Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Let's see, what have I been up to?

On Boxing Day, I went out to my cousin's farm with various family members. We played wii, the kids tobogganed, and we chatted. We drove out in the morning and back after supper, so we were only there for about six hours.

The day after that, we took my niece to see Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs at the cheap theatre. She didn't want to watch it, but in the end she agreed that it was a good movie.

Monday we went shopping and my mom bought a new computer. I set it up that evening and have been gradually getting more things sorted out on it. I still need to transfer stuff from the old computer, but I think I've finally got the two computers connected properly.

Tuesday I got together with a friend for lunch and then Wanda and I took my niece skating. I didn't last long - I need new skates - but my niece lasted close to half an hour.

Today I babysat my cousin's 5 kids. Well, her oldest didn't really need babysitting - he's twelve and was mostly asleep - but I watched the younger ones plus my niece, who came along to "help". After that, I dropped my niece at home, then met another friend for lunch. After that, a bunch of us headed over to visit some friends of the family.

In other words, I haven't forgotten about this blog, I've just been crazy busy.

On the job hunting front, a recruiter contacted me this week. I've also got a second interview set up for next week.

I'm also watching the airport security news and hoping that they get things sorted out before I have to get on a plane. It appears that none of the new regulations should affect me because I've traveling domestically, but I'm hoping I don't have to get to the airport too early, since I have a crazy early flight as it is. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas

Well, I'm at my parents' place. It took three of us an hour to get the wireless internet working today, but I'm finally able to check my e-mail.

I got in a little early on Wednesday - around 11:10 p.m. - then headed to the house to wrap gifts and chat. I finally got to bed around 2.

At 5 a.m., I met the new dog. By 7, my niece was down in my room. Suffice it to say I'm still a little tired.

Yesterday, I took my niece and my cousin's two girls shopping to buy gifts for their parents. They were really good, but occasionally I did have to ask them, "Who are we not shopping for today?". people around us laughed when they all said, "Us.".

The quillos are finished. Here's a picture of two of them (one unfolded, and one folded).

If you look closely, you can see the edge of the pocket on the red one.

In the afternoon, we painted Christmas ornaments, then headed over to my aunt and uncle's place for supper and gift opening.

Remember that gift I made a while ago? It was a necklace for my sister - she likes elephants, and I found elephant beads. Here it is:

(The small heart-shaped beads are green. The elephants are small and red.)

Today started with brunch, then church and far too much food. My niece, my sister, and I built a giant Lego house (which I'm too lazy to take a picture of, because it's all the way upstairs).

I'm too lazy to come up with a point, so let me end with pictures of my niece and her dog:

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ready to go

Well, so far today I have:
- burned my pictures from 2009 onto a CD
- gone to the bank
- cleaned the kitchen
- de-crumbed the toaster (which is technically part of cleaning the kitchen, but doesn't happen every week)
- glued a plastic leg back onto my glass cutting board
- put the granite-protector stuff on the kitchen counter
- cleaned the bathroom
- finished packing
- mopped the floors

I'm ready to go. I even have an hour to spare.

I suspect my anti-procrastination project will take a nose dive in the next couple of days, since I won't actually be here, but we'll see.

If I don't manage to update tomorrow, have a good Christmas, everyone.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Where is that sweater?

Well, it has been a busy couple of days.

First of all, I have a new house sitter. (My previous one realized that she couldn't do it right now, much to my relief.) I'm now comfortable with leaving.

Many years ago when I was in Ottawa as a co-op student, I worked with a group that had just done their Myers-Briggs personality tests, and my manager got me and another co-op student to do ours as well. When we were getting our results, the woman who was doing the analysis looked at me and said, "I bet you have really organized closets."

Today I organized my closet. There's always some sort of order to it, but it does get lost when I'm lazy putting clothes away. However, I wanted to pack a sweater that I couldn't find, so I went through and organized it today.

I also vacuumed under the couch, since I moved the couch thinking the sweater might have fallen behind it. Then I noticed that the lampshades were dusty, so I vacuumed them.

(I still can't find the sweater.)

Changing the subject, I call my niece a monkey. She usually says she's not a monkey.

When she was about two, I was at their house and we were eating fruit salad. She asked my dad for the bananas from his salad. He gave them to her. She asked her mom for her bananas. She asked my mom for her bananas. She asked me for my bananas - and when she had everyone's bananas, she looked up with a big grin and said, "Only monkeys eat bananas."

Anyway, I always tell her that monkey elbows are my favourite snack. She then bends her arms and, when I go over to nibble on them, straightens her arms out so that her elbows disappear.

