Friday, October 13, 2006

Moving II: Electric Move-a-loo

It's not enough that I moved to a new city and learn a new address. Nooooo. Now I'm moving my blog and learning another new address, and making you learn it, too. I'm sort of mean that way. Anyways, go here to find me.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

So, what's the weather like outside?

Oh, it's been snowing a little.

So, what's the weather like where you are?

Three hours later...

What did I do with my scraper?

My neighbour just turned on his Christmas lights. I though to myself, "Awww, I should do that.... WAIT! It's not even Halloween yet! Sheesh!"

And Alice Cooper is playing at the arena about five bloocks from here. I'm not suggesting these events are somehow related. But it is awfully coincidental.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Doing something or doing something else

So far today, I've accomplished quite a bit, but not really what I wanted to do. I've made muffins, cleaned the kitchen, watched a movie ("The Magnificent Butcher"), written 8 reviews over there, and had lunch. Part of me wants to continue playing around online because I'm sort of in a groove, and I don't like interrupting it to go do something else.

The something else is watching the five videos I borrowed from the library and are now overdue. It's likely that I'll be getting an overdue notice for them sometime this week, which seems silly in light of the fact the librarian who does the overdues could just come downstairs and kick me in the shins until I promised to bring the movies back. Plus, I'm so closed to being finished this mitten it seems ridiculous not to finish it this afternoon so I can move onto something else.
So sorry for the lack of posts lately. Usually when I get home for work, I have three brain cells left - one for hunger, one for watching TV, and one for napping. Sometimes they gang up on each other and beat the other into submission, so I don't have much brain power left over. The job is amazing, and I'm still loving it, but it's still taking all of my mental energy during the day.

And also, for the first time in almost three years, I have a cold. It sucks. All the natural immunity I built up working in a public library over the years has obviously worn off, so now I have to build it back up again.

Thanksgiving was a pretty subdued affair, as my parents came up for the night. Instead of a turkey, we had a nice little chicken and some pumpkin cheesecake. Yum!

Other than that, it's been pretty quiet here.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Customer service conundrum

Today I faced one of those customer service dilemmas which I really hate - do I help someone find a book that isn't where it's supposed to be, even though it's one minute to closing, or do I gently remind him the library is closing in one minute, and could he come back in the morning and we'd find it for him?

On one hand, going the extra mile for the patron* always makes us look good, and if the patron really needs the item, gives them a feeling of gratitude towards us. They might tell the next person they speak to, be it a family member, friend or classmate, how great it was that the librarian found that book on birding which the catalogue said was in but wasn't where it should be.

The other day I helped an elderly woman track down an issue of the French version of Reader's Digest she was looking for because there was an article she wanted for her daughter, despite the fact I was on my way to the server room to fix a problem that was occurring in the system. When we discovered it had been checked out, I took her to the circulation desk, explained to the librarian who was there what we needed (to put a PIN on her card, and then reserve the issue), and then continued on to fix the problem. The woman told the librarians at the desk how helpful I'd been, and was grateful for all our assistance. That's what we do - we help people, and we love doing it, damnit!

But on the other hand, we're only human. I wasn't feeling the greatest - there's a cold/flu going around the staff, and it isn't even officially flu season yet. We were short staffed today, so I'd spent a lot of time helping out at the circ desk and not getting paperwork done. I work tomorrow, I'll be the only manager in, and there's serious potential for all three departments to be short staffed. Plus, there's a glitch in the system that's preventing me from uploading MARC records for a bunch of new materials, but I don't know where or how to solve it. Long story short, I was a little stressed, tired, distracted, and just wanted to shoo him out.**

In the end, I had to go with the shooing, but I did promise to have a look for it in the morning, and explained how he could go online and reserve the material so that when it did turn up, we'd give him a call. What would you have done?

*That's a weird term for me - patron. As in, a library patron, or someone who patronizes a library. In library school, there were many discussions about what you call someone who goes to the library: a patron or a user?

For the last few years, I've used the term "library user" to describe someone who comes to the library, checks out material, and participates in programming. Because that's what they do - they use the library. A patron is someone who generally supports or favours something, like an arts program or even a library, but it doesn't mean they necessarily
use the library.

It doesn't mean that "library users" aren't also patrons of the library, and "patrons of the library" can also be library users, it's just that, to me, they have different connotations. Library user sounds like a more neutral term than patron (which sounds a bit snooty in my head), but to some, library user sounds cold and statistical and patron is a friendlier term. However, since everyone at my new library uses the term "patron" to describe the people who are in the building and aren't staff, I've also started using the term.

**Add to that the fact I'd had to run around looking for him - twice - because he'd left stuff in my department, and then seemed to have very little idea what it was he was looking for.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

It's Saaaaarsgaaaaaarrrrrd!

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day!

You need to watch this video of a pirate's convention.


(Edited to add: D'oh! Thanks for the catch, John! No wonder I had such a hard time finding it! And the Sarsgaard SARS-guard skit was hilarious.)

Monday, September 18, 2006

I wish The Cranberries would shut up already

I did a stupid thing yesterday, despite taking every possible precaution to prevent what happened last night from happening.

I watched a scary movie, 28 Days Later. It was the middle of the day, the sun was shining, and I had all the blinds and windows open. I could see the kids playing across the street, riding their bikes around, and laughing and having fun. I planned to watch other non-scary movies after it to lessen the impact, but to no avail.

The movie was good. It was really good - I'd consider watching it again sometime. The most graphic thing about it was when the Infected* vomited blood (note to my mother and sisters: don't watch this movie. One word: ew.) Other than that, I was okay with the ending, and liked the alternate endings, especially the radical alternative ending.

The problem began around 11, when I started getting ready for bed. There was thunder and lightening, and when that passed, it was very quiet in the neighbourhood. I'm not used to that kind of silence; in my apartment, I was on a busy four-lane road, near an ambulance and fire dispatch centre, and above a bar, so there was always a lot of noise, even early in the morning. Here, in a residential area, it's oh so quiet - too quiet. I lay there with my eyes wide opening, knowing that it was just a stupid movie, but unable to shake the fear that someone was going to come bursting through the bedroom door. Nightmares would have been a relief because it would have meant I slept.

I did drop off eventually, and snapped awake a couple of times. Around 4am, crazy singing dude with headphones** wandered by, and it was oddly reassuring. If CSDWH can wander around the city unassaulted by violently ill people intent on killing, then surely all must be well.

* They weren't really zombies, were they? More like plague victims.
** Crazy singing dude with headphones is this youngish guy who wanders around wearing these huge headphones, carrying a discman, and singing along at the top of his lungs, usually off key. I think he's harmless - he doesn't seem to be headed anywhere specific, but he always looks like he's headed somewhere with a purpose.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Friday night it was Tim Horton's and "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart"

But I didn't dork out that hard because there were two really hot guys there, and heaven and hell forbid I act like myself (or someone weirder) in the presence of hotness. So there.


Unpacking has progressed nicely, but it's come to a scretching halt because I can't find the pegs to hold the shelves in one of my bookcases. I know I packed them, and I've found the pegs for all the other bookcases except that one. I've also found all the stuff around where I am certain I last saw them. The good news is that they are here somewhere. When I went back to clean the place, I didn't see them, and I looked in every cupboard and drawer and on every shelf before I left, so the only possible explanation is that they are already in this house.

The bad news is that they are here somewhere. Since I've already found the stuff that was around them and similar to them, and have looked in the all the possible containers that I might have put them in, but haven't turned them up yet, I'm running out of possible places they could be. It's one of those things where if I spend too much time thinking about it, it will drive me bananas, get frustrated, and accomplish nothing. If I stop thinking about where they might be, it's possible they'll turn up. Eventually.

My grandparents are here. Yay!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Yes, that was me dorking out to "Afternoon Delight" in Canadian Tire tonight*

So tired. But in a good way. Loving the job, even though there's so much to catch up on.

Really, I should have been cleaning and unpacking tonight because my grandparents are coming to visit on the weekend. Instead, I posted pictures of the interior of my house (my house!) and played around with Vox (meet my alter ego, Girl Tuesday). But they're not coming to see the mess - they're coming to see me!**

(Incidentally, the pictures were taken the morning my stuff arrived, before the movers got here. That's why there's a lack of furniture.)

And happy belated birthday to Dave. When the doctors said you'd never make it to 31, they were wrong - it's the thirst for revenge, not the iron lung, that's keeping you alive.

* The snappy title is to make up for a decidedly unsnappy post. But it's true - I did dork out when I heard it.
** The mess is just a happy bonus.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

All the leaves are brown

One last thing... I cleaned up the balcony yesterday, which means I had to disassemble my little garden. The outcome:

The Winners

Newton Pulsifier the 6th - the little ivy that double its size over the course of the summer. His tendrils are long, and there are a few more.

