An Open Letter to the National Post Condemning Its Bullying Platform


UPDATE (March 20, 2014):  My desire to stop the internet bullying that I was witnessing ended up throwing me into this vaccination debate.  Check out my solution to all this vaccination debating. Dear National Post, To vaccinate or to not … Continue reading

Hockey Pools, Algorithms and Cute Jerseys

Armando came up to me the other day, excited about being invited to take part in a hockey pool.  Armando?  In a hockey pool?  I was a little concerned.  And confused.  He seemed excited, as if he was a hardcore hockey fan.  I will give him credit…he does know a bit more about hockey than when I first met him (Yes, he did once ask me who Wayne Gretzky was!).   To hang with the guys or to small chat during business meetings with clients in Canada, he’s had to learn a bit about our national pastime.  And he has.  But competing in a hockey pool?  I was worried.

Then I had a flashback of the one time I entered a hockey pool.  The guys I worked with were holding their own playoff hockey pool.  They decided to let the girls join, probably to increase the prize pot.  I threw in my $10 and picked my teams.  I didn’t use stats or odds. I picked teams based on which team names I liked, favourite jersey colours or cities that I was fond of.  Not scientific at all.  So you can imagine the guys disbelief when I won the pool!  So this just goes to show that all the stats and knowledge of hockey you may have means nothing in a hockey pool.  But what about having a fancy algorithm?

So Armando doesn’t know the first thing about being in a hockey pool yet he was not concerned because he had an algorithm.  He explained to me that he had a program that by inputting all the players and their specific stats, a complex algorithm would determine the top players for his team.  And if somebody picked one of his players, his program would recalculate and find the best replacement player.  Trust my husband to put a computer-geeky spin on a hockey pool!  But I won a hockey pool by picking teams based on jersey colours so who am I to judge?  Let’s hope my beginners luck rubs off on him!

How do you pick your teams in a hockey pool?

Good luck to all and let the hockey season begin!

Our first time "playing hockey" on ice.

Our first time “playing hockey” on ice.

Nationalities, Travel Visas and Canadian Pride

Canadian passport (1993-2002).

Canadian passport (1993-2002). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tonight I was filling out a travel visa application form.  My first one ever!  One of the lucky perks of being a Canadian:  you don’t often need to get a travel visa to enter countries.

I was actually quite excited about the process though.  Well, not so much the process but the end result of getting a travel visa in my passport.  I am secretly a little jealous of all the visas that Armando has in his passport.  I know, weird. I’m sure if I actually had to get all the visas that he’s had to get, my envy would soon disappear like the money needed to get them.

I just wanted to share a few things on the visa application form that I found interesting:

1.  They asked for my complexion.  Not sure that I’ve ever been asked that on an application form.  Hmmm….rosy pink? Sun-kissed peach?  Better keep it simple.  White.

2.  They asked for my dad’s full name.  Hmmm…what about my mom?

3.  They asked for my guarantor’s name and address in the country that I will be visiting.  Who do I put if I don’t know anyone there?

4.  They asked for my nationality.  Well that’s easy…Canadian.  But this question really got me thinking.  I remember growing up and when I had to write on forms what my nationality was, I would write Ukrainian.  I was raised as a Ukrainian.  In my grandma’s home, the air would ring with Ukrainian chatter.  I would sing Ukrainian carols at Christmas and recite the Lord’s Prayer in Ukrainian at church. I took part in Ukrainian traditions, danced with a Ukrainian troupe for years and ate endless perogies, cabbage rolls and borscht that contributed to my Ukrainian hips.  My ancestors were from Ukraine but I was 2nd generation Canadian.  Yet, I would say that I was Ukrainian.  And if I remember correctly, my fellow classmates would also write Scottish, Irish or whatever background they came from under “Nationality”.  “Canadian” didn’t seem to be an option.  I guess everyone was trying to define their differences and besides, what was a Canadian anyways?  We were taught that Canada was a mosaic of cultures.  I guess we were just signifying which culture we represented and “Nationality” was where we defined it.

Now being older and wiser, I can definitely say that my nationality is Canadian but my Ukrainian heritage has definitely influenced me throughout the years.  And I am definitely proud to be Canadian and appreciate the fact that I don’t require a travel visa to most countries because, heck, who am I going to put as my guarantor on this visa application?

Cold Saunas are Cool (and Cold!)

So we survived!

