Friday, December 25, 2009

on christmas day in the morning


Gracie vs the tripod
Originally uploaded by Julep67
So far this morning, I have not seen any ships come sailing in. Our neighbourhood seems very quiet and dark. We are up early by some standards but actually slept in this morning (for us anyway). The dogs are having some kibble as I type this and I think Mark is in his office checking his mail.

In a little while, we'll take our cups of coffee into the living room and watch our DVD of the Pee Wee Herman Christmas special. It's a little tradition we have, it doesn't feel like Christmas unless I've seen Grace Jones perform the little drummer boy!

Later today, we'll head to the train station to collect my brother and then go to my mum & dad's for a holiday dinner. It'll be nice to see everyone and have a visit and eat too much.

On Monday, I got the bulk of my baking done. Did it all in one morning, well most if it anyway. I did one more batch of cookies on Tuesday morning and it all went well. I am either getting better and being organized or am a better baker or something because this year it seemed a lot less chaotic than other years.

Wednesday, my mum and I took a road trip to her home town so we could deliver cookies and have little pre-Christmas visits with her siblings. It was really nice, despite driving through a blizzard on the way there, to have a little girls only road trip day. Normally, we see my mum's family on Boxing Day at a party my Aunt has. This year, she's not having the party so I wanted to be sure to get the cookies to everyone, hence the road trip.

When we got back into town, I had to pick Mark up after he finished work. We needed a few groceries so we bit the bullet and went to the store. It was a nice feeling, not having any pressure or time constraints on us while we shopped. Everyone around us seemed to be panicking, really frantic and frustrated. We were basically shopping like a normal shop, getting enough stuff to keep us away from the stores until at least Monday. Again, being organized this year (and not doing too much) made me feel really liberated from all of the holiday hysterics.

Just peeked out the window, it's still very quiet and dark out there. You can tell that there aren't a lot of little kids in our neighbourhood - I remember when we were kids, the houses with children in them would be all lit up at 5 a.m. on Christmas day.

I hope that however much sleep you go last night, and whatever you do today, if you celebrate, have a wonderful holiday. If you don't, I hope you have an awesome long weekend!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

holiday stuff

So, I'm on holidays/vacation. Today is day 3. I don't have to go back to the office until January 4. Feels a little strange but I'm enjoying it.

The first day (Tuesday), I stayed home and puttered around the house. I had a tonne of laundry to do so I got through that and hung out with the dogs (who still haven't quite figured out what's going on with the holidays and stuff). I still haven't decided if I'm putting up the tree or not. I got my lights up in our front windows, I hung my pretty, lighted garland but the tree is still in the box. The only part of me that wants to do it, only wants to do it so she can go through all the ornaments and get rid of what I'm not using anymore. Mostly, our ornaments and decorations are snowmen, Simpsons stuff or Sponge Bob. I have a tonne of Sponge Bob stuff, glass ornaments, snowglobes, stockings, I can turn my living room into a Springfield meets Bikini Bottom winter wonderland very easily. Part of me wants to keep things simple though so, I'm still on the fence about the tree. Maybe once I have finished cleaning the house (it's still pretty grubby at the moment - I'll finish it up when I have all of my errands done) I'll feel more like putting it up. We'll see.

Mark woke up with a migraine yesterday so we both went back to sleep for a couple of hours after the alarm went off. I probably should have gotten up at our normal time because I remember feeling just fine when I got up to let the dogs out at 4:30 a.m. When I got up again at 6:45 a.m., I felt all full of the cold and my sinuses were batty all morning.

While we're not traditional holiday celebration folks, I did have a bunch of errands to do yesterday and I found the whole experience to be absolutely exhausting. I probably tried to do too much with a full head but I really wanted to get some of this stuff done. Much of what I needed to do yesterday was stuff I'd put off doing until I on holidays. I always do this and then I forget how stupid people get at this time of the year. I swear everyone forgets how to drive and how to park or even how to behave in the stores. They wander around with a buggy and a look on their faces which screams to me "hello, I've lost my mind!" I sure hope I don't look like that, I'm pretty sure I don't.

A couple of hours ago, I bundled up and drove Mark to work so I could have the van for errands today. The folks on the weather channel told us that it was wicked cold out. Honestly, I think it felt colder out yesterday around here. There was a dampness that got into my bones yesterday and I couldn't warm up. Might have not been the weather though. Might have been the full head thing. Today, I have a few more errands to do but I'm being smarter about it. I'm meeting a friend for coffee before I start and then she's going with me for some of them so we can at least make fun of the situation together.

The only big holiday type of thing I do is bake. Either tomorrow or Saturday, I'll convert my kitchen into "holiday baking central" (name stolen from Rita - thanks chickie!). On Wednesday, my mum and I are tentatively scheduled to make a road trip to her home town for cookie deliveries. Normally I do them on boxing day when my Aunt Mary traditionally holds an open house. This year she's not doing that so we'll do a pre-Christmas quick tour and visit my Aunts & Uncles and drop off cookies for them.

So yeah, nothing terribly exciting is happening around here right now but I am kind of liking it that way.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

starting to think about getting ready

It's been a while since I've posted and I wish I could say that the delay is because of some really exciting stuff but honestly, it's just been sort of busy at work (where I usually post from) lately and when I do have a spare moment for farting around, I'm playing Farmville. Yep, Farmville.

My cousin's 10 year old son invited me to play it with him during the summer and I said yes. At first, I had my doubts about it but the more I played and the more weird little reward things I got, the more I got into it. He, of course, like most 10 year olds, moved on to other facebook games but I stuck it out with Farmville. Now I play with a bunch of my friend each day, we send each other animals and (this week anyway) christmas gifts. It's all very silly but in a way, the silly aspects of it distract me when I'm getting stressed about things so it can't be all bad.

Not sure what the weather is doing in your part of the world but 'round here, we're having an unseasonably beautiful fall. Except for a few flakes the other morning which didn't amount to anything, we've had no snow and the temperatures have been very mild. I'm not complaining but it is weird. What is also weird for me is the fact that I only have 5.5 days left in the office this year. I start my winter vacation on December 14 at around 2 p.m. Nice huh?? I had a bunch of vacation days leftover at the end of the year (I usually do) and I like to add them to the already generous holiday break we get where I work. I'll be off work for almost 3 weeks. Nice huh?

Last year, I didn't start to decorate until I was already off work (around the 16th) but we've started the process of moving stuff up from the basement. I always forget how many bins of stuff I have. It never looks like that much when I get it all out but boy, there are a lot of boxes. Boxes of lights, boxes of Spongebob decorations, my Simpsons Christmas village, all of my cool/funky snowmen. We're not traditional christmas folks so our decorations are more fun and silly than some folks would care for. Of course, our big December 25 tradition is to get up, drink coffee and watch our well used DVD copy of "Pee Wee's Christmas Special." For me, it's not really Christmas until you've heard Grace Jones sing the Little Drummer Boy or k.d. lang do Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.

In other news, we've been dog sitting for the beautiful Bella for the past two weeks. Her humans are expected to be back in town tomorrow and I'm sure she'll be glad to get home. I think she has a lot of fun here with our dogs and we treat her like she's one of ours but I'm sure she'd prefer to be at home with her own people.

The three dog dynamic is very different than two dogs and I think Gracie has been most bothered by it. She has a tendency to be a little jealous so having another girl dog in the house kind of gets up her nose. The other weird thing is that Bella cannot figure out the doggie door. She has gone out on her own a couple of times while Mark was standing by the door but she won't come in on her own. She'll go through the flap but won't push on it with her nose. I know she can do it but she won't. Having to let a dog in and out for 2 weeks makes me really appreciate how lucky we are that Sam and Gracie are clever enough to come and go as they please.

