Wednesday, April 30, 2008

hot rod!

On the weekend Mark and I finally watched "Hot Rod." I'd been given a copy of it a while ago but for one reason and another, we never got around to watching it until Saturday night.

Seriously, I don't know when Mark and I have laughed so much. "Hot Rod" is a documentary which was made by some folks down the road from here, in Lansdowne, Ontario. If you have ever crossed the bridge from the states into Ontario, you've arrived in Lansdowne.

The movie follows an odd group of men who are getting ready for the Demolition Derby at the Lansdowne Fair during the summer of 2003. Folks who think that "trailer park boys" is fiction need to watch this movie. These guys are the real deal, they are a little corse, they like to drink beer and they love to smash stuff up. I went to school with some guys like this. One guy who really stands out in my memory was a chap named Bud Vincent. Bud would take up a collection at lunchtime and when he had enough money, he'd smash his head into a locker.

We enjoyed the movie so much that we may be making a trip to Lansdowne for the fair this year. Maybe we'll even see some of the movie stars at the Derby.

got sleep?

How I wish I could have slept in this morning.

I really didn't want to crawl out of bed but here I sit, at work, waiting for my tea to steep.

I love my job but really, today I'd rather be home, playing with the puppy.

happy humpday indeed.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Free Tibet, now!

I heard about this story this morning on the CBC radio news. It's a little bit ironic.

'Free Tibet' flags made in China

Police in southern China have discovered a factory manufacturing Free Tibet flags, media reports say.

The factory in Guangdong had been completing overseas orders for the flag of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

Workers said they thought they were just making colourful flags and did not realise their meaning.

But then some of them saw TV images of protesters holding the emblem and they alerted the authorities, according to Hong Kong's Ming Pao newspaper.

Tibet independence

The factory owner reportedly told police the emblems had been ordered from outside China, and he did not know that they stood for an independent Tibet.

Workers who had grown suspicious checked the meaning of the flag by going online.

Thousands of flags had already been packed for shipping.

Police believe that some may already have been sent overseas, and could appear in Hong Kong during the Olympic torch relay there this week.

The authorities have now stepped up the inspection of cars heading to the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone and onwards to Hong Kong.

The Olympic torch is due to tour Hong Kong on Friday. It will then travel to a series of cities in mainland China before reaching Beijing for the start of the Olympic Games in August.

Its progress around the world has been marked by pro-Tibet demonstrations in several cities - including Paris, London and San Francisco.

Rallies began in the main Tibetan city of Lhasa on 10 March, led by Buddhist monks.

Over the following week protests spread and became violent - particularly in Lhasa, where ethnic Chinese were targeted and shops were burnt down.

Beijing cracked down on the protesters with force, sending in hundreds of troops to regain control of the restive areas.

But it has since agreed to resume talks with representatives of the Dalai Lama.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/7370903.stm

Monday, April 28, 2008

frozening

As if Monday's aren't hard enough to face, it's really dark, cold and rainy here today. At the moment, it appears as if the showers have let up slightly but it's absolutely pouring all morning. I think it was an hour or so ago, I looked outside and noticed that the street lights across the road had come on. It's bananas I tell ya! I actually had to turn the heat on in the office this morning too. I work in a little cottage and it's sort of close to the lake so can get pretty chilly down here. The dampness had crept in and my hands were frozen so I had to break down and turn it on. Last week at this time, the fellows from our physical plant department were here installing our air conditioners. Spring time is so unpredictable - what a difference a week makes!

My weekend was a lot of fun. On Friday night, Mark and I got our errands done and then on Saturday morning/early afternoon, I was able to get all of my chores out of the way. Mark worked for a while on Saturday so I didn't mind getting some stuff done around the house. Yesterday I had a pretty lazy day. The only time I really left the house was to go to the store for an oil filter for our lawnmower I didn't actually go into the store though. We brought Sam with us so I hung out in the van while Mark went into the parts place.

