Monday, December 26, 2005

Conversations with Scott

Songs of Our Youth
While sitting with parents and great aunt&uncle, who were singing along with some of the old Scottish songs from their youth:
K: Imagine what songs we'll dredge up as the emotional, heart-tugging songs of our youth. We won't have Scotland the Brave, and Nobody's Child. We'll have the Eurythmics, and songs like Thriller.
S: Yeah, I can see us now, sitting in the nursing home, crooning along with someone belting out Billie Jean is not my lover!
K: Or Sweet dreams are made of these...
S: Or Take on me by Aha
K: Video Killed the Radio Star
S: It's just not gonna be the same
K: Us sitting there with our cardigans and mashed peas, crowded round the piano, singing In a big coun-try, dreams stay with you...

World Domination (starting with Windsor)
S: I hate having the casino in Windsor.
K: Yeah, it's like the city has no incentive to do anything other than build more parking lots and repair all the roads leading to the casino - no other improvements will be coming this way.
S: I think we'd have to blow up the casino to get them to consider making city improvements.
K: We could do that, I think. One big bomb, blow the whole thing.
S: I think that would work. Or lots of little ones. And don't let them rebuild unless they agree it won't be a casino. It has to be something cultural, but that will attract a lot of downtown business and visitors.
K: So we're becoming terrorists now, basically?
S: Yeah, looks like. But we won't kill anyone - just blow up the casino. Maybe with a small nuclear charge. Then they couldn't build anything there for a long time.
K: Wait, wait, wait - we want to revitalize the city, not create nuclear winter throughout the downtown area.
S: That's true. So standard stuff, then.
K: Agreed.

Parental Confusion
S: I think Mum liked it better when we hated each other and never got along.
K: Yeah, cause now we gang up on her.
S: And I don't think she understands what we're talking about half the time.
K: Heh heh heh.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Home for Christmas always means certain things:
- Uncomfortable and kind of aimless Christmas Eve
- Lots of food and snacks just about all the time (think cheese)
- Euchre
- Conversations with family we rarely see
- Waking up earlier than I want to (7 am this year)
- Good coffee (with Bailey's Irish Cream, of course)
- crowding round the Christmas tree, the dining room table pushed to one side
- The dog trying to get everyone's attention by repeatedly dropping her slobbery ball in the middle of the pile of discarded paper
- The cats hiding under the tree, trying to steal ribbons and bows and chase balls of paper
- Strangely awkward phone calls to relatives overseas, mainly involving insults thrown back and forth concerning the relative merits and shortfalls of Edinburgh and Glasgow
- More presents than any of us could afford to give
- Still being really happy about getting those presents
- Trying to figure out where to store all the opened presents, while trying to understand how they fit there before they were opened and now wouldn't fit even if you employed a crowbar and a lubricant of some sort
- Moving all the furniture around to fit the two tables neccessary to fit us all in for Christmas eats
- Mum standing at the end of one table, one hand on hip, the other on the back of a chair, counting place settings and chairs, then repeatedly listing all of the guests out loud as though presenting an incantation to create the appropriate space
- Opening Christmas crackers and hearing really bad jokes, then trying to deteremine how best to dispose of the cruddy little useless pieces of plastic that the manufacturer considers a 'prize', and finally being forced to wear the silly paper crowns through the meal, or at the very least until mum (who by this point has had a couple of glasses of wine during dinner preparation) is distracted by one of the shiny toy prizes and looks away from the dinner table long enough for you to remove the hat and tear it into teeny tiny little pieces
- watching lots of movies

So, overall, it's really good and really pretty bad. But it's Christmas at home, and I'm glad I'm here. I can't imagine it any other way. And here's my Christmas present to anyone here today:

It's a perfect euchre hand, as dealt to my brother.

Peace on Earth and Goodwill to all!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Present List

I'm going to start keeping a list of the presents I receive this Christmas. I'm not doing this to keep track, or to make sure I feel I've gotten 'enough', but because so often I find that I've forgotten some things that people have given me, and I want to know that I am aware of and grateful for everything that I've received. So here goes:

From Joanne - a chenille blanket. A lovely, creamy, woven blanket.
From Michelle (my Secret Santa) - a ceramic, Christmas pillar candle holder and a blue scented pillar candle.
From Winston - a cute little 'robotic pen' and a box of evil Godiva chocolates
From our cured prod friends - a gift bag filled with evil goodies, including three different kinds of hot chocolate mix, chocolates, and a huge white chocolate snowman that is so fun and so yummy looking that I'm torn between keeping him forever to look at or tearing into him right now.
From Darren and Angie - a bottle of very nice red wine (I know it's nice because they gave me the same bottle a few years ago, and I just drank it last month - yum!)
From Jennifer in Calgary - a novel: Our Lady of the Lost and Found. A book that's been on my wishlist for over a year, and now it's in my grubby little paws. Yay Jen!
From Deena - a funky red beaded clutch and an interesting looking icy minty chocolate bar
From Santa (Mum and Dad) - DVD player (with DIVX player!), measuring cups and spoons, kitchen utensil set, PJs, a one million candle power flashlight, hand mixer, manicure set, mixing bowls, digital photography starter set with rechargeable double As
From Scott - Firefly DVD set
From Ken and Jodi - a book of craft ideas, a knitting tote (yay!), a Simpsons Trivia game

I'm going to try to keep updating this list throughout the holidays, and I may also add a list of what I've given - but that rings of a tally, or record keeping that I'm not sure how I feel about quite yet. But at the same time, I take more joy in finding the perfect gift than I do in receiving things, so I'd like to preserve that feeling, too. But I also have to consider that some people on my list might be reading this right now, and no way will I spoil anything!

Okay, here are some of the things I've already given: hat and scarf double set (kid and teddy), Cranium board game, assorted goodies including bamboo chopsticks, hand cream and knitted dishcloths, and other assorted goodies featuring more dishcloths, and some funky socks.

Update: I have now added to the given list citrus slice ice cube trays, magnetic photo frames, 'snow' scented sparkly hand cream/wash set, and a red toaster.

Another update: I've now given the hand warmers, Scott's scarf, squeezy brain stress buster, Mercedes Lackey trilogy, cd holder, cold heat solder iron, mustards - no, wait - I forgot to give those - I'll have to go find them, stereo, VHS-DVD converter and I think that's it so far.

I think the last update: Two knitted cat toys (a won ton and an egg roll), a giant cold virus, a bottle of hot sauce, a mini bottle of Tabasco, and a basket

I am so blessed, and I want to keep that in mind all of the time. It makes me a bit sad that I sometimes have to strain and force the Christmas spirit as the time draws near. I'm hoping that I can just get my mood up there and keep it there for the next few days, or weeks.

Of course, the potential "situation" at work is dragging on me a bit.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas - unfortunately

I am so close to being ready for Christmas I can almost taste it. (Mmm - gingerbread!) Last night, I finished the toque, and - for the first time ever - it fits! I have never made a hat that fits anyone, so this is a major accomplishment, and I plan to revel in this heretofore unfelt heady high of success.

I consider it only a minor setback that the hat fits me - and it's meant for someone else. Still! Undiminished joy of triumph! (well, a little diminished) Hopefully the recipient has the same size head as me. Considering that it's for a guy, this is extremely unlikely, but here's to hoping.

I also finished up the hand warmers for my mum. They're not quite perfect, but they turned better than I was fearing, if not as well as I hoped. I'm quite pleased, though, with the scent. I was trying to find some scented oil to include with the rice and barley before closing up the mitts, but never really found one I thought my mum would like. But once they were finished and I warmed one experimentally, I found that the grains themselves gave off quite a pleasant, light, earthy aroma.

On the other hand, I am ridiculously unprepared to make my trip down to Windsor. I have at least three loads of laundry to do before leaving, plus all the cleaning (including the ickbox) that needs to happen before leaving my aparment for a week plus. And then there's the packing, at which I suck out loud. This will present a particular problem for this trip, because of my two passengers. I'm more than glad to have company for the trip down, but how we're going to fit all our stuff in the car I have no idea. I have a feeling that I'll have to have John take it all apart and repack once he arrives - he is, afterall, the Packing Master. No joke. When I was getting ready to leave Brussels with all my luggage packed (I thought) tightly into my two suitcases, he took over, repacked, and left me with just one extremely well-packed suitcase to take home - the second case was actually packed inside the first. He's magic, I tell you.