The Cold Sauna Lobby at The Sparkling Hill Resort

The Cold Sauna Lobby at The Sparkling Hill Resort

The Sparkling Hill Resort, where I took Armando for a birthday surprise getaway,  has the only cold sauna in North America.  It is a sauna that has a temperature of -110 degrees celsius.  Yes, that’s what I said: MINUS 110 degrees celsius!!  Armando and I wanted to add it to our list of “experiences” and it was quite the experience!

Cold saunas are used as a health treatment called Cryotherapy. It is a form of treatment used for arthritis, poor circulation and other ailments.  We chose to do it for the fun of it.  Doesn’t it sound like something you’d want to do on one of that last sunny days of summer?

At the entrance of the Cold Sauna in a snazzy gear!

At the entrance of the Cold Sauna in our snazzy gear!

There are 3 rooms to the sauna.  The first room that you start in is -10 degrees celsius.  You stay in that room for only 5 seconds.  Then you go into the second room which is -50 degrees for another 5 seconds and then you enter the last room which is -110 degrees and you stay in there for 3 minutes.  There was a kinesiologist in the room with us, talking us through it the entire time while Bob Marley sang in the background, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”  which I found quite humorous.

It was very challenging to make it through the 3 minutes but we both managed to stick it out and it was an amazing feeling afterwards.  It is very uncomfortable and even slightly painful at times but the mental challenge of sticking it out for the 3 minutes and succeeding was so rewarding at the end.  You feel so good after that it was worth the challenge.

Before going into the sauna, your skin is usually around 30 degrees celsius but when you are in the cold sauna, it drops to about 5 degrees celsius.  You can see on my arm where my mittens ended.

Before going into the sauna, your skin is usually around 30 degrees celsius but when you are in the cold sauna, it drops to about 5 degrees celsius. You can see on my arm where my mittens ended.

It has been a weekend of challenges for me and I faced another challenge this evening at dinner.  Stay tuned…(Check it out Here!)

Armando’s Trip to the Barber


ROCKPORT’S BARBERSHOP – NARA – 548244 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Could I possibly write another post of Armando’s hair, or lack there of? (see original post here).  Oh, yes I can!  My poor, dear hubby…he just gives me such fun stuff to write about!

So, it all started when I found out that he had an appointment with an Image Consultant who was a guest speaker at one of Armando’s MBA classes.  She had offered all the students a free consultation and  Armando took her up on her offer and booked an appointment.

After a one-hour session, he learned that it would take approximately $3000 for her expertise and $5000 for a new wardrobe to whip him into GQ shape.  I kyboshed that idea but did offer the alternative of paying me the $3000 and I could whip him into runway form but he didn’t go for it.

Instead, he decided to stop at the local barbershop.  He always trims/shaves his own hair so he figured if he got it professionally done, it would be a drop in the bucket of his recommended $8000 makeover.

It had been eons since he got his hair professionally cut so he took a quick glance at the price list before committing.  $18…perfect!  Armando loves the deals.

So after a wash, a clip and a shave, Armando walked up to the counter to pay for his newly clean-shaven look but when the girl said, “Fifteen dollars, please,” he was confused.  He was sure the adult price was $18.  As he looked at the price menu again, he noticed that the adult price was $18 but the senior rate was $15.  Senior rate!

I could not hold in my laughter when he told me!  Poor guy didn’t have enough hair to warrant the adult price.  Regardless, he’s on his way to GQ status and at a discounted rate!

Annual Bear Sighting in Port Moody

So, it looks like this may be an annual event…

After having just finished a late dinner before 9pm last May, we looked out our condo window and saw bears raiding the garbage bins across the street at our Port Moody Fire Department.

Today, it happened again.

Bear sighting at Port Moody Fire Department on May 7, 2013.

Bear sighting at Port Moody Fire Department on May 7, 2013.

Last year, my picture was picked up from my blog about the sighting by a local newspaper, The Coquitlam Now, and their article circulated throughout the online news outlets, from The Vancouver Sun to the Calgary Herald and even to a news site that translated it to Chinese, which by the way, when we google-translated it, they completely added their own flare to the story, including saying that I was from Montreal?!  Visited there once but, nope, never lived there.

Fortunately, it appeared that all bins were locked up this year so no garbage for Mr. Bear as the firemen scared him away into the bushes where I hope no evening walker got startled.

Yep, my after dinner walk just got cancelled tonight (Click to see my post on my bear fear).