On that note, things seem a little too quiet in the kitchen (where the dogs currently are) to me. I had better go make sure that they haven't figured out how get into the pantry on their own.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

just stuff

us health insurance reform
Am I the only one who thinks it's interesting that the grandfather of one of the "greatest American heroes" (Jack Bauer) is also the father of socialized health care in our lovely country? I was happy to see that the folks in Washington took one step closer to pulling their heads completely out of their asses on the weekend.

pretty puppies
We took the dogs to petsmart over the weekend for grooming. We've tried the groomer at our vet's (she's awesome but SUPER expensive) and a lady in our neighbourhood who has a salon in her home (less expensive but not entirely what we were after) and I have to say, I think petsmart is the best value for money around here. Both of the dogs look great and I like that the salon is in a fishbowl type of thing so you can see a lot of what the groomers are doing. We'll definitely go back.

lucky us
Last night, sort of by accident, we discovered an AMAZING new Thai/Cambodian restaurant in our neighbourhood. They also have Chinese stuff on the menu and given that it's across the street from a high school, I'm betting that they sell a lot of chicken balls at lunchtime. Everything we had was terrific and I can honestly say that it's the best of it's kind I've ever had in Kingston - feels really great to have found a local place that makes a yummy green mango salad!

good behavior
I took Monday off from work. Had an appointment in the morning and then some errands to do. I spent the afternoon alternatively spending time outside with the dogs and doing housework. The weather was gorgeous and I felt lucky to have chosen such an amazing day to be off. I was almost shocked this morning when I realized that I start my winter holidays in less than 5 weeks! yay!!

talking dogs
looking forward to seeing Up on the weekend. we picked up a copy last night and I'm super excited to see it, with the dogs, in the comfort of our living room.

Monday, November 02, 2009

wow, november


happy face
Originally uploaded by Julep67
As I was flipping over calendars at work this morning, after having traveled to work in the sunshine (last week the street lights were still on when I was en route to the office), it was a bit of a surprise for me that October was over already.

I mean, I know it's the end of October when little kids stand on my front porch and I reward their cuteness with mini boxes of smarties but still, last month was a blur.

The weirdness started at the end of September when we both had a terrible cold. Toward the end of October, Mark was hammered with a horrible flu. It started with a migraine and when the migraine ended, he was left with terrible body aches and a bit of shortness of breath. When I took him to the doctor (after 3 days of feeling like hammered shit), they suspected that it could be N1H1 and gave him a 5 day dose of Tamiflu. It did help his symptoms and after 3 days on it was able to go back to work but I don't think he had the swine flu.

When the crazy weird panic settles down, we're both going to get the shot. Mark because he's diabetic and me because whenever I get a flu or cold, it could turn into bronchitis or pneumonia. Normally we refuse the seasonal flu shot but with this, at least they know exactly what they are vaccinating against. I'll still not get the regular flu shot, it's just a crap shoot every year.

On Friday, we celebrated Gracie's barkeversary. It was a year ago on Friday (October 30) that she joined our family. We've seen so many excellent changes in her over the past year, it's just amazing and we're really proud of her.

Saturday night was a bit disappointing. Normally, I have between 150 and 200 kids at the door and this year, I think I might have had 80. I wonder how much of that was down to Halloween being on a weekend night so folks went to parties instead, and how much was pure panic over N1H1 and folks kept their kids home. Whichever it was, the kids we did see were super cute and they all got extra candy for making the effort.

So I guess that's where October went. Hopefully , November will be slow and groovy and we'll be able to enjoy it a little bit more than we did October.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

going in for a kiss


going in for a kiss
Originally uploaded by Julep67
happiness is...

...putting up all of my Halloween decorations at home

...watching Gracie growl at the skeleton in the living room because she thinks he's an intruder

...a cold which is almost gone except for a little cough once in a while

...pretty leaves on the trees and sunshine that lights them up

...smoochy puppies when I get home from work

...work which is busy but really exciting and interesting at the moment

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

the face of grace


the face of grace
Originally uploaded by Julep67
I hate snot.

I hate that my nose is sore from blowing it too much.

I hate coughing.

I hate not being able to sleep because my nose won't stop running.

Fortunately, some of these symptoms have improved for me over the past 24 hours and I'm back at work today.

On Friday, I had a sore throat (one of my colleagues was sick last week) and on Saturday morning, I felt a full-blown cold coming on.

Instead of wallow in it, I got up, got dressed, took the dogs to the dog park with Mark and then did some errands. Following that, in an attempt to "sweat it out," I starting to clean up some bushes on our front lawn, trimming them, bagging the branches up, etc. We took a run to the composting centre and then did a couple of errands.

Sadly, I was feeling more like hammered shit and I was disappointed by it. On Sunday, I felt even worse but kept moving, I had stuff to do and thought that if I stopped, or slowed down, the cold would catch me. Overnight, it did just that but I needed to go into the office for at least part of the day on Monday. I dragged my sorry ass out of bed and got some stuff done at work. I took the afternoon off and yesterday too. Today I'm feeling much better although still have a cold. I re-learned the valuable lesson this week that I cannot take cold meds because they keep me wired and I can't sleep. When I can't sleep, I can't feel better. Last night, after two restless nights, I slept and can actually breathe a little bit today.

So hopefully, that's it for me. My autumn cold, out of the way nice and early. I'm hoping for a healthy fall / winter this year. I deserve it and so does my poor nose.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

extension


chef mark
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Summer is hanging around in our part of the world and that has allowed us to continue barbecuing. We have a natural gas barbecue with a permanent hook up on our deck so it's really only when the barbecue is frozen totally solid that we can't use it but it's far more pleasant to use it when you can enjoy the deck and the sounds of the bugs being zapped in the zapper at the same time.

Happily, I just read that there is a remastered, cinema re-release of The Godfather happening in the UK. I hope that it makes it to screens in Canada. That would be something to look forward to. It'll be nice to see a classic film which has been restored and revived instead of the same old bad remakes of films that we've had shoved down our throats in recent years. I remember going to see a special 25 anniversary screening of a restored "Last Tango in Paris" in the late 90's. I was too young to see it (I was 5) when it was originally released so it was a massive treat to see it on the big screen instead of on video at home.

Some films are just better on the big screen, I think that The Godfather is one of them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

where's the water?


where's the water?
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Last night, Mark took me for the last official ice cream cone of the summer. Summer's officially over later today but it feels like it's going to stick around for a while and I'm not complaining. The ice cream cone was pretty yummy, we just went to the DQ near our house while we were out doing some errands last night.

The big indicator to me that summer is almost over is Sam's nose. When the days start to get shorter, the pigment in his nose fades and it turns from very black to pink. The very tip of his nose is showing signs of pink right now.

I actually love this time of the year and can't wait to get my Halloween decorations up. I hope to get my windows washed this weekend so I can get my window display up. I got the neatest table cloth at the dollar store this year. It's a flanel backed, black table cloth with lots of pumpkins and skeletons and stuff on it. Yay dollar store! I also know exactly where my box of decorations is so it should go pretty smoothly. Last year, both Mark and I had pneumonia in the fall and I didn't really bother thinking about Halloween until almost the week before, which isn't really like me. It's one of my favourite holidays and I'm really looking forward to it at the moment!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Joe


Joe
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Last week's birthday celebrations did not got exactly as I'd thought that they would.

First of all, birthday Tiffany was out of the country on her birthday. She was whooping it up in Vegas, lucky girl. This meant though that I did not get to talk to her on her birthday or wish her a happy birthday, in person, 2 days late, at Lucia's birthday party.

Speaking of Lucia's birthday party, we stayed about 45 minutes and then left. Unfortunately, Mark quit work a little early on Wednesday afternoon because he had a migraine. He still had one on Thursday morning and could not shake it. By the time I finished work on Thursday (he'd stayed home), he was feeling better, still fragile but better. We decided we would try to go to the party. It was being held at an absolutely fabulous restaurant downtown. We were the first to arrive (which surprised us). They were expecting about 25 people and it was WARM in the room already. Warm is not good for a migraine sufferer. Once folks started to arrive and order drinks, I could see Mark turning green. The perfumes, the alcohol, the kitchen smells, it was getting to be too much. We stayed long enough to have a very quick visit with Lucia's parents and her grandparents and then we left.

