Friday, December 30, 2005

keep your eye on the fish

even more fish photos
Originally uploaded by Julep67.
Our handy-person, Pat, showed up yesterday and he's been doing lots of stuff around the house.

Yesterday, he installed our new back steps. Today, he spent the morning working on the duct work in the basement and the back of our house is much warmer now than it was before. The fellow who lived here before us did a lot of slip-shod work on the ventilation system. Basically, he knew not what he was doing. Pat and Mark have rectified this and I can feel the difference already, and Pat's still only about 1/2 done.

It's going to make such a difference when get those January and February cold snaps. I'm sure we'll see it too, in the summer, when the central air is on.

In other news, Joe's not been feeling that great the past few days. We're not quite sure what's wrong but we're waiting for some test results. I'm sure it's nothing serious but he's not been sleeping on a regular schedule and he's been a little mixed up over the past few days. We popped in to see him last night but he was out like a light so we didn't wake him up. I did grab the dirty clothes out of his hamper though. When I called him this morning, he was asking one of the nurses where his clothes were. Luckily, I could tell him that we had them. I was afraid that he'd be wondering about it, and he was. I think that this is a sign that he's on the mend though, because he was actually thinking about laundry! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he'll be back to his normal, crusty, self in a few days. It's no fun for anyone when he's feeling lousy.

Thursday, December 29, 2005


So, instead of curling up with a book today, I've updated things a little bit around. How come, no matter how many times you do this, no matter how much you have learned, even when you're using a canned template, it takes so long to tweak it and make it yours?

If anything appears wonky or isn't working properly, please let me know. This one seems to work okay in Firefox so hopefully, I'll stick with it for a while.

so much better

hey christmas tree
Originally uploaded by Julep67.
What a difference a day can make, or a night rather.

I woke up this morning feeling soooo much better than I felt yesterday. Whatever kind of bug I had, fortunately, it seems to have passed through my system rather quickly. Good thing too, I just didn't want to be sick for the rest of my vacation. It seems hard to believe that I've been off of work for almost two whole weeks already. The time has just flown by.

Looking back over the past two weeks, I am in awe of how much I got done. Between finishing up the shopping, wrapping everything, baking dozens and dozens of goodies, cleaning the house, completing the decorations... it's been very productive.

Of course, as always, it's over too quickly. I don't know if that's because we work so hard in the days leading up to Christmas but it seems to be here and gone again before you know it. Today, I actually feel like packing away the decorations but I won't. It feels too soon, I think I'll wait until the weekend at the earliest. I think Mark will be working at least part of New Years Eve so I may just pop in a movie and plug away at it. It usually takes me way longer to pack everything away than it did to pull it out!

At the moment, I'm once again waiting for our handy-person to arrive. He's supposed to be here at 7:30 a.m. Whether he's here or not, I plan to do very little today. I'm thinking that I may just curl up on the sofa with a book today, or, if I'm feeling really ambitious, watch a couple of movies. Right now, I'm just enjoying how very good "normal" feels.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Right now, I should be in bed, asleep, with the covers up and over my head.

I think I am sick, I feel pretty crappy, achey, tired, nauseous.

I am not in bed as I am waiting for our handy-person to arrive. He was scheduled to be here at 7:30. Once he arrives, I'm going back to bed.

Is it possible to get through the holiday season without contracting some kind of weird bug??

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

new machine

building mum & dad's computer
Originally uploaded by Julep67.
On Christmas Day, Mark had to install a couple of software upgrades to my parents' computer. Their machine is one that was cobbled together from parts that my brother had and that we had. They purchased a new monitor and my dad made a really cool desk for it but the machine itself, while functional, was slow.

Dad and mum commented on Christmas day how they had been thinking about an upgrade. As luck would have it, our favourite local computer shop, had a really awesome machine on sale. Mum and dad seemed pretty happy to hear about the deal so Mark picked up the machine today. It's awesome, really fast. Of course, is was just an empty box, no software or anything so Mark's been working on installing an operating system and putting in all of their applications. Once he's done that, all we'll need to do is grab their old machine, pop their current hard drive and DVD-ROM into the new machine and they'll be good to go. All of the installations have gone very very smoothly and I think that they will notice a huge difference between the new computer and their current one.

Isn't it nice when good things happen to good people?

boxing day wrap-up

yummy snacks
Originally uploaded by Julep67.
We had a really nice Boxing Day.

Every year, my aunt and uncle have an open house on Boxing Day. It's mostly family and close friends of theirs. For the past two years now, Mark and I have been able to go. The faces are now familiar although the names don't come to me quickly. The nice thing about this party is the timing. It doesn't get going until quite late in the afternoon so, even though it's an hour and a bit drive from here, we don't have to get up and out of the house super early.

We had a nice dinner, lots of yummy snacks, some good visits with folks I only really seem to see once a year anymore. My godparents where there, I saw some cousins I hadn't seen since last year on Boxing Day. It was fun. We sort of ate and ran though. We thought that we were going to be eating around 5 but it was closer to 7 when we sat down to dinner. Because we still had an hour drive home, we sort of dashed out after dessert. I felt kind of bad about that but, turns out that my parents left not long after we did.

Even though I'm not working this week, Mark is so we're still on our usual routine of getting up early. It's been good though, I've been using the time to get my baking and stuff done. Today was the first day that I didn't have to do anything or be anywhere. I've been enjoying being a bit lazy.

This morning, I watched a movie and this afternoon, I grabbed a little nap. It's weird but good. I feel a little guilty about it, because Mark's still having to work but, I'm sure I'll get over it!

Monday, December 26, 2005

tickets and coffee

tickets and coffee
Originally uploaded by Julep67.
It's Boxing Day morning and we're not out in the stores. What a nice feeling!!!

I generally don't like to go shopping on Boxing Day but, more often than not, we find ourselves in the crush, looking for bargains. After close scrutiny of the pile of flyers which arrived here on Saturday, I realize that there are not any super sales going on. The prices seems no different than they were before December 25. The only thing that is different is that many folks got cash or gift cards for Christmas and they are burning a hole in their pockets.

Christmas was really nice. We had a quick visit in the morning with Mark's dad (he wasn't feeling well so he didn't join us for Christmas lunch at my mum's house). We then went to out to my parents' place for lunch. The meal was amazing, truly outstanding. It's always good but this was really super.

After we ate, we decided to exchange gifts. We were all way too full from lunch to even think about dessert! I got some really neat things. I suprised the heck out of Mark, which was fun. A while ago, I had ordered a copy of The Beatles in India for him. He knew about it but he had no idea that it was shipping before Christmas. I had it sent to my folks' house so he really had no clue. It's a beautiful book, I knew it would nice but truly, it's a gorgeous volume.

Last night, my brother stayed with us. He's heading home today. We just sat around and shot the shit, drank some beer, ate some chips and then topped it off by watching a Bill Hicks DVD. It was a fun way to end a really great Christmas.

Today, we're heading to Smiths Falls for a family function. My aunt is having her annual Boxing Day open house. Hopefully the weather will cooperate with us.

Speaking of which, I should probably toddle off and start thinking about getting ready.

Happy Boxing Day kiddos!!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

...twas the night before Christmas

I'm pooped.

It's a good kind of pooped though. We had a busy day, it was a long day but it was productive. This morning, I did some more baking, another pan of squares, another batch of cookies. I didn't get as much done as I had thought I would (I had planned to make two more varieties of cookies) but, looking at the pile of tins that have piled up in our spare room, I'd say that I did okay.

Tonight, we went out to my folks' place. They live in a, I guess you would call it a village now, it's bigger than a suburb. The area they live in have a cool / strange, Christmas tradition. Santa drives around on the back of a fire truck on Christmas eve:

Santa on the fire truck

You know it's Christmas for sure, when you spot Santa on the fire truck!

Anyway, my house is clean (finally), the gifts are all wrapped and ready to go to my mum's tomorrow and the baking is done. I can sleep now, yay!!

Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas tomorrow!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

the baking has begun!

Originally uploaded by Julep67.
Finally, today, I started my annual holiday baking.

Do these treats look familiar to you?? They might if I gave you a little bag full of them last year. They were such a hit last year that I made 'em again this year!

At 7 a.m., I started melting those kisses and hugs and by 9:30 a.m., I had 230 some odd of them all over the kitchen. I followed them up by baking some chip crumble squares and then, some coconut fudge bars. I still have cookies to make but at least it's a start, right?

