Wednesday, August 27, 2008

barking out the window

barking out the window
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Whenever we turn the A/C off, Sam gets bark crazy. Now, barking is something that we understand to be part of the breed and we've accepted a certain amount of it. For the past few nights though, with the A/C off, we've got the windows open and Sam's decided that no one can walk down the street in front of our house without him letting them know that he's on patrol, watching their every move.

It's endearing but annoying at times. Last night, if we opened or closed a door in the house, basically made any noise that sounded close to a door knock, he went bananas.

Today, I hear that he's being quiet. Mark went home from work a little while ago. He's got a massive migraine again. I know that my head's a little wonky too right now. It's the atmospheric pressure. Hurricane season is going to be brutal for us this year I think. Hopefully, Sam will take good care of Mark this afternoon. I'll be happy if Mark's feeling better and Sam's less jumpy.

Monday, August 25, 2008

watering can

watering can
Originally uploaded by Julep67
A garbage truck has been parked (presumably broken down), across the street from my office all morning. At first I thought that the driver may have been having a medical emergency (we're next door to the hospital) but since then, repair trucks and lots of men have been on the scene, standing around, staring at it and scratching their heads. Not a very nice way for the driver to start the working week.

Speaking of working week, we had a bit of a working weekend 'round our house. I say "we" but actually Mark did the lion's share of it. He got a tonne of yard work done this weekend. Some of it was stuff we'd wanted to do for a long time now so it's good to have it out of the way and off of the "to do" list before the snow flies.

I didn't get as much done as Mark because I felt kind of shitty all weekend. On Saturday, I was achy and tired and dizzy and felt like I was getting a cold. Yesterday, I thought I had a cold, but by bedtime, I felt much better. Weirdness. It was pretty irritating too because I only got about 1/3 of the things on my "to do" list done.

We're both back to work today. I'm in the office by myself today which is always strange. It's quiet and I do get lots accomplished but it's a little eerie too, being in the cottage alone. It's hard to believe that next week is Frosh week and that summer will be over for another year.

Things start to get really crazy busy 'round here when the students return. I don't work directly with students but the pace picks up, nonetheless. Mark will get busy too, which is good, because they've had a pretty quiet summer. Oh, that reminds me, the other day, Mark had an interesting fare (well he has some weird fares every day but this one was just sort of amusing). He got a call to a house not far from where we live. He picked up this young lad who was going "to work." Turns out, he's one of those guys who pan-handles at the intersection where the old traffic circle used to be (by the mid-town Canadian Tire store for those of you who are familiar with Kingston). He had a sign that said, "traveling to Halifax - broke - hungry - anything helps." He paid Mark with a $20 bill and didn't tip (guess he doesn't get the tip karma thing). We saw him at the corner on Saturday when we were heading home from Costco.

If he really was heading to Halifax, wouldn't it make more sense to be up by the highway where someone might actually be heading to the Maritimes? Oh well, what do I know right? At least he didn't try to stiff Mark for the fare, the whole thing just struck me as odd. Of course, that's not even close to the oddest thing that happened to Mark last week but it's a good example of the kind of things that cab drivers get to see all of the time.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Originally uploaded by Julep67
they're very slowly starting to return...

...I've noticed a larger than average number of mini-vans circling the ghetto this week...

...trucks are unloading in front of residences...

...road closures are starting to be posted...

...clusters of them have been spotted wandering up and down Stuart Street...

In 10 days or so, the students will be back. Campus will feel a little more noisy, a little more crowded and also, a little more fun. We totally enjoy the rest when they disappear in April but it's always kind of fun when they return in September.

I feel like I get two new years, every year... one in January, and one in the fall. It's not entirely unpleasant.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I like this...

I think that Mike's onto something big. In case you hadn't read this already, I thought I'd post it here. I think it's a good idea and is important and it's something to seriously consider. Wow Mike, cool idea!!

Dear Caroline,

We've never met, so I hope you don't find this letter too presumptuous or inappropriate. As its contents involve the public's business, I am sending this to you via the public on the Internet. I knew your brother John. He was a great guy, and I know he would've had a ball during this thrilling and historic election year. We all miss him dearly.

