Tuesday, March 31, 2009

i love this face

on the ferry, heading home
Originally uploaded by Julep67
If Sammy didn't like to play out on the deck when I was leaving for work every morning, I think I'd never leave the house.

Speaking of our deck, I'm really excited about the plans Mark and Andy have made for it. We're going to remove the old deck boards, reinforce the frame and put new floor boards in. The guys are also going to add a 10' x 10' extension to the deck. It'll be about a foot higher than the rest of the deck and we'll put our gazebo on it (we'll be reusing some of the wood we purchased to build our little gazebo platform last year).

Originally, we'd planned to put this off for a while but we decided that we would take advantage of the cash back deals that the home improvement stores are doing, as well as the tax credit thing that the feds introduced. We should be able to do this relatively inexpensively if we do it this summer. Sammy will have a lot nicer space to roll around on all summer once it's done.

Today I'm at work and am freezing. My hands cannot warm up. We tried to get by without having to turn the heat up in our office but about an hour ago we had to break down and do it. These old hot water rads take forever to kick in though so it's just starting to feel like heat as I type this.

I think that after the weekend, we were fooled into thinking that it was actually going to stay warm and things like furnaces and sweaters can be pushed out of our tiny pea brains for a while. How wrong were we!? Pretty wrong it would seem. I'm trying hard to not complain though. As long as the snow stays away, I'm a happy kid.

Monday, March 30, 2009

got candles?

earth hour 2009
Originally uploaded by Julep67
It's almost April and the last week of classes is upon us. How did that happen anyway? Every academic year, the weeks just whiz by faster and faster for me.

On Saturday, in this part of the world, we had a gorgeous, actually warm day. We spent part of the day in the park with the dogs, part of it doing errands, part of it cleaning the van (inside and out) and part of it enjoying the yard. On Saturday, despite the really warm temperature, we still had a big chunk of ice in the back yard which prevented us from raking but I have a feeling we'll be able to get at it this weekend if it doesn't rain too much.

On Saturday night, much to the delight of the dogs, we once again participated in earth hour. Turning stuff off on a Saturday night, when we may normally be watching a movie, is challenging. However, that hour felt like nothing compared to yesterday. We had a crazy thunder/lightning storm yesterday morning. At 11:49 a.m., lightning hit a hydro pole at the end of our street. We saw the flash, heard the explosion and then heard our house get very quiet. It's always amazing to me how quiet the house is when all of the stuff stops whirring.

By 2 p.m., we were going a little stir crazy (I'd been doing housework and had gotten to the point where I'd done what I could do and now needed the vacuum and hot water to finish) so we went out to the store with the dogs. On the way home, we stopped at a fast food place for a late lunch (the dogs had some chicken - they really enjoyed that). By the time we got home, around 4 p.m., the power was back on.

Oh happy day! I could finish my housework and watch TV! After this weekend, I think we're going to try to do earth hour 'round our house a little more often. It doesn't hurt anything to do it, it actually saves us money and it can be fun (when it's a planned outage). The unplanned outages are not so fun but at least it was just a few hours. My post-traumatic-ice-storm-stress-disorder didn't quite rage into full swing yesterday so all's well that end's well!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

fountain face

Ugh. My face is all drippy today. My nose and my eyes are dripping like crazy and I had to break down and take some of my fake drist*n stuff this morning because my headache was back.

It's hard to tell if this is a cold or allergies actually. I've spoken to a few people who have the same symptoms and don't normally suffer from allergies so I'm thinking that this may be more of a cold thing. Hopefully it'll pass quickly, I'm tired of it. The weather is getting too nice outside to be stuck inside, feeling lousy.

Speaking of outside, we had our yard de-pooped this weekend. Normally, we take care of poop clean up ourselves but over the winter, it's not easy to do. Firstly, the snow kept falling and covering it up, and then it would be frozen to the ground. Last year, we hired a local company to de-poop us and we had them come back this year. it took them less than an hour and Mark reported that they took away between 25 and 30 pounds of poop. Gross huh?