Spyder - the spider plant is growing a spider, or one of those shoots with a bunch of leaves on it. He's much healthier than when I bought him at the market.

The Lavender Ladies - they've bloomed once, and they're starting to go through a second growth spurt.

The Roses - I am beyond shocked that I didn't kill them. Not only are they not dead, right now they're going through a third flowering cycle (there were flowers and buds when I got the plant, which died off a few weeks later; two weeks later there were new buds, two weeks of flowers, then two weeks dormant. Now there are buds again.) I'm bringing this plant with me on the weekend, only because I don't want to miss the flowers again.

The Jade plant - Once I took it inside because it was starting to look sunburned outside, it popped out a whole bunch of buds. It's doing quite well.

The Orchid Cactus - Last count, there were six little stubby nubs on the ends of the "branches" (what do you call those on cacti?)

The Losers

The Herb Tarleks - Sadly, none of them made it. The basil never did as well as it had the previous year, nor did the mint. The sage never really took off, and the rosemary always looked pissed. When I got back from my last road trip, which was only a few days, they'd all given up the ghost, despite having been watered before I left. Alas.

The Kramers - Also sadly, the cosmos never really took off. They flourished briefly, threw out a few flowers, and then withered and died. I like to blame it on the fact they flourished during the Inco shutdown, when they do repairs on the smokestack (which I can clearly see from my balcony), and died when they started up again, pumping soot and dust into the atmosphere again.

The Also-Rans

The Chives - Still kicking. Nothing really new there.

The Aloe - One branch fell off - I was moving it, and it got knocked askew. It didn't fall off right away, but it started turning brown, so out it went. Other than that, it's doing fairly well.

The Portulaca Twins - Lovely. They pumped out flowers all summer, mostly scarlet ones, but occasionally orange, fucia or pink. However, it was starting to look like a tanned-and-leathery old woman who wears velour jumpsuits, gaudy jewelry and too much makeup: once they were beautiful, but now they're compensating for something. In this case, it was the colourless leaves and wilting. So even though I ended up throwing them out, I'm happy they did so well over the duration of the summer.

House proud

I got a call at 10:30 this morning saying everything had gone through, and the house is now officially mine.

I'm excited. I'm scared. I'm so looking forward to this.

On Tuesday, the realtor and I did a last walk-through of the house. The family who lived there had already moved out, and had left me the sweetest note (we both "awww!'d" over it). Saturday I head down with my trusty sidekick, Karen T., and a week's worth of stuff. We'll clean, we'll put down contact paper on the cupboard shelves and drawers, and maybe we'll paint (or at least get the paint, and I'll paint during the week).

All the utilities have been switched over, so there will be lights and water. The phone won't work until Tuesday, so I'll be relying on my cell phone for a few days.

Packing is almost finished. There's little things that need to be done which probably won't get done until the movers show up, but I can live with that. What will be tough to live with is what I'm going to do with myself when the cable is shut off here (tomorrow, hopefully). No television (even though there's nothing on worth watching - I just like knowing Food TV and Space are there if I'm bored) and, worst of all, NO INTERNETS!!! Whatever shall I do with myself? Read, I suppose.

Tomorrow, a little bit of running around, some laundry, and packing the rest of the obvious stuff.


Last night while out for a walk, I was stopped by an elderly gentlemen who wanted to know if I knew of any plumbers in the neighbourhood. Ah, long gone are those days of yore when you could wander the streets looking for skilled tradespeople and reasonably expect to find one by approaching random strangers and making an inquiry.


I'll be back sometime next week, y'all. Have a good long weekend!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Boxed in

And so the packing continues. I'm at the point where I think I've packed things I need because I can't find them, so it's the only explanation I will accept. I'm also looking for things I know I have but I can't find them, but I don't remember packing them. Like my string of paper butterflies from Peir 1 - certainly not a big ticket item, but they were pretty and added colour to a room. Also, the postcards I promised J. - one minute they were on the fridge, the next, BAM! Gone!

There are also piles of things that haven't been packed yet because everything they should have been packed with have already been packed. For instance, there's a collection of knick-nacks on the table behind my laptop, some breakable, some not, which need boxing up soon. The big problems is that all the boxes I have at the moment are huge, so they'll have to wait until I find smaller boxes.

Also to be done - sorting through the accumulated papers and correspondence from the last two and some years. I have a shiny new shredder to help get rid of the sensitive stuff, and folders to file the rest of it. I need to spend a day on stuff like that, and tomorrow's looking wide open.

The part of this whole production which is driving me batty is the piles of stuff that are everywhere, from on my bed to all over the kitchen, by the front door, and several spots around the living room/dining room. I want to pick them up, but they need to be packed just not right away, so there's not much point putting them away if I'm just going to take them out again shortly, is there? (Did that make any sense?)

What I'd like is for someone to come over and help me figure out what's left to do, and then spend an hour or two helping me do it. Mostly, it's packing up the rest of the stuff in the kitchen that isn't food, the bedroom, the bathroom (which is tiny and won't take more than 20 minutes*), and the books - which, yes John, I am packing, but not until the end!

For now, the biggest decision I want to make is when I'm going to boil the corn I got at the market for dinner, and whether to make peach crisp with the peaches I also got, or to eat the peach pie I brought back. It's a race too close to call at the moment...

* Famous last words.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Madonna says, "Holiday!"


This weekend was spent visiting Owen Sound and at my parents, and it was very re-energizing. Friday I went to Owen Sound to see Rachelle's boyfriend play at Summerfolk. It was a spectacular concert in a neat outdoor venue - the amphitheater was made of rock and grass, and you could either sit on the rock or set up your lawn chairs and sit on the grass levels. The four of us (me, sister, sister's boyfriend's mother, and friend-to-all) walked to the concert with our chairs and jackets and, in our case - knitting. Of course, we made the requisite stop for junk food before carrying on, and arriving just as Joel and friends got on stage.

Hungry Life

During the show, Rachelle and I managed to get quite a bit of knitting done, although it started getting too dark shortly after 8:30 to see much.

Killing two birds...

(Me with my wrist warmer and Rachelle with her hat.)

All the performers were amazing - I'd be hard pressed to say who my favourite was, but I have a soft spot for Jory Nash's "Spaz Loves Weezie." The African Guitar Summit, who were that evening's headliner, were outstanding.

Sadly, I had to miss the rest of the weekend concert. Saturday I headed home for the going away party of a cousin who's heading to university in the fall. It was fun hanging out with the family again, and I finally found out where the scar in my left eyebrow came from - it's not very big, but I didn't know how it got there.(I tripped and hit my head on the corner of a chair at my aunt and uncle's house when I was just wee.)

The rest of the weekend until Wednesday was spent hanging out at my parents, reading books, knitting, watching movies with my mother, playing with the cats, and baking. Or at least, helping to bake by staying out of the way or cleaning up afterwards. I came back to Sudbury with a load of stuff, including chicken cacciatore, bread, cookies, dried peaches, cherry tomatoes from the neighbour's garden, and a peach pie.

(See how I'm making all those lists up there? It's because I refuse to make a list of all the things I need to do before next weekend in case I forget to put something on the list, and therefore forget to do it at all. So I'm making lists of other things. Everything is sort of floating around my head, but I know it's there and I'm not too worried about forgetting anything. Really, I should make a schedule of what still needs to be done and when - it's not really a list, more like an outline.)

Coming back to Sudbury was hard, not only because I didn't want to go back and face the rest of the paperwork and the stack of dirty dishes, but also because it's going to be a while before I get home again, and it was also probably the last time I'll be heading home down the 69. Plenty of pit stops were made at such exotic locations as the McDonald's rest stop in Barrie (to finish I Am Not Myself These Days and use the washroom), the Sobey's in Parry Sound (to get something to eat), and the new visitor's information centre in French River (it's seriously cool - you should stop there sometime!)

Days until I get the new house: 6, 5 by morning.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Today was my last official day at my most recent place of work.

What was left of the farewell cake

However, as I had taken the last two days off as vacation, and I didn't really need to go in for anything on Monday and Tuesday, I've actually been off since last Friday. So, between now and the first week of September, I'm footloose, fancy-free, and at loose ends.

Monday I started re-watching Firefly, including commentary where applicable, and finished it up Tuesday. The intention was to watch Serenity some night this week, but that hasn't happened, so I'll leave that for next week. I've also done some running around, including a trip to my new place of work for training session. Tomorrow I leave for another trip, but there's no rush to be back by a certain time.

The rest of my time has been spent preoccupied with packing. I've deluded myself into thinking I'm well on my way, but if I spend too much time thinking about what needs to be packed versus the number of boxes I have at my disposal (at present), it's a little overwhelming. All I know is that the books will be the last thing packed in order to save the boxes (although I need to make a list of what still needs to be packed). I may be okay with what I have, but it doesn't stop me from fretting about it.

