Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Today I followed different New Year's traditions. (I believe I stole this idea from Sydney originally).
I ate cabbage, which are meant to resemble money and bring fortune in Denmark and the southern U.S.
I ate pork, which is another symbol of prosperity (in Austria, Germany, Portugal & Spain).
(The pork & cabbage were combined in cabbage rolls.)
I also ate 12 grapes, which again is to ensure future prosperity.
It's interesting that most of the traditions involve prosperity. I would think there would be more things that might be important in the new year.
Now I'm off to do something that's not really a tradition - I'm going to bed long before midnight. (I have to leave for the airport at 4:30 a.m. & I'm really tired.)
Happy New Year, all!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Today I visited my uncle. He recently got married, and as part of the cleanup/merge of the two households, they found an old sewing machine.
Today I played with an old hand-crank sewing machine. It is powered only by your right hand turning a crank. It doesn't use bobbins - instead it uses a spindle. I didn't realize sewing machines like that existed.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Both were entertaining (and compact, thus easy to carry).
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
We were there before supper today, so I got a chance to play their wii. I tried the golf, the boxing, and the bowling. It took a while to get the hang of it, but it was fun. The boxing was excellent, but I didn't play for too long as it was too much of a workout for the circumstances.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Today my mom & I went to the spa. (Her birthday is just before Christmas, so this is her usual birthday present.)
After that, I took my niece shopping for her mom's Christmas gift. I have to say, she has good taste for a 4 year old.
I also got to put her to bed tonight, so I flossed someone else's teeth. Luckily, she's quite patient.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Flights throughout the country are a mess. Halifax airport was closed, and flights were getting cancelled. There were people in Ottawa airport lying on blankets on the floor. (I don't know where they were trying to go). I'm in Winnipeg, and when we got here we waited for 30 minutes before a gate was available. (Luckily I had 4 hours between flights, because by the time we got off the plane it was only 2 hours - but, of course, my next flight was delayed 45 minutes.) I don't think there are any flights on the departures board that are not delayed. It's a mess.
However, as a result of the chaos, I had a lot of time, so I played bubble breaker on my sister's cell phone. It's an entertaining game. Sadly, her battery is now dead.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Today I hooked my VCR up to the DVD recorder and transferred some old home movies. First I transferred the movies to the hard drive. Some of them are very choppy and hard to watch, but they also have what is probably the last picture of my grandma. Also, there is a clip of my grandpa singing O Christmas Tree in German. His parents immigrated from Germany, but the year my grandmother died (when he was 77) was the first time I remember him speaking German. My sister would sing O Tannenbaum, and he would then sing the next line in German.
Once the movies were on the hard drive, I set up a dubbing list and started transferring them to a DVD.
The problem with doing it this way is that you have to play the whole thing a second time to transfer it to a DVD.
It is not done transferring yet, but hopefully it will finish before I fall asleep.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
It's really easy to change the selected picture - but not easy to change back.
As an added bonus, here's my answers to a meme from Crystal. It's not my personal list, and it's heavy on places in the U.S. and Europe, but still interesting.
Things I've done in my life (in bold):
1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightening at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty - it was closed when I was there
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France - I've been to France, but did not see the Mona Lisa
20. Slept on an overnight train - Nope, but I've slept on planes and ferries.
21. Had a pillow fight
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill - Technically no, but I've felt sick and miraculously gotten better once I called in.
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice - I've seen them, but was too cheap to ride in one.
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run - Clearly the person who created this has never seen me play softball/baseball
32. Been on a cruise - Mediterranean cruise, 2005. I'd highly recommend it
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors - Ireland 2004, Germany 2008
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person - Yup. It is surrounded by buildings, which was a surprise.
