Wednesday, April 30, 2008

4 months down, 8 to go

Well, the year is roughly one-third over. In some ways it is hard to believe, in others it seems like it should be getting easier to think of new things for those days where nothing immediately presents itself.

Luckily, today is not one of those days. I started the day by talking with someone at Canada Revnue Agency about my tax return. (They just needed to verify some numbers from some of my forms). They must really be efficient - I filed my taxes electronically on Sunday, and they called me yesterday (Tuesday). I find that impressive, especially considering that the deadline for filing is tonight, which means this is their busiest week of the year.

And after work, I visited the Hazeldean branch of the Ottawa Public Library to return some books that are due soon.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lemon fresh

Today I softened and smoothed my feet using a mixture of lemon juice & water. Aside from feeling a little odd, I am not sure it did too much.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Well, as is usual on Mondays, today has been a busy day. However, I made time to wear a skirt to my Irish dance class. Well, actually, it is a skort - there are attached shorts. Other people in my class have done that on occasion, but I never have. Tonight is the night!

Sunday, April 27, 2008


I mostly use the front door. The back door is only used for things like gardening or taking out the garbage.
Since garbage day is Tuesday, and I haven't done any gardening this week, I haven't used the back door in a few days. Today I used the back door, and a bird immediately flew away. I looked up at the porch light, and there was a nest between it and the roof.
I don't particularly want a nest there, so I climbed up and looked in the nest to see if the bird had laid eggs yet. There are 3 eggs in the nest, so I'll leave it alone until they hatch & vacate the nest.
As you might be able to tell from the picture (taken later in the day), it's a robin's nest.
I'm a little concerned that the robin might get a little stressed today, because I'm doing laundry and hanging the clothes out in the back yard. Hopefully she'll adjust.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Yes, summer is coming

Today I helped a friend shop for an air conditioner. She doesn't have a car, and so I volunteered to drive her so she didn't have to try to carry an air conditioner on the bus. I have an air conditioner, but it came with the house, so I've never actually looked into them before today.

Also, tonight I had dinner with friends at the Ox Head restaurant. It's Vietnamese food. To my knowledge, no actual oxen were involved.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Today I watched The Last Lecture. I looked at it and said "76 minutes? Really? I don't know, but I'll start watching & see how long I'm interested."

So anyway, I just finished minute 76. In fact, 2 of my sisters called at various times during the video, and I told them both I'd call them back.

You might have heard of it. Basically, it's a computer science professor at Carnegie Melon with cancer. He's been given 2-5 months to live, and this is his "last lecture" - i.e. what would you say if you knew it was the last lecture you'd give.

It's incredible. He's an excellent speaker, and an incredibly positive & enthusiastic person. If you haven't watched it, go and do that now.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday? Must be boxing

I've talked about my love for my boxing class before.

Here's how it works.

It's actually boxing training. There are 12 stations (and a maximum of 12 people in the class) - 4 heavy bag, 4 skipping, 2 shadow boxing, and 2 speed bag. In a typical class, you do a warm up, then rotate through the stations, then do a punch out at the end (which is groups taking turns on the heavy bag). Some classes are exceptions where we do crazy things like 24 stations instead of 12, but that's usually how it works. There's no sparring in the class, which is good - I have a feeling getting hit would hurt.

The classes run on an 8 week cycle. There are 5 cycles (i.e. rounds) per year, along with a summer training round (which is a little different). This week was week 8.

Today during our warm up, I noticed one of my classmates hitting the heavy bag, so I decided to try it and I hit the heavy bag without gloves on. I hit it really lightly, and it still wasn't something I'd recommend. It turns out that foam padding is actually pretty good at protecting the hands.

Anyway, the local Don Cherrys gives free nachos to WBK students during week 8, so after class I went for nachos with some of my classmates. We also met up with some people from the class before us. It was a good time. Our mutual love of boxing definitely dominated the conversation.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Let me start by saying that I detest dried bananas.

Anyway, when I saw plantain snacks at the grocery store, I was pretty sure I would not like them. In fact, I wouldn't have bought them if I wasn't trying to do one new thing a day. Anyway, today I tried plantain snacks. They aren't bad, actually. They have a bit of an odd taste, but not enough for me to stop eating them.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I don't regularly watch a lot of TV. However, now that scripted TV is coming back, two of the 4 programs that I do watch fall between 8 & 9 on Mondays. Normally this is the kind of problem that time shifting would solve, but How I Met Your Mother doesn't seem to be on later - and I want to watch Bones when I get home from Irish dancing, so I don't want to timeshift it.

All of this is a roundabout way of saying that today I watched a TV program over the internet. (How I Met Your Mother, obviously.)

There were a few places where the sound & video paused for a few seconds, but overall it wasn`t bad. My biggest problem was that I kept wanting to check my e-amil or play freecell or something since I was sitting in front of the computer anyway.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Taking a walk

The weather is beautiful these days. In fact, it was warm enough today that work was actually quite hot. So, instead of being useful & turning down the heat, I took a break in the middle of the afternoon to take a walk around the building. The street I work in has a lot of curves, and I actually did not realize exactly how it all fits together. If I cut through the parking lot of the building next to us, for example, I am much closer to the nearest mailbox (and the nearest Tim Hortons) than I would be if I went along the road. Of course, I have not needed to go either place since I started there 6 months ago, but it is still good to know.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Today was another day of yard work. I got the front lawn raked (which, since I did the back yard yesterday, is definitely a record - usually it takes me about a month). I also continued my fight with the roots of the evergreen bush I cut down last fall. I dug one root out today that was 6 feet long - well, actually it was longer, I just cut it off at 6 feet.

Also, I looked at the website for a Canadian artist, Martina Shapiro.

