Afternoon Tea.

November 30, 2010

Prior to the bout of flu that knocked me off my feet, I was at a delightful afternoon tea with lady friends.

I usually go for tea at Rutherford House on campus. It's so cute and professorial. It is a perfect walk away from the humanities building, and very friendly for kids. I used to meet my mother-in-law there for lunch before visiting the various (impressive) exhibits at the Mactaggart. And I've been to Rutherford house several times since Dexter's birth to have a nice tea with girlfriends.

This time, however, I felt like kicking it up a notch. Arguably more accessible via transit, tea at the Harvest Room was a little more upscale. More town and less country, though let us be clear that I enjoy both town and country.

The lovely hotel is all decorated for the Christmas season.

You know I love a big bow. So predictable.

And shiny things.

Raffaella arrived by train, sporting a fantastic dress and feather hairband she procured at the Make It! craft sale the day before.

Elize is laughing because I first asked her to place her hand on the table so I might see her bracelet, and subsequently instructed her to put her "chin to fist", a sort of running joke Raffaella and I make about cheesy poses for photos.

Here is Lisa in a ruffled silk blouse. She walked the few blocks from her apartment to meet us. I love me a pedestrian.

Speaking of pedestrianism, we had tons of visitors in Edmonton because of the Grey Cup this past weekend. It was really excellent to see tons of people out in the streets and using the LRT and enjoying the events in Churchill square. Only in Canada will you see some dude brave enough to venture out into freezing temperatures with only a painted face, underwear, and a cape.

Though, the instances of my almost being run over by white pickup trucks also increased over the weekend.

ANYWAY. You can see how rapidly the sun goes down now. The light in some of these photos is so different than the ones taken later on in the late afternoon.


The Harvest room is very traditional and pretty.

There was mulled pear juice to start, followed by scones with compote and devonshire cream, followed by the three tiered cake stands full of sandwiches (roast beef w. jus, duck egg salad, and others), and numerous sweet treats.

At this point in the afternoon I could already tell I was unwell. My general lack of appetite was questionable, particularly when faced with such tastiness. It's not like me to back down from three tiers of treats.


At this point I was still well enough to use tea things as props in photos. Sometimes I am silly and have trouble sitting still for a portrait.

Despite the ensuing nausea, I was happy to get a kick start on the coming month. The hotel was so pretty and really got me in the mood for Christmas. Have I ever told you? I love Christmas. The food. The company. The homecomings. It's basically what I love about life in general, but condensed into a short period of time.

I am also happy to report that I am on the mend. Fever and chills have broken and now I'm just working on eating semi-solid food again and getting my strength back. Miss Sarah can't be kept down for long.

Shopping with my Mama, Followed by Flu.

November 29, 2010

Mom and I had a super afternoon shopping yesterday. I used up the rest of a gift certificate on a classy little hairband, and I was able to stop by the BCBG to peruse their always-impressive selection of sale dresses.

Funny thing is, I asked the girl working the fitting rooms to grab me some top to try on with a skirt (since the one I was wearing was emerald green and would look hideous) and she brought back three things. Amongst them was a neutral, slouchy, cashmere sweater. Very unassuming, but looks excellent. I decided against getting it, and purchased the two dressier items instead (below), but my mom couldn't bear me living without it, so she insisted we go back and bought it for me as my Christmas gift. Thanks, mom!

I was commenting on this dress that I had seen in the catalogue but mom turned up her nose and pulled another dress out instead and said, "the one with a big bow is prettier".

Since mom is a really bad influence when shopping and I seem to want to please her and try on everything she recommends, I decided to put it on. Home run! Now I have a pretty new polka-dot bow dress to add to my collection.

I think this will be very fitting for the Mad Men themed Christmas party/fundraiser/silent auction I'm going to on Saturday at Latitude 53.

And the item I was really going for, the tutu I had also spied in the catalogue. It needs to be properly coordinated, but there's something about it that I love.

I'm even thinking I can wear this on normal days, with boots and a sweater.

After shopping, my mom took Dexter for a few hours while I went to afternoon tea with some girlfriends. I later met up with mom again at Sable's birthday dinner that evening, and had to leave one hour into dinner to come home and vomit for the rest of the evening.

My word. I had to cancel my students for today and have spent the time in and out of consciousness. Luckily, the oscillating fever and chills segment has passed and I was able to keep the Soul Soup down that Don brought home for me.

