Sunday, August 31, 2008

Moving day

My youngest sister is moving in with me for a while. She's going to be living in the basement - that way we each get our own space. As a result, today I carried a bed down the stairs. Obviously, I made her help me. She's not unpacked yet, but at least her place is set up.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Apple picking

I went apple picking today. While there, I went through the corn maze. I didn't get lost for too long. :)

I haven't tried the apples yet, but they look good, and the pie crust is waiting in the fridge.

Random new thing

Today I had dinner with some friends. It was nice - it's been a while since I've seen them. Anyway, after dinner I had cranberry liqueur. And now I have another word on the list of things I cannot spell.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I don't know how to feel about this

I'm (still) recovering from that annoying cold I had, and I don't have a lot of energy today. Luckily, there are other thing-a-dayers that I can steal ideas from. Today's idea is from Kathy - I did a blog readability test.

The results?

blog readability test

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


A few days ago Jackie got together with a group of people she met on I'm not that ambitious (today), but I did browse through the Ottawa groups. Ottawa has groups for goths and magick practitioners, but also some that I'm more likely to actually check out.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Meme too

Yesterday Kathy tagged me for a meme. Being the sheep that I am, today I completed a meme.

Four place I go to over and over:
Work, Goodlife Fitness, the grocery store, Quizno's.

Four people who e-mail me (regularly):
Jennifer, Connie, my first cousins on my mom's side (we're all on a mailing list of sorts), one of the guys I used to have coffee with at my last job

Four places I would rather be right now:
This is hard. I can't think of 4 places, although a bubble bath wouldn't be a bad option.

Four TV shows/programs that I watch over and over:
Bones, The Office, The Simpsons, How I Met Your Mother. (I'm glad I didn't have to think of a fifth one.)

Four things I have for breakfast:
Cheese, bagels, oatmeal, fruit (usually bananas)

Four animals I like best:
Rhinos (they're improbably big), ostriches (ditto), cats (I like the way all cats move the same way), snakes (again, I like the way they move) -- as long as I don't have to live with any animals.

Four beaches I've been to:
Hmm. There was a nice beach in Savona, Italy, a not-so-nice beach in Malta, one in Hampton, N.H., and the beach at my aunt & uncle's cottage when I was a kid.

I'm not going to tag anyone specifically to continue this, but if you feel so inclined you can let me know your answers in the comments.

Edited to add: I've changed my mind - I'm tagging Sydney.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The one where I actually notice my surroundings

I left work today and headed for the main road. While I was waiting to turn left, I noticed that the car ahead of me had obviously just filled up with gas, because the gas cap was sitting on the trunk, so I honked and gestured wildly to tell the driver that the gas cap was on the trunk. Eventually it occurred to me that I could get out of the car to tell him what was going on, but by that time he had figured it out. He was grateful.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Feeling Wicked

Today I went to see Wicked. It was enjoyable (although I had a few issues with the plot).

There were empty seats beside me, so I sat in one seat up until intermission, and then moved and sat in a different seat after intermission. The second seat was better as there was no one in the seat directly in front of me.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I decided to paint my back step today. I removed the old paint, pounded in a couple of nails that were sticking out, and opened the paint can only to find out it was empty. That meant I had to go get more paint.

You'd think this would be easy. However, it took about 30 minutes and the assistance of two store employees. While they were looking up what type of base they needed, I moved one of those moveable step-thingys. (I should not be left unattended in a store of that sort.)

Anyway, after the step was painted I realized I was getting hungry, so I made tuna salad with beans instead of mayonaise. It turned out well. I used 1/2 a can of canned beans (rinsed and drained), tuna, mustard, pickles, and the juice from 1/2 a lemon.

It'll be interesting to see how it tastes once it's been sitting in the fridge for a day.

Friday, August 22, 2008


One of the nice things about living in Ottawa is the greenbelt. The theory was that it would surround and contain the city. That didn't happen, but it does provide a lot of hiking trails within the city. Today I stopped and took a walk on a new trail on the way home from work. This particular trail was in a swampy area, so the first 4 minutes was on a boardwalk trail.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Chilling out

Today's new thing is something I've been meaning to do for a long, long time. I took off the bottom panel of my refrigerator & vacuumed underneath. It was remarkably easy, and it only took 2 phone calls to my mom to accomplish it.