On the way home, we stopped off at Dong Nai for soup but even that didn't help Mark. I'd never seen him so sick and he almost never had a migraine for 2 days. Awful stuff. Friday morning, fortunately, he felt better and went back to work.

We had a pretty good weekend, did lots of stuff around the house, got some errands done. We thought a lot about Mark's dad Joe too. He passed away 3 years ago this weekend. It's really difficult for me to believe that 3 years have passed but they have. I think about Joe all of the time, sometimes at silly times, often times when Mark is cooking and I think about much Joe loved good food. We miss him, lots. 3 years, crazy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Birthday week!


first all ages show
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Tiffany (the lovely girl on the right in this photo) is having a birthday today. Happy Birthday Tiffy!! this photo of her is about 14 years old but her face is still as sweet as it was when she went to her first all ages show (cue Juliana Hatfield's "My Sister" here - although it was a cub show).

Also celebrating a birthday this week (already!) is Tiffany's beautiful niece, Lucia. How is it that Lucia is already (almost) a year old? We'll be celebrating 1 year of Lucia on Thursday.

Happy Birthday to all of the wonderful September babies!!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

recycling


lantern
Originally uploaded by Julep67
For our wedding, we bought a bunch of little battery operated, paper lanterns which were hung in the tents. They just offered a little splash of colour to an otherwise drab canopy. We also bought the pictured larger version of the lanterns and hung it in our gazebo (with strings of teeny tiny paper lanterns hung around the perimeter). It was simple and, I thought, pretty.

The battery operated paper lanterns should be in Alberta today I think. The lanterns will be used to decorate the site of my cousin Kelly's wedding in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta on Saturday. Her mum and dad (my lovely Auntie Karen & Uncle Mike) were transporting them to Alberta. I think it's going to be a surprise (but I also think that Kelly is too busy to read this so that's okay) for Kelly. I was just really happy to think that even though Mark and I couldn't get to Alberta for Kelly's wedding, our wedding lanterns could.

We enjoyed a nice long weekend here. Mark and I both took Friday off so we'd have a four-day break. On Friday, we spent a good sized chunk of the day running errands. We did get to visit my parents as well and pick up yet another fabulous wedding gift which had been left at their house. A family friend made us a beautiful quilt, I still cannot get over how generous and thoughtful folks have been. I'm enjoying it but it's so much more than I imagined!

Unfortunately, for the last couple of days (Monday and Tuesday), I was laid up feeling crappy. It was a combo of allergy weirdness, stomach wonkyness and my back misbehaving. I'm back at work today but am on the heating pad and am not moving much more than I absolutely have to. Tomorrow will be better than today has been. Friday will be better than Thursday, I know this because I deal with this once or twice a year. It's never fun but it always goes away, in time.

So that's the news from me for now. I will warn you though, we saw District 9 over the weekend and it's seriously the best movie I've seen since Slumdog Millionaire (and I don't usually like sci-fi movies) so I plan to rave a lot about it when I have more time. Be prepared!!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

grandparents in training


Uncle Rod and Aunt Mary
Originally uploaded by Julep67
So, it's September. How awesome is that!?

There are many things to love about September:

- sunny lovely amazing weather
- tomatoes are tasting better now than they do all year
- new lunch boxes (my old one finally bit the dust after 10 years and I broke down and bought myself a snazzy new one)
- babies - a friend of mine had a baby girl yesterday (yay) and my cousin and his wife (the son of my gorgeous aunt and uncle pictured here) announced that they are expecting their first child
- long weekends and then some (taking tomorrow off and enjoying a four day weekend)
- new fences and gates at our dog park - extra safety is always a good thing

So yeah, 3 days in, September is already shaping up to be possibly the best month of the year!

Monday, August 24, 2009

battle of the photographers


battle of the photographers
Originally uploaded by Julep67
My weekend was so nice that I really wish it didn't have to end.

We didn't do anything too terribly exciting but we did get a lot of stuff done and even had some time to do very little, which was awesome.

For about 5 minutes we discussed going "somewhere" to do "something" because we felt like we should but in the end, we hung out with the dogs, spent some time on the deck and chilled out. I also feel good about reducing our carbon footprint by staying home instead of being out tooling around in the van for no really good reason. Yay us!

We did watch a movie on the weekend which I feel I should heartily endorse: In the Loop. A friend in the UK had recommended it and I found a copy of it so, we finally got to see it. I'm so glad that we opted to stay home and see it instead of brave the lineups for District 9 or the new Tarantino film. We laughed our butts off. The dialogue is both quick and witty and the story moves along really nicely. If you're a fan of the absurdity of politics and how the media machine really runs the agenda, you'll enjoy this. I want to see it again sometime soon because I know that there were things we missed when we were laughing - I can't say anything better than that about it!! Oh, except, yay, James Gandolfini is in it and I am a huge fan of his so that was like icing on the cake of an excellent movie cake type thing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

sorting it out


marco and lovely lucia
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Just to let you know that I don't only talk about weather when it's not being my friend, today is gorgeous. Sunny, breezy, hot but you can actually breathe so, yay!

Also, Mark went back to work today. I'm not entirely convinced that his stomach bug wasn't related to the heat and the migraines from last week but whatever the case, he seems to be much better and actually ate a proper dinner last night.

Given that the past couple of days have been so yucky, I hid inside, in the air conditioning and started to sort through the photos from our wedding. I've posted some of them on flickr already but will be adding to them. We didn't hire a professional photographer. Instead we asked my awesome brother and a fabulous friend to take photos for us. Not only did they take pictures, we've had submissions of photos from other family members and friends so I have quite a few to sift through. It's interesting to see different angles of the same shot. We're super happy and grateful to have had so many talented photographers at our wedding!! Anyway, without further ado, click here to enjoy!

Monday, August 17, 2009

sunny daze


sunny sammy
Originally uploaded by Julep67
I know that many folks around our little corner of the world complained about how cool and wet the July weather was. I wasn't one of them. I don't complain about cool weather because I cannot function when we get stuck in one of our humid heat waves.

Right now, we're in the middle of a doozy. It's been going on for several days now and the air quality is absolute crap at the moment. Last night, I was outside with the dogs before bed and I couldn't get over how hot it was, at 9:30 p.m. I dumped out their little doggie pool which Mark had filled up earlier in the day and this morning, there was still water on the deck where I'd emptied it. There is so much moisture in the air right now that the water was not evaporating. The outside of our house was dripping from condensation this morning, it's just nasty.

The weather is making Mark sick too. He had two migraines last week which, according to the doctor (and we really already knew this) were caused by the crazy weather. Today, he's sick with a horrible stomach bug. He was up all night last night and we're not entirely sure what caused it but I'm sure that the weather has at least something to do with it.

The only upside to this is that we caught up on some tv watching over the weekend (thank you A/C). We're completely up to date on our Coronation Street watching - although we found Steve and Becky's wedding a little hard to stomach and watched some movies we've been wanting to see.

Today, I'm back at work, slowly getting through 2 weeks worth of email. I may get through it all by the end of the day if I'm lucky. If I'm not, it may take me until sometime tomorrow. The break away was nice but honestly, if I'm hiding inside in the A/C, I might as well be at work, right?

/stupid rant about the weather

Sunday, August 16, 2009

current weather


current weather
Originally uploaded by Julep67
The current weather here is gross.

Hot, sticky, smelly and gross. We've spent the biggest chunk of today, cowering in the air conditioning. The breeze outside died mid-morning. Not fun.

Both dogs celebrated birthdays this weekend, Gracie on Thursday, Sammy on Saturday. They are both now 2. For their birthdays they got extra trips to the dog park and lamp chops. Not bad huh?