After over a decade of teaching music I can say this is only the 2nd time I've arranged a sick day. It's bad. I feel awful. So my fun new fashions (and bike) will have to wait until I'm better and ready to get up and out of my yoga pants.



November 28, 2010

Though the weather has been much more civilized for the latter part of this week, I've still be in relative hibernation mode. Teach. Dexter. Teach. Dexter.

But came across this photo while perusing shots from this past year! It reminds me of warmer months, and hanging out with friends at the redbike open house last spring.

This girl went and test rode my Pashley up the walk, and I thinks she looks fantastic.

Very cycle chic!


November 24, 2010

Oh man. It's been cold. Really, really cold.

It's currently -15C/4F. I believe last night was a good 7 degrees colder.

But, I had friends to see downtown, so after work I threw on my winter things and hobbled to the train.

Winter things include: wool beret with golden squirrel pin, super pashmina, deer skin mitts, grey boots, and parka.

My knees froze and I couldn't feel my toes after a few minutes. SO COLD! Will need to wear thermal socks next time.

Braving the cold was worth it once I got to MRKT. My friends were all waiting and we proceeded to order cocktails and almost every item available on the menu. Ended up sharing everything.

You'll have to excuse the major league hat hair.



Food coma.

We got these old school Popeye candy cigarettes with our bill! Now they're called "candy sticks".

Even though it is bone-chillingly cold, I'm still ready to layer it up and get out there. I mean, it's not like I'm going to make coca-cola braised rib for myself after teaching at 8 pm. Plus, it's highly motivating to venture out on foot and by train when there are such rad friends to be met.


Also, brrrr.

The Gateway Turns 100.

November 21, 2010

Here is Saturday night's outfit laid out for the big Gateway party! I actually ended up wearing my new crazy tall black patent pumps instead of the gold ones, but the green dress and sparkly black fishnets were a good combo.

The Gateway newspaper is a big part of my past and present. It's where I met tons of great friends, where I starting writing classical music previews and reviews for the Arts and Entertainment section, and it's also where I met Don. We didn't date until several years after the newspaper days, but I still remember he was the nice managing editor who would move his bag and bike helmet off his office chair for me to sit down.

This whole weekend has been a fantastic parade of out-of-towners coming back to our cold city in order to celebrate The Gateway's centennial. Seeing everybody together again brought back lots of fond memories, and I can confidently say (and I'm sure others feel similarly) that I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for my stint at The Gateway. There is something about a person's time at that paper that leaves a mark.

Let's get on with the people!

Miss Jhenifer Pabillano, the new media mastermind behind Vancouver's Buzzer Blog.

She and Dave Zeibin (architect extraordinaire) are an item (they also met at the newspaper), and we're so glad that they flew in for the celebration! Dave made a mixed CD for the occasion and Jhen taught me how to use some settings on my camera properly. Love.

Here is Adam Rozenhart sporting his movember.

And a regular old Edmonton friend, Dan, who gets paid to make video games.

Ah, the reunion of besties! When Matt Frehner moved to Toronto I sort of took his place as Leanne's right hand man. But I know I'm no replacement for this superstar who is an editor at The Globe.

Me in a green dress during cocktail hour. Cheers!

Not to be outdone, here is Steve Notley of Bob the Angry Flower.

Me and my very first editor, Neal Ozano! Sorry dude, I can't find a link for you and I'm too lazy to look just now. Ozano was ridiculous and mean, but he has a teddy bear-like quality that renders me all affection when I see him.

He announced to those around us that, "[he] made [me]". Go ahead, take all the credit!

Dramatic and faux tearful reunions.

Don was our MC for the evening. Slightly tangential but still articulate.

Our guest speaker, former premier of Alberta, Peter Lougheed, was acknowledged.

We ate dinner and dessert. Yum yum yum.

And I finally got to see my old Arts and Entertainment (and later editor in chief), Dave Alexander! He is all sorts of awesome as the editor in chief at Rue Morgue, a special magazine dedicated to horror films.

I certainly couldn't pass up my photo opportunity with Mr. Lougheed.

And after much talking and toasting there was photographs and merriment.

The lovable guy in the middle there is Daniel Kaszor who now edits at The Post.

And back to back with him is beautiful Lisa Lunn, proud mommy of a fairly new baby girl.

