Tuesday, December 31, 2002

It's already 2003 in most parts of the world. It's about 9 hours away where I live. We're not doing anything super-spectacular tonight as Mark has to work really early tomorrow early (or late tonight -- around 4 a.m.). We're not big "new years" folks anyway. Most of the time we just stay home and avoid the chaos quietly. We're going to take his dad out for an early dinner and then get to bed well before midnight.

Yesterday, other than groceries and errands, I didn't do too much. I'm just puttering around the house again today, getting caught up on laundry and general tidying up. I felt kind of flu-ey yesterday so that's probably why I didn't accomplish much.

I took my new breadmaker for a test drive this morning and it worked really well. Yesterday I picked up some groceries and got the ingredients for it. I didn't realize that milk powder was reccommended over actual milk. The first loaf I made was a little over-done on the one end. This made it a little difficult to get out of the pan but eventually I was able to shake it out. Mark came home for a break shortly after I had taken it out so we each tried a slice. For a first attempt it was very good. I was a little suprised by some of the noises the machine was making. It's a very cool little gizmo. I'm looking forward to trying some whole grain breads in it (I just made simple white bread today). The best part of it all was the smell. The whole house, every corner of it, smelled like fresh bread!!

We've now used each of the new appliances we bought at least once and they're all very good. Our kitchen is getting very full but I don't mind the clutter at all because we're actually cooking more and using all these nifty gadgets. I'm sure that they're going to save us money in the long run and we'll definitely be eating better quality food because of that. That's one of my goals for the new year (I have a few, I haven't written them down yet), to get back into our healthier eating thing. We're both committed to it so I know that we'll be able to do that.

Overall, 2002 was a good year for me I think. I really enjoyed my job this year and feel that I'm getting better at it all the time. We accomplished a lot around the house, we still have a lot left to do but a home is a work in progress (I think anyway). I'm looking forward to the new year, to getting back to work and into a routine again. I think that 2003 will definitely be a good year for us.

Hopefully 2003 will be good for you too, Happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 29, 2002

I can't believe that today is almost over already. I had a nice day for the most part. We had a half lazy / half busy day. This morning, we slept in after having stayed up very late (for us) last night. After our nap in the afternoon neither one of us felt sleepy at the regular time so we started watching Sidewalks of New York on the movie channel. I thought that it was cute. I generally like Edward Burns and the rest of the cast was good too (Heather Graham, Stanley Tucci, Aida Turturro). It was very heavily influenced by Woody Allen, the dialogue was very similar to something he might do. The actual quality of the shots and the editing was very good. Apparently it was shot hand held with available light and it made for a very good looking film.

This morning, we slept in and then Mark made us breakfast. It was a big meal and very very yummy, kept us both going until dinner time. I had taped Eastenders on Friday night so we watched that over coffee, after breakfast. We decided to finally bite the bullet and hit the malls and spend some of our Christmas cash. After pricing things at the Bay we went down through the mall to Sears to check them out. The small appliance department at Sears was so much better than the Bay. They had a far better selection of brands and styles at Sears. The prices were about the same but the selection at the Bay was pretty dismal. I was looking for a breadmaker and found a Black & Decker model at the Bay but they only had the 2 lb loaf size and I really didn't need one that big. At Sears, they had the 1.5 lb size (which is what I wanted) and it was on sale (bonus!). Mark had been wanting a WaterPik Flosser and we found one at Sears, on sale. We also grabbed a Rice Cooker (I used it tonight for dinner, it's amazing, I can't imagine making rice without one again!). I was a little disappointed that we couldn't get any Club Z points for our purchases (we would have at the Bay) but being able to pick everything up in one spot more than made up for it.

I was pretty beat after over an hour in the mall. I can't believe that I used to enjoy schlepping around the mall when I was a teenager. The air quality was so bad and the people wandering around looked like zombies. At least we had a mission, a list and a purpose for being there. I did not want to be one of those people in the Hallmark Store, fighting over marked down, leftover cards that no one wanted before Christmas.

We then drove down the road to the Futureshop to pick up a DVD-Rom drive and an uninterrupted power supply for our computer. Again, it was busy in there but we knew exactly what wanted (having researched the local suppliers online) so we were able to get in and out realitively easily (and, again with the points -- Air Canada Aeroplan Miles come with all purchases over $50 there).

So we put a goodly sized dent in our holiday money. I have a couple of things I still want to pick up that I couldn't find today and I need to go to the grocery store for some ingredients for my breadmaker. I'm going to take it for a test drive tomorrow. Should be fun, and it should (hopefully) smell yummy too! Home made, not full of chemicals and junk bread, here we come!

Saturday, December 28, 2002

Wow. I just got up from a nap. An actual nap. I can't remember the last time I did that. It felt wonderful. I started out reading and ended up sleeping and three hours later...boom, here I am. Naps are wonderful. They are inexpensive and calorie free, I highly endorse naps!
When I woke up this morning, I lay in bed for a while, planning out what I'd do with this day....ha! Plans are great, they're up there with lists. You make 'em and then, if you feel like it, you ignore them...that's what I'm doing today, so far anyway.

I have a project that I want to get done here in our office / computer room and our living room. We have a big pile of boxes in here and I want to clear them out and sort through them. I fully intend to get this done before I go back to work on January 6. At the bottom of the pile are three black shelving units which I want to move downstairs to our living room. At the moment, we have a wooden shelving unit from IKEA at one end of our living room. We used to have our television and stereo equipment on this unit but we moved things around in the summer and we're not using it for that purpose anymore. Right now, we just have cd's and movies piled up on it and it's a little bit too "heavy duty" to just do that with so I want to move it up here. My plan is to empty out this room and then empty the shelves downstairs. I'd like to move the STEN unit up here and fill it with any boxes that are left after I sort through everything. Then, I'll use these funky black shelves to display stuff in the living room. I think that in both rooms, it'll be a better use of the space and will look a lot better when it's done.

I had thought, earlier this morning, that I'd just jump out of bed and get going with it. So far that's not happened but I might get started on it later on today. I'm still waiting for my caffeine to properly kick in. I've been taking some pictures of the chaos so I'll post some more of them later, before and after shots I guess, when it's all done.

Friday, December 27, 2002

I can't believe how insane things still are. I went out this morning to visit some friends for our "holiday visit." They live in the west end of town and I live in the north end of town so it was a bit of a drive, not bad but not across the street if you know what I mean. So driving over there, it was pretty early and the traffic was steady but not bad. Driving home several hours later it was like they emptied all the local retirement homes (and if you have ever been to Kingston, you'll know that this is a lot) and gave vehicles to all of the residents.

It was quite scary. Lots of old guys in hats driving too slow...or turning without signalling or...signalling and not doing anything at all...or, my favourite, just stopping in the middle of a busy street for no apparent reason. I understand that these people just want to keep some of their independence but I hope that when I get to that point in my life, I can take cabs where and when I want. I don't want to be so frightened when I'm driving that I'm a danger to myself and everyone else around. Yikes!!

The visit with my friends was very nice. I don't see them as often as I'd like. Every year we try to get together more often and every year, we fail at it miserably and end up just hooking up at Christmas.

We ventured back to the grocery store tonight to get some odds and ends of things that we were running out of, it was a pretty quick trip. We took Mark's dad with us and he got a few things too. Mark was keen to go to the sales and check out the "Boxing Week" specials but I really didn't feel like dealing with that much humanity so I suggested that we wait until Sunday when things calm down a bit. The traffic was intense when we were coming out of the grocery store. Kingston doesn't have much a "rush hour" (it's more like a "rush 15 minutes") but traffic was completely congested in the neighbourhood where the grocery store is located. Luckily we don't need to go anywhere or do anything in particular for the next few days so we can just stay put. As always, I'm glad to be home.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

Twas the day after Christmas...

We had a really nice day yesterday. We had a lovely meal at my folks' place and I think that everyone enjoyed themselves. My mum really liked her sweater (I was a little nervous about it because it wasn't a style that I think she'd ordinarily pick out for herself) and she made me a beautiful fleece jacket. She made Mark a great vest (also fleece). She was busy sewing. Pat (my brother) got a totally spiffy scarf, Mark's dad got a really nice vest and she made my dad a gorgeous shirt. I got some wonderful CD's (Pavement's Slanted & Enchanted: Luxe & Deluxe double CD from Mark and Runstop-restore's Single Sided/Triple Density, The Glen Nevous Retraction's Sell, Fiftymen's After Darkfall and a Music for Cats Compilation from my brother - he appears on the Music For Cats disc) so I have lots of good listening. I also got the "My So-Called Life" DVD Box from Mark's Dad (yay!!!) and Pulp Fiction and the Pavement "Slow Century" double DVD from Mark.

We started watching Slow Century last night and it's amazing. All of Pavement's videos plus a documentary plus oodles of concert footage, it's terrific! The Pulp Fiction set looks terrific. There is an entire second disc of outtakes and extra stuff.

Mark got some DVD's too. He got the South Park 1st Season DVD Box, "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming," "Yellow Submarine," and "Dog Day Afternoon" on DVD.