I'm back to work tomorrow. The past two weeks have flown by but I had a blast. I'd be lying if I said I was looking forward to going back but I can honestly say that it's not something I'm dreading. I'd just rather always be home with the doggies if I could be.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

hitched up


the tents
Originally uploaded by Julep67
So, our anniversary party was actually a little backyard wedding. Yeah, Mark and I finally did it up legally with some friends and family looking on. We've been busy putting the house and yard back together since the weekend but I did write a little post for a bridal advice site that I've been hanging out on for a while. Thought I'd share it with y'all. Btw, it's hot and sunny 'round here and we still have lots of booze leftover so, if you're in the hood, pop by!!

My last day in the office before the wedding was July 31. All that week, I kept thinking that I should be making updates here but honestly, the week flew by in a blur.

Then, last week, when were running full steam ahead to get everything done and sorted, the time again flew and the next thing I knew, it was Thursday, August 6 and we were getting wed!

Over that weekend before the wedding (which was a long weekend in our neck of the woods), we slowly worked away at our chore list. I had made a spreadsheet which was divided up into tasks, some of them mine, some Mark’s and some for us to do together. I then divided them up into days and times so they were pretty evenly spread out over the days leading up to August 6th. We never really felt stressed out as I allowed us lots of down time in between things we needed to do.

Which each day that passed, as we crossed things off of that to-do list, I relaxed more. I must say, neither of us was worried about actually getting married but both us wanted the house and yard to look nice, and for the food to be great. I think we accomplished all of those things in the end.

On Wednesday, I went for a manicure and pedicure with my friend Annette (who was standing up with me) and my mum. I had never had a pedicure before and was shocked at how awesome it was. I was also shocked at how relaxed it made me, too relaxed actually. I wasn't able to get much done immediately after our appointment. Fortunately, Annette took me out for lunch so we both avoided our chores/errands for a little while longer.

My nails turned out beautifully. I had them done (fingers and toes the same) in a gorgeous shade of opal-y fuchsia which matched some of the pink in my dress. Even today, my fingers have just started to chip but my toes are still awesomely perfect. I must say too that I did a good job of protecting my nails with rubber gloves in the weeks leading up to the wedding. The person at the salon who did my manicure commented on how nice they were.

While I was at the salon, Mark was at home waiting for the delivery of our tables and chairs. When we got back to the house, they still hadn't arrived. Our 2 p.m. delivery didn't arrive until 5:30 p.m. To say that Mark was super pissed is a huge understatement. The 3.5 hours spent waiting around, trying to keep the dogs amused so they wouldn’t go ballistic when the stuff arrived, could have been a smidgen more relaxed. He just didn’t need the aggravation, I was annoyed too but I was already into my “go with flow” mentality which has served me so well at events I’ve worked at in the past.

While he was still angry, he started setting up the yard. The little canopies we bought had been put up on Tuesday so he placed the chairs in rows and we left the patio tables around the perimeter of the yard. Our plan was to move them under the tented area once the ceremony was over but they never ended up moving. When he had stuff set up, I took him out for pizza (we weren’t doing a big rehearsal dinner because we didn’t need to rehearse) and he was chilled out by the time we got home.

The actual day was awesome. All week long, the weather channel had been changing their minds about what the weather was going to do. It had been hot and super humid earlier in the week and, given that we were having our ceremony outside, we really didn't want it to rain. Fortunately for us, the humidity broke the day before and we had a gorgeous day.

The morning of our wedding was spent setting up tables in the house for the buffet, cleaning and picking up our catering stuff/ice and getting beer. I stayed home to finish cleaning the bathrooms and setting out the stuff on the various tables. Mark and our friend Tom went to Costco to pick up the last of the food (cakes, meat trays, veggie & fruit trays, etc.) and the beer. We had three food stations: sweet table in the living room, appetizer table in the hallway (in front of our fish tanks), main course dishes in the kitchen. It all looked and tasted great and we had plenty leftover (we were afraid we’d run out so we over-did-it I think). Fortunately, friends who are in renovation hell and who are without a kitchen took a bunch of meat and buns with them, we sent other friends home with desserts and pockets full of chocolate bars and ring-pops. We called the meal theme “picnic style” but really, it was more guilty pleasure/comfort food. Literally there was something for everyone!

Our ceremony was fun. We both cracked a lot of jokes and given that we had a smallish group (40 in total including us) it was sort of interactive. I’ll post the ceremony separately if anyone is interested in it. It seemed to literally take 2 minutes, and I felt like I was in a swirl while it was happening. I expected to be nervous and self-conscious but I was neither. Afterwards, there were lots of hugs and a few snaps (we didn’t have a professional photographer but are starting to collect photos from guests/family members which I’ll put up on flickr after I’ve sorted through them). Next was food and partying. We had a lot of fun and I think that our guests did too.

Sitting here, almost a week after the fact, it is hard to believe that it’s over but it is. We got some very lovely gifts (which I was not at all expecting). My Aunt and my mother arrived and asked where the gift table was and I stared at them both like they had 2 heads. It never occurred to us that folks would want to give us gifts. I was overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness that went into the gifts and still cannot believe how generous folks were to us. I’m happy to report that the thank you cards are almost done (have about 6 left to do) and the ones which are completed have been posted already.

One more point before I end this. Our dogs were awesome. Our Eskie, Sam was pretty barky when folks were arriving (as he is usually) but they were both very well behaved during the ceremony and I’m sure that they scored some contraband food during the party. In the days leading up to the wedding, they knew something was up and that stuff was happening at the house so they were a little off of their routines. All things considered, they did very well and I’m really thrilled that we could have them participate in our wedding with us!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

checking in

We've been on vacation this week and have been very very busy getting ready for the party we're having tomorrow.

Tomorrow, August 6, is the 10th anniversary of the day Mark and I met. As I mentioned before, to celebrate, we're having a biggish (for us) house party. The little tents we bought are now up in the back yard. The sparkly twinkle lights are all hooked up. The table and chairs we rented have arrived (finally - 2.5 hours later than they were supposed to be delivered).

Most of the food and drink has been purchased (catering trays, ice and beer coming tomorrow) and the house is almost clean. It's clean enough. Not like I'd thought it would be but as long as folks keep their white gloves to themselves and don't look in the corners, it'll not be too bad.

Today, for the first time ever, I had a pedicure. I had a manicure as well but the pedicure, oh my goodness. I had heard that they were divine but I had no idea, really. I went with my friend and my mum and we had a ball. It was awesome and my nails are all a beautiful, fuchsia shade which has some shimmery opal stuff in it. Lovely.

So, I may again disappear for a few days but I felt I should check in and let folks know that I'm alive and tired and overall, pretty happy. Yay for anniversaries and parties and good people and pink nails!!

Friday, July 31, 2009

never miss the water

hey!

this has been a busy week and a particularly crazy day is going on right now.

I'm working at getting everything cleared off my desk because I start my vacation this afternoon. When I arrived at work this morning, we couldn't access our network files - not good.

Fortunately, it was resolved mid-morning so I'm now just in the home stretch of my last-day scramble. Should be able to leave on time so it's not totally horrible.

In lieu of a proper post, I'm going to leave you with a live version of one of my favourite Chaka songs, enjoy!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

waiting for squirrels


waiting for squirrels
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Just got back from running an errand on campus and cannot get over how hot the midday sun is today. We're in the midst of a humid spell and I'd love nothing more than some lungs full of fresh cool air.

I think the weather is getting to the dogs too. They have access to the air conditioned house, lots of shade in the yard, water and ice cubes but they both seem a little off the past two days.

Sammy woke up in the middle of the night, whimpering to go outside. when I got up to let him out, he ran outside when I stepped onto the deck (to turn the motion sensor lights on). He was a little skittish though and every time the bug zapper zapped, he jumped. Eventually he was able to do his thing but it seemed, well let's just say different, like he was a little upset (his tummy). He then ran back into the house and normally, he likes to do a little "hey I just pooped" dance before doing that.

