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 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.

Monday, October 21, 2002

The weekend is but a blur now! I can't believe that Monday is half over already!!

I took Friday afternoon off and spent the time doing errands. It was very nice to be out getting my running around done before the mobs hit the stores. It allowed me to spend some time at home on the weekend, working on some ebay auctions and doing some baking. I like to bake but didn't do any all summer because of the intense heat. We don't have central air conditioning in our house so we keep it cool with two window air conditioners so baking while they're running would just be silly. Anyway, I sorted out our pantry on Friday and found a big jar of apple sauce. I'm not sure why I bought it but I thought that it would be nice to use it up so I went to AllRecipes in search of a apple sauce cake recipe. I haven't been to AllRecipes in a while so I was suprised by the number of pop-up windows and cookie alerts that came up while I searched their site. That annoying stuff aside, I found a great recipe for Apple Sauce Cake. We don't like cloves so I just used cinnamon but it was great anyway (and the house smelled fantastic while it was baking). I usually buy cookies or muffins at the grocery store. I've decided to not do this anymore. Not only is it going to save us a few bucks but the stuff I bake is tastier and generally, healthier than store-bought stuff.

The huge rain storms we had over the weekend kept me out of the garden but they don't look totally sad yet.

We're still waiting on our new tension motor for our bike. Hopefully we'll have it in a day or two.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

We're getting our exercise bike fixed!! I know that doesn't sound terribily exciting but I'm happy about it. About 5 months ago, we bought a really cool, recumbent, exercise bike. It is sort of fancy-dancy, has lots of lights and buzzers and will tell you what your heart rate is while you're riding.

For the first 2 months we had it, I rode it almost every day for at least 30 minutes. I'm up early in the morning so I'd get up at 5 a.m. and ride until 5:30 a.m. or so. Over the summer, when it got so hot and humid, I didn't really look twice at it. The humidity and intense heat made just getting through the day seem like an enourmous feat. Once Labour Day had come and gone, I started using the bike again, again, I really enjoyed it. I wasn't riding it as often as I had when we first got it, but I was builiding back up to it. Anyway, about 4 weeks ago, while I was riding on it, the motor seized up and the thing started to smoke. Not good, I thought.

Mark diagnosed it as needing a new tension motor but neither of us had time to call the fitness place about getting it fixed. Finally, last night, a repair guy came and confirmed Mark's diagnosis of a faulty tension motor. He's ordered us a new motor and we should back on the bike within the next week. I'm really looking forward to getting back on the bike. I like the way I felt when I was riding every day. I had more energy and flexibility and I definitely was sleeping better at night.

I've never been a big fitness person but I really do enjoy that bike. We keep it in the living room in front of the television so you can watch and ride at the same time. It's a great way for me to combine a guilty pleasure with something that is actually good for me!

Monday, October 14, 2002

The Rideau Lakes are so pretty. The fall colours have finally started to glow. The sun was shining this afternoon and the lakes were like sheets of glass, reflecting the gorgeous fall colours of the trees.

There are a remarkable number of boats still in the water everywhere. It still felt a little like summer today. yay!
I'm up early again this morning but feel more rested than I did yesterday....and thanksgiving dinner is no more than a faint memory for another year. I'm not sure exactly why Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving but I'll take the long weekend in October. I know that today is actually Thanksgiving Day but our family celebrated it yesterday.

It rained off and on all day yesterday but I'm hoping it'll be a little bit nicer today so I can get out in the garden. We want to put our patio set away and start cleaning up the flower beds. It's been so nice lately that it doesn't seem necessary but we're doing it anyway. The geraniums are still blooming in the flower beds at the back of the house, so are the snap dragons. It's a little weird actually. Hopefully though, it'll stay nice and we can have a big BBQ at Christmas.

Back in the spring, I bought this neat, "squirrel-proof" bird feeder. We're going to finally put it out this week. I bought a shepherd's hook thing to hang it on and we should be able to watch the birds from our living room, all winter long. We're really lucky because we have a lot of wild life in our neighbourhood. Considering that we're in the middle of the city, that's kind of cool. We often see bunnies and raccoons around. We also have Cardinals, Blue Jays, Morning Doves and lots of other birds in our back yard on a regular basis. I hope that we'll get to see more birds this winter, with the feeder. I'm going to look for one of those "Birds of North America" books so I can identify more of them. I never thought that I'd get into watching the birds but I guess that comes with home ownership. We have a great back yard and the birds are like this cool bonus thing that we can also enjoy. Nature is cool!

Sunday, October 13, 2002

Good morning, good's a lovely morning!!

I woke up early this morning, and yesterday morning...around 4 a.m. Too early!! Yesterday, I couldn't get back to sleep but this morning I did and slept in until a delicious 7 a.m. I know that 7 a.m. doesn't sound like sleeping in on a Sunday to most folks but when you're up at 5 a.m. most's a real treat!

The weekend has been good so far. Mark worked yesterday and I puttered around the house. Got some stuff up on Ebay for auction. I had sold a bunch of old CD's & Videos last spring and did pretty well with it. I have been cleaning again and have a huge box of videos I'm getting rid of. We got a DVD player for Christmas last year so we've been switching many of our old VHS cassettes over to DVD. I'm not replacing everything though. Anyway, the stuff I put up yesterday is mainly Disney stuff, the rest I'll put up in small lots over the next couple of weeks.