It was a very relaxing and pleasant day all around but I'm glad that it's behind us now for another year, I am always glad when it's over I guess. Today has been a rather lazy day. I've just been puttering around the house a bit, doing some laundry, nothing terribily exciting. I'm glad that we decided against fighting the Boxing Day crowds for the sales. The "sales" aren't as great as they make out and I'd rather go look around on the weekend when things calm down a bit. I got some money for Christmas and am thinking that I'd like to pick up a bread maker if I can find a Black & Decker one on sale.

On the way home from my folks' yesterday, I snapped this photo. It was pretty overcast and trying to snow outside. This shot is of Collins Bay, partially frozen.

Collins Bay on Christmas Day

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Well it's Christmas morning, yippee huh? For me, the older I get, the less significant / fun / whatever Christmas is. I mean, it will be nice when we get together with my folks' this afternoon and I'm really looking forward to seeing my brother but I think that Christmas loses something when you become an "adult." I got up a couple of hours ago and peeked out our bathroom window. Only one house on our street was completely lit up. I suspect that the inhabitants must have small children visiting. The rest of our particular section of the street are either retirees, dinks (double income, no kids) or young parents (they have wee little ones who don't freak out over Santa - yet).

So our street is very quiet this morning. It feels much earlier than it is. I guess that not having the buses running makes things very still out there. I did get all my baking done yesterday and it all turned out well. I got my rugelach made and I think it turned out much better than last year. I also made some lemon bars and something called "Yum Yum Squares" which are VERY yummy. A little too yummy, if you know what I mean. Last night I bundled up packages of assorted cookies, one to take to my mum's, one for Mark's dad. When I put everything together in the packages, it looked really nice. When I looked up into my cupboard and saw a bunch of tins piled up, it didn't look like much. Standing back last night, looking at the packages though, I can see the fruits of my labour and I think I did a good job.

I heard a rumour that "Santa" was giving me some Godiva coffee for Christmas so I may go put that on. Happy Christmas everyone.

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Faces of Strummer that fell from your wall
And nothing was left where they hung
So sweet and bitter, they're what we found
So drink them down and...

(Walk out to winter - Aztec Camera)

Someone on the Hefner list I'm on posted this this morning, I'd almost completely forgotten about that line (the poster had picked it up from an Aztec Camera list yesterday). I'm a little embarassed to admit that, given how many years Aztec Camera spent on my turntable. You can really see how far Joe Strummer's influence reached when almost every music-related list I'm on has had a thread about his passing over the past 24 hours.

I did get a visit from my friend yesterday, it was great to see her. She's attending grad school in Alberta so she's only home a couple of times a year. We had a big pot of tea and a great visit. I got my shortbread cookies done while she was here too. This morning I have to get my rugelach done. Last year was the first time I'd made it and it was pretty popular. This recipe is pretty easy and they turned out really well. Last year was the first time my Jewish father-in-law joined us for Christmas so I wanted to make something "Hanukkah-y" for him. I spoke with my mum last night and she sounded happy that I was doing all of this baking, not that she's not done a tonne too but I think that she likes my stuff because I always do different things (well different from her anyway - I try a lot of new stuff every year - or try to try anyway!).

So I'm back in the groove of it again, I've regained a little bit of seasonal cheer. If I can avoid reading the news today I should be able to hang on to it for another day or so, here's hoping anyway!

Monday, December 23, 2002

I'm feeling very sad but I feel a lot less angry than I did a few hours ago. I did what I said I would, I put some Clash on, loud, and had a cry. When Mark came home for a break this morning he hadn't heard the news yet so he figured that I was just "rocking out" while I did my housework. He was a little surprised at the news but not completely. We've heard about so many deaths recently that it's getting hard to be shocked about such things I guess. I felt totally gutted when I read about Joe's death, weakened...it's hard to explain. The shock manifested itself in a really physical way and I felt like I was going to be ill.

I can't honestly say that I have any kind of "christmas" spirit left (whatever that is anyway). The snow we got on Saturday is gone and the sky is grey. The ground is mucky and brown. It's mild but damp outside. It doesn't feel like a festive time, a time for celebrating...I'll be happy to see the end of December. We need a new year, a fresh start, and we need it to get here quickly.

I did manage to get my houswork done though. I started last night and did the downstairs, I did the upstairs and the washroom this morning. At least the house is finally clean. I've got laundry to do today. A friend of mine is home from school this week and she'll be here in a couple of hours for a visit. I've got more baking to do but I'm not sure how much of it I'll actually get to. I wish I felt more like getting into this stuff but I just don't.
How is this possible?

I just woke up to find out that Joe Strummer has passed away. I can't even believe it. He was only 50 fucking years old. First Mary Hansen two weeks ago, then Zal last week, now this. What the hell is going on? Who's next? I feel so angry and sad right now that I can't even find the right words at the moment. I think I need to go downstairs, put on some Clash really loud and have a cry. This is just really wrong.

Saturday, December 21, 2002

What a difference a day makes...
I took these pictures this morning from roughly the same spots as yesterday's. At least I don't think we'll have to mow next week now!

A shot of our backyard
taken from our bedroom window (facing east).

A shot of our street taken from our
bathroom window (facing south).

It's a winter wonderland outside (again, finally?) and I've been baking inside this morning. So far I've made some coconut fudge squares and am getting stuff together for sugar cookies. It smells really chocolately in here!

Friday, December 20, 2002

All I can say is that it's about freakin' time.

Our Supreme Court has been busy over the past couple of weeks. They've been busy putting some things right. Some days it feels good to be a Canadian, this is one of them!
Not exactly "the great white north"...

Well, all the snow is totally gone now, I took some pictures of our yard about 20 minutes ago (click on them to see a bigger version if you're interested:

A shot of my backyard taken from our bedroom window (facing east).

A shot of our street taken from our bathroom window (facing south)

If we ever get any more snow, I'll try get some "winter wonderland" snaps...if that ever happens. I'm not sentimental about snow or anything but it would be nice to see some snow for the holidays.

I've had a pretty lazy day so far. We both slept in a little bit this morning which was nice. I didn't feel much like doing anything in particular so that's what I did, nothing in particular. I did tidy up a little bit downstairs and I found all of my baking recipes and got them sorted out. I realized that I forgot to pick up a few things but I have enough on hand to get a good start on it all tomorrow.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

It's beginning to look a lot like....March?

It's seriously drippy outside. The snow is almost gone and the roads are covered with sandy wet muck that is spraying all over anyone and everything on or near the streets. Christmas-y it's not! At least the icy patch on our door step (watch out for the icy patch!) is melting, finally. We've experienced a strange phenomenon this year...the south end of our house is splattered with birdie poo-poo. Our house has pale blue vinyl siding on it so it's very noticeable. Our next door neighbour has a berry-covered hedge beside the top of our driveway. I think that the neighbour-birdies are chowing down on the berries and, whenever a car drives by (and our street is very busy, we're on a city bus route), they fly away and subsequently cover the side of our house with poo. The poo is also very non-Christmas-y.

I've definitely been busy since I started my vacation earlier this week. Last night, we took Mark's dad with us when we got our groceries. We totally stocked up and spent a small fortune but we got really good stuff. I needed a lot of baking stuff (I'm baking this weekend) and we were low on some staples...and we really don't want to have to go to the store any more than absolutely necessary this weekend. There were a lot of people in the store but they also had a decent number of staff on so it all went really smoothly. I think that going out at 4 p.m. (rather than 5 p.m. - which is our usual time to go) made a huge difference. Joe took us out for dinner after groceries (which was a very nice treat). He was craving chicken so we went to the chalet and actually had an enjoyable meal. For the longest time, I never enjoyed eating there but recently, I've found something on their menu that I actually like (their club wrap sandwich).

We were out quite late though (for us anyway)...it was after 7 by the time we got home and got the groceries put away. I know that doesn't seem really late but when you go to bed at 8:30...it is! I drove Mark to work again this morning so I'd have the car. I took my camera with me this morning, I had hoped to get some pictures of the moon. It looked totally beautiful yesterday morning but this morning it was completely "obscured by clouds" so I couldn't take any pictures. It was a pity too, I may have to start taking my camera with me in the mornings now, just in case. I am kicking myself today for not taking any pictures yesterday.

I've been on the road pretty much since 8:30 this morning. I had banking to do for Mark's dad, stuff to do at my folks...had to pick Joe up at noon and take him for a haircut... I can see how retired folks can say that they used to have more time to themselves when they were working... tomorrow will be a me day. I'm going to sleep in a little bit and then do housework. Maybe I'll watch a couple of more episodes of my "Once and Again" DVD box. At least I don't have to be anywhere or do anything particular tomorrow.

I guess my "vacation" actually begins on Friday!

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

I started my holidays yesterday, the day was a bit of a blur. I had to go into the office for a few hours in the morning. The time flew by and I managed to get everything pressing off of my desk and the rest of it is now ready to be tackled in the new year.