Speaking of books, I've been doing a take-no-prisoners weeding of the collection. I cheated a little on the "no packing books" rule so I could disassemble the bookcase the paperbacks are on*, and put a whole bunch of books in the pile to give away**. It will also give me a chance to start fresh with trying to keep track of what I have in my collection.

Other news:

I finished knitting a pair of mittens I started in April. The problem was that I kept casting on the wrong number of stitches for the second mitten, then got frustrated and walked away for a while. It took a little over a day to finish it once I cast on the correct number of stitches. There's enough yarn to make a scarf and maybe a hat. I've also started another pair of wrist warmers, and would start socks if I had the right number of needles (most patterns call for five needles, and I only have four in any given size. Which makes me wonder - I used five needles for the Sockapalooza socks. Where did the fifth needle come from, and where did it go?)

The sidebar is horribly out of date, and the template needs updating. My hope is to do something with the template next week, but I see that Blogger is making some changes, which would make things like updating the template and adding labels, easier. Woo!

I still haven't unpacked from my last road trip, which had its shares of highs and lows. I guess I should do that, shouldn't I?

*Except I couldn't find the allen key to unscrew the screws, and the other five I have are all too big or too small. Damn you Ikea for not sticking to a standard screw size!

**They're in a green collapsible crate, which people dig through when they come over. It's a win-win situation: I get rid of books I don't want/need anymore without having to take them anywhere, and my friends get new reading material they can pass on to someone else when they're finished with it.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Important reminder for November

Okay, this year you can't accuse me of not bringing this to your attention sooner!

Don't forget: NaNoWriMo starts in... two and a half months! Now would be a good time to start hashing out a plot, getting your characters together, or (in my case) editing last year's story if you're just going to continue on with what you wrote last time.


Over the past two years and many, many road trips, I've been lucky enough to drive several different rental cars. Lucky because it's sort of like being able to take the car on an extended test drive. Sure, a trip around the block is fun, but it doesn't really tell you a lot about fuel consumption, or uphill acceleration, or how conveniently located all the knobs and switches are.

So far, the worst car I've driven has been the Pontiac Grand Am. Twice, I've had this kind of car, and both times I've found the seats to be uncomfortable and the dashboards confusing. I can't remember if this was a problem the first time I drove one, but the last time I drove a Grand Am (on the trip to Manitoulin), there was no cruise control (which sucks). Also, the cupholders were poorly placed, the steering wheel didn't tilt back far enough, and acceleration was sluggish.

I liked the Nissan Altimas - good design, roomy, generally nice rides. The first time I drove one, way back on my very first road trip, I ended up parked beside an Altima which was identically to the one I was driving, except for the license plate, at a hotel. I walked out the next morning and had no clue which one was mine.

This trip, I have a Seabring, which I'm loving; while I doubt I'd own one myself, this one is lovely. Lots of room, clean dashboard, and superior acceleration, even on hills. The sound system is nice, too.

(Which brings me to one of my favourite/most annoying features - the automatic volume adjust. This is the feature where the volume of the radio adjusts to how fast you're driving. If you're driving down a city street, it's normal, and if you're driving down the highway it gets louder to compensate for the sound of the wind and engine. I loved this feature, and have only had it on one or two cars; however, I sometimes find it annoying because you keep having to adjust the volume manually if there's heavy traffic and it's stop-and-go.)*

* Oh lord, this just won the "most boring post ever" contest on my blog. Clearly, I need to write about something else. Give me a sec...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The party is this Sunday

For whatever reason, I thought today was the two-year birthday of this blog. It's not - it's on... Sunday? The 13th, at any rate. Start thinking about what dish you'll bring to the party - it's a pot luck and BYOB. I'm making waffles and chocolate haystacks, and I have a couple of bottles of wine, some champagne, and several bottles of Sleeman's Honey Brown Lager.

In other slightly boring weekend news, the weekend was terrif. The best moment was watching a hummingbird chase a swallow around the yard. I love watching the hummingbirds - sure, they're pretty and delicate and little, but man oh man do they ever have a Napoleon complex. As soon as they catch sight of another hummingbird at the trumpet vine or any other plant in a 100 metre radius, bam! It's ON! So cute!

Anyways, tomorrow is my last road trip. I'll be gone until Friday, so behave. And also congrats to Doctor Beth, who is probably out celebrating her brand spanking new Ph.D. in Human Nutrition. I suspect she's out conducting her ongoing ARM research right about now* - she's a real go-getter, that one.

* Alcohol-related meningitis.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Brain goo

My brain has turned into goo and has run out my ears. In addition to finishing up projects at work, trying to read the handbook for new job, mentally prepping for not one, not two, but three road trips in the next two weeks, I'm also trying to make sure all the i's are crossed and t's are dotted on the paperwork necessary for me to become a homeowner.

That's right. Home. Owner. Savour it - take a sip, taste it, roll it around your mouth and then spit it into the discreet spit bucket because, like fine wine at a tasting, you don't swallow it. You just sample it and move on to the next glass of overpriced, fermented grape juice.

(Oh, have I mentioned it's hot? And humid? So everyone - sing it with me: "It's not the heat, it's the humidity." Very good. You in the back over there - yes, you - were a little flat, but it just added to the overall harmony. Nice!)

So, because apparently the weird is not just confined to me and mine, I give you... kittens!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Manitoulin dreaming

Just got back from the penultimate road trip, but alas - no pictures. No photograph could have done justice to the wonderland that is Manitoulin Island. There's a reason the Natives believed Manitou resided there - it is gorgeous. There wasn't a single unlovely vista or place to be found, and believe me, I drove the width and breadth of that place, and I didn't find it. Every house had a lovely garden out front, every lawn was neatly kept and every property looked well-tended. I was charmed by just about everything - the rolling hills? Charmed. The brown cows? Charming. The grass growing out of the cracks in the roads? Charmed. The kid who tossed his empty pop bottle into the street? Well, him I wanted to beat the snot out of, but the rest of the town was positively adorable.

Monday I was in Gore Bay, and had lunch at a pretty neat cafe. That evening, I caught a play with the owner of the B&B I stayed at (charming!). Tuesday I visited Kagawong, also called Billings - the library is tiny, but surrounded by trees and overlooks the bay. And there's a fabulous chocolate shop, as if you needed another reason to visit. Then I went to Mindemoya (so much fun to say!) also called Central Manitoulin, Manitowaning* which is also called Assiginack, and Tehkummah which is still Tehkummah, no matter who you ask. Today it rained, but it didn't make Little Current (aka Northeastern Manitoulin) any less charming.

And so I arrived home to deal with rental cars, unpacking to repack for the weekend, realtors, a lack of groceries, and sticky humidity. Ugh.

(I should also add I was amazingly productive and got six book reviews done. Now they're posted, so go read! Only twelve to go before I'm caught up!)

*I kept wanting to call it Manitouwadge, which is somewhere north of Marathon. Which is to say, absolutely nowhere near Manitoulin Island.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

You guys are awesome!

Thank you so much to everyone for your congratulations and best wishes! It was much appreciated and gave me a little happy boost this week, which has been largely good anyways. I'll try and keep you updated about what's going on, but I don't want to become one of those people who blogs endlessly about one thing, like cute cat tricks of or George Bush.

(Edited to add: hey, who's to say that Bush doesn't know any cute cat tricks?)

(And for Doris, North Bay is about 130km east of Sudbury, where I am now. Both cities are roughly 400km north of Toronto, and 350-400km west of Ottawa.)

Okay, one of the drunken idiots at the bar downstairs is blaring Vegas-era Elvis. That's one thing I think I'm not going to miss once I move, but I'll probably end up missing anyways.

So, I've finally got the pictures from everything edited and posted, and will be writing about them shortly. I know you've all been waiting with baited breath to hear about the whirlwind weekend following my successful job interview, and now you have to wait no longer! (Wait - does that sentence make sense?)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

One Rebecca leaves town, another Rebecca comes to town

(Subtitled: Things didn't start getting weird until after the breakdancing)

The very same day I found out I got the North Bay job, Steve's friend Bex (short for Rebecca) found out she got a job in Sudbury, which meant the weekend was spent lurching from one celebration to another.

Friday night, the three of us plus Karen went to The Laughing Buddah, where we laughed and talked and toasted for quite some time. It was a lovely evening, and no one got too cold.