Barack Obama selected you to head up his search for a vice presidential candidate. It appears we may be just days (hours?) away from learning who that choice will be.

The media is reporting that Senator Obama has narrowed his alternatives to three men: Joe Biden, Evan Bayh and Tim Kaine. They're all decent fellows, but they are far from the core of what the Obama campaign has been about: Change. Real change. Out with the old. And don't invade countries that pose no threat to us.

Senators Biden and Bayh voted for that invasion and that war, the war Barack ran against, the war Barack reminded us was the big difference between him and Senator Clinton because she voted for the war and he spoke out against it while running for Senate (a brave and bold thing to do back in 2002).

For Obama to place either of these senators on the ticket would be a huge blow to the millions that chose him in the primaries over Hillary. He will undercut one of the strongest advantages he has over the Hundred-Year War senator, Mr. McCain. By anointing a VP who did what McCain did in throwing us into this war, Mr. Obama will lose the moral high ground in the debates.

As for Governor Kaine of Virginia, his big problem is, well, Obama's big problem -- who is he? The toughest thing Barack has had to overcome -- and it will continue to be his biggest obstacle -- is that too many of the voters simply don't know him well enough to vote for him. The fact that Obama is new to the scene is both one of his most attractive qualities AND his biggest drawback. Too many Americans, who on the surface seem to like Barack Obama, just don't feel comfortable voting for someone who hasn't been on the national scene very long. It's a comfort level thing, and it may be just what keeps Obama from winning in November ("I'd rather vote for the devil I know than the devil I don't know").

What Obama needs is a vice presidential candidate who is NOT a professional politician, but someone who is well-known and beloved by people across the political spectrum; someone who, like Obama, spoke out against the war; someone who has a good and generous heart, who will be cheered by the rest of the world; someone whom we've known and loved and admired all our lives and who has dedicated her life to public service and to the greater good for all.

That person, Caroline, is you.

I cannot think of a more winning ticket than one that reads: "OBAMA-KENNEDY."

Caroline, I know that nominating yourself is the furthest idea from your mind and not consistent with who you are, but there would be some poetic justice to such an action. Just think, eight years after the last head of a vice presidential search team looked far and wide for a VP -- and then picked himself (a move topped only by his hubris to then lead the country to near ruin while in office) -- along comes Caroline Kennedy to return the favor with far different results, a vice president who helps restore America to its goodness and greatness.

Caroline, you are one of the most beloved and respected women in this country, and you have been so admired throughout your life. You chose a life outside of politics, to work for charities and schools, to write and lecture, to raise a wonderful family. But you did not choose to lead a private life. You have traveled the world and met with its leaders, giving you much experience on the world stage, a stage you have been on since you were a little girl.

The nation has, remarkably (considering our fascination with celebrity), left you alone and let you live your life in peace. (It's like, long ago, we all collectively agreed that, with her father tragically gone, a man who died because he wanted to serve his country, we would look out for her, we would wish for her to be happy and well, and we would have her back. But we would let her be.)

Now, I am breaking this unwritten code and asking you to come forward and help us in our hour of need. So many families are hurting, losing their homes, going bankrupt with health care bills, seeing their public schools in shambles and living with this war without end. This is a historic year for women, from Hillary's candidacy to the numerous women running for the House and Senate. This is the year that a woman should be on the Democratic ticket. This is the year that both names on that ticket should be people OUTSIDE the party machine. This is the year millions of independents and, yes, millions of Republicans are looking for something new and fresh and bold (and you are the Kennedy Republicans would vote for!).

This is the moment, Caroline. Seize it! And Barack, if you're reading this, you probably know that she is far too humble and decent to nominate herself. So step up and surprise us again. Step up and be different than every politician we have witnessed in our lifetime. Keep the passion burning amongst the young people and others who have been energized by your unexpected, unpredicted, against-all-odds candidacy that has ignited and inspired a nation. Do it for all those reasons. Make Caroline Kennedy your VP. "Obama-Kennedy." Wow, does that sound so cool.