Living Life (aka The Last Two Months in a Nutshell)

Life’s been busy.  I’ve been frustrated that I haven’t had a chance to write about all that’s been going on these last two months so I thought I’d give a quick rundown to catch you up:

- I’ve been working two jobs
- survived Christmas season (and even did some baking along the way…my belly proves that!)
- travelled to Manitoba in the dead of winter to visit family (learned that Armando’s brain actually freezes at a certain point as his usually superior navigation skills were lost in the cold)
- travelled to Mexico to visit the in-laws and attend a wedding
- lived through a colonoscopy (was actually the first time I was ever in a hospital as a patient)
- got stung with the three-week cold and managed to live with a husband that was sick for four weeks!
Ice Hockey- Armando and I played in an ice hockey game for the first time ever and no broken bones!
- had dinner with friends in a pitch-black restaurant (Dark Table).  No lights.  Couldn’t see a thing.  You are served by blind waiters.  You can’t see what you are eating, let alone see where your fork is.  Was quite the experience!
- got my Nexus card (do I see shopping trips to the US in the future?!)
- had my first Rosca de Reyes and didn’t choke on the plastic baby Jesus!
- went to Vegas and learned to play Craps.  That game is so addictive!  (hence, the two jobs that I’m working. haha!)  Just jokes :)
- got free upgrades and experienced flying in 1st class for the first time with Air Canada – did you know that behind those curtains they have ice cream and freshly baked cookies, baked right on the plane and served hot?!?!
- finally bought a coffee table (Armando has yet to finish putting it together.  First he has to learn to read Chinese so he can understand the instructions.)
- Armando and I celebrated our one year anniversary!  Where did he take me?  To the food court at the airport in Mexico City for tacos.  An anniversary that I will always remember with fondness and laughter!

And those were just the sprinkles on the cake during the last two months.  I have been busy and tired but I realize that that’s just proof that I’m living.  And life’s too short to not live.

Don’t stay stationary.  Keep on moving forward.  Happy 2013!!  May it be full of life!


Salmon, Swans and Navigation in Port Moody

The sun is actually out in Port Moody today.  A rare occasion this time of year so Armando and I headed out to enjoy a walk on this beautiful fall day around Burrard Inlet.

Along Inlet Trail, we often see ducks, seagulls, Blue Herons, slugs (eww!) and other regulars.  The last few weeks, we saw salmon swimming upstream.  What an amazing thing to see.  Talk about perseverance!  How they get to where they’re going is beyond me.  We’d watch until Armando’s patience wore thin.  Many salmon were no further ahead than when we started watching them.  At first, Armando didn’t see just how amazing these creatures are, questioning the big deal of them swimming upstream.  All he could see was sushi, his mouth drooling.  But then, I told him that if I plunked him in the middle of the ocean, I’d like to see how easy it would be for him to return home, ya’know what I’m saying?!  Truly amazing that they return to the same spot that they were born, spawn and then die.  Such a sad, yet awe-inspiring circle of life.

Salmon swimming upstream in Port Moody

Today, as we were walking along the inlet there was a white bird swimming among the ducks.  Oh, a seagull, I thought.  But as we got closer I realized that it wasn’t a seagull but a swan!  Armando and I both agree that we don’t think we have ever seen a swan in the wild.  And it definitely wasn’t a regular visitor to the area as everyone walking by, stopped to have a look.

Swan in Port Moody

After making Armando run home to get the camera, we snapped some shots and then l did some online research. I believe it is a Tundra Swan.  What a neat Saturday surprise!  Must have gotten lost.  Perhaps I should suggest that it looks into getting the GPS that the salmon use :)

Armando, Movember and other Hairy Talk!

My views on my husband Armando, and his Hair:

On His Chest Hair:  He was surprised to learn that I didn’t think that chest hair is “super cool”.

On Losing His Hair:  I caught him with our camera the other day, taking pictures of the back of his head and realizing, in horror, that there is definitely a patch of hair that has “gone missing”.

On His Goatee:  I love it when he grows a goatee but it’s always short-lived because he thinks he looks like a latin gangster and shaves it every time he has a trip across the border to avoid getting scrutinized.

On His Moustache:  Normally clean-shaven when attending important business meetings, he’s finding his inner-confidence to rock a 1970′s porn star moustache in the boardroom for the month of November in support of Movember, a cause to raise funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives.

Please support my husband in his effort to bring awareness to this great cause.  Please visit his website at and donate.  ANY amount will help and it’s a really easy and fast process :)  Thank you all for your support!

Armando’s Movember ‘stache on Day 8.