Saturday morning I ran some errands, and while doing so, I got a call to meet the group at the lake to go swimming. Ran home, shaved my legs, and ran down to the lake. There's a great public beach on the Laurentian University grounds which (apparently) no one knows about because if they did, the place would be swamped. The water is nice, the sand is great, and the beach is huge. We sat around for a while, but I can only take so much unplanned and unfocused sitting around (which is why I knit - I can't watch TV without doing something with my hands). It was decided that, rather than scatter to the four winds for supper before going home to get ready for the concert that night, we'd go to Steve's for supper. While waiting for the lasagna to cook, euchre was played - and my reputation as a somewhat competitive player came back to haunt me.

(See, Karen, Steve, Jeff and I had played a few hands while we were at the conference in Thunder Bay. I think I was a little too verbose about winning both games we played. Oops.)

After a lovely dinner, I went back to my place for a nap and a shower. Around 10, which is normally getting close to bedtime for me*. The opening band, The Elephant Band, came on at 11, and they were awesome. The mother of the bass player (*swoon*!)*** was sitting at the table in front of us, bopping along and dancing in her seat.

The main act came on at around midnight, and they were... words fail me. I think you have to see Zuul's Evil Disco in action to understand why they defy description. Think Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem get into a car accident with The Red Hot Chili Peppers****, and what's left is these guys. If Zaphod Beeblebrox had a talk show, they would be the house band. The show was loud and totally funky, and the whole audience got into the act. How can you not love a band who has a song about pancakes, and another one called "What You Talkin' 'Bout, Willis?" (LOVED it!) Tragically, since I was hosting breakfast the next morning, I left around 1:30 and missed the breakdancing***** - bummer.

Sunday morning everyone was coming over for waffles at 11, and I discovered at 10:15 I didn't have any baking powder. I managed to dash to the grocery store, grab a container and make it home before everyone arrived. The waffles were great, but it was (as usual) the company which was stellar. After we finished eating, we painted canvases I'd picked up at the dollar store; the art portion of the morning served two functions: to stretch our creative muscles, and to provide me with art to hang around this place. Two birds, one stone.

Karen and Steven both had Monday off (me? Not so lucky), and I got a call at work asking if I would like to meet them at Red Lobster for supper? Hey, why not? It was a great way to end the weekend.

(The pictures from the concert are here. The pictures of the artists and their work are here.)

*I'm an old lady, see.**
**If I'm old at 30, what am I going to be at 80? Decrepit? Mummified?
***The bass player, not his mother.
****Originally I had Bootsauce, but I think I'm the only person who remembers them.
*****When I told my mother this, she said, "And that's a bad thing?"

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

In the eternal struggle of Brain vs. Body, it's the drunken asshole who wins every time

Last night at around 12:30am, there was a commotion at the bar next door, whose patio is overlooked by my balcony and windows. And because the air was still last night, I could hear everything like it was next door. Shouts were heard and names were called.

My Brain starts poking my Body.

Brain: "Hey - I think there's going to be a fight! Can we go watch?"
Body: ""
Brain: "C'mon! Please?"
Body: "zzzzzzzzz"

A few minutes later, more names were called, manhood was called into question, and challenges were issued.

Brain: "Wake up! We're going to miss it!"
Body: "Shut. Up. We're getting up at 5:30am so we can do six hours of driving tomorrow. I need sleep. I don't need to watch a couple of idiots pound away at each other."
Brain: "You never let us have any fun!"
Body: "Fun? You call that fun? Just please shut up and go back to sleep."
Brain: (sulks)

Not long after that, there was the sound of glass being broken.

Body: "Okay, this I gotta see."
Brain: "Yay!"

Unfortunately, I couldn't see anything because of the trees at the edge of the property, but I did see a number of people being dispersed. Fortunately, Brain and Body got over their disappointment easily, and fell back to sleep almost immediately.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Movin' movin' movin'...

In my universe, a month is really short. Therefore, the fullness of time has arrived and I can tell you the good news.

(Before I do, you should know the delay in any real posting is due to the heat frying my brain. The other part is that there are a shitload of pictures to edit and post, and the going has been slow. I also have three drafts in the works - one about recipes, one about my plants which aren't dead yet [yay!], and one about last weekend.)

So, I'm moving. And the story isn't quite as exotic as some would have you believe. I'm not going anywhere as cool (literally) as some, or as exotic as others, but it's a move nonetheless. And a new job.

Look out North Bay, here I come!

(The sea monkeys and the chopsticks were red herrings - sorry!)

I'm moving there to take over the Head of Information Services at the public library, which is exciting for many reason. Firstly, it's a move back into a public library, which I've been missing for a while now. Secondly, it's a really cool job, and my predecessor has been doing interesting things which I hope to continue and expand upon. And thirdly, whenever someone asks me what I do, and I respond that I'm a librarian, and they ask me what library I work at, I won't have to give them the song and dance that brings any further conversation to a crashing halt: "Well, I don't work in a library per se; rather, I work on behalf of libraries in Northern Ontario to provide services and training, help them do programming, and assist them with any technology-related issues." Usually, I've lost them by "per se."*

So, if posting is more sporadic and spastic than usual, you'll know why.

*Maybe it's the use of "per se." Perhaps I should have found a different way of saying it.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Is it Tuesday yet?

I owe you a post about the weekend, in which we sworn in a new member to the Inco 89. There was laughing, drinking (exept for those who were driving, of course!), dancing, singing, sunning, swimming, and, of course, waffles. No gathering is complete without waffles. And forced art projects. Good times indeed.

However, I will share one tidbit from the weekend, which I think is finally over: if you're wearing flip-flops, it's probably not a good idea to stand at the edge of the mosh pit. Just sayin'.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

You're such a tease!

There's one thing about blogging that bugs me: Bloggers who tell you they have really great news or really bad news, but they can't tell you right now - come back in some specified time period and all will be revealed. Why do that? Why tease me with the promise of a happy story or a tale of woe, and then tell me to come back later to hear it?

I don't think it's to make people come back and read you - people read your blog because:
  • they like you already;
  • they're related to you and this is the only way they'll know what you're up to (Hi Pepe! Hi Uncle David, Rachael, Denise, Mike, Rachelle!);
  • they hate you and are eagerly awaiting your demise;
If there's a reason you can't say anything about the details, then don't even hint at it. I suppose if you don't have time to write a proper entry (i.e. you're about to give birth and need to get to the hospital), then you could be excused from that, but at least give us more than an unspecified reason for joy/sorrow. Give us hints!

That being said...

I have good news. I can't tell you about it right now. Come back in a month and all will be revealed! (Here's a hint: it involves chopsticks, sea monkeys, two bottles of Rebel Yell, and a move.)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Excuse me, Waiter - there appears to be a Smurf in my soup

Well, that was a fun weekend, which I need another week to recover from. Or at least another week just like it. We didn't do much, but there was a hell of a lot of driving involved. Between Saturday and today, I've driven or been inside a car for over 15 hours. In the last three weekends, I've put at least 1800km on my car. (That reminds me... must get oil changed...)

To top it all off, I've been exceptionally worn out, partly from the driving, but partly from the frustrating nightmares.

Nightmare #1 (sometime last week): I'm in an airport, and I'm trying to get to my plane, which is leaving imminently, but I can't find the gate. And then I try to use an ATM, but it's asking me for confirmation numbers and departure times and gate numbers that I don't know or have. There's a line of people behind me, and they're rolling their eyes and taping their feet, and I'm frustrated because I need to get the money out to buy the ticket, but I need ticket information to do this, and no one will help me. Finally, I get to my gate (how? I don't know) and there's a delay because there are these stunt fliers who are trying to do tricks around planes which are trying to take off. I want none of this, and when the captain announces he's going to depart anyway, I start trying to tell him that this is very dangerous, and he's risking everyone's lives, and maybe he should wait, but he's just looking at me, all bemused, and nodding. "Riiiiiiiiight..." says the captain, and tries to take off anyway. I start pleading with anyone who will listen to convince the captain this is a bad idea, and I'm getting more and more upset, but no one notices.

I woke up, gasping for breath.

Nightmare #2a (last night): I'm walking across a lawn and I notice a lot of spider legs on the ground, and I realize this means there are tarantulas around. In reality, I'm not wild about them, but in my dream, I'm hysterical. I'm running across the lawn, screaming and crying, and when I realize there's one on my leg, I flat out panic. I'm standing on a counter to get away from the big, bad dream tarantulas (because... seriously, in my dream they're freakin' huge - like the size of my head), still screaming, and I'm desperate for someone to save me now. There doesn't appear to be anyone around, when a voice asks me just what the hell it is that I'm doing. "There are SPIDERS!!! And they're HUGE!!! And I don't like THEM!!!" I sob. "Well, they're just tarantulas, and they're more afraid of you than you are of them." Two things, Stupid Dream Voice:
  • "X is more afraid of you than you are of it" is the least useful platitude to say to someone who is having a complete and utter breakdown. It ranks right up there with, "Suck it up" and "It wasn't meant to be."
  • Obviously, I've move waaaaay past Rational Land and am well into Loosing My Mind Scared Territory. Perhaps you might want to calm me down some before talking to me like I'm an idiot?
Of course, Stupid Dream Voice doesn't stop there. "Besides, there are better things to worry about." "LIKE WHAT?" I scream. "Like the tornados?" it says.*

Interlude: Now, if my mother and grandfather ever corner you to tell you stories about me when I was a child, run. Seriously - they fight dirty, so be careful. Otherwise, if you don't get away in time, you'll have to hear about how as I child, while I was terrified of volcanoes (specifically Mount St. Helens), earthquakes and other natural disasters, I read almost every book in existence about them. Maybe I thought knowing about natural disasters would mean that I could avoid being in one, which seems ridiculous now but made sense when I was ten.