I spent the afternoon in the mall. I hate the mall. The mall is generally a place that I try to avoid at all costs. I much prefer to shop online or via mail order, or, if I have to go to the mall, I like to go in, get what I need and get back out as soon as I possibily can. Over the past couple of years, we have really cut back on the number of gifts and the amount of money we spend on the holidays. I just don't feel that it is necessary to overspend anymore (yes, I used to be very guilty of this in the past) so we have a small list of folks who we give gifts to and I try to be as practical (with some fun thrown in) as I possibily can be. Unfortunately, although I have a small list, I wasn't sure what I was going to get for some of the people on our list. The mall was not insanely busy but it was busy enough. I also was dressed completely inappropriately for the day as well.

When we woke up yesterday morning, it was like minue 17 outside so I wore a turtle neck and a heavy sweater to work. By the time I got to the mall though, the sun was out and it had really warmed up a lot. I was so warm in the mall, and I'm still coughing and suffering a bit with this stupid head cold that I've had so, after about an hour of shopping, I was about ready to pass out. I didn't though, I just found a bench in the middle of the madness and checked my list (and found a cough drop). I asked a woman on the cash in one of the stores how they do it, work in the heat and the dryness. She confessed that they all find it really hard and that they drink gallons of water and suck on a lot of mints to try and keep themselves from choking on dust.

While I was sitting there, my aunt and uncle walked by. They're retired and apparently, for fun, they walk around the mall on a regular basis (they were just there for a walk yesterday - they had been there on Monday as well). I can think of about five million other things that I would rather do for exercise instead of walking around amongst a bunch of over-perfumed, big-haired, high-maintenance, whiney-mall-women with their screaming, crying, whining monsters (errr, children). I also don't understand how you can "exercise" in an environment that is completely lacking any oxygen.

Anyway, I did get the majority of my shopping finished. When Mark finished work, we went out to Walmart to pick up some bird seed for our new feeder and some rock salt (we're supposed to get some freezing rain tomorrow) and a couple of other odds and ends. The really strange thing was that it was not very busy out there either. I don't know whether everyone is waiting until the weekend to shop or maybe everyone is just shopping less or something. It struck me as odd anyway. We did have an interesting run in with this cow while we were at Walmart. We were walking into the store and noticed that this stupid woman in a van was parking her vehicle in the fire route, next to the handicapped spaces. I know that when there is some snow on the ground it is tough to see the lines on the parking lots and this makes some folks just park willy-nilly anywhere but this was so obvious. She was parked right next to a huge sign that said "tow-away zone / fire route / no parking." She was getting out of her vehicle as we passed by and I called out to her that she was parked illegally (it's Christmas time, I didn't want to see her get towed). She gives me a digusted look and says "I'm just doing what everyone else always does." Mark turns to her and says, "Oh, well, if EVERYONE does something illegal that may endanger the folks in the store I guess It's ALRIGHT then." I walked up to the customer service folks when we got into the store to report her for blocking the fire route and she was right behind me, yelling (again) that she wasn't doing anything that everyone else was doing. I'm not sure what happened after that because we walked away from her, I hope she got towed, she sure deserved it.

This morning our car is in the shop getting a new muffler, allignment, front right tire...and some other stuff...so I'm just poking around the house getting a few things done while I wait to hear back from them. When I get the car back this afternoon, I'm going to do some errands (banking, post office) and hopefully completely finish up. We're taking Mark's dad for groceries tonight so we won't have to deal with that on the weekend (I hope to not have to go anywhere near the stores on the weekend - at least not for anything big). We're going to try to stock up for the next 10 days or so. I don't know what it is about the holidays that just make me want to hibernate. Too much humanity I suspect.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

It looks and feels very wintery outside right now. I hope it warms up later on, at the moment it's -17 degrees celsius. I don't know what the wind chill is but I'm sure it's nasty. I hope to get all my errands done this afternoon and don't really want to freeze my buttocks off doing them.

This morning I was thinking about a camera I used to have. It was an inexpensive, point and shoot, 35mm camera and I had it for years and years. When we moved into this house just over 2 years ago, it went missing. It may actually be in this house somewhere but I doubt it. I last remember seeing it on the kitchen counter just before the movers arrived, I have no idea where it could be. At the time, I thought that I may have imagined seeing it in the kitchen and that I had actually left it in my office at the restaurant (we owned a restaurant at that time). When we closed the restaurant, I tore the office apart looking for it and never found it. The reason I still think about the camera is because it had a film in it that I'd really like to get developed. There were pictures of an event we had at the restaurant on that roll. I had also taken pictures at a party we had for a friend who was visiting from Australia on that film.

Maybe I'll find my long lost camera when I start ripping through boxes and re-organizing our home office during the Christmas break. I wonder how old a film has to be before you can't get it developed anymore.

Monday, December 16, 2002

Things are picking up a bit, I think that the clementine oranges I had for lunch helped. Maybe I just needed a little jolt of sugar. The sunshine is helping too. It's mostly been cloudy today. We had some snow overnight last night but the temperature dropped this morning so the windchill has been really biting. It does look very pretty though. I will have to get some pictures of our yard with the snow. It actually looks Christmassy (is that a word?) now.

Tomorrow I'm finished work at noon and plan to go out and do the last of my holiday-type shopping. I made a list a while ago and have been very good at sticking to it. I'm not spending more than I can afford, I'm actually staying to a budget. Weird. Good, but weird. I don't think it'll be too busy out there in shopping land. Going in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week, will make it easier I hope. I still have to do my baking yet, and clean up my house, but I have a whole week off before Christmas to get that done. Holidays rock!
My heart is just not into the work today. I think that part of it is that I am beginning my vacation tomorrow and part of it is that we've heard some very sad news over the weekend. Zalman Yanovsky, a local restaurateur and a former member of the Lovin' Spoonful, passed away suddenly on the weekend. He was at his home just outside of town. He was very young (58) and his sudden death was a shock to everyone in the community. I keep thinking about his wife and daughter and the huge loss they must be feeling right now.

Over the past twelve months, I've been to more funerals and memorial services than I had in the three years before that combined. Losing friends and family members, particularly young people, forces you to re-examine your priorities. I know that people say it all the time, but you really do have to make the most out of every day that you're on this planet because you never know when it'll end.
Wow, I didn't write anything yesterday. I just realized it. We had a bit of a lazy day yesterday. We were up early and went out for breakfast with Mark's dad. We came right home after that and just vegged out around the house. Well, I vegged out. Mark actually worked on the computer most of the afternoon, doing some upgrades and some maintenance stuff. A few weeks ago, I picked up a copy of the "Once and Again" first season, DVD boxed set on eBay. Yesterday was really the first time I've had a chance to sit down and watch any of it.

I was a fan of the show but had missed the pilot somehow. I really enjoyed it, and am enjoying the whole box. Watching them again reminded me of how well written the shows were and how perfect the casting was. Watching the program, particularly the "family" scenes, seem voyeuristic somehow, like you're peeking into the window of someone's home. I think that the chemistry amongst the actors is terrific. I hope that they decide to release the rest of the series like this because I'd definitely like to see it again.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

Well, I'm not really sure who notices stuff like this but I have been rearranging things on this page a little bit. I've also got a new domain but I don't have that all sorted out yet so I'm still using my standard isp-issued address until further notice. I'm happy with the way this is shaping up. I know that it's very simple and barebones but it's a start. I'm happy to be moving away from a pre-determined blogger template. I'm still a little new to this html stuff (well, not new exactly, just really rusty).

So far I've had a very nice, quiet Saturday. Mark's working today so I was up early this morning with him. I baked some cookies for him and tidied up a little bit (not a lot!) but haven't had a shower yet so that's next on my list. I got working on this page and boy, does the time ever fly when you're plunking away at something in front of the machine. I thought that I'd been here about an hour and soon realized that it had been 3 hours...yikes.

Friday, December 13, 2002

I'm so relieved that we're getting closer to the solstice. It will be so nice when the days start getting longer again. It's so dismal lately, how dark it is for so long in the morning. I'm generally up around 5 a.m. and the sun doesn't usually show it's face until after 7 a.m. and by the time I'm leaving work at 4:30 p.m., it's already well past "sun glass" time.

It seems this week that everyone in our neighbourhood who was going to go nuts with Christmas lights, has. We decided against it this year. Ordinarily, we decorate our front yard with a lot of lights but given the cost of hydro and the fact that we're all supposed to be cutting back on our electricity consumption, we thought that we'd do our bit and try to keep that kind of thing to a minimum. I must say though, it is pretty, particularly given how gloomy it is right now.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

I haven't had much to say the past couple of days or so, so I haven't posted much here. It's not that stuff hasn't been happening or anything, I just haven't felt much like writing anything. This sore throat/cough/cold thing is just driving me nuts. My voice is starting to get back to normal but I'm still coughing more than I'd like to.

Tonight after work, we went out and did a little Christmas shopping. I found a completely beautiful sweater for my mum at Cotton Ginny. I had a hard time finding something that I thought that she'd like but that wasn't "mum-ish." It's a long, burgandy, duster sweater. It will look terrific with a pair of black slacks and a black top. I'll probably pick up a scarf to go with it, I really hope that she likes it because I think that it'll suit her down to the ground.

