him on Sunday. He was a cutie that's for sure and will be greatly missed by the family. (Oh and they called him Gizmo because he was a Papillion and looked just like Gizmo in the movie Gremlins.)

Ok all caught up on the week. Hope you all had a great holiday weekend and have a wonderful Friday!