When we came back into the house, he ate a little of the kibble which was leftover in his bowl and then settled back to sleep. Shortly after we woke up, he barfed the kibble up (on Mark's side of the bed). On the weekend, he got a hold of one of Mark's work gloves and I think he ate part of the thumb so that could be what's got him out of sorts, could be the humidity too.

Gracie seems to be faring a bit better although since we had the carpet cleaned, she's full of piss and vinegar. I still haven't put the room back entirely so there is a little more room for her to play in and she's taking full advantage of it, chasing Sam, at top speed, wanting to wrestle with either Mark or I (and getting us to play along).

Btw, the carpets turned out well. I'm pretty impressed and wondering why I've not done it before!

Monday, July 27, 2009

take it!

I've mentioned here before that Mark and I are fans of American Idol. Our favourite part of the show is the early auditions. This past season, I was really happy to see Alexis Cohen, one of our favourites from last season, return and try again.

We loved her attitude and spirit and spunk and mostly, her reaction to being dismissed. I was saddened this morning, to read that she'd been killed in an accident over the weekend. My condolences go out to her family and friends.

Friday, July 24, 2009

bad news


new patio lanterns
Originally uploaded by Julep67
I'd like to swat the nose of the news with a newspaper right now and say "bad! bad news!"

Lots of weird stuff has been happening in our sleepy little town recently. Over the weekend, a woman and her two daughters mysteriously drowned in the swimming pool of a hotel in Gananoque.

Yesterday, we learned that members of a Montreal family have been charged with the murder of 3 of their daughters and a 4th relative. At the end of June, a car was found in the Kingston Mills lock and no one could figure out how it got there (our theories of it being King Kong or Godzilla placing the car in the canal aside). It's now looking like it's some disgusting honour killing and I'm quite frankly sickened by it.

Canal-death charges stun Montreal neighbours

Neighbours of the Shafia family in Montreal's Saint-LĂ©onard borough say they are shocked to hear of the murder charges against the father, mother and eldest son.

Police in Kingston, Ont., announced Thursday that Mohammad Shafia, his wife, Tooba Mohammad Yehya, and their 18-year-old son, Hamid Mohammad Shafia, have each been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and four counts of conspiracy to murder.

The family's three teenaged sisters and their older relative, believed to be Mohammad Shafia's first wife, were found dead in a car at the bottom of a Rideau Canal lock near Kingston in June.

Neighbours said the three accused have appeared in a state of grief over the past three weeks.

Police haven't profferred a motive for the alleged murders, but a downstairs neighbour, Joyce Gilbert, described the family as patriarchal. She said, for example, that she saw the women and girls outside all winter shovelling snow.

A month or two before the deaths, Gilbert said, the eldest daughter, Zainab Shafia, ran away from home for at least a week.

"Because she wanted to have this boyfriend, and the family didn't want, because [he] wasn't the same, um, them they are Afghanistan, and he was Pakistan, I think," Gilbert said.

Zainab Shafia, 19, along with her sisters, Sahar Shafia, 17, Geeti Shafia, 13, and a female relative, Rona Amir Mohammed, 50, were found dead in the family's black Nissan Sentra when the vehicle was discovered under water in a Rideau Canal lock on June 30.

Other neighbours described the Shafia girls as being shy, quiet and traditional, but Alexia Maturi, a 12-year-old friend from the neighbourhood, remembered them differently. She said she only played with the girls when they were away from their house and their parents.

"They introduced me to new games at the park, and we like, we just shared.... They were like me: just outgoing, friendly, fun to play with. They were like a normal girl," Maturi said.

Another neighbour, who wished to not be named, said whenever a man came by the house, the Shafia girls would turn away or go indoors.

Community member in shock

The owner of an Afghan supermarket in the Montreal suburb of Brossard, who attended the funerals of the three teens and their relative, said he was shocked to hear of the murder charges.

Noor Mehri said he didn't know the family directly, but felt obliged to attend the funeral, held at an Islamic cemetery in suburban Laval on July 5.

Mehri said during the burial, the father collapsed and paramedics had to take him away.

"He was [lying] on the floor. At that time I don't know what problem he has, ambulance come and take him away.... He was not OK," Mehri said.

Mehri said he found the story peculiar when he heard the four females had been discovered dead underwater in the family car, but he said he never suspected it was anything other than a tragic accident.

- - - - - - - - -

This story also made my lunch turn into a ball in my stomach. What exactly is blasphemy anyway? I agree with one of the comments I read after this article where the writer asked, if I'm an agnostic and you say "god bless you" to me when I sneeze, is that blasphemy?

As a person of Irish descent, I've always wanted to visit Ireland. At the moment, I'm now not so sure that I still feel the same way. Shame on you Ireland!

Irish law makes it illegal to speak blasphemy

If you visit Ireland after October, you'd better watch what you say about God.

A blasphemous slip of the tongue could cost you 25,000 euros under revamped legislation that will soon be signed into law.

Blasphemy is an act of challenging or offending a religious belief.

In recent years, western countries such as England have been taking blasphemy laws off the books, or changing their focus so that they cover hate-related crimes in general. Ireland has taken a different approach, updating its legislation but maintaining a focus on religion.

In Ireland, it has been a crime to publish blasphemous material since 1961, although nobody has ever been convicted. The Seanad, the Irish senate and upper level of parliament, passed the Defamation Bill in July that makes uttering blasphemy a crime as well.

The bill was originally proposed in 2006. It worked its way through parliament and received final approval on July 10 this year, when it passed by a slim margin of 23-22.

Lorraine Weinrib, a law professor at the University of Toronto, says the bill is a modern update of blasphemy laws.

"I don't see this as a new thing as much as an old thing that hasn't quite disappeared in Ireland," she says.

"Unlike the old blasphemy laws which only protected the dominant religion [Roman Catholicism] … this one seems to protect all religions, so it kind of has a modern equality bent to it," Weinrib adds.

But blasphemy laws can have an impact on freedom of expression, Weinrib says.

"They create a crime where one of the basic elements of the crime is subjective outrage of particular people. So there's really no objective measure, and this can cause a disruption in the modern understanding of the relationship between religion and the public space of a liberal democracy."

Even so, Weinrib points out that under Ireland's new legislation, in order to be found guilty, there has to be proof that the offender intended to cause outrage with a statement that is abusive or insulting. The statement also has to produce a violent reaction.

The bill states that a person publishes or utters blasphemous matter if:

* He or she publishes or utters matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion.
* He or she intends, by the publication or utterance of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.

The bill puts the onus on a defendant to prove that a reasonable person would find genuine literary, artistic, political, scientific, or academic value in the matter to which the offence relates.

"I think we're talking about central issues — for example, a depiction of Christ as a homosexual … many religious people find this outrageous and their reaction is intense," says Weinrib. "The intent of the outrage still needs to be proven in this case."

Ireland is not alone in having laws that take aim at blasphemy.

Canada lists blasphemous libel as a crime under the Criminal Code, which carries a penalty of up to two years in jail. But the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees free speech rights that supersede the blasphemy law.

The Canadian code says, "No person shall be convicted of an offence under this section for expressing in good faith and in decent language, or attempting to establish by argument used in good faith and conveyed in decent language, an opinion on a religious subject."

Many countries have abolished their blasphemy laws in recent years. In Britain, the Church of England (and by default, Christianity) was protected from blasphemy up until last year when the government reviewed the law. The U.K. voted to abolish blasphemy laws on Jan. 10, 2008.

In the United States, blasphemy has never been considered a crime.

In countries where Islam is the state religion, blasphemy is still considered a serious offence. In countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan, the penalty for blasphemous crimes can be execution.