First phone call: How do I get the panel off? (Answer: Pull.)

Second phone call: There is a mysterious piece of duct tape on the bottom of the fridge, do you think it's doing anything useful? (Answer: No, take it off.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

As I mentioned yesterday...

So I mentioned yesterday that one of my parking mishaps this week was a parking ticket. Today I paid a parking ticket online.

In other news, I took the bus to Kanata today. It took me an hour to get to work (including the time spent walking to/from the bus stop) and the bus dropped me off right at work. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it might be (but it's still 4 times longer than driving).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Not what I had planned

I bought new runners last October. They are (in my mind) my "new" runners. However, just before I left for Africa, it became apparent that they are no longer new and in fact have moved all the way to "old" status. I needed new runners.
Today I went to buy new ones. I went to the store, picked out a pair, and then went out to the car.

The car did not start. It was clearly the battery.

I called CAA. They said they'd be there in 45 minutes.

I waited 45 minutes. They were not there, so I tried the car again. It miraculously started, so I left, making this the first time I called CAA and then left before they showed up.

(Since it was almost 7, I drove across the street to Canadian Tire. Long story short, the battery is gone & they are replacing the alternator tomorrow.)

When you combine this with the parking ticket I got earlier in the week, it becomes clear that I'm OK to drive but I should stop parking as that rarely turns out well.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Really, I've been to Toronto more times than I've been to London

I think I've mentioned before that I'm not the kind of person who remembers geography. It just doesn't stick in my brain. The same applies to history - I find it interesting, but won't remember it unless I have something already in my head to connect it to. (I know where & what Hadrian's wall is, for example, because I've been there. Prior to being there, I don't remember ever having heard of it.)

Anyway, inspired by Sydney, today I did some National Geographic quizes.

I got 50% on the Toronto quiz, 50% on Venice, 70% on London, and 63% on Rome. I have been to all of those places. Apparently, I should pay more attention.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

When I was a kid, my mom always bought prume plums. My aunt, on the other hand bought red plums.

Today (for variety) I tried yellow plums. They were good. However, they were very juicy. (I don't like fruit that I have to pry off a pit to be too juicy, it just ends up being a big mess.)
In completely unrelated news, I have uploaded some videos from my safari. One thinig that amazed me on the safari was the sheer number of birds. Right by the water hole my cabin was on, there was a huge flock of birds. They were very loud, both when they were chattering amongst themselves and when they were flying. These videos were my attempt at capturing that.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Greek Fest

Today I went to Greek Fest.
It was enjoyable. The food line was long, but the food process was well organized and it went quickly.

The entertainment was being taped for TV, which meant that at the beginning there was a lot of talking, but that stopped and we were able to just watch the intended entertainment.
It was very crowded, but enjoyable.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Air Canada

Typically, if I'm flying within Canada I fly with WestJet. The people are friendly, they have a good attitiude, if you have to phone them they answer the phone without making you wait for an hour, and the flights are (mostly) on time. I'm a member of their "guest research panel" and often do surveys for them.

However, they don't fly to many international destinations, so for my Botswana trip, I flew with Air Canada. Today I filled out a survey for Air Canada. It was run by Ipsos, and it asked some really good questions. It was also the first time I filled out a survey about a specific flight, rather than a trip. (It was for the Frankfurt - Toronto portion of my trip.)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mmmm, cookies!

I went into work for a meeting today. (I worked from home the rest of the day). Anyway, on the way home I stopped at Subway.

Back in my previous job, there was a Subway in the cafeteria. I used to eat there regularly. As a result, I never went to Subway outside of work.

Now that I have a new job, I occasionally do go to Subway. Anyway, I stopped to grab a sub for lunch, and they were having a contest. I won a cookie in a Subway contest. Now I have to go back to Subway to claim my cookie.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Still whining about being sick

In general, I don't like hot beverages. I don't drink coffee and I rarely drink tea or hot chocolate. I certainly don't drink any of them in the summer. (I live on homemade iced tea in the summer - it's not the beverage I don't like, it's the temperature.)