Now that things are cleaned up back there, we hope to get raking soon. It's still a little too wet in spots but maybe by the weekend it'll be okay. We've got plans to do some modifications to our deck again this year (last year we moved the steps). It should be cool when it's done, once it warms up a bit, we can start on that. The big project we have to figure out before can start on that is removing a small stump from the yard. If anyone has any tips to share, I'd love to hear them. Stump be gone, I want my extended deck!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

a few tuesday things

Wolfe Island wind farm
Originally uploaded by Julep67
So we had a great weekend 'round here. Absolutely fun and busy and good.

Yesterday, however, we both felt a little yucky. Mark had a migraine, I had a sinus headache and had to take a 1/2 day off from work. Today though, we're both good as can be.

I'm a smidgen bit busy today so I thought I'd just share a few thoughts with you, aren't you glad you're here?

1. RuPaul's Drag Race is awesome. Finally, a Drag Race which is actually a race between men in drag and not a car thingy. I'm a fan of Nina Flowers. Not sure if it's already aired in the US and they know who the winner is. I've been watching it on MuchMoreMusic here in Canada and we've still got one episode left. Go! Nina! Go!

2. Wind Farms are cool. We went to Wolfe Island on the weekend to see the wind farm (eventually there will be 86 turbines I think) before it goes online. Those turbines are huge and impressive.

3. It sometimes takes a bad sinus headache to help you appreciate how good, normal feels. Normal is feeling really nice right now.

Friday, March 20, 2009

introducing sam

introducing sam
Originally uploaded by Julep67
A year ago today, Sam came home with us to stay.

It's hard to believe that he hasn't been with us forever because we can't remember what it was like in our house before he came along.

We've learned a lot about him and dogs in general over the past year. Looking back at it, we thought we knew what we were doing but clearly, we didn't. Sam was very patient with us though. He's the sweetest dog I've ever met and both Mark and I love him so much it hurts.

Over the weekend, we're going to do something special to celebrate his "adoption day" but we haven't figured that out yet. Extra visits to the dog park will be included and possibly a ride on the ferry to visit the not yet working (but still impressive looking) wind farm on Wolfe Island. Whatever it is, Sam'll have fun. He's a good natured boy who is never happier than when the four of us are all together. I have to say, I feel the same way!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

ripped off

Last night, after work, we had to do a few errands. One of the errands involved a trip to Dollarama, one of my favourite stores. I needed to pick up a couple of things for the dogs and they have a great pet section and everything is, duh, a dollar. Some dollar stores have $2 and $5 items but not Dollarama. Or so I thought. Last night, I needed some extra dog bowls and a new food mat (they'd eaten the spongebob squarepants one we were using) and it wasn't until I got to the cash that I realized that the items were $1.25. It was still a good deal but seriously, they're not called Dollartwentyfivearama, it's Dollarama! It's the economy, I know, everything's going up. No fun.

Also, on the no fun front, Natasha Richardson. I was so sad to hear that she'd died. Her death reminded me of a couple of things:

1. Kirsty MacColl's untimely death - also sudden and tragic, also preventable, also while on holiday, also with leaving two young sons behind.
2. Love Actually - I've had "bye bye baby" in my head for a couple of days now because I keep thinking of Liam Neeson in that funeral scene. I can no longer hear that particular Bay City Rollers song without crying.

Natasha Richardson appeared in one of my favourite "sick day" movies (it's one of those movies that can always make me feel better not matter what's going on), "Blow Dry." My heart aches for her family. I hope that they all lean on each other for strength and support right now.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

midweek things

Gracie - Week 2 of 52
Originally uploaded by Julep67
1. the weather can't make up it's mind today if it wants to rain or not so it keeps starting and stopping

2. there are huge packs of potential students, parents in tow, touring campus today for "march break open house"

3. our campus bookstore is selling t-shirts for $5 a pop today, it's the best deal of the year 'round here

4. I had a really tough time getting up this morning. when I did wake up, I couldn't get my head together to follow my usual routine. it was weird

5. we watched a special on pbs recently about the Mike Douglas Show. In retrospect, he was way cooler than I think I gave him credit for

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

train wreckage

no food!?
Originally uploaded by Julep67
I have seen people walking by our office this morning wearing shorts and sandals. I just saw a lady wearing capris and flip flops. Last night, I dragged my stash of "keep at the office during the winter" shoes home with me. Spring fever is here a few days early. Maybe it's March madness or maybe it's the St. Patrick's day thing. Whatever it is, I'm liking it.