A number of Islamic countries have been pursuing an international anti-blasphemy resolution at the United Nations that would restrict any speech that is offensive to any religion. But that approach assumes everyone is religious, Weinrib says, and issues can crop up when two religious groups have contradictory points of view.

Here are some significant historical events involving blasphemy:

* March 12, 2009 Judges in Afghanistan reduce a death sentence to a 20-year jail term for student Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, who had been convicted of blasphemy.
* Jan. 31, 2008 In Afghanistan, student Sayed Pervez Kambaksh is sentenced to death for downloading a report from the internet that was viewed as blasphemous.
* Jan. 10, 2008 The United Kingdom abolishes blasphemy laws.
* Nov. 27, 2007 Gillian Gibbons, a British teacher in Sudan, is charged with blasphemy after letting her students name a teddy bear "Muhammad." She received a 15-day jail sentence.
* Dec. 12, 2006 Ireland's justice minister, Michael McDowell, introduces the Defamation Bill, to replace legislation that has been in place since 1961.
* Sept. 30, 2005 Controversial cartoons of Muhammad in Denmark's Jyllands-Posten cause an uproar among Muslims, who found the material to be blasphemous. An investigation was undertaken but it was stopped because a judge found publishing the material could not be considered a criminal offence under the Danish Criminal Code.
* June 2003 Two Afghan journalists from the Aftab News are sentenced to death for blasphemy by a Taliban-influenced court for publishing an article titled, "Holy Fascism."
* 2001 British Labour MP Frank Dobson suggests getting rid of the common-law offence of blasphemy, but is opposed by Church of England officials.
* 1949 In a speech about freedom under the law Judge Alfred Thompson 'Tom' Denning says, "The offence of blasphemy is now a dead letter."
* 1935 Rev. Victor Rahard is found guilty of the charge of blasphemous libel. It would be the last time a Crown prosecuted someone for blasphemous libel in Canada.
* 1921 The last person in Britain to be sent to prison for committing blasphemy is John William Gott, who compared Jesus to a circus clown. His sentence was nine months of hard labour.
* 1843 The last time a public prosecution was held in Scotland for a blasphemy crime.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

toooosday


sammy
Originally uploaded by Julep67
How cute is Sam? Pretty cute huh?

Boy howdy but it feels like time has been speeding up lately. We've been busy for the past few weeks, getting ready for a big party we're having at our place next month, while we are on holidays. The idea is to get as much stuff done before our vacation actually starts as is humanly possible so we won't have to do much while we're off work.

Fortunately, the to do list is constantly shrinking and I've not had to add too much to it as we go along. I'd say that it is managed chaos but it's not actually chaotic which is nice. Mostly, we're trying to get the house sorted out.

It's sort of funny how much "extra" cleaning I'm doing as we get ready for the party. I'm doing the kind of stuff that normally only happens in the spring. Mark's been doing stellar stuff in the yard too. It looks great, really great, better I think than either of us imagined that it could look. We're enjoying it, a lot. The yard I mean, not so much the cleaning.

Funnily, one of the things I'm most excited about is our carpets. I've actually only arranged for the living room / hallway to get done but it should look great when it's done. It's something I've had on my "to do" list since we moved into the house. Remnants of doggie accidents have made it more urgent. It's going to be interesting to see how it turns out!

Friday, July 17, 2009

iced gracie


iced gracie
Originally uploaded by Julep67
. how much would I love to be home, on the deck, with Gracie and her bowl of ice cubes right now? Well, lots.

. she was not impressed with me when I left for work this morning

. I've been spending parts of my morning (before heading out to work) on the deck with the dogs

. they love it when you're with them, they aren't so happy when you go

. if only they understood how I much I can empathize with what they're feeling because I feel the same way too

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sam in pre-bark mode


Sam in pre-bark mode
Originally uploaded by Julep67
. Sam can go from zero to bat-shit crazy barking in the blink of the eye

. other times, he's on a slow boil and I can tell when he's going to get loose and bark

. he doesn't bark for the sake of barking

. Sam barks with purpose, usually to let folks walking on the sidewalk in front of our house know that they don't have his permission to be on his sidewalk

. Sam also barks at our asshole next door neighbours

. I think he knows that we don't like them any more than he does

. his fur is starting to grow back. he is looking a little bit less like a baby lamb every day

. our office barbecue yesterday was fun. the weather was gorgeous, I laughed a lot, it was a nice break from the usual Wednesday afternoon stuff

. I was saddened to hear about this this morning. Going through the process for an international adoption is difficult at the best of times. What's going to happen to the 500 families and potential adopted children, who are now in limbo?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

summer stuff

I love summer, I'm particularly loving this summer.

It's not too hot, not too cold.

Not too dry, not too wet.

Berries are great, doggies are awesome.

Barbecues are plentiful and we're having one this afternoon with work folks.

A good time should be had by all and I have it on good authority that seedless watermelon is being served.

nice!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

status update on the peanut


icy gracie
Originally uploaded by Julep67
. I have many names for our Miss Gracie: Gracie, Princess Grace of my Heart, Peanut, Peanut Butter, Princess Peanut

. happily, I can report that she's much better today, almost too much better

. too much because she's wrestling like crazy with Sam and I'd like to see taking it easy but you can't always tell her what to do

. she's still on her meds (every night with dinner) on the advice of the vet but I may take her off it on the weekend

. things are awesome at the moment, the weather is lovely, work is going well, life is good

. I really can't complain about anything because when I put it into perspective (and I do try hard to do this) and compare our lives with those of folks who live in war-torn places bitching about money or having a dirty house or whatever thing I'm moaning about seems pretty petty

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

knot my problem


knot my problem
Originally uploaded by Julep67
. I'm slightly over tired tonight

. it's not surprising

. we were shaken out of bed on Sunday night by a massive thunder storm

. last night, we both slept with one ear open, listening for Gracie

. poor Gracie hurt herself and had to go to the vet last night

. still not 100% sure what is wrong, seems like some soft tissue damage, the vet thought that nothing was broken

. she's on a daily dose of some pain medication and if the problem doesn't go away from the pain meds and her resting a bit (she's been very good about taking it easy), she'll have to get some blood work done and have x-rays

. she seems a bit better now, had a bad spell earlier this evening but I think the meds I gave her with her dinner have kicked in

. I hate it when the dogs are sick because I feel so helpless

. I hope we all get a good night's sleep tonight and feel better in the morning

Monday, July 06, 2009

how I spent my summer vacation - part 1

This isn't going to be a multi-part post but I have just completed part 1 of my summer vacation. I went back to work this morning after a week's holiday. Technically, because of Canada Day, I only needed to book off 4 days. I'm taking two weeks at the beginning of August (hence the part one of two).

Last week, we got a tonne of stuff done around the house. I have had a list of stuff that I've wanted to do for ages which I'm now slowly getting through. Mark has a similar list and he's just plowing through his. Amongst other stuff, we were able to:

. get my tooth filled (well the dentist did it but...)
. replace the front steps to our house (Mark and Andy did a kick-ass job on them)
. totally re-organize our front closet (you can actually see the floor in there)
. packed away our winter coats for the season (yeah, I'm late on this)
. finally wash all of the hats, scarves and mitts we wore last winter and put them away
. de-clutter our two spare bedrooms (I sent a van load of stuff to the charity/thrift store and another load of broken junk to the dump)
. move all of the boxes (which have been on the floor for 3 years) out of my office and into the basement (my long term project will be, next winter, to go through 2 boxes every weekend until everything is sorted or chucked or donated)

I was also able to get lots of much needed cleaning done around the house. It was super nice around here on the weekend and I was actually able to open the house up (and turn off the A/C) and air it out. The dogs have been having a great time playing in the newly de-cluttered bedrooms. Every time I see one of them running out of one of these rooms, they are doing that double-time tail wag which means that they think they are getting away with something.