We also picked up a couple of books at Chapters. I picked up a copy of "Blessings" for my mum from Mark's dad and a couple of other gifts for friends. The bulk of our shopping is now done. I just a couple of odds and ends to pick up and I have to get something for Mark. I'm still undecided about what I'm going to get him exactly but I should have it narrowed down this weekend. It was sort of weird how quiet it was in the stores though. No crowds, no line-ups, no mayhem.

I'm still not entirely into Christmas this year. We aren't having the whole family over for dinner on the 25th anymore. We're having it at my mum's place now, like we usually do. It wasn't working out, us having it here, some scheduling stuff got messed up. I'm going to help her out with the meal at her place. What this means though, is that now I don't have to go nuts decorating and cleaning. I'm still going to do a bunch of baking for Christmas though. I'll now have time to get some big jobs that we have planned, which include finishing plastering and painting the bathroom (it's been ripped up since July so it really needs to be finished up).

I only have 2 full days of work left before the break. I really really can't wait for Tuesday!

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

...and one more for good measure!!

You are 49% geek
You are a geek liaison, which means you go both ways. You can hang out with normal people or you can hang out with geeks which means you often have geeks as friends and/or have a job where you have to mediate between geeks and normal people. This is an important role and one of which you should be proud. In fact, you can make a good deal of money as a translator.

Normal: Tell our geek we need him to work this weekend.

You [to Geek]: We need more than that, Scotty. You'll have to stay until you can squeeze more outta them engines!

Geek [to You]: I'm givin' her all she's got, Captain, but we need more dilithium crystals!

You [to Normal]: He wants to know if he gets overtime.

Take the Polygeek Quiz at Thudfactor.com

So I'm still coughing and croaking...it sucks. The coughing isn't happening as often as it had been but it hurts more now when I do it. I know it's just because my throat is totally raw, I'll be really happy when this passes.

Work's pretty busy right now. I'm trying to get stuff off of my desk before the break for the holidays. We have a Christmas luncheon for our department tomorrow in the office and then, on Friday, the whole building will be closed for our inter-departmental Holiday shindig. I only have a day and a half in the office next week. I had saved up some vacation time and some overtime coming so I'll be off from noon on the 17th until January 6. Not a bad break at all, I'm really looking forward to it.

Well, when we can't talk, we take a quiz...here is yet another:

What Sign of Affection Are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Well my voice is still severely impaired. I know, this is getting boring, I'm bored with it, I want my voice back, I want to not be coughing myself to sleep at night. Being sick is not fun!

I did actually get some Christmas shopping done last night. Mark & I had some errands to do at a large discount store last night and I was able to pick up a few things while we were there. We stopped off at a CD store for a gift certificate for someone too. Going out right after work seems to be the best time (there was almost no one out at that time). Thursday right after work we're going to go out again and get another big chunk of it done. Fortunately, I'm not doing a tonne of shopping so it shouldn't take me too many trips out to the mall to get everything finished up.

The new person in the office is, as I thought "interesting." She's definitely different from the previous person who was in the same position. Actually, they are like night and day. The different is not bad though, so far she's not gone psycho and thrown stuff at us, tried to harm us physically or freaked out at us. So far, so good.

Monday, December 09, 2002

I still don't have a voice. It's weird, I mean, I can kind of croak but yesterday I found myself trying to call out to Mark and it just wasn't happening. Unless I was in the room with him, and the tv or stereo was on mute, he couldn't hear me. Made my trip to the post office yesterday afternoon quite interesting too. This morning I have more a pronounced croak in my throat so hopefully my voice is starting to come back. If it's not any better tomorrow I'll probably go see my doctor. At the moment I'm pretty sure that I just have a cold but you never know, it could be strep throat or something that require some anti-biotics. Hopefully not but who knows.

Today should be interesting. After almost 8 months, they have finally hired someone to take over a vacant position in my office. This new person will sit less than 10 feet from me. Should be interesting. We've had a steady stream of temps over the past few months. I've not met this new person yet so today should be, as I said before "interesting."

Sunday, December 08, 2002

While I was kicking the crap out of Christmas, my cough was kicking the crap out of my vocal chords. I have no voice. Literally. Last night I had a slight croaky rasp, this morning, nothing. I can whisper but that's about it. Funny thing is, except for a sore throat and the no voice thing, I'm feeling pretty good. I'm still coughing a bit and I'm still a littley stuffy but other than that, my cold seems to be going away finally.

Had sort of a lazy day yesterday. We watched Blow Dry again last night. I really enjoyed it, more than the first time I think. Partly because it's such a cute movie and partly because of Alan Rickman (I mean, how can you not love anything he does!!?).

Friday, December 06, 2002

I am so kicking the crap out of the holidays!! I got my cards all done last night. I know it's sort of cheating but I did labels again this year. I used to do everything by hand but this is much easier for me and (I think) probably easier for the post office to read (she rationalizes).

The coughing continued all afternoon yesterday, to the point where, my director came in to my office (my office is next to a meeting room she was in) to check that I wasn't choking. The coughing fits are less frequent but more severe. This cold is just hanging on for all it's worth. It's been almost a week, I'm hoping that resting up on the weekend will do me some good. I don't think I'm going to bother doing any shopping tomorrow. I think I'll just do housework, goodness knows it needs doing. The holiday shopping will get done when it gets done. Much like everything else. I'm not worried, yet.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Coughing bites. I'm trying to decide which I like less, blowing my nose or having coughing fits. Blowing my nose isn't too bad necessarily, at least not until about day 4 when your nose goes raw. Coughing on the other hand, is noisy, it hurts, causes people to give you dirty looks because they think that you are going to make them sick (when, in actual fact, you were probably more contagious a week ago when you were getting sick than you actually are while the cold is on the way out).

It's trying really hard to snow today. The weather is kind of weird right now, it's damp and more mild than it's been all week so we could get hammered with something tonight...we'll see.

We did a big shop last night and we got lots of good stuff for our dinner tonight. Some soy and a lean piece of white turkey meat that Mark's going to throw into a stirfry. We also bought a treat for ourselves, a nice super-sweet pineapple, yay!! I'm glad that we don't have to go out tonight after work. It doesn't happen very often that we get to go straight home. I would really like to get my holiday cards done tonight. I bought stamps last night so I don't really have much of an excuse anymore. I also bought a Christmas gift yesterday, and this weekend I'm going to begin the housework...it's not a lot but it's a start anyway.

Ah, the holidays, fun fun fun 'til the merchant takes your charge card away!

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

If you have to work, make sure you do something that you love...

I'm very lucky that I have a great job. It's fun, something that I enjoy, I don't hate coming in to work every day. Ordinarily the days just fly by. Today is one of those days, I think it's due to the sunshine. Today is so bright and cheery. If I wasn't coughing so much, I may actually enjoy it. I'm getting so much accomplished this week, it's weird. The worse I feel the more work I get done...funny how that goes huh? I mean, I have just completed a project this morning that I have been working on for the past 2 months. It feels great to have it done as it was something that involved the only truly tedious part of my job (data entry). I'm an events planner and we have to "code" all activity participants for our events. The event I was coding for took place at the end of September. We had over 5000 people in attendance and captured about 2000 of them (which is really good, it doesn't sound great but trust me, it is!).

Anyway, I think I may run out at lunchtime and do a little bit of holiday shopping. I'm supposed to pick something up for my parents from my father-in-law at the bookstore. It's warmed up enough that I may venture out, the fresh air and sunshine will do me good I'm sure!
If all things go as planned, my last day of work for 2002 will be December 17. I won't have to be back at work until January 6. I'm looking forward to this in a big way. Partly because I really need a break from work and have a lot of little things that I'd like to do around the house (and not so little things like finally paint the bathroom) and partly because I have not done any holiday shopping yet. I don't have my cards written (although I do have labels for them ready to go -- I just have to sit down some evening this week when my cold isn't getting the better of me and do them) and my house is dirty and undecorated at the moment.

My cold has evolved into a nasty coughing thing that I know is actually good for me. It's getting all that crap out of my head and stuff and soon I will feel better. Having cramps on top of a cold is sort of not-fair I think. But then what is "fair" anyway?

In a couple of days I'm sure I'm going to feel really good, back to normal, and I'll be able to proceed along with all the holiday stuff that needs doing. I've stopped worrying too much about any of it because I know that in the end, what absolutely needs to get done (presents bought, dinner cooked) will get done and whatever didn't get done didn't really need doing in the first place.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Despite the fact that my nose continues to feel like it's going to fall off from over-use, I had a nice day today. I got a lot of stuff done at work today, more than I had thought I would accomplish when I started out actually. My boss is away this week so I'm sorting a lot of housekeeping things out and getting reorganized, it felt good.

Mark and I had a nice evening too. We stopped off at the IGA to pick up some stuff for dinner on the way home from work. Mark made us a really yummy stir fry with lots of veggies and some nice lean pork. It was delicious. It felt pretty good to walk down the junk aisle and through the bakery and not stop for a "treat." One day at a time, I know. It does get a little easier. We've decided that we're going to get really really serious about this whole food thing right after Christmas. I mean, we're not on a binge or anything, we're still trying to keep our good habits that we've been working on. We're just not going to beat ourselves up if we don't starve ourselves over Christmas.