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa - Three times - twice to Botswana, once to Tunisia (for 4 hours - see #32)
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person - Yup. It's not really impressive because by the time you get there, you've spent 2 hours going through the museums, which are incredible
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris - Yup. I have pictures taken from the top where you can see the shadow
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies - Girl Guide cookies, actually
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma - only twice, and I fainted the first time
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy - I don't remember having a specific favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job - I've been laid off, but not fired
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone - my arm when I was 11 or 12 - and probably a toe & a kneecap as an adult, but I didn't bother going to the doctor (although if I'd realized I'd hurt my knee as badly as I did, I probably would have)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper - possibly when I was a kid?
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee - I've been stung by a wasp, but not a bee
100. Rode an elephant
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
However, none of that has anything to do with my new thing for today. This is one of those things that I could have done anytime, but didn't .
I've talked about going to the gym before. Most of the time I go for specific classes - it has been over a year since I went simply to work out on the machines. The gym I go to has treadmills, elliptical trainers, and stationary bikes. It also has a strength training circuit with a bunch of machines. I've used most of those machines in the past, but there's one that has always intimidated me - the lat pulldown station. It consists of a bench you sit on, along with handles above your head (attached to weights) that you pull down.
Today I tried the lat pulldown machine. As is typical of things like that, it wasn't nearly as scary or difficult as I had built it up to be in my mind.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
You'd think that since I have only 15 days left, I'd be doing big things these days. However, today was not that kind of day. Instead, I borrowed an idea from Jen S. and donated a meal via Cascade Feeds America.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I also played a new game. I do not recall the name of the game, but it involved creating pathways for the tokens to move on. You were out when your token got maneuvered off the board. It was fun, and a good game to play with a group of people.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
The second new thing is something I saw on Krstlchik's blog about a month ago - I made cake pops. Well, technically I did not make pops - I made cake balls. (I decided I didn't care enough to buy the popsicle sticks.)
The first step is destroying the cake. My sister was traumatized by me picking up the cake and tearing it apart.
Next you add the icing, then you make balls.
After that, it's time to put them in the freezer & wait for them to solidify a bit. (This probably wasn't as necessary a step as it would be if you put the popsicle sticks into the ball.)
After they are out of the freezer, you then dip them in chocolate. (My sister did a lot of the work for this part.)
I then decorated them, and they were done.
They took a lot of chocolate, so we had to eat some plain. (It was not really a sacrifice.)
* Elf. It was funny, and better than I expected
Friday, December 12, 2008
In completely unrelated news, the gym I went to today recently got a massage chair. It is extremely enjoyable (although I am not sure why it is necessary in a gym).
Thursday, December 11, 2008
It was interesting - I was in my boxing clothes. It was actually quite nice - the clothes collected the water and kept me nice and toasty warm.
The hardest part was carrying the wet clothes downstairs to the laundry room. My arms were tired from boxing, and the clothes were heavy.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I could have gotten it online, but that costs money, so instead I went for the free option and mailed it in. I should get it in a week or two.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
It is hard to tell from the pictures, but the legs are a combination of long beads and seed beads. The body is one large bead, and the head is a medium size bead.
I do not plan to quit my day job - I ended up needing 10 leg pieces (instead of 8) and three body wires (instead of 2) for the 2 spiders.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Today I made spiced nuts. They were easy to make and quite tasty.
Friday, December 5, 2008
- I have 4 younger sisters.
- two of my sisters have started thing-a-day blogs since I started. (Both are more about things they like/appreciate than things they are doing.)
- I moved to Ottawa after university because this is where I got a job.
- I went to an all-girls high school for grades 9 & 12.
- I've travelled to England, Ireland, the U.S., Germany, South Africa, Botswana, Italy, Tunisia, Malta, and Spain on my current passport, some of them more than once. On my previous passport, I only went on one trip - to England and France.
- I like baking but hate cooking. Unfortunately, cooking is a more important life skill.
- When I was 25, I received my Duke of Edinburgh Award from Prince Edward.
- I'm currently into boxing. Other classes I have previously taken as an adult include pottery, Irish dancing, belly dancing, Italian for travellers, home maintenance and repair, ballroom dancing, yoga, and cross country skiing. There are probably more.