Caroline, thanks for letting me intrude on your life. How wonderful it will be to have a vice president who will respect the Constitution, who will support (instead of control) her president, who will never let her staff out a CIA agent, and who will never tell her country that she is "currently residing in an undisclosed location."

Say it one more time: "OBAMA-KENNEDY." A move like that might send a message to the country that the Democrats would actually like to win an election for once.

Michael Moore

Monday, August 18, 2008


Originally uploaded by Julep67
All day yesterday, I suppose because of the anxiety I'd felt for the few days preceeding, I was exhausted. We slept in a little bit but I wanted to get up and get going with my chores because I was heading back to work.

In the mid-afternoon, chores done, Mark and I sat down to veg out and watch "The Big Lebowski." About 10 minutes into it, I fell asleep for about 5 minutes. I forced myself to wake up though because I thought that if I took a nap, I'd be up all night. I was so wrong!! I not only didn't take the nap, I didn't sleep last night. If I did, it was in 10 minute increments. Not fun.

Saturday wasn't a whole lot of fun either. My cousin's funeral was at 11 a.m. The day turned out to be sunny and warm which was nice for those of us who had to travel from out of town. The whole thing was just really really sad. I mean, I know that funerals generally are sad but there is a difference between attending the funeral of someone who lived to a ripe old age and someone who lived too short a life. My mum told me that the funeral home guessed that 700 to 800 folks visited on Friday. The church was packed on Saturday morning. I think that there very few people in the small town who didn't either know my cousin directly, or who knew her folks or brother.

The only really "good" thing I can think that came out of it was that it became a mini-family-reunion (as these things to). My 88 year old Great-Uncle Herbie (and he's not just a great uncle, he's an awesome uncle!) was there, my cousin Dave flew in from Calgary, I saw my Great-Uncle Jack and Great-Auntie Muff... I'd not seen any of these folks since 1997 when my grandmother died.

I hate how it happens that folks only gather like that during a funeral. Fortunately, next month, this same branch of the family will gather in Quebec for a wedding. It'll be good to see folks under happy circumstances. I hear that there's even going to be a dance contest with a 5lb Hershey bar as the prize for the first place couple. Hell, if the possibility of 5lbs of chocolate can't make us all feel better, nothing will!

Friday, August 15, 2008

ready for a tummy rub

ready for a tummy rub
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Today is Sam's birthday. He's had a pretty good birthday-week I think. Even though we had to slide out of town for a few hours earlier today (to attend my cousin's wake - more about that later), he had an awesome breakfast of eggs and turkey, got a gigantic raw hide bone/toy to chew on and went to the dog park twice. Not bad huh?? Between trips out of town and visits to the groomers, he's had a pretty much fun-packed 2 weeks. I must say we have too, at least up until the past couple of days.

The death of my cousin has bothered me a lot more than I thought it would. I guess I figured that because she'd been so sick, for so long, that when the time finally came, I'd be okay (or as okay as you are in these situations). Right now though, I think I feel a little bit relieved. See, this afternoon, we went to the visitation and I saw her husband and parents for the first time since she'd died. I hadn't actually seen them in a while and it was tough. See, her parents are my godparents, her dad is my mum's oldest brother and I knew that when I saw him, I'd lose it. I promised myself I wouldn't but when I hugged him, I totally lost my composure on him. He just laughed when I said, "I promised myself I wouldn't do this" because I think everyone was saying that to him. He's been a rock through all of this stuff. I hope that in a few days, he can collapse into a puddle for a while (if that's what he needs - I think it's what I would need).

There were dozens of people there when we arrived. We stood in line for about an hour waiting to get into the room. By the time we were near the door way, we heard that they had started turning folks away and asking them to come back to the evening session. It was not something I'd ever seen before. Of course, all of her mum's siblings were there, with their children and grandchildren. I'd forgotten how large their family was. It was really overwhelming. Seeing my family though, did help and I feel like I'll be able to retain some semblance of cool tomorrow and keep things together. I'm not saying that I won't have dozens of tissues in my pockets but I think I'll be a little less rattled. I hope so anyway.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

the photographers

the photographers
Originally uploaded by Julep67
This photo is a few years old, I guess it's five years old now that I think about it. I took it on Easter Weekend 2003 at my Aunt Mary's home. My Aunt Karen & Uncle Mike were home from out west and as much of the family as we could muster were gathered at the Cooks' for Easter Dinner.