My biggest fear, once I realized there were no major fault lines or volcanoes in Southern Ontario, were tornadoes, because it was entirely possible that my house could be flattened by a tornado. I couldn't watch The Wizard of Oz because that whole bit with the tornado scared the living crap out of me. There were major tornados in Edmonton and Barrie when I was a kid, and I hid in the basement every time there was a thunderstorm after that.

All this to say that the dream got worse....

Nightmare #2b (last night, again): All of a sudden, I jumped off the counter and ran into the living room, where all of my immediate and most of my extended family (including relatives from Down East), were sitting around talking and laughing. Through the big picture window, I could see the tornado, which was big and rapidly approaching. I try to get everyone's attention and tell them to get into the basement, but no one seems concerned. I have the basement door open, and I'm hollering and crying and begging everyone to get into the basement because the tornado is coming, and I know it's going to destroy the house; gradually, they start moving towards the basement, but my dad is telling everyone that it's going to be okay, so no one is hurrying, but I'm still sobbing and begging everyone to hurry up. Of course, not everyone makes it into the basement, and of course, the tornado hits the house. The house is destroyed, and everyone, except my dad and I and everyone who made it into the basement, has disappeared. Dad looks sad and says to me, "Oh, that's too bad. Both your computers and the external hard drive were destroyed." And I scream at him, "SOD THE FUCKING COMPUTERS!!! WHERE DID EVERYONE GO?"

Again, I wake up gasping for breath.

And these are just the ones I remember. There have been several dreams like this over the past month, where I'm trying to get someone to help me or listen to me and no one is interested or takes me seriously. It's so frustrating, and it's stressing me out in my sleep. Maybe my subconscious is telling me to let go? I don't know - these things I'm stressing out about in my dreams seem like pretty big things, and it's not like I'm sweating the petty things.**

Any suggestions?

* (It wasn't said, but the "Duh" was totally implied.)
** Corollary: don't pet the sweaty things.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Update on the fly

I realized I didn't post anything about my garden last weekend, and it's unlikely I will again this weekend, since I'll only have access to dialup. The short story goes something like this: there are no more flowers on the roses, the portulaca have several new flowers of buds between the two of them, the cosmos are going to explode into flower any day, and the sage seems to be doing better.

My kitchen is a mess, and I haven't done laundry in a while. There's nothing I can do about either right now, so I have to let it go, even though it's stressing me out to the point where I didn't sleep well last night.

Who ordered all the rain? Couldn't you have spaced the delivery a little more evenly? It's poured rain here every day this week. On the other hand, it's been a lot cooler this summer than it was last year. So far.

'Scuse me a sec... my porridge is beeping in the microwave. I've been making it with vanilla soy milk lately, and it's actually not vile.

I'm still trying to decide if I should accompany my mother when she drives my sister back to Owen Sound on the weekend. On one hand, it's going to be a round trip all in one day, so that's almost eight hours of driving on top of the 5.5 hours it takes to get home tonight, and the 5.5 to go back to Sudbury on Tuesday. On the other, maybe I'll get to share the driving! The one sure thing that will convince me to do it is if I were offered some sort of incentive, like, say..... a stop at DQ on the way back?

More consistent posting next week! In the meantime, happy Canada Day/happy Independence Day!

Husky flag

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

My mind is a strange place to live in

Here are some phrases that have gone flitting through my head in the last two weeks. I've wanted to write blog posts around them, but alas, nothing is forthcoming, so I'm just putting them out there.
  • Set phasers on "Maim!"
  • Beef and chocolate are two great tastes that probably don't taste great together.
  • I wonder if Rachel Ray would be so perky if she switched to decaf crack.
  • And that's when reality and I parted ways.
  • Speedo Guy was in the elevator last night, but he wasn't wearing a speedo.
  • Why weren't we advised about the addictive properties of funk?
  • Captain, request permission to kick your ass.

I do have knitting updates. I started knitting a pair of mittens a few weeks ago, and got the first one done in less than a weekend. It's the second mitten that's given me issues - I've started knitting it twice, only to get past the thumb and realize I cast on the wrong number of stitches (too many, then too few). So, to avoid further frustrations, I'm knitting some squares for Cynthia's Warming Grace project. Then I went on a stitch marker-making frenzy a few weeks ago, and I have some markers for her prize bin, too.

Okay, I'm tired now. Off to sleep!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A librarian, a priest, and a whole bunch of graduates walk into a bar...

Well, that was a delightful weekend. I went home Saturday morning, which I normally hate doing because then the whole day feels shot. Not this time for some reason. Maybe it was because I got to be an Only Child for the whole weekend - woo-hoo! Anyways, Saturday wasn't all that exciting, except that my mother and I watched Nanny McPhee, which was adorable. Loved Colin Firth, who I'm normally "meh" about*.

Sunday morning we went to the first mass said by a former classmate of mine. He'd been ordained the day before, and the church was packed with former parishioners and family members. Given that the two of us were the biggest know-it-alls in our grade 7/8 class, it's not the least bit ironic that I became a librarian and he is now a Jesuit**.

Sunday afternoon was spent fetting and frolicking with various relatives who were either graduating from some educational institution or another (university, high school, elementary, and junior elementary) and my aunt and uncle who were celebrating a significant wedding anniversary. It was great fun, and I wish I was still there.

Yesterday was pretty quiet. I cleaned out my car, vacuuming several driveways worth of gravel out of it, and cleaning up other spills and such. Also, watching the end of the Italy-Australia game (d'oh!) and the whole long Switzerland-Ukraine game (*yawn*). Today's drive home was fraught with interruptions - I went to leave this morning, only to find that one of the barn cats had her kittens under my car, which ended with my laying on my stomach in order to grab them and put them in a box in a safer spot. Then I stopped at Ikea in Vaughn, and an hour and a half and less than $100 later, I continued on my way home.

And, because I'm a good daughter, I left my laptop with my mother for the week, since I'm going back on Friday. She's been thinking about getting one, so now she has one to play with. Which, I'm sure, will result in several phone calls to ask the ineviable questions:
  • How do I open [insert name of program]?
  • Does it have a modem?
  • Who the hell is that on the desktop picture? (Because, of course, I only remembered halfway home that I'd forgotten to change it. Duh.)***

* All the Mr. Darcy/Mark Darcy fans who are composing hate mail as you read this should just chill out.

** For everyone playing along at home who just said, "And...?" Jesuits have a reputation for being the most intellectual of all the orders. Never get involved in land wars in Asia, never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line, and never debate a Jesuit about the finer points of religious doctrine.

***Right about now, Mom is reading this on her desktop computer and glancing nervously towards the dining room, where I left the laptop, asking herself, "Do I really want to know?"****

**** Meanwhile, my sister is killing herself to get to the laptop to find out.

Friday, June 23, 2006


I just reread my last two posts, and I've realized that they suck. And I can't think of a single way to make them any better, except to say that: 1) I'm sorry I'm not up to snuff this week; and 2) I'll try to do better next time.

It's cyclical - there are times when the words are right there and they are jostling to get out. And then there are times when I can sit and stare at the screen and wonder what happened to all my ideas, which appeared to have vanished into the ether. I do have an epic/soul-baring rant or two I want to get off my chest, but I don't know if this is the venue for it. One of them has been stewing since the early spring, and has recently come up again. The other is something that's been bugging me for years.

On one hand, maybe they're getting in the way of me writing anything else. They are poised at the tips of my fingers, eager to escape through the keyboard and onto the screen, but I'm holding them back and are therefore preventing any other stories from escaping. Or mangling them badly when they do try to get out.

On the other hand, maybe I'm just being lazy. I've felt like a bump on a log the past few weeks, with just enough ambition to keep my apartment habitable (and my plants watered, of course!)

I got four books from the library this week. I read one, read the first chapter of another and decided it was crap and I'm four chapters into the third and want to cast it aside for the fourth, which is really the one that I wanted to read in the first place. But I don't really feel like doing that, either. Bleah.