This past few weeks has been good practice for what's ahead. I'm looking around for a really good scale at the moment and we're going to get into a serious exercise program. I'm looking forward to it and I'm actually enjoying the changes we have made so far. It's hard for me to believe sometimes...but it's true!

Monday, December 02, 2002

It's supposed to get really really (really) cold tonight (like minus 29 Celsius with the wind chill). It's not bad out right now but later on could be brutal. I had a load of Ebay stuff to do at the post office tonight and by the time we got that done, neither one of us felt like cooking. We ended up going out for chinese food (which was really nice). Thought that I would share my fortune with all of you, cuz it was a nice one!!

I share my good fortune with you!

I can almost breathe again, not completely but close. Facial tissue companies are liars though. No matter what kind of tissue you use when you have a cold, your nose will be red, raw and swollen and you'll end up looking like W.C. Fields. Yuck!
Well Sunday was a blur...I think. I didn't sleep much Saturday night because of my cold. I was up from 2:45 to 4:30 a.m. but totally spaced on my blog and didn't post anything...odd. I know that I did bake some cookies yesterday, and did a load of laundry. I also blew my nose about a million times and had a generally fuzzy headed day. I didn't allow myself a nap because I wanted a good night's sleep last night (which I got - almost).

I woke up this morning at around 4 a.m. to hear one of my bedroom windows rattling (the one directly over our bed). The next door neighbours were having their driveway plowed. The fellow was making so much noise doing it that he was shaking the entire north end of our house. It's odd too because their driveway is actually very small (and I'm not even sure yet that we had all that much snow). I suspect that he's a bit of a sleazy snow-plow guy with one of those blades on his truck who comes to their place at 4 a.m. because he has "real" customers that he'll do at a more decent hour, like, say, 6 a.m. Fortunately, we don't get a lot of snow so this doesn't happen very often. I had forgotten about him (this was the first time he's had to be here this year I think).

Anyway, it wasn't the greatest way to start the day but it could have been worse. I'm still feeling kind of yucky but I'm coughing now more than blowing my nose so I'm thinking that it's on the way out. Also, first time in about 3 weeks, my throat stopped hurting yesterday. I think that the bug that has been annoying me for the past month or so has finally done what I wanted it to, make me good and sick. I hate that feeling of malaise. I just wanted to get a cold and get it over with so I can feel better. I think that's happening now...my winter cold is on the way out!! Yay!

Saturday, November 30, 2002

We're not going to the party. I'm totally sick again with a head cold. I think it's the same one I had last week. I never did get back to 100% after that and I'm thinking that being really cold in the cemetary the other day is what has done it. At least it's just in my head / sinuses and not in my chest. I woke up at 3 a.m. this morning because I couldn't breathe from being stuffed up. I remember that I was having a dream about not being able to feel any liquid in my throat when I swallowed water and when I woke up, I was really really thirsty.

I haven't got much appetite today. I had some coffee and leftover pizza first thing this morning but nothing since then. I couldn't really taste it anyway. I think I'm going to make some tea, that may help. I also have a few over-ripe bananas which I may make into banana bread. I also have laundry piled up like crazy but that may have to wait until tomorrow.

Who has more fun than me on a Saturday I ask you?

Friday, November 29, 2002

The weather is incredibly depressing today. I wish that I had my camera with me right now so I could take a picture through the window. There is water slowly dripping down the glass and clinging to the screen...the trees are barren, the sky is dark grey, the slush and snow from this morning has turned into big slippery puddles of water. Leaves have mixed with the water to create a slick, gooey mess everywhere.

On the upside, at least the visibility has improved. Hopefully this storm will pass. We're supposed to go out of town to a family party tomorrow evening. It's about an hour north of here and we have to take a secondary highway to get there. It's a windy old highway that is full of maniacal transport drivers and crazy farm boys who play chicken and pass on double solid lines on sharp bends. I don't really like being on it in the summer, in the sunlight, much less at night, when the weather is rotten.

We'll see what happens. If I don't feel any better tomorrow than I do right now, we won't be going. My cold seems to be creeping back. I was up coughing in the night last night and my hands have been frozen all day today. I'm not usually bothered by the cold but this week, I can't keep my hands warm. I think it is the dampness, I'm not sure.

Right now, all I can do is focus on getting through this afternoon. I can't wait to be home where it's warm and cozy and bright. We were going to have Mark's dad over for dinner tonight to celebrate the beginning of Hannukah. We've postponed it until Sunday or Monday night beause I don't want him out in this weather. Truth be told, I don't want us out in this weather but we do have jobs to go to.

I'm really looking forward to the weekend, and some rest. It's been a long week.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

I just got home from Ryan's funeral. It was sad and funny and beautiful. He had so many friends, such a big family, so many people who loved him. It was an incredible celebration of his life. We cried a lot, and laughed a lot. His folks seem to be doing okay, as well as can be expected. They are exceptionally strong people who have been through a lot on this journey with their son. They have to heal now and fortunately, they have a large network of friends and family to help them.

One particular note about the funeral, on the way from the church to the cemetary, we passed a large group of kids from his elementary school who were standing by the side of the road (wearing their Leafs sweaters and waiting "go leafs go" flags). Waving good-bye to Ryan one last time. It was so touching and sweet, the kind of thing that you can only find in a close-knit, small community like Gananoque.

Of course, events like this are draining. I've been yawning almost constantly since I got home. I find that I start thinking about things that ordinarily, I don't...like, if I died tomorrow, who'd come to my funeral? What kind of a service would I want? I know that I don't want to be embalmed and buried, I plan to be cremated (it's less expensive and more practical I think). I also know that I don't want anything remotely religious. The funeral this morning was a Catholic one. I grew up in the Catholic church but don't support or practice it anymore.

I do know that one of things I have to add to my "to do" list for the new year is to get our wills sorted out. We don't have them done up but we should. Also, I want to make a living will for myself. Neither is as fun as the other things on my list but they're probably the most important items that I'll have to sort out in January.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Well I have begun to notice some results from the change in our eating habits. I know that my face looks a little bit thinner than it has in a while and I have begun to feel a change in the way some of my clothes are fitting. Mark's noticed a difference in his clothes too.

A number of years ago, I stopped "dieting" and just started eating right. At that time, I dropped about 10 pounds and didn't gain any weight at all for about five years. For the first time for as long as I could remember, I was wearing my clothes out instead of growing out them. Over the past couple of years though, we have both gained weight. Due mostly I think to our domestic bliss and some occasional boughts of family-related stress (you know, the whole self-medicating through bad food choices thing). Also, we just plain old like to eat, good food, not junk, and my honey is a chef (an amazingly talented one too). We eat a lot of good food in our house but we fell into a bad habit of eating portions that were too big, too late at night.

For last few weeks we've been trying to eat before 6 p.m., and not eat anything at all after that. When we do snack during the day, it's on fruit. I also have been eating a lot less during the daytime then I was before. I find that if I have a much smaller lunch (like, a piece of fruit, bowl of soup and a yogurt), that will get me through the afternoon and then we have a nice dinner.

I've been reading a lot of other blogs about fitness and weight loss and it shocks me to see what some of these women are doing to themselves, the calorie counting and the beating themselves up if they deviate from their regime at all. My primary reason for us eating better and becoming more active it be more healthy. Of course, the end result of that is going to be some weight loss and better overall fitness. I don't want to create a "diet" for us that is impossible to follow or that makes me feel bad if I stray away from a some "program." The changes we have made to our lifestyle seem to be working for us, for now. Also, doing things in small steps and not all at once, it hasn't seemed like a hardship. I can honestly say that I haven't missed the cheese that I've stopped eating in the day, and when I do sit down to dinner at night, I fill up a lot faster (and I enjoy my meals more).

Unlike most fat girls though, I think that I have a healthy level of self-esteem and self-confidence. I have never felt that my fat held me back and, quite honestly, I never think about what other folks may say when they see me out on the street (as in, "oh my look at the fat woman"). I know that some people, who aren't as big as I am, are terrified to go out in public in a swim suit, I'm not. I got over that one a long time ago.

Now, I think that I want to purchase a scale. I had one, years ago, and threw it out. The numbers just weren't important to me for a long time. I can honestly say that I don't know how much I weigh at the moment. I think that is why I now want a scale. I don't have a set number in mind that I'd like to reach (although that may change when I get a scale and have an actual measurement of what I weigh and what my BMI is). I just feel like I would like to have some kind of goal and I'd like to be able to chart my progress as we get healthier in a "tangible" way.

I'll keep you all posted as I go along with this journey to wellness. So far, I am really getting into this and I'm getting a lot of inspiration from some of the people who's blogs I read every day as they go along on their journey's too. My only regret in any of this is that we didn't get started on it sooner.

Monday, November 25, 2002

I'm back at work today and physically, feeling much better than I had been. My throat is still a little sore and every once in a while I get into a coughing jag but other than that, I'm a lot better.