The story behind this photo is that everyone was taking a photo of my mum and her siblings (from left to right, the photographers are Meg - daughter of Mary - my mum's sister; Karen - wife of Mike - my mum's younger brother; Kathy - daughter of John - my mum's older brother; and my dad). I think that this was the last photo I had taken of Kathy and it's always made me smile because when I turned around, it was like looking at some paparazzi.

Kathy died earlier today. She had fought a very long battle with a malignant brain tumor. I think it was about 10 years ago now that she was first diagnosed. Kathy, her husband Jeff and her parents (my godparents) went to hell and back with this disease but the fight is now over for them.

Kathy was my first, first cousin. She was the oldest grandchild on my mum's side, I was the second oldest. This morning, I went through old family photos of us when we were kids. Looking at the pair of us in so many photos, we couldn't have looked more different: Kathy had gorgeous, long dark hair, I had my little blond pixie cuts. Most of the time, I was in a yellow dress and Kathy was in a purple dress. In a few of the photos of the two of us, we were up in a tree in our Nana's yard and I have to say, those are my best memories of my time spent with Kathy as a child... climbing Nana's tree and colouring the bark with our Crayola 64.

Tonight I talked to my cousin Meg on the phone for a while. We were talking about Kathy's love of all things purple and we've both decided to not wear black to Kathy's funeral on Saturday. We'll both be wearing purple, for Kathy, and if anyone has a problem with that, well, they can just suck it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

dynamic duo

dynamic duo
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Mark went back to work this morning. We actually got up with the alarm this morning. It was, well, alarming to say the least.

It was a little sad to see him head out the door to work but sometimes you have to do these things. Sam moped around the house a bit and I could tell he was really missing Mark. When Mark came home for a break, Sam was super excited. It was pretty cool to watch actually.

Luckily, we managed to sneak in a visit to the dog park when Mark got home. The thunder started to roll about 5 minutes after we got in the door. I'm really getting tired of all of this rain we're getting. The gloomy-ness of it all did not exactly inspire me to be very energetic today. I mean, I got a few things accomplished but nearly the number of things I'd hoped to.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day, I'm hoping for sunshine.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

mid-holiday update

kingston memorial centre
Originally uploaded by Julep67
We've been enjoying our "stay-cation" this week. It's been at times busy, at other times, very very relaxing and the whole thing has been a lot of fun. This is the first time in a very long time that Mark and I have an entire week off together.

At the moment, we're waiting for some company to arrive so I thought I'd take some time to update on what we've been doing.

On Wednesday, we decided to celebrate our anniversary (we met 9 years ago on August 6) with a little road trip day for the three of us. Sam loves to travel with us in the van but we'd never taken him on the highway with us before. The main purpose of the trip was to submit our passport applications to the office in Whitby.

A few weeks ago, a friend of ours was talking about how he needed to get a passport because he's going to Florida on a course in September. Last year sometime, the fuckwits in the US government decided that Canadians needed a passport to fly into the states. Mark offered to go up to the passport office for him (he doesn't have a car). I suggested to Mark that we should get ours too because next year, we'll need one if we want to drive over the border to do grocery shopping.

Fortunately, the whole process for applying is a lot easier now than it was the last time I looked at the forms. Also, the office in Whitby is in a mall and you literally drive up to the front door, walk in and be back in your vehicle within 20 minutes (at least this was my experience). Unfortunately, they wouldn't accept my application on behalf of Andy because he wasn't a family member so now he's having to do it through our MP's office. Mark and I should have ours around August 20. I'm really glad that we've done this but I'm still annoyed that the shrub is making life so difficult for folks who just want to take a 30 minute drive and buy some Gulden's Hot and Zesty Honey Mustard!

