Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Blog Catch Up - Would you like Fries with that?

First I will sheepishly apologize to my Blog as the many things that have kept my attention this past little while have also kept me away from it. Of course I have relevant excuses, but they are just that - excuses. I will now try to make up for it.

We had Ed Stelmach for Dinner last week

My political worlds continue their mad crash into each other; My (now) full time campaign job seems often to overlap with my Constituency and Party obligations (hosting my Leadership Dinner Series, recruiting leadership neutral people for the Meadowlark Polling Stations, attending party meetings and of course preparing for nomination and the next election) and leaves me artfully changing hats in mid stream - this really is an exciting time to be involved in politics in our province and despite all of it I am happy I have the opportunity to participate! And I will add that every time I hear my candidate speak I know with even more conviction that I am supporting the right guy for the future Alberta I imagine and want.

Go Oiler's GO!

Living in Edmonton right now is also interesting in it's own right - The Oilers are heading into the Stanley Cup Finals and the entire city literally buzzes with it's collective excitement (excepting some miscreants on Whyte Ave) - and I have even begun to cheer happily for the Oilers. They carry my hopes and Stanley Cup Dreams into this next series and I am dreaming some big dreams! In addition, anyone who doubts the hearts and spirits of Canadians everywhere should listen to this. My heart swells everytime I play it. Oh Canada indeed!

True Blue Edmontonians

See, the world really does revolve around me!

Duncan and I found such an amazing fare (well, actually, our wonderful travel agent found it after about three months of looking) for our upcoming Anniversary trip that Quynn decided to come along as well - so all three of us will be heading to Washington, DC at the end of June to visit with the Smiths and celebrate our second wedding anniversary. There are many activities that are being planned but I think what I want to say about it right now is that it feels very right to be celebrating this occasion with Murray, Barb and Quynn. Plus our dollar has never been worth more in Duncan's entire life - now is certainly the time to visit the USA!

The first meal on Duncan's new BBQ

I recently used my raise to buy Duncan a BBQ... it was quite the process - BBQ Shopping - and after a few different trips and a many different stores finally the perfect BBQ was selected (it even has a side burner!) and I am happy to say that since the BBQ has been constructed I have not had to cook anything! YAY for BBQ!

My recent spoiling of Duncan may have contributed to his recent spate of romantic attention towards me; he bought me roses out of the blue, he purchased me a computer game so that I could play online with him (I must admit, even though I don't get a lot of time to play, I am enjoying it immensely!) and then this email appeared in my inbox the other day:

> Dear Allie,
> You are gorgeous and divine. I love you. Thank you for being my loving wife
> Love,
> Duncan

Pssst... You're Welcome!

Duncan makes some very good Martinis

In my "spare time" I have been having fun with my camera, with LOST (just finished reading the Bad Twin), with Guild Wars, with West Wing (too bad it's over now) and planting my vegetable garden. In other news Duncan and I have been busy discussing preparations for the addition of a family member (that's my coy way of saying "baby" without causing too much fanfare) in the next couple of years and the purchase of a new vehicle (which is becoming a neccessity but I have mixed emotions about). Wesley and Raven are very much looking forward to the end of school and the beginning of summer vacation and I am happy to just enjoy life as it comes these days, even if it is busy - it makes the down time all that more precious. Hopefully in the near future my downtime will include X-Men III, DaVinci Code, Flight93, V for Vendetta and whatever else time has conspired to make me miss (...don't get your panties in a bunch).

Saturday, May 27, 2006

"I do what I do so you can do what you do''

"Quick as a flash, she punctured my professorial balloon," he recalled, of her response to his argument that education was the key to alleviating oppression, an army of teachers and community workers preferable to an army of troops.

The captain had retorted: "You can't do that when the bad guys run things, Dad, they just shoot you. You have to have peace and good government in order for the rest to happen. I do what I do so you can do what you do."

Yesterday, the father conceded that the daughter knew best.

Rest In Peace, Captain Nichola Kathleen Sarah Goddard.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Life in the Blog Lane

Cars and trucks are driving up and down my street honking - Edmonton is happy to be sitting one win away from the Stanley Cup finals. It's neat being here in Edmonton as the Oilers head into the Cup Finals. I must admit I am starting to get wrapped up in it, like a warm blanket the excitement is soothing - and the words Go Oilers Go don't seem so hard to say at all. I had a feeling it would be the Oilers and Buffalo fighting for the Stanley Cup (we'll see). I enjoyed Calgary in 2004 (my heart will always be with the Flames) and now I am looking forward to Edmonton in 2006.