Oh, shoot. I put all my eggs in one basket, then forgot the basket on my nightstand. Last night when I was changing from my work clothes to my grubbies (almost the exact opposite of my evening ritual when I worked at the plant, but I digress) I put the cash and my debit card that were in my pants pocket into an envelope beside my bed, meaning to pick it up and put it in my work bag immediately after hanging up my clothes. Yeah. So today it looks like I'm going to have to sing for my supper - or, more aptly, beg to borrow for my lunch.

Maybe I can knit in trade?

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Joyous Return of the Elph

This was a pretty good weekend. I actually both left the house, and accomplished things that needed to be done, proving to myself that this is possible, and opening the door to future successful weekends. There was also a whole lot of stuff that wasn’t completed, but I’ll try not to dwell on that right now.

It all started Friday afternoon. I went to Village Yarns to try to get the set of interchangeable circular needles that I’ve been coveting for a little while now. I got there just before the store closed, which was actually a very, very good thing. Wow – that is a beautiful store, with so many beautiful things that I’m sure I couldn’t have left without buying a great many things had I had the time. As it was, I knew that she wanted to close up in five minutes or so, so I only had time to ask about the needles (sold out) and then hie me out of there before money started spontaneously spurting from my wallet.

Saturday morning, I went to the market, once I finally convinced myself that I really should leave the house (not a small task). I picked up some mustards for my dad, of course being convinced to buy 4 jars (who needs 4 jars of mustard?) because it was $18 for 3, or $20 for 4. And I got another gift for someone else, who might be reading, so no details! But I always enjoy the market, so it was a nice visit. What really threw me off was the call I received while I was still sitting in the car in the parking garage, about to head into the market. A friend’s mum called me, declaring that she’d been abandoned by her own daughters, and aggressively asking whether I’d like to join her for the Cavalcade of Lights that afternoon. After finding out what that was, and where, and when, and not really having any good reason to say ‘no’ springing to mind quickly enough (other than the great wads of things yet to get done for Christmas) I agreed.

So then it was home for a bit, for more knitting (maybe I should work on the Christmas projects rather than the New Year ones, you think?) and some photoshopping. I decided that I really, really wanted to have my camera for the night of seeing pretty things, so I stopped at Best Buy to pick up a new memory card, hoping the whole time that the problem is with my card and not my camera. Then it was time to stand in line.

Is there some kind of rule that negates the idea of personal space when standing in line during the Christmas season? I was trying to be jolly and pleasant, but when people keep whacking me with their bags and attempting to bump me forward, it becomes difficult. Of course, this little stop made me late, which turned out to be irrelevant, as the Cavalcade of Lights bus tour was sold out, so we rushed off to get some dinner before hurrying back to Nathan Philips Square for the show.

And the show was great. Streams of fire and sparks and glittering confetti, and music, all reflecting off the backdrop that is city hall. But the best news of all? My camera is working! I rejoice!

I just have to stop here to say - Oh, man. I have never seen anything so cute in my life as this baby panda. Right now, he’s climbing in and out of a big tub filled with bamboo, climbing on spool, and just generally tumbling around in an unbelievably adorable way. Can’t… stop… watching… The cute barrier has been breached, my friends. Ack! He’s upside down! He’s cuddly and tumbly and roly-poly and… and… overcome, I am. Go there now. You’ll understand. Unless he’s sleeping. Maybe even then, though. Because the wonder of fur and cuteness is still there.

So, the Cavalcade of Lights – people dancing with fire, people singing with fire, fire shooting into the air. Pretty neat. And so many people crowded into the square that it wasn’t cold. Big bonus.

After the show, we shuffled through the crowd and walked over to see the Bay’s windows, all decorated for Christmas, with a Narnia theme. Very fun, and really well done.

And it was a joy to see the kids looking at the displays, pointing at the different elements of the display, the characters they recognized, and the windows all fogging up at around waist-height from their excited breathing and talking.

On the knitting front, I am making something beautiful. I have made things that are fun, things that are functional, things that are cute, and they did have their own beauty. But now I am making something that is beautiful. It's a joy to watch the stitches coming together to create a thing of beauty. It's hard to put the needles down because I just want to see the blanket get bigger, and become more beautiful.

Then there’s the sock. I am stuck. See how long it is? That’s the easy part.

The hard part is the heel thing. I made the turn, and now have the shape of the heel all set. But how to pick up from here and continue is a mystery I haven’t yet solved.

I think I’ll just watch the panda some more.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A Royal Addendum

Yay! You may remember, from my entry about the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, my commenting that the sheep were dressed as secret identity superheroes to protect their loved ones from the evil supervillain goats (or to keep them clean - whatever). And, you may also remember that I had no picture of these small heroes, because my camera crapped out about then.

Well, Jodi has stepped in admirably, with these little gems. Thanks, Jodi!

To the left here, you can see a clear demonstration that yes, his fleece was white as snow.

And here you can see a rare thing on this site - a picture of me.

And, more importantly, you can see more donkeys. It's all about the donkeys.

And now for the moment we've all been waiting for - SuperSheep!

Seen here chilling a bit, because she's already vanquished crime in the Fair for the day.

Onward to Christmas! Battling crowds! Conquering traffic jams! Sending out my Chrsitmas cards for me!


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

How do you solve a problem like Sebastian?

My cat is electric. (Electric Cat - band name?)

My apartment is fiercely dry now that winter has officially claimed the country. I'm cutting my hands on the tamest of materials - I'm waiting for the day when I run the yarn through my fingers and have it come away with part of my skin.

Work is also very dry. You might think that great amounts of baking happening daily would help - all that steam and whatnot rising into the air (and maybe it does) but the fact remains that the whole building sucks the moisture out of every living thing therein. I sometimes think it would be easier to just dip my hands in vat of moisturizer after every time I wash them. (Or -ooh - a bath in moisturizer would be so nice!)

The dryness is bad enough, but what's been really aggravating is the static. Every time I walk down the hall to the bathroom or the kitchen, I apparently build up enough static electricity to power a small radio, because the 'zap' when I touch that doorknob is loud and always, always painful. I've developed a type of defense where I will try to remember to touch my ring (in a kind of WonderTwin Powers - Activate! way) to the doorknob before allowing my skin to make contact, but I don't always remember, and it still hurts most of the time anyway. I'm scared that I'm going to kill my laptop one day when I forget to discharge against the doorjam when I walk back into my office.

But I really feel for my kitty. He could power a fair sized stereo, complete with subwoofer. When I pet him, his fur continues to crackle for up to a minute after I've taken my hand away. If I pet him in the dark, I can see the sparks shooting off his guard hairs. But worst - when he goes to touch his nose to my hand, he gets a really big skin-to-skin shock that really has to hurt. It's like I'm giving him shock therapy to learn to stay away from me.

I may end up wiping him down regularly with a Bounce sheet if I can't come up with a better solution.

Ah, me. For my most pressing problem to be static? I'm not (really) complaining.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Lazy Hazy Days, but no summer

It's Friday afternoon and I had a big lunch and I'm tired and I can't focus on anything. So let's blab on the blog, shall we?