Tonight I was talking with my mom on the phone. She was trying to figure out what we were going to have for Christmas dinner, and I said, "You know my favourite food, right? Monkey elbows!"

My niece heard me and said, "Auntie Colette, here are my monkey elbows."

"Can I have some?"

"Oh, they're straight now.... Pointy. Straight. Pointy. Straight."

Soon she'll be too old for stuff like this, but it's fun while it lasts.

She might even stop roaring at me on the phone.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My weekend

Yesterday was my annual Christmas chocolate making extravaganza. This year, I made both milk chocolate and dark chocolate - heavy on the dark chocolate. Some are filled with truffle - plain, or with chopped macadamia nuts or almonds in it. Some have whole almonds in them.

I also made 1/2 a batch of shortbread.

Today I made 1/2 a batch of chocolate shortbread (which sound good, but I'm not terribly impressed with it) and a 1/3 batch of schnecken.

I also made three polar fleece hats for the kids.

I think I'm beginning to figure out what happened to my weekend.

Did I need to make any of this? No, I did not. But I like baking, and I like eating chocolate, and it wasn't like I was super busy this weekend.

Also, I had planned to give some to my house sitter when she came by today - her grandmother is quite sick and not expected to last long.

She hasn't been by yet.

This has been a recurring problem over the last week. I understand that this is a difficult time for her (and I've offered to find someone else), but she says she can house sit. She just hasn't followed through by coming by to familiarize herself with the alarm system.

This is actually a big problem, because my insurance states that I must have someone check the house every day in the winter or I'm not covered if the furnace quits. If she hasn't been able to come by once in the last week, what are the odds that she'll come by every day when I'm not here?

I think I'm going to have to fire my house sitter.

Like I said, I understand why she's flaky right now, but frankly I can't financially afford to be without insurance.

Anyway, back to the anti-procrastination project. Yesterday and today I worked on the furnace room, and it looks much better. It could still use some work, but I'm happy with the state it's in now.

It turns out that working on something every day makes a big difference.

How many times have I learned that in the last two years?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Another post about boxing

I didn't get much done on the anti-procrastination project today - I did tidy the one bedroom a bit, but nothing serious.

This morning, I checked out the job listings and updated my resume on Monster and Workopolis. I went to the gym at lunch, then I spent the afternoon reading The Blind Side. I had started it last night, but the first chapter was very football-centric, so it took me a while to get into the book. Once I did, though, I somehow ended up reading the whole thing instead of doing anything constructive.

I finished just in time to leave for boxing. Today was the last class of 2009, so naturally it was a hard class - 16 stations, 8 of them punch outs, 4 of them driving forward punch outs.

A punch out is basically two or more students taking turns on one heavy bag. Usually we do step in/step out punch outs - i.e. you step in, hit the bag in the appropriate combination, then step out - or standing in punch outs - i.e. you stand in and hit the bag constantly.

Today (as a special Christmas treat), we had 4 driving forward punch outs. Normally, the bag hangs straight down (at a 90 degree angle from the ceiling). In a driving forward punch out, you walk forward as you punch until the bag is at a 45 degree angle to the ceiling. That doesn't sound too difficult, but it means you are hitting an 80 pound bag while trying to keep it from shifting too far left or right. It's a challenge.

This week, we had two people per bag, so out of a three minute punch out, we each were punching for one and a half minutes.

When I got home tonight, I discovered that for the first time ever, I have a blister on my knuckles from boxing. I blame the punch outs, but the truth is that I probably had my hand wrap bunched up or something.

In level one and two, the sessions were very predictable - after I'd done the class a couple of times, I knew what to expect each week. Level three seems to change every time.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

An Early Start

I got up early this morning to make it downtown for my 8:30 meeting with the recruiter. (OK, I got up at seven, but these days that is early.)

I ended up leaving a little later than I wanted to, and traffic on the Queensway was slow, so I ended up getting to the area around the building at 8:25. I had no time to spare, so I parked at the first place I saw - which cost $14. I could have looked for somewhere else, but again, I had no time to spare. I figured it was my own fault for being late.

I made it to my meeting just on time. I talked with the recruiter for about half an hour, then I headed back to get my car. The parkade was a lot more crowded than when I had parked. As I went to leave, the attendant asked if I had been there less than two hours. Since it had been less than an hour, he took my parking slip and gave me $7 back. That was much closer to what I had expected to pay, so I was very happy about it.

I had considered taking the bus (which would end up costing me around $4.40), but I decided that I wanted to stop and drop off my old computer and video tapes on the way home.