Life has otherwise been busy - family life is seemingly returning to normal but work life (as always is on the campaign trial) is steadily picking up pace. For these, and many other reasons, I have been neglecting the blog... I apologize. One of my obsessions lately has been my Flickr page, it's been occupying my attention quite well, what with comments, new contacts and groups (I run a group now) and organizing the latest vacation pictures into sets and pools, it takes up alot more time then I originally thought. I have been inspired (photography has long been a hobby of mine) to become more creative with my pictures so look out for more on the way. I've got to do something in my spare time don't I?

I will try to come back to the blog soon.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Paved with Good Intentions...

I keep meaning to visit England, especially with how good the seat sales have been recently. However a trip like that is surprisingly easy to postpone, especially considering all of the other things a young family like mine wants to do.

The last picture my Aunt sent me. On the back she simply wrote "The old girl and her dog."

My Aunt died this morning, far away in the England I never got around to. It's a bit of a shock - it was sudden, unexpected (as in she was fine yesterday) and the doctor's don't yet know what caused it...

I never met my Aunt Sheila in person - we talked on the phone and wrote and stuff - I feel guilty though because I was forever promising I would go see her and sad that I didn't. It is a genuine sadness because now my loss is complete, and it's my fault.

Sometimes we put the wrong things off for all the wrong reasons. We just don't know it until it is too late.

This is the infinite tragedy of missed opportunities.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Good Advice ...

What are you putting off?

Happy Mother's Day to Me...

I really can't have been half as bad a child as my mother likes to recall, and I like to think that it's my Mother's active imagination that provides so much colour to the stories she delights in telling about me - surely they must be embellished at least slightly for effect!

The story I hear most often is the story of my birth. You see, after what I "put my mother through" (DAYS of labour, apparently) she wants me to really appreciate the extra efforts she took not to leave me (screaming and stamping my feet) on a roadside somewhere in the remote interior of British Columbia ("No one would have blamed me" I can still hear her say).

All kidding aside, I will acknowledge that I probably was a pain in the ass to raise - as an independant thinker who always felt I could take care of myself; a risk taker with little worry for my mortality; a spontaneous spirit with no real sense of time relevance; a brave soul that would have me stand up to anyone; an enjoyment of fun (especially the malicious kind) and the fact that I sufferred EVERY distraction I came upon (can we say ADHD?) - I really was a going concern. The things I remember doing as a child pale my heart now when I try to imagine my own children in similiar situations... sometimes it's a wonder I survived at all (or a testament to my tenacity). And discipline was not something that registered easily with me, so after all actions and threats had been exhausted my mother liked to resort to cursing me with her favoured "I hope you have children JUST LIKE YOU!"

I have wonderful children - amazing in all ways. They are mature, precocious, intelligent, academically succesful, friendly and popular, self disciplined, philanthropic caring individuals who utilize a self actualized goals process and exhibit a tremendous amount of adability in their day to day worlds. They are perfect and yet they also manage to be children as well. They bring me joy - even on the hard days!

Obviously my Mother's curse worked... because I am perfect in everyway!

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. Thanks for everything you did and still do.

Friday, May 12, 2006

A Canyon With a View...

How we saw the Grand Canyon in Arizona: By Plane, by Helicopter, by Tour Bus and by Foot.

The different colours you can see in my pictures (browns, reds, yellows, greens and blues) are a result of sun exposure, which changes the rock colour depending on how much time the sun has each day on each part. The rocks that are more creamy coloured have received the least amount of exposure. But it makes for a beautiful sight. More Grand Canyon pictures can be seen here.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Picture Perfect Las Vegas

Check out our Flickr Las Vegas Photo Album. And the Las Vegas pictures are also up on my Travel Page.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Wedding Pictures

What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas - unless you get Married there!!!

Brett and Beatrice
May 2nd 2006, Las Vegas

Allie and Duncan Wojtaszek
Bridesmaid and Groomsman

Blessings for Brett and Beatrice!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Seven Deadly Sins?

We demand a recount!

Duncan and I had so much fun in Las Vegas I don’t even know where to start ... it was absolutely FABULOUS. Magnificent. We were hand in hand smiling to ourselves the whole time. I can't think of anyone I would have rather experienced Vegas with!

We had clear weather for travelling which availed to us the delight of viewing the impressive terrain belonging to Death Valley (California), which we flew over on our way to Nevada (via Vancouver). We arrived in Las Vegas in the afternoon and immediately (and with much excitement) cruised the strip, stopping to have dinner at the Paris buffet (tres bon!) before heading to Bally’s to enjoy the late show of Donn Arden’s Jubilee! This year it is the show’s 25th Anniversary, and it is definitely traditional Vegas. We enjoyed it greatly.