So, the promised tale of chocolate. It's the story of Sunday, really, so it's not as exciting as it might be. So I had my fit of knitting Sunday morning, and then got the times mixed up. My friend was coming to pick me up so that we could go to a potluck an hour away. She was coming at 12:30 - the potluck started at 2. The extra half hour was scheduled in there because we are both chronically late (she's worse - she doesn't read this so I can say that without being proven wrong). So I was sitting and knitting and it was 12, and I was thinking that I still had time to shower, wrap gifts, make my fondue mix, dig out my fondue forks and kit, get dressed up, do my hair and make up, go out and get a coffee and go to the grocery store to get all the fruit and cake I needed. If there were fumes from knitting, I would blame them. Of course, at a few minutes after 12, I realised that I was apparently on crack if I thought I could get any of that done in time, let alone all of it. I jumped up and into the shower, had dressed, and was in the process of madly (choosing and) wrapping gifts - tape, scissors, ribbon, paper and presents flying all about the room (I was lucky the cat wasn't hit) when the phone mercifully rang, and my friend told me (very apologetically) that she was going to be late. I confessed that I was going to be terribly, terribly late myself, and we agreed to both just do what we could to get there as soon as we could. I did all I could in the time it took her to cross the city, but still wasn't quite ready when she arrived. But I did manage to make it out of the apartment with my:
- gift for Secret Santa
- gift for Rose
- gift for hosts
- gift for Dana (completed!)
- fondue kit and forks
- fondue ingredients (dry ingredients mixed and in a plastic container, plus others tossed into bag)
- camera and spare battery
So we were off! We stopped to buy my fruit and cake and cookies, and paper bowls for Deena's soup. (Should I make up funky nicknames for people in here? That would be fun - not 'Deena' and 'Rose' but something like 'SuperD' and 'Yertle'. Maybe another day). Then a quick stop at Timmy's, where I did NOT get my large double-double, but instead a large tea with sugar. Sadly, I did not notice this until a while later, as I'd been waiting to let it cool. An experienced coffee drinker such as myself should have known by the double-cup! I had NO coffee that day people!

Anyway, we finally got to the house at about 2:40 - and we were about the third set of people there. It was kind of annoying, actually, having people not show up until 4 and 5. Yeah, I know - what right do I have to complain, being the perpetually Late Person? But, really - to plan to come several hours later than everyone else? Is this just me? Maybe this is how people do things, and I'm just someone who doesn't know. Probably - just a social nuance I never picked up on. That and small talk.

So I go to make my fondue, only to discover that my dry ingredients have entirely disappeared. Luckily, our hostess had what I needed, but where did the chocolate and sugar mix go? And my tupperware? I thought I'd maybe forgotten it at home, but it wasn't there, either. Must remember to tell Deena to check her trunk. Or maybe it fell out of the bag as we got out of the car, and there's some hyped-up, jittery little squirrel who had a really weird day somewhere in Caledonia.

The party was okay, but the real killer was the food. Somehow, we ended up with an overabundance of desserts - and very little real food. I've never seen a potluck fail, but I'd have to say this one did.

My highlight, though, was in presenting my gifts. When my recipient saw that I was her Santa, she said, "You're my Secret Santa? Sweet!" Warm fuzzies. I have a good gift-giving reputation, apparently, which makes me very happy. I try hard to get the right gifts for people, and I'm not always sure that I do it well, so this was very good to hear.

Then it was time to give the little one her gift. She made me laugh. First, she didn't want to just pull the tissues out of the gift bag and throw them on the floor - they were solemnly and sternly given to me to take care of. At first, the hat and scarf were unceremoniously pulled out and set aside. But then the bear came out. First, the hat and scarf were removed and dropped, but then the bear was cold and had to be redressed, and so did Dana. This continued for quite a while, which made me very happy. Then we realised that the hat for Dana was WAY too big. But THEN Dana figured out that that made it a perfect hat for peek-a-boo, so it was all good. I never thought I'd miss spending time with a kid, but I really, really do sometimes. I was glad we got to spend a bit of time with her and her parents after everyone left, even if I did feel a bit guilty keeping Deena there later than she really wanted to be.

My overwhelming sadness for the day, though, was again my camera. I got some really good shots of Dana, with the hat, the bear, and just sitting and reading on her own and with her dad. And the evil camera demons took them away. I think it's time to invest in a new camera. I'll let that be its own story. (gotta stretch for them, here)

So that's today's Boring Entry. I told you you'd need caffeine - my life isn't even interesting to me, most days.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Needles and bodies and chocolate, oh my!

Yeah, so ... no updates lately, huh? I am a slacker.

I've been unusually busy (not so much with work) and yet still have nothing to say, it seems. Today I am struggling with crankiness, which is really hindering my making any kind of real progress.

On Thursday I decided that I wanted to make part of my present for Darren and Angie's little girl, Dana, who I kind of fell in love with while I was staying with them over part of the summer. I bought a wonderful, soft, and cuddly brown plushy teddy bear, and decided to make a hat and scarf for Dana, with a matching hat and scarf for the bear. This I decided on Thursday night. Yeah.

So Thursday night was knitting half-size scarf. Friday lunch and breaks were knitting bigger version, finishing up Friday night, and then beginning a full size hat. Saturday morning was a bit of hat knitting, then out to the Science Centre. Saturday night was knitting the rest of the full size hat, beginning the smaller hat, and then deciding that a kid's scarf and hat set needed a fringe, so that involved learning how to do that (then figuring out a better way to do that using a rug latch hook tool (pack rats do prosper sometimes)) and staying up late to make some progress on both. Then Sunday morning was a ridiculous amount of knitting, made easier by a super movie line-up on the superstation. First was the last half of As Good As It Gets (finish fringing large scarf), followed by Serendipity (finish smaller hat, begin fringing smaller scarf), and then by the first half of Stepmom (learn how to make pom poms, find better way, make two pom poms, attach to both large hat and small hat). It was at this point that I realised that I was still in my jammies and had to leave in 20 minutes. But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.

So non-knitting activities this weekend were also interesting. (Or just 'were interesting, if you think knitting is Dullsville). On Saturday was the company Christmas party, which was a family thing (yeah) at the Ontario Science Centre (yeah!). Rose came with me, and we saw the BodyWorlds 2 exhibit first. It's a very interesting and thought-provoking exhibit, I have to admit. I also have to admit that it affected me in ways I hadn't anticipated. I was very blase about the whole thing, "Yeah, dead bodies. Freaky cool. Nothing unusual here." But when you're standing next to an exhibit that used to be a person, looking at every part of their body, it's different. It's harder to forget that these were really moving, living, breathing people when they're posed as if they are still dancing, or walking, or swinging a baseball bat. And they're so vulnerable - you're seeing parts of these people that they never even saw themselves.

One display that I found to be fascinating was a man who had been separated into two figures. The first showed all of his outer layers - his nerves and some blood vessels, some skin, and most of the outer muscles. The second was just his skeleton. It boggled my mind a bit. Which part could be said to actually be this guy? Were both? Were neither? Is what makes a person inherently tied to the physical portions of our bodies, or is identity entirely separate from the physical? And if it's a combination of the two, then what does that say about this man's identity? Has it been split? Doubled? Halved? Changed in any way, or in none? The same questions can be asked of the figure who is seated, and has before him on a table all of the blood vessels that fuel his own brain, still in the shape and structure they had during his life.

I recommend the exhibit. Even if you just go to gawk and giggle. And yes, you do giggle, if only on the inside. The first time you see that, yes, most of the figures are male, and, oddly, although they have no skin or hair, they for some reason still have their genitals.

It was funny watching people notice it. You're looking at a leg inside a case (this is before you enter the open display areas). You can see the muscles, and the tendons, the footbones, the ankle bones, the lower leg, the kneecap, the tibia, and then - yikes! You can actually see people jump a bit, or try to suppress any kind of reaction, instead suddenly developing a very studious, disciplined expression. "Hmm. Yes, yes, I see." And then you're left with the decision (for the rest of the exhibit actually). Do you look? Do you not look? And if you don't look, does the very fact that you're looking everywhere except the crotch area make it even more obvious that you're aware of it?

The best line was from a friend of a coworker. She looked at the pole-vaulter, who was suspended upside down, as if in the middle of a pole vault, and declared, "That's not gravitationally accurate."

Moving on.