This too, shall pass.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Five blisters

That's how many blisters I got in Ottawa over the weekend. Ouch. OUCH.

This being my last trip to Ottawa for the foreseeable future (my regular hosts, Julie and Randal, will be going to Japan for a year to teach English, in 36 days.) (Incidentally, did I punctuate that sentence correctly? I was trying to say "they'll be leaving in 36 days, and will be gone for a year." So why didn't I just say that instead?)

Anyhoodle, I arrived Friday night, and we didn't do much since it was quite humid and Julie and I were both tired. We did take Rion for a walk, and met some very friendly dog owners (and their dogs) in the park.

Saturday Julie and Randal had a course they had to attend, so I was left to my own devices. What started as a trip to the parking lot to pay the fee for the day ended up being a three and a half hour trip to the Byward Market, where I drank juice and iced tea, browsed in the bead store, did some damage in Lush, bought a lovely silk purse, bought strawberries (which I forgot to bring home - note to Julie: don't let them go bad!), and got lost in the Rideau Centre on my way home. Once back at the apartment, I napped, showered, and took off to meet my hosts at the Earl of Sussex (which I keep wanting to call "Duke of Earl"). I had to wear my good sandals because my sturdy ones gave me mega-blisters on the backs of my ankles.

The crowd was a lively one, and the first question I was usually asked after, "Hi! I'm so-and-so - you are?" was "Where are you teaching in Japan?" Which, when I replied in the negative, was usually followed up with, "Oh, so you're an alum - where did you teach?" I got in the habit of responding to greetings with, "Hi! Rebecca - I'm not teaching, I'm not alum - I'm tagging along with them tonight" and pointing to my hosts.

After that, we went out for dinner - and by this time, the second pair of sandals had chewed up my feet in different spots. They were thong sandals, so I have a matching pair of blisters between my toes. Aren't I lucky?

Sunday was breakfast at Eggspectations, followed by a very long drive home because I wasn't comfortable with either pair of sandals. But! The blisters are starting to fade now!

And that, my dear readers, was how I spent last weekend. This weekend - Chez Mere et Pere, La Premiere Week-end.

The management wishes to apologize for the incovenience


A couple of weeks ago, I was updating my reading list on the sidebar, and in a moment of absent-mindedness, deleted half the template. Trust me, dumb stuff like that takes talent - which I have in spades. Happily, I still had the template code backed up in a file, so I just copied and pasted the missing code into the template.

A few days later, I noticed a chunk of the template code was missing. Like, gone - completely. I thought I'd fixed the problem, but maybe I hadn't. But I was sure I had! So, copy and paste again.

The past few days, I noticed there was something odd about how the page looked, but couldn't put my finger on it until tonight. When I went to open the list of blogs and noticed the list wasn't there.


Twice, I copied and pasted, and twice, Blogger ate the code. I sent them a message about it since there wasn't anything in the help areas; but in the meantime, I had to get rid of the movie section, since the template I'm copying and pasting from still has the what I was listening to section. Whatever.

We'll see what happens now.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I am the coolest kid you know

My swag from the CBC arrived yesterday. I got a t-shirt, some stickers, and a cool sheet of magnetic words.

Here I am modeling the t-shirt:

DNTO Swag*

Thanks CBC!

*Quite possibly the cheesiest pose ever.

An earthshattering kaboom

Something just had the shit blasted out of it over near Copper Cliff.


I've felt blasts before - when I used to curl, they would be doing blasting every night around 7 in the tunnels below Copper Cliff, so I got used to the sound and the rumbling. This must have been close to the surface - it was rather loud and the jolt was pronounced. I wonder what it was?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Honey, I'm a roll of concrete clover

We'll start with the new tonight:

The spider plant has a new shoot coming out from the middle.

Spider plant - new growth

Its colour is also much better than it was when I brought it home. At first, it was a pale green, but it's a much healthier green now.

The basil is getting stronger. I may need to stake it up soon.


And what's the general consensus on how to pronounce it - BAH-zil or BAY-sil?

The roses continue to show off.


There are a few new buds coming along, but not nearly enough to replace the ones which are finished now. Ah well.

On a down note, the flowers on the one portulaca are finished. I pinched one of the dead flowers and the water was dark scarlet. There's one new bud on that plant, and another new one on the other.

The sage plant doesn't appear to be all that happy.


The picture's kind of blurry, but some of the leaves are turning yellow. I may turn the planter around and give them some more time in the sun.

Even more HCYWAPO - Ottawa Edition

(At the Lieutenant's Pub Pump* oops!)

Me: Hey Randal [Julie's boyfriend], what's that you're drinking?
Randal: It's a Sweet Tart.
Me: Oh well - you are what you drink!
Randal: In that case, it's a Grumpy Motherf**ker.

I'll try and write about the rest of the trip sometime in the next few days.

* Which, for some reason I kept calling "The French Lieutenant's Pub" much to the amusement of the locals.

Friday, June 16, 2006

More hilarious conversations you weren't a part of

(I'm not rubbing it in that you weren't a part of them, because I'm sure you would have enjoyed just as much as I did. I say it in more of a wistful tone, as if to say, "See what you're missing? Wish you were here!")

D., a friend of Lise's:

"Creamsicles? Everyone loves creamsicles! They're like the mafia - you can't say 'No' to them!"

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


In lieu of actually posting something coherent, here's a list of things.

1. I love Alton Brown. He cracks my shit right the hell up.

2. My car is giving me more grief - it appears there's a leak somewhere in the vicinity of the gas tank. There's a garage which shares the rear parking lot of my office, and someone came over and took a look at it after work tonight. He declared it safe to drive home, and suggested I drop it off in the morning for someone to have a more thorough look at. Still, it was very troubling to find this out, as I have three major trips planned over the next three weekends, and it took three of my co-workers to talk me off of the ledge at work this afternoon.*

3. It always bugs me when I have car problems because I don't know what's wrong, and I always feel like an idiot trying to explain it to the mechanic, no matter how sympathetic and patient they are. I think I understand how some of the librarians feel when they ask me computer questions and tell me they don't know anything about them.

4. There was a bit on The Sunday Edition this weekend, where Michael Enright was talking about a friend of his who came home from her niece's wedding shower in tears because the girl had decided to take her husband's last name. My initial and continuing reaction is, "Oh, get the [bleep] over yourself, honey."

5. You must go take a look at Dave's (figurative) baby, Armada (which, inexplicably, I kept writing as "Amanda"). It's a new literary journal, and there are some good stories in there.

6. If you ever find yourself in Parry Sound, you should seriously considering having lunch at Hanson's Mad Hatter Cafe. They make the best sandwiches, and the bread is fabulous.

* Granted, the ledge is more like a five foot drop off the back loading dock, and it was more along the lines of the four of hanging over the railing, trying to see if we could either smell gas or see any spots under the car.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I never promised you a rose garden

Week two! And no dead plants!

Earlier this week, I bought a sage plant to round out the Herb Tarleks.

Sage joins the lineup

I moved one of the rosemary plants forward, so both are in the front, and put the sage in the empty spot. So far, so good - both plants are doing well, and the rosemary doesn't appear to be suffering from its move.

On Thursday night, I finally planted the roses.


They're doing well so far.


Some of the buds are pink, and others are orange, but they're all pretty.


Everyone else seem to be in good shape. The lavender exploded on Monday, and now there are seven or eight flowers on the one plant. The other two have several buds.


Only one of the portulaca is flowering, but the other one has a bud.


And the rest are healthy, too.


Friday night, there was a frost warning. The temperature went down to the low single digits (!!!), so I brought all the plants inside.

Plant party!

We had a blast! We watched a couple of episodes of Angel, an episode of Supernatural, and part of a Rufus Wainwright concert DVD. There was talk of making popcorn, but no one was ambitious enough to actually get up and do it. Later, I had to get up once or twice in the middle of the night to tell them to keep the noise down, and in the morning I had to break up an argument between the basil and one of the cosmos about whether a flush beats a straight in poker (...yes?) They stayed in again last night because it was still too cold to put them out, but there was much less noise. The Lavender Ladies wanted to join in the book club this afternoon (I was hosting this time) but since they hadn't read the book, they didn't really have anything useful to contribute.

And thus ends this update.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The CBC brings me fame and fortune yet again

If you're familiar with the Saturday afternoon program on CBC Radio One, Definitely Not The Opera, you'll know about the Lost in Translation quiz. Essentially, lyrics from a song are run through a bunch of translators, and finally translated back into English. The object is to guess what the song is.

Last weekend, when Alex Trebeck was on the show, he read the translated lyrics*. I knew immediately what song it was - Elvis Costello's "Veronica" - and emailed in my guess less than 30 seconds after the bit ended. I've entered a few times before, but this was the first time I was so certain I knew what the song was.