I'm also a fan of train-wrecks. Not real ones, well not the kind which actually involve actual trains but rather the kind which are exploited in tabloid media. It's a guilty pleasure of mine. While I would never wish anyone dead, I did enjoy the side show which developed in the weeks following the death of Anna Nicole. To me, it was like a strange continuation of her reality tv show. More recently, I've driven Mark out of the living room more than once by watching the "Octomom" on Dr Phil. Yes, she's nuts. Everyone agrees with it and at first, I was fascinated by it but over the past couple of days, I've lost interest (I'm a fair-weather train-wreck friend).

Today, however, I was angered and a little disgusted by the news that Ok! Magazine had released a "tribute" issue to Jade Goody (a dying b-list reality star from the UK). the poor girl (at last check) was still alive and I'm sure that her family had to be upset by this.

On a completely non-train wreck related note, I recently learned that my friend Sara's dad passed away in January. I never met him but I wish I had. He sounds like the kind of guy we need more of in this world, inspirational, compassionate and innovative. Here is a link to a lovely article about him which was recently published in the Montreal Gazette.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Originally uploaded by Julep67
I think that the spring-ish weather might stick around for a few days.

We had a great weekend 'round here, busy, but good. It was so nice to get the dogs out to the dog park again. Gracie particularly seemed to enjoy it. Sammy always love to run in the wide open space but Gracie had only been to the park a couple of times last fall so she was a little nervous about it. Once she saw Sam take off from the van, she wasn't too far behind him.

We've really noticed a huge change in her personality over the past 6 weeks or so. She's completely come out of her shell and is very sweet and friendly. Whenever someone comes to the door, she very politely approaches them with a big smile on her face. Everyone who meets her just falls in love with her.

I almost can't believe how nice the weather is right now. Seriously, I keep wanting to pinch myself. The other day, I looked at some photos I took at the end of March and we still had a tonne of snow on the ground until well into April. Right now, except for one little spot in the back yard which doesn't get much sun, we've got no ice or snow on our property. It's pretty sweet. It'll be so nice to see green grass again. It's just around the corner, I know it!

Friday, March 13, 2009

questions for a friday

gracie watches
Originally uploaded by Julep67
I've been having a couple of busy days. Not a lot of time to write but I've had a couple of questions rolling around in my head and if you'd care to give me your two cents on them, I'd appreciate it!

1. what exactly is an "award winning liquor store"?

2. how much money do "professional pick up artists" earn and who pays for their services?

3. how old does new media have to be before we can drop the "new" and just call it what it is, media?

4. is anyone at all surprised that Howard was giving drugs to Anna Nicole?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

chew it

chew it
Originally uploaded by Julep67
I'm getting a little tired of arriving at work in the dark each morning. The street lights were still on this morning when I got into work. I don't think it should be that dark at 7:30 a.m. but that's just me.

It's super insanely windy here today and I know it was weirding the dogs out this morning. Sammy was following me around like he was my shadow all morning and Gracie was really agitated about something. It wasn't until I went outside that I realized how blustery it was.

My week seems to be flying along at lightning speed. I sometimes stop and think about how quickly the time goes by and it frightens me a little. Not as much as ice does but all the same, it's a little weird to me.

And because everything always finds it's way back to talking about dogs, I wanted to bring your a very cool bunch of people to your attention. We've been watching a show on the National Geographic channel recently called "Dog Town" and it's a program about an animal sanctuary in Utah. The show focuses on dogs who are at the Best Friends Animal Society and the stories are amazing. I will admit though, that Mark and I rarely get through an episode without crying at some point. We cry because we are big sucky doggie-loving babies. I'm not ashamed to admit that either. So there!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

what's in a name?

new friends
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Last night, Bella went home. Again, about an hour before Annette came by to pick her up, she sat in the living room, patiently staring out the window. It was pretty cute.

When Annette did finally get there, we were having a bit of a visit and Bella, who is normally very quiet, was making all kinds of "hey, I'd like to go home now" noises. I think Sam and Gracie were kind of missing her last night at bed time.

Speaking of Sam and Gracie, I saw this today and had to share it. It's a "what does my dog's name mean" thing and for our two, it's very accurate, spooky.