And I (finally) joined linked in.

Why yes, I am procrastinating instead of doing my income tax.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


It is definitely spring here. Most of the snow is gone in the backyard. Today was 23 (Celcius) and sunny. Another sign of spring? The annual used book sale by the Ottawa Public Library, which I attended today for the first time.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Work has been busy this week. However, to celebrate the fact that we survived, a bunch of us went for lunch at The Works today. For lunch, I had an elk burger. It was good, but I think I prefer the beef. (For those who are interested in the details, I had the three ring binder burger, so that I could have both the onion rings and the die cut chips).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Just don't put me in charge of navigation

Geography is not one of my strengths. It never has been. I remember in high school listening to my dad & my sister competing to see who could name more countries in Europe. They were naming places I've never heard of. I came up with about 4.

Anyway, this is a rambling way of saying that inspired by Everyday Giving, today I played a geography game at I was able to pinpoint Manila, in the Philippines better than Florence, Italy - which is odd, since I've actually been to Florence.

As a result of my geography "skills", clean water will be donated to people who otherwise wouldn't have access to it..

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spread the net

Today I bought some mosquito nets.

They're not for me - I bought them as part of Spread the Net. It's part of a scheme to reduce the incidence of malaria by distributing mosquito nets.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Today I moved the dryer, pulled out the dryer vent, and vacuumed it. As a reward, I found several socks I was missing (behind the dryer, not in the vent).

Monday, April 14, 2008

78 books

Today I made a tower of books as tall as I am. It took 78 books.

Of those, 4 were textbooks and 8 were books I should have given away long ago. I came close to dropping my camera once, but luckily I caught it in the end.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Found a camera?

Today I looked through the pictures at I did not recognize anyone.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


I had big plans for today. Unfortunately, it is cold & rainy & thus I got lazy. However, on the way home from the grocery store, I saw a sign for an open house, so I followed the open house sign & took a new route home from the grocery store. I never actually found the open house, so that was a bit odd. However, after a while I did figure out where I was and got back on track. Interestingly, all of the real estate signs I saw on my trip home were from grapevine (which is basically an organized for-sale-by-owner sign).

Friday, April 11, 2008

Not so good

Today I was at my desk when one of my co-workers came by to ask who owned the blue Mazda. When I said I did, he asked me to go outside and look at my car, because he had just seen someone hit it and drive away. Luckily, the damage was minor - just a couple of scrapes.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tied up

My boxing gloves were getting old, and didn't support my hand well anymore. Last week I tried some new (pink!) gloves & reall y liked them, so I decided to get new gloves. Since I was getting new gloves, I also decided to get new handwraps. So today I used stretchy boxing handwraps. Also, since these handwraps are longer than my old ones, I can thread them between all of my fingers (instead of just the middle of my hand), so I learned a new way to wrap my handwraps. If you look at the pictures below, you might be able to see the difference - the left hand is the old way of tying them, the right hand is the new way. (I apologize for the blurry picture, it is very hard to take a clear picture of your dominant hand - especially when the camera is right handed.) The final picture is my pretty new boxing gloves.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Parallel parking for fun?

Today I played Quick Park. It's entertaining - and actually more frustrating that parallel parking a real car. I played a few times & never got more than one parallel parking job completed in 80 seconds.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Due to a bread machine issue yesterday, I had to run out last night to buy bread. I looked at the choices, and this is the one I picked. So today I had a sandwich made from marble rye bread. It was interesting - oddly sweet, but not bad.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Two hands

Monday nights I do an Irish dance class. Usually there are several groups of people working on different dances, and you work on whatever dance you are currently learning

However, today we did something different - the entire class did a 2-hand. Basically, everyone had a partner and we learned a group dance. It was confusing, simply because Irish dancing is usually all legs - your arms don't move. However, in this dance you use your arms. It was fun & a nice change.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Today I was driving along the road when I saw a woman riding in the opposite directly suddenly fall off her bike, so I stopped to see if she needed help. A few others stopped as well.

She was shaken, but appeared OK and didn't want an ambulance or medical attention.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A (relatively) long way for nothing

Today I went across the Ontario/Quebec border to Gatineau to go shopping. I bought nothing in the end. I find going to Gatineau always feels immediately different, largely due to the Quebec law that signs must be in French.
Edited to add (and note I'm not a historian):
Quebec is where the bulk of Canada's French speaking population is concentrated. There are French speaking people throughout the country, but Quebec is where the original colonies of New France were situated, and French is very common there. However, since the French speaking population is vastly outnumbered by English speaking people in North America, the government feels that they need to protect their French language so that it doesn't get lost. As a result, they passed the infamous Bill 101, which requires that all signs be in French. (There may be other parts the bill). Since that would be against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, they had to invoke the also controversial Not Withstanding clause. I don't remember the details of that, but basically a government can use it to pass a bill that would otherwise be against the charter. There are other stipulations. It has to be re-evaluated every so many years (5?), for example.
End result? Being Quebec is noticeably different that being in Ontario, even though it's only 25 minutes from my house.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you

Today I wore a tinfoil hat. Yes, I'm running out of "lazy day" ideas. Feel free to share some in the comments.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Today I balanced an egg on end.
First the easy ways:
And finally:

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Another stolen idea

Today's idea was again stolen from Krstlchik. I ate M&Ms with chopsticks. I did not time myself, but I did eat all of the M&Ms pictured with the chopsticks. The first one was hard, but after that I got the hang of it & it worked much more smoothly.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


As I mentioned on the weekend, I'm participating in an internet scavenger hunt. That is inspiring me to

check out new locations.

Today I walked over the Queensway (i.e. the 417, the major highway through Ottawa) on a pedestrian bridge. I didn't get the picture I was hoping for, but it was still interesting.