Thursday I got an email from one of the associate producers of the show. "Just in case you're a winner, could you send us your address?" It wasn't much of a confirmation, but I did start keeping my fingers crossed.

So, this afternoon I made sure I was home before the show started, and waited anxiously to hear them announce the winners...

And I was one of the winners!

(If you were listening to the show and doubt my claim, my last name was pronounced as "La...Quoi?" Like that, with the question at the end.**)

w00t! Thanks, CBC! You rawk!

*Sorry, I wasn't fast enough to write them down today.
**As soon as there was a pause between the names, I knew it was mine. "Larocque" is a name that gets mangled on a regular basis.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I want to ride my bicycle

Everyone should go check out that crazy girl, Lisa, who is riding in the RONA-MS Bike Tour. It's a 200km trip, which is just insane under most circumstances, but she's doing it in August, when most sane people are indoors where there is air conditioning and couches on which to relax and watch TV.

Wait! She's not doing this for the hell of it, people* - it's to raise funds for the MS Society of Canada! Her goal is to raise $1000 for the charity, which is very noble and very doable. I would suggest that if you're interested in donating to the cause**, you should go read her post, follow the link, and sponsor her.

*She did last year, to which I say, "Dude! That's awesome!"
**It's tax-deductable!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

How does your garden grow?

This afternoon my mother called, but I didn't hear the phone ringing because I was on the balcony planting my new plants. "Oh, you were out in the back forty, then?" said my mother when I called her back. Ha. HA.

That said, it's starting to look pretty green out there.

General greenery

These are the small, single pots of plant, including the small clay box planter. The Lavender Ladies are doing quite well - in fact, the plant on the right is starting to flower already. Beside it are the spider plant (Spyder) and the ivy (Newton Pulsifier the 6th*). The Chives are to the right of the lavender, and they are in a separate pot so I can take them inside in the fall when it gets cold. And down front, we have the twins, the portulacas. I can't even remember what the flowers look like, so this should be interesting.

The Herb Tarleks, take two

Back by popular demand are the Herb Tarleks. Their lineup is significantly reduced due to the fact that: a) I didn't use all the herbs I planted last summer, and I felt bad wasting them, so this year I stuck with the ones I did use; and b) I waited too long to buy the herb plants and there wasn't a good selection left. Bummer. What I do have in there is two rosemary plants, two basil plants, and a mint plant. There's a space between the rosemary and the mint for something else.

The Kramers

These are the Kramers - two pots of cosmos. Get it? (They are for flanking the balcony door.)

The Rose Kennedys

Here we have the Rose Kennedys. They're 4" mini-roses which were on sale at 4 for $5. I haven't had much luck with mini-roses in the past, but I though I'd take another shot at it this summer. One thing they require is indirect sun, and I spent the day checking to see if there was anywhere on my balcony that doesn't get full sun during the day**, and fortunately, there is. The reason they're not in a pot is because I didn't have anything appropriate for them.

The Suculents

And finally, we have the suculents - the aloe, the jade, and the orchid cactus. I had them outside for a few days, but the aloe started turning brown, and the jade is red in some spots, so I took them in. The aloe has almost completely recovered, and the jade plant has a whole bunch of little buds where new leaves will grow. (For those in the know - do jade plants like full sunlight? Should I put them back outside?)

* I name all my ivy plants Newton Pulsifier, after the character in Good Omens. And yes, that does mean this is my sixth ivy plant, g/God rest the souls of the previous five.
** My apartment faces southeast-ish.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I'll show you mine

1. My Dye-O-Rama yarn came yesterday!

Dye-o-Rama yarn, from your greenery to mine!

This colourway is called Peach Sunset, and was dyed by the lovely and talented Linz of Linz Knits. Since she posted a photo of the yarn resting in her greenery, I thought I'd return the favour and show it hanging out with mine - the ivy, lavenders, and spider plants. The blue yarn is some Lorna's Laces, which I'm thinking will make a lovely cozy for Gretchen (the Mini iPod), and a square for Justin's afghan.

2. Kittens!

Love me - I'm cute!

Note to Giselle: there are more on my Flickr page.

3. Last year some time, I posted a picture I took of a double rainbow. Someone commented that double rainbows were rare. Guess what I saw last night?

Another double rainbow!

It's not as strong as last year's, but it's there.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Because I haven't burdened you with a playlist in a while

I'm stuck for something to write about tonight. I feel like writing, but I don't know what, so in lieu of me babbling about funny stories I can't tell you, here's another playlist. Think of them as my writing prompts.

I can tell you this about this list: it's a little over a year old and was one of those playlists I'd listen to on repeat for hours at a time, preferably at loud volumes.

Ray Charles - (Night Time Is) The Right Time - This song always reminds me of that episode of The Cosby Show, where Cliff is pretending to sing the song and Rudy and Vanessa are pretending to be the backup singers, and Olivia sings the "baby!" parts.

The Chemical Brothers - Leaving Home - If this song were in a movie, it would be played in the scene where the protagonist, who is morally suspect and just barely better than the antagonist, starts cutting deals with other morally suspect characters (who are normally at odds with the protagonist) to ultimately defeat the antagonist. The movie would feature many scenes set in dark alleys and sewers, and there would be characters who wear sunglasses at all times, and others who wear knitted hats and wife-beaters.

(No, I hadn't really given it much thought before I wrote it out - why do you ask?)

Mountain - Mississippi Queen - Proving that CCR and Lynard Skynard weren't the only ones who could do Southern/swamp rock. (And the Ozzy Osbourne version sucks six different kind of bad.)

The Vines - Get Free - Screamy, but fun. Not good to listen to when driving down the 400, south of Parry Sound, past where the highway goes back to four lanes after having gone down to two lanes. You tend not to notice things, like the fact your speeding just a little, but manage to slow down just in time because there's a speed trap up ahead. Not that I would ever do something like that. Nope.

Crowded House - Locked Out - Reminds me of high school, but not of anything in specific. Who cares - it's a great tune!

The Band - Up On Cripple Creek - Funky, groovy. "If I spring a leak, she mends me/I don't have to speak, she defends me." Love that line.

Beck - E-Pro - Have I ever shared my theory about Beck with you? No? Okay, here it is: once he's written all the songs for an album, he cuts all the lyrics apart, puts them in a purple velvet Crown Royal bag, and draws out one line at a time to make whole new songs. So, in order for his songs to make any sense, you have to piece them back together, like a puzzle. Except you don't have any kind of guide, like you would a puzzle where you have the picture on the box.

That said, love this song.

Beck - Que' Onda Guero - I have this picture in my mind of those cars with the hydraulic lifts that make them bounce. And - woo! Props to Yanni, who gets a shout-out at the end.

The Dandy Warhols - We Used to Be Friends - The ULTIMATE kiss-off song. It's mean and snarky, and there's no mistaking the fact that whoever this song is about is totally cut off. There is no going back after this. A great song for blasting and dancing around to, even if you're not mad at anyone. (I imagine I'm singing it to some of the snotty little bitches I went to elementary school with.) (Not you, Stacey. Or Janette. I leave it to the rest of you to figure out who you are.)

Kasabian - Club Foot - Back to the movie from the Chemical Brothers song. This would be in the same movie, but this would be the scene where the plan is being carried out. There would be lots of running down dark alleys, fistfights, and maybe a car chase or two. And at the end of the song, someone would be standing on the ledge of a building, and maybe they would jump, and maybe they wouldn't have to.

The Von Bondies - C'mon C'mon - The few times I caught the opening credits of Rescue Me, I'd always loved the song which played over them. Also a pretty good kiss-off song.

Jennifer Lopez- Get Right - What? I like this song! (My favourite part of the video is "Librarian J.Lo," the mousy character who sits demurely in the corner, with the glasses and sweater set, but is dancing on the seat by the end.)

Rufus Wainwright - Vibrate - Sweet and sad and hopeful and lonely at the same time. Borrows from Ravel's "Bolero."

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Jaques Morelenbaum, Paula Morelenbaum - Desafinado - No matter how many times I listen to this one, I can't figure out what language she's singing in. My current best guess is Japanese, but I can't be sure.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Hilarious conversations you weren't a part of

Yesterday afternoon, Steve and I were having a discussion about search engines, which culminated in a comparison of a well-known library technologist to Yoda, and how you can never mess with Yoda and expect to win. Trust me - it was funny, but it's one of those things you had to be there for.

I suppose I could recreate it, but it would require much backstory and knowing why search engines were at the top of my mind last week. By the time I got through telling you that, you'd be bored and the story wouldn't be funny anymore. So really, I'm doing you a service by not telling it to you.