Sam is really behaving himself in the van. He's actually really behaving well overall I have to say. When I picked up his harness and leash yesterday, he actually stood up so I could slip the harness over his front legs and then he sat still, without coaxing, while I hooked the leash up. He still gets a little excited in the van but he's now figured out how to stand up, with his front paws on the back of our seats, and watch out over our heads. He gets the biggest smile on his face when the breeze hits him. Everyday, we just have more and more fun with him. He's so awesome, I cannot imagine what life would be like without him in the house. Just thinking about him makes me smile and now, the sun appears to be trying to push through the clouds - how cool is that!? Thanks Sam!!

Friday, April 25, 2008

week end yay

I'm very glad to be home. The week was really really busy for me. Good busy, got lots done busy. Many things are off the to-do list busy. Time flew by like an I don't know what busy. Next couple of weeks will be that busy too. It's good though, still in love with the new job which helps.

Yesterday, I went back to the old job to give some training to two folks. It was really weird being back in my old office. I don't think I realized how small the room was, or how crammed in like sardines folks are until I went away and came back. It's hot and noisy and overcrowded and there are many competing perfumes and a giant colour copier. No wonder I had headaches all the time. I really miss the ladies I worked with but I'm not missing the environment. I love having my own office. It's bright and airy and the windows open and it's my space. I mean, I share it with the copier / printer but still, I'm in there working alone.

Before the training session, I had lunch with two friends who still work there. Well, I say lunch but we didn't eat. We sat on a bench outside and gabbed. I got the weirdest sunburn on 1/2 of my face and on part of my neck. Bizarre looking sunburn, really. It's warm and a little sore today. I kept putting lotion on it last night though so it shouldn't peel. It was weird though, I had no idea that the sun was that strong but I guess I should have known.

Anyway, I think that I need to go play with Sam a little bit. Before I go though, I have this question to ask: How come I never ever see folks with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths trying to cram stuff that is in large flat-pack boxes in the parking lot at Costco but I almost always see this same demonstration of stinky-smoky stupidity in the parking lot at Walmart?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

catching a breeze


catching a breeze
Originally uploaded by Julep67
I booked Sam's surgery yesterday. He'll be getting some of his bits snipped on May 15. Now, to any men reading this, I'm sure you just squirmed in your seat right now. Mark is squirmy whenever I bring it up. I know he knows that it's the best thing for Sam but as a male, I know that he has sympathy for Sam and Sam's testicles.

Even though our yard is pretty much escape-proof right now, I'll feel better about him being out there unsupervised when he doesn't have the urge to get out and chase some lady puppy. From what I've been reading about it too, there are a lot of health risks associated with keeping him in tact so, he'll be "altered" as they politely call it.

Last night we had some strawberries for dessert. Just plain strawberries, sliced up. We let Sam have some because I'd read that this was a safe treat for him. He totally loved them and was really disappointed when they were gone. A few minutes later, he started growling at the sofa and attempted to take a huge chomp on a cushion.

I guess Sam was on a sugar rush. We took him outside and ran him around the yard for about 45 minutes until he stopped growling and snapping at things. We definitely gave him too many pieces of berry.

Puppy Lesson #131: a little sugar can make a puppy go crazy

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

attempting take off


Andy and Sam
Originally uploaded by Julep67
I love this photo of Sam, it looks like he's going to fly away from Andy!

We've been experiencing a little bit of summer weather over the past few days and it's been lovely.

Over the weekend, we were really busy, Mark got the extension done on the deck with help from Andy. It looks great and it feels massive now. He also got some of the holes in the fence filled in so now Sam cannot get out of the yard (unless he does figure out how to fly!).

My machine at home's been offline for the past few days. Mark has it up and running as of today. I've not missed it much though, not like I thought I would.