We had some sad news this morning about a friend's son. His name is Ryan and he passed away early this morning. Ryan had a very rare Leukodystrophy disease called Pelizaeus Merzbacher's Disease. He was a really brave and cool guy and many many people are going to miss him.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

We have digital cable here in my house. Our schedule doesn't permit us to get out to movies very often so we bought 2 digital cable boxes a couple of years ago and pay the extra for the full compliment of channels available to us (not including the NFL/NHL Stuff). Recently, the movie selection has been kinda crummy but I stumbled across an absolute gem yesterday afternoon. I watched My First Mister, a 2001 release which stars Albert Brooks and Leelee Sobieski. I wasn't really expecting anything from it all. It just happened to be starting while I was flicking channels. It was a lovely movie, about friendship and understanding and tolerance and personal growth. I very much enjoyed it and would highly reccommend it to anyone who likes thoughtful, well-written, well-acted films.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

It snowed a little bit last night so I'm going to try to get some photos when the sun comes up. I'm feeling a lot better today than I did yesterday. Whatever I had seems to be going away, which I appreciate. I found yet another quiz (are there more of them now or am I just stumbling across them more because I've been home sick?). Anyway, this is a "how indie are you" quiz, and it's a lot of fun!!

i am an indie snob!

How indie are you?
test by ridethefader

You're just too cool for school, aren't you? You're pretty narrow minded
and opinionated with regards to music (and probably most other things
as well). But you're allowed to be, because you really are better
than everyone else. You take pride in obscurity.
You probably prefer vinyl too, you elitist bitch.

btw, I did actually bake something yesterday. Butterscotch Chip cookies. They didn't last too long (I think that there are like 4 left). I made them while I watched "Kurt and Courtney" in the documentary film channel yesterday afternoon. If you're into conspiracy theories and/or hate Courtney Love, it's an interesting little film. One thing that struck me as odd was that the film was basically about how they couldn't get access to Courtney and how they were going about tracking down people who could tell them "what was really going on" before Kurt died. Personally, I always thought that the circumstances surrounding his death were a little suspicious. I mean, I could have seen him killing himself with herione but the idea that he could turn a gun on himself was a little tough to swallow.

Friday, November 22, 2002

Today is my vacation day and I'm still feeling yucky. My head is all plugged up. I felt pretty good last night. We just stayed in and ordered a pizza and watched the Will & Grace wedding episode. It was cute albeit predictable. I was going to drive Mark to work this morning so I'd have the car but there's no where I really need to go today so I'll just stay put. I may do some baking and I definitely need to do laundry. It's a putter day for me and that's alright. I've not had one in a long time so it'll be okay.

I never did get out in the snow the other day and get some photos. The snow is all gone now and everything is wet from the rain. The ground is brown and the sky is grey, it's not pleasant but it could be worse. It's a good day to stay inside and keep toasty warm...oh yeah, and to do quizzes, here's another one:

Thursday, November 21, 2002

I'm sick. I came home from work early yesterday and slept most of the day away. I'm not sure what's up, I think I have a dose of the flu or something. I fluctuate between freezing cold and boiling hot and I'm achey and have a sore throat. Not fun. I have tomorrow booked off for as a vacation day so I'm going to use this extra long weekend to take it easy and feel better. I think that I've been fighting this bug for a while and the lack of sleep and cold temperatures on the weekend just got the best of me. yuck!

Oh, btw, you know I'm a sucker for quizzes, here's another:

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

I absolutely know that I don't want to have any children. Mark knows this and feels the same way I do. I'm not sure when I changed my mind. When I was a young girl, I always thought that I'd have a child at some point. Around my mid-20's, my mind started to change and I've felt that way ever since. It's not that I hate kids. I like kids that I know. I don't like kids I don't know. I find them to be bold, and noisey, and messy and basically ill-mannered. I usually ask to be seated as far away from kids as I can when I'm in a restaurant because I hate watching little kids eat. Last night we were out for dinner and a young man and his son sat next to us. Now, I don't want you think that I'm humourless or mean, I just don't like little kids. The little boy was trying to convince his dad that he should get to have some dessert. His father informed him that he'd have to eat up the baby carrots on his plate before he could have any. The kid proceeded to shove all of the carrots (about 6) into his mouth (with his fingers) and then chew them up, with his mouth wide open, so his dad could witness his disappearing vegetables trick. It was lovely.

I find that some women look down their noses at me for saying that I don't like children. Of course, these are usually women who have "beautiful" and/or "gifted children." You know the type, their children are so cute/adorable/smart that they just would never annoy anyone. How could they?

I do like older kids, kids who you can talk to. And I enjoy children's television programs (Spongebob Squarepants is a favourite of mine). I also believe strongly that children should be seen and not heard.

Who Lives In A Pineapple Under the Sea

Monday, November 18, 2002

We had an early start to winter this weekend and it created some interesting twists for us over the past 48 hours.

Friday night, we actually left the office before 5 p.m. and were on the highway before 6 p.m. Although we were travelling in the dark (something I wasn't particularly looking forward to), the weather was great and the roads were clear. We tried to stop in Belleville for dinner but the restaurants near the 401 which we tried were all really busy. Eventually, we ended up in a Swiss Chalet (near Port Hope) and had a really nice meal. We sat in a section where a couple of families with little kids were seated. Ordinarily, I hate sitting near children in restaurants but the little girls who were at the table beside us were very sweet and quiet. Our waitress was also very nice and she gave us these little Casper the Friendly Ghost toys after our meal. Free! I thought that was very nice of her.

By the time we got to the hotel, it was after 9 p.m. and we still had to completely unload the van. The parking lot at the hotel was not secure and we couldn't take a chance on having the van broken into over night, and losing anything we needed for our event. Luckily, the luggage carts weren't in use and the storage room we were using was very close to the lobby. By the time we got checked in and unloaded and parked, it was after 10 p.m. and was pooped. Ordinarily, by 10 p.m., I've been in bed for over an hour.

The next morning, I woke up at the normal time and called Mark to make sure that he was up for work. It was very very cold and windy and the weather report called for snow. We headed over to our venue to start our setup and nearly froze our collective buns off while we loaded the van. I guess our close proximity to the lake was the reason for the super frigid winds. Fortunately, the staff at the venue were totally terrific and helpful. Set up went very smoothly, actually the whole day did. We had time to run back to the hotel, get changed and have a drink before the event started.

The actual night was a lot o fun. Even though I was working, I had a chance to visit with some folks who I hadn't seen in a long time. By the time we left the venue to head back to the hotel (around 2:15 a.m.), the snow was flying and the roads were terrible. The visibility was nill and you couldn't see the lines on the highway. Fortunately, our hotel was just 2 miles down the road from the venue so it didn't take us forever to get back. Mark was at the hotel when I got back. He had driven up after work to have dinner with some friends of ours.

What did take forever however, was our trip back to Kingston. My colleagues were travelling back in the van but I was driving back with Mark. We left the hotel early, intent on getting back shortly after noon. We took the 427 up to the 401 and found breakfast in North York. Our car was running fine, started right away, no problems. We hit the highway after breakfast and a stop for gas and were heading eastbound on the 401, making good time despite the snow and poor-ish road conditions. We were almost to the DVP when our car just died, in the middle of the road. Mark was able to steer us off to the side, under an overpass (the DVP). After an hour on hold, I was able to read CAA and order a tow-truck (we weren't 100% sure but it seemed that our battery was pooched). While on hold with CAA, a nice OPP officer stopped by and told us how to get a tow truck dispatched via the OPP.

So now, we had an OPP and a CAA tow truck coming to rescue us (hopefully). With the storm, there were a large number of accidents, all over the place and we were considered a low priority. We'd been stranded in the car for about 90 minutes a tow truck arrived. yay!!! It hadn't been dispatched by either CAA or OPP, they just happened to be in the lane and stopped. Apparently, they ordinarily travel the collector lanes. Snow plows were in the collectors though so they just happened to be in the express. The spot we stopped at was directly between two Canadian Tire stores so our tow-charge wouldn't be too bad. It turned out that our battery was, indeed pooched, and so was our alternator. By 3:30 p.m., we were back on the road, new battery, new alternator and a little more than an hour of daylight. It was snowing quite heavily in Toronto but by the time we got to Oshawa, it had let up. Eventually, the road dried up and were travelling on dry pavement, making good time.

I was completely pooped by this time. I slept like the dead last night and am still feeling the effects of the weekend. The whole thing went really well I think. The person who was in charge did an excellent job of organizing everything and all the people I spoke with said that they really enjoyed themselves (which is the most important thing!).

Today, I'm back at work, plodding through a backlog of work and watching the snow outside slowly melt. The sun keeps popping out so hopefully it'll be gone before long. We didn't get enough to shovel which is nice. I'm going to try to get some photos of the "winter wonderland" outside. If I get some good ones, I'll post them here later.

Of course, over the weekend, because we were so busy and working so hard, a lot of pizza and fast food was consumed so the "eating better" thing kind of got tossed out the window. I didn't drink much pop though, I stuck mostly to water. My skin is definitely looking better and I'm feeling not too bad despite the pace of the past few days. I think our new "regime" is having positive results so far.

