Saturday, May 28, 2011

More weird things about Calgary

You knew it wasn't over, right? Calgary's different. I'm not saying bad, just different.
  • It's dry. I mean really dry. Mia's hair has a wave in Ontario - here it's straight. I'm slathering on the lotion like nobody's business just to keep my skin from cracking. Saline nasal spray is a household necessity. Now, lately there've been rainfall warnings and a week of rain, so it's not been quite as dry, but still. On the plus side, my cloth diapers hung up after washing dry in just a few hours here, compared to a day and a half in Ontario.
  • It's dirty. Don't take this personally, Calgarians. Not using salt on the roads during winter (it gets too cold for that) leaves little option but sand for winter driving. Only, it seems to be a mix of sand and pea gravel. By spring there is a swath 6 feet wide on both sides of every road of grit and stones. Oh, it will be cleaned up... by July, they say. Meanwhile, every other car has a giant crack across the windshield because of the flying gravel.
  • It's windy. Very windy. One time, my husband and I were going for a walk with Mia in the stroller, canopy up to block the wind, when my husband said, "Hey, I don't even have to push!" Sure enough, he let go and Mia was blown across the field we were walking in by the wind at such a rate that I had to really dash to get my hands on the handle of the stroller. Yes, Calgary tried to steal my baby.
  • It has private parks. Some neighbourhoods have these fenced-in green areas. I mean big ones, with lakes and such. I guess Some People don't want the riff-raff spoiling their scenery?
  • It claims to have friendly people. Okay, but where? I have met a number of friendly people here - but they are all from somewhere else! The friendly folks I have met here are from Toronto, Edmonton, England and Ireland. The one native Calgarian I've met (not in a social situation, this was a cab driver) spent some minutes complaining about how unfriendly it is elsewhere... and on my daily walks with Mia, it's me (the Ontario transplant) saying good morning to the people I see on the trails and them reluctantly meeting my gaze and grunting. Am I hanging out in the wrong neighbourhood or something? Maybe all the friendly people are in the north end of C-town. Yeah, I'm calling it C-town.
  • Milk. Where I come from, milk comes in bags. It's tidy, it's handy, it keeps better, it's the Canadian way. Here in Calgary, milk comes American-style, in an unwieldy 4L plastic jug that is heavy, gets gross crusties around the rim, and you have to return the darn thing to some place called the Bottle Depot to get your deposit back. Ugh! What a stupid system.
  • Liquor is available everywhere. I know that's not exclusive to Calgary, but in Ontario if you want to get loaded, you're making a stop at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario stores (LCBO) or at the Beer Store. Those are the only two options (okay, unless you shop at the lame wine kiosks in the grocery store that have very limited selection, or make your own). Here it's wide open. The Real Canadian Superstore has an associated liquor store. The Costco even has one. There are independent liquor stores. There is booze everywhere. I like it.
Ah, Calgary. What a freaky city.

One thing that is awesome about Calgary is the proximity to the mountains (Wait - it's great because it's near great things? hmm. Would I be more great if my next door neighbour was great?). This weekend, we're heading to Banff to do some hiking and hoary marmot spotting. I love those hairy little guys. Just look at that cutie over there.

Did you miss my first Weird Things about Calgary post?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Glup bebe bandana Review & Deal Alert!

The fabulous Erica (aka Mama Ash) at Everything Mom and Baby sent me a Glup bébé bandana to review! This is a fairly new product in her store and, I think, a great addition to her lineup of products that aren't widely available in Canada.

The Glup bébé bandana has ties at the sides to make it quite adjustable and a panel at the back to keep the sun off sensitive skin! (My husband calls it a 'nape cape'.) It comes in two sizes. We were sent the six month size, but although Mia is just under four months, I thought it fit very well (and will fit all summer long).

While we were in Ontario last weekend, we got to try it out on one of the few sunny days they've had recently. Here's how it looks from the back:She's pretty wiggly, it's hard to adjust because of that, but you can see the back panel (which got folded over on her) is nice and wide. And from the front:There's my happy girl! Yep, adorable. Mia's rockin' the Romance print, and there are lots of other prints to choose from.

Glup products are made in Quebec. There's also a Glup drool bib available at Everything Mom and Baby - very cute! Mia's drooling up a storm lately so I've got my eye on these.

And right now there is a BIG SALE at Everything Mom and Baby on Glup products! The bandanas are on for $8 (from $15) and the bibs are $6.95 (from $9.95) (prices in Canadian dollars). Check them out here - the sale's on until May 31st!

If I have a complaint about the Glup bébé bandana, it's this: I tossed it in the washer (with my whites, on hot) and dryer, and it came out so wrinkly that I had to iron it before Mia could wear it again. I am not an ironer if I can help it, so I found that to be a pain. Of course, on looking at the Glup site I see that the bandana is meant to be hand-washed or cold washed and air-dried, so it's on me for not following directions. However... who really hand-washes baby clothes? That's just crazy talk. Not that a hat needs frequent washing (or is that just me?), but still. Anyway, no harm done - I just took the couple seconds to iron it and it is back to looking great. It just won't get washed that often at our house is all.

I am a big fan of Everything Mom and Baby's commitment to stocking interesting (and often Canadian) products - like cloth diapers (including Charlie Banana diapers, which I love), laundry and mum and baby products. Erica is really nice as well! I recommend following her blog and liking her Facebook page for the latest news. Here's a tip: the Everything Mom and Baby blog often hosts giveaways!

A big thank you to Erica at Everything Mom and Baby for the opportunity to try out the Glup bandana! We love it. We were sent the product to review and keep, but our opinions are our own!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

First airplane ride and a couple of good movies

Mia handled her first airplane rides quite well! Two four-hour flights down, at least two more to go before the summer's out (maybe four), and two giant ones to come in the fall when we travel to Europe.

She managed to wet herself about 10 minutes before takeoff on the way back to Calgary and so cried for the half hour it took for the seatbelt sign to come off. I'm sure the rest of the passengers were rolling their eyes and thinking she would cry the whole way home. Of course not! As soon as her diaper was changed, she was happy again. She slept most of both flights. What a good traveler!

By the end of this year she will have been to 6 countries and logged over 36 hours of flying.

Also, I watched two good movies recently that are worth checking out. Although I watch rather a lot of movies, I don't usually write movie reviews. Mostly I find movies are rehashes of the same old same old, or even close duplicates of each other (case in point: No Strings Attached vs Love, Sex and Other Drugs - if you've seen these you will know what I mean. And if you're going to watch one or the other, LS&OD is much more intelligent).

The first of the two I'm recommending today: Limitless. This didn't get a lot of press (that I saw - granted, I don't get out much and can't remember the last time I saw a movie in the theatre. I usually watch everything online). It had some weird, surreal moments, especially at the beginning, which I really liked. It has action, good-looking people, and a plot that really makes you think, with a couple of twists that keep it interesting. Recommended for a movie night!

The second movie I can recommend is called Me and You and Everyone We Know (from 2005). It's quirky and definitely for grown-ups (it has some very odd, non-graphic sexual discussion). It's about... people, I guess, and connections or relationships. I liked the indy quality (it's no Hollywood blockbuster). Definitely worth a watch if you're in the mood for something interesting and provocative. I saw this one on the plane back home and was surprised that such an interesting, off-the-beaten-track film was offered on Air Canada.

So there you go. A couple of goodies to look out for.

Coming soon: a review of the Glup bébé bandanna from Everything Mom and Baby