We had a chance to see many shows during our visit and in addition to Jubilee!, we also saw the late show of Folies Bergere at the Tropicana (these two shows are considered to be the best of the Showgirls acts in Vegas), an afternoon show of the comedian Mac King (we laughed for an hour and a half!) and of course, the Cirque Du Soleil show KÁ at the MGM Grand.

Food in Vegas is AMAZING and plentiful. Buffets galore! We enjoyed the special Sunday brunch buffet at the Hilton before exploring the Star Trek Experience (won’t describe what happens here lest I spoil it for anyone who has yet to still go) and having drinks at Quark’s Bar. We enjoyed the dinner buffet at le Village Paris (twice, as it was my favourite), the famous dinner "Cravings" buffet at the Mirage (best strawberry daiquiris on the strip and my second favourite buffet), the breakfast buffet at the Stratosphere and the wedding reception dinner which was held at the "Dishes" Buffet in TI. We also enjoyed some sit down meals at places like Nine Fine Irishmen’s Pub (NYNY), a light lunch at HOOTERS (Hooters Casino), a 5.99 12 oz Steak Dinner at the famous Binions (Freemont Street), drinks at Tsunami (Venetian) and we bit into a doughnut from Krispy Kreme (Excalibur) that we never could have guessed would taste so good!

We managed to get to a few dance and nightclubs that were all very Vegas in their own way. Of notable mention is Coyote Ugly (Dance Club) in New York New York (where the female bartenders have literally elevated pouring drinks to an art form), the Tangerine in TI (famous for their burlesque table dancing performances) and Mist, also in TI. All very good experiences.

Duncan and I explored the strip day after day. At the Venetian, which I thought was quite grand and romantic, we enjoyed a private gondola ride through the canals outside of the hotel, kissing all the way through the tunnel (supposed to be good luck) and enjoying the sun as our gondolier sang to us in Italian. Up the Eiffel Tower at night we observed the lights of the strip and watched the Bellagio water show (which was very cool). I became quite enamoured with the Sirens of TI, the architecture of Caesar’s Palace, the Sphinx at the Luxor, the skyline of NYNY, Paris and the Bellagio. Here are a few shots:

The Arc d'Triumph at Paris

The Eiffel Tower at Paris

The skyline of New York New York

The Sphinx and Pyramid at the Luxor

The Bellagio Watershow (seen from the Eiffel Tower)

We made many new friends – Rod, Chris, Brett O., Tiffany and Brett’s family - in addition to everyone we met in Vegas being massively friendly and wanting to spend time talking with us about where we were from and what we had done while in Vegas. Everyone thought we were newlyweds, which I think is a great compliment and a nice testament to how happy we are together!

I finally got to fire an AK-47 (just one of those things I have always wanted to do) when we visited the famous Las Vegas Gun Store and its indoor range (recommended to me by a friend). I got many approving glances from the staff as I selected Osama bin Laden as my target. It didn’t take long as I only had 90 rounds and being fully automatic (even with controlled bursts) poor old Osama was finished within seconds.

The day of the wedding Beatrice and I spent the morning at the Mirage Spa having our hair and makeup done before getting dressed and ready for the ceremony. The wedding was beautiful and everything went perfectly! Duncan and I were most honoured to be included in Brett and Beatrice’s day as they became husband and wife. I will post some pictures of the wedding soon but for now you can see some on Brett’s blog.

Our visit to the Grand Canyon also needs to be a post all to itself – it’s beyond amazing, it transcends description – its sheer size is humbling – and its beauty intense, unlike anything I have ever seen. We flew from Vegas into Arizona to the Grand Canyon National Park (we also flew over the Hoover Dam). Before embarking on a bus tour through the park we took a helicopter over the width of the Grand Canyon, which was an excellent way to garner an appreciation for it’s enormity and to see all of the different colours of the mesozoic rock formations and the mighty Colorado River. We had three hours or so to hike around in the park, but I can’t do the experience justice here just right now, so I will post more later.

A view of the Grand Canyon

I must admit I am tired. We barely slept in Vegas – everything is 24 hours and there is so much to do, so much we wanted to get done – that it was hard to justify sleeping. We really did have an awesome time, and despite a few minor disappointments (we didn’t have time for the roller coaster for example) we have no regrets, we fulfilled our most hedonistic desires, we made many good memories together, we didn't run out of cash, and we are already planning our next trip out to Vegas!

Viva Las Vegas!