Calgary, a prairie city

My sched has been pretty hectic since I started working... in the meantime, let me share some pictures of Calgary...

The tall buildings from afar is downtown Calgary
Taken from Nose Hill Park

Nose Hill Park, one of the largest municipal parks in Canada and North America, is located in the northwest quadrant of Calgary, Alberta. It is a natural environment park, commonly regarded as a retreat from city life and a place to enjoy nature. It is the second-largest park in Calgary.

I love seeing bare trees covered with snow!

Winter in Calgary

Before we came to Calgary, we've been hearing about its very cold winter weather... not just cold, but longer winter months compared to Toronto... it definitely scare the hell out of me since I get cold easily. But then, with proper clothing [layering], its not as bad as it looks. On the brighter side, Winnipeg and Montreal gets more snow than us.

The one good thing about Calgary's weather is the "Chinook winds" that provides a welcome respite from the long winter chill. The change can be dramatic as well, temperature can be double-digit below zero and rose to single/double-digit positive temperature in as little as 4 hours.

Chinook winds have been observed to elevate winter temperatures, often from below −20°C/−4°F to as high as 10°C/50°F to 20°C/68°F, for a few hours or days, at the end of which, the temperatures plummet to their base levels...

...Calgary is also well known for getting many chinooks, as the Bow Valley in the Canadian Rockies west of the city acts as a natural wind tunnel funneling the chinook winds....

There was one day in December where the wind was blowing at 50km/hour, temperature with windchill was -35°C. I can really feel my cheek turning into icicle. But that was just one day.

We experienced continuous snowfall for about 7 days two weeks ago, I was late for that whole week due to traffic and accidents. Temperature was in the −20s°C... this week however, we are experiencing single-digit positive temperature, thanks to "Chinook". You can actually see people wearing t-shirt and shorts walking on the streets. I can even go out for a few minutes with no jacket. And I'm the type of person who gets cold easily.

I hate the fact that I was late for work for the whole week and that my travel time was 1.5 hours instead of the usual 30 minutes, but am also thankful for the traffic because it kept me safe on the road. Back in Toronto, I don't usually drive on a snowy day... but here, I have no choice! Commuting is not an option for me. So snow day or not, I have to drive to work.

The day my daughter was making her 10 little snowmen, the temperature was about 8C. A nice day for an outdoor fun!

But then, everybody is saying that this winter is pretty warm compared to past winters... lucky me.

Ten Little Snowmen

Last Sunday, while I was at work, hubby spent his afternoon helping my son with his homework... and left my daughter playing in the backyard alone...

When he went to check up on her, he was greeted by 10 little snowmen... and Patricia was very proud of her little creation!

Valentine's day at Lake Minnewanka

We spent Valentine's Day with my MIL at Lake Minnewanka and Banff National Park. Since she was only here for 3 days and 2 nights [actually it was really just 1 full day], we all decided to take the day off at school and at work on Valentine's Day.

I've already shared a lot of pictures from Banff, so here are some pictures from Lake Minnewanka.

I saw this 'heart' in the middle of the frozen Lake Minnewanka.

Here's the boat house in the middle of the frozen Lake Minnewanka surrounded by the Canadian Rockies.
The heart above is just a few meters on the left of this boat house.

Here's the boat house taken in the summer, from a different angle.

My cook

One day, my son suddenly told me that he wants to cook mash potatoes for his dad. I said ok, we'll do it on a Friday. He said "I want to do it every Friday."

Here's the first and only one so far -- Mashed Potatoes

Here he is peeling off the skins...
he had a hard time doing this part.

Making sure that the potatoes are smashed properly...
December 17, 2006

This Friday he wants to bake mini cheese cakes... well we need a blender for that and I don't have a blender yet.

Mixed nuts #8

Bad news:
To those who requested the link to the free movie downloads, sorry to say that the blog is now offline... and I was in the middle of downloading 007's Casino Royale... huhuhu...