SAM – Sam is a carefree name given to dogs with a good outlook on life. They seem to know what is important and that have a special place in your heart. They are loyal and kind. Origin: Hebrew. The meaning is: Heard by God.

GRACIE – Dogs named Gracie are often graceful, agile and sweet. They can be described as sincere and devoted companions. They are often energetic and like to play. They often have an inner "wild" steak that occasionally comes out. Origin: Latin. The meaning is: Faithful.

Monday, March 09, 2009

paranoid much

midtown windows
Originally uploaded by Julep67
Late yesterday afternoon, I noticed that the screen on the weather channel was red. Apparently we were under a freezing rain warning. You all know that there are few things on this planet that I fear/hate more than freezing rain. Part of the fear/hate is of falling on the ice and part of it is (I think) fallout from the great ice storm of 1998.

The warning spoke of massive accumulations of ice. I could feel my stomach knot up and worried that we would be without heat or electricity if that actually happened. I started to go through a mental check list in my head.

"do we have lots of dog food - yes"

"can we still cook if the power goes out - yes, the barbecue will work unless the city shuts the gas off"

"is there peanut butter in the cupboard - of course there is, stop worrying you ninny"

Remembering how long it was that we all had to go without hot showers in the aftermath of the ice storm, I took a shower and washed my hair before I went to bed last night. At 1:46 a.m., I woke up because I could hear the ice hitting the bedroom window. It's a creepy sound I think. It almost sounds like someone is hurling shovel loads of sand at the window. After that, I was awake every 30 minutes or so, checking that we still had electricity.

Of course, we got some freezing rain but nothing close to what the weather dudes said we would. Also, it was mixed with snow getting around was actually not too bad this morning. I should be tougher than this, I know. I'm a Canadian, I can survive extreme heat and humidity in the summer. I have warm clothes and know how to shovel a driveway when you have snow up almost your waist. A little ice shouldn't freak me out so much, but it does everytime.

Friday, March 06, 2009

let's shake!

I'm having a really good day so far today. The to do list I thought I'd tackle isn't really moving much but I'm getting other things done so that's okay.

The weather here is warm but cloudy. The best thing though is that it's not raining, and it was supposed to. This means that the doggies at home can play outside without getting soaked to the skin (not that the rain slows them down at all) all day long.

Not sure what we're doing this weekend. I want to try to not do too much and rest up from my cold/back spell but I do have a few little things I'd like to accomplish around the house so we'll see how that goes.

Right now though, life is good and I can't really complain about anything at all. Cool huh?

How about a little bit of jazzed up Dave Rave to get the weekend off to an excellent start!?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

reflections from the heating pad

Originally uploaded by Julep67
So earlier this week, I was at home in bed, on the heating pad, nursing a seriously messed up back.

Occasionally, not recently though, when I get a cold, it can go into my back and knock me flat out. I think that's what happened on Sunday afternoon. Last week, I'd been fighting a cold which was floating around the office. Over the weekend I felt a bit better than I had all week so I figured it was all behind me. You may recall that it was freeeeeezing cold 'round here over the weekend. On Sunday afternoon, I stepped out onto our deck with Gracie for a few minutes. I think it was just long enough to be outside without a coat on (and leaning against the deck railing) to expose my back and mess me up.

While I was home, the dogs were great company. We hung out on the bed and slept and watched movies on cable. This photo of Sam was snapped from bed on Monday. I couldn't sit up at the computer so I had to amuse myself with the camera and tetris game on my phone. He looks very intent because we were watching "Best in Show" and I think he was trying to figure out where all of the American Eskimo Dogs were.

One of the most bizarre things I saw during my two day stint in bed was Van Morrison on "Live with Regis and Kelly." He's out promoting his new live recording of the brilliant 1968 release, Astral Weeks. I texted Mark to inform him that the rapture must be getting close if Van was kibitzing with Regis. I admire Mr Morrison's restraint in not punching Regis in the face when he introduced "black eyed girl." Sheesh Reeg.

I'm happy to report that today, I'm feeling much better. Yesterday at work was a bit rough but today I feel more normal than I have in several days. Hopefully, by the weekend I'll be even better than I am now. That would be very nice!