After the exhibit, we wandered geekily about the Science Centre, playing with the different exhibits and toys and just being nerds, which was fun. But I don't know if we were both very high strung that day, or if there was some kind of conspiracy of fear involved. In so many exhibits, we were frightened. Several times, we'd push a button, wait for a moment for something to happen, then when nothing did, we'd assume the exhibit just wasn't working (which was the case with some). But for a few of them, we would have just shrugged it off, turning our attention to something else, when a loud voice would boom out through the speakers, or a bright flash of light would unexpectedly blind us, and we'd both jump and then laugh a bit at ourselves. The final was the worst, though. We spent several minutes putting together a little puzzle about genetic codes that involved putting little plastic cards on a strip on the tabletop in the right order, then punching in the corresponding code. We'd just succeeded, and opened the little door that unlocked, when the little strip suddenly popped up, flinging the cards upwards and scattering them like a game of Frustration. Of course, we both jumped and yelled, and right then, the lights turned out.

We are Ubergeeks - we closed the Science Centre, and they had to turn off the lights to get us to leave.

Then we went to Swiss Chalet for dinner, where I tried mightily not to think about BodyWorlds while I ate my chicken.

As for the chocolate, that'll have to wait, because the end of the day is nearing and I have to finish up some work.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Mental Health Day

So I'm sitting here, waiting for my landlord to come over with my new toilet seat so that I can then promptly hop in the car with my pot of jambalaya and my baguette tucked under one arm and hie me to Hamilton for Cell.

Thus endeth Sick Day. I took a Sick Day! My second ever! And I could have gone to work if I'd pushed myself, but I decided that I was tired of pushing myself, and the stupid cyst is finally nearing the end of the healing (go, go gadget antibiotics!) and the side effects are very irritating, and I just didn't want to go to work. So there. Despite the tendency to justify this over and over and a lingering feeling of guilt, I enjoyed my day. Got some shopping done, drained regularly (I know , you don't need to know that) and had the time to make dinner for 10. Good times.

I've been quite productive over the last few days. It all started on Sunday, with a knitting lesson at the Knit Cafe with Deena. We learned how to make baby toques (very cute). I had no baby to model on, so...

You can imagine how popular I was for this, and how many takes it took. But he's so darn cute.

Then, after working on the hat for a while, I was overcome by a fit of productivity, and made myself a needle case. It took about 3 hours, most of that spent trying to get the sewing machine to work, taking it apart, oiling it, rewinding the bobbin, untangling messes, only to discover that it was all the fault of my cheap-ass thread. Don't try to use cheap-ass thread in a sewing machine. Heartache, headache. Anyway, the fruit of my labour:

Pattern is from Stitch 'n' Bitch, pictured alongside. And here's what it does:

Note the needles. I am so excited about this thing it's unreasonable.
The same day, we learned to double knit, which is its own terribly exciting thing, that I will have to talk about later, because I'm late! (surprise!)

Friday, November 25, 2005

Is this sad? I think it's sad.

Just now, I was in the doctor's office, to ask whether I need to continue taking these stupid pills (yes I do). I was sitting up on the table there, waiting, with the door open to the hallway. I sat looking at the two chairs in the room thinking that they would be more comfortable than sitting on the table, dangling my feet as they slowly went numb, when I realised that I could hear a patient in the other room.

It was a little boy, moaning over and over, and kind of crying a bit. And (for once) I didn't feel annoyed by it - I recognised it. I said to myself, "Huh. Sounds like that kid has an ear infection." Just then, the doctor went into the room, and starting talking about what medicines he was prescribing for the ear infection. (why, yes - the walls are very thin - why do you ask?)

I remember getting very nasty earaches and infections when I was little. And moaning and crying just like that. And, even then, as a little kid, feeling like a bit of a moron for doing it - yes, everyone knew I was in pain, and no, the moaning wasn't making anything any better - but I just couldn't stop because it hurt so much and made me so miserable and something had to come out of me or I would die from the unfairness and pain of it all.

During my last one, I remember my father taking me to the clinic, where we waited hours in the waiting room, then were moved (only now do I think of the possibility that they moved us because I was driving everyone crazy) to wait for an even longer time on some chairs in the hallway. I remember just laying down across two of the moulded chairs, feeling the hard, cold plastic grow warm under my cheek, feeling the tears run sideways across my face and into my hair, wishing it would all just go away - when something gave way inside my ear. Suddenly, I could hear again, and the world was unnaturally loud. The pain subsided as if by magic - not gone, but at least I could see that it was losing the battle.

And that's when the doctor called me into the exam room.

It all came back just now, listening to the kid cry - I knew instantly what he was feeling, and my heart went out to him. I wanted to stick my head out into the hallway as they were leaving and tell him that I knew what he was going through, and how much it really, really sucks, but that what the doctor was saying was true, and someday he would have his last ear infection, and life would suck just a little bit less.

But I didn't.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

You know you wish you were me

Clearly, too much of my life is consumed with watching television.
People are talking about how they go out and do things after work, or watch movies on evenings during the week, and I think ‘Wow – how do they manage that? I don’t have nearly that much free time in the evenings.’ And then I realize that really, I do have that much time, but it’s all spent watching T – TV that’s on right then (like cartoons during dinner (6teen, Simpsons) or CSI reruns (yay for Spike TV) or silly sitcom reruns of Raymond (hate that it makes me laugh sometimes) or Seinfeld (which has become an integral part of society’s collective consciousness in a way that’s almost creepy)) or TV that was on last night, or the night before, and is now on tape.
Here’s my TV schedule – try to contain your horror and disgust.
8 pm – Simpsons (if it’s a new one)
9 pm – Family Guy (ditto)
10 pm – Grey’s Anatomy (MUST see, but taping is acceptable)

7 pm – (dinner hour) watch reruns OR Grey’s Anatomy on tape (If I already watched it, but it was a really good episode, I may watch it again, fast forwarding to the best scenes)
8 pm – Corner Gas
9 pm – Prison Break (I find this show almost painful to watch, because of the poor dialogue, some boring characters, and because my arms get tired suspending all that disbelief)

Tuesday (This is THE night for TV, which is inconvenient, because it’s also the only night I go out regularly – but what can you do? You can’t tell your discussion group, “Oh, no – Tuesday won’t work because House is on opposite Amazing Race, and I can only tape one at a time.”)
8 pm – Bones (this is an okay show, that I keep watching in hopes of better days)
9 pm – House (LOVE this show. Hugh Laurie always brings the snark, and he does it so well that I could melt – or punch him in the nose. I bow before the talent, at the very least)
And usually, Amazing Race is also on at 9 pm, which become problematic, as mentioned above. Luckily (?) this season is sucky, so I’m bypassing that. I’m a bit worried about next season, though, if it goes back to its usual awesomeness.

7 pm – Watch Bones and House from the tape, since I’m usually not home for them live. As with Grey’s Anatomy, I’ll rewatch an excellent (or even pretty good) episode if I’ve already seen it
9 pm – Lost

Thursday: (Another busy evening)
8 pm: Now, 8 pm on Thursday can be challenging. I’ll sometimes watch (or rewatch) TV from earlier in the week, especially Lost, if I taped it for some reason. If not, I’ll often watch ‘Everybody Hates Chris’, but it’s really just ‘eh’ for me. So sometimes I even have to find something to do that doesn’t necessarily involve the couch.
9 pm: CSI (Ah, that’s better)
10 pm: ER (still being watched, but now more out of loyalty than out of interest)

Friday: (Friday’s an easy night.)
9:30 pm: Hot Properties (which I do enjoy, but my main reason for watching is because Pamie writes for it, and I feel a strange connection to the show because of that)
And that’s my week. Sad but true. You can add to this schedule my reading of the TWOP recaps, each of which takes almost as much time as watching the show itself, and there are recaps for House, Prison Break, Grey’s Anatomy and Lost. Oh, and I download every week’s episode of Veronica Mars, because it’s not on any channel that I get. I haven’t watched many yet, but they’re there, waiting for me to get through the rest of my hectic, vicarious schedule.
And of course, you must add in the occasional Simpsons, Futurama, or Family Guy episode on Teletoon, plus every now and then I'll squeeze in some DejaVu type stuff, what with the Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie on the weekends.
I don’t know if I’ll survive Sweeps.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Yay! Now, I know that I have a LOT more work to do, and I haven't even begun to think of such things as heels and toes, but I seem to have at least gotten the hang of the double pointed needles. Although I'm sure that I look like I'm wrestling a very strange, very large spider when I'm doing it.

