Monday, November 30, 2009

A Canadian Thanksgiving, Eh?

This Thanksgiving, we took a trip to the motherland of hockey - Canada! Dan wants to see games at every NHL arena in his lifetime, and we got the chance to watch hockey in Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver during the holiday weekend. It was also fun to see the areas of Canada we'd never visited before. Dan loved it, of course - the whole culture there revolves around hockey. Kind of the way Americans love football.

Although we were in another country, it didn't feel like it. Except they had "washrooms" instead of restrooms and they're on the metric system. They had many of the same hotels, restaurants, and stores that we have, and the driving laws were similar. The one big difference is that people actually follow the rules there. For instance, people drive at least within 10 miles of the speed limit and only use the left lanes of the freeway when they're passing someone. And when the road merges from three lanes to two lanes, no one uses the right lane that they know is about to end to cut off all the cars that are waiting patiently in line. We were in awe.

Anyway, we had a great time and got to see a lot of places in a few short days. Plus, it actually felt like winter there, so it was easier to believe that the holidays have arrived! Below are some photos of our whirlwind trip.

We started in Calgary, which is a beautiful metropolis in the middle of farmland.

Watching the Calgary Flames play the Phoenix Coyotes

We spent Thanksgiving Day in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. It was so beautiful, and reminded us of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

From Calgary, we drove to Edmonton, where it got REALLY COLD.

Look! No cars in the left lane! (except for us because we were passing someone at that very moment, I swear!)

Dan brushed snow off our car for the first time in about 5 years!

We spent several hours walking through the West Edmonton Mall - the largest mall in North America. They've got all their entertainment rolled up inside the mall, including the ice skating rink above.

And a giant wave pool/water park

They had several animal shows going on during the day - we saw the sea lion show.

They have a huge pirate ship in one of the mall sections

And last but not least, they have an entire amusement park inside the mall! We rode the biggest roller coaster they had there, and it was so funny to go up the hill towards the ceiling.

Dan ordered a local specialty - Poutine, which is made of french fries, gravy, and cheese. I guess it's no worse than chili cheese fries, but I thought it was weird.

After a full day at the mall, we watched the Edmonton Oilers play the San Jose Sharks

After touring Edmonton, we flew to Vancouver for our last hockey game. We had a few hours before it started, so we drove to Stanley Park and found the exact place where Dan proposed to me over 7 years ago! Definitely one of the best spots in the world, in my opinion!

Our final game before heading home was Vancouver Canucks vs. Edmonton Oilers. We both love watching hockey live, and if we move to a city with a hockey team, we'll definitely get season passes!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No Flying Required

For us, that is. Because Dan's parents came to visit us last week in San Diego! We loved having them here and they got to trade a week of flash floods in Virginia for perfect weather in San Diego. Not bad!

We drove up to Los Angeles on Saturday & Sunday to visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, John MacArthur's church, and Universal Studios Hollywood. But other than that, we enjoyed spending time together at home & around San Diego. Although we had to work some of the days they were here, they're excellent at entertaining themselves and we loved coming home to them after work. The best part is that we don't have to miss them for too long before we see them at Christmastime!

Cheering for CCA at the high school football game

We stopped at the LEGO store in Downtown Disney so Mom & Dad could do some Christmas shopping while Dan & I took goofy photos with the displays

The best part of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library - touring Air Force One!

There's also an exact replica of the Oval Office

And a piece of the Berlin Wall

On the red carpet at Universal Studios Hollywood

I thought it would be funny to take a picture of this Jurassic Park dinosaur "spitting" at Mom & Dad. But I forgot that there was another dinosaur behind me, and I got shot with water in the back of the head just as I was snapping the photo! Hence the blurriness of the picture.

We visited Seaport Village to shop at this pretty kite store

Soaking up the sun at San Diego Bay

Friday, November 13, 2009

3 Miles for a Cause

Last weekend I joined a group of my coworkers to run the Shelter Island 5k to benefit Wounded Warriors, an organization that assists injured veterans and their families. My company has hired employees through Wounded Warriors, so it's a cause that's near and dear to our hearts. We all finished at our own paces, but my coworker Jenny and I stuck together and chatted the entire way, which made the miles go by much faster! I finished in 572nd place, in case you're wondering. Whoo hoo! :)

Jenny and I at the 2nd mile. You notice that she's not looking at the camera. That's because I didn't bother telling her that our picture was being taken until we passed the photographer. I was busy smiling and trying to look energetic for the photo. Priorities, you know.

The Epsilon team before the race - although there were several people who showed up too late to be in the group photo