Good news:
My MIL will be visiting for 3 days and 2 nights... arriving tuesday afternoon and leaving thursday morning. She will be spending Valentine's day with us and hopefully with a nice sunny [but cold] weather we will be able to take her to Banff and Lake Louise.

Her destination is really NYC cause my SIL just gave birth to her second son last month. Meet baby Alex.


Winter is finally here! It has been a pretty warm winter until last week...

It has been snowing all week and temp was below 20s... brrrrr....


Happy, happy birthday to Ghee and Lam!!! Cheers to more birthdays to come! Godspeed!

Advance Happy Valentine's Day to all!!!


Please read:
The Price of Children [thanks Kai for sending me this email]...
and how kids define LOVE.

Tag #14: Three

I was tagged by Rach [sorry for the delay Rach].

Three Things that Scare Me:

  • long term illness
  • leaving my young kids motherless
  • getting murdered
Three People Who Make Me Laugh:
  • Matt LeBlanc [Joey of Friends]
  • Peter Boyle [Frank of Everybody Loves Raymond]
  • and my all-time favorite, my hubby
Three Things I Love:Three Things I Hate:
  • telemarketers
  • dirty bathroom
  • driving in heavy snow fall
Three Things I Don't Understand:Three Things On My Desk:
  • computer
  • telephone
  • personal planner
Three Things I Am Doing Right Now:
  • answering this meme
  • assisting my son with his homework
  • eating chips
Three Things I Want To Do Before I Die:
  • sky diving
  • tour Europe
  • see my grandkids
Three Things I Can Do:
  • Drive
  • Dance
  • Cook
Three People You Should Listen To:
  • Your parents/in-laws
  • your spouse
  • and your children!
Three People You Should Never Listen To:
  • fortune tellers
  • people who talks negatively all the time
  • politicians
Three Things I'd Like To Learn:Three Favorite Foods:
  • Steak @ Applebee's/Friday's/The Keg's
  • Seafood platters @ Red Lobsters
  • Baby back ribs @ Tony Roma's
Three Beverages I Drink Regularly:
  • Water
  • Coke
  • Juice [though very rare]
This is actually my 3rd Three Things meme... Here's my first and second Three Things.

Monday Madness #2

  1. What is your favorite main course to prepare?
    Instant food that I recently discovered is Pad Thai... but I also love to cook Paella, Chicken Alexander [recipe below], Palabok and Spaghetti... my family's favorite.

  2. What is your favorite side dish to prepare?
    Corn with butter.

  3. Do you like to bake? If so, what is your favorite?
    The two dish that I can bake are Mini Cheesecake and Banana muffin... do these ever count as baking?

  4. What one dish would you like to learn to cook?
    Lengua. It's one of my favorite dish! I already have the recipe for this, but I find it hard to find all the ingredients. I should experiment on this one soon.

  5. What is your worst cooking disaster?
    None that I can recall... There were times though that my dish was a bit salty.
Join Monday Madness
Recipe #3: Chicken Alexander I'm not much of a cook. If you knew me before I got married, you'll know that I can't even fry an egg without breaking the yolk. When I got married, hubby knows I can't cook. So the saying "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach" is not true! I would always hire a nanny who can also cook! That is one of my requirements. I just plan our menu and the nanny will prepare it for us. When we migrated, I was forced to learn how to cook. And now, as long as I have a recipe to follow, I can basically cook anything. Probably not as yummy as Ann's cooking, but I had praises for some of my dishes. And here's one of them -- Chicken Alexander. It takes time to prepare this dish, so I prepare them during special occasion or whenever we have cravings. This recipe is good for a 9x13 pyrex tray. Prepare the fillings --
  1. Boil 2 pieces chicken breast [bone-in] with onions and salt for 30-40 minutes.
  2. Drain and shred the chicken in small pieces off the bones.
  3. In a pot, fry onions and chicken pieces, seasoned with salt and pepper, until chicken turn brown.
  4. Add two small cans of Cream of Mushroom soup, let it boil for 10 minutes.
  5. Add two small cans of Cream of Corn soup, mix well.
  6. Add 1 cup of green peas. I usually add more kernel corn too.
  7. Let it boil for another 10-15 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes. Set aside.
Prepare mash potato --
  1. Boil 8-10 large potatoes until soft.
  2. Peel off skin. My hubby eats the skin with butter on top. But you don't need this for this dish.
  3. In a large pot, melt butter and add potatoes and mash them.
  4. Add milk [1/2 cup]. Seasoned with salt and white pepper to taste.
  1. Transfer all the fillings on a 9x13 pyrex tray.
  2. Spread the mash potatoes on top.
  3. Topped with shredded mozzarrella cheese.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees or until cheese has melted.

