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!