Friday, November 15, 2002

I didn't think that I'd have a chance to update this before we hit the road but, apparently, there is a lot of time before we hit the road. Everything is done on our end, the van is here, it's not loaded though. We had hoped that everything would be ready earlier and that we'd be travelling in the day light. Given that it's been snowing all morning and we've heard reports about freezing rain in Toronto, that would have been nice. Less of a worry, for sure. We've been told that we're not leaving until five now. That gets us into Toronto around 8. I'm usually in bed by 8:30 so I'll probably be toast by then. Oh well, we'll see what happens.
Last night we finally watched this week's Sopranos. We had taped it earlier in the week but what with running around and stuff, we didn't get a chance to sit down with it until last night. I thought it was brilliant. The season has seemed to be slowly building up to something so far. The episodes are well constructed but less intense than previous season's. To see Ralphie's bald head in a bowling ball bag just made me smile (I know, I'm a bit of a sick puppy!).

I'm heading in to work a little later than normal this morning to allow for some extra time to get my stuff together to take away with me. I'm not sure what time we're heading out today, hopefully we'll be travelling in the daylight because I hear that there is a possibility of nasty weather today (either rain or wet snow). Hopefully not though, I hate being on the highway when the weather is yucky. At any rate, I think that things are pretty much together. I know that our end of stuff is ready. It'll be very busy but I think it'll be a success. The woman is in charge of everything has done an amazing job getting all of us organized.

I hope that everyone has a lovely weekend!!

Thursday, November 14, 2002

I've actually had a chance to stop for lunch today. I had some fruit and some left-over veggie pizza (cold, of course!). I've noticed that the blogs I really enjoy reading lately, are written by mostly unhappy folks. Not suicidal or anything, angst-y I guess is a good way to describe it.

I know that for me, many things irritate me on a daily basis but, by the time I get around to writing something here, I've lost my steam, forgotten about whatever it was that irked me and instead have something sort of boring to write, like what I had for lunch or what the weather is doing. Basically though, I'm a happy person. My house is unorganized but I'm tidying it up. My personal physical fitness isn't what it should be exactly but I'm working on that too. I'm very lucky because I have a job that I love and work with terrific people so I have a lot of fun in the office. I'm in a terrific relationship with a wonderful man and we have a cool (albeit messy) little house in a neighbourhood we love. Lucky for me, the good stuff far outnumbers the bad stuff on any given day.

On the work front, we've been laughing a lot today. Last minute reservations are coming in for our event and we're all a little giddy from the pace. Good giddy though, it's productive. I find I get more done when I can laugh. It's a great stress reliever too.

On that note, here is something that will either make you laugh or throw up.

President Poopyhead

I haven't had a lot of time to write this week. It's pretty busy at work right now and, what with errands and stuff in the evening (preparing to be away all weekend), I've barely had time to keep up on my eBay auctions stuff. I've been doing okay with that recently. I've been selling off most of my video collection. I guess a lot of folks are doing early holiday shopping this way. It's not too early though, when I think about it. It's almost mid-November already so I guess, when you figure in shipping time and whatnot, it's actually holiday shopping time. Yikes. I've not even really thought much about it. Not that we get too caught up in it in our house, or try not too anyway. I'm looking forward to the holidays this year though. I don't say that every year but this year it should be fun. We're having dinner at our house for a change of pace (we usually go to my folks' on the day). It'll be a tight squeeze in our little house but we'll all fit in I'm sure. Also, I have over 2 weeks booked off from work during that time and I don't have a lot of stuff planned so it'll be a good time for me to get some things sorted out around here. I'm still working on the clutter, little bits at a time. So far, so good. I'm clearing out a little more every week and eventually, we'll reclaim a lot of the space in our office. I'm really looking forward to that. I'm sure that when I have more room in here, my thoughts will flow more freely and the result will be a better blog!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

I was up through the night coughing again last night. The terrible cold bug that everyone in our office has been fighting since the end of the September seems to be rearing it's ugly head, again, just in time for the weekend. I shall not give into it however. It's echinacea and oranges for me today.

On a differnt note, I came across something the other day which may make you chuckle. I certainly had a good old laugh about it. Click here, it'll make you smile (if you, like me, have the sense of humour of an 8 year old on some days).

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Oh, yeah....I found this quiz to take, it's kind of fun, you may want to try it. This is what my "result" was:

Which Personality Disorder Do You Have?

brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday...well, over half-way through Tuesday, already. Yikes!

The weekend was very busy. Saturday was spent doing errands all morning and then working around the house all afternoon. I got a lot done but the day was a bit of a blur. We slept in very very late (for us) on Sunday. Didn't get up until 8:30 a.m. or so. I woke up craving a twister with cream cheese and sliced tomato but I didn't want to have to drive to North York to get it. We discussed our breakfast options and decided to go out to eat.

We headed north on Highway 38, hoping to find some cool little mom and pop place between Kingston and Sharbot Lake. The first semi-interesting place we found (the Bravo Restaurant) was completely smoke filled. The food looked good but I hate it when you can't smell the food over the cigarette smoke in a restaurant. We left with our noses and mouth full of smoke and our stomachs still empty.

Rather than carry on further up north, we headed back for town. A new place in Bayridge called Cora's had just opened and we decided to try it. Apparently, it had only been open since Friday. It was nice and bright and homey inside, and it smelled like food. It didn't have a smoking section but it had a cool looking fruit bar section and it seemed promising. Unfortunately, our experience was not great. The service was pretty bad and we had to send out meals back twice (they came out cold, and then came back, seconds later, seemingly microwaved). I think if you were having the fruit plates or a sandwich, it might be okay but their hot food leaves a lot to be desired. Also, as I mentioned, the service was less than I would have expected for the prices they charge.

Work's been very busy this week. The big dinner that we're helping out with is this weekend and things are picking up. It's very well organized and everything seems to be coming together nicely.

We're still working on the eating better thing. I think that we're both getting used to it and it feels good. I'm sleeping a lot better, or did last night anyway. We're still eating out as often as we were before but we're making better choices when we do. I'm not as concerned about weight loss as I am about generally improved health and generally, I think that we are improving our health so that's very cool.

Friday, November 08, 2002

I was up pretty early this morning. I actually jumped right out of bed rather than crawled out (which is what I often do these dark early mornings). I forgot to open the bedroom window last night. Ordinarily, we keep one window open while we sleep but I didn't do that last night. I'm kind of glad I didn't. It got very chilly over night (although the temperature is actually higher right now than it was yesterday) and I can't imagine how damp it would have been if I'd actually had the window open last night.

Today should be another busy day but I'm just taking it as it comes. I'm looking forward to the weekend...not in a "wishing the week away" way, just in general. I realized last night that it was Thursday. I know that may sound kind of dumb but sometimes I forget what day it is and I get all turned around. It hit me that the working week was almost behind me when we drove up our street last night and I saw all the blue boxes at the curbs (our garbage and recycling are collected early on Friday mornings).

The sun's supposed to shine on us today! I hope that everyone has a very happy Friday!

Thursday, November 07, 2002

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately. Some blogs are very personal and some have a political slant. Some are very well written and insightful. Some are honest and full of typos. I think I like the honest ones better than the smart ones. I don't mean that you can't be both honest and smart. I find that lately, I'm really enjoying reading about ordinary people. Who they are and what they do. I think that individuals are infinitely more interesting than talking heads and government officials.
I'm having a good day so far, it's been a not bad week actually.

Of course, it's been a short week for me since I took Monday off. It's been extremely busy though. I'm helping out with an event which is taking place in Toronto next weekend (on the 16th) and most folks are leaving their registration stuff until the last minute. This is generally par for the course so I'm not too surprised. What surprises me mostly is how quickly the days fly by. It feels like one moment, it's 8 a.m. and I'm sitting at my desk, checking my email and drinking my coffee, and the next moment, it's 4:10 p.m. and I'm starting to pack up. It's good busy though, not crazy-frustrating-pull-your-hair-out busy.

Today is very very sunny but very very cold. The weather has been uncharacteristically cold this month so far. I'm enjoying it though. It feels much better than all that hot sticky stuff we put up with this summer. It makes me feel healthier when the air is so crisp. We've been making a concentrated effort to eat better lately too. Not dieting necessarily (although some weight loss would be nice), just eating more healthy stuff. It's been a couple of weeks now and it's going okay. The main thing, I think, is to cut down on the number of times we eat out. Meals at home are just so much better, in terms of fresher ingredients, less salt, less fat (or at least more good fats and less of the bad stuff). Now that we have our bike back and can get into a regular exercise regime again, that will help too. I like how much better I feel when we're eating better food and being more active. I don't want to spend this winter on the sofa. I want to spend it getting the house sorted out and this new, healthier thing that we're doing will help with that. It all goes together. If I have more energy and feel better, I'll be better able to get the house organized and if I get things better organized, I'll feel better about the house. So basically, it's all good, so far.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

The goodwill stuff is now at goodwill and the front entranceway of our house seems huge. It's quite nice actually. Mark doesn't mind the clutter but it does get me down sometimes and I'm trying to create a more calm, organized environment in our home. It's not that I'm a total clean freak or anything. I'm just really getting into simplifying our lives right now. Mark's being a very good sport about it, when we talked about it last night, he asked, in his best Homer voice "Do I have to do anything?" I'm being particularly brutal with my own stuff but I am sifting through his things as well. I always ask him if it's okay before I throw something out that belongs to him. I mean, I could throw whatever it is out and he'd probably never notice, but I couldn't do that sort of thing. I'm sure he thinks that it's kind of silly but I also think he knows that it's making me happy (and he is usually happy to see me happy).