    Enjoy your dinner!
This is the smaller version I made for our Christmas dinner.

Conversation #18: Dinner talk

Our dinner conversation [January 31, 2007] went like this --

ME to Patricia: How do you like to spend summer with Patrick in the Philippines?

PATRICIA: Hmmmmm... [very unsure, thinking really hard]

ME: That means you will be with Lola but you won't see mommy and daddy for 2 months. And you will celebrate your birthday in Manila too.

PATRICIA: [at the sound of celebrating her birthday she nodded yes]

ME: Do you want that? Or would you rather stay here with mommy?

PATRICIA: [she suddenly changed her answer] I want to stay with Mommy.

PATRICK: I don't want to go to the Philippines... there's lots of insects there. [Seems like he can't forget his insects bites back in 2002]

PATRICIA to Patrick: [Laughing] Huh? You're afraid of the insects?

ME: You shouldn't be scared of the insects. You should be scared of the rats, they are as big as a kitten. And cockroaches, they fly. And lots of ants that bite.

PATRICK: No, no, no. I don't want to go there.

ME: But don't worry, you will be using a mosquito net when you sleep, so the insects won't bite you.

PATRICK: Oh, I see. Then I will just hide under the mosquito net all the time... No, I don't want to go to the Philippines... I like to go to Tita Miann's house...

ME: You will be with Lola and Lola will buy you things you want. Plus you get to spend time at Lola's loghouse in Tagaytay and probably go to the beach... the beach there is really warm, you can swim all day and not get cold... unlike the beach here, the water is really cold even at summer.

PATRICK: [he insisted] I'd like to spend summer in NYC.

ME: You have to see if Tita Miann will invite you.

PATRICK: Tita Miann loves me, she will.

ME: How about you Trish, do you want to go to NYC for the summer? You won't see mommy and daddy.

PATRICIA: [suddenly teary eyed... then slowly shake her head to say "no"]

ME to Patrick: So you're not afraid to fly alone?


ME: You can ride the plane by yourself. You're 10 now. Do you think you can handle yourself?

PATRICK: As long as my flight is at 9am.

ME: Huh?

PATRICK: I want to reach NYC before it gets dark.

PATRICK to Patricia: Trish you can come with me.

PATRICIA: [suddenly become teary-eyed again] No. You don't know how to take care of me.

I honestly don't know what's with her teary-eyes... I guess its because she wants to be with me all the time? Or she felt that I'm giving her away? ",)

UPDATE: February 2, 2007...
I told Patrick that his Tita Miann has agreed to have him spend the whole month of July with them. When I told him that, he was happy. So I told him he needs to prepare himself to fly alone. And that it will be too expensive to have either me or his dad to drop him off at NYC and pick him up later.

Patrick suddenly changed his mind, he doesn't want to fly alone, he'd rather stay here with us. He decided to wait till our next family trip to NYC.