No matter. I am happy with my progress.


Let me geek out for a moment and talk about how much I love that I can check my voicemail at home over the internet. It starts with a little email in my hotmail inbox from Vonage, telling me that I have a new voicemail message waiting for me. The excitement is ignited. (Here's a small wish right here - I would like to be able to click within that email to get the message. It's such a small request - get on that, would you?)

Next, it's to my Vonage dashboard page, where I can see all of my calls in and out for the past several days. I click on the voicemail tab, and I see it. From a 416 number - who could it be? Not Mum, not Scott, not anyone in the Niagara area, not anyone much farther north than me. I click on the link, and the little box asks me if I'd like to open it or save it. Oh, you know I'm opening it. So it opens up in winamp, and I crank the volume (that's another little thing there - the files are a little quiet) and I learn that my weekend class at the Knit Cafe downtown will be starting at 9:30. So now I can reach over and pull my daybook towards myself and make a weekend entry.

So now how much have I revealed? I have shown that I am leaning to the geek. I have shown that I really don't get a lot of calls, or one little voicemail wouldn't interest me so. And I have shown that I have such an uneventful life that writing something on a page headed with 'Sunday' is a rare occurence, to be treasured and pondered over.

And here's another confession - I'm pretty sure I don't like Radiohead. I've read all kinds of people who love them, groove out to their melodic rhapsodies, let themselves be carried to the heights or the depths by the music, but I'm just not feeling it.

Moving on...

The snow has started. We've had a few false beginnings, where the snow looks heavy and thick, but disappears an hour later. Even last night, driving back through Oakville and Burlington, the snow seemed hard and fast, causing all the drivers to slow down - I think one person even tooted his horn at me for going too fast. I was going about 70, and the road was still pretty dry. I dread tomorrow morning, when it seems our time for descent into true Canadian winter will have come. We're supposed to get about 10 cm. I'm almost looking forward to going down to my car and not having to clean it off. No, I am definitely looking forward to that.

Okay, still struggling with the work focus thing. My goal is to work straight from now until 3:30 without a break (well, maybe a bathroom break, but that's it!). It did work last time, so my hopes are high.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Oh my darling

I just peeled two clementines and managed to pull both peels off in one piece each. I enjoy small victories.
I feel like I'm in trouble here. I went through weeks, months of work where I didn't have enough to do at work. I'd try to make up stuff for myself to do, only to be told that that wasn't part of my job, so I should drop it, or that that was really something we should get someone else to do - someone who had some time on their hands, seeing as I was so busy. Uh, yeah.
So where this has left me is in a very dangerous place. I've been spending so much time stretching and dragging out small projects so that they fill large chunks of time, that I'm now in the habit of not working. I finally have a week where I probably have enough to do to fill my time, and I'm having trouble getting off the web and getting down to business. Every random thought sends me off to Google random tidbits of fact or fiction, and every momentary lapse in concentration makes me wonder what's going on in the forum. Or whether I can peel a clementine in one whole piece.
This past weekend was a fun one. Marissa, Rosalie, Jen and I all met up and headed out to Guelph for Fair November, in what has become an annual tradition. Have to say we were all a bit disappointed in the fair - it seems to be smaller, with fewer vendors and less variety this year. But a great deal of our reason for the annual trek is our regular pilgrimage back to Guelph, seat of our memories of less complicated, but somehow fuller lives. Checking to see what colour the cannon is today (hey - I forgot to look), whether the bear is offering anything interesting to passersby (he wasn't), how far along all of the building and renovations have come. Looking back to the times when sleep was less important, money was more important (because of a severe lack) and our direction and purpose were clear.
And the Greek restaurant.
My goal today is to focus for at least one full hour. We'll see how that goes. So far - well, you're reading a blog entry, aren't you? Things can only improve.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Awesomely pathetic

This is great! You can buy a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

The Royal Winter Agricultural Fair

As promised, tales from the Royal, and plenty of pictures.

We started out with the Superdogs, who really were Super. They were a lot of fun, although I have a feeling Jodi left with a bit of 'Super-envy.'

Next were the cows, and you've never seen so many cows in your life - well, I hadn't, anyway. Jodi got some funny looks from the farmers when she asked if she could pet their cows, but they were very sweet and gentle and seemed to enjoy the attention (the cows, not the farmers)

It was amusing to see all the farmers - tough, overall-clad, beer drinking men out there, brushing and shaving the cows, shining up their feet, with their beauty kits all laid out. The sheep were even funnier - after they're all prettied up, they get hoods and jackets put on to keep them clean. Alas, camera went wonky then, so I have no pictures of the super-hero-in-disguise sheep.

A highlight was the giant vegetables. Here's the winner of the giant pumpkin contest, weighing in at over 1000 pounds. Congratulations, Norm!

The whole vegetable area was pretty neat - here's an overhead shot, that I was quite proud of - the flash wouldn't light up the scene (obviously) so I had to play with exposure, which I don't often get to do, and it turned out tolerably well. If only I could have made everyone in the place freeze on the spot for a full second, it would have been perfect.

Jodi really liked the giant watermelons. To make sure we could understand the scale of the thing, yes - that's her shoe alongside.

Another highlight were the butter sculptures. I heard that they'd melted sometimes in past years, but they seemed to be holding up pretty well this time.

And I felt it was important for me to look at the wheat sheaves on display, as I'm supposed to be learning more about that side of the business. They were pretty, in any case, even though it kind of feels silly to be taking pictures of wheat. Oh, well - it's not like I haven't taken odder pictures.

Speaking of - here's one just for you, if you're reading - you know who you are. I present: Yak Butt - in all its glory.

Yeah, you know who you are. Only for you would I take and post a picture of an animal's behind.

This was in the petting zoo, which was a lot of fun.

It did remind me of Colasanti's, although these goats weren't nearly as aggressive. I did feel for the people who were shorter than most of the animals.
A gratuitous llama shot - what would a site of mine be without pictures of llamas. I liked this guy's 'do.

Jodi, of course, was in her element.

She even got so carried away as to cheat a little on her own Lenny, much to my shock. But hey - what happens at the Royal - stays at the Royal.

Our last stop was the horses, which was somewhat disappointing. All the snooty horse people had the area around the stalls roped off, with curtains hiding the horses inside. Here's one guy who was out and about, but I wish I could explain how BIG he was. To help put it in perspective (hm - should've used a shoe) I couldn't reach to the top of that gate he's standing near. People were standing on ladders about the height of a desk, just to reach to brush the heads and back of these guys. Massive.

So those are my pictures from the Royal. Now I'm going to go put on my jammies and let myself feel sick. I've been denying it all day, despite frustrations and anger and unfairness and fatigue. I have a cold, and I have an unrelated infection (for those who know me, yes, it's another one of those) and I'm on three different kinds of medication (one that makes me loopy, one that makes me sleepy, and one that I'm told could make me stop breathing, but probably won't), and now I'm going to lie down and wish for someone to make my dinner and bring me soup and fluff my pillows and clean my house.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


I actually have a whole lot I want to get into the blog right now, but it's quite late for me, and that really won't work. Suffice it to say, it was a big weekend, with fun and games and food and cows and WORK! And right now I'm freaking out because I'm scared to death that everyone at work will think my calendar is stupid and no one will buy one except the 'pity purchases'.

Here are some examples of the months I've done up (pics only, no calendars):

Okay, really have to go to bed now. Will dream of mockery and disdain and people taunting me with money and inkjet cartridges.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Bye buy Sony

An interesting and horrifying little piece of news.

I had no idea. Way to discourage people from buying 'real' music. I don't think I'll ever buy a traditional cd again, if I have to worry about getting A VIRUS on my HARD DRIVE if I try to play it on my computer or anything other than a SONY P.O.S.

Monday, November 07, 2005


There's something about this that is both scandalous and comforting.

Don't you wish that you could be this ludicrously happy and content? I know I do. Instead, there are periods of stagnation that frustrate and times of sadness that feel like they're gradually filling my world, flooding my mouth and throat with despair, making it hard to breathe.

But not all the time. And not when I see something like this.

