Sunday, December 30, 2007

even the police shop at costco

even the police shop at costco
Originally uploaded by Julep67
We were up sort of late (for us) last night but I couldn't sleep in this morning. Two weeks into my three week vacation and I'm still not sleeping in. Not necessarily a bad thing I suppose.

It was actually good that we were up early because we got out and did some errands before it got busy this morning. I was pretty surprised at how early it was when it started to get busy. It felt pretty good to be ahead of the crush though.

I really like shopping when the stores first open because I generally dislike crowded stores. I dislike them because (and I find that this is particularly bad at costco) folks seem to lose their ever-loving minds when they shop. In costco, people mob around the free piece of sausage lady like this is going to be their last meal on earth. First thing in the a.m., the free sausage / piece of cookie / corner of a rice crispie square people aren't even set up yet.

A down side to early morning shopping is that ladies who douse themselves in smelly perfumes are freshly so. At No Frills, a lady was returning her buggy and Mark offered that we would give her our quarter rather than get it from the cluster. She was lovely and friendly and we set off to do our shopping. I realized when I was cashing out that she had been doused (it wasn't obvious earlier because we were near the door). My hands totally reeked of some old lady perfume. I don't know what it is but it's very popular amongst ladies of a certain vintage. It reminds me of Avon's "Bird of Paradise" but it's not that. It has that same base scent though, I don't know how else to describe it except "blue." It smells blue to me. This is probably because when I was a kid, my mum sold Avon and the Bird of Paradise bottles were blue. I know that blue doesn't smell (well, blue cheese does) but that's what's in my head.

Thank goodness for anti-bacterial gel. I was able to get rid of the perfume smell. I'm really looking forward to the day when I don't have to walk through clouds of smoke when I enter and exit public building and when all public places are designated scent-free. In the meantime, I'll just have to put up with smelly hands, a choking cough and watery eyes.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

boxing week traffic insanity

boxing week traffic insanity
Originally uploaded by Julep67
I began to take apart the christmas decorations today. For now, our tree is still up and the lights in our living room window are too. I put the tree up so late this year that I just don't want to take it down quite yet. I'm thinking that it might be a Monday project.

As much as I love putting everything up, it's been nice to see it go away all the same. My hallway seems much larger since I took the garland down. Once everything is packed and put away in the basement, I'll do a really good clean. It'll be a nice way to start the new year.

fun times huh? It's boring, I know, but it is the holidays and I'm supposed to be resting up, getting rid of the last little bits of the this cold. so there!

Friday, December 28, 2007

candy cane cookies

candy cane cookies
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Having a cold and not having to to work when you have a cold can get your scheduled turned around.

Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night, wide awake, and couldn't get back to sleep for an hour or so. By the time I did get to sleep, the alarm was going off and I got up with Mark. After he left for work, I felt really groggy. Even though I was having coffee, I couldn't get warm and couldn't wake up.

The smart thing to do, I thought, was to go back to bed. I did and I slept for a couple of hours and felt much better for it. Mark ran into some trouble with the cab and ended up being off this afternoon while it was in the shop. He took me out for lunch and it was the first time I'd been further than the end of our driveway since Christmas Day.

We wandered around a few stores to people watch and see what the bargains were. After a couple of hours, I could barely keep up with the crowds so we went home. I think I'm going to be another day or so before I'm back to normal. It was nice to get out earlier but right now, I'm really ready for my bed again.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Originally uploaded by Julep67
On Christmas Day I took a lot of photos. When you take a lot of photos (well, when I take a lot of photos anyway), it takes a while to sort through them all. I've posted some of them on flickr already but probably won't have the rest of them up much before the weekend.

Speaking of the weekend, when the holiday falls in the middle of the week, doesn't it feel like it's constantly the weekend? No!? Maybe it's just me. I feel really lucky to have all of this time off during the holidays too. 3 weeks is a pretty nice break at any time of year but at this time of year, it's particularly decadent feeling.

I am happy to say that at this moment, my cold is feeling like it's going away. We had a pretty spicy curry for dinner tonight and that seems to have really loosened things up. The pain in my neck and shoulders has faded to a little bit of a dull roar so I should be able to sleep a little better tonight than I did last night. I also did not have a nap today so I should be really tuckered out when we do go to bed tonight.

I think that the germs have not really dug in because I've done very little else but veg around the house for the past couple of days. Mark gave me a MP3 player for Christmas which I have been having fun playing with. It's a Sansa and it does video too which is cool. I found a bunch of really discounted accessories for it on eBay yesterday and am looking forward to receiving them. I ordered a little FM transmitter thing for the car (apparently it plugs into the lighter and I can broadcast what I'm listening to on the car radio). We don't have a CD player in our van so this will be very cool when we have roadtrips.

The next thing I need to do is deconstruct christmas. I'm not sure exactly when that will happen, maybe over the weekend. I really love having the tree up and I do like it when everything gets packed away... it's the packing away that I don't like so much!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

all over for another year

all over for another year
Originally uploaded by Julep67
did you have a nice holiday yesterday?

we had a lovely day. we spent the afternoon and early evening with my family and enjoyed a terrific meal and lots of laughs.

Mark worked today so we cut the evening short. I actually was feeling really lousy too. My neck and shoulders were burning I was so stiff and sore. Not good. We took a long route home so that we could see some of the lights displays and I was really happy to return home when we finally got here.

This morning I woke up with a full blown head cold. This explains so much of what I've been experiencing since Saturday evening. I got a really good nap in this afternoon and just had a little bit to eat and am feeling marginally better. I'm planning to take a bunch of drugs now and hit the sack again. Sleep seems to help this thing. I want it gone soon.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

christmas tree

christmas tree
Originally uploaded by Julep67
merry merry everyone!

I hope that your christmas day or, for those of you who don't celebrate a holiday today, tuesday, is going well so far.

Things are pretty chilled around our house today. We slept in a little bit which was good. Yesterday, about mid-morning, I developed some flu-like symptoms which knocked me on my ass for most of the day. Mark went out and did our cookie tray deliveries all alone while I stayed home and felt crummy.

Today is marginally better than yesterday although a lingering headache and dull muscle ache (mostly in my back and shoulders) remains. At the moment, we've got all of our parcels assembled and lined up by the door, ready to go into the van when we are ready to leave the house.

We're still schlepping around in our jammies at the moment though so I don't expect we'll be going anywhere for a couple of hours. Later today, we'll be seeing my family and we'll make a quick stop en route, to drop some gifts off to my godson and his family.

I'm sure we'll have a lot of fun once we get where we are going. On Christmas Day I'm always glad that we don't have far to travel because really, no matter what the weather, we could always make the trip.

To you and yours, all the very best for the holiday seasons, whichever way you celebrate, or don't, no pressure!

Monday, December 24, 2007


christmas eve
Originally uploaded by Julep67
I was actually stunned for a couple of seconds this morning when I looked outside and saw all of the snow on the ground. I peeked out our bedroom window (which faces our neighbour's driveway) and was really surprised to see that his car was completely covered with several inches of the white stuff.

It was really mild yesterday and they were calling for flash freezing (the temperature was dropping and all of the puddles were expected to freeze) but I hadn't heard anything about so much snow accummulation.


It's looking like it will be a white christmas afterall I guess.

Mark was planning to work today but I don't know if he'll bother. You can tell that the plow has not been anywhere near us yet and the neighbourhood seems really quiet. I'm not sure that it would be worth his while to go out.

Later on today we're doing cookie deliveries but fortunately, they are pretty much contained to within the neighbourhood so we don't have too far to go and can do most of what we need to, on foot.

I must say, the snow has certainly helped me stay in a holiday mood this year. I hope it hangs around for a couple more days at least!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

kitchen love

Yesterday our kitchen had quite a workout. I finished up my baking with a large batch of shortbread cookies. Mark put the finishing touches on some candy he's been working on. I baked bread and Marked cooked up an awesome meal which we shared with friends last night.

For dessert, I put out a huge plate of cookies which disappeared very quickly so I'm guessing everything turned out well. It's funny, when I'm baking, I don't eat what I make. After it's all done, I'll have a couple of cookies but when I'm in the middle of it, I don't sample at all.

I have to say, the kitchen in this house is so much better than our old kitchen. The layout is better, our oven is amazing (it's gas - our old one was electric and second (third?) hand and never baked anything evenly) and we have enough room that we can be both doing stuff at the same time without being in each other's way.

I don't have a whole heck of a lot to do over the next couple of days which is nice. Typical weekend stuff needs finished, like laundry. I think I may do one more batch of coconut cookies because they seem to be disappearing quickly.

Right now, I'm just on the other side (barely) of a weather-induced headache. I had a bit of one last night and it came back this morning. Once it started pounding, I looked at the forecast and discovered that there is a snow squall warning for our area so that definitely explained the pressure I was feeling around my eyes and sinuses. Yesterday I thought I might be getting a cold but I think it's just the weather.

So, that's about all that is happening around here today. It's not overly exciting I know but I'm enjoying it so I guess that's all that really matters (to me anyway!).

Saturday, December 22, 2007

oozing snow

oozing snow
Originally uploaded by Julep67
everything in our neighbourhood has looked very pretty all week, since the snow storm.

There was a beautiful blanket of white everywhere, on the trees, on roof tops, on the street, it was gorgeous.

Unfortunately, the temperature is on the rise here and the snow is melting. There are drips everywhere and the snow is starting to turn into brown mush. Not exactly currier and ives.

If it really warms up, we may end up with a grey / brown christmas. I hope that's not the case, I was really enjoying the snow!

Friday, December 21, 2007

road block

road block
Originally uploaded by Julep67
On our way home last night, the police had the street closed off. Not our street, but Concession Street. Not sure what was happening, most likely a little fender bender. Traffic was really backed up and everyone was a little pissy about it. Settle down folks, it's just a small delay, the world will not end if you have to go around the block en route to where ever it is you're going!!

This week while I've been off, I've stayed on our regular schedule because Mark's working and there are holiday things to get done.

So far today I've done some laundry and am about half-way through my first batch of cookies. I would like to get three batches done today. The chewy toffee cookies are in the oven right now and the house is smelling pretty good. Mark baked mondel bread last night and he made some nut brittle. The brittle didn't harden over night like he'd hoped but I think it just needs a little more time. We are keeping one of our spare rooms closed off (I've been keeping my empty decoration boxes in there while the holiday stuff is up) to store our baking in. It's a nice cool room and I think if he leaves the brittle in there (it's in there now) for another 24 hours, it'll harden up. Candy is tough and it's something I've never mastered. I'll stick to my cookies if that's okay!

Speaking of which, I should run along because I think the timer is going to buzz at me any second.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

spongebob on the tree

spongebob on the tree
Originally uploaded by Julep67
when Mark got home from work this afternoon, we decided to take a quick spin out for our last grocery shop before Christmas.

I had planned to go out tomorrow morning, early, and do the shop but I liked his suggestion of us doing it together so out we went. It's funny, traffic was a little heavy, the stores were kind of busy (not nuts, just full of really dopey-acting people) but it was amusing and fun.

When you have your shopping all done and wrapped and you're well underway to being ready for the holidays, your perspective changes. We sat at Costco and had a soda after we shopped and watched folks checking out. Some people seemed like us, relaxed and happy, amused. Other folks seemed foul tempered, angry, confused, generally freaked. Not good.

I don't ever want to find myself in that position - desperate looking. Many people seemed to be wandering around without a clue of what they were doing, desperate to buy something. How that can be fun I ask?

I'm so glad that we don't have to go near the shoppes this weekend. I'm happy to stick close to home, finishing up my baking and hanging out with friends. Hope you get to do some of that too.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

bizee day

Since my vacation started, I've been getting a lot of stuff done around the house. It feels really good and the house is looking great. For the first time in ages, I'm feeling organized.

Today, I got the last of my gift wrapping done and I started my holiday baking. I got another big dent made into the house cleaning project I've started and we had friends over for dinner tonight.

It was so much fun. Mark cooked and I had made dessert. We had a terrific visit. I'm up a little later than normal for a Wednesday night but it's okay. I can take a cat nap tomorrow if I'm so inclined!

I am really loving the holidays so far this year. I'm not even all that bothered that we had to spend $1350 on our van today (and that's saying something!). The repairs were all good things that shouldn't have to be done again for a really long time. It's been a good vehicle to us and the stuff we had to have done should extend the life of the van for us. The timing was sort of crappy but then the timing is always kind of crappy (I remember last christmas - we had to put new tires on).

Either way, I'm still feeling good. I decided that this year, I wouldn't let the holidays stress me out. Instead, I'm making plans to see lots of friends and just enjoy myself. If I don't get everything done that is on my list, it really doesn't matter as long we are having fun.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Flaming Dodge

Flaming Dodge
Originally uploaded by Fleurette Jardin
My mum took this picture earlier today.

Her neighbour's truck caught fire. It looks like it started where the blade meets the truck. Must have been an electrical short in the motor for the hydraulic lift do-flicky or where it connects to the truck. Either way, he was a lucky man. Had it been parked in the driveway, given the looks of the intensity of it, my parent's home and his home would have likely caught fire too. Thank goodness the firehall is just around the corner from their home!

In not so exciting news, I got tonnes done around the house today. I got a good chunk of major cleaning done (gross but yay!), laundry finished and I made 400 melty pretzel treat things. Tomorrow I'm gonna finish up the cleaning .

Mark had a weird day. He had a call to take a student from the campus down to the Watertown airport. On the way back, he stopped off for gas. Unfortunately, the spot he was attempting to go to was closed and the whole side ride was icy. He slid in the cab along the sideroad, to a very dangerous spot on the edge of a 20 foot drop off "landscaping feature." Mark waited 2 hours for a tow and was pulled out very easily. Fortunately, there was no damage to his vehicle and he was home shortly after. He was pretty cold and sore though.

Boy, I'm really glad that everyone is safe tonight. It's funny how easily it could have been otherwise.

Monday, December 17, 2007

less than a-peeling

I've just spent the best part of the last 90 minutes peeling kisses. Well, hugs actually, and the candy cane type of kisses too. If there is a way to purchase peeled hershey kiss products, I'm interested.

After a while, the sweetness gets up your nose. You can also accumulate a layer of white chocolate on your fingers which isn't as pleasant as you may think.

Oh well, it's all for a good cause so I'll not complain too loudly.

redirected traffic

redirected traffic
Originally uploaded by Julep67
If you are in the "storm zone" I'm sure you faced a lot of delays today. This morning I was happy to not have to rush out to work.

Mark stayed home until the sun was up and we'd had a chance to finish cleaning up the driveway and the steps. Neither of us felt great about him being out on the roads if they weren't safe to travel, at least not in the dark. Fortunately for us, our driveway was pretty good when we went outside this morning. Our neighbour had cleaned a chunk of it up last night so we just had 4 or 5 inches to do. The snow was light and fluffy this morning so I was glad to get it done early.

About mid-morning, our neighbour came back and widened the driveway and cleaned up the top of the drive (around where the van was - between our house and the neighbours). It looks great now. This is the time I love winter. When the weather is really cold and sunny and the ground is covered with snow but everything is accessible - that's a perfect wintery day for me. Technically I know it's not yet winter but it sure looks pretty out there.

Mark packed work in early this afternoon (at my urging) and we went out and finished our shopping for the holidays. We even got the last bits and pieces of what we need for our baking. The worst lineup I saw was at the post office (I had two parcels to send) and that didn't take longer than 20 minutes so I'm not complaining. There is something nice about being done with the mad rush stuff a whole week early.

We'll probably make a couple of grocery runs between now and the end of the year but at least we don't have any more holiday shopping to do - I don't anyway - not sure about Mark.

Traffic wasn't too bad but there were a lot of stupid folks out there. They seemed to be just not paying attention. We saw a lot of transport trucks in town too. The 401 is closed so traffic was being re-routed through town. At one point, looking west along highway 2, all I could see what transports, bumper to bumper. It was pretty funny actually. A sense of humour is easy to retain when you're not in a hurry!

At the moment, I'm happy to be home. I can take my time and putter away and get what I need to, done, at any old pace I choose. happy holidays indeed!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

so long chocolate

on the mend
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Our little chocolate oranda died last night. she's been really sick for a while (she caught part of whatever it was that killed Roger) but had been making some improvement since we moved her into the hospital tank.

Chocolate was a weird little fish. When we brought her home she was brown. She later turned gold then orange and then white. We kind of think she had some kind of brain tumor because she got this strange growth on her head over the past couple of weeks. It didn't seem to bother her until yesterday. She didn't move around a whole lot and at dinner time last night, she didn't eat (not like Chocolate at all!). On our way to bed last night we noticed that she was dead. I don't think that she'd been dead for very long though.

I'm pretty sure that orandas are supposed to live longer than 2.5 years but she was a little bit strange so who knows. We never know how old the fish are when we bring them home. She was a really cute fish and we'll miss her a lot but I'm glad that she's not suffering anymore.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

another sunny day

Originally uploaded by Julep67
the storm we have been watching out for has not yet come to pass. I'm not unhappy about that, it's good to wake up and not have to think about shovelling snow!

Today I'm trying to get stuff organized. I am making up lists and am attempting to plot out the next few days. I'd like to much of my "work" around the house done as quickly as possible and free myself up for next week. We have some plans made with friends and it would be nice if I could just go about my days having a good time instead of thinking about how I haven't scrubbed the bathrooms yet or about a stack of stuff that needs to be wrapped.

Having 10 days off before Christmas is absolutely decadent, I know it and I love it. I've done this for last 3 years now and can't imagine not doing it, I'm spoiled, what can I say!?

Friday, December 14, 2007

watching the weather

I'm completely brain dead right now. Well, maybe partially brain dead. At the moment, I can still type so I can't be that bad, right?

Today was my last official day in the office at my current job. Technically, I'm still employed there until January 4 but I have a bunch of vacation days left over so I'm all done now. I start my new job on January 7. I think I still need to go back into the office over the weekend though. I got all of my "stuff" and schlepped it home with me but I want to double check the computer and make sure that I got all of my files off.

The stuff I needed to get done today took me much longer than I thought it would. I ended up working kind of late and feeling a bit rushed on the way out. If I could go back for like an hour over the weekend, I think I'd feel much better and I'll leave my keys there so I won't be tempted to go back in over the holidays!

After work, we had to do some errands. Holy crap but it took a long time. We didn't even go to places that were all that busy, we were just moving kind of slow I guess so it seemed to take forever. We didn't get home until after 8 p.m. After we arrived at home, we saw that there is a big ass storm warning on for tonight. I'm really glad that we just bit the bullet and stayed out and got it done. I don't want to have to out tomorrow if we end up with a bunch of snow.

I think it's going to take a couple of days for me to chill out and get into my vacation. I've been dreaming about work the past few nights and that's not good. I want not to think about the office right now. I'd rather concentrate on getting ready for christmas and just having fun. Doesn't that sound like a good idea?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

you are what you eat

I have been to a breakfast and two holiday luncheon's this week. If it is true that you are what you eat then I am a combination of bad coffee and slices of turkey with a smidgen too much chocolate thrown in for good measure.

What's not to love about the holiday season huh?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

making something bright

the last 3 evenings have been spent in a blur of "getting stuff done."

indeed, stuff has been done.

good stuff, holiday type stuff.

all of the gifts I was making for my coworkers are completed, ready to go, wrapped up, tied with ribbon, in a big bag, cards written too. items of the baked nature are cooling on the table in the kitchen, ready to go into funky little bags which will be tied up with more ribbon.

I'm tired but it's all done, well this week's stuff anyway.

at work, my desk is almost empty too. I'm almost ready to pack up my old job. almost.

2 more days...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

meet cinnamon

meet cinnamon
Originally uploaded by Julep67
It is snowing right now.

They are calling for freezing rain though, or ice pellets. It's supposed to get nasty though. I really hate freezing rain. When it's icy and you can't tell, I'm always afraid that I will slip and fall on the ice. I also worry that Mark will have an accident because he's out working in it.

Don't get me wrong though, I don't worry about him and his driving ability, I worry about the idiots that he has to contend with as he tries to get his job done.

Not good.

On a more happy note, we had our last event of 2007 this morning. It feels good to have it behind us although at moments it was a little sad because it's the last event I'll work on as a member of our awesome little team.

Onwards and upwards though right? Don't look back and all of that!?

Monday, December 10, 2007

decking the halls

decking the halls
Originally uploaded by Julep67
I have a disease. Well, it may not actually be a disease but I think it's a pretty serious seasonal disorder.

Unlike some folks who suffer when the days grow longer and the sun's rays are fewer and further between, I have an uncontrollable need to listen to "Christmas Wrapping" (either by the Waitresses or the Spice Girls) or "Last Christmas" (either by Wham! or Savage Garden - it matters not which). It's like I need Christmas cheese. Now, my all time favourite Holiday tune is definitely "Fairytale of New York" but there is something about "last christmas" especially that just makes me need to listen to it over and over again. I'm not sure if it's a sickness or not but it seems a little disturbing to me anyway.

Over the weekend, we were very busy. Our house was a filthy mess after two weeks of dog sitting and general lazy behaviour on our parts. On Saturday, I spent the entire day cleaning while Mark did running around for us. Yesterday, we went out and finished up almost all of our holiday shopping. I now have a tonne of gifts to finish (we got stuff for making presents with) and wrapping to do but with any luck, a lot of it will be done by the end of next weekend. The house is decorated now. I cut back a lot on what I usually do and I quite like it. Our theme, if we have one is cartoons (sponge bob and simpsons mostly) and snowmen.

Baking is something I need to do too but I tend to put that off until closer to the end and do a marathon session. I have a little bit to sort out this week, gifts for my office mates before I leave them for the year (and for my new job in the new year).

It's been busy but I like this kind of busy... well I will like it a lot more when I have my office type of work done (our last event of the year is tomorrow!). It feels good to be ending a year on a high note for a change!

on dyslexics

I thought that this article was really really really interesting, particularly because Mark is dyslexic and has almost always been self-employed or done independent-contractor type work throughout his career.

Tracing Business Acumen to Dyslexia

It has long been known that dyslexics are drawn to running their own businesses, where they can get around their weaknesses in reading and writing and play on their strengths. But a new study of entrepreneurs in the United States suggests that dyslexia is much more common among small-business owners than even the experts had thought.

The report, compiled by Julie Logan, a professor of entrepreneurship at the Cass Business School in London, found that more than a third of the entrepreneurs she had surveyed — 35 percent — identified themselves as dyslexic. The study also concluded that dyslexics were more likely than nondyslexics to delegate authority, to excel in oral communication and problem solving and were twice as likely to own two or more businesses.

“We found that dyslexics who succeed had overcome an awful lot in their lives by developing compensatory skills,” Professor Logan said in an interview. “If you tell your friends and acquaintances that you plan to start a business, you’ll hear over and over, ‘It won’t work. It can’t be done.’ But dyslexics are extraordinarily creative about maneuvering their way around problems.”

The study was based on a survey of 139 business owners in a wide range of fields across the United States. Professor Logan called the number who said they were dyslexic “staggering,” and said it was significantly higher than the 20 percent of British entrepreneurs who said they were dyslexic in a poll she conducted in 2001.

She attributed the greater share in the United States to earlier and more effective intervention by American schools to help dyslexic students deal with their learning problems. Approximately 10 percent of Americans are believed to have dyslexia, experts say.

One reason that dyslexics are drawn to entrepreneurship, Professor Logan said, is that strategies they have used since childhood to offset their weaknesses in written communication and organizational ability — identifying trustworthy people and handing over major responsibilities to them — can be applied to businesses.

“The willingness to delegate authority gives them a significant advantage over nondyslexic entrepreneurs, who tend to view their business as their baby and like to be in total control,” she said.

William J. Dennis Jr., senior research fellow at the Research Foundation of the National Federation of Independent Business, a trade group in Washington, said the study’s results “fit into the pattern of what we know about small-business owners.”

“Entrepreneurs are hands-on people who push a minimum of paper, do lots of stuff orally instead of reading and writing, and delegate authority, all of which suggests a high verbal facility,” Mr. Dennis said. “Compare that with corporate managers who read, read, read.”

Indeed, according to Professor Logan, only 1 percent of corporate managers in the United States have dyslexia.

Much has been written about the link between dyslexia and entrepreneurial success. Fortune Magazine, for example, ran a cover story five years ago about dyslexic business leaders, including Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic Airways; Charles R. Schwab, founder of the discount brokerage firm that bears his name; John T. Chambers, chief executive of Cisco; and Paul Orfalea, founder of the Kinko’s copy chain.

Similarly, Rosalie P. Fink, a professor at Lesley College in Cambridge, Mass., wrote a paper in 1998 on 60 highly accomplished people with dyslexia.

But Professor Logan said hers was the first study that she knew of that tried to measure the percentage of entrepreneurs who have dyslexia. Carl Schramm, president of the Kauffman Foundation, which financed the research, agreed. He said the findings were surprising but, he said, there was no previous baseline to measure it against.

Emerson Dickman , president of the International Dyslexia Association in Baltimore and a lawyer in Maywood, N.J., said the study’s findings “just make sense.”

“Individuals who have difficulty reading and writing tend to deploy other strengths,” Mr. Dickman, who has dyslexia, said. “They rely on mentors, and as a result, become very good at reading other people and delegating duties to them. They become adept at using visual strengths to solve problems.”

Mr. Orfalea, 60, who left Kinko’s — now FedEx Kinko’s — seven years ago, and who now dabbles in a hodgepodge of business undertakings, is almost proud of having dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“I get bored easily, and that is a great motivator,” he said. “I think everybody should have dyslexia and A.D.D.”

He attributes his success to his difficulty with reading and writing because it forced him to master verbal communication.

“I didn’t have a lot of self-confidence as a kid,” he said. “And that is for the good. If you have a healthy dose of rejection in your life, you are going to have to figure out how to do it your way.”

He said his biggest advantage was his realization that because of his many inadequacies, he had to delegate important tasks to subordinates. “My motto is: Anybody else can do anything better than me,” he said.

Danny Kessler, 26, also has dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Mr. Kessler founded Angels with Attitude, which holds seminars for women on self-defense. He is a co-founder of Club E Network (, which sponsors “networking events,” runs an online chat room for entrepreneurs and produces television shows about them.

Like Mr. Orfalea, he said he had low self-esteem as a child, and now views that as a catapult into the entrepreneurial world. “I told myself I would never be a lawyer or a doctor,” he said. “But I wanted to make a lot of money. And I knew business was the only way I was going to do it.”

In high school, Mr. Kessler said, “I became cool with the teachers. I developed a rapport with them. I was able to convince almost all of them to nudge my grade up just a bit. I adopted a strategy for squeezing through the system.”

As for the importance of entrusting tasks to others, Mr. Kessler says his limitations have endowed him with a “razor sharp” intuition that allows him to ascertain within minutes of meeting people whether he can depend on them and what they would be good at in an organization.

Drew Devitt, 45, who also has dyslexia, said he started Thoughtware Products in college to produce videos for real estate brokers. Today, he runs a successful $9 million company in Aston, Pa., called New Way Air Bearings that makes bearings for precision machine tools.

Asked about mentors, Mr. Devitt ticks off a list, and it is a long one, beginning with his parents, who sold imported bearing materials out of their home.

Indirectly, he confirmed that he gives free rein to his deputies. Asked about the claim on his company’s Web site that it is a “market leader,” he sighed. “That’s not something I would say,” he said. “Actually, it’s baloney. But that’s what our marketing people came up with. You can’t do everything. You have to let people do their job.”

Friday, December 07, 2007

good news for kids

I was happy to see this. Mark and I both get really peeved when we see folks driving around with kids in the car, smoking. It's a step in the right direction I think!

MPP bill calls for smoking ban in cars with minors
The Canadian Press

Ontario was under growing pressure Thursday to become the first province to ban smoking in cars containing young passengers as health advocates rallied around a private member's bill that would outlaw a practice critics liken to child abuse.

Although Premier Dalton McGuinty has said such a ban would be a dangerously slippery slope, health activists say the likelihood of children developing cancer, asthma and heart problems is good enough reason to force people to butt out after they buckle up.

"Second-hand smoke is a killer," said Rocco Rossi, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. "Therefore we should be protecting our children from it."

Jurisdictions in the United States, Australia and the town of Wolfville, N.S., have all banned smoking in cars where children are present. In British Columbia, a New Democrat politician tabled a private member's bill last month that would also ban the practice.

The private member's legislation being introduced Thursday by Liberal David Orazietti faces a steep battle, since such bills rarely become law unless they are adopted by the government.

Ontario has already banned smoking from bars, restaurants and workplaces, Rossi said. Protecting children in cars from second-hand smoke is a "natural" next step, he said.

"We already regulate in the car - we require seatbelts and child seats to protect our children," he said. "We're not breaking new ground. We're not going down a slippery slope, because the state is already in the car."

Michael Perley of the Ontario Coalition for Action on Tobacco said the province already has all kinds of other laws protecting children from abuse, so a ban on smoking in cars with kids should be no different.

"These are very young people who are not in a position, in that environment, to do anything to protect themselves," Perley said.

"They can't stand up and step out of the car at 60 miles an hour. The youngest ones aren't even in a position to know that anything bad is being done to them."

Health experts say second-hand smoke is extremely detrimental to a child's health - particularly in a car. Cynthia Callard, executive director of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, said smoking one cigarette in a car is worse for a child's health than taking them into the smokiest bar.

The exposure can cause a whole host of illnesses, from ear infections to cancer, she said.

"Parents do not have a blanket right to harm their children, and putting a child in a car with smoke is certainly harming the child," said Callard, adding areas that have brought in a ban have seen people voluntarily obey the law.

The government's reluctance to adopt a ban seems to say that the Liberals are more concerned about interfering with parents that they are about the health of children, she added.

Irene Gallagher, with the Ontario division of the Canadian Cancer Society, said it would be nice if parents voluntarily refrained from smoking around their kids or kicked the habit altogether.

"We feel that when they buckle up, they should butt out," she said. "They should be thinking about the effects of second-hand smoke."

But until that happens, Gallagher said children need to be protected in law.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

a little time

This afternoon, we our unit holiday luncheon thingy. It was also my "so long and thanks for all the fish" luncheon. I really don't like having a fuss made about me so I would have liked it to have been all about the holiday and not at all about me but, you don't usually get what you want in situations like this.

I was allowed to choose the restaurant and I picked a really nice, newish, Chinese buffet place near my house. I picked it for a few reasons 1 - there would literally be something for everyone 2 - it was inexpensive (we were picking up our own tabs) 3 - they had lots of parking and 4 - it was central to everything. The plan was that we had the rest of the day off to shop of whatever. I opted to whatever. A generous coworker dropped me off at home and I proceeded to get three loads of laundry done, some christmas gifts wrapped, a birthday gift assembled and 4 christmas gifts started (things I'm making). Not bad for just 2 extra hours huh?

Right now though, I'm dragging a bit. I have a nagging cough all day and I've been sneezing a little more than I would care to. I will not get sick though. I am not going to be sick this holiday season. no way, no how, not this girl!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

sorry, internet

As you can probably tell if you read my blog regularly, Mark and I love television. Not shit ass shows like survivor but what we consider "good" shows, quality programming (current stuff we watch includes Weeds, The Riches, The Office, Flight of the Conchords - duh, Brotherhood). We absolutely support the WGA strike and while we don't particularly like that we haven't had a new Daily Show or The Office in weeks, we understand the bigger picture.

If you support the writers, you may want to check out what is happening on the picket lines by visiting their You Tube page here:

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

mutha uckers

I live in a small town.

On a normal day, it takes me about 5 minutes to get from my house to the office. If I stop off at the post office and the bank, you could add another 10 minutes to that time (if there is a line up at the post office). Tonight, this trip took almost 45 minutes.

Despite the fact that fellow who is responsible for the roads department here in our increasingly corrupt seeming town said that the plows were out all weekend, the first plow I saw was tonight. The roads in our town are absolute shit right now. They are frozen rutty messes. There is ice underneath packed snow. The snow removal on the sidewalks is a joke. I had to walk through knee deep slush to get from my vehicle to the shoppers tonight. bad bad bad.

It's going to be a really long winter if this is the level of service we can expect to receive from our illustrious road crews. I'm so happy to know that our taxes are shooting up next year. yay!! oh, btw, in case you couldn't tell, I was being sarcastic.

At least, when all else fails, the Conchords can make me smile.

Monday, December 03, 2007

TV chef James Barber of The Urban Peasant fame dies

What a way to go huh? At the dining room table while making soup. Rest in Peace Chef Barber.

from the CBC website:

Cookbook author and television chef James Barber, who appeared on CBC-TV for 10 years as The Urban Peasant, has died.

The 84-year-old food enthusiast lived his final years on a four-hectare farm in Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, where he bred miniature donkeys and tended to his fruits and vegetables.

His wife, Christina Burridge, says her husband died of natural causes Thursday at home.

"As far as we can tell, James was sitting at the dining room table, he was reading a cookbook, and he had a pot of soup simmering on the stove. So he definitely left this world in a way that he would have wanted to, but I think he would have been pretty upset about the timing," she told CBC News.

Barber was known worldwide, as The Urban Peasant was sold to at least 120 countries. He is also the author of a dozen cookbooks, two books on where to eat in Vancouver and one children's book.

Barber's last book, One Pot Wonders, was released in July.

In fact, one of his bestselling cookbooks, 1971's Ginger Tea Makes Friends, is credited with helping establish publishing house Douglas & McIntyre.

Barber was an effusive cook who eschewed the snobbery and gourmet trappings of the world of food. Friend and food journalist Don Genova says Barber helped make cooking accessible.

"Through his TV shows, especially The Urban Peasant, he showed that you didn't need fancy ingredients, you didn't need fancy knife skills. You could just do it," notes Genova.

"His cookbooks were exactly the same. They were meant to get people back into the kitchen."

Upon the republication earlier this year of his cookbook for couples, Cooking For Two, Barber told the Georgia Straight newspaper, "This is not a book for Barbara Amiel," he surmised in reference to the well-known luxury tastes of the writer and wife of former newspaper baron Conrad Black.

"I teach people that in the winter you eat a lot of cabbage because it's cheap."

Moreover, he chose ingredients that were easy to get: "It's all corner-store stuff."

Barber was also a regular contributor to various Canadian publications, including Western Living magazine, Vancouver magazine, the National Post, Pacific Yachting and the Vancouver Province.

Before landing in the kitchen, Barber would explore different careers: sailor, physicist, actor, musician, choreographer, salesman, miner and fisherman.

Active in his community, Barber had also served as president of a Vancouver immigrant society, MOSAIC, a non-profit organization that addresses issues affecting immigrants and refugees, and the Vancouver Folk Music Festival Society.

Ginger Tea Makes Friends
Fear of Frying
Flash in the Pan
James Barber's Immodest but Honest Good Eating Cookbook
Quick and Simple
Mushrooms are Marvellous
Peasant's Choice
Peasant's Alphabet
Cooking for Two: The Urban Peasant
Peasant's Choice: More of the Best from the Urban Peasant
Peasant's Alphabet: More of the best from the Urban Peasant
One-Pot Wonders: James Barber's Recipes for Land and Sea

Sunday, December 02, 2007

all glory to hypnotoad

Originally uploaded by Julep67
As luck would have it, we stayed home again today.

It was so very nice. Hibernation is fun. We stayed up quite late (for us) last night watching the retro music video channels. My but how the time can fly when you are cracking wise at video fluff. At one point, the Northern Lights For Africa video for "Tears Are Not Enough" came on and we both nearly peed from laughing so hard. Mostly we laughed at the brief segment where Zappacosta and Dalbello where paired off together. It was pretty hilarious and we both were left scratching our heads wondering where the heck those two one-named wonders ended up.

This morning, we slept in a bit but actually got down to our chores pretty early in the day. It was a good thing too because it took us the better part of the day to get through our respective "to do" lists. It wasn't all work though.

At lunchtime, we took a break and watched Mark's brand new (carbon neutral) DVD of Bender's Big Score. Quite frankly, it's awesome. One of the special features was a full length (22 minutes - we timed it) episode of "Everybody Loves Hypnotoad." It was awesome to see new Futurama stuff, particularly a movie which is Bender heavy and Zapp Brannigan lite.

Right now, for the first time in a very long time, I feel pretty much rested and recharged. I almost forgot how nice that can be.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Originally uploaded by Julep67
I love a lazy Saturday. This is the second weekend in a row that I have been able to indulge myself by doing absolutely nothing all day on a Saturday.

We never left the house all day. Well, that's not entirely true, Mark stepped out onto the front porch when a friend popped by to pick up a birthday gift that we made for his wife. Other than that though, we stayed home. It was so nice. It was also pretty necessary.

Something Mark ate last night upset his stomach and he was up a fair bit in the night last night. He had planned to work a bit today but I let him sleep in (to make up for him being up for half of the night) and then refused to let him go out. He didn't resist too much.

Tomorrow will not be so lazy. I have some housework that I need to deal with, stuff I avoided doing today. I'm actually not dreading it though, part of what I want to do tomorrow involves moving all of the living room furniture around so I can clean the room properly and get my christmas lights up. The tree may have to wait until later in the week though because Bella has a bad habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She's cute but she can get in the way sometimes.

Frankly, if I don't have to leave the house tomorrow too, that won't hurt my feelings. There is a winter storm watch happening in this region right now and I'm in now big hurry to go anywhere outside of my house if I don't have to.

Friday, November 30, 2007

go leafs!

go leafs!
Originally uploaded by Julep67
I took this photo a couple of weeks ago while in Toronto.

Avenue Road was covered in leaves. It was really lovely although it was a huge layer of leaves. Everyone had dozens of those big paper leaf bags on their curbs and the leaves kept falling. Given how windy it's been the past couple of days, I'm sure that they are long gone.

Perhaps the leaves blew into the lake. Maybe they blew all the way up to Wasaga Beach to fuel the fire.

Today was weird, between the crazy blizzarding icy rain sun showers we had here, the fire at the beach and Evel Knievel's death, it's hard to imagine what could be next.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

too pooped

it's like totally past my bedtime, totally.

did I mention that deja view is showing "square pegs" on the weekends, finally. It's like, a totally different head, totally.

all kidding aside, on some levels it holds up and others, it's embarrassing to watch. The music is good though, the waitresses are always fun and it's neat to see Sarah Jessica in pre-Carrie Bradshaw shoes.

I'm up right now because Mark is on the phone gabbing with Jack and it would be rude to fall asleep when he's probably minutes away from hanging up.

Tomorrow should be good. I have no meetings booked and should actually get some work done. It was totally "winnie the pooh and the blustery day" windy here today, hopefully it'll won't bring snow with it. Of course, if it does, maybe that will inspire me to pull out my holiday lights and get them up. The rest of our neighbourhood is beginning to light up and I feel like I'm letting folks down.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

news traveller

The news of my job change was announced on our intranet earlier today. I was in meetings when it was posted and didn't realize it had happened. When I got back to my desk, I had a bunch of voice mails and emails from colleagues, congratulating me and offering good wishes. I sure do work with a good bunch of folks.

These next couple of weeks are supposed to be about finishing up projects and tying up loose ends. I'm not accomplishing much though. This week, I've been in meetings more than I have been at my desk and I honestly am not sure how it is all going to get done. I guess I just have to pick at the pile when I can and hope for the best. Not sure what is up with all of the meetings, I guess it's folks wanting to get stuff done before the holidays start and part of it is about the tying up loose ends.

Either way, I'll be starting my vacation in a couple of weeks. I'm sure I'll get the to do list sorted by then, I hope so anyway.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Originally uploaded by Julep67
One of the reasons why I've been so dragged out lately, and one of the reasons I feel like a big pile of wet noodles right now, is because I've been going through the interview process for a new job.

I first heard about the opening several months ago but wasn't able to submit an application for it until the beginning of October. I was given an interview last Tuesday and on Friday, was offered the job. I didn't mention anything about it until now because I wanted to let my boss know about it before I said anything publicly. She knew that I was applying and had been one of my references so she wasn't exactly surprised when we met this morning. I do feel a huge sense of relief right now, being able to tell folks about it and actually knowing that I have the new job.

The few folks I spoke to about it while I was going through the application process kept telling me that I would get the job. I don't like to be too confident about these things though because I have had the rug pulled out from under me in the past. The job is still under the umbrella that my VP holds but in a different functional unit. I'll actually be moving to a new building entirely (and will have my own office!). I've worked in the same building (although I've been in many different offices) for 11 years now. It's a big change for me but I'm excited about it.

I have some vacation booked around the holidays. My last day in the office will be December 14. When I go back to work on January 7, I'll be in my new post. It's going to be a very nice way for me to start the new year!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

adventures in dog sitting

Here's a little tip: If you need to open your front door, and you are dog sitting, make sure that you have some shoes on.

Yeah, that's right, the hound dog (did I mention she was a hound dog) got out on me today. I ran after her, in my socks. I guess she thought that this was pretty funny, a fun game I suppose, because she'd stop, wait for me to catch up to her and take off.

As I chased her, a million things went through my head, like, telling her owner, one of my oldest friends, that I lost her beloved dog. I thought about how she was a country dog, visiting us in the city and didn't know the neighbourhood. I thought about how she just loved to follow her nose. I thought about how she did not have tags.

You have no idea how happy I was to see my gravel stealing neighbour on his lawn, smoking a cigarette. I asked him to grab her and he was able to get a hold of her collar. She was not thrilled by this and eventually I got her back into the house. I didn't even think about my feet until I was standing inside the house in sopping wet, muddy socks.

She scared the shit out of me and, I think, herself too. I hope so anyway. She's been very quiet since her "adventure" outside. This is not something I want to see a replay of anytime soon.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

just lazy thanks

I feel really tired right now, even though I had a relatively lazy day.

We were up and out pretty early this morning, did some errands and stuff. I had to go into the office for an hour or so (poor Mark went with me - it was pretty boring for him). We had the best part of the afternoon at home and did very little.

It was nice but now I'm sleepy. Sleepy is something I should not be.

Oh well, I figure it's just the weeks of overtime catching up with me. It was bound to happen I suppose!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

goodly strange

For the first time in several weeks, I didn't have to work on Saturday. I've gotten into this habit of rushing home on Friday night, getting all of my laundry done (because normally I do it throughout the weekend) and then getting my stuff packed up to head out to work (sometimes out of town) first thing on Saturday.

Today I did not have to do that. I slept in a little bit, had a shower, puttered away at the laundry, played with the dog. Some TV watching happened in amongst that stuff. It was really nice. I could actually get used to this again.

I think I will be able to. I'm pretty sure that I won't have any work weekends to worry about until at least the spring. I have a little list of "to do" stuff for tomorrow which might actually get "to done" because aside from a couple of errands, I don't have to be or go anywhere specific tomorrow. It's nice.

Friday, November 23, 2007

I'm not supposed to be on the sofa

We have been having fun dog sitting this week.

The dog we are sitting on, Bella, is a strange girl. We're not sure whether she is exhibiting her normal behaviour or is a - still adjusting to strange people in a strange house or b - missing her owners like crazy or c - is just a little odd.

For a while now, we've been talking about adopting a dog from the humane society. I think that looking after Bella for 2 weeks will be good for us.

If she can stand living with us for 2 weeks, there is a chance that some other dog might be able to, too. We'll see.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

baby it's cold outside

holy crap but it's cold here. old man winter has landed on our doorsteps, quite suddenly as it happens. the wind chill is -10 according to environment canada.

we woke up to the sound of ice pellets hitting the windows and it was a slippery mess outside on the roads. I was able to get to work at pretty much my usual time but poor Mark had a bit of a white knuckle day. I worry a lot about him when the weather is bad. It's not that he can't drive in this weather, it's more that the other drivers just lose their every-lovin' minds during the first storm of the year.

Normally, Mark picks me up after he has dropped the cab off. Tonight though, he was near my office and picked me up on his way to swap cars. It's a good thing he did too. The roads are horrible and it took both of us to scrape the van. It was a giant icy cube. yuck.

it sure is good to be home right now though. I am sure that most folks are like me and would rather watch a storm from the comfort of their very own chesterfield than be out in the mix, schlepping through crap.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

no more mother hubbard

Our cupboards were practically empty. The fridge too. Working all of these weekends recently has not left us with much time for shopping. I mean, we've dashed in and out of the store grabbing just enough stuff to throw something together for dinner but we hadn't done a real shop in ages.

Tonight after work, we came home and fed the critters and then went back out in the dark to do some shopping. The traffic was pretty nuts. They are calling for some snow here tomorrow and I think it's thrown folks into a bit of a panic. If we'd had any choice at all about going out tonight, we probably would have stayed home (afterall, how much do you like shopping in the rain?).

It's done now though, we both got pretty much soaked and were frozen by the time we got everything inside. The temperature is really starting to drop. Right now though, we're home, it's toasty warm in our house. I have a dog sitting at my feet and I'm listening to yet another gorgeous version of The Zutons' "Valerie" being sung by Ms Winehouse.

Life is good and right now, it's very hard to care about cold and wet.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

from the 28th floor

from the 28th floor
Originally uploaded by Julep67
We have company staying with us for 2 weeks.

Our guest is Bella and she has lovely brown eyes and a waggley tail. On Sunday when we got home, there was a message on our voice mail from friends who were looking for someone to dog sit for their lovely dog. I used to dog sit for them all the time with their old dog, Morgan. Sadly, Morgan died a few years ago. They now have Bella. Bella, like Morgan was, is a Blue Tick Hound.

She's super good natured and lovely to be around. I'm just having a time adjusting to her being here. We often wander around in the dark and I now have to stop and think "where is the dog?"

Last night was her first night here. This morning was a bit weird for us. In addition to adjusting to having her here, we had a power outage. I woke up with the alarm at 4:15 a.m. I hit the snooze and then woke up about 15 minutes later, in total darkness. Our power was off until about 6 a.m. There was a pole fire a little ways away from here. Not good. Fortunately, we were able to get to work close to on time despite the outage and our morning being thrown off in a big way. We found out later that it was a flukey thing and that no one was hurt (we'd wondered if there hadn't been a big accident). All's well that ends well, right?

Monday, November 19, 2007

autumn leaves

autumn leaves
Originally uploaded by Julep67
hey, hey, it's Monday.

hey, hey, it's my lovely brother's birthday. I'm sure that he'll be celebrating in style if he hasn't already started.

I survived the weekend but it would take very little convincing to get me to go back to sleep this morning. I feel absolutely exhausted. I guess working last weekend and then having SUCH a long day on Saturday (we left town at 10:30 a.m. - I got to bed at around 3 a.m.) has taken it's toll.

I like the Zombies but am not enjoying feeling like one. I really hope I can take a few days off soon. I feel like I could really really use a few.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Originally uploaded by Julep67
For whatever reason, I woke up much earlier this morning than I would have liked to. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, I do have a bunch of stuff to get done this morning, all the same, I'm not sure that I feel entirely rested. Until I'm actually in the van and heading west, I think I'll feel a little uneasy. I usually do and sometimes wish I didn't.

Last night, I did manage to get all of my laundry done and sort out some of the stuff I needed to get ready for today. I know that today will go by quickly and hopefully I'll have easy access to coffee for a good chunk of it. At the moment, I'm just feeling like I'll need it.

Friday, November 16, 2007

bumpy noggin

bumpy noggin
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Apparently, according to many people who keep sending me emails, I have some kind of erectile dysfunction. It's very weird and wasn't something I was aware of until I got these emails.

About ten minutes ago, I was feeling so exhausted that I wanted to go to bed. Right now though, I'm feeling a little better. I need to get a good rest tonight because I have a really long day tomorrow.

I'm meeting my colleagues at 10:30 a.m. and we're heading out of town. At the moment, it's looking like it'll be around 3 a.m. before our day ends. With any kind of luck it won't be that late but I'm not holding my breath.

In fish news, chocolate looks worse but seems to be acting "better." She's swimming around and being silly and generally acting more like a fish. So, yeah, yay!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

how convenient!

how convenient!
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Our chocolate oranda fish is still sick, I think. About 4 weeks ago, we had to take her out of the big tank because she was really weak and the other fish were picking on her.

We got her into a hospital tank in my office and she's been doing really well up until the past few days. I noticed a couple of weeks ago that she had these little bumps on her head. I didn't think much of it because a couple of our fish have gone through that, a metomorphosis I guess you'd call it.

Tonight though, the bump is really red looking and she's been hanging out near the tank heater a lot. At meal time, she's very active and she's got a good appetite. I don't know if she'll ever bounce back from that parasitic infection that she had. It's tough to watch for sure.

In other, non-fish related news, I'm tired. Sleep is good but work is really draining. Fortunately, in approximately 54 hours (but who's counting), I can relax. Hopefully I'll get more sleep too. That would be good.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

my fuzzy friends

my fuzzy friends
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Late this afternoon, just as I was thinking about how quickly the day was slipping way from me, an office mate said out loud (althouh not super loud, more like thinking out loud loud) "will this day never end!" I thought it was sort of amusing that we were in the same small space and yet were experiencing completely different days.


The week is flying by actually. Having worked for a huge chunk of last weekend and spending this week getting stuff to together so we can be working for most of this weekend tends to make the time fly. For me anyway. I think that the others on my team feel the same way. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though. On Sunday morning, I'll be sitting at the counter at Bagel World (as we do everytime we find ourselves in Toronto on a Sunday) sipping my coffee and enjoying the fact that our big stuff is done with for the calendar year.

Right now though, I'm still in the middle of it. I just keep thinking about that coffee and Sunday and it's okay.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

relative choices

I have a few friends who have either adopted children or who are in the process of adopting a child or who are adopted themselves. I saw this on the New York Times website this morning and enjoyed it. I really like Tama Janowitz too, which is what drew me to the article in the first place. The relative choices blog can be found here:

The Real Thing
By Tama Janowitz

My husband Tim and I adopted our daughter Willow, who is now 12, from China when she was 9 months old. We were told by the adoption agency that once the process was complete and the three of us were back home, many people would stop to inquire about our daughter’s Mongolian features or why she did not look like us.

It may be that having a child of a different ethnic background from yourself is more difficult in other parts of the country. And certainly that may lead to problems. But In my neighborhood in Brooklyn I see black women with half-Asian, half-black kids and I see kids with dark skin and blond hair — the mother is white, the father is not.

There are Indian fathers and Caucasian mothers with their offspring. There are families with two dads. There are also Hasidic families with ten kids and Muslim women dressed in full burkas who have dressed their daughters the same way.
So here in New York City, we haven’t attracted too much attention.

Well, O.K., sometimes.

It is true when she was a baby, if I took her out on my own, sometimes people did ask me, “Is the father Chinese?” If I said “yes” the usual response was “Good for you!” This puzzled me, so then I just said, “Either Chinese, or some black dude – who can remember?”

But as always, if you don’t have one kind of problem, you will automatically be given another.

There are more than enough for seconds! Even fifths!

One thing I figure, whether adopted, mixed race, religious, non-religious, whether your child is biological, whether you send her to Hebrew school or piano lessons – there is no one who does not resent his or her parents, We all have this in common.

Indeed, it may be what makes us human.

Everyone feels they are doing the best possible job as a parent. But apart from the most obvious types of abuse, there is little that is clear-cut in regard to child rearing. Some discipline their kids and refuse to allow them to go to school dressed in a tutu. Others allow them to eat McDonald’s. Even if your house is tidy, this could be a mistake in child-rearing! So could being a vegetarian! Or serving meat!

A girlfriend who is now on the waiting list for a child from Ethiopia says that the talk of her adoption group is a recently published book in which many Midwestern Asian adoptees now entering their 30s and 40s complain bitterly about being treated as if they did not come from a different cultural background. They feel that this treatment was an attempt to blot out their differences, and because of this, they resent their adoptive parents.

So in a way it is kind of nice to know as a parent of a child, biological or otherwise – whatever you do is going to be wrong. Like I say to Willow: “Well, you know, if you were still in China you would be working in a factory for 14 hours a day with only limited bathroom breaks!”

And she says — as has been said by children since time immemorial — “So what, I don’t care. I would rather do that than be here anyway.”

My friend has a biological kid who said one day, “I hate you.” She cried and cried and told the child how deeply hurt she was.

I have heard those words, too, and my child is not biological. Like, I care? Hate me or love me, I am her mother and she knows it and since she is not getting a reaction out of me she almost immediately revises her opinion.

Is it my fault she is still angry because I kept coming home with another dog? I would have been thrilled, if I was a kid, to have six poodles! How was I supposed to know she would turn out to be the type who didn’t like dogs? And she says even if she did like dogs, she only likes mixed breeds!

“You should keep a list of everything I’ve done to you,” I have often suggested, “That way, later, you can read it to your therapist. Otherwise you might forget.”

Sometimes I think, Well, maybe I should be more of a disciplinarian. But what am I going to do, lock her in her room? She has an ensuite bath, a computer, cell phone and a game boy and if I say, I will take those away she says, “So what, who cares?”
Same with TV privileges. “Go watch TV!” I tell her.

“No, I don’t want to.”

“You will watch TV, young lady.” It’s no use.

I know that there are some women who have given birth who believe that the type of love they have for their child is more intense, more real, than the love I have for my kid, because they hatched it themselves. This argument makes no sense to me. After all, the fathers (until recently) never could be sure that it was their sperm that made them the dad.

You might as well say, “Listen, Daddy-O, you had ten minutes max of involvement in the creation biz, and you didn’t even get to pre-approve the winning sperm, And if your kid is the product of the fastest sperm in the bunch, that is just plain pitiful. How could you care about the child?”

However I would no more say this than ask someone with a baby if they were certain the father was human.

I also know women who never really bonded with their kid – biological, or adopted.

I figure, Willow, she’s my kid, she just got here differently. I don’t remember floating around in my mother’s womb, or coming out of the vaginal canal – but I still know that person is my mother, even if she is a little off.

And my kid knows I’m her real mother.

Not biological, but real. It doesn’t get any realer than this.

Monday, November 12, 2007

so very sleepy

I think that the working on the weekend has caught up with me.

At the moment, I'm really tired. I didn't sleep well last night despite being exhausted. Perhaps I was too tired to sleep. I thought about work a lot and that didn't help.

I'm working this weekend too. After that though, I shouldn't have to work a weekend again for a good long while. May if I'm lucky (or not).

We'll see. Right now, I'm jonesing for a day off.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Queen's Bands

Queen's Bands
Originally uploaded by Julep67
yesterday was a very long day.

I was working out of town last night. We left town at midday and stopped off at IKEA in Nepean en route to our venue. It was mutually decided that we'd shop for an hour. After 38 minutes, we got in the line up. We spent 25 minutes in the line up. It was totally crazy. I guess because it's a long weekend in Ottawa this weekend (I think that most stuff is closed tomorrow because of Remembrance Day) everyone was out getting stuff for weekend projects.

Mostly, we were buying candles and household stuff. We did walk out with a kitchen sink though. One of my coworkers picked up a sink for a song. It was pretty funny actually, we heard "oh yeah, everything and the kitchen sink!" a lot yesterday.

We got back into town at around 1 a.m. Mark and I didn't get to sleep until around 3 a.m. (he came out to pick me up at the office) because I was a little wired. This morning I slept in a bit, we went out for lunch and I did a little laundry this afternoon but not much else.

At the moment, I'm feeling pretty bagged and I think I'll be heading to bed very soon. Oh, Mark's feeling much better. His toe is healing nicely and the bug seems to be disappearing so hopefully he'll be all back to normal in another day or so.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

good morning helen

I was up a lot earlier this morning than I had planned to be but I feel rested so it's okay I suppose.

Yesterday, much to my shock and horror, I discovered that one of my work buddies had not only never seen the Kids in the Hall but she had never even heard about them. The discovery was made when I made a joke about "helens" because have 3 of them sitting at one table for an event. The girl who sits next me laughed cuz she's a kith fan. The other person, well she had a blank look. I felt like I was speaking a foreign language to her.

In an attempt to educate her a tiny bit about Helens, I sent her this. I miss the Helens, and the kith.

Friday, November 09, 2007

fresh ontario strawberries

fresh ontario strawberries
Originally uploaded by Julep67
I love the autumn. I love the cool air, the crunchy leaves, wearing sweaters, the lot. I miss strawberries though. Fresh Ontario berries specifically. The ones you get the in stores at this time of year are woody and from texas or california and cannot hold a berry scented candle to them.

Mark's feeling a little bit better tonight. We now realize however, that he did break his toe. It's a mess. He's hobbling around. Whatever virus he has, is still there but he actually got through an entire day at work. He's under strict instructions to take it easy this weekend.

I have to go out of town for work tomorrow so I won't be home to bitch at him if he tries to do too much. I hope he just sits on the couch and puts that foot up. It's what he needs to be doing, imho anyway.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

not good

so it turns out that the big traffic mess last night in our little neighbourhood was the aftermath of an accident. An 11 year old girl (there are lots of kids in our part of town - we live very close to 2 elementary schools and 2 high schools) was hit and taken to hospital with serious head injuries. What we saw on our way home last night was the accident reconstruction team from the KPD. yikes.

also, Mark's still feeling shitty. he went to the doctor today and she ordered some tests so we're waiting to hear what it might be. she thinks that it is something viral. no doubt, whatever it was, he picked it up from snotty kid in the taxi.

hopefully, by this time tomorrow, we'll know what's going on. to add insult to injury, he banged his foot last night and has a seriously mangled toe on his right foot. he is not having a good week.

oh well, better days ahead, right?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

it was a dark and stormy night...

I really need to get out and take some new photos.

Our neighbourhood is like a little speedy race car place right now. After work, we stopped off at the grocery store to pick up a few things for tonight's dinner. As we approached our neighbourhood, apres shopping, we noticed that the police had a block of Concession Street closed.

Right now, there is that yellow "don't even think about driving here" tape stretching across the street and really hard working constables are sitting in their cars monitoring the confusion. We can't tell what happened but it looked like an access bus might have been in an accident.

The resulting accident has created lots of would-be detours through our neighbourhood. We watched four cars turn onto a dead end street (quickly) not realizing that it didn't go anywhere. It was amusing to us. Our neighbourhood is a very quiet (normally) place with little side streets that meander and just go to other quiet side streets. We were having a bit of a chuckle watching guys in souped up cars speeding a long, only to have to throw on their brakes and turn around.

weiners, all of them.

So, Mark's still feeling sick. He went to work today but quit around 1:30. Whatever he has, it's really dragging on. I hate things like this. I prefer to get sick, good and sick, and get it over with. Long, drawn out, irritating illnesses just bug me. Yeah, I'm grouchy, I know. It'll pass, I think.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


for some reason, blogger has been being pissy for the past 24 hours.

I cannot connect to my ftp server via blogger. It's working (the ftp server) but blogger is just hung and hung and hung.

I have no idea when this post will get through.

ain't technology wonderful?!?

Monday, November 05, 2007


Poor Mark, he's still feeling like hammered crap.

I don't know what kind of weird bug he has picked up in the cab (I'm guessing) but it has a hold on him. He doesn't have a sore throat or stuffy head but he's really sore and stiff in his arms, elbows and shoulders. He's been talking to folks in the cab who have the same thing.

Whatever it is, I hope he gets rid soon. He's really uncomfortable and miserable and I feel terrible and useless watching him feel so crappy.

Oh yeah, it's also windy and raining like crazy here right now. The weather sort of matches the mood of our house right now.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


Originally uploaded by Julep67
not exactly but similar to was the bowl of soup I had for dinner tonight.

Mark seems to have picked up a flu bug somewhere. He slept most of this afternoon and woke up jonsing for soup.

I was a little bit worried as we rounded the corner near the soup place, that it would be closed. They tend have weird hours and we've missed them before.

Fortunately, they were open and we both had big steamy bowls of soup.

I think he's feeling a little bit better now. A good night of sleep tonight should help him too. I'm sure he'll be better in the morning.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

sliding through saturday

how's your weekend going?

I haven't seen this in ages but it appeared on the retro video channel earlier today:

Funnily enough, so did "500 Up" by sloan.

That made me feel really really old.

Friday, November 02, 2007


Originally uploaded by Julep67
it is officially the weekend.

officially, it's been the weekend for about 3 hours give or take a few minutes here or there. it feels pretty good.

I've been listening to "California" by Rufus Wainwright a lot lately. I think it would be neat to have Bea Arthur be my grandma. I had two perfectly lovely grandma's, don't get me wrong at all, I just like Bea Arthur. She and I actually share a birthday. Have you ever looked up those lists of famous/infamous people who share your birthday with you? I share mine with Bea, Bobby Darin, Harvey Keitel, George Lucas & Stevie Wonder.

So, in the continuing saga that is the construction project on our street, we were able to park in our driveway tonight. What a treat it was to bring groceries in from the driveway and not from down the road.

When we got home, I noticed tire marks all over the driveway. It was kind of funny actually. They only paved the bit of our driveway that was ripped up so there is a huge difference between the old drive and the new part. All over the brand new, dark asphalt were bicycle tracks. At the moment, there is a huge pile of top soil across the street from us. There are tire marks in the pile and they lead right to our spiffy new driveway. Of course, there is still a 3 inch drop from the end of driveway to the street - I think they'll fix that next week - so it's dirt and jumping and new pavement. What more could a kid ask for when you're all hopped up on halloween candy?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

it's about time!

I'm not at all surprised to read this (although I was amused). I don't feel bad at all about how little I spend on my bags (and I do love a nice purse!!) on ebay and Canal Street and elsewhere, I actually feel pretty good about it.

Is This It for the It Bag?

EVERYONE’S talking about the bubble, and when it will burst.

There is too much inventory. Prices are absurdly high. And analysts are predicting a slowdown in a market that may have already passed its peak of irrational growth, in 2004. Even as prices have increased exponentially over the last three years, with buyers trying to get in on the ground floor of premier properties — the Paddington, the Muse, the Giant City — so, too, have reports of dwindling consumer confidence and a looming credit crisis that could potentially wipe out the value of Uptowns and Downtowns alike.

Some people are concerned that a combination of volatile interest rates and the weakened dollar will ultimately cripple the market.

Status handbags, you see, are a lot like housing. After the rise of the $1,000 purse, fashion’s equivalent of the $1 million studio, there inevitably comes talk of a backlash. Are we now living in a handbag bubble?

“The new condo market today is comparable to the It bag,” said Stephanie Phair, the vice president for merchandising for Portero, an online auction house that specializes in the resale of luxury goods. “Every bag has a name. At least in New York, you see the same thing with all those condo buildings going up with valets, pools, dog parks and fancy names. At some point, people are going to decide that, in fact, what they’d like is to go back to the tried and tested, the classic prewar or the apartment on lower Fifth Avenue.”

“The appeal of the It bag,” Mr. Phair said, “has started to wane.”

Yet this is a moment when every bag seems to have, in addition to a price tag that could be confused with a ZIP code, a name that conjures up images of a wealthy enclave or a cast member of “Gossip Girl.” Heloise, Mathilde and Beata are bags by Chloé; Mariah, Camila and Elsa come from Marc Jacobs; the Uptown, the Downtown and the Muse are designs from Yves Saint Laurent, not buildings by André Balazs.

An entire genre of slouchy handbags, described as “hobos,” may even strike some readers as unintentionally funny, if not slightly offensive, with their earnest descriptions and indiscreet prices — the Dolce & Gabbana Miss Perfect hobo, $795; the Celine Bittersweet hobo, $1,700; the Prada nappa gauffre Antic hobo, $1,750 (a crazy gopher hobo?) — for bags meant to look as if they once belonged to tramps.

“Designers are just testing the laws of economics by pricing handbags higher and higher until people stop buying them,” said Lauren Goodman, the fashion director of Domino magazine. “They are so expensive, and drive you to buy a new one every season, which is kind of a horrifying thought.”

Ms. Goodman is aware of the hot bags of the moment: the Prada leather styles that repeat the ombré patterns of the fall collection; the Marc Jacobs oversize clutch, carried by several editors during the spring collections; the YSL Downtown bag, which is shaped like a Chinese takeout container with a handle. “Some people still carry the Muse,” she said of another YSL style. “They think the Muse is hot, because they’re kind of behind.”

But how does one afford to stay ahead?

At the rate that designers are introducing new styles, that no longer seems possible, which has led to a shift in perceptions about status bags.

“That whole phenomenon has changed,” said Julie Gilhart, the fashion director of Barneys New York. “Our customers seem to be looking for something more interesting. They don’t want to spend money on something everyone else has.”

They don’t want a one-season bag.

At the least, there is anecdotal evidence that the fastest-growing segment of the fashion industry, also considered its most lucrative because of its high profit margins, may not be immune to market exhaustion.

Coach, the leading American handbag company, reported last month that its profit growth may slow this holiday season, setting off jitters among investors who view the brand as the entry-level threshold for luxury goods and an indicator for the broader health of the market. One could not avoid the sense of dread reflected in a Women’s Wear Daily headline this week: “A Chilly Wind Blows: Retailers Are on Edge About Holiday Season.”

Handbag sales in the $7 billion United States market are expected to increase by 15 percent this year, according to the stock research firm Telsey Advisory Group. This is considered a disappointment, because the growth is about half as strong as the category’s 28 percent gain in 2004.

“That $5,000 Marc Jacobs bag is so yesterday’s news,” said Elizabeth Kiester, the chief creative director of LeSportsac, which is developing a line of bags with Stella McCartney that will sell for under $350, beginning in February. “The luxury market is so over the top now that it is demented. I call them limo bags. I don’t have a limo.”

It is probably a stretch to equate the slowing growth of handbag sales to It bag fatigue, but the statistics cited in Dana Thomas’s book, “Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster,” indicate that the American population is currently over-accessorized. Ms. Thomas cites a survey that showed by 2004, the average American woman was buying more than four handbags a year.

Ms. Phair, of Portero, said there is not a strong resale market for fashion bags of the moment. “It’s not that we wouldn’t touch a Vuitton Murakami, but now it would be purchased by someone with a collector’s perspective, who loves Louis Vuitton and wants to own pieces from every season,” she said.

In some circles, status bags have already become a punch line. A label called Slow and Steady Wins the Race recently produced a series of $100 handbags that recreated the shapes of iconic designs using inexpensive canvas — “a visual hyperbolic expression about contemporary fashion’s attention and obsession with designer handbags,” says its Web site.

The latest versions are hybrids: the Hermesbirkin-Dior (a saddlebag with Birkin-style handles), the Balenciaga-Chanel (where hardware meets quilting) and the Chanel-Asfour-Gucci (a circular quilted bag with a red-and-green stripe).

One is tempted, then, to declare an end to the It bag, but, then again, there were a lot of bags at the spring collections that seem destined for stardom: the Richard Prince bags at Vuitton, the Duffy at Marc Jacobs, the cute wavy-striped bags at Prada. Ken Downing, the fashion director at Neiman Marcus, is amused that there is even a question of a handbag bubble.

“We certainly believe our customer is a fashion enthusiast, and our customers love handbags,” he said.

At Neiman, the average bag sells for about $1,200, but Mr. Downing said there is no price resistance for a pièce de résistance. A special edition of 25 Chanel bags, made in crocodile for the retailer’s 100th anniversary last month, sold out in a snap. The price of each bag was $25,000.