However, I have a cold and today is a "coughing a lot" day. As a result, today I used apple cinnamon tea and cranberry tea together to make a combined pot of apple/cinnamon/cranberry tea. It was fine, and I'm certainly coughing less.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Just peachy

As I mentioned yesterday, I have a cold. (I'm past the "getting" stage and well into the "having" stage.)

I know that a lot of people want hot drinks when they have a sore throat. I am not one of those people. When I have a sore throat, I want ice cream. Since I bought peaches at the store yesterday, today I made a peach milkshake. It was good. No pictures, because the camera was downstairs and I was upstairs.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Today was spent doing all the things I wasn't able to do for the last 2 weeks (buying groceries, mowing the lawn, getting a haircut, etc.). I'm still really tired and I'm getting a cold, so there was no time/energy for an elaborate new thing. However, I did find time to buy a pig.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I'm back in Ottawa (and so is my luggage)

Well, I had 4 flights back and all of them were delayed (or cancelled). In the end, I got home about 1.5 hours late, which wasn't too bad (although I was very happy to be home).

I'm downloading my pictures now, and apparently I took 536 pictures.
The end result of the flight delays was that I didn't have too much time to kill. However, I did find time to have a traditional Munich breakfast while I was in Frankfurt. The sausages are apparently only eaten in the morning. It wasn't bad, but the sausages were an odd texture. I don't think I'll rush out to try it again.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Heading home

Today is another travelling day. I am currently in Johannesburg, travelling to Frankfurt tonight and then Toronto & Ottawa tomorrow. I'm tired already.
However, the new things must go on so today before leaving Botswana I donated half of my remaining Botswanan money to the Red Cross. (I kept 100 pula in case I end up back there.)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Normally, I would hesitate to use a movie as a new thing.
However, a few years ago, I was in Scotland when a Harry Potter movie (the third one) came out. It opened a few days earlier in the U.K. than it did in North America, and I ended up going to see it (mostly so that I could torture my sister by seeing it before she could).
Anyway, when I went to buy the tickets, they asked where we wanted to sit. You see, in the U.K., buying a movie ticket is like buying a ticket to live theatre in North America - you not only get a ticket to a specific time/date, but also to a specific seat. When we got to the theatre, there were ushers to show us to our seats.
Anyway, since it will take me about 10 minutes to pack & I don't have to leave until 11 tomorrow, tonight I went to a movie* in Botswana. It turns out here you also get a ticket for a specific seat. There were no ushers, but it was an early show - perhaps there are ushers at busier times.
* The Dark Knight. Nothing fascinating, but a decent way to waste 2 hours.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

My hotel room

Today I created a video of my hotel room (and uploaded it to blogger). I haven't watched it, I know I say "um" a lot. Also, it might be very choppy, I have a tendencey to swing the camera around. I figured if I watched it, it would just result in me re-doing it over and over.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Only 2 days to go ... not that I'm counting

Today I spent the day giving a training course.

It was reasonably successful.

Our wrap up meeting is tomorrow at 8 a.m., and then I just have to wait until my flight on Saturday. (I tried to reschedule it, but no luck.)

Still, only 2 days to go. That really doesn't seem all that long.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Some days, you count the small victories

I can tell I'm getting to the end of this trip, because more than anything I just want to go home.

(There's a possibility I may get to leave a day early, which is ridiculously exciting to me.)

Anyway, you know what makes days like this better?

Ice cream!

Today I had a soft serve ice cream cone that was dipped in chocolate, and then rolled in nuts. It was good, but not as good as going home.

(OK, I'll stop now.)

Monday, August 4, 2008

All about Botswana

Since I'm out of town, I'm participating in krstlchik's photo scavenger hunt - road trip edition. As a result, today I looked up the national flower of Botswana. Luckily for me, they don't have one. (I hate trying to identify plants.)

That morphed into looking up (& listening to) the national anthem, which morphed into reading a blog in Setswana (well, reading the English portions, anyway).