And don't envy the cat too much - he's actually sick of me taking pictures. The camera appears to be behaving better now, but I feel compelled to test it repeatedly. I don't like taking pictures of myself, and the cat's the most interesting thing in the apartment right now, so he's a frequent (if unwilling) subject.

Small Scale De-Evolution

I find it somewhat fascinating to observe the changes that happen as I grow ever and ever older. I'm still pretty young, but already my digestive processes aren't as robust as they once were, I have to use the tweezers a lot more than I used to, and my sleep patterns are seemingly ever-changing.

It's this last one that's come to the forefront recently. I used to be able to function on extremely small amounts of sleep when necessary. I remember a time just before finals in my first year at Windsor in general Engineering when for several weeks I didn't get more than 4 hours of sleep each night, between school, work and socializing. Maybe to make up for that time, since then I've needed my eight hours a night. I could, of course, get by on less, but it really didn't go very well. And now a new schedule - I only need seven hours, which is quite nice. I tested down to six hours last night, and that was a failed test. Today the result is a coffee consumption test, complete with twitching eyelids.

The body marks time in its own way. Most people see it as a degeneration, a degradation, as the body changes from the state of youth and fitness to one less vital and taut. And when you reach such ages where the body ceases to sustain life, that can't be denied. But earlier, when things still work, just not as well - it seems more like a resting period; a time following the body's frantic climb to the peak, like a throwing arc where the ball only touches the top for a moment, then starts to head back to the earth. It's useless to compare all bodies to how they are at that peak, as it is so fleeting, and isn't meant to be sustained.

If this doesn't make any sense, blame it on the coffee. Or on Grey's Anatomy, which caused me to stay up too late in the first place.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

A Moment, Please

Sadness is overtaking me. My camera may be dying. It is at the very least quite ill. I'm hoping that it's just the memory card, but I have my doubts.

Those of you who know me know how much I love my camera. There was a celebration when it finally arrived, and it has rarely left my side since that day. A recent patch of terrible dullness in my life (not rare) has meant that I've been carrying the camera, but not using it very much. This means that I'm not always aware that it's in my bag, and, well, maybe I'm a bit rough when I drop the bag or toss it unceremoniously into the car. At any rate, the occasional memory errors have degenerated into a state of constant error and an inability to sometimes just store, but often even take any pictures. And that, of course, is a camera's reason for being.

I think the camera got used to being the favoured, loved, pampered companion, and is now sulking and rebelling at being ignored and treated poorly. I feel like if only I could buy it some flowers and candy - maybe take it out to some picturesque area and have some fun, show it the sights - that then it would perk right up and start cooperating again, with the understanding that I, too, will straighten up and behave in a more respectful manner. Our fabulous life adventures could then continue, shadowed by the memory of this painful time, but somehow tempered and strengthened by it at the same time.

Right now, I'm going to see if I can't find some guidance, some method of healing this wound, mending this rift. If nothing works, then there will likely be a small ceremony later this week, possibly by the lake. Donations of photo paper gratefully accepted in this time of suffering.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Some people were just never meant to knit socks.

A Reason to be Very Excited

Memoirs of a Geisha has been made into a movie that will come out in December! You can see the trailer for it here - it looks absolutely beautiful.


Last night, my upstairs neighbours were blaring music (just for a little while, and they knocked it off just when I turned up the tv, so I guess I can't complain). What added the element hilarity was the music. My neighbours around here (the blare-y ones, anyway) are generally all in with the hip-hop, bass-y beats that reverberate across the parking lot and bounce off the other buildings. Last night it was - wait for it - the Thriller album. It started with Billie Jean, which made me think that it was just an eighties-feelin' kinda evening, but then moved into that other song with Paul McCartney, and Why, Why, which I started singing along with absentmindedly as I folded laundry until I realised the horror.

Maybe it affected my dreams - but it was more likely the incessant coverage of avian flu, I'm thinking. (Which enrages me to no end, but maybe more about that later)

I woke up with a half-remembered dream that came back more clearly when I focused on it. Here are the highlights:

- Chickens were taking over the world. They may have been alien chickens - it wasn't entirely clear.
- People were somehow being turned into weird chicken/human zombies, with slack faces and random feathers growing out of their faces and other places.
- They communicated using eggs that travelled down the outside of people's legs, under the skin (as men in particular would not be able to lay eggs properly) and had to be cut out at the ankle. The messages were printed on the eggs in some funky sci-fi writing (so maybe they were alien chickens after all)

No more news for me.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Spider thoughts

Okay. There's a big, creepy-looking spider roaming the wall above my desk. Now, I had the option of squishing hime when he was within reach, but now that would involve hopping up on the desk and balancing precariously in the doorway. So now I am left watching him obsessively, in case he comes too close to me, or hides somewhere from which place he can later jump out at me unexpectedly. Ack! He comes closer! Something must be done...

It is done.

So why did this inspire a blog entry? Well, first off - this blog is never that interesting, so it's not like I wait for some kind of divine literary inspiration to click that little button. Second, I'm writing up a poor audit, which I always find to be a difficult and demoralizing task, that must be interrupted repeatedly (and my usual distraction isn't here today). And third, (here's a roundabout item); watching the spider made my head itchy (as watching bugs do anything generally does) and when I went to scratch my head, I hit the bump created there yesterday by the car trunk, so I thought I'd share that (yes, equally uninteresting) story in a series of others involving my recent varied travels.

Flew to Winnipeg on Monday. Uneventful flight, but I did make one exciting (for me) discovery - while I am unable to read, write, or even think hard while flying without having to double-check for that nasty air-sickness bag, I have discovered that I am able to - KNIT!! I warned you it was only exciting to me. So I spent the entire flight knitting. Which would have been fine and all, but I was stuck in a middle seat, between two well-sized gentlemen. And I had my longest needles with me (of course). So I was trying to knit with my arms straight out in front of me, my elbows tucked in at my sides, and the needles lying alongside my forearms. Try it - it's not easy or comfortable. But I was determined, and I'm pretty sure I never whacked either of them. I did get one small dishcloth completed, and a second started, tearing the yarn with my teeth, as I was of course without sewing scissors on the plane. (Never mind my 12" metal needles - they're allowed).

Winnipeg I've already spoken of, in my wine-hazed stupor. Man, I slept well that night. I should drink half a bottle of wine more often. Or not. I was almost late the next morning just because I had flung everything everywhere before bed, instead of getting it all ready for the morning rush the night before, like I usually try to do in hotel rooms. The audit there went well, and the flight from there to Saskatoon was again uneventful - and I had no seat-mate, which was super. I was able to use my elbows as they were made to be used.

Saskatoon had a bit of an unpleasant surprise for us. We woke Wednesday morning to wet, slushy snow. It wasn't too cold - I was warm enough with my fall jacket and my nice warm, ridiculously long scarf (man, I love that scarf). Despite the weather,the day was going well enough until...

We were both getting our things our things out of the car trunk. We had both pulled out our bags, and I said 'Just a sec', as I reached back in for my shoes. Guess I didn't say it loudly enough. The trunk lid came down squarely on the side of my head. It must have looked comical from a distance, but it hurt so much. I wanted to just stop and sit down and cry. And I think I must have flung my arm up in defensive reflex, because I have a really big, lumpy bruise on my forearm, but I didn't notice that until much later. It took about ten minutes for the pain to subside, and for the tears to stop threatening. I kept smiling and making jokes, but - wow. There were apologies made, and I did accept graciously, and I did offer that I may have been too quiet in my request for a moment, but it's hard not to be "underneath" mad at someone who HIT YOU REALLY HARD IN THE HEAD. So I dealt with it.

There are my unexciting stories of my travels in the sorta-west. I have to say in addition that I did not enjoy three flights in three days. Especially the last one, which was delayed by over an hour. Especially galling was the sticker on the back of the headrest in front of me, telling about how in a few months, there would be monitor there, displaying video (and audio) entertainment that I COULD CONTROL! But for now, just sit here and stare at this stupid freaking little sticker. Have a nice flight!

