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40th birthday

Looks like I made it! šŸ™‚

There was never any doubt that I would make it to my 40th birthday. If you had asked me when I was a kidĀ if I would have reached this milestone with so many experiences and accomplishments under my belt, I probably would have laughed. Laughed unabashedly and really loudĀ like I always do – because life is too short to be quiet.

So, to properly review these past 40 years, I looked atĀ my Life List. My first reaction was “Holy crap, when did I find the time to do all that?!??” Especially with everything else going on in my life like school, marriage, career, family and friends, staying healthy, enjoying hobbies and day to day life and responsibilities. As of today, I have completed 273 items of 432 on my ever-growing list.

I’ve visited 17 countries. I’ve visited 6 provinces and 11 states.Ā I’ve taken 8 cruises and too many trips to count.

I’ve celebrated 11 years of marriage. I’ve owned 6 different cars. I’ve lived in 5 different places I could call my own (2 apartments, 3 houses). I’ve lived in 3 different provinces in my lifetime and 6 different cities. So far.

I’ve worked at the same company for 18 and a half years and have held 5 different jobs there.

I’ve learnedĀ lots of skills and tried manyĀ new things.Ā I’ve enjoyed numerous activities:

…from the amazing (zipliningĀ in the rainforest in St. Kitts, cave tubing in Belize, attending a luau in Hawaii, a salmon bake in Alaska) to the fun (learning ballroom dancing, participating in a flash mob, learning the Thriller dance, going to a rave,Ā singingĀ in a talent show) to the cultural (theĀ Louvre, the d’Orsay, the Eiffel Tower, theĀ Parthenon, Old Town Rhodes) to the food-related (wine tasting in Niagara on the Lake, whiskey tasting in Ireland, having a meal at a chef’s table, eating shark / ostrich / escargot / duck / rabbit / caviar / venison / wild boar…) to the vehicular (ride in/on a limo, segway, catamaran, cruise ship, sailboat, go-kart, double decker bus, canoe, horse)…and so many more!

Life truly is a journey and it’s really what you make of it. Dreams are to be achieved; goals are to be attained.Ā At 40, I don’t think I’m halfway through life yet and I’m looking forward to many more adventures, travels and learning experiences. I’m really excited for what’s to come. šŸ™‚

forty

 

 

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So my birthday was last Wednesday and between my busy schedule and my husband’s, my bdayĀ celebrations have been sporadic and get-them-while-you-can. šŸ™‚ He hijacked me away from my computer to take me out to dinner at Baton Rouge (prime rib, wine, chocolate mousse) on Friday night. Saturday we played minigolf (see previous post about this life list item). And today, I’ve been Kindled (it’s still en route). šŸ™‚

After reading lots of reviews and chatting with several people (including my poll on this blog), the Kindle is apparently theĀ best fit for my e-reader needs (want to use it just to read, don’t need 3gĀ or a keyboard). Who knew it would be so complicated?! šŸ™‚Ā  (omg am I sounding older than my 37 years right now??)

Looking forward to receiving it and giving it a whirl on my daily commute. I’ve already got my first ebook purchase planned – A Dance with Dragons – Book 5 of the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin (currently still in hardcover and not commute-friendly at all).

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Chris and I did this for my birthday. This was somethingĀ I had always wanted to do and just never got around to it. It was actually pretty cool. We got to wear glow-in-the-dark bracelets and everything glowed: the putters, the golf balls, the scoresheet and even the pencil. šŸ™‚Ā  Life list item done!

P.S. Chris beat me by 1 point.

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I don’t remember if I mentioned my plans for my husband Chris’ bday on my blog. It was his birthday yesterday and I planned a nice dinner at Crush Wine Bar and an overnight stay at the Soho Met in downtown Toronto. It was awesome.

We checked in at the hotel before heading out to dinner and the place was fabulous. The bathroom was incredible.

I loved the fact that there were switches right by the bed to turn all the lights in the room on or off (including the bathroom, hall and lamps). You could also turn on/off the electronic Do Not Disturb light (there’s an indicator by the door outside the room) and even open/close the drapes. Very cool.

Off to dinner we went – it was walking distance – about 5 minutes away. We each had a starter with wine pairing, an entree with wine pairing and dessert with coffee.

Starters:
I chose the Cheese Boutique: Fresh Ricotta with Marinated Red Onions, Fennel & Mint Salad, Pesto Whipped Goat Cheese Rolled in Grilled Eggplant & Tomato Confit, BurrattaĀ with FavaĀ Beans & Peas Salsa Sourdough Crouton. This was paired with the Fielding Estate Rockpile Pinot Gris 2010 Lincoln Lakeshore. Fabulous.

Chris’ starter was the CharcuterieĀ Board: Selection of Dolce LucanoĀ Cured Meats, TerrineĀ & PĆ¢tĆ©. This was paired with the DomaineĀ AutrandĀ VinsobresĀ Grenache, SyrahĀ 2009 RhĆ“ne Valley, France. Also fabulous.

Entrees:
I chose the Poached Chicken: Crispy Skin, Honeyed Carrot PurƩe, Spinach, Peas, Morels & Mushroom Emulsion. This was paired with the Tollgate White by Stratus 2007 Niagara Peninsula, Canada. I died and went to heaven as soon as I tasted the carrot puree. Excellent.

Chris chose the Grilled Swordfish: Vegetable Relish, Charred baby Gem Lettuce & Green Goddess Dressing. It was supposed to be paired with the SouthbrookĀ Triomphe Chardonnay but they didn’t have anymore and replaced it with another, and of course I can’t remember which one. It was a Chardonnay from Sonoma, California. This was also excellent.