I finally watched the Ben Folds Live DVD that had arrived earlier in the week. It's great. About 9 tracks I think (I don't have it in front of me) and the sound and picture are terrific. I hope that more folks do stuff like that with live releases. It's a nice touch. We also got the newly re-released Hard Day's Night set on DVD but haven't watched it yet. I'm looking forward to that. We haven't watched it in a while and Paul's grandpa always cracks me up (he's a clean old man)!

It rained a little bit, off and on, yesterday. It looks like it might be a bit nicer today. It's a tad dreary outside but that's okay. If it did rain today, I wouldn't complain. It's still pretty dry around here and we could use the precipitation.

We're supposed to go to my folks' for Thanksgiving dinner today. Should be nice. I picked up a nice flowering plant (can't remember what it is exactly at the moment) for mum yesterday. Anyway, I feel the need for caffeine coming on so I should go get the coffee started now!

Saturday, October 12, 2002

We had a great roadtrip!!

Last Saturday morning, we woke up early and hit the highway. We crossed the border into the States at Lansdowne and we got on the New York State Thruway at Syracuse at 10:38 a.m. We weren't entirely sure where would end up, hang a left at Albany and it's Boston, take a right and we'd end up in NYC...Eventually, we decided to hop on the Garden State Parkway and head for Atlantic City. It was an unbelievably warm on Saturday. When we left home, it was about 20 degrees and by the time we got to AC, the temperature was around 32. There was a fabulous breeze blowing off of the ocean and it felt like the middle of July.

I think everyone else from Philadelphia to Boston had the same idea though, it was NUTS with people. We hadn’t been to Atlantic City since ’99 so we noticed a big change since our last visit. Maybe it had to do with the weather or possibly being there on a Saturday night instead of a Wednesday night but the crowds everywhere were outrageous. Everyone was super friendly though, everywhere we went. We hadn’t made any reservations (never do, we like to sort of fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants when we’re on a road trip) and couldn’t find a room. We tried the Tropicana, the Showboat, Harrah’s…everyone was either full or way overpriced. It was still neat to wander around and see the sites. Eventually, we hopped back into the car and headed back up toward NYC for the night.

Fort Lee was where we thought that we wanted to stay but we never did end up there. It was dark by the time we left Atlantic City and by the time we got to Nutley, NJ it was around 9:30 and we were getting hungry and wanting to stop driving. We pulled into the parking look of this really cool looking diner and started looking through our handy-dandy CAA travel guide. I have to say, I can’t say enough about those books. When we were in the Maritimes in June, we used the Quebec/Atlantic Provinces booklet to find restaurants and accommodation and they never steered us wrong. Every place we stayed at, which was recommended in the book, was really nice.

I found a Quality Inn listed in the book that sounded nice and it was supposedly near Meadowlands. It was actually Lyndhurst, NJ, right across the street from Giant’s Stadium. It was a great little motel (really clean, great service, good prices) and we were able to get a room for that night and then again for the next night too. On Sunday morning, we slept in. We’re ordinarily up at 5 a.m. so to sleep in until 8:30 a.m. was pretty decadent for us.

Eventually, we wandered outside into the sunshine. It was another fabulous day. It definitely did not feel like October weather and I was glad that we were wearing shorts and t-shirts.

Once we left the motel, we released that we were incredibly close to the Lincoln Tunnel. We needed gas though so we made this right turn into a little gas station to fill up before heading into Manhattan. The gas was cheap but we couldn’t figure out how to get back up to the Tunnel from where were so we ended up crossing at the Holland Tunnel. Traffic was light though and we drove around a little bit, looking for a parking spot. We found a terrific spot in Soho and began our search for breakfast. We had a great brunch in a rib place called Tennessee Mountain. What drew us to this restaurant was a giant picture of a pig in the window. The pig was surrounded by pink neon. Mark collects pigs and we both love neon so we thought that this must be a good omen. It turned out to be an excellent choice. We had a delicious brunch and then wandered around the neighbourhood for a bit.

We even saw a bit of a huge Polish Pride parade. It was mostly fire engines and marching bands. There were a few big red and silver sparkly floats, with young girls riding on them. The girls were wearing what looked like either wedding dresses or white prom dresses and rhinestone tiaras.

For dinner, we ended up in Chinatown. If you can believe it, Mark actually got us a parking spot, on Mott Street! It was amazing! The people were incredible too. I noticed a huge difference this trip, from other times I’ve been in New York. Cab drivers were nicer, folks you meet in traffic jams were good humoured, and everyone just seemed friendlier. It was very cool.

We got up early on Monday and drove home. It rained a little bit but the traffic was light so the trip was very smooth all the way home. Even the border was a breeze. There was a smidge of a line up but it didn't take too long to get through it.

It was really nice to get away and see some different sites for a change. I took a bunch of pictures and have posted some already on my web page. I'll probably put some more up in the next few days.

Friday, October 04, 2002

Yay, my cold is almost totally gone!! Thrilling huh?

I booked off today and Monday from work. Spent the best part of today running errands and tomorrow we're heading out on a road trip. We're not exactly sure where we'll end up but that's part of the fun. I stopped by CAA and got a huge bag full of guide books and picked up some US cash at the bank so we could even go south of the border if we feel like it. We're sort of toying around with the idea of heading to Atlantic City or Philadelphia if not New York or Boston. Wherever we end up will be fine with me. Fortunately, we're only a six hour drive from either NYC or Boston. Last time we went to New York, we ended up staying the night in Atlantic City and loved it.

In the meantime, I'm just tidying up the house, doing laundry and thinking about what we'll do for dinner tonight. Not very exciting I know but the rest of my long weekend will more than make up for it, I'm sure!!