They weighed my 14 pounds of video tapes, since I had to pay for them to be recycled. The computer recycling gets paid for by the province. It was pretty quick - the longest wait was for someone to come to help me, but even that was only a minute or two.

After all of that, I made it home by 10.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Making room

Well, the anti-procrastination project is continuing. Today I went through all of my old VCR tapes in preparation for disposing of them tomorrow. I'll take in the tapes and my old computer on my way back from meeting the recruiter tomorrow.

It's amazing how many video tapes I had. Since my VCR hasn't been hooked up in over a year, I really, really don't need to keep them. Getting rid of them will leave me with a lot more space in
the entertainment stand.

It will also result in two more items getting crossed off the to-do list. That leaves one outstanding item - cleaning out the furnace room - so apparently that's something I should start focusing on. There are very few days left. Of course, the to-do list doesn't need to be done by the end of the year, but I work better when I have a deadline, so I'm going to try to get it done.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Easily distracted by anything shiny

I met with the recruiter today. It was a good meeting, but the job he had me in mind for is essentially off the table - they made an offer to someone. Still, a good meeting.

On the way there, I stopped at Lee Valley Tools. I'm consistently amazed at the service there. This time, I had ordered my stuff yesterday for pickup. From parking (right in front of the door in the express pick-up spot) to turning on the car to leave, I think it took a minute.

I also returned the call from the other recruiter - I'm meeting with her on Thursday. This could be interesting, because I am having problems concentrating on anything this week, and it's just going to get worse as the week goes on.

In other news, a while ago one of my anti-procrastination projects was going to be to fix a cloth shopping bag I had that one handle had come off of, but I couldn't find it. I found the bag while doing my organizing, and today I sewed the handle back on.

I also finished my Christmas shopping today, as well as putting the rest of my pictures into albums. Since it's almost Christmas (when I won't be home), I'm getting motivated to get a lot done. If only I had an attention span of longer than 10 seconds.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Counting down ...

Well, work continues on that bedroom. Yesterday I organized more material, and today I dealt with papers exposed by moving the material. I have extra motivation these days - I need to get to my Christmas fabric (which I use instead of wrapping paper) so that I can pack it.

I also finally got my Christmas cards in the mail. (It took me a while to figure out how to write a Christmas letter that didn't consist of "This year sucked. Hopefully 2010 will be better.")

I also talked with a recruiter today. I'm meeting with him tomorrow. I also got a call from another recruiter, so I'll have to return that call tomorrow.

Both Kathy and Sydney did this today (originally by Mandy), and like the lemming I am I'm joining in. Feel free to share your own answers in the comments.

(1) What is your favorite Christmas movie? Hmm. I have a few movies/TV show episodes I like to watch around Christmas, but my favourite would be Muppet Family Christmas.

(2) What is your LEAST favorite Christmas movie? I don't know. If I disliked it that much, I probably wouldn't watch it.

(3) What is your favorite Christmas song? I have 105 songs on my itunes Christmas playlist. How can I pick one? I like many of the traditional carols as well as a bunch of the newer Christmas songs. This year I'm enjoying Elf's Lament by the Barenaked Ladies. Unlike both Kathy and Sydney, I like Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer - probably because my cousin loved it growing up and we used to do plays to it on Christmas - up until my grandmother died on Christmas Eve. Then it just seemed inappropriate. (She was not run over by a reindeer.)

(4) What Christmas song(s) drives you crazy? What's that horrible Beatles Christmas song? Oh yeah, This Christmas. Not a big fan of that one.

(5) What is your favorite Christmas drink? (i.e. egg nog, hot chocolate) I'm not a big fan of hot drinks in general, and I've never tried egg nog - the concept seems horribly wrong to me.

(6) What is your favorite Christmas memory? Sitting around playing board/card games. Also, the year one of my sisters and I went together and bought my sister Wanda tickets to a concert that she really, really wanted to go to. She was so excited she was literally shaking when she opened the present.

(7) What is the best toy/gift you've received on Christmas? Wool socks. I love wool socks.

(8) What is the worst toy/gift you've received on Christmas? Hmm. I can't really think of one.

(9) What do you LOVE about the holidays? Cookies. Lights. Hanging out with my niece. Cookies.

(10) What annoys you about the holidays? People who overcommit and then are grumpy about it. Don't make your lack of time management my problem.

(11) Do you prefer star or angel on top of a Christmas tree? Or something else? Star.

(12) What is your family favorite recipe at Christmas? If you asked many of my relatives, it would be homemade apple strudel. Personally, I can take it or leave it. I'll go with schnecken. Or shortbread. So basically cookies.

(13) Are you a Grinch or a Who at Christmastime? A Who. But when I sing, I use English words.