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

I was thinking about my blog a little bit over the weekend. I was musing how neat it would be to actually have something "important" to say in this forum. I realized though that whatever anyone writes in a blog is important and relevant, to themselves at least. If it's in your head and you take the time to put it down here, it must have some significance for you.

My weekend was okay. I ended up taking yesterday off as a last minute vacation day to sort out our kitchen. Last weekend, we purchased some new cabinets so our kitchen needed to be totally cleaned and re-organized before we could finish installing them. It looks pretty good I think and I have two large boxes of stuff for Goodwill. Have you ever noticed that it seems like everyone has at least one hot-air popcorn popper but no one uses them anymore? I know that I took one to Goodwill when we moved into the house and now I'm taking the other one. I'm not sure why I hung onto it as long as I did. I'm sure someone will find a use for it. I also seem to have collected a rather large number of mixing bowls, vases and various tupperware items over the years which I no longer use. I'm also getting rid of a big, faux wooden, brown microwave / television cart. There's nothing wrong with it, we just don't have the room for it anymore. I'm getting into minimalism for our house. It's not a huge house, and we have a lot of stuff so between eBay and Goodwill, I'm paring things down. So far, so good.

Friday, November 01, 2002

I love the way the sunlight filters through the leaves on the trees right now. This morning, there was a little bit of haze and the sun was pouring through the clouds. Because some of the leaves have already fallen, and others are brightly coloured, the effect was stunning. The wind has picked up since then so the leaves are swirling and flying around everywhere.

Autumn has always been my favourite time of the year. I do get excited in the spring when the grass gets green again and the trees start to bud, but I find that the beauty of the fall colours never ceases to make me pause and drink it all in. It always takes my breath away. Fall rocks!
Hallowe'en was lots of fun. We didn't get as many kids at our door last night as we had last year. Just over 100 I thing. I was surprised too because it rained last year and last night it was actually quite nice out. The best costume of the night (or costumes as it happened) were the four "Stuarts" who arrived en masse and, when I asked if they'd do a trick, laughed with glee and proceeded to each do a "look what I can do" in my driveway. Very cool.

Thursday, October 31, 2002

Convocation is very cool.

Today and tomorrow, Fall Convocation is taking place on campus. This morning I was over at Convocation, helping out with the diploma framing service. It's very neat to see all the students, smiling and happy, holding on tightly to their new diploma. Their parents all look so proud of their newly graduated son or daughter. Some of the parents seem to be more excited about it than their children do. It was a super happy place to be this morning. Lucky for me, I get to be there again tomorrow morning. neat!
Happy Hallowe'en everyone!!!

I'm all ready pretty much. Last night I Found my big spooky pumpkin patch bowl for the candy, my big orange jack'o lantern candles and my orange mini lights. Last year, we had little ones on our doorstep at 5:30 p.m. so I'm sure that they'll be out early again this year. It's not supposed to rain (for a change) so hopefully we'll get to see lots of little gouls and goblins!!! Yay, hallowe'en rocks!!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

The custodian in our building is a really lovely man. He's very friendly and he always asks us if there is anything extra that we need to have done around the office. He takes a lot of pride in his work. Today, however, he sprayed some kind of restroom cleaner into our garbage cans (I think to act as a deodorizer of some sort) while I was eating my lunch at my desk. I'm sort of sensitive to harsh chemical cleaners like that and the smell went right up my nose. I've noticed that folks in restaurants will often do this type of thing, spray an empty table while you're eating your meal two tables over. It's sort of gross and not very courteous. Right now, our office smells like urinal cakes. Yuck.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

It seems to be taking me longer to adjust in the change of seasons this year. I'm not sure if that is because I'm getting older or because our summer was so long and so hot and humid. Part of the problem may be the lingering cold symptoms I've had for a few weeks now. Every morning when I get to work, my hands are like ice cubes for the first 3 hours or so. No matter what I do, I can't warm them up. Also, the cold air just seems to take my breath away the past few days. I went out of the office at lunch to grab a sandwich from the cafeteria in the next building. When I came back inside, I was coughing and sneezing like crazy. It's very damp and dull today, thankfully, the trees are in full colour around our office building so they brighten things up a lot. Hopefully the sun will pop out this afternoon. The day just seems so much better when there are rays of sunlight beaming through our windows. I'm not complaining though, our office is in an old mansion and the room I work in has two huge windows, with wide sills, covered in plants. It's quite pretty actually, as offices go. I'd rather be here than in a cubicle somewhere.

Monday, October 28, 2002

What a weekend! I was pretty sick all day on Saturday. My cold got the better of me on Friday night and spent the better part of 24 hours in bed or on the couch. I felt a lot better yesterday morning though so we took advantage of the extra hour and took a quick trip up to Ottawa.

The closest IKEA store to us is in Kanata and we wanted to look at stuff for our Kitchen (we need some extra counter space and general storage). Originally, we thought that we'd get some kind of a cart with a butchers block on it but we ended up getting a big cabinet, a wall shelf and a cart (with 4 huge drawers!) for our kitchen. It's nice, bright, white with chrome finish. It matches our light fixtures and washer, dryer and wainscotting.

It looks great but they are kind of big, I'm still adjusting. I'm really looking forward to the extra space and now I'm feeling really motivated to paint the kitchen cabinets (they're brown right now, dark natural wood, we'd like to paint them with an enamel paint, in white).

Anyway, it's one step closer to getting our messy little house organized!!

Friday, October 25, 2002

Good morning, good morning...my head's a little groggy this morning, good morning, good morning to you.

Slept like the dead last night. I don't remember moving or waking up or anything. Cold's sure do weird things to your brain2

Thursday, October 24, 2002

oh, one more post before bed, it's concerning our bike. The technician fellow was here for almost 2 hours last night. The tech guy who was here last week is no longer employed by the fitness equipment place. We think that he misdiagnosed our bike because the new tech guy installed a brand new motor and the bike was still doing the thing that it was doing when it wasn't working properly. The owner of the store called me at work today. He'll be here tomorrow night to look at the bike, and most likely, take it away. It's looking like we have a lemon. Fortunately, it's a lemon which is still under warranty so we'll get a new one. Hopefully, by Monday or Tuesday, we'll be riding away again!
The "crunchy" morning turned into a glorious (albeit chilly) autumn day. Big losers that we are, we stopped off at the "trendy" super-store supermarket on the way home to pick up some groceries and to stock up on Hallowe'en candy for next week. Yikes, 25 minutes in the lineup later and were both about ready to drop. At least the sun was still shining when we finally made it to the parking lot. Just in case you're in my neighbourhood next Thursday evening, we'll be shelling out Hershey or Nestle bars and Doritos.
It's -4 this morning but it feels fabulous!! This weather is positively "crunchy" and I love it. The fall is easily my favourite time of the year. The trees on campus are blazing with gorgeous colour this morning and my coffee tastes delicious. Despite the fact that my headcold is back, I think it's going to be a terrific day (screw you sinus headache!!)!

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Finally, our city council has approved a smoking ban in all public places beginning May 1, 2003. I'm very happy about this. I'm a big fan of live music and most of the bands I like to see play in small clubs and bars. Over the past couple of years, I've curbed my attendance at shows due to the second hand smoke. When I was younger, it didn't bother me like it does now. I wasn't crazy about the way my hair and clothes smelled but a quick shower and a load of laundry later and the smoke was gone. In recent years, even brief exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke has left me feeling ill. I cough, my eyes water, and the next day I feel completely hung over (from a lack of oxygen I suppose).

I'm not sure whether my resistence is lower now or the smoke is stronger but I'm very pleased with this trend. Toronto adopted a no-smoking in restaurants bylaw a couple of years ago and Ottawa is completely non-smoking now. I don't really care if people smoke or not, I'd prefer it if they didn't (because of the effects of it on their health and eventually, the heavy tax it places on our fragile public health care system), but I don't want to have to breathe in their stinky toxic waste when I go out for dinner or to see a band. Hopefully, the ban will bring with it, a rule about not smoking within 25 feet of a building entrance.

Restaurant and bar owners were reluctant to support the ban as they felt that it would affect their sales adversely. I think that the opposite will happen. I'm sure that many folks like me, who have what feels like an allergy to smoke, will be more likely to go out in the evenings to cafes and pubs which they have avoided due to the heavy smoke.

They did make an interesting exception to the ban though...smoking will still be permitted in designated areas of bingo halls. Bingo operators and the charities who do their fundraising via bingos argued that a smoking ban in bingo halls would kill their business. Maybe it would have but I doubt it. I think that bingo is just as addictive as cigarettes, and the potential payoff is much higher.