This afternoon, I managed to wrap almost all of our holiday gifts. I still have a few little things to wrap up but the majority of it is done. Last night I was thinking about why I hadn't started all of this earlier in the week. I then reminded myself that not only was Mark sick on Monday and Tuesday, but yesterday, I worked on "office work," from 7:15 a.m. until around 2 p.m. I didn't think it would take me that long but, it did. It's all done now though, so that's good.

All things considered, it's been very busy. I'm really looking forward to the weekend, it should be fun and, hopefully, relaxing.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

on the mend

I'm very happy and relieved to report that Mark is feeling much better this afternoon. He took another day off from work, slept in, spent some time on the heating pad and then some more time in the spa tub and I think that those jets of water did his back a world of good. He actually has colour back in his face again and the sparkle has returned to his eyes. He was a sick boy yesterday, it was scary.

Because he's been home the past couple of days, I have not done too much as far as my "Christmas chores" go but that's okay. Tonight, while we watched old episodes of "Huff," I peeled the wrappers off of Hershey hugs and kisses. Tomorrow I'll melt them onto pretzels and voila, holiday pretzel treats!!

I should be able to get started on my baking too. All I really need to get done between now and Saturday night is the baking, finish wrapping gifts and then do some housework. I can't believe how quickly laundry piles up when you're home from work. Also, I've been running the dishwasher every day. Normally, we can go two or three days without turning it on. The good side of that is that we've not eaten in a restaurant in a while so I figure the money we're saving by eating at home is a lots more than the cost of running the dishwasher!! I don't feel like I'm really on vacation yet, I guess I will after Christmas, because I have a whole week off after that to just chill out and putter around the house.

I still feel really spoiled, having all of this time off. At least I feel right now like I'm putting it to good use!

Monday, December 19, 2005

the sickness, it's in the house

the sickness, it's in the house

Princess Street
Originally uploaded by Julep67.
If you ever receive an invitation to eat a meal in a nursing home, in the winter, do yourself a favour and say no.

I must say, the meal itself was really lovely. We went to the long-term care facility where Joe now lives for their annual holiday buffet. They do these things on Thanksgiving and Easter too. The residents must purchase tickets for their respective family members and the catering staff go all out. The food was really quite good, we sat with another family at our table and had a terrific visit. Joe didn't seem to be as zippy as usual but other than that, the whole thing was fine.

As you can expect, by the time the meal was over, the room was quite warm and Mark and I were both feeling a little over-heated. Later on the in the day, both of us felt a little off. I chaulked the stiffness in my knees and legs up to too much time spent sitting on the living room floor, wrapping gifts for Mark's co-workers.

When we woke up this morning, we both felt kind of yucky. Mark felt much worse than I did, he could barely stand up straight. He got right back into bed, onto the heating pad and under the covers. I checked on him about an hour ago and he was burning up. I'm feeling a little better but am seriously considering taking a nap, very soon.

Hopefully, whatever we have, is fleeting and, if we're lucky, Joe won't have it. Merry Christmas huh??

Saturday, December 17, 2005

gettin' ready

cutie snowman
Originally uploaded by Julep67.
I got a lot of stuff done yesterday, I was quite surprised actually. Usually, when I'm off for christmas vacation, I spend a good sized chunk of the first day off playing free cell. Yeah, that's right, free cell. I'll veg out in front of the computer, put some music on and play. It's sad but true.

Now, yesterday I did play a few games but I still got some stuff done too. Thursday night, Mark and were able to get almost everything we needed before the snow hit. We'll need to go for some groceries at some point in the week but that's about it.

It's a nice feeling and yet it's weird too. There is part of me that feels like I'm forgetting something, even though I know I'm not.

Tomorrow we are going to a holiday brunch at Joe's place. When he first told us about it, right after Thanksgiving, he was super excited. A couple of weeks ago though, he told us that the tickets sold out before he was able to get any so, we weren't going. As luck would have it (?), he called us on Wednesday and informed us that he'd been able to get two (I think that he was on some kind of cancellation / waiting list) so now we're going. It's a mid-day function so we'll have the afternoon off anyway. I hope to get the bulk of my wrapping done (not that I have a lot). We'll see I suppose. I also have a bit of decorating to finish up and the house needs a clean.

The really nice thing about having this week off is that I'll be able to take my time with all the stuff I need to do. And don't think I don't know how lucky I am, I know it, trust me!

Friday, December 16, 2005

best neighbours EVER!!

best neighbours EVER!!
Originally uploaded by Julep67.
When we went to bed last night it was snowing. It was coming down quite hard actually and the weather reports were screaming about heavy snow fall. When I got up this morning, I peeped through the curtains and could tell that we definitely got some snow but had no idea how much.

As I walked out to the front of the house, to see how much we had on the porch, Mark turned the weather channel on. The screen was bright red. That's never good. To me, it looked like we might have 4 to 6 inches on the ground. Of course, at 4:30 a.m., it's hard to tell exactly what's going on in the world outside. One thing was certain, no plow had been anywhere near our street yet.

Mark, very carefully, headed out to work. It was still snowing quite hard so I (on my first full day of vacation!!) took to my office to clear out some clutter, sort out bills, drink massive amounts of coffee, that sort of thing. By 9 a.m or so, you could tell that it was starting to let up so I got dressed and headed out to shovel. Imagine my surprise when I opened the front door and found almost a foot of snow on our porch.

Now, usually (by usually I mean, the past 3 times I have had to shovel our new driveway), I do the driveway first and then the porch and the little sidewalk that leads from the driveway to the steps. I couldn't even see the step. I could barely see Mark's 4 hour old steps in the snow. It was THAT thick!

I had no choice in the matter, I had to start on the steps and basically try to dig my way to the driveway. I've been outside for about 2 minutes and our next door neighbour, Pat, who is outside digging out his vehicles hollers over at me, "hey, Tommy will probably do your driveway for some beer." Just as he's telling me this, Mark pulls up in front of the house, home for his coffee break... Mark goes and talks to Tommy and the deal is made.

Tommy has a ride on lawn mower that has a snow blower thing on the front of it, he did an amazing job on the driveway, he did Pat's drive, the sidewalks in front of our house. It was terrific.

We've been in this house less than 7 months now and don't know many of the neighbours, well, didn't until this morning. One of the nice things about a big storm is that it pulls everyone out of the house and into the street. I can't get over how friendly everyone is on this street. We're literally around the corner (there are 2 stop signs between them) from our old house but it's like being a different world, in a really good way!!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

holiday, celebration!!

I'll tell ya! It's holiday time, that's right, I'm almost officially on my vacation. It seems like it's been a really long time coming but it's here at last.

This afternoon we had our "big annual" office holiday party. About an hour or so ago, I got back to the office (many folks took off, I had stuff to do so I could get out of here). I had a really productive hour, probably because it's so quiet. I really didn't think, earlier in the week, that I'd get everything sorted out but it seems to have come together. I'm bringing my laptop home though, I do have a couple of little things to work on but it shouldn't take me too long.

Right now, I'm just waiting for Mark to pick me up. We're due to get hit with a big snow storm tonight but right now, it's okay outside. It has really warmed up so I'm sure we actually will get that big storm. Anyway, when he gets here, I think we'll head out and try to finish up the little bits of "christmas" shopping that we need to do. If it does storm tonight, it'll be nice to not have to go out into it tomorrow. Yay!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


A friend left a comment on one of my flickr photos. She said that the lights on this particular tree looked like fireworks. I agree, if you squint your eyes they kind of do.

Every day, our neighbourhood gets sparkly-er. Is that a word? Who cares, it's pretty. Gorgeous actually, snow on top of all of those lights is just amazing!

Things at work are getting sorted out. There is almost a light at the end of the tunnel. If all continues like it has been this morning, I might actually be able to get out of here as scheduled, without too much guilt or worry about what I'm leaving behind.

To paraphase an old Muppet christmas special, it's cold enough to freeze your Winnebago out there right now. It's one of those lovely, albeit deceiving, winter type days. It's gorgeously sunny and bright, there is a blanket of snow on the ground. Inviting I guess you'd say. Step out into though, you'll realize soon enough that it's cold enough to freeze the snot in your nose. That's cold.

Honestly, I love this kind of weather. When I'm outside, walking or shoveling in this temperature, my lungs just can't get enough of this fresh, clean air. It's totally invigorating and just feels healthy (unlike the crappy dirty humid air we're stuck with all summer). Boots and heavy coats and mitts, I'm not such a fan of but, I'd rather have to bundle up to go outside than hide inside, in the fake "conditioned" air any day!

Monday, December 12, 2005

happy monday!