On the way up, we stopped at the Quinte West Off Leash Dog Park in Trenton. It's a small but beautiful park. The whole area is properly fenced and double gated. The ground is covered with bark chips so it doesn't get muddy and there is a lot of shade for the hot days. One of the local home improvement places donated benches as well so you take a little break in the shade if you'd like. Sam had a lot of fun there and met a couple of friends. It wasn't super busy which was probably good.

When we got home that night, we decided to go to the Drive-In. We both wanted to see Pineapple Express and thought that a double bill at the Drive-In would be fun (there was no way we'd see Step Brothers otherwise). Unfortunately, while it was breezy and much cooler than in town, it was also very buggy. I can't tell whether the movie wasn't funny (it was cute in parts, really nonsensical in others - ie it had HUGE gaping plot holes) or the bugs were making me itch too much but by the time it was over, I was ready to go home.

On Thursday, we really slept in after being at the drive-in. The morning was spent doing work in the yard and 'round the house. We also got out and did some errands but our plans to spend the afternoon at the municipal pool were thwarted by bad weather. We got home in time for a very quick barbecued lunch but then the showers moved in and we were once again rained out.

Friday morning, we were glued to the tube (and kept indoors by the rain) watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Neither of us are fans of the sports of the Olympics but it was fun to watch the opening and see the Parade of Nations. With the Olympics in China, I have a hard time looking at the performers and the new buildings without imaging what these folks had to endure to create it all. I can't imagine that folks were paid fairly or treated decently through it all but I sure hope that I'm wrong.

Yesterday was my mum's 65th birthday. We met my parents for lunch and "surprised" my mum with a dozen roses. This was the third bunch of roses she received on the day. My dad sent her a gorgeous bouquet of a dozen red roses, my aunt & uncle sent her red roses with white carnations and we gave her a bouquet of peach and orangey coloured roses. Her house must smell really lovely today!!

Today so far has been quiet. We went to the dog park and ran around a bit with Sam. Originally we'd thought about taking a little road trip to Smiths Falls today but the weather in the morning looked dicey so we stayed home. It's turned into a pretty nice day after all so I suppose we could have gone. I'm kind of glad we didn't though, it's been nice to be close to home.

Tomorrow, Mark will head back to work. I'm off this week too and have a few things planned. Primarily, I have a to-do list for things around the house that I'd like to sort out. Mostly organizing, cleaning and chucking out of stuff. I imagine I will have a huge pile for goodwill (or I hope to). I'm looking forward to quietly puttering around the house and hanging out with Sam. It should be very relaxing if I get it right!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

happy fun time

soggy sam
Originally uploaded by Julep67
hi ya

yanno how sometimes, you're having so much fun that you can't stop for long to talk about it!?

well that's what's happening 'round here this week.

vacation is here, we're having a blast and I just thought I'd take a quick moment to check in, say hello and bop back out again.

hope you're all having a fab week!!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

bella winks

bella winks
Originally uploaded by Julep67
How is your Simcoe Day weekend going folks?

Ours is going very well. Actually, we are now on vacation. I'm off for 2 weeks and Mark is off with me for the first week.

Yesterday, I think due to the strange weather we've been having, Mark had a killer migraine yesterday and I had a headache almost all day. At one point, we had enough pain medication in our systems that we could go out and get some errands done. Fortunately, we didn't have to be out for much longer than an hour or so.

I'm feeling groggy but better today. I don't remember when I slept as much as I did yesterday, it was strange. I was up early yesterday with the dog but then went back to bed until 7:30 or so. By 10 a.m., we were back in bed sleeping again. Got up around 12:30 to do errands and stuff. I had another nap in the late afternoon and still slept like the dead again last night.

Today is much better though. I'm getting stuff together for us to go to a friend's house for the day. It's the home of Bella's parents. They live north of the city on a gorgeous lake in a log cabin home. We're taking Sam so it'll be his first experience of actually going into the lake for a swim (or just to explore the lake shore). I'm sure he'll be a matted, muddy mess by the end of the day but that's okay. We've been looking forward to this for a while.