However, you've now wasted a good two minutes thirty seconds or so (tops) reading about the funny story I'm not going to tell you. I'm not sure what was the bigger waste of time - telling you I'm not going to tell you the story, or telling you why I'm not going to tell you the story. In an effort to not have made your visit here an absolute waste of time ("too late!" - I heard that!), here are some other random things I can and will tell you about:

Did you ever have one of those day where you look too good to stay home? Me neither, but I was so damn close on Saturday morning, I went out and ran some errands. The net result of said errands were a spider plant, an orchid cactus, an ivy plant, and three lavender plants. All, including the jade and aloe plants I got last summer, were re-planted last night.

Which brings me to my next random point: now that the weather has improved (if you can call hot, muggy weather an improvement over -30 degree winters... I certainly do) you should expect more posts about the farmer's market and my attempts to prove once and for all that I have a green thumb.

My tooth which had the root canal in March hurts. I don't know if this is a random thing because I keep poking at it, or if there's something wrong. I'm all for waiting to see what happens tomorrow - I can make an appointment for Friday if something is legitimately wrong.

Have I mentioned I'm participating in the Dye-O-Rama swap? Well, I am. I tried dyeing three skiens of yarn, and the one that turned out the best is my favourite. I'll be sending it out to the recipient sometime this week. In the meantime, it appears that my Dye-O-Rama pal sent out my yarn today - woo-hoo! I'm looking forward to receiving it! (The other two skiens - tragically - didn't turn out they way I'd hoped. Which isn't to say that they aren't lovely and haven't grown on me and inspired me, it's just that when you're hoping for dark green and get a pale camouflage green with red streaks, you're kind of disappointed.)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Seven days (II): Shop 'till you drop

In which Our Heroine, less than twelve hours after returning from a week-long work trip, goes on two more trips in two days. How does she do it?!?!

Right! So! Where was I? Oh yes - what I did when I got home from Thunder Bay. Well, first, I unpacked, which is completely unprecedented. Normally, I let my suitcase sit in the middle of my room for no less than a week, maybe digging out my makeup bag at some point. Not this time. Then I packed for my next trip(s), which was pretty easy since it was going to be short.

The next morning, at the ungodly hour of 6:30am, I left for Toronto, where I was meeting Julie, who was visiting her parents. When I called her from Barrie at 9:30ish, I managed to surprise her (she wasn't expecting me until noon - had I known that I could have had an extra two hours sleep!). When I arrived, I was entertained by her mother, Waterlily, and got to see some pictures from her recent trip to the Caribbean.

Then it was off to the big city! We caught the subway down to the Eaton Centre, and wandered through, making the requisite stops at a couple of shoe stores. See, I have this theory - the reason we women gravitate to shoe stories is because they are our secret temples. Before we embark on any sort of shopping excursion, we need to pay homage to the shopping goddesses in order to ensure bargains galore, helpful salespeople, and good energy levels. Even though we don't always buy the shoes (there was a close-call in Rockports, though) or even appreciation the shoes (those 4-inch-heeled-lace-up monstrosities? Argh!), we must at least visit them.

After fighting our way through the crowds, we made it out to the street and down the block to the World's Biggest Book Store and the used bookstore next door (Julie - help? What's the name again?). I lucked out at the used bookstore, and found the book Hard Core Logo was based on, as well as three books about web page design.

Really, we didn't have a plan besides cruising down Younge St., hitting all the bookstores*, getting bubble tea, having dinner somewhere, and then finishing off the day at Insomnia with martinis. The highlights:

  • At Elliot's, a used bookstore on Younge, it was so quiet at the back of the store on the main level that my ears were ringing.
  • Being charmed by the elderly Greek clerk at the outdoor surplus store.
  • The very angry man who was taking out his anger on the newspaper boxes. Everyone was watching, but no one wanted to make eye contact.
  • Dinner at the ultra-hip Saigon Sister. I tried tofu for the first time, and although I didn't much care for the way it was prepared, I didn't completely hate it.
Almost 12 hours after we got on the subway, we got home again. Then bedtime, and sleep.

On Sunday, I headed to my parents' for the rest of the weekend. This was the weekend we were celebrating my grandfather's 79th birthday (it's actually tomorrow - give him some love!). Poker was played, music was made, kittens were cuddled, and much food was prepared and devoured. It was good to be home again, even if only for a little while.

And, finally, Monday I drove home and collapsed on my doorstep. Ta-da!

* We were both really excited about going to Bakka Books. Until we got to where it was supposed to be, when Julie remembered seeing it somewhere on Queen St., and I remembered reading somewhere that it had moved. Bummer!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Seven days (I): Thunder in the Bay

In which Our Heroine recounts the tale of where she was from Monday to Friday last week.

Where has the past week gone? Oh, right - it's been gobbled up by some horrible time-swallowing monster. Stupid monster!

Monday: I went to a training session at Cambrian College - it was one of those one-day course thingies. The instructor was a gent I'd met when I started up here - he's a hoot, and a huge proponent of Linux. It got me to thinking that now that I'm mostly using my laptop, I can use the old beastly desktop (love you, Big Momma!) to experiment with it.

Tuesday: Last week of conferences - finally! This week: the Northwest, in Thunder Bay. Our flight didn't leave until 1ish, but we had to be at the office, so Karen and I got rides in with Steve. Not too exciting a day - caught the shuttle, went to the airport, and flew out TBay. The three of us managed to get some pictures of the clouds and stuff. Supper was Pizza Hut, and then later, we played pool at the bar next door to the hotel. And went to the 24hr grocery store next door to that to get juice, pop, and bubble blowing kits. We're young at heart - really.

Oh! And my sock pal, Doris, got her package! Her son is adorable with the books in that picture!

Wednesday: First day of the conference. A lot of waiting - there wasn't anything major planned for that day, and there was only one scheduled event for which we had to be there. Later that evening, a few people went to the casino, but I had a nap.

Thursday: Things pick up. I convene first thing, then I present (technology planning). Interesting discussions, totally different from the discussions at the first conference. Lunch. Then! Then I got to convene the New and Emerging Technologies session, which was presented by Stephen Abram! He's every geeky librarian's guru! His presentation was fascinating, and I felt like that kid in the Far Side cartoon, who raises his hand and says to the teacher, "Can I go now? My brain is full!" Cool beans.

Closing banquet and more pool. Back to the hotel, packing, and going over my next presentation.

Friday: Second presentation (presentation skills - this one was done by another co-worker at the first conference, and I got to do it here). Helped pack up equipment and supplies to go back to the main office, then got changed out of my dress clothes and into jeans before lunch. Since we had time to spare before our flight, we took a trip out to the Terry Fox monument out on the highway, and took the scenic route along the waterfront back to the city. Quick shopping trip downtown - the under-35 crowd hit a used bookstore, and the 35+ crowd hit a home decor shop. I made out with a vogue Knitting pattern book; most of the patterns are pretty timeless, which, considering the book was published in 1999, is a good thing.

Caught the flight home, and arrived on my doorstep at 7:30pm. I mention this because it's important to part II, which is coming tomorrow.

Monday, May 15, 2006

More mail!

Dear Giselle,

The hard part - the wedding - is finally over. Now comes the easy part - spending the rest of your life with the man you love. Congratulations!

Lots of luck and blessings on the two of you!

Dear Rice,

Last time we spoke, I was kind of sad and upset with you because you were giving me "issues." I was afraid I would never be able to enjoy you again. But with some trepidation, I've been trying other things to see what happens, and you know what?

Turns out I can eat wild rice. And brown rice.

In your face!
R. :P

Dear Fabulous Life Of...

For the love of all that's good and holy, would you please stop using Missy Elliott's "Get Ur Freak On" in every single one of your episodes? I'm sick to death of it already!

Peace out,

Dear Leah McLaren,

For a long time, you've been one of my least favourite columnists, but I couldn't pinpoint the moment I went from "meh" to actively disliking you. Finally, tonight, I remembered which column it was that turn me. It was the one where you talked about the type of man who's "just gay enough."

(For those of you not interested in reading the whole thing - and I don't blame you - a man who's "just gay enough" is one who can do manly macho things, like fix cars and watch sports, but is also a good dresser, can cook, and wear pashima.)

I realize you were probably just echoing something you read, and really, I should be rolling my eyes and heaving a sigh in the general direction of the article you were quoting from. But no, you're still going to bear the full weight of my scorn because you repeated it. You made it an acceptable excuse to use when a woman gets dumped by a man who's sensitive and has a "little bit of sugar in his veins." You made it an ideal, a set of standards for women to project on every man she meets, no matter how unrealistic. I was sincerely disappointed in you.

Please join the line over there, right behind Barbara Frum Amiel (oops!) and Dr. Laura, other female columnists I have absolutely no use and respect for.

Ms. R.