Thursday Thirteen #17: Movie Marathon #4

Hubby was able to download these movies from the internet. He told me not to advertise the blog as they might take the whole site down because it contains not only old movies but also new ones, some old and new TV series [like Knight Rider, Moonlighting, 24, CSI], game softwares [like SIMS] etc... [But if you want the link, I can email it to you]. ",)

Since we don't want to pay for the download, we can only download one link every 80 minutes, and 1 movie is divided into 3 or 4 links and sometimes more. Nevertheless, hubby was able to download quite a few movies already. Including movies for my kids like The Cars, Happy Feet, Flushed Away, Monster House and Barnyard. And these are DVD quality movies, very clear!!!

I really miss watching movies in the big theater, but with our current situation, I will have to settle for this...

13 Movies for the past 13 Days

  1. The Departed - Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson, 2006
    This was originally a chinese movie entitled "The Infernal Affairs" which stars Andy Lau and Tony Leung Chiu Wai. It was a big hit that they made it into a trilogy. I love the original movie better than the Hollywood version. If you remember the meeting with the buyer part where they used SMS to communicate? In the original version they used morse code, which is the best part of the movie for me. If you can get hold of the chinese version, its a must see!!! And be sure to watch all 3!

    To end the reign of powerful mob boss Frankie Costello, a young rookie, Billy Costigan, is assigned to gain the trust of Costello's gang from the inside. While Billy is working to infiltrate the mob, a young gangster named Colin Sullivan is quickly rising through the ranks of the state police. Each man becomes deeply consumed by his double life, gathering information about the plans and counter-plans of the operation he has penetrated. But when it becomes clear to both the gangsters and the police that they have a mole in their midst, Billy and Colin find themselves in constant danger of being caught and exposed to the enemy and each must race to uncover the identity of the other man in to save himself.

  2. The Lake House - Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves, 2006
    I love this movie! This was originally a Korean movie entitled "Il Mare". I've been longing to see this Hollywood version for quite awhile, but didn't have a chance until now.

    After reluctantly moving out of a beautiful lakeside home for a job at a busy Chicago hospital, a doctor finds herself falling in love through correspondence with the home’s new tenant, who happens to be living exactly two years in the past. Determined to bridge the distance between them and unravel the mystery behind their extraordinary connection, they tempt fate by arranging to meet. But, trying to join their two separate worlds, they could risk losing each other forever.

  3. The Devil Wears Prada - Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep, 2006
    I think Glenn Glose would be good for the role of Meryl Streep here. It's a nice movie! Go see it.

    Based on the best-selling novel, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA follows high-powered fashion magazine editor Miranda Priestly as she works-in (and wears-out) her new assistant, Andrea. Being her first job out of college, Andrea attempts to navigate a world she's only glimpsed in print - while surviving her impossibly demanding new boss.

  4. She's the man - Amanda Bynes, 2005
    This movie is really funny. I love Amanda Bynes, she's a natural!

    Viola Hastings had her own good reasons for disguising herself as her twin brother Sebastian and enrolling in his place at his new boarding school, Illyria Prep. She was counting on Sebastian being AWOL from school as he tried to break into the music scene in London. What she didn't count on was falling in love with her hot roommate, Duke, who in turn only has eyes for the beautiful Olivia. Making matters worse, Olivia is starting to fall for Sebastian, who - for reasons Olivia couldn't begin to guess - appears to be the sensitive type of guy she'd always dreamed of meeting. If things weren't complicated enough, the real Sebastian has come back from London two days earlier than expected and arrives on campus having no clue that he's been replaced... by his own twin sister.

  5. Transporter 2 - Jason Statham, 2005
    Unbelievable stunts... though I love the first one better than this one.

    Ex-Special Forces operative Frank Martin, aka "The Transporter" is now retired in Miami. Martin makes a living driving for a wealthy family, including the young son with whom he has unexpectedly bonded. But when the boy is abducted Martin must use all his skills to bring him to safety and discover the kidnapper's master plan.

  6. Crank - Jason Statham, 2006
    Action-packed but like the previous one, I just want to see how this movie ends.

    While on one of his last jobs, hit man Chev Chelios lets his target slip away, preferring to start a new life with his girlfriend Eve. The next morning he wakes up with a heart that's barely beating - to the voice of thug Ricky Verona, sent by his angry employer, who reveals Chev has been poisoned in his sleep and only has an hour to live. Now Chev must keep moving to stay alive by keeping his adrenaline flowing. As the clock ticks, Chelios cuts a swath through the streets of Los Angeles, wreaking havoc on those who dare stand in his way. He must rescue Eve from danger, stay two steps ahead of his nemeses and search for an antidote to save his own life.

  7. Batman Begins - Christian Bale and Michael Caine, 2006
    I think Michael Keaton is the best Bruce Wayne ever [though I am not really a fan of his].

    The Batman legend gets a fresh start as the Dark Knight emerges as a force for good in Gotham. In the wake of his parents' murder, disillusioned industrial heir Bruce Wayne travels the world seeking the means to fight injustice and turn fear against those who prey on the fearful. He returns to Gotham and unveils his alter-ego: Batman, a masked crusader who uses his strength, intellect and an array of high tech deceptions to fight the sinister forces that threaten the city.

  8. The Night Listener - Robin Williams, 2006
    I have loved Robin Williams since his Mork and Mindy TV series, he is one funny guy. And I hope he makes more comedy movies than drama. This movie was inspired by true events...

    Gabriel Noone is a colourful public radio storyteller who begins talking on the phone with a precocious, 14 year-old listener named Pete, a boy with his own incredible story to tell about a nightmare childhood. As Gabriel draws closer to Pete and his adopted mother, becoming a kind of surrogate father, he also grows more and more filled with doubts about the boy's tales and macabre suspicions over who he really is — sparking a desperate, quest to uncover the elusive truth.

  9. Into the blue - Paul Walker and Jessica Alba, 2005
    Another good movie, though I think its a bit dragging.

    A group of young divers get in over their heads, when their innocent underwater excursion puts them in the wrong-place at the wrong-time, after exploring a sunken airplane leads them face to face with a druglord who has come to reclaim the downed plane's illicit cargo.

  10. Just my Luck - Lindsey Lohan, 2006
    Do you believe in luck? I don't.

    Ashley is the luckiest girl in New York City, where she has a promising career and a life full of glamour and romance. Jake is the unluckiest guy in town, tormented by constant mishaps and missed opportunities. Everything changes for Ashley and Jake when they meet at a swank masquerade party, share a kiss, and miraculously swap their luck. Now Ashley's ultra-fabulous life is going completely sour while Jake is finally living large. But Ashley is determined to track him down and steal her luck back.

  11. The Girl Next Door - Elisha Cutbert, 2004
    Nothing great about this movie, though I did watched it till the end just to see how it ends.

    Eighteen-year-old Matthew Kidman is a straight-laced overachiever who has never really lived life - until he falls for his hot new neighbor. When Matthew discovers his perfect "girl next door" is a former porn.

  12. Flight 93 - Brennan Elliott and Kendall Cross, 2006
    I prefer the United 93 movie version of this incident.

    FLIGHT 93 tells the stirring story of the brave passengers and crew aboard hijacked United Airlines' Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. After learning of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, these ordinary civilians chose to fight back against the terrorists. The courageous revolt ultimately led to the deadly crash in a Shanksville, Pennsylvania field, just 20 air minutes from Washington. The passengers' actions likely prevented the plane from being used as a guided missile to destroy the U.S. Capitol or the White House.

  13. Snake on a plane - Samuel Jackson, 2006
    Nothing great about this movie. I hope this situation never happen in real life. I don't want to be trapped in a plane full of poisonous snake.

    An FBI agent is escorting an eye witness on a flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles when a crimelord sets in motion the release of hundreds of deadly snakes on the commercial airplane in order to eliminate the witness before he can testify against him. The FBI agent must protect his witness while banding together with the pilot, frightened crew and passengers in a desperate attempt to survive.

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