Okay, not happy? Busy? Yes, definitely. I'm working a shortened week this week (3.5 days). This is good because, hurray, holidays start on Thursday. It's bad though because I have a lot of little things that need to get sorted out before I go. I shouldn't even really be taking a lunch break at the moment but sometimes you just need to, right?? Those clementine oranges are not going to peel themselves!!

The weekend was nice for me, not so much for Mark. He was really sick on Saturday. He woke up on Friday morning with a migraine but worked through it. It caught up with him sometime early Saturday morning. Fortuantely, he's feeling better today but he was definitely under the weather on Saturday.

While he slept, I went out and did some purely selfish errands. One of things I did was get a long-overdue hair cut. I had grown enough to make another donation to "locks of love." I was surprised and didn't realize that my hair was that long again but I guess it was. Actually, I don't guess, I know because I have a pony tail at home that is slowly drying out.

Yesterday, it snowed almost the whole day. As you can see from the photo, the driveway was clean last night. We woke up this morning to a brand new blanket of snow so it's covered, again. Thankfully, our lovely neighbour across the street (who we have yet to formally meet), plowed out all of the heavy / wet / icy stuff from the bottom of the driveway. This made doing the rest of it fairly easy. Oh well, I'm not going to complain too loudly. Afterall, it's good exercise and I'd always rather have this cold wintery weather than the stinkin' hot stuff we get all summer, any day!!

Friday, December 09, 2005

finishing the cards

finishing the cards
Originally uploaded by Julep67.
For the first time in, I have no idea how long, we actually got our shit together and got our christmas cards out, in the post, in a decent amount of time. I still can't believe that. We are doing such a tiny amount of holiday gift giving this year that we have that almost under control. Fortunately, we're making a lot of gifts this year so we don't have much actual shopping to do.

Last night, we had to go out and do a proper shop at the grocery store. It's been weeks since we did that. Recently we've been just popping into the store for one or two things and we realized yesterday that we were running out of almost everything. On our way to the store (which is in the west end of town so we travelled along the lakeshore from my office) we saw that the sky over the lake was completely dark. It wasn't black, more like a charcoal colour. When we drove by the DuPont factory, you could hardly make out where it ended and the sky started. It was snowing lightly by then and that proved to be good for the shopping as the store was mostly empty.

By the time we got home, it was really coming down and I was so glad that we were "all stocked up" and that, if we needed to, we could stay home all weekend without needing to venture out for provisions. This morning, when we got up, there were about 4 to 6 inches of the white stuff on the ground. We quickly cleaned off the porch and the steps and cut a path for the mail carrier person on our way to work. The wind really kicked up once I got to work and right now, the sun is shining so bright that it's almost blinding me (I LOVE IT!!). Crazy huh?? I'm not sure what the temperature is like but, with any luck, the snow in the driveway will be mostly melted when we get home tonight.

I will say this about the snow, as much as I don't like shoveling it, it sure makes all of the sparkly lights in our very griswaldy neighbourhood look even prettier.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

thinking about john

imagine mosaic
Originally uploaded by Julep67.
Every day without John is a little sad. Sure, we have the legacy he left us, his music, his words, his artwork but tears always come to my eyes when I think of what he had left to share with the world, with us, the people who loved him.

Today, it seems unthinkable that 25 years have passed since he was taken from us. I can remember my mum coming into my bedroom to wake me up for school and telling me that someone had shot John Lennon. It seemed like a bad dream. How could anyone have shot John Lennon? He was a Beatle, he was a father, a husband, a peaceful man. What could he have possibily done to make someone want to hurt him in this way?

It's easy to get bogged down in how his life ended, to concentrate on the violent, insane person who did this. It's much harder to look past the hurt and celebrate his life on days like this. Some nice folks have a petition up on their website. They are trying to have October 9, John's birthday, made into an international holiday. If you, like me, are having a tough time today, you may want to wander over there and sign your name, it might even make you feel a little better.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


How is it possible that I've not posted in almost a week? I suppose, it's possible because we've been really busy. So, the emails go un-answered, the bills pile up, waiting for the weekend to get paid, stuff just seems to swirl around us these days.

The weekend was very productive as far as the house goes. Mark got some jobs done that have been on his "to do" list for a while. I pulled out the indoors holiday decorations so the inside of the house is starting to look as festive as the outside. It's all a little tacky but it's fun. I put the tree up on Sunday, added the lights but didn't get the decorations on it until Monday night. It's looking very disco-y (with actual disco-ball ornaments). When my camera is working again, I'll take some pictures.

The camera has become a bit of a pain in my bum. On Sunday, after shoveling the snow and putting up some lights on one of our trees outside, I wanted to take a few snaps of the front of the house while the sun was still shining. Sadly, my battery had died (even though I had just taken the camera off of the charger). My camera is pretty "old" by today's standards. I have a Kodak DX3600 (2.2 mega pixels) which I purchased in June 2002. It's been a great camera, easy to use and, I think, capable of some really neat stuff. It's also able to make quick time videos which I also like. The only issue I have ever had with this camera is the batteries. I bought the docking station which allows you (via USB) to upload your pictures and it charges the batteries at the same time. We think that there is some kind of electrical flaw in the docking thing that is mucking with the batteries. I have been unable to find replacement batteries locally but lucked out on eBay tonight. I found a couple of guys who are selling chargers and batteries at really reasonable prices so I've ordered a charger (with a car adapter) and a few batteries. I think that if I can charge the batteries outside of the docking station, that should solve my problem. I really like this camera and would hate to have to replace it just because of battery issues!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

sunny day

sunny day
Originally uploaded by Julep67.
It's so sunny right now, it's gorgeous!! It's amazing how a sunny day can just turn your whole attitude around.

Yesterday, the dark and gloom was just getting to me. I let it happen and I shouldn't. The sunshine is always out there somewhere!! Also, I think part of my problem yesterday was sleep deprivation. As I expected, I slept like the dead last night so I'm feeling the benefit of that today.

Of course, with no snow on the ground and lots of sun, it is easier to convince yourself that it's not actually December 1! It looks more like spring out there, it doesn't feel like it but it does look the part.

Anyway, the countdown is on now, two weeks from today, I start my vacation. I'll be off for 2.5 weeks and, while I'm not one of those folks who likes to wish their lives away, I can say that I'm quite looking forward to the break being here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

where's the sun?

innisfil sunflowers
Originally uploaded by Julep67.
Last night, after work, it was dark when Mark picked me up and pouring rain. We had a bunch of stuff to drop off at his dad's place and a whole slew of errands to do. Being sick on the weekend really messed up the progress we were making on our "to do" list. We left Joe's at 5:10 p.m. (or so) and didn't pull in the driveway until 7:55 p.m. That's a long day for us (given that we go to bed at 9!). We were both pretty soggy when we got in, soggy and tired. Tired but a little keyed up. Keyed up just enough to not feel like getting ready to sleep. Eventually we did, of course. It was late though and I tossed and turned a lot in the night.

Tonight I should sleep better, we have fewer errands to do tonight. One thing we do have to do, is bring in our bubble snowman / santa thing. I think we're going to take it back to the store. The plastic bubble part of it doesn't seem to be able to tolerate the cold Canadian winter weather. Given that we live in Canada and have cold, winter weather, this is not a good thing. As cute as it was, it's no good to us if it falls apart.

I needed to see some sun today. When there's no sun, one must make the best of it and "settle" for sunflowers.

It's dark down here in the basement. It's dark outside too so I don't know that being in the basement makes it any worse or better. We have light coloured paint on our office walls, full spectrum light bulbs in the fixtures, holiday decorations all over the place (including sparkle lights) but it still seems dark today. At least when we had a little snow on the ground, cloudy days were still bright.

"Get used to it" is, I suppose, something I should do but yanno, I just plain old don't feel like it!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


The snow is gone.

The winds are here, so is the rain.

Outside, the world looked pretty on the weekend, today it looks dark, dull, mean.

The wind blew so hard last night that our bubble snowman / santa deal on the front lawn nearly blew away. If we hadn't secured it so well, it probably would have. It sprung a leak yesterday too. The seams split in a couple of places and the little "snow balls" inside started blowing across the porch. Mark had to tape up the holes to stop the bleeding.

I was home from work yesterday, back at it today. I slept a lot yesterday. I woke up with Mark, sent him off to work at 6 a.m. or so. Less than an hour later, I was asleep again and stayed that way until around 11 a.m. I felt better for the sleep, slow moving but better. Today I feel better still, not moving much quicker than yesterday but at least I'm at work.

Tonight we have errands to run after work. I hope that the huge rains stop by then. I hate running around in the rain, it's no fun at all. At least when it's snowy, you can sing "winter is a marshmallow world" to yourself in your head. "Rain, rain, go away" is not nearly as much fun.

Monday, November 28, 2005

dysfunctional card

new video card
Originally uploaded by Julep67.
Over the weekend, Mark picked up a new video card for my computer. We recently upgraded our monitors and wanted to upgrade the video card too. I had to take a picture of it because I was in awe of the fact (silly I know) that it had it's very own built-in fan.

Poor Mark, the plan was for him to put the new card (an ATI X800 I think, I'm no good with all the names) into my machine and take my "old" ATI 9800 card into his machine. This way, we'd both have PVR on our machines, blah blah blah...well, we think that something is wonky on the new card. First off, it was supposed to come with some kind of adapter and it didn't, so Mark had to go back to the store to pick it up. Once he had the adapter, the dual monitor thing wasn't working properly. He picked up a second adapter yesterday and the same thing happened so we're thinking that there is something wrong with the actual card. We have to wait until later in the week to get a replacement. It's working okay right now but it's not doing all the stuff that it's supposed to be doing. Fun times huh?

As far as the new monitor goes, it's soooo nice to finally have a flat panel screen at home. I may not have to buy a new desk afterall. Once the new monitor was installed, I got a huge chunk of desk top space back. Now all I need to do is get my office properly organized and cleared of cardboard boxes. I think that'll have to wait until my vacation (which starts on December 16).

Saturday, November 26, 2005


It's a winter wonderland outside right now.

I wish I felt better because it looks like it would be lots of fun to just run outside and make snow angels. I've been up for a while now and the snow hasn't let up. I like days like this, it's pretty watch. Not so pretty to shovel later on when it's done but that's okay. It's supposed to warm up again on Monday so it'll prolly melt by then.

Well, other than making coffee and mixing together some oatmeal muffin mix (and baking them), I haven't done much today and I don't plan to do much more. My schedule includes much sipping of hot water beverages and sitting on the sofa, watching the storm.

I love lazy Saturdays (even when I'm sick with a cold)!!

Friday, November 25, 2005

good mail day

good mail day
Originally uploaded by Julep67.

All week I've felt a little off, like I've been fighting a cold. This morning when I woke up, I really didn't feel like going into the office. My whole body ached, I had a bit of a headache and a sore throat. I convinced myself that once I had a shower and got dressed, I'd feel better. I actually did feel a little bit better and went off to work.

Once I got to work, I stopped feeling "better." Better was never great but it was okay. Once I got to work, I became very warm and felt fever-ish. The sore throat got a bit worse and I became dizzy whenever I had to go up the stairs (down was okay for some reason). I muddled through my morning, actually got a lot of stuff off of my desk and left for home at lunchtime.

Before I left the office, I called ahead and ordered some noodle soup from our favourite Vietnamese place (it's just around the corner). I got home about 45 minutes ago and have a belly which is full of very hot soup, a couple of sweet shrimp and some very yummy noodles.

Oh, the good mail thing...yeah, when I got in the door, I saw that my latest mail order had arrived (yay!!). If I'm gonna be feeling lousy this weekend (which hopefully I'm not but one never knows when one has a sore throat and cough) I might as well have some new stuff to listen to!

sad day

Sad news but, unfortunately, couldn't call it "unexpected."

Best loses fight for life

MANCHESTER United led the tributes to "one of the greatest footballers of all time" after George Best passed away.

The 59-year-old United and Northern Ireland legend died at the Cromwell Hospital in west London at 12.55pm, after suffering multiple organ failure.

A spokesman for the hospital confirmed: "After a long and very valiant fight Mr George Best died this afternoon in the intensive care unit at Cromwell Hospital.

"The thoughts of all staff at Cromwell Hospital are with Mr Best's family at this time."

Born in Belfast, Best played for United from 1963 to 1974 and his finest hour came in 1968 when the Red Devils became the first English club to win the European Cup.

Best made 180 goals in 474 appearances for United and also won two league championships, in 1965 and 1967.


A statement from United read: "George Best was one of the greatest footballers of all time.

"Naturally athletic, tough, confident and blessed with genius, his career was one of the brightest stars of its generation. His gifts were legendary.

"For the goals, the audacious dribbles and all the wonderful memories, Manchester United and its legions of fans worldwide will always be grateful.

"We feel a deep sense of loss but his spirit and his talent will live on forever."

Sir Bobby Charlton, a director at Old Trafford and a team-mate of Best's during his time at the club, said: "Manchester United's glorious history has been created by people like George Best.

"Anyone that witnessed what George could do on the pitch wished they could do the same. He made an immense contribution to the game, and enriched the lives of everyone that saw him play. It is a very sad day.

"Football has lost one of its greats, and I have lost a dear friend. He was a marvellous person and my thoughts are now with his family."

The club will open a book of condolence tomorrow morning at Old Trafford.

Natural talent

The Irish Football Association led the mourning in Best's native Northern Ireland, for whom he made 37 appearances and scored nine goals.

IFA chief executive Howard Wells said: "This is a sad day for football. George was a complete one-off with a natural talent rarely seen since.

"I had the privilege of entertaining him when I worked in Hong Kong and I also saw one of his early internationals for Northern Ireland, in 1964. He had this incredible balance, speed and grace. He was the best I had ever seen."

IFA director of coaching Roy Millar added: "He was an icon of Northern Ireland football and he will be remembered for his performances for Northern Ireland and Manchester United. He was the most talented footballer Northern Ireland has ever produced and he was a world star."

Best spent his final hours in hospital surrounded by his loved ones.

His family, including son Calum, 24, and father Dickie, 87, had kept an all-night vigil at his bedside.

This morning floral tributes started to arrive outside the private hospital. Alongside the flowers were several United supporters' scarves and a football shirt bearing the name Best and the number seven.

Best was admitted to Cromwell Hospital on October 1 suffering from a flu-like infection.

His health deteriorated rapidly when he developed a kidney infection, but he then rallied and his condition was thought to be improving until the early hours of Friday last week when he suffered a severe setback.

He developed a lung infection and was put back on a ventilator in intensive care, but remained alert.

His condition deteriorated further on Wednesday night after which his consultant, Professor Roger Williams, said there was no longer anything doctors could do.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

marshmallow world

marshmallow world
Originally uploaded by Julep67.
This morning, I was awake before the alarm went off. The first thing I did was sit up and open the curtains, I could tell it had snowed through the night but it didn't look like much (even though I didn't have my glasses on).

When I got up and started moving around, I could see that we had just had a light dusting of snow. It was enough that even at 4:45 a.m., it seemed bright outside and it was quite pretty, I must admit.

By the time I was getting ready to leave the house, it had started snowing again and the roads were completely covered. I'm not sure how much of it will actually accumulate today but the roads are horrible. In good old Kingston fashion, there are no plows out and you can tell that no sanders have been out either. It's a slimey mess that's getting worse by the minute.

I worry about Mark on days like this. He's an extremely good driver but still, having to be out in the storm, with all the idiots who freak out and forget how to drive the first time we have a snowfall is hard on the nerves. Hopefully, the sun will pop out later this morning and it'll be melted by lunchtime!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

flurries?? fuggettaboutit!!

We just got home. I say just but it was more like 40 minutes ago or so. We had a bunch of errands to do after work. I must say, when the weather is like this, brisk and crisp, I don't mind being out and about. It's always a little over-warm in the stores but it's so nice to step out into clean, cold air. Nothing feels better than a lung or two full of that good stuff. Especially on a night like tonight, when the sky is clear and beautiful!

Imagine my surprise when I sat down in front of the machine and read (on the ever-reliable Environment Canada website), that a heavy snowfall warning was "continued." I didn't even know that there was that needed continuing. I know that the area all around is supposed to get buried in the white stuff tomorrow but I don't think we'll see much, if any of it. Now that I think about it, the warning might have been related to all of the traffic we saw this evening. There's nothing quite like a storm warning to thrust folks into panic shopping!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

secret santa

Thanks to Alison, I have signed up to be a secret santa. It'll be soooo much fun, you should to it too (or not, no pressure -- I just think it's going to be fun!!)!!

Secret Santa Project

Monday, November 21, 2005

snow globe

bubble snowmen
Originally uploaded by Julep67.
Last week, on Monday evening, we threw up our holiday lights. I saw threw up because we really rushed it. The forecast called for rotten weather and we wanted them up before that settled in. Well, the storm never happened but we started a trend. Almost everyone on our street has their lights on now. It's looking really pretty.

Tonight, we put out our Santa snowglobe. We picked this up earlier in the fall. Santa is leaning over a big slow globe. The globe has two small snowmen in it and there is snow blowing around inside it. It's really neat and now it's set up on our front porch. I haven't done the inside windows yet but that will be my project for the weekend I think.

Right now, it looks really cool and fun and bright. With the days so short now, it's nice to see a little bit of funky light on our street!!

Friday, November 18, 2005

s'no way!

It's serious, I mean it. We've flirted with flurries all week but right now, the white stuff is sticking to the ground. It's sticking to the rooftops, it's a crappy looking "winter wonderland" out there. It's too early, or it seems too early anyway. I know we put up our Festivus lights on Monday but still...snow?? yikes.

This kind of weather makes me want to stay in the house and listen to music. Normally this wouldn't be a problem but I have a list of things I need to / would like to accomplish and they all involved actually leaving the house. With any kind of luck, the snow will be gone when we get up in the morning.

As far as music goes, I've been listening to a lot of stuff lately. I had gone through a talk radio / television period earlier in the year. Honestly, it made my head hurt. Recently, I've stuck to reading my news (and watching the daily show -- hello, I do too know it's fake!). I find that listening to happy music makes my head hurt less and it's easier for me to concentrate when I'm at work if I'm humming (in my head) along with some nice little tune.

Do you ever get stuck on a particular song?? I mean, like you cannot stop listening to it?? I've been stuck on 2 songs this week, "Soldier Girl" (the UK single version from the little ep) by the Polyphonic Spree and "Art Class" by Superchunk. They aren't very similar but I guess that they aren't all that different. It's like a couple of weeks ago, for some really weird reason which I can't pin-point, I couldn't stop listening to George Michael's (yeah, so what, shut up!!) "American Angel" and "Saddest Quo" by the Pernice Brothers.

Little meaningless weird coincidence, last week, I read a review of the Magic Numbers and made a mental note to check them out (they were compared to both the Spree and B&S). On Saturday morning, we get to Ottawa and my brother asks me if I'd heard the Magic Numbers. Well, as it happens I say, I hadn't. So he played us their CD and it's really good. I know that some reviewers say that the guy's vocals are thin (I personally don't think so but then I like other "thin-voiced" boy singers so there!) but I really like their sound. Reviews don't mean a lot to me when I actually like something. It's a warm, sunny sound. Can't we all just use a little more sunshine in our day?? I have a feeling that "Forever Lost" might make it into that "can' stop listening to it" category next week. Unfortunately, there is really no way to predict what the sticky track will be. If the snow stays around, I might get stuck on Savage Garden's version (cuz it's soooo cheesy) of "Last Christmas" and the Damned's "There Ain't No Santa Claus." Only time will tell I guess!!

Monday, November 14, 2005

yeah huh, we ate it!!

On Saturday, we took a little roadtrip to Ottawa to see my brother. His birthday is coming up (on November 19). For the first time in a long time, Mark and I both had a Saturday off together and we knew that Pat's band (the Glads, they are excellent!!) had an out-of-town gig on his actual birthday (in Montreal -- check them out!!) so we thought we'd take a chance and see if he was around for a visit. Lucky for us, he was!!

For his birthday, we got him a copy of the Warriors (director's cut) and a bag of actual Keyspan Park peanuts. Hey, if the Warriors are going to spend the movie trying to get home to Coney Island, the least we could do was give Pat some Coney Island snack food!! I think he liked it. We used to rent it all the time. When we were kids and VCRs were new, it was one of the few movies in our video store that we liked so I remember us renting it every once in a while....can you dig it??

Pat joined us for a jaunt to IKEA where we spent entirely too much money (not really) on stuff we really needed for the house. Afterwards, we took him out for birthday lunch. We splurged on some extra calories and ordered a mile-high mud pie and an ice cream cookie avalanche to split three ways. Goodness gracious but we were wired after that. It was a lot (and I mean A LOT) of sugar.

It was good though. When Mark and I got home, we were still buzzed enough on the sugar that we put up some of the curtains that we'd purchased and assembled the lights we bought (three table lamps for the living room, two desk type lamps for our bedroom).

Yesterday, we put up some shelves we bought and I shortened up some of the curtains. We had a bunch of errands to do too so it was busy. This morning, I really didn't want to get up. It didn't feel like we had a rest this weekend. I guess we didn't but it was good. The house is looking terrific, like home again...finally.

Oh yeah, tonight, because Mark heard that we were supposed to get snow or freezing rain tomorrow, we put up our holiday lights outside. We bought some of those LED lights, four strings of 35. We had enough to run them across the front of the house along the eaves and around the railing of the porch. They look terrific. We also bought one of those big inflatable Santas (he's holding a snow globes that has blowing snow inside it!) a couple of months ago but we won't put that up until at least December 1...or this weekend. Depends on how long we can wait. It's kind of nice, now that the days are so short, to see the neighbourhood starting to light up again.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

autumn sunrise

autumn sunrise
Originally uploaded by Julep67.
This morning, as I walked into the kitchen to wash out my coffee mug and get ready for work, I noticed a weird pink glow creeping across the room. I looked toward the window and then ran for my camera. I was lucky to get outside and snap a few photos before the pink glow disappeared.

It's true, that old saying about "red sky in the morning, sailors take warning..." It's been cold and rainy and miserable all day. Too bad that the day couldn't have stayed as beautiful as it was earlier. I'm just glad that I caught some of it with my camera.

Last night, I was looking through the list of numbers on our caller id and noticed that Mark's dork brother had called yesterday. He had last called in July and left a completely obscene and ignorant message on our voice mail. Mark returned the call and told him to never all our house again (this guy is a totaly headcase -- occasionally he'll call Mark's dad, 9 times out 10 he's looking for money, I tell you, this guy is a bum). At first I wasn't sure it was his number because his name didn't show up, only the number. I can't imagine that he intended to call us directly. He's such a moron, he probably forgot that Joe has a different phone number because, hello, he's living in a long term care facility!!

Speaking of Joe, I'll be seeing him in a few hours. When we can (weather and health permitting) we go out for dinner on Wednesday nights. Tonight, I'm not sure how much Joe will able to eat. He had a dentist appointment this afternoon and is getting a new tooth. Apparently, on the day his mother died, one of his front teeth just fell out. From the shock I suppose. When he went into the hospital in July, he lost the tooth and we're just now getting around to replacing it. I'm sure he'll feel better when he gets it, he's got a bit of an Alfred E. Newman thing happening right now. He is having a busy day today, he's supposed to have a haircut today too. Watch out ladies, he'll be a whole new guy!!

Monday, November 07, 2005

weird weather

after the storm - spooky sunset
Originally uploaded by Julep67.
Now, I know that we did not have anything nearly as bad as what those poor folks down in Indiana saw over the weekend but we definitely had some weather weirdness yesterday.

Our Sundays have a bit of a newish routine to them now. We get up in a lazy-ish fashion (meaning we don't set the alarm) and then grab coffees at Tim's and head over to see Joe. We stay and visit for as long as the coffee lasts. By the time the coffee's gone, he's usually ready for us to leave anyway. After we leave Joe, we go and finish off any errands we need to do. Yesterday, while we were out erranding, we realized that the temperature was 20 degrees, in November. Hello?? Tell me again Mr Bush, how there is no such thing as global warming... anyway, by the time we got home, we were roasting. Mark and I opened up windows and a lovely breeze was blowing through the house. We settled down for some lunch and, about half-way through our meal, realized that it was dark outside, we needed lights on in the living room. Yikes.

I don't know how many different storms rolled through town yesterday. It seemed like one would just finish and another would start up. This went all all through the night last night too. The way the wind howled kept me awake for most of the night. In the rain, I kept running outside and snapping pictures. The sky was really bizarre and I didn't come close to capturing it. What I did get was some neat shots of a huge-ass rainbow. I could see the whole arc of it (although I couldn't get it into a single camera shot). I was able to get a little video of it though, which is pretty neat. I gotta say, given what we saw of it on the edge, I can't imagine what it must be like to be in the middle of a storm like that.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

bright-eyed and hiccup-y

Just recently, I have not had many opportunities to sleep in. This morning was one of the few mornings, in a long long time, that I could have slept in. Unfortunately, I'm awake right now. My body just doesn't understand that I'm not working today and that I could have slept for at least another hour. Also, until just a moment ago, I had the hiccups. I'm not sure that this is important, it' just something that happened.

This morning I'm going to a memorial service for a friend's father. He died last Saturday after a 6 month battle with cancer. He was a heck of a nice guy and I expect that there will be a huge crowd. Both he and his wife come from very large families, lots of brothers and sisters, many nieces and nephews, grandkids. As much as I just hate going to things like this, I know that the service will be really nice, knowing his kids like I do, I know it will truly celebrate his life. Even still, things like this are always sad and hard to deal with. You'd think that the older you get, and the more of them you go to, they'd get easier but they don't. Wonder why that it is.

Anyway, I suppose, if I was smart, I'd take advantage of the fact that I'm up early, go do some laundry or something. Of course, I'm not smart and there is an old repeat of Law & Order on right now, one I particularly like and have only seen once before so....yeah, no laundry, not yet anyway.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

happy first of the month!

I should have probably popped in and wished you all a happy halloween yesterday but I didn't. We did have halloween here yesterday though, wishes or not. Approximately 130 little trickertreaters knocked on our door last night. As this is our first year in the new house, we weren't quite sure what to expect. Last year, we were living on the "main street" of our neighbourhood. It's quite busy and I would get around 100 kids at the door. We're now on a side-street and I saw a lot more traffic last night than I ever remember seeing before. Our street was full of cars and vans and there were groups of kids all over the place. Even the parents got into it, many of them were in costume too. It was nice to see.

We had pretty good decorations at our place. You know that they are good when you really scare the little wee ones. We only had a couple of kids who wouldn't come up onto the porch. Mark had set a strobe light up, in the basement window, so it flashed on the steps. I also had a lights display in the living room window, a glow in the dark skeleton (with flashing green eyeballs) hanging in the door and we had this weird skeleton wind chime too. He had a motion sensor and whenever you went near him, he would shake and make spooky noises and flash lights - red ones from his eyes and blue ones from his mouth. We hung him on the porch in such a way that his head would bang against the hand rail. It made the whole thing vibrate a little bit. It was pretty entertaining for the kids I think.

For the last 20 minutes or so, I handed out 2 bags of chips to each kid, to try and get rid of them, so I only have about 6 bags left. The worst thing to me, about halloween, is having all of that junk in the house. By 7 p.m., it was all over. I took the decorations down this morning. Guess we'll soon have to think about the winter holiday decorations next. It's really hard to believe that it's November already.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

hump day

Ordinarily, we celebrate the middle of the week by going out for dinner with Joe. It's the one of the night of the week that, for sure, Joe goes out and we usually enjoy it. Unfortunately, I think because of the weather (it's been raining and/or miserable here for days now), he didn't feel up to it tonight. He has arthritis and it really gets to him when the weather is like this.

He hopes to feel better tomorrow so we'll try for a Thursday dinner instead. Our original plan was to eat out tonight and do groceries tomorrow. We decided to reverse them and now I'm totally pooped. We didn't even do that much, we basically had two stops (one of them was a lotto ticket stop, it's up to $40 million!!) and came home. Something about schlepping around in the dark and damp just makes it feel like way more work than it should though.

If I'm feeling this pooped, I can only imagine how crappy Joe feels tonight. On a happier note, my dad got some very good news medical test results that he'd been waiting for so, yay, hooray!!

Oh, btw, this year, we'll be shelling out humpty dumpty potato chips on October 31, if you're in the neighbourhood. Be warned though, I want to see a real costume, one that requires some effort before I'll hand over the goods.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


I haven't been around here much lately, well I haven't been posting. Things have been very hectic since we got back from New York and although I have all kinds of ideas and thoughts swirling around in my head that I'd love to share here, they never seem to make it into a typed format, suitable for easy blogging.

Even though she was 92 years old and had lived a good long life, I was saddened this morning to read about the death of Rosa Park. In recent years, I'd read reports of her suffering from dementia but that didn't diminish the contributions that she'd made almost 50 years ago when she stood up for herself in that famous act of defiance on a Montgomery bus.

My work continues to keep me really busy recently. There isn't the same kind of urgency to it that there in recent weeks but it's still kind of nuts. Of course, all of the little things that I'd let slide are now needing to be dealt with so....Yeah, yanno...I'll get to them eventually. Eventually, I'll actually, properly clean my messy house again too. It's all on the "list."

rest in peace

Rosa Parks, 92, Founding Symbol of Civil Rights Movement, Dies

Rosa Parks, a black seamstress whose refusal to relinquish her seat to a white man on a city bus in Montgomery, Ala., almost 50 years ago grew into a mythic event that helped touch off the civil rights movement of the 1950's and 1960's, died yesterday at her home in Detroit. She was 92 years old.

Her death was confirmed by Dennis W. Archer, the former mayor of Detroit.

For her act of defiance, Mrs. Parks was arrested, convicted of violating the segregation laws and fined $10, plus $4 in court fees. In response, blacks in Montgomery boycotted the buses for nearly 13 months while mounting a successful Supreme Court challenge to the Jim Crow law that enforced their second-class status on the public bus system.

The events that began on that bus in the winter of 1955 captivated the nation and transformed a 26-year-old preacher named Martin Luther King Jr. into a major civil rights leader. It was Dr. King, the new pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, who was drafted to head the Montgomery Improvement Association, the organization formed to direct the nascent civil rights struggle.

"Mrs. Parks's arrest was the precipitating factor rather than the cause of the protest," Dr. King wrote in his 1958 book, "Stride Toward Freedom. "The cause lay deep in the record of similar injustices."

Her act of civil disobedience, what seems a simple gesture of defiance so many years later, was in fact a dangerous, even reckless move in 1950's Alabama. In refusing to move, she risked legal sanction and perhaps even physical harm, but she also set into motion something far beyond the control of the city authorities. Mrs. Parks clarified for people far beyond Montgomery the cruelty and humiliation inherent in the laws and customs of segregation.

That moment on the Cleveland Avenue bus also turned a very private woman into a reluctant symbol and torchbearer in the quest for racial equality and of a movement that became increasingly organized and sophisticated in making demands and getting results.

"She sat down in order that we might stand up," the Rev. Jesse Jackson said yesterday in an interview from South Africa. "Paradoxically, her imprisonment opened the doors for our long journey to freedom."

Even in the last years of her life, the frail Mrs. Parks made appearances at events and commemorations, saying little but lending the considerable strength of her presence. In recent years, she suffered from dementia, according to medical records released during a lawsuit over the use of her name by the hip-hop group OutKast.Over the years myth tended to obscure the truth about Mrs. Parks. One legend had it that she was a cleaning woman with bad feet who was too tired to drag herself to the rear of the bus. Another had it that she was a "plant" by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The truth, as she later explained, was that she was tired of being humiliated, of having to adapt to the byzantine rules, some codified as law and others passed on as tradition, that reinforced the position of blacks as something less than full human beings.

"She was fed up," said Elaine Steele, a longtime friend and executive director of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development. "She was in her 40's. She was not a child. There comes a point where you say, 'No, I'm a full citizen, too. This is not the way I should be treated.' "

In "Stride Toward Freedom," Dr. King wrote, "Actually no one can understand the action of Mrs. Parks unless he realizes that eventually the cup of endurance runs over, and the human personality cries out, 'I can take it no longer.' "

Mrs. Parks was very active in the Montgomery N.A.A.C.P. chapter, and she and her husband, Raymond, a barber, had taken part in voter registration drives.

At the urging of an employer, Virginia Durr, Mrs. Parks had attended an interracial leadership conference at the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tenn., in the summer of 1955. There, she later said, she "gained strength to persevere in my work for freedom, not just for blacks but for all oppressed people."

But as she rushed home from her job as a seamstress at a department store on Dec. 1, 1955, the last thing on her mind was becoming "the mother of the civil rights movement," as many would later describe her. She had to send out notices of the N.A.A.C.P.'s coming election of officers. And she had to prepare for the workshop that she was running for teenagers that weekend.

"So it was not a time for me to be planning to get arrested," she said in an interview in 1988.

On Montgomery buses, the first four rows were reserved for whites. The rear was for blacks, who made up more than 75 percent of the bus system's riders. Blacks could sit in the middle rows until those seats were needed by whites. Then the blacks had to move to seats in the rear, stand or, if there was no room, leave the bus. Even getting on the bus presented hurdles: If whites were already sitting in the front, blacks could board to pay the fare but then they had to disembark and re-enter through the rear door.

For years blacks had complained, and Mrs. Parks was no exception. "My resisting being mistreated on the bus did not begin with that particular arrest," she said. "I did a lot of walking in Montgomery."

After a confrontation in 1943, a driver named James Blake ejected Mrs. Parks from his bus. As fate would have it, he was driving the Cleveland Avenue bus on Dec. 1, 1955. He demanded that four blacks give up their seats in the middle section so a lone white man could sit. Three of them complied.

Recalling the incident for "Eyes on the Prize," a 1987 public television series on the civil rights movement, Mrs. Parks said: "When he saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up and I said, 'No, I'm not.' And he said, 'Well, if you don't stand up, I'm going to have to call the police and have you arrested.' I said, 'You may do that.' "

Her arrest was the answer to prayers for the Women's Political Council, which was set up in 1946 in response to the mistreatment of black bus riders, and for E. D. Nixon, a leading advocate of equality for blacks in Montgomery.

Blacks had been arrested, and even killed, for disobeying bus drivers. They had begun to build a case around a 15-year-old girl's arrest for refusing to give up her seat, and Mrs. Parks had been among those raising money for the girl's defense. But when they learned that the girl was pregnant, they decided that she was an unsuitable symbol for their cause.

Mrs. Parks, on the other hand, was regarded as "one of the finest citizens of Montgomery - not one of the finest Negro citizens - but one of the finest citizens of Montgomery," Dr. King said.

While Mr. Nixon met with lawyers and preachers to plan an assault on the Jim Crow laws, the women's council distributed 35,000 copies of a handbill that urged blacks to boycott the buses on Monday, Dec. 5, the day of Mrs. Parks's trial.

"Don't ride the buses to work, to town, to school, or anywhere on Monday," the leaflet said.

On Sunday, Dec. 4, the announcement was made from many black pulpits, and a front-page article in The Montgomery Advertiser, a black newspaper, further spread the word.

Some blacks rode in carpools that Monday. Others rode in black-owned taxis that charged only the bus fare, 10 cents. But most black commuters - 40,000 people - walked, some more than 20 miles.

At a church rally that night, blacks unanimously agreed to continue the boycott until these demands were met: that they be treated with courtesy, that black drivers be hired, and that seating in the middle of the bus go on a first-come basis.

The boycott lasted 381 days, and in that period many blacks were harassed and arrested on flimsy excuses. Churches and houses, including those of Dr. King and Mr. Nixon, were dynamited.

Finally, on Nov. 13, 1956, in Browder v. Gayle, the Supreme Court outlawed segregation on buses. The court order arrived in Montgomery on Dec. 20; the boycott ended the next day. But the violence escalated: snipers fired into buses as well as Dr. King's home, and bombs were tossed into churches and into the homes of ministers.

Early the next year, the Parkses left Montgomery for Hampton, Va., largely because Mrs. Parks had been unable to find work, but also because of disagreements with Dr. King and other leaders of the city's struggling civil rights movement.

Later that year, at the urging of her younger brother, Sylvester, Mrs. Parks, her husband and her mother, Leona McCauley, moved to Detroit. Mrs. Parks worked as a seamstress until 1965, when Representative John Conyers Jr. hired her as an aide for his Congressional office in Detroit. She retired in 1988.

"There are very few people who can say their actions and conduct changed the face of the nation," Mr. Conyers said yesterday in a statement, "and Rosa Parks is one of those individuals."

Mrs. Parks's husband, Raymond, died in 1977. There are no immediate survivors.

In the last decade, Mrs. Parks was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. But even as she remained an icon of textbooks , her final years were troubled. She was hospitalized after a 28-year-old man beat her in her home and stole $53. She had problems paying her rent, relying on a local church for support until last December, when her landlord stopped charging her rent.

Rosa Louise McCauley was born in Tuskegee, Ala., on Feb. 4, 1913, the elder of Leona and James McCauley's two children. Although the McCauleys were farmers, Mr. McCauley also worked as a carpenter and Mrs. McCauley as a teacher.

Rosa McCauley attended rural schools until she was 11 years old, then Miss White's School for Girls in Montgomery. She attended high school at the Alabama State Teachers College, but dropped out to care for her ailing grandmother. It was not until she was 21 that she earned a high school diploma.

Shy and soft-spoken, Mrs. Parks often appeared uncomfortable with the near-beatification bestowed upon her by blacks, who revered her as a symbol of their quest for dignity and equality. She would say that she hoped only to inspire others, especially young people, "to be dedicated enough to make useful lives for themselves and to help others."

She also expressed fear that since the birthday of Dr. King became a national holiday, his image was being watered down and he was being depicted as merely a "dreamer."

"As I remember him, he was more than a dreamer," Mrs. Parks said. "He was an activist who believed in acting as well as speaking out against oppression."

She would laugh in recalling some of her experiences with children whose curiosity often outstripped their grasp of history: "They want to know if I was alive during slavery times. They equate me along with Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth and ask if I knew them."

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

stolen guitars

the raveonettes
Originally uploaded by Julep67.
People just suck sometimes, don't they? I just got the following email and thought I should pass it along:

We are completely devastated.

Our gear was stolen on Friday Oct. 7 in Brooklyn, NYC. So much has been lost, but these 4 guitars & basses listed underneath are truly the things that matter most to us... like Wagner's Jazzmaster from 1961 that he has lived & traveled with, played & written on for the past 12 years. And Sharin's beloved Gretsch from 1967. If you see or hear anything about these 2 guitars and 2 basses please email us immediately at and you will be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams.

Yours, Sharin

Gretsch Chet Atkins 6120 1965 Guitar Orange V89V391 Fender Jazzmaster Guitar, Sunburst 55820 Fender Precission 1974 Bassguitar L. Tan 317392 Rickenbacker 4001 1974 Bassguitar OK 7546

Monday, October 10, 2005

Stolen from Bev

1. Name someone with the same birthday as you? Samantha Morton, Darius Rucker, Dennis Rodman, Stevie Wonder, Ritchie Valens, Harvey Keitel, Bea Arthur, Joe Louis and Arthur Sullivan.

2. Where was your first kiss? In the basement of a friend's house.

3. Have you ever seriously vandalized someone else's property? No.

4. Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex? Oh yeah definitely but only ever in fun (oh, and that time I took the self-defense course and we got to pummel the shit out of a guy in a padded suit).

5. Have you ever sung in front of a large number of people? Yes, in a church choir when I was a kid. Thankfully, my voice just blended in with everyone else's.

6. What's the first thing you notice about the preferred sex? If they are taller or shorter than I am.

7. What really turns you on? I don't think you really need to know that, if you did, you would.

8. What do you order at Starbucks? I hate starbucks and would sooner drink battery acid than the swill they try to pass off as coffee. It's not made for folks who drink black coffee, over-roasted crap that it is.

9. What is your biggest mistake? I don't know if I'd necessarily say that it was a mistake, more of a fault, procrastination.

10. Have you ever hurt yourself on purpose? No.

11. Say something totally random about yourself. I am so glad that I was able to sleep in this morning and that I don't have to go to work. Hurray for Thanksgiving!!

12. Has anyone ever said you looked like a celebrity? No.

13. Do you still watch kiddy movies or tv shows? Nope, unless Spongebob Squarepants counts, oh yeah, and Arthur (I just love DW and Francine!!). So, actually, yes.

14. Did you have braces? No, thankfully.

15. Are you comfortable with your height? I am now. When I was a teenager I wasn't thrilled about it (I'm 5'9") but it doesn't bother me anymore.

16. What is the most romantic thing someone of the preferred sex has done for you? Mark does lots of little things for me all the time so I couldn't list just one!

17. When do you know it's love? You just do and, I suspect, it's different for everyone.

18. Do you speak any other languages? No, but I understand a little French.

19. Have you ever been to a tanning salon? Yikes, no!

20. What magazines do you read? We have subscriptions to e-week, Shape and Homemakers. The odd time, one of us will splurge on an expensive British music mag for a treat.

21. Have you ever ridden in a limo? Nope.

22. Has anyone you were really close to passed away? A friend of mine committed suicide in 1996. My Grandmother died in 1997 and my Grandfather in 1984. I have also lost numerous aunts and uncles over the years but I was closest to my grandparents.

23. Do you watch mtv? Not any more, they took it off of our cable package.

24. What's something that really annoys you? When someone complains about something that is bad or isn't going quite the way that they'd expect but they don't do anything to help themselves. I have no sympathy for complainers!!

25. What's something you really like? Sunday mornings with Mark, drinking coffee and watching three back-to-back episode (on tape) of Eastenders.

26. Do you like Michael Jackson? When I was a little kid, I had a huge crush on him and loved to watch the Jackson 5 cartoon (yes, I'm OLD!!) but once he started in with all of the plastic surgery (not to mention is odd behaviour the past 15 years or so), I lost any respect I once I had for him.

27. Can you dance? Yes but don't do it very often.

28. What's the latest you have ever stayed up? I've pulled all nighters, for work purposes and for fun. Unfortunately, the older I get, the longer it takes me to recover.

29. Have you ever been rushed by an ambulance into the emergency room? No.

30. Do you actually read these when other people fill them out? Yes!!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

roadtrip report - part 2

It's hard to believe that at this time last week, I was standing in the middle of a crush of people, waiting anxiously for Belle and Sebastian to play. Given what the weather's been like, both here and there, this weekend, I'm so happy that it happened last weekend.

When we set off on Friday, I wasn't sure if we would get all the way to NY on Friday night but Mark sort of had that idea in the back of his head. Just outside of Marathon, NY, I found the Randi Rhodes show on the radio. It was a silly little thing but it made me really happy. We were about half-way there and I could hear Randi on the radio, not streaming through computer speakers. Unfortunately, we were driving through some pretty hilly areas (it seemed to be a big skiing area) so it cut out but, it felt like we were really close if I could hear Randi's voice!

Around Scranton, Mark suggested that I call the hotel we were booked into (for Saturday and Sunday) and see if they had a room for Friday too. They didn't have a room free that night, but, when I asked if they could suggest something in the neighbourhood, they did. I was a little ticked when I lost my cell signal in the middle of the call but as luck would have it, I found the name and number of the place in my trusty CAA guide book. The guy I spoke with assured me that they had many rooms available and didn't need to take my credit card to hold one for us. I thought that this was a little odd but it was after 8 p.m. so I didn't think much of it.

Sometime around 10 p.m. or so, we got into Jersey City and found our way to the Holland Tunnel. Admittedly, we got sort of turned around in Jersey City but I blame it on a) it being after 10 p.m. on a Friday and us having been up since 5 a.m. that morning; b)us having missed dinner c) being stupid Canadian tourists. Once we found got our bearings and found the tunnel, everything was fine. We got into Manhattan, found the Manhattan Bridge and made our way into Brooklyn. We were tired and hungry but we were almost there!!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Photo Meme!

Spotted at Alison's and it looked like fun...Do a Google image search of the following and post the first (or favorite) result for each:
* The name of the town where you were born
* The name of the town where you live now
* Your name
* Your grandmother's name (just pick one)
* Your favorite food
* Your favorite drink
* Your favorite song
* Your favorite smell

Where I was born:

Where I live:

My name:

My grandmother's name:

My favourite food (mine's normally a large #14):
Noodle Soup

My favourite drink:

My favourite song (this week):
Lazy Line Painter Jane

My favourite smell:
Fresh Coffee

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

roadtrip report - part 1

Last week at work was a bit of a mad blur. The past few weeks have been like that actually and I was getting myself very stressed out. Like, extremely stressed out. Actually, like I had a total meltdown at home last Tuesday after work. On Wednesday, I talked to my manager about it and she was terrific. Offered some helpful solutions and, basically, a rope to hang on to. Perspective was what I needed, that and to know that a light does indeed exist at the end of the tunnel.

So, New York. Back in August (or late July?), when I first heard that Belle and Sebastian were playing at a festival (Across the Narrows - more on that later) in New York, I was interested but not confident that I'd go. For starters, I'm not a big fan of festivals because many of them (in these here parts anyway)involve sitting on blankets, in farmers fields, and portable toilets. I'm too old (imho) to deal with insane mobs and no real bathrooms! I discovered that this particular festival was taking place in the very civilized, Keyspan Park on Coney Island.

I talked to Mark about it because we had already planned a December trip to New York (we wanted to be in Strawberry Fields on December 8). He was really excited about it because he'd not been to Coney Island in years and I'd never been to Brooklyn so it would a neat adventure for us, in addition to my finally getting to see Belle and Sebastian. Over the years, I've had many "near misses" with seeing them but it never happened. I got us some tickets, I booked us a hotel and we starting making plans. We didn't have a set schedule of events for the weekend, just certain things we knew that we wanted to do in addition to the concert (like going to the Carnegie Deli and shopping in Chinatown).

Our original plan was to leave on Saturday morning, check into the hotel sometime that afternoon, have a night out on the town and go to the show Sunday. Monday would be our return trip travel day. A couple of weeks ago, Mark suggested that we leave on Friday after work. We'd drive into the wee hours on Friday and would most likely be dog tired but, we'd be waking up on Saturday morning in New York. I liked that idea, a lot. As work went from crazy to insane last week, I started questioning the sanity of the trip: should I be going away in the middle of this busy-ness? Will I be able to relax and enjoy myself? Lots of doubting thoughts kept popping in and out of my head but one thing kept me going, I was going to see Belle and Sebastian!!

Friday, I left work at noon. Mark worked until 3 and this gave me just enough to go home, pack us up and do a few things around the house. It all worked out perfectly, he arrived home, about 15 minutes after I'd finished packing and I was ready to go. We crossed the US border without incident. I don't know why but those guys always make me feel nervous. For the first time ever, we had a guy with an actual sense of humour. It was refreshing. Once we hit the I-81 South, I started getting excited. Neither of us had eaten lunch so we stopped for a quick (ie drive-thru) chicken sandwich and an ATM stop in Pulaski, NY. We had decided, because we were staying in Brooklyn (instead of New Jersey like we usually do), that we'd take a different route. Instead of getting on the thruway in Syracuse, and heading east to Albany, we stayed on I-81 and headed toward Binghamton.

...when I have time (hopefully tomorrow?), I'll get into part 2. I know it's not the most exciting thing that you'll have read but I'm doing this more for me than for you. So, there!!

Monday, October 03, 2005

back in town

We're ba-a-aaaaaaaaack!!!

We just got back from our long weekend in New York and I'll have lots to tell about it after we've had some sleep and some food. While you wait to hear our oh-so-exciting tales from the road, I have posted a few pictures up at flickr.

Friday, September 23, 2005


I just realized, as I logged into Blogger, that this is the longest I've gone without posting in a while. I don't have much time to post but things should get a little better again next week (it's been extreme crazy busy season at work just recently). In the meantime, here's the Friday Feast. Happy weekend kids!!

Feast Sixty-Three

Name something someone has done lately that impressed you.

I was totally impressed that the pilot landed that Jet Blue plane safely at LAX the other night. We accidentally ended up watching the whole thing on KTLA. I have to say, I think that the folks at Fox news and CNN were probably a little bit disappointed that the episode didn't end in flames and massive carnage.

Do you have any relaxing rituals? If so, what are they?

I love to take a really long soak in our big jacuzzi bathtub. It relaxes me so much that I can barely stand. It's great!!!

If you could spend the winter season somewhere other than your current location, where would you choose to stay?

I wouldn't mind renting a house for a winter, somewhere with a warmer climate, near the beach. It would be kind of neat for a change and hey, no shovelling!!

Main Course
When was the last time you had dinner out, and what was the name of the restaurant?

Yikes, I think we were at the Red Lobster on Wednesday night.

If you had a boat, what would you name it?

goodness, I have no idea...sad huh?

Monday, September 12, 2005


Listening to the radio all day while I'm working is making me crazy. As I've mentioned before, I stream Air America whenever I am at my desk. The past couple of weeks have been extremely busy at work, so busy in fact that I sometimes forget (until I'm urgently reminded) to pee or to stop for lunch. Sometimes when I get busy like this, I can't listen to AA as it's too much for my brain to cope with. I'm thinking that I need to take a break from it for the next few days. Every once in a while I do this, take the break and listen to music instead of the talk, the talk makes me think too much, get angry too much. It's good, I'd rather be angry and informed than blissed out and ignorant.

One of the problems with the listening is that it makes me want to read in the evenings, read blogs, news sites, that sort of thing. Again, the more I read and hear, the more my brain spins and the harder it is to shut down at night. The other night I actually had a dream that Al Franken and I were traveling together for work and, in the middle of the airport in Chicago, I helped him and his wife Frannie, paint their kitchen. Don't ask me why their kitchen was in the airport, or why Al was on a trip with me an a colleague. I've been working in my dreams a lot recently, either on office related projects or I'm helping rescue folks from the flood. I dream about the flood, a lot. It's really graphic and scary and I can't imagine what kind of dreams that the survivors are having if I'm having the dreams I'm having just from watching the tv and listening to the radio.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that when I'm overwhelmed like this, by work, by the world, by life, I stop writing. It is exactly at times like this that I should be writing. Unfortunately, my brain just shuts down, well the writing part of it does. Maybe if I listen to some music tomorrow, my sad old noggin' will have some down time and be able to process everything and I'll write something that is a little more interesting than this. Time will tell.