Meeting my Pen Pal IRL

I have had a pen pal for about a year and a half now. We met through a pen pal group on Facebook, and have been sending snail mail back and forth ever since. We also chat through Messenger online.

She’s cool. She’s my age, and sufficiently nerdy so we have lots to talk about.

A few months back, she started entertaining the idea of a Canadian vacation with a few days set aside to come visit me while she was in the country. I agreed that I thought it was a fun idea, and so planning began. Dates were confirmed, and I booked the last of my vacation time off from work. She arrived by train the evening of September 4 and departed late morning on September 6.

When she arrived, it was approximately 7:00pm, and we were hungry so we went to one of my favourite vegetarian restaurants here in town. Pen pal very much enjoyed it. After dinner, I took her on a driving tour of my city, even though it did become dark shortly after we started and rather difficult to sight see. We went back to my place once it got too dark, and she met the kitties and we wound down before bed.

On September 5, I showed her a bit more of London, and then we went to St. Thomas so I could show her a few things I remembered as a kid, including the Jumbo monument. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Jumbo was an elephant in P.T. Barnum’s Greatest Show on Earth. He was struck and killed by a train on the tracks in St. Thomas near where the monument is in 1885. The monument was erected for the centennial. Following Jumbo, we visited the Old St. Thomas Church. We then spent a few hours at the Elgin County Railway Museum, which seemed fitting since St. Thomas is known as The Railway City. It may have been hot as death, but it was really cool and we stuck it out.

Old St. Thomas Church

After racing back to Jeff (my car) to cool off with the air conditioning, we went down to Port Stanley to see the lake and the beach and have some lunch. Unfortunately, the the place we were planning to go to for lunch was closed for the season aside from weekends, so we settled for seeing the beach and the lake, and headed back to London. I’m sure we would have stayed longer though if it wasn’t so hot! I personally found it way to hot to spend more than a few minutes outside in the sun and humidity. It felt like over 40¬įC the whole time my pen pal visited. We did the best we could. We arrived back in London and ate a very late lunch at the local vegan fast food place before picking up my sister to take her to Ingersoll for an appointment.


It was a very long day, and though we had fun, pen pal and I were content to grab some snacks and settle down for a quiet and early night watching cartoons. A quiet night before a day of traveling is always nice too.

After a late breakfast on Thursday morning, I took pen pal to the train station where we then parted ways. She was headed back to o Toronto. She flew out early Friday morning.

Meeting pen pal was awesome. I think there will soon be a trip in the works for me to go visit her. ūüôā

The Elgin County Railway Museum

An Eventful June 

June has been a busy month in the land of Lindsay. As a result I have been exhausted almost perpetually this month. Hoping for a relatively quiet July, and in turn time to recover. Time to recap the craziness! 

The beginning of June came with a midterm to study for and to write. I probably didn’t study as much as I could have, but I at least managed a 75% on the exam. I am okay with that. The quizzes for this class have continued to happen every week or so, and has kept me on my toes. My last class is tonight, and studying for the final exam commences tonight as well. 

Mid-June came with a big trip for my cousin’s wedding. The family came from far and wide and converged on Brandon, Manitoba for a long weekend. We flew out on Thursday, and returned Monday afternoon. Mom and I tried Airbnb for the first time, and it was a great experience. We saw family we haven’t seen in ages, and we had a fantastic time at the wedding. My cousin looked absolutely beautiful, and the wedding was a fun laid back affair. I was sorry to part with everyone again, but I was very happy to be home again Monday! I was also very thankful for my neighbour who acted as cat-sitter as well. The cats were much better for having someone able to look in on them twice a day! 

Traveling to and returning from Manitoba did a number on me. Luckily I haven’t gotten sick or anything, but I have been exhausted on a whole new level. No amount of sleep has had me feeling rested until today finally. This past weekend I took a few extra naps totalling 5.5 hours of extra sleep. I guess I needed it! 

This past Sunday night brought the Eagles of Death Metal concert at London Music Hall. I took a friend for her birthday. It was a super great time, even though I was crazy tired to begin with and even more so after… I did sleep well that night. A deep and satisfying sleep, even if it was short. It was one of the best shows I have been to in a very long time. Maybe I will get lucky and catch another great show sooner rather than later. 

Well, I’m broke now too, so the excitement has to slow down regardless. Time to rest!