Anyway, it's way too nice outside to be spending much time inside these days!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

dental mental

I went to the dentist this morning for a routine cleaning. About an hour after I got back to work, I got a dental related headache which has not gone away. It does suck but at least my teeth are now very clean and all fluorided.

Fluorided is not a word but I'm using it anyway. Today's fluoride treatment seemed pretty fancy to me. I got to choose a flavour (I chose mint) and they squirted some foaming stuff into a blue plastic tooth guard thing that I had to bite down on. The foaming stuff was oozing out all over my face and the hygienist was cleaning it up as it spilled over. It was all very classy. It was also very different from "swish and spit" which is what we did when I was in elementary school. Do they still make kids do this?

They would make us gargle with some putrid "berry" flavoured pink liquid which was in a little paper cup. We'd have to put it in our mouth and swish it around while we walked the hallways at school. At the end of the route, we could spit it out back into the cup and throw it out. Also not very classy. I guess it's good though, I still have all of my teeth. Just not sure why fluoride must be administered with some kind of weird ritual.

Sam tidbit: Sam loves applause. If he does something good, he gets a "good boy" but if he does something really good - like let me put his harness on, or get into the van on his own, we applaud and say good boy and cheer. He totally digs it. Sam is a natural performer and is a complete applause whore.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

back at it

Mark and I both went back to work today. It's funny how quickly you can get your routine turned around with an extra day off.

Work was really busy for me today, Mark's day was not so much. As crazy as a busy day can be, I'd rather be busy and have the day fly by than to be waiting around or looking for work. It makes for a really long day.

In today's Sam news, I may not have mentioned this before (or I may have) but Sam loves to chew on serviettes and tissues. He particularly likes snotty tissues which is sort of gross. Anyway, he used to take them out of the garbage can but he doesn't do that anymore. We've pretty much eliminated any easy access for him to these things.

Just a moment ago though, I caught him at a new thing. He had gone into our smaller bathroom (which is near the front of the house) and had been pulling the toilet paper off of the roll to chew on. Fortunately, the roll was almost empty but I have to give him some credit. Sam knows what he likes and he'll find a way to get it no matter what.

On that note, in honour of flea and tick season, here's a little video about bugs. It's an oldish cover of an old favourite tune. enjoy!

not surprised

When I heard about this today, I was not surprised. I was relieved actually. These guys just seem to continue to get away with all sorts. They can proclaim their innocence all that they want, where there is smoke, there is usually fire.

Mounties search Tory headquarters

RCMP searched Conservative party headquarters in Ottawa on Tuesday at the request of Elections Canada.

Elections Canada spokesman John Enright confirmed that elections commissioner William Corbett requested the assistance of the Mounties to execute a search warrant, but he wouldn't say why.

Conservative House Leader Peter Van Loan later said during question period the search was "in relation to the issue of the campaign financing questions and our approach on spending."

Camera crews, including one from the Liberal party, were on hand as police arrived at the downtown building.

CBC News first reported RCMP officers were seen in the 12th-floor party offices and the 17th-floor mailroom. An elections official later left with a box of documents.

RCMP Cpl. Jean Hainey said the Mounties were merely assisting.

"It is not an RCMP investigation. We're there to assist, but that's it."

Elections Canada is probing Conservative party spending for advertisements during the 2006 parliamentary election campaign. Corbett, who enforces the Elections Canada Act, launched an investigation in April 2007 after chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand challenged the spending claims.
Money sent to local offices

The Conservative Party of Canada, having reached the $18.3-million advertising spending limit set out under the Canada Elections Act, transferred cash to 66 local campaign offices.

The local campaigns sent the money back to national party headquarters to buy local television and radio advertisements for their candidates.

Elections Canada says the advertisements produced through the local offices didn't qualify as local spending because they were too similar to national ads. The ads looked exactly the same as the national ads, except for small print or the names of the individual candidates.

Financial agents for some of the Conservative candidates later asked to be reimbursed for those expenses. Candidates who get 10 per cent of the votes in their riding get a portion of their election expenses returned from Elections Canada.