Monday, October 31, 2005


It is Hallowe'en. And I have had a very full day, involving very little hallowe'eny content. Oh, and I've had much more wine than I'm used to, so this may be entirely incoherent - if you've found it and are interested, read this entry now - if it's illegible, it'll be deleted once I come to my senses.

The day began with my packing and leaving the house. I realise now that I did not pack correctly, and have only one pair of pants with a matching shirt for really two days of work/auditing. Oh, well. Maybe things aren 't as dire as they seem, and I'll figure it out in the morning.

Then it was off to work, where Deena and I (and Winston and Jen) got the Pancake breakfast up and out. Things went well, despite the pan of bacon determined to spit scalding grease at my face.

Then later it was off to the airport - blah, blah, blah. The plane ride. finally found something I can do on a plane - I can KNIT! But then I spent the whole trip worried about whacking the guys next to middle (go go middle seat!) with my uber long knitting needles. And there was the most disturbing shrieking, screaming child on the plane. No - not just a crying kid. I was scared to look behind me, because I was concerned that I would see not a cherubic face streaked with tears, but some kind of green skinned demon. I've never heard screams like that.

I remember having all these cool thoughts today, thinking that I'd like to get them down here, but you know - these days, drinking half a bottle of wine for me is like shaking an etch-a-sketch. Maybe something will come back tomorrow. For now, I am in Winnipeg. Tomorrow I go to an egg factory. Right now i deal with a bit of a tipsy outlook.

It's all good. Angel is on tv - funny. Carry on.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Ho Hum

It's Friday. And I have that Friday kind of aimless, focus-less, meandering kind of mindset. Do I have work to do? For a change - yes, yes I do. It's quite urgent, even. But eh. It will get done. Over and over, I've learned the lesson that I need a deadline and I need to be fairly close to that deadline to be effective and efficient.

Unfortunately, this is also affecting life outside work. I guess it's not just a Friday thing. I have laundry to do, and a house to clean because a friend is staying over Monday night - worse, I won't even be there because I'm flying to Winnipeg that day. So I feel like I need to clean the whole apartment because there's the chance that she could look anywhere if I'm not there - and that's not because I think she will, out of a sense of snoopiness or anything else, but because I envision all these weird scenarios where, because of some emergency or another, it becomes imperative to go into the very back reaches of my cluttered closet, or to reach through the dust-bunny population residing under my dresser to grasp at the elusive mysterious object that will somehow resolve the situation. Like the fire extinguisher rolled under there accidentally just before the cat catches fire. Or something.

In addition to my house chores (which are always being delayed and manipulated in any case) I also have to work on our United Way fundraising campaign. I (stupidly) had a "brilliant" idea of making personalized calendars to sell as part of our fundraising efforts. So now I have to make up two entirely different calendars this weekend using photoshop and word and excel alone, since publisher won't work for some reason. Whatever. The challenge is making it pretty. And another project also urgently requires attention - we're going to have little contests all week, involving puzzles and trivia, none of which have been prepared. And my partner in this endeavour is currently in Chicago until tomorrow, and then I'm in Winnipeg and then Saskatoon and when is any of this going to get done? We're going to go down in company history as the worst United Way campaign organizers ever. We'll burn down the tech centre during the pancake breakfast; we'll insult people's intelligence with the trivia; we'll make people sick eating oddly flavoured pickles.

Okay. Coming down. Everything will be fine. Especially if I start getting some work done now.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Falling Thoughts

The heat isn't turned on yet at work. When the guys in the office start wearing sweaters and cradling their hot mugs between chilled fingers, you know that things are becoming unacceptable. I honestly just huffed into the air to see if I could see my breath. I couldn't, but I did manage to dislodge the icicle from the tip of my nose, so it's all good.

Despite this, I'm still enjoying the turning of my part of the world into autumn. The air smells of leaves and fall, even in the city. I can't help but smile when I walk out to my car and have to move through a drift of leaves, crunching under my heels. The wind feels like life. I find I dress very differently in the fall. I love it so much, I want people to share in the joy. I want people to look at me and be reminded that it's fall. If I could, I would twine leaves through my hair and carry a hollowed out pumpkin as a rucksack. That would make me a crazy person right now, so I'll save it for when I'm old and eccentric.

The return of CBC has also prompted many smiles. I feel like my friends were gone away somewhere, and have now come home. To heck with hockey commentating, I've missed Andy Barrie in the mornings, Matt Galloway in the afternoons, and Stuart McLean Sunday lunchtimes. I laughed out loud on the Go train yesterday when the Vinyl Cafe closed out with 'Back in Baby's Arms' by Patsy Cline, dedicated to the labour minister.

I've learned not to trust certain people when they say something is 'just up the street'. Half an hour after leaving the Eaton centre, we walked into downtown Barrie for lunch. Well, maybe it wasn't quite that far. But lunch tasted great, even interrupted as it was by the man coming in from the street with half eaten street meat, aggressively demanding change, and then roaring unintelligibly at all and sundry when asked to leave. Ah, Toronto.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

It's the eyes...

Oh, man. Crying. Tryng to be really quiet about it, because I am not alone here in my shared office.

This is the problem with hanging out on the internet at work. Extremely funny things to read, no way to burst out laughing without giving it all away. I loved
Pamie's doll entry today. I can sympathise with doll-fear. I remember when Cabbage Patch Kids were the craze, when I was 10 or so. And then, shortly after the height of the craze, hearing the stories about them. The creepy stories. Why did people make these up? I have no clue.

I remember there was one story about how there was an old couple who couldn't have children. So, they 'adopted' a Cabbage Patch doll, and treated it like their own baby, complete with its own room, cradle and clothing. One night, the woman went into the room to find the doll floating a couple of feet above the cradle.

Another was the story that if you cracked open a Cabbage Patch doll's head, you would find a note inside saying "Mommy, why did you kill me?" And of course, everyone swore that their dolls moved about on their own, making their way from the dresser to the bed, hiding under the dust ruffle with their little glowing eyes and odd little sewn fingers clutching a scalpel, waiting for unsuspecting ankles.

Or something like that.

It all ended up leaving me with the determination to never be alone at night with my little 'Bernice Grace'. It was alright for her to be up on the highest shelf, across the room from the bed, only if she was turned away, with her face pressed against the wall, and pinned in there by my Victorian lady with the enormous skirts on one side, and by Oscar the grouch on the other (also facing the wall because of his bulbous eyes and vacant grin).

As soon as childhood things started to leave my room, Bernice was the first thing in a box. Somewhere in my parents house is a torn, black garbage bag with doll and animal limbs sticking out the holes, writhing in the middle of the night, slithering and rattling the bag, waiting for an unwitting arm to grope about in the darkness for a jar of beets.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

You mean this WAS okay before?

This caught my eye, and horrified me a little. So many reasons to avoid the news.

Can I Be Good Cop? And The Dream

I was almost excited about going to inspect a plant where I knew I would find issues. I thought I'd get to be all bad-ass, hard-as-nails auditor lady.

But that's just not me. Writing this up is almost painful - I want to be understanding and friendly and helpful, but when I add up the numbers, it just doesn't work that way. I almost wish the people there had been rude to me - then I could tell them off with impunity. But, no - I have to accept that what I have to say will not be welcomed by anyone, really. I like to know that I can help a bit - but not a whole lot in this case.

Anyway, work is going painfully because of this, and the other less-than-fun items on my to-do list that I pushed to the end of the week and now have to tackle. I've ruined my own Thursday.

I'll just think of my pumpkin basket and pretty new coffee mug (that will be filled with hot chocolate) waiting for me at home. This is, of course, after all the annoying things that have to be done - particularly laundry. Man, I hate laundry.

I have a laundry dream. In my apartment, there is a chute where I drop down my clothes and sheets and towels that need to be cleaned. If there are stains or tears, I can pin on a little note asking for it to be taken care of. The next day, my clothes come back - freshly cleaned, ironed, and folded and sitting in a lovely little wicker basket left on my doorstep. Maybe a daisy laid on the top of the pile.

Dare to dream.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Revenge Upon Smug Girl

Watching the news, I was just chuckling to myself, "Man, I'd hate to be in Manitoba right now. Heh. Poor saps." This after seeing a piece on the up-to-30cm of snow expected by tonight.