Last week, I did not spend much time in front of my computer so I wasn't always keeping as up to date on news stories as I would normally be. I did, however, celebrate the victory (finally) of Al Franken in his senate race in Minnesota. He's such an amazing guy, I'm really happy for him, his family, and the people of Minnesota!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sammy's got a new doo


Sammy's got a new doo
Originally uploaded by Julep67
. I'll admit that it took me almost an entire day to adjust to Sam with his new, cool, summer hair cut. The only fluffy bits left on him are his tail and behind his ear. Gracie had to sniff his but a bunch of extra times when he got home to make sure it was Sam.

. Today is my last day in the office for a week. That's right kiddos, I'm off next week. Keep your fingers crossed for me that it's sunny and nice, I have outside painting I need to do next week.

. Of course, if it did rain, I could hang out in the gazebo with the dogs and a pile of trade paperbacks I have.

. I tweeted this last night but feel that it needs repeating, this is not a good week for pop culture icons from my 1970's childhood.

. In a way, I'm sure that the O'Neal / Fawcett must be a little relieved to be pushed to the edge of the spotlight right now. Given what they've been going through for the past 3+ years as they've supported Farrah in her battle against cancer, I'm sure they'll be grateful for some peace.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

strawberry baby


meeting Xavier
Originally uploaded by Julep67
. holy smokes but isn't Xavier cute? he's so alert for one so tiny, I think he realizes already that there's a lot to do and see here on Earth and he's digging right in

. the local berries this year are much better than I'd anticipated. we had a bit of an odd spring 'round here and I didn't think it would be a good thing for my beloved berries but they're great this year

. thanks to mum & dad, we had berries for dinner last night, for breakfast again today and I'm having some for lunch. yay!

. chickpeas might just be the perfect food

. I'm bored to tears with hearing about perez and jon and kate but can't stop watching "Katie & Peter Stateside: The next chapter." my train wreck addiction is incurable

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

anticipation


gracie
Originally uploaded by Julep67
. 3 and a bit days until my vacation starts (but who's counting)

. 1 and a bit hours until my dad delivers some fresh, local strawberries to me at the office

. 3 and a bit hours until I get to go home and play with the puppies

. good things definitely do come to folks who wait for them

Monday, June 22, 2009

monday thoughts


happy face
Originally uploaded by Julep67
. weekends fly by far too quickly

. water restrictions are tough on new sod

. Gracie loves to play in the mud

. tiny muddy paw prints aren't as cute when they are on your bedspread as they are when you notice them on a sidewalk

. Xavier is the cutest baby I've seen in a good long while

. summer arrived, bringing lovely warm weather with it. thanks summer! we owe you one!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

stuff on thursday


puppy wrestling on the deck
Originally uploaded by Julep67
. I'm always a little surprised to see folks walking down the street smoking cigarettes.

. it's raining today because I watered my garden last night. you're welcome.

. everyone should tape record themselves in conversation once in a while. you'll probably be surprised by how many "ums" you say.

. my friends are totally awesome and are easy to love

. if you have a moment to spare today (or everyday), you should visit http://www.freekibble.com and play bowwow and meow trivia. it'll help provide food to shelter animals (and it's fun)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

hey, where are my ice cubes?

I just read a story about a lovely old gent in the UK who won a massive lottery. He plans to spend part of the money on his allotment (apparently he's had no luck growing carrots). I thought that this was unbelievably cute.

I would probably think a little bigger and buy a house that had a garden but hey, to each his own, right?

Simple is definitely the way to go I think. We're trying to simplify our lives a bit at home. Clearing out stuff we don't need, feeling more organized overall and less stressed generally. Also trying to focus on stuff that makes us happy, time with the dogs and each other, puttering in the yard. Summer flies by so fast 'round here that I really want to enjoy it this year, rain or shine.

Monday, June 15, 2009

5 to 10 a day, en francais


5 to 10 a day, en francais
Originally uploaded by Julep67
As a child growing up in Ontario in the 1970's, I recall that we didn't take French until grade 5 or 6. I think kids start much earlier these days. In high school I took it in grade 9 (I think it was my homeroom class actually) and then didn't really bother with it until grade 13 (there were extra seats available on the trip to Montreal and I liked shopping as much as the next 18 year old girl so I went on the class trip with some friends). Because we live and work in a city where French isn't a requirement, my huge lack of formal education hasn't really held me back from doing stuff. When we travel in Quebec, I'm able to navigate pretty well and I chalk it up to learning about French language via cereal boxes. That may sound like a joke but I seriously think that exposure to bilingual labels on stuff helped me.

In other news, our yard is really looking good. We (I say we because I did a little and Mark did a lot) worked in the yard almost all weekend. The deck is almost completely finished now and the yard is cleaned up and ready for sod. Hopefully next weekend, we'll be able to finish up completely (did you know that you can't buy sod in Kingston on a Sunday afternoon? - we didn't). It's all very exciting, seeing it come together. My plants are even growing, neat huh? We've been in the house for 4 years and we're finally getting the back yard the way we want it. I think that we're both appreciating it a lot more because of all of the time and work that has gone into it. I still would have enjoyed it if happened quickly, but I don't know that I'd feel as proud of the work as I do now.

Friday, June 12, 2009

merry market


merry market
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Last night, Mark had an eye appointment and I went along because he was getting drops and needed me to drive him home. In the end, his appointment took so long that he was okay to drive by the time he'd finished but I waited, all the same.

Not wanting to sit in the waiting room, I decided to sit in the van with the windows down and enjoy the first really summery feeling day we've had so far this year. The doctor's office is in a strip mall / plaza. Across the street from the plaza are four big apartment buildings. Due to the time of the day, there were a lot of folks heading on foot, walking toward the buildings (coming from the direction where I know the bus stop is).

I spent some of my time reading the news on my phone, some of it taking photos and some of it just watching the parade of people. One woman I saw reminded me a old school chum, someone I was very close to but lost contact with after she dove, head first, into some really seriously bad shit. the friend had moved to a pretty remote part of the country with her parents after high school. While she was up there, she developed a pretty serious drug habit. I wasn't entirely surprised that this happens because both of her parents were drunks. When she got back to town, we saw each other a few times and I tried and tried to see her (and her dad was calling me all of the time, wanting me to see her too, I guess he thought I'd be a good influence or something). Eventually, I got tired of trying and she just disappeared. About 15 years ago I ran into her brother and he said she was "okay" but I didn't press him for details.

So this all happened about 20 years ago. The woman I saw didn't remind me of what the friend looked like 20 years ago, rather, she looked like what I thought this friend would look like now. I'm pretty sure it wasn't her but if it was, it means that she's doing okay. Thinking that she could have the potential to be okay wasn't something that had occurred to me until yesterday. On some level, that actually makes me feel good.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

doggy bounce

It's finally starting to feel actually summery here. Did I say "finally" cuz it's been a long time coming!! Don't think that I'm a huge fan of really hot steamy weather but I like it to be at least warm enough to be able to wear sandals to work. And not having to turn the office furnace, in mid-June, is also nice.

Convocation has been happening for the past couple of weeks and it's a lot of fun to watch the proud parents and happy grads taking photos. Unfortunately, some of the folks taking photos have almost been hit by vehicles, at least almost hit by us, the last couple of days. See, Convocation empties out onto University Avenue. Everyone sort of congregates outside of Grant Hall, trying to get photos of their grad with the Clock Tower, or the with the Chancellor, etc. I have, more than once this week, watched parents backing up, into traffic, with a camera clutched to their faces. It's scary. I think next year, they should consider closing the street because I worry that someone is going to get plowed over by a bus.