Elections Canada refused, saying the party paid for the ads, not the candidates.

The Conservatives maintain they didn't break any rules.

Soon after Corbett launched his investigation, the Conservatives went to Federal Court in an attempt to force Mayrand to reimburse the expenses to the Conservative candidates. That case has not yet reached a hearing stage, with the party and Elections Canada still filing evidentiary briefs.
Search dominates question period

Opposition politicians, who have called it an "in-and-out" scheme, grilled the government on the election spending issue during a raucous question period Tuesday.

"What will it take for the prime minister to finally admit that the Conservative Party broke the law?" Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion asked.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper dismissed Dion's charges as "completely false" and said lawyers for his party were preparing to interview Elections Canada officials on Wednesday in their pending lawsuit against the federal body.

"Our legal position is rock-solid," Harper said.

Dion accused of the government of stonewalling an Elections Canada probe into the matter by launching its own lawsuit.

Harper said the party has provided Elections Canada with every document it has requested, adding he doesn't know why it was necessary to call in the RCMP.

NDP Leader Jack Layton said the government has "closed the door on transparency" to Canadians.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Dancing Sam


Dancing Sam
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Mark's Birthday Weekend flew by in a snap.

I snap my fingers a lot lately so I've got "snap" on the brain. It actually works to get Sam's attention so I'm using that as part of our training.

Saturday was sort of a lazy day. I was up early and Mark slept in a bit. I got up and hung out on the sofa in my pj's with the dog. It was awesome. Early in the afternoon we went out and did a bunch of errands which included going to costco at zero hour. All of the looky-loos were out lining up, 10 people deep for a one inch piece of cheese bread. Seriously people, it costs $6. Just buy it.

Yesterday I was not feeling good. I had some sort of weird cold all last week and I think it finally caught up with me yesterday. I'd not slept well on Friday or Saturday and I think that part of it was that I was overtired. I had a nap in the afternoon and then a really hot shower and felt much better. Mark and I went out for sushi rolls last night as part of the birthday celebration weekend.

Today, we both had the day off from work. We booked it off because it was Mark's birthday and also so that we could take Sam to the vet together. He needed to get his shots and meet the vet. I was quite nervous about the visit for a lot of reasons. Sam's still learning about the leash and I was deathly afraid that he'd somehow get out of it and run into the street (the Vet is on a really busy corner). Last night, we took him out in the van for his second drive in it. We did not want him to associate the van with going to the vet. He was really awesome in the van, he seems to be more comfortable there each time we go out.

When we got to the clinic, didn't he wiggle out of his harness (we didn't have it tight enough). Fortunately, when he did this, Sam pushed himself flat down onto his stomach on the pavement. Mark was able to pick him up and carry him inside. Once we got inside, he was pretty good. He's not had a lot of time around strange people or other animals so he barked a couple of times but overall was very well behaved.

He had 3 shots today and we are going back in 3 weeks for boosters. After that, he'll go back for his operation (yes, he's getting snipped!) and he and Mark will go to obedience school. By the time summer arrives, he'll be really ready to get out and do things with us without having any anxiety.

That's the plan anyway!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

discovery

Comfortably Numb is uncomfortably loud for Sam.

This morning, in the continuation of Mark's fabulous birthday weekend, Mark decided to watch some of his "The Wall Live in Berlin" DVD over coffee. When he got to "comfortably numb" Sam disappeared and went to the kitchen, quite spooked.

We can't tell if the volume was too high or he doesn't like Van Morrison or he just didn't like the song but he wouldn't go back into the living room until Mark was finished watching the concert.

Funny that, isn't it? Dogs barking on the tv don't really make him blink but for whatever reason, Van Morrison made him bolt out of the room.

Strange huh?

Friday, April 11, 2008

mark cooks


mark cooks
Originally uploaded by Julep67
It is Mark's birthday on Monday.