Later on we were tired so it was time to sit. Jhen was teaching me how to use various settings on my camera, so I practiced by taking a photo of Erica Thorkelson.

And you all know Miss Leanne Brown.

We shut the place down and while the crew went in search of a new venue for drinks, Don and I had to get home to relieve the babysitter.

I wore my warmest coat. It's my mom's mink from the 80s. We figured pairing it with Leanne's hat would make me ultra luxury woman.

I had a swell time seeing fun old friends and it made me feel warm and fuzzy inside to catch up with these fine people. I think a lot of people from this weekend would agree that The Gateway has shaped a small (or big) part of who they are. I know I wouldn't be quite so Miss Sarah without my experience from those years.

Edmonton journal columnist and fellow Gateway alumni, Todd Babiak, put it very well in his piece about the Gateway's centennial. We're a bunch of misfits, each in our own way.

I don't usually make such an effort to name names and talk about what people are up to, but in this post I am very proud to say that lots of good friends have gone on to do great things. Even though I wasn't an editor or a die-hard volunteer, I am proud to be a small part of the Gateway's 100 years of publication.

Happy Birthday, Gateway!

Frosty Adventures.

November 19, 2010

Today's temperature: -17C/2F

Good thing grandma Chan scored these wicked little boots for Dexter! They're lined with super soft sheep wool.

Great old friends are visiting from out of town, and Leanne suggested that we go to Duchess bakery to enjoy coffees and macaroons. Leanne is also wearing her weather appropriate apparel, and is sporting her amazing fur hat.

Dexter is in his new winter coat, courtesy (again) of grandma Chan.


Also, yum.

Ooo... they have new macaroon flavours! Orange poppyseed, lychee, and root beer.

Duchess is actually a perfect venue for Dexter. They have this little ledge near the window that he loves to lean on and look outside.

And he was really into playing with this "caution" sign. At one point it was on the floor and he had positioned himself in-between the two flaps. Then he just lay there like a little Dexter sandwich. Uh... what a performance artist.

Hey, Matt! Welcome back to Edmonton (this photo was taken by Dexter).

And Dan! We miss you too and are glad you're back for a visit (photo also by Dexter).

We were lucky to have scored a great table at the Duchess. We enjoyed a sweet macaroon and tart tasting before browsing some wares at Tu gallery next door.

We had car pooled to the bakery and then it was time for some switch-about. I dropped the dudes off at the LRT on my way to dinner. Don had ridden to work earlier in the day but left his bike at work, and took the train over to meet me at my dinner location. Then Don took the baby home while I went to have supper at The Marc!

I'm so happy to have this little bistro in Edmonton. The location is great! Just a few blocks from the train and also really close to the south-to-north bike trail. It's modern and clean inside, but cozy.

The service is impeccable. Run by the management masterminds at the old Il Portico, you're sure to feel very welcome at the Marc.

I really like the tilted mirrors over the banquette. Reminded me of Balthazar in New York. Very very French bistro.

We had a very early supper. Crystal just popped over after work and it also meant getting home in time so Don could venture out for drinks. Having a toddler and a social life requires team work.

I wore a scoop neck cardigan over a long-sleeved t-shirt.

With a shimmery pleated skirt with tights and knee-high leather high-heeled boots.

Crystal enjoyed a glass of bubbly to celebrate the Friday evening.

So did I.

And oh man. The food. Get ready for steak frites with hand cut fries and truffle aioli, with flank steak and fois gras butter.

Or sirloin with lemon herb butter, with pork bits potato hash.

We couldn't say no to tart lemon tart, and chocolate cake. The middle layer was some delicious crunchy caramel chunks thing. And thick thick ganache all around.

With an intensely full belly I hobbled into the train station.

Got my ticket for my ride home.

Hopped on the train.

Took a picture of the Cambridge Satchel I'm wearing again (big winter coats are more comfortable with hands-free bags).

And I walked home.

The portions of sidewalk that people have shoveled? Fantastic. Please keep up the good work! The pedestrians in winter cities greatly appreciate your efforts.

So that was a culinary day in the life of a girl living in a cold cold city. One car household. Lots of biking and transit use and car pooling when it makes sense. Just because we have a Dexter and live in a car-oriented culture, it doesn't mean we default to using the car. We tend to use it more in the winter, but generally still as a last resort. All it takes is a little organization and communication for us to save trips made by car. Easy!

For the record, Don has now gone out for his evening of drinks.

He walked.

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