(Incidently, if you're doing a trip this summer why not print off the scavenger hunt form and join in? You too can say to a waiter at a restaurant "I'll be right in, I just have to take a picture of the door first." Plus it won't be hard to beat me, I'll be the one trying to pass off a zebra as a flower.)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Safari, part 3

Today was the end of my stay at the lodge.

Again, I had to get up early for the game drive. (OK, it's winter, so it wasn't that early).

Unfortunately, today we didn't see much. Elephants, warthogs, wildebeast, impalas, kudu, and some birds.

I checked out before 11 and headed back to Gaborone. Right outside the park gates were baboons.

I was in Gaborone shortly after noon, and spent the afternoon checking back in to the hotel, buying supplies, and catching up on everything I had missed while I was gone.

You will note that none of those things are new.

After having gotten back from what was essentially a vacation and back into work mode, I was pretty tired and down. At home, I go to the gym regularly. I never work on on vacation because I'm usually doing so much walking it's not an issue. However, on this trip I have been sitting most of the time, so today I did a 10 minute workout in my room. (You will note it was not in the lobby.) Anyway, I warmed up, did some shadow boxing, some kicks, some squats, some lunges, some push ups, some crunches, etc. Before I knew it, 10 minutes had passed.

For those interested, safari pictures are here.

General Botswana pictures are here.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Safari, part 2

And on to Saturday.

As soon as you get to Johannesburg airport, you start hearing about the big 5 (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, and leopard). Personally, I'd give up the buffalo and leopard for giraffes and hippos, but the big 5 is the big 5.

Saturday our quest to see the big 5 continued when I got up early to do a morning game drive. The game drive started at 7 and continued until almost 10. We saw buffalo, lions, zebra, elephants, and rhinos.

I have to say that Africa has some of the oddest herbivores around - the rhino, elephant, and giraffe are all very improbably animals.

After the morning safari, I took a nap and then sat out on my deck to watch the water hole. That day there were kudu, wildebeast, impalas, and zebras at the water hole.

After lunch and more animal watching, we went off on the second game drive of the day at 3:30. This time, we saw giraffe, rhino, 2 sets of lions (with a kill), some jackals, a brown hyena, and grouse. On our way back to camp after dark, we saw elephants and buffalo at the water hole by the lodge.

The day ended with dinner in the boma. It was very nice - the food was good, and there were fires around to keep everyone warm.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Safari, part 1

So Friday.

I checked out of the hotel in Gaborone (leaving most of my luggage in my colleague's room) and headed for Tau Game Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa.

(I wasn't driving, I had a driver.) On the way, I crossed the border between South African and Botswana on land. This is actually the first time I've driven across a border except for the Canada/U.S. border. (I've been a lot of places, but I've either entered the country by air or by boat). It was interesting, because you have to go through customs on both the way in to the country and the way out (so you have to stop twice each way). Also, unlike the Canada/U.S. border, you have to park the car & get out each time, so it's a bit time consuming.

Anyway, I got to the lodge around 2:15. I was met at the entrance by the manager, who got me checked in and then gave me a tour.

The lodge is on a water hole. Each of the 30 cabins also backs onto the water hole, so you can sit on your deck & watch the animals come for water.

After reaching my cabin (and being warned to keep the doors and windows closed so that the monkeys don't get in), I unpacked and then sat on my deck for a while and watched elephants drinking in the water hole, and then it was time to go on the dusk safari.

It was incredible.

We saw lions (who basically are always sleeping). While we were there, some rhino wandered by, and then the elephants arrived. We watched all of them, and then wanted to leave but couldn't because there were about 30 elephants crossing the road. We continued on the safari for 2.5 or 3 hours, and saw zebras, elephants, rhinos, spotted hyenas, lions, and wildebeasts.

After that it was back to the lodge where I took a shower in the permanent open air shower before dinner.

After dinner it was off to my room where I slept under an electric blanket and surrounded by a mosquito net. I think the mosquito net is for show, as I haven't seen a single mosquito since I got here (and the park is in a malaria free zone).