It's his birthday weekend this weekend. A few ago, a gift I'd ordered for him arrived in the post and I let him open it early. He very sweetly didn't start to use it until tonight. I ordered three t-shirts for him, one has the logo and the name "Springfield Isotopes" on it (go 'topes!). The second shirt says, "you lika da juice?" and the third, he's wearing right now (put it on after work - for the birthday weekend) says, "giggity goo."

I think his birthday is off to a good start. He's chilling out in the living room, watching Taj Mahal and the Phantom Blues band (on the DVR from the other night - we love cool tv!). It's a 2000 show that was taped at the Montreal Jazz Festival. The sound is amazing and so is Taj.

In addition to the shirts, I picked up a few other odds and ends for Mark on eBay over the past few weeks. He chose to open one of the gifts tonight. The gift he chose was a copy of "American Dad, Season 2" so we'll be watching that tonight and hanging out in our toasty warm house, ignoring the cold wind and rain outside.

At the moment, we're just waiting for some pizza to arrive for dinner, Sam's playing here in my office. I know it's going to be a great weekend cuz it's off to an awesome start.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

caught!

If you thought that maybe a dog couldn't feel guilty about something, I think you're wrong.

It got really quiet in the kitchen a few minutes ago. Mark had gone down to the basement and Sam quietly disappeared. I had a hunch that he might be in the kitchen so I went in there.

He was in the kitchen, trying to figure out how to get up on the counter (not an easy feat) and get at the leftover barbecue that was cooling in a container.

When I spotted him, I said nothing. He turned and looked at me and started to do his "hey I'm dancing on my hind legs" dance and then sat down, smiling and wagging his tail.

I guess it just smelled too good to resist.

smokin' barbecue


smokin' barbecue
Originally uploaded by Julep67
We had another barbecue tonight. It was awesome.

There are many things I like about barbecue season. The first thing would be that Mark is an awesome barbecue chef (not to mention that he's just a plain old fabulous chef no matter what he's making, he is a chef afterall). The second thing would probably how quickly dinner can come together when we're grilling. The third is really how fast the clean up is.

One thing that Mark does is he makes stuff for our meal, like grilling off veggies and some meat. He always cooks way too much stuff though so we always have leftovers. The next night we'll have pasta or a stir fry which is made up of grilled, smokey delicious ingredients. It's awesome and really yummy.

If this is too much food talk and it's making you hungry, I'm sorry about that but I really felt like Mark deserves some serious kudos for this.

on thursday

Ugh.

I can't stop coughing. So much for "yay, my cold is going away." Rather, it's developed into an annoying cough.

Oh well, I'll just have to dig out the fisherman's friends at work this morning. Should make being on the phone interesting, this coughing thing.

If I'm lucky, the steam from the shower will make it go away. Gotta be positive right?

Anyway, here's a little blast from the past for a gloomy thursday morning.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

loving the puppy loving


smilin' sam
Originally uploaded by Julep67
When you get home from work at night, does anyone come running, full-tilt, toward the door and bounce around, all smiles and so excited to see you that they can hardly stand it?

That happens to me, every night when I get home. Sam is so cool and it's such a crazy good feeling to have that kind of greeting, every night. Makes any bad thing that may have happened in the day, just fade away into oblivion.

I think that this weird cold thing that has been bugging me is starting to go away. Maybe being outside a lot more this week has helped to kill the germs. I question it not, just be happy that it seems to be clearing up. Speaking of clearing up, the last dreggs of snow finally disappeared from our lawn today, I guess it's officially spring now!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

peeking sam


peeking sam
Originally uploaded by Julep67
I have this weird thing happening that feels like a cold only it's strange. I have been coughing a bit and blowing my nose but I'm not super congested, I just have this weird taste in my mouth. I drink gallons of water, chew gum, brush my teeth but nothing makes it go away. It's odd and I'm not happy about it. I really don't want it to erupt into a full blown cold so I'm fighting it. Last night I got almost no sleep from the cold meds I took so I am not taking those tonight. It's a weird circle.