We forgot to take pics of dessert but they were excellent. I chose the Summerfruit Parfait: Angel Food Cake & Vanilla Chantilly. Chris chose the Strawberry & Red Wine Soup: Lemon Ice Cream & Minted Strawberries.

The whole meal was heavenly, a bit pricey ($200 before tip) and we vowed to return soon. This ranked up there as one of our favourite meals ever, right up there with the African-themed meal we had at JikoĀ at the Animal Kingdom Lodge at Disneyworld.

Add to that room service breakfast from Sen5es restaurant (which is inside the hotel) and it topped off a really nice day! (Note: I had the same breakfast – my plate is off to the side).

Happy birthday Chris. šŸ™‚

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I haven’t posted pics of my nieces in a while and after seeing the latest pics from Sienna’s 5th birthday party (princess theme) among others, I thought I would share. šŸ™‚

They made quite the spectacle. šŸ™‚ That’s Sienna in the purple Rapunzel dress and Maddie in the blue Cinderella dress.

They usually like each other well enough.

Maddie has already perfected the “Are you serious?” look. Keep at it girl, you’ll need it to be able toĀ drive your mom crazy in about 10 years. šŸ˜€

Life as young celebrities is apparently very, very demanding:

Some days, they just can let it go to their head:

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Today would have been my father’s 78th birthday. Today is also the 13 year anniversary of his passing. Talk about full circle. He died on his birthday, when he was 65 – I secretly think he was playing one last joke on his friends by officially retiringĀ  at the standard age of 65 – but he retired from life. šŸ™‚

I was only 23 when he passed away and my parents had long since been divorced. Our relationship was on-again-off-again and somewhat strained, probably quite a bit during the angst-ridden teen years (lol). Near the end, he was very ill – he was a very heavy smoker for most of his life and was anywhere between 1 to 2 packs a day, as were most men of his generation I suppose. So it was no surprise that he had health issues (emphysema). He passed away duringĀ the winter of the ice storm in Montreal.

The qualities I remember the most are:

  • He was very smart. And witty. (I take after my dad :))
  • He wasĀ  a great athlete – he excelled at most sports he chose to play. Fastball, boxing, golf (although there were some golf-club-flinging-into-the-tree moments), softball, etc. He also enjoyed watching all kinds of sports on TV.
  • He enjoyed chess (he was the one who taught me how to play – I was about 10 – and I’ll always remember the game when I finally beat him – this was years later). We were both early risers and would often play chess at 6am.
  • He liked to play all kinds of games as does my mom and us kids too.
  • He enjoyed video games – he was ahead of his time! He would have loved the console games of today.
  • He was artistic and could draw very well.
  • Table manners and etiquette were a Very. Big. Deal.

The small things:

  • He loved his Tetley tea and anything else was inferior.
  • He would wear three-piece suits regularly.
  • His preferred cigarette brand was Vantage, which wasn’t available in very many places.
  • Shaving was a big production. Personal grooming in general was very important to him.
  • He loved black licorice.
  • He used to say Toodle-ooĀ and tell my sister and I to be good Doo-Bees (I’m assuming from the show Romper Room).
  • He swore like a lumberjack. It’s amazing that us kids don’t chop wood for a living.
  • He sang Happy Birthday with such gusto.
  • He was an animal lover and he would spend hours training our pets to do things. Funny story: When we lived in Toronto, he used to go to the zoo regularly and visited the parrot. He trained the parrot to say “Hello Ted”. He would then bring clients and colleagues by and start talking to the parrot and they would flip out when the parrot welcomed him like an old friend. šŸ™‚

All this to say that I was shopping for my husband Chris’ Valentine’s Day present and to stick to manly traditions, I bought a shaving brush, standĀ and cream. Chris had mentioned a few times in passing that he used to shave with a brush when he was younger and loved it. I have no idea why he stopped so I’m hoping he’ll be pleasantly surprised and will enjoy his gift. But it’s a surprise so don’t tell him. I remember my dad shaving with a brush and us girls sitting on the side of the tub watching him at the sink.

So, this post is dedicated to the men in our lives, past and present, and keeping traditions alive. šŸ™‚

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So gifts aren’t big in our house –Ā  for the past several years, birthday gifts have typically been taking the other one shopping. Don’t get me wrong, shopping’s always fun, but as we get older (this year we’re turning the oleĀ 3-6 :)), we both agree that experiences are way more fun and fulfilling than material things (although I have been hinting at a Le Creuset dutch oven lately). I can always buy my own things, but experiencing something new or learning a new skill has been really fun.

That being said, this year, I shopped for experiences. I researched, IĀ dug, I Googled. And I found an awesome site that specialized in just that: the Perfect Day!

Knowing my husband’s likes and dislikes made the choice easy: Archery Lesson for Two! (Yep, I’m going too). He’s always liked the idea of archery – he’s held a bow before but never “fired” so he’s really hyped.

I remember my two past experiences with archery: the first was on a school trip and the second was on the Wii. I know, I know…it’s not the same.Ā 

I spilled the beans and told him what his gift was and he’s super excited. Our lesson is at 11am on Sunday August 15th at the Archers of Caledon club (about a 40 minute drive).

I’ll let everyone know how it goes!

I haven’t decided whether to tell him that Robin Hood tights aren’t mandatory.

šŸ™‚

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