Catching Up

The last few months have been a whirlwind. Event after event has taken place, and I have just had so much going on I haven’t found the time to sit down and chronicle it all. That is the case, yes, but I also made the conscious decision to be as present as I could possibly be for it all. There were happy and fun moments, frustrating moments, stressful moments… I experienced it all through the eyes of someone who was actually there for it all and not worrying about something like writing a blog post about it just to stick to a schedule I created for myself in my head. Things have slowed down, and now I am finally back to enjoy the summer and get back to some of the little things I do really enjoy like blogging. It’s time to catch up now! And catching up takes us back to the end of April…

On April 30, an event took place in London called the London Game Crawl. It took place on International Table Top Day and it was all quite fitting. It was my first event with a new friend: Jen, a coworker at my new job whom I discovered is a) super awesome and b) a fellow nerd. Since then we have done tons of things and had lots of fun together… But back to the Game Crawl now. Several local shops participated and we played lots of games and even collected a free London Game Crawl edition of the game Love Letter for attending. It was a lot of fun.

On Friday May 6, I met several more new people as I went to see Captain America: Civil War with Jen and her husband and daughter and several of their friends. GREAT MOVIE and great company as well. The next day was Free Comic Book Day and I met up with Jen and a few others bright and early in the morning for the festivities. I pulled out the TARDIS dress and my light-up headband and didn’t feel the tiniest bit out-of-place. We managed to make it to every comic book shop that was participating in FCBD, while also avoiding the rain, and discovering a great local restaurant. I even ran into another friend from my old job who was dressed up as well! It was a great day all around.

Next up was my first game night with my new friends. We played a game we had discovered at the game crawl called Camel Up. Basically, you’re betting on a camel race and you win money based on how well you bet. It is a ton of fun with the right people, and I was definitely playing with the right people! I ended up live-tweeting the game because it was so hilarious. You can find those tweets looking back in my twitter feed to the right of this post.

Things just kept getting busier from this point on. I think June of 2016 was one of the busiest months I have ever had in my life. I wrote a midterm for my CIP class at the beginning of the month which I did very well on. I attended the Gathering on the Green in Wortley Village, I went to my first Paint Nite event with my friend Ash, I went to a couple more game nights, I went to see a live band on the beach in Port Stanley, I planned and executed a surprise birthday party for my Mom’s 50th with the help of my sister and my stepdad, I took my dad to a baseball game and then my sister and I took him out for dinner afterward for Fathers’ Day, I attended the Ingersoll Relay for Life for the first time as a member of my niece’s team, I went to my first Staff Appreciation Day with my new employer, attended the London International Food Festival and a cookout at a friend’s place, and all the while I was studying for my final for my CIP course which took place just two days ago. Oh, and I donated blood somewhere in there too. I have been a very busy girl! But it was all a ton of fun and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

The reasons for my long absence…in a nutshell. I’m nervous about my final, but I won’t find out how I did for probably a month or so. Since I have to wait so long, there is really no point in working myself up over it. I have a life to live, though hopefully not so crazy a one as I have been living up to this point this summer.

I have also been trying to focus on my second attempt at a life reboot. As you can probably imagine, I have been doing well with some things but not with others. I am attributing much of it to the stress I was putting myself through while trying to study and prepare for my exam. Turns out that after a seven-year break from writing them, I get some massive test anxiety when they come back around! That stress made a number of other things harder as well.I am hoping though, that now I know what to expect, the next one won’t be so bad.

I’ve been crocheting a bit, but I haven’t made much progress on my blanket for quite a long time. Most recently I have been working on dish cloths: a set for my mom for her birthday, and a set for my sister as a housewarming gift since she moved recently.

Work has been going well; I am transitioning a bit as the way things work was changed just this week. Tobi is doing well too! She is as snuggly and adorable as ever. We have had a great time just chilling out together over the past couple of days.

Oh! And I can’t forget the latest little bit of geek that has joined my collection! Here they are:

Here’s to the rest summer of exciting weekends and being busy, but not TOO busy.

Family Outings FTW: Ripley’s Aquarium

This weekend past was a whirlwind. A lot happened and it was way fun, especially Saturday. Months ago I was approached by mom asking if I would be interested in a trip to Ripley’s Aquarium. I have never been, so I of course said yes. Turns out my stepdad’s work was organizing a group trip to the aquarium by bus and it was open to employees’ families. It cost the very reasonable price of $20.00. It was very easy to get on board with, as regular admission is about $30.00 for the day. This $20.00 also included transportation by fancy road coach.