We're still introducing Sam to our friends. He's not overly crazy about men so far. Mark, he loves. My dad, he was indifferent to. On Saturday, Mark's friend Tom came over for coffee. Now Tom is both a smoker and a cat owner. Sam barked at him for a while but eventually he stopped barking and fell asleep on the floor in the kitchen where the guys were chatting.

Tonight, our friend Andy came over to help Mark measure up some stuff for a project we're starting on our deck. Sam was in the back yard when Andy got here. He and Mark went out onto the deck and Sam went bananas. Mark brought him back into the house and nothing I could do would calm him down. I guess it was partly because Andy is also a smoker / cat owner but also because he was caught off guard by having Andy walk into his yard. Normally, Sam's in the front window, keeping a watchful eye on the door and driveway. Maybe it was just the fact that Andy just appeared. Whatever it was, hope it passes. Poor Sam really got himself worked up into a state.

It feels like I only have doggy news these days but for the past week or so, that's really all we've had going on. I'm working pretty long days right now and between that, and the cold symptoms of the past few days, playing with the dog and doing some minimal housework is about all we've been managing.

I will say this, I love my white, fluffy dog but boy howdy, it takes me twice as long to vacuum as I used to and I do it twice as often. I'm not complaining though, just saying, really.

Monday, April 07, 2008

little sweetie


little sweetie
Originally uploaded by Julep67
We had a little tea party at work on Friday and this little doll was there with her mum. Her mum is a colleague who is off on Mat leave. She's a cutie isn't she?

I worked a little bit on the weekend and spent the rest of it pretty much outside, doing stuff with Sam. This past weekend was the first really gorgeous weather we'd experienced this spring. The ice is finally almost melted on our deck and we were able to get the barbecue out of it's snowy prison yesterday. I pulled a couple of chairs from our patio set out as well. We sat in the sunshine and enjoyed the sounds of geese flying north again. Truly an amazing sign of a Canadian spring finally arrived, those geese.

Other than working and doing a few things around the house, oh and playing with Sam, we didn't get up to much. It's good though, this life of ours. Sam has brought so much joy into the house, it's just silly. He's a giant furball of fun and we really really love him. It's soppy but it's true.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

two weeks


earth hour 2008
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Sam has now been with us for two weeks. In that time, he's learned a lot of stuff. Some tricks, some commands. He's a smart cookie and it feels like he's always been here. I cannot imagine life without him now.

We are experiencing some growing pains. Sexual frustration is more the issue I think. This week so far, he's shredded newspaper each day (that's okay though, I left it for him to do - he preferred the Rona Flyer over the Futureshop one) and chewed one of my nice pillows on the sofa. He's also started removing the jute from the area rug we have in the living room. Once removed, it shreds really nicely.

Tonight while we were hanging out and playing, he was really try to hump something: my leg, my arm, the sofa. He's not picky, just horny. The sooner we can get to the vet and figure out next steps in terms of him being altered, the better. It's going to be a long week until our appointment.

Once we get to the vet and get his shots updated, we can also sign up for obedience shool. Between that and getting "fixed" training should get much easier. The humping should stop too. I hope so, it's not fun for him or me.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

wishful water


our new pool -filling up
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Our backyard is starting to fill up with water.

The bottom part of it is semi covered in water anyway. Mark's little veggie patch is submerged. Our directly-behind-us-over-the-fence neighbours seem to have a yard full of water. I noticed when I was out back with the dog this morning that about half of the snow in the yard disappeared overnight.

So far, our basement (touch wood veneer desk) remains bone dry.

I look forward to the day when the only water back there is in the pool. For the moment, I keep my fingers crossed that the winds keep blowing (it's crazy windy outside right now) and that things dry up. It's a mucky, watery mess out there.

Thanks a lot, winter.