- When I was 12, I broke my arm by falling off a horse (and landing on a fence). My arm was not visibly broken, and my aunt was more concerned about the fact that my ear was bleeding. (The ear never hurt, probably because my arm hurt too much.)
- Both my elementary school and my high school closed the year I graduated.
- I've done several backpacking trips and several canoe trips. Canoe trips are more enjoyable.
- If you give me 10 things to do, I will get 9 done. If you give me one thing to do, it will never get done.
- The summer before my grandmother died, I spent a couple of weeks helping her paint and shampoo the rugs. I had trouble keeping up. (She was 75, I was 22.)
- I'm most productive in the afternoon.
- Every couple of months, I have lunch with some co-workers I last worked with in 2004.
- I'm currently a leader with Sparks (5-6 year olds). In the past, I have been a leader for Guides (9-12 year olds) and Pathfinders (12-15 year olds).
- I have 2 friends in Ottawa who were part of the same high school graduating class as me. The high school we graduated from was in Regina, Saskatchewan.
- I'm an introvert, and I try not to make plans for Sundays so that I have the day to relax and recharge.
- I've always been away from home for Christmas.
- I've seen a dog climb a tree (and not a small dog). When I was a kid, my cousin climbed up a tree and my grandparent's dog climbed up after her.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
The democratically elected head of Canada is the Prime Minister. The official head of state of Canada is the Queen's representative, the Governor General. She (officially) appoints the Prime Minister and, alternatively, dissolves parliament, which triggers an election. The Prime Minister is usually the leader of the party who received the most seats in the last election. Right now, that is Stephen Harper, who is the leader of the Conservative party.
Since there are many political parties (and it is possible to run as an independant), it is possible that there are more members of parliament in the official opposition and the other opposition parties than there are in the governing party. That's where we are right now - the Conservatives are a minority government.
This is important, because in Canada it is rare for an MP to vote against his or her party's official stand.
In a minority government, if the government loses a vote on an issue considered to be a confidence issue, they can no longer govern. (Budgets are always confidence votes.)
Canada's last federal election was October 14. That was just over 6 weeks ago. Harper was the leader of a minority government before the election, and after the election became the leader of a stronger (but still minority) government.
The other players:
Stephane Dion - leader of the liberal party (i.e. the official opposition) - he was the leader when they lost a lot of seats in the last election, and is has resigned as leader effective some time next year
Gilles Duceppe - leader of the Bloc Quebecois, which is a political party in Quebec dedicated to getting Quebec to separate from the rest of Canada
Jack Layton - leader of the New Democratic party
The political parties get funding based on the percentage of the popular vote they got in the last election.
Basically, here's what happened.
Harper saw an opportunity, and in the name of saving money, proposed to cut the funding to political parties. This would be devastating to the other parties - in particular the liberals.
The other leaders got upset, and started talking about causing Harper to lose a confidence vote. They then plan to go to the Governor General and ask her to let them rule in a coalition.
Did I mention that it has been 6 weeks since the last election?
And that her choices (after the confidence vote) would be to either let them rule in a coalition or call another election?
Anyway, this is a long and rambling way of saying that today I watched the Prime Minister make a televised speech instead of watching the Simpsons.
The political stuff was probably funnier, because:
- Harper's speech was shorter than expected (and didn't contain the concessions some were expecting),
- The network was waiting for a tape from Dion (which never arrived),
- Layton wanted to make a speech, and was complaining that he didn't get the same amount of air time as Harper and Dion
So to sum up:
- the new government is in trouble (and the Conservatives are running around in a panic),
- the leader of the coalition couldn't get his act together enough to provide the networks with a video tape for a national broadcast,
- the coalition contains a political party who's reason for existing is to break up the country, and
- the members of the coalition are already bickering
I think we should send them all to their rooms until they can come out and play nice.
Seriously, this is pathetic.