(14) Christmas light displays - Love them or Hate them? Love them.

(15) Santas at the mall - Fun times or Creepy? I guess I'll go with fun, although they're mostly irrelevant to me.

(16) Christmas cards - do you send them, yes or no? Yes, invariably timed so that they arrive after Christmas.

(17) What is the best thing about Christmas, in your opinion? Hanging out with my family.

(18) What is the worst thing about Christmas? Not being able to go home and get away from my family.

(19) When do you put the tree up and take it down? The tree goes up the last weekend in November/first weekend in December. It comes down the day I get back - usually around Jan. 1.

(20) Out of the 12 days of Christmas, which day and item would you want your true love to give to you? Hmm. The drummers and pipers sound loud (unless they come with an off switch). Also, my house isn't big enough for leaping lords or dancing ladies. Do the maids come with their own cows? They must, right? Otherwise what are they milking? That sounds destructive and messy. As Andy demonstrated on The Office last week, birds are trouble. I guess I'll have to go with the rings. At least they're quiet.

(21) Why do you think that Grandma got run over by a reindeer? Well, she'd left her medication. And she was stumbling, so I suspect she'd had too much Christmas cheer.

(22) Who is your favorite reindeer? Olive. You know, the other reindeer?

(23) Do you believe in Santa Claus? Sure.

(24) What is your favorite smell at Christmastime? Cinnamon. (There are those cookies again.)

(25) What would make you happy at Christmas this year? Playing with my niece.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Belly dancing

This afternoon, I continued organizing the material I have lying around. I made a lot of progress, but it's not done yet.

Tonight the Olympic torch arrived in Ottawa. There was a big ceremony of some sort on Parliament Hill.

I know that because Wanda and I got downtown as it was ending. There was a stage set up in front of the Parliament buildings, and someone was singing. Everyone was walking around with candles with red plastic cups over them. There were portable booths from Royal Bank and Coke. We even saw a walking bear on the street. (I'm a little confused as to why someone was dressed up as a bear, but someone was.)

We weren't there for the torch - we were downtown because we were going to a belly dance show.

Wanda has been dancing for seven years, and she is doing a couple of workshops this weekend. The instructor was part of this show, and I agreed to go with her.

I've been to a belly dance show before, but it has been a while.

I enjoyed it. The first dancers were definitely the worst of the night, but the quality improved quickly. There were a couple of groups of dancers, as well as several individual dancers. There was even a hoop dancer.

The second last song was "Santa Baby", and it consisted of a dancer dressed as Santa who danced and pulled other performers (and Santas - I'm not sure why there were suddenly a dozen Santas around) up on stage. It was cute.

Unfortunately, it was followed by the finale, which consisted of all of the performers and Santas on stage moving to the music. That went on far too long, especially since we had just seen the same thing.

Overall, though, it was an enjoyable show.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The aftermath

Well, today I have a red spot the circumference of a golf ball on my left arm (from the H1N1 shot). The muscle underneath is hard as well. I was a little concerned about boxing with my sore arm, but it wasn't a problem.

My interview went well, I think. I can never really tell. I'm not 100% sure about this company, but like every other company these days, they do two interviews before hiring anyone, so I'll have time to think about it if they call me back.

This evening I continued putting my pictures from Africa into photo albums. Man, I have a lot of pictures of monkeys. There's still more to do - my safari pictures are not yet in albums - but I'm making progress.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Another Busy Day

Today was a busy day. I started the day by running a couple of errands, then I went to the gym. Every day I get an e-mail with the new job postings around Ottawa, and by the time I got home from the gym, it was in my mailbox. I went through the new postings (and applied to one of them) and started preparations for my interview tomorrow.

When I needed a break, I finished off the third apron.
This evening, Wanda and I went and got both flu shots (the season and the H1N1). I've had the flu twice this year, which is two times too many. My right arm (which is where I got the seasonal flu shot) hurts but the other one doesn't. I suspect that will change tomorrow.

And, this evening I addressed all of my Christmas cards. I definitely won't get them mailed tomorrow - that will be another crazy day - but hopefully they will make it into the mail this weekend.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Yesterday was one of those days where I realized I hadn't updated after I turned off the laptop, so this is again two days in one.

Luckily, I've been working on the same project for those two days.

Remember the bedroom I said I was going to finish cleaning/organizing before I left for Christmas? I'm continuing on that project. Yesterday and today I started going through the shelves in the closet. I found some ornaments I had as a kid that I will give to my niece. I also found the mute for my trumpet, a bag of pinecones (which got turned into a craft at Sparks last night), markers (that I had forgotten I owned), and a variety of other craft-related things.