Then I remembered I'm going there in a couple of weeks.

Well, call me a pumpkin and carve out my head

Okay, so I've started blogs 5 or 6 times already and none of them stuck. So here I am started one one more time. We'll see how long this lasts.

So I'm terribly happy right now, because I went to Pier 1 tonight and good fortune abounded. First off, I got a $100 gift card as a going-away gift from Bick's. I'd already spent about $40 off it, so the remainder was burning a hole in my pocket. The store caught my attention because its front was plastered with big SALE signs. I parked and walked toward the store, only to see the small print telling me that everything in the store was half off. Oh, good times. It also made me happy that I almost exactly used up the entire card - I guess not all my math skills are dead.

I'm so happy it's fall. All day, I felt like going outside and playing. Even though today wasn't particularly fall-like. Stupid hot smog day. But all I want to do is drive around and find pumpkin patches and applie orchards to play in. I love fall SO much. Half the goodies I got today are fall-themed.

Now off to reheat dinner - I live the good life, I tell ya.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Today was easily one of the most boring days of my life. There isn't much going on at work, and I'm at a point in my projects where I can't do anything until I get things back from other people. I try to be diligent and keep myself busy with reading 'work-related' things, but there's only so much I can do before my head hits the keyboard and my waffle face gives me away. I ended up reading work docs and clicking over to rate stuff on Worth1000 and editing some pictures for the scavenger hunt online album. Guilt, guilt, guilt. But what's a girl to do?

Deena's off to Ireland today - her flight leaves later tonight. I do envy her - just for even having the money to travel. I have to do be doing something wrong to be as broke as I am all the time.

One of the few bright spots that stood out from the dullness of today was when I was driving home along the West Mall. I had to stop traffic to let a family of geese cross the road. The goslings weren't the cute, fluffy little balls of feathers and feet anymore - they were the gangly adolescents that waddle/stumble/walk after their parents, making you want to laugh, rather than 'awwww....'.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Things that smell: dumps, me after being in a dump all morning.

Wow. You understand that there's a lot of garbage in the world, but until you're actually standing next to a mountain of cardboard that is being reordered by an enormous bulldozer, you just don't get it.

It was also quite disturbing to see how close the dump was to Lake Ontario. REALLY close. A door was open at the back, and looking through it, you could see that the lake started just a few feet away. A beautiful view of downtown Toronto and Centre Island, mind you. But the smell kind of distracted from the view.

I've spent the rest of the day watching my stats from the photoshop contest. I was ninth out of 71 at one point, which I was very happy about, considering this is my first entry. I may be hooked. I'm trying to be inspired by the next image up for 'shopping. Inspiring inspiration doesn't work so well.
Yay! My 'Worth1000' photoshop image got positive comments! That's the way to start a day. Now, I don't care (as much) about my final rating. I'm just glad people didn't think it was horrible.

A couple of things that affronted me: one other person (at least) used the same idea of using 'Sunday Afternoon' as an inspiration. Grr. Also - and this is more funny than mildly disconcerting - someone used the same old guy that I was going to use in their image. They did what I had initially started to do - an old guy fishing, unknowingly pulling something huge and scary out of the water. I figured the idea was kind of trite and unoriginal. Guess I was right.

Now to face a day of sauce squishing.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

It's back! It's bigger and better!

No, it's just back.

I've been thinking about getting more involved with photoshop fun. I've been spending a lot of time at, and I actually became so bold last night as to put in a submission in one of the beginner contests. Then I had nightmares about how everyone would tell me how I did things poorly or incorrectly and that I wasn't good enough to submit any more entries and could I please just leave.

And an odd thing I did today - I was so cold at one point today that I couldn't hold my pen to write anymore. Odd, because it's the middle of June in Toronto, and we're having an extreme heat wave. I didn't realise that we'd be working in refrigerated storage when I left the office. But the fun part is tomorrow, when we go and watch them smash the recalled product. Why? Because I wanna see it.

Tonight is Cell, and I'm happy to be seeing everyone again - I ditched too many meetings and now I feel all out-of-the-loop-y again. Doesn't help that people do things like get pregnant and sell their houses when I'm away for a week and no one tells me. Ah, well - my own fault, I suppose. But it's hard to be part of a community when you live 45 minutes away. I need some local friends...

Time to make dinner and then try to figure out the traffic-lightest way to get to Hamilton.


Monday, March 21, 2005

This is crazy. I am moving again. Clearly, I must be stopped.

But, this time there's a twist. The company is paying for me to move, and so they are paying for a moving company to come and pack me up. This has thrown me completely for a loop. I mean, I knew in theory that they would pack for me, but I don't think I'd really accepted it until today when I was talking to the amazingly cheerful man at the moving company. I asked, 'So should I pack anything?' , to which he replied, 'Oh no! Of course not!'

This has just messed me up. I'm at a loss as to what to do with myself. I envisioned the next two weeks being immersed in boxes and tape guns - or, at the least, the next two weeks filled with some hard-core procrastination followed by one mad day of packing.

This is great! Still not sunk in, but great nonetheless.

Now, if only I would hear for sure that I have the apartment...

Friday, January 28, 2005


It really does look like I'm quite likely getting that job in Toronto. Today, Darren basically told me that it's mine if I want it, and the only thing I have to do to reach out and take it is be sociable and show them that I'm excited about the job.


Sociable? With a bunch of very important people I don't know? And excited? About a job that quite frankly scares me? And moving AGAIN?

I can do this. I'm just hoping that they'll help me to move - otherwise I'll need to get a loan. And I hope that the job will hold off until April, so that I don't have to pay rent in both places, as my lease here won't be up yet.

I just keep staring off into space, trying to take it all in. I keep focusing on little, unimportant things - like how I'm splitting cable with my house-neighbour, and what will he do if I'm gone? I'm scared to face the bigger questions - where will I live? Will I enjoy traveling a great deal? Can I be an auditor? How will I handle meeting new people ALL the time?

That's just it, isn't it? Maybe this opportunity is exactly what I need. It will force me to move out of my comfortable little isolation bubble and learn how to interact with other people and be in different places and do difficult things. I've become very lazy in those ways. Guess that'll have to change.

This will be good for me. And I'll get to be behind the scenes of many different factories and see all that goes on - literally. And it's not like I'll be using my own opinions to rate these places - I'll be using laid out standards and principles. I'll see how other places do things and share their knowledge to make the industry overall better by bringing the best practices of all the plants together.

I can do this. I can be good at this.

I can get excited about this.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

So now my life is changing again. I feel like I have no life whatsoever - it's wasting away right now. During the week I long for the weekend, then when the weekend comes, I waste it entirely, goofing on the computer, reading fanfic, watching stupid television shows so mindlessly that I don't remember by the end of the commercials what I was watching.

And now this autonomy of being may be disrupted once more - by - what? A move to Toronto. Say it ain't so. I still don't know if I really want the job, or if I just feel obligated to go for it, because it would look odd if I didn't - indicate a lack of ambition or drive.

Eh. Whatever. (see: irony)

At this point, I'll just go with the flow (hate that expression). What will come, will come, and I will deal with it then.

I've decided that I need to have a purpose. I used to have one - several, in fact. But lately, nothing. Since the new year (refuse to call it a 'resolution') I've decided to live more deliberately, with more intention. The problem with that is that I need to have an intention to begin with. So far, all I've achieved is that my house is generally cleaner and I cook more than reheat. Not so much to get excited over.

But right now is a hard time to motivate, too. The world is covered in an icy slick. An unbroken expanse of whiteness obliterates the landscape, leaving so little detail that I can't even be sure that I'm on the road.One thing that did delight me this morning was a leaf. Such a small thing. As I drove (crept) carefully along River Road (I love that I take a road called 'River Road' to work) I saw a small dark blur of movement crack the whiteness in front of me. A small, shrivelled and withered brown leaf fluttered across the roadway, tugged along by the wind. It seemed to me to be a brave and fortunate object - somehow escaped from the depths of cold and snow that have locked the world in bleakness.

Small things. A good start, I think.