Friday, November 11, 2011

Grief

It is with a heavy heart that I am writing this post.  A close family friend died unexpectedly in a car accident this week while travelling out of country for work.  I can not even begin to imagine the sadness and sorrow that his family is feeling at this time. 

I am still in shock with the news and find myself unable to really focus on anything else these past few days.  Every day since I heard the news I have been on the verge of tears.  Usually I can hold it in but despite my best efforts have had a few public displays of sadness.  I have only told a few of my friends of this tragedy as I do not want to unload my sadness on everyone.  But, for those that do know they have been so helpful and supportive.  Their sincere and warm hugs when they greet me always bring the tears to my eyes that I have been holding back all day.  This may sound strange but when you are single and alone and you are dealing with a personal tragedy the one thing you miss the most is the contact and affection of a loving partner.  I don’t think my friends realize how important their hugs and kisses really are to me.

The sadness I feel lately is a combination of this particular tragedy along with some other life changing events that have happened in the past few weeks that I have not yet mentioned.  I was also told a few weeks ago that my job was being eliminated and that if I wanted to stay with the Firm I could take on a different role within the department.  I felt like a loser and a failure when I head the news.  I obviously decided to take the position as I do not want to be unemployed at a time when the economy is so flakey. 

But again, during a time when I was down and low my friends came through for me.  My co-workers found out the news and were as shocked as I was.  So many of my co-workers came to me and asked me to stay with the Firm.  They would miss me if I left and though they had no control over the situation they would do what they could to help and support me.  I have felt truly appreciated and wanted in my office these past few weeks during my transition.  And, this life change made me realize that while I may see myself as a failure my friends, family and co-workers clearly see me as an asset.

Lately, I find myself battling grief and sadness all day every day.  And, while I know things will get better and I know things will change, for now, my grief is overwhelming.  So, for those of you that know me, if I do not seem like myself, it’s because I am not.  If I look like I need a hug, I do.  But be prepared because I might not let go!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cupcakes and Stragglers

Do you have any friends that are super talented?  They have a skill, a small business or a talent that is just out of this world and you would be so happy to just see them succeed?  I am lucky enough to have met a few friends in the past year that fall directly into this category.  I wanted to take a moment to recognize them and give them a free plug for what it is worth.

Sweets by Ashley

When most single women go out to a bar with their friends they usually try to find the best looking single man in the bar and try to work their womanly ways on him.  I on the other hand go to a bar and pick up a girl that makes cupcakes.  If I have to choose between a stinky beer drinking boy or a retro Cupcake Fairy I will choose the Cupcake Fairy every time.  And this is how I came to be friends with Ashley Burt of Sweets by Ashley.  Ashley works part time baking and creating cupcakes and other desserts that are out of this world.  Imagine a cupcake with a Reese's Peanut Butter cup baked into the bottom.  Yep, Ashley did that.  Not only are her cupcakes to die for, her eye for design and artistic ability make her creations as beautiful as they are tasty.  I have ordered cupcakes from Ashley on several occasions for both personal events and for my Social Committee at work.  Everyone always raves about how yummy her treats are and I just can't argue. 

So, if you are craving a cupcake fix be sure to stop by Ashley's website and order a dozen or two.  You can always share your leftovers with me.  I won't mind.

The Stragglers


Truth be told I don't really listen to a lot of mainstream music.  I tend to like my music acoustic and depressing with a dash of heartbreak thrown in for good measure.  However, I had the pleasure of meeting Mark this past summer and learned that maybe I should expand my musical tastes just a little.  Mark is the lead singer in a local punk band called The Stragglers.  Just to be clear, I do not normally listen to punk music but Mark invited me to a show this summer and I was more than happy to support him and his band.  And, you know what?  I actually really enjoyed the show. Mark is a talented singer and the rest of the band is equally skilled.   

The Stragglers play local venues and shows when they can and have recently released an EP.  I believe it is so important to support local talent...especially in the music industry.  So, check out The Stragglers the next time you feel like expanding your musical library.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

PBG Recipe: PB & J Sandwich Cookies

To be honest, this is not so much a recipe as it is just a really, really good idea.  Peanut butter.  Jam.  Cookies.  How can these three things together ever be wrong...well, they can't.  Just take a look...


This recipe is super simple but it will please all of the Peanut Butter lovers in your house, I guarantee.  Simple bake up a batch of your favourite sugar cookies and let them cool.  Cover one cookie with your favourite nut butter and another with your favourite jam.  Sandwich them together and voila!  Cookie awesomeness is born.

Need a closer look? 


Now, go make these yourself.  Do it!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

PBG Recipe: Almond Butter Oatmeal Cookies


I adapted this recipe from several I found on my favourite food sights.  I used half whole wheat flour for some health benefits and replaced half the butter with almond butter because I am a sucker for nut butter.  The end product is crispy on the outside and soft in the middle.  Perfect for breakfast as a snack with a glass of milk. 



Ingredients
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, softened
1/2 cup Almond Butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped


Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
2. a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla until smooth.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together.
4. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture.
5. Stir in the oats, cranberries and walnuts.
6. Chill the dough for 20 minutes in the fridge and then scoop cookies onto a sheet. The cookies should be two inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
7. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes (your baking time will vary, depending on your oven and how cold the cookies were going in). Take them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top.
8. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sick and Tired

Things have been very hectic around here the past couple of weeks.  I am working on a major project at work that has insanely tight deadlines.  Plus, playing Dodgeball on Monday night, Book club on Tuesday night, All Sort of Sports on Wednesday and I have a Floor hockey double header for two different teams tomorrow night.  Phew.  And to top it all off I got a solid elbow to the cheek last night playing Floor Hockey with my All Sorts of Sports team.  So far my cheek is only red and a little swollen - I think the only bruising is on my ego this time.

I think my body is starting to rebel against my very busy schedule.  I woke up feeling groggy with a headache and stomach ache this morning.  I decided to call in sick and take the day to rest on the couch with some tea and a good book.  I am sure I will feel better in no time.  I know that my body is telling me to slow down, so I should probably listen to it.  But, there is just so much going on and so many new friends to meet that I can't bring myself to rest just yet. 

Just last night I had a post game celebration with my All Sorts of Sports team.  I am new to this team and really only knew one of the girls before I started.  The team is awesome even if they are a little crazy.  As an example of their overall craziness our team name is the Super Mega Ultra Turbo Sharks...SMUTS for short.  Too funny!  We had some Gretzky Pasta (don't ask) and garlic bread while I supplied Celebration Cupcakes and Two Bite Brownies for dessert.  We chatted, watched a vampire movie, had a few drinks and headed home.  I am so happy that my team mates are awesome.  I have played on teams in the past that I did not really bond with and it is just not as much fun. 

So, I have a double header of Floor Hockey tonight to finish off my sports for the week.  I am hoping to go to the movies on Friday night and will be participating in a Games Night on Saturday night with some friends.  Should be a total blast!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

PBG Book Club: The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb



We read this book for my book club.  It was not my favourite book.  It seemed like more of a "story" than a novel.  I also found it a little confusing keeping all the the characters straight.  I thought it was interesting and tells an important story bur just not very compelling   It also gave me a new perspective on what is/was happening in Vietnam which is a country I know very little about.


 

The next bookclub read is The Orphan Sister by Gwendolen Gross.


Some books on my shelf I have been meaning to tackle:

When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman
World War Z by Max Brooks (yes, this is about Zombies!)

I just love a good book.  What are yu reading right now?  I am always looking for suggestions.