The date for the trip was this past Saturday: April 16. In preparation, I decided to rent a car so I wouldn’t be dependent on my mom and stepdad for transportation to and from Ingersoll. Since my sister is now in London as well, having started her new job here, I ended up being chauffeur to her and her boyfriend for the weekend too. I picked up my rental Friday evening after work, and discovered just how tricky my parking sport actually is to get in and out of. A bit of practice would have had me parking like a pro, but I had places to be… like a hair appointment. My hair dresser worked her magic yet again, and then I took the care out to get some more practice driving since it’s been months since I last drove. I went to St. Thomas and visited Jess and we drove around for awhile to get a feel for my car. I then headed home and chilled and packed for the weekend, as I spent the night at my mom and stepdad’s Saturday night.

We woke up bright and early Saturday morning to head to Ingersoll. Luckily, my sister’s boyfriend just came here after he was done work so we were all in one place.  We were on the road by 6:30am and made it to Ingersoll in good time. We were able to pick up some breakfast and coffee at good ol’ Tim Hortons before we arrived at the house. We waited for my stepsister and niece at the house and then we all made out way out to the plant together, where we were meeting the bus. img_3161We arrived with plenty of time to spare and we all boarded the “cool” bus (a.k.a. the London Knights bus). This trip was also cool because it was the first time our whole blended family went on an outing together. My mom, stepdad, both step sisters, my sister, her boyfriend, and my two nieces were all there. The only person missing was my nephew, but he was ill and wasn’t able to come.img_3233

The buses departed shortly after 8:00am and we made our way down the 401 to Toronto, and then into the downtown core where the aquarium is located. It was all very exciting. We were able to skip the lines and head right in thanks to our advance tickets. Right from the very start my youngest niece was mesmerized by all the colourful fish. That was kind of short-lived, because once she turned around and realized there was more to see, she forgot all about the tiny aquarium in the entrance. It was the cutest thing!

We went through the first half of the aquarium and saw some pretty cool stuff. There were eels, and lobsters, and octopi…among many many others. img_3176The highlight for my oldest niece was the “Dory fish”, actually a royal blue tang or surgeonfish; the name of which was one of img_3213the many things I learned that day. The highlight of the first half of the aquarium for me were the sharks and the sea turtles. They had many species of sharks and it was very cool to see several species that I recognized. I managed a great “shark selfie” and took a beautiful photo of one of the turtles. img_3217It was easy to focus on the life around us while we were going through, as we were on a nifty moving sidewalk for the majority of the exhibit. It was all very cool.

After we finished going through the first half of the exhibit, we took a break for lunch in the lounge/canteen/play area. Food was for the most part reasonably priced, and not terrible either. We ate and chatted, as it felt good to sit down even if it wasn’t for too long. After she was done eating, my youngest niece wanted to go play, so I went with her so her mom could finish eating. We touched horseshoe crabs (well, I touched, she watched very intently), we went into a mock-submarine and watched the fish swim around us (and she posed for a cute little photo), and we went down a huge lobster-shaped slide. Well, it was huge for her, not so much for me. She insisted that we go down together, so i popped her into my lap and down we went. I bumped my head a few times on the way down, but her reaction made it well worth it. She was laughing so hard by the time we came out the bottom of the slide! After that, we rejoined the crew and continued on to the next half of the aquarium.

img_3247We saw sea horses and sea dragons, anemones and sea stars, rays and jellies. It was really quite impressive.  Part way through, we even had a family photo taken! By the gift shop, we were even able to touch the rays (stingrays with their barb removed) that came to the surface of their tank. It was around this time my youngest niece passed out in her mom’s lap. She was exhausted by all the excitement! The rest of us browsed the gift shop, or hung around the ray tank touching the rays as they went by. I purchased a stuffed sea turtle and a very pretty, very large wine glass for myself. I can’t wait to use the glass!img_3266

The whole crew was flagging a bit by this time, so we went for a bit of a walk in downtown Toronto looking for somewhere to get coffee. Luckily we found a Starbucks not too far off. We had coffee for us “adults” and juice for the kids, and we sat and chatted and rested a bit. A lot of people were in the area because the Raptors were playing basically next door to where we were having our coffee. Tons of people were surrounding the big screen outside the Air Canada Centre. They were just starting to disperse as we started to walk back to the aquarium to wait for our coach to pick us up. We sat outside and enjoyed the sun until it did arrive, which wasn’t long after.