Today, I made another one of the aprons and started on the third. I needed to find some contrasting material, so I cleaned off two of the shelves in the closet and started organizing my material in an effort to find what I was looking for.

Changing the subject (as I often do), aren't people supposed to be winding things down in preparation for Christmas? Yesterday, a recruiter got in touch with me to set up an appointment for next week, and today I found out I have an interview on Friday. I guess Christmas is still two weeks away, but I seriously wasn't expecting much to happen in December. (I'm not complaining, I'm just surprised.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Covered

Remember way back in June? I was on the cruise, and I bought a rug somewhere in Greece. (I think it was Athens, but I'm not sure and I'm too lazy to check.)

Anyway, at the time, we all promised that we'd e-mail the woman who sold us our rugs a picture of the rug in its new location.

That was six months ago.

Possibly more.

Today, I finally e-mailed the picture. I found the e-mail address during my cleaning event on the weekend, and it seemed like the thing to do today.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Why are weekends so much busier than weekdays?

Today was another busy day.

Remember how yesterday I talked about how much shredding I wanted to get done this week? Well, I finished it all today. It was made easier by the fact that I brought the downstairs shredder upstairs - it's not as finicky about whether the pages are exactly straight and it handles a few more pages than the other one. I have three paper grocery bags of shredded paper ready to go on Friday.

Also, I mentioned that I was supposed to be making some Christmas presents but hadn't started yet. I'm making aprons for my niece and my cousin's two kids. Today I started and got one of the three done. I'll post pictures when they're all done.

As if that wasn't enough, I finally patched the hole by my thermostat. Two years ago, I got a new furnace (with a new thermostat). Naturally, the new thermostat was smaller than the old one, and there was a screw hole visible. I patched and sanded it today. I was going to paint it as well, but I didn't have much paint left, and it has dried up. I'll probably leave it - if a hole in the wall didn't bother me for two years, I doubt a small unpainted piece will bother me.

Finally, I made rolled sandwiches for a Christmas party I'm going to tomorrow night.

(I also carried out a top-secret, Christmas-related errand today, but I can't tell you about it because it involves someone who reads this blog. If it turns out like I hope it will, I will fill you all in after Christmas. )

Saturday, December 5, 2009

One step forward, two steps back

I decided yesterday that I want to get the one bedroom (the one with the desk that I've been cleaning out in it) done before I leave for Christmas. Accordingly, yesterday I did more tidying in there.

Today I cleaned out the filing cabinet. I found a bunch of stuff that I can't believe I saved, much of which is now sitting in the recycle bin. This included a report I wrote in grade 11 (with it's nicely stenciled cover). I also found a replacement bank card*; another letter that I apparently couldn't be bothered to open, but did manage to file; the user manual for the furnace I got rid of two years ago; and various other out of date papers.

Of course, I also found lots of papers that need to be shredded - so my almost non-existent shredding pile is now huge again. I've decided I want to get them all shredded by Thursday, since the last paper recycling day that I'll be around for is on Friday. It's achievable, but, you know, dull.

In other news, I had planned to make three Christmas gifts. It is December 5, and I have made exactly zero of them. I need to get on that, too.

That's right, between the sewing and the shredding, the next week will be a very exciting week around here.


* I have no idea why I got - and then didn't use - a replacement bank card.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Procrastination away from home

Well, as I mentioned yesterday, I took the car in today. I had them drop me off at ITO, where I worked on my Java course again. Admittedly, I was procrastinating about it - it had been probably 6 weeks since I'd been there. I worked on it for about two and a half hours (and got 3 modules done). The sad part is that I only had 4 modules done up to this point. Luckily for me, the modules today went a lot more quickly than some of them have in the past.

I'm going in again next week for another presentation, so perhaps I will get more done then.

As I'm writing this, the TV is on - a leftover from watching one of the cringingest episodes of The Office ever (and anyone who watches The Office knows that it's often a show that makes you cringe). Anyway, there is yet another commercial about the ongoing battle between the cable companies and the local TV stations about a potential new charge for local TV.

The thing is, I don't care which side is right. I can watch TV for free on the internet - or I can buy a season of TV on DVD every month for less than my cable bill. There is a definite limit as to how much I'll pay to watch TV - and my cable bill is currently pretty close to that limit.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Busy as a bee

Sometimes I wonder how I got everything done when I had a job.

Today I went to the gym around noon.

I also applied for some jobs, deposited more cookie money in the bank, returned a book to the library, got another book out of the library, and returned the excess cookie supplies to the grocery store.

I did some more cleaