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.