The bus ride home was longer and very quiet as everyone was exhausted. I even had a short nap. It was a very fun day for everyone involved. Something we will hopefully be able to do again in the future.

Forest City Comicon 2015

What an amazing day today was.

 I cosplayed for the first time, and my costume was a hit apparently.
 I met Peter Williams (Apophis from Stargate SG-1) and got his autograph!

 I saw John Noble in his panel discussion; he is a brilliant, kind man and so down to earth.
  I walked a packed vendor floor, and sat in on some more great panels. My friend met and got a picture with one of her childhood heroes! 
¬†I even saw my friend compete in the cosplay contest. Today was amazing. I can’t wait until I can do it again!

The Early Bird

wpid-wp-1434291640912.jpegOn Saturday Grandma and I had another outing. This time it was my treat. We made plans weeks ago to get together and have a trip to the city’s core using public transit. Grandma had never been on a bus in Canada before yesterday and she is all for having new experiences! She had many yesterday, including going into her first comic book shop. She thoroughly enjoyed the day, just as I did.

We took the opportunity to try another new restaurant. This time we went to The Early Bird. It is a diner located here in London that was¬†featured on The Food Network, and has quite a reputation in the city. I have heard more than once that if you’re visiting London, you have to go there at least once. I have lived in this city for five years, and on Saturday I ate at The Early Bird for the first time.

The d√©cor is fun, and could be described as a bit “hipsterish”. There are old records on the walls, Elvis busts, movie and concert posters, and other random items including some bird cages. The walls are turquoise and pink, the bench seats are sparkly white vinyl and the chairs are zebra print. You wouldn’t think it would work, but somehow it does, and it makes for a¬†cozy¬†atmosphere.wpid-wp-1434291572705.jpeg And the food…the food I just fantastic. It’s diner food with a super delicious twist. I now understand why they say if you come to London you need to eat at The Early Bird at least once!

Their menu has a great selection¬†but it isn’t too big, which helps with the already difficult decision of what to order.

After much deliberation, I finally settled on the Turducken Deli Club. It is a clubhouse sandwich with shaved turkey breast, breaded chicken breast, duck bacon, arugula, and maple mayo…maybe some other things but I can’t remember. It is one of their signature dishes. Grandma decided to have a little breakfast for lunch and ordered the french toast. It included three slices of french toast, and lots of fruit and berries piled on top. Our server took our orders¬†in a timely manner, and was very personable considering the place very busy.¬†Our drinks arrived quickly, and our food came to our table in a reasonable amount of time as well. I couldn’t believe what I saw when our food arrived at the table.wpid-wp-1434291640913.jpeg

The sandwich was MASSIVE! And delicious, I might add! I ate the whole thing, even though it seemed like a daunting task at first glance. Grandma’s french toast was a giant serving as well. Three slices as thick as my sandwich bread. I think it was the same bread with berries and fruit piled¬†high on top of it all. Grandma was in shock at the amount of food on her plate. She enjoyed as much of it as she could. We were both stuffed, like¬†we were after The Byron Freehouse, by the time we finished eating. It was excellent, and I will be returning.

The rest of the outing consisted of walking through the Covent Garden Market, wandering around the Dundas Street festival, and a bit of window shopping along Richmond Row. We managed to kill about five hours by the time we made it back to my apartment. It was a really great day. A great day that included trying a new restaurant AND a new food!

Free Comic Book Day 2015

Saturday was Free Comic Book Day. Jay and I got up bright and early to join in the festivities. Below is a collection of photos from the day. Forgive the poor quality as they were taken with our phones.

In line bright and early!
Waiting with my Tim Horton’s coffee in hand.
Entry into the shop is in sight; the beginning of the sales!
This is what we have after only two shops!
The Dalek returns!
Storm trooper.
Second stop: LA Mood
In the line at stop 5: The Comic Book Collector
London’s very own Batmobile. Along with my usual mode of transportation, and our mode of choice for the day.
Finally inside The Comic Book Collector!
Last stop: Neo Tokyo
Very talented local artist.
The day’s haul! I’d call it a success!
Our haul even included some temporary tattoos!

We made excellent time and we were home by 2pm, even after waiting in all of the lines. It was truly a great day and I can’t wait for its return next year!

Tea at Eldon House

A week ago Jay and I did something we have never done before and we are so glad that we did. We had afternoon tea at Eldon House, a local historic landmark and museum. The grounds and the house are both beautiful and I think the city is lucky to have this gem.