We got to the dog park last night (we hadn't been since the weekend) and it was pretty busy, which is nice for the dogs. Our dog park is not a dedicated strictly to dog park activities. The area we can use is inside a running track. Also inside the track are four baseball diamonds. We often walk the length of the park, between the ball diamonds because the dogs will run back and forth between us, trying to herd us. Anyway, last night, I had to laugh. There was a young girl sitting on the bleachers, wrapped around her boyfriend (I think they were in high school). They had a little mop top of a dog with them but she was paying more attention to the boy than to the dog. The dog was pretty friendly and Sam and Gracie were playing with it but I couldn't help but chuckle thinking, her parents probably asked her to walk the dog so she plunked it at the park while she was fooling around with this guy. She wasn't exactly following the rules of supervising and being in control of your dog at all times!

In any event, now that we're talking about dogs, why not do the doggy bounce?


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

only you can prevent forest fires

Last night, for some reason, we were talking about Kukla, Fran and Ollie. I'm old, you may not be. I remember them, you may not. In any case, it's camping season so here's a good message from your pals Kukla & Ollie.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

foot and grate


foot and grate
Originally uploaded by Julep67
A shiny new dollar store opened up near our house recently. Last night I had to get some greeting cards so we stopped in there on our way home. It's so nice and new. The shelves are packed with awesome bargains and it's very handy to our house. so nice!

Potentially not so nice is the markings I noticed on our way home. It appeared that someone from the city (or a bored kid) spray-painted white squares around the sewer grates on our street. Not sure if that means they are going to build them up (they are all pretty sunken gross pot holes) or if they are just pointing out that they're there. I think that folks in the automotive suspension business in Kingston are doing well these days.

Our city can muse about building new track and field facilities and 50m swimming pools until the cows come home. What Kingston needs, more than anything, is new roads, infrastructure baby. Of course, what's practical and what happens are never usually the same thing so I bitch in vain. At least it temporarily makes me feel better I suppose.

Monday, June 01, 2009

mark and yoko and john

Last month, well, actually two months ago now, in April, I promised Mark that we'd travel to Montreal to see "imagine: the peace ballad of john & yoko" as a birthday gift. Finally, on Friday, in the fog and through the rain, we made it to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to see Yoko's wonderful exhibit.

After learning about the exhibit earlier in the year, I deliberately avoided reading about it or seeing photos of it. I wanted to be able to experience it on my own. I think because the message is peace and so much of what was on display is widely available to the public, Yoko wanted folks to bring their cameras and document their own "bed in" experience. Much of the show is interactive and it was encouraging to see children participating, either by hammering nails into a painting, or playing on one of the white chess sets or hanging their wishes in the trees.

It was refreshing, in a world seemingly full of stories of war and pain, to participate in celebration of peace and to take a few moments to reflect upon the simple brilliance of "giving peace a chance." Ironically, when we exited the exhibit, the other big show on the 3rd floor of the museum was about Napoleon.

The rest of the day was spent doing Montreal type errands. We had lunch (at the counter) at Schwartz's, wandered around on St-Laurent (in the middle of a street festival - the whole street was closed to cars), visited IKEA and Marche Central for some shopping. En route back to Kingston, we stopped at our favourite Glengarry County truck stop for dinner. Not everything we did went exactly as planned but it all happened the way it was supposed to. I'd say it was pretty close to a perfect day, rain and all.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

huh?

I'm feeling a little bit all over the place today.

This week, I'm taking Friday off, in lieu for working over the weekend. Subsequently, it's been a busy week so far as I try to get stuff done in a four day week. Also been working harder than normal in the evenings at home. I'd really love to not have any housework to do over the weekend. Wouldn't that be nice? I did three loads of laundry last night and a bunch of cleaning. The house is starting to look like you could almost let people live there.

We plan to go to Montreal for the day on Friday. It's sort of a belated birthday gift for Mark. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has an exhibit on now, celebrating the 40th Anniversary of John & Yoko's bed in and we're going to at least see that and make a side trip to Schwartz's (cuz you can't go to Montreal and not visit Schwartz's).

To make up for a less than coherent post, here's a fun Joel Plaskett video to get you through hump day. Enjoy!

Monday, May 25, 2009

what a weekend!!

The inaugural Spring Reunion Weekend was held on campus over the weekend and it appears to have been a huge success. I would have been surprised if it hadn't been though. Kingston and campus are at their very best, at this time of the year and many grads have never seen either in full bloom. Lots of neat, new events were planned and a good time seemed to have been had by all.

I'm feeling a little tired today after putting in some extra hours over the weekend but I should be back to normal by tomorrow. Slept very well last night and had yesterday off, sort of. Because I'd worked on Saturday, and Friday night, my chores all fell to yesterday. I did about 6 loads of laundry and finally packed away the sweaters and pulled out the capris. I have another couple of loads of laundry to do but the lion's share of it is done and that feels good.

The rest of the week will be spent trying to get the house cleaned up again. Between the dogs and the deck construction and just everything else that's been happening lately, the house is a bit of a mess and I'm not thrilled about it. We had to do a bunch of cleaning (unplanned) yesterday because both of the dogs were throwing up. They both ate different things that they shouldn't have (in Sam's case, some garbage from the bathroom - kleenex and a piece of foil; in Gracie's case, some stuff from the basement - drywall and some rubber from a floor mat). I would never have imagined that two tiny stomachs could hold so much vomit, but there you go. Gracie started in the basement and then we got her up into the kitchen where she was sick a bunch more times. She also threw up on our bedroom carpet. Sam barfed on the deck and in the flower bed. It was a lot of puke and they both slept a lot afterward. They seemed to have it out of their systems by last night. After lots of water and a bland, small dinner, they were both find this morning. Fun huh?

The rest of the cleaning will continue. We're just going to putter, a little bit every night this week and hopefully have it all ship-shape by Thursday. We're having friends over for dinner on Thursday. Nothing inspires a clean house like impending company does, does it? I'm quite excited about it too because these are old friends who we don't see nearly enough of and I miss them like crazy.

Friday, May 22, 2009

clouded over

I'm not overly thrilled by the clouds which have gathered and are currently hanging out over my office right now. I'm working at some events this afternoon / evening and tomorrow and I really had hoped for sunny and warm. If we're lucky, it'll clear up!

I can not get over how quickly the week has gone by. The whole month of May actually. I knew, because of what we had going on at work, that the month would zing by but even still, it feels like I'd be hard pressed to remember May at all, in a couple of months.

What with the working and all, I suspect the weekend will fly by too. This week, we managed to get the bins of summer clothes upstairs (they hide out in the basement during the winter). I haven't unpacked everything (and then packed up the winter stuff) yet but it's upstairs, so that's a good start. Everything that will be packed away is clean so I just really need a couple of hours to sort stuff out, do ironing, that kind of thing. I'm the world's laziest iron-er and love the winter because I don't really have to iron anything. My only genuine complaint about summer is the ironing. I'm a whiney baby and hate to do it.

This morning, I would have paid cash money (up to and including $10 CAD) to stay home with the dogs instead of going into work. They are so awesome and cute and, did I mention, Awesome?!

Here's a video of them wrestling on the deck on Sunday. We were waiting for Mark and Andy to get back from the lumber store and this a rather low-key version of what they usually do. Enjoy!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

skeptical


skeptical
Originally uploaded by Julep67
This morning on my way to work, the town in general, and campus specifically, felt spookily quiet. not sure if the nice weather has folks playing hooky and heading to the cottage today or if it was just me thinking it was quiet. Either way, it was pretty peaceful.

I say was because that stopped at around 9:30 a.m. when some guys showed up to weed whack the area outside my office window. Ever since 9:30 a.m., there has been some mechanical hum happening, at varying levels. Nice!

Despite the noise I'm having a good day, getting lots of stuff done, feeling organized for the weekend. these are all awesome things. What's not so awesome is the news I read this morning about Archie Andrews. Other than the obvious (trying to sell more comics), why would they marry off Archie? I'm thinking it could be a dream thing, like they do on soap operas. He'll not actually ask Betty or Veronica to marry him, it'll be a silly plot that doesn't go anywhere.