We had tea as a part of their summer tea program. With this program, they serve tea from 2:00pm to 4:00pm on the west lawn Tuesday to Sunday from the end of June to the end of August. The price is very reasonable for what you get as well. You have your choice of four loose leaf teas, scones, fresh fruit with butter, jam and cream. It was delicious.

We wandered around ¬†for a little bit before we sat down to tea. The grounds were very pretty. The gardens are lovely and smell just amazing. I’m sure I could sit in the gardens for hours! We easily spent the full two hours there. When we did actually sit down for tea, Jay went with the more¬†traditional earl grey, and I tried a pomegranate lavender green tea.

It was a beautiful set up on the veranda
This little nook was my favourite place in the yard. We sat here for a while before we actually sat down to take our tea.

We were surprised at how busy it was, as many tables were filled aside from our own. There were several mothers and daughters, and it looked like a whole family as well. There was a lot of activity, but it also did not seem too crazy. The service was also phenomenal, considering we were served by museum volunteers. After tea, we toured the inside of the house, the actual museum. It’s a very neat experience and I would recommend visiting Eldon House at least once.

The whole experience overall was excellent and we will definitely before going back. If not again this summer, then definitely more than once next summer!

Everything was excellent… right down to the strawberries and cream!

If you want to learn more about Eldon House, its history and its events, you can find it all here.

Featherbone Place

Over the weekend we did a little bit of adventuring and it was quite enjoyable. It wasn’t adventuring of a photographic nature as most of our adventures have been of late, but it could have been if we chose. This time I opted to just enjoy the experience for what it was, and Jay followed suit.

There is an old building downtown (among many others) that will be undergoing some extensive renovations and restoration starting in the fall. This past Saturday the owners of the building held an open house to give interested members of the public a peek inside the building before the work begins. In its current state, the building is almost completed gutted but it retains some of the features that gave it its character, including some leaded stained-glass windows and an iron spiral staircase. It is really quite a neat place, even empty.

Now for a little bit of history about the place: This building was built in 1893 to house the Featherbone Corset Company. Over the years it also housed a shoe warehouse, a men’s clothing store and an antiques shop. It opened as a men’s clothing store in 1971 owned and run by Bud Gowan who later became a local icon of sorts. The clothing store closed at this location in the 1980’s when it moved elsewhere. At this time Bud ‘retired’ for the first time from his clothing store which continued to be run by his son. In the early 1990’s Bud reopened the place as an antiques store and remained open until 2012 when he retired a final time. He sold the building to its current owners John and Nancy Fyfe-Millar.

The current owners have big plans for the building with a 2-storey apartment to be built on the upper two floors of the 4-storey building, open up retail/office space on the second floor, and a wine bar/lounge on the main level and in the basement. I think this plan has some pretty great potential. They have called it Featherbone Place as an homage to the original company the building was built for.

It was a very interesting and fun experience exploring the inside of this historic building complete with coffee and doughnuts! I have walked past it for years while I have been downtown, be it for work or recreation. Seeing it now, makes me regret not visiting the antiques store when it was still open. I had been curious about it for a long time, and when I saw the advertisement for the open house I jumped at the chance to get a look inside. It has great bones and it will look great when all the work is completed. I even may have had a ‘paranormal experience’ of sorts while I was there. I’m not sure what it was, but it was certainly something out of the ordinary. Below I have shared some photos of highlights from the visit – forgive the poor quality, but they were taken with our cell phones.

Hanging out on the third floor. Every floor has great big open spaces.
London's oldest working elevator.
London’s oldest working elevator.
The iron spiral staircase. Not  a great picture of my, but you can see the workmanship that went into this, even if it does look a little bit dangerous.
The iron spiral staircase. Not a great picture of me, but you can see the workmanship that went into this, even if it does look a little bit dangerous.
Paranormal or not? This is the photo of my possible paranormal experience.
Paranormal or not? This is the photo of my possible paranormal experience. I was just trying to take a picture of the natural stone foundation. There are a couple bricked up windows that are below grade today. To me it looks like there is sun shining in the far window, which is impossible! What do you think?

I am hoping that once renovations begin, the owners of Featherbone Place with hold another open house to share the progress of the restoration. I can assure you I will be going back if that is the case. If you are interested in more information about this location, you can check it out on Facebook. They have a page called Featherbone Place where they have been and will continue to share photos and updates. The building is located at 387 Clarence Street here in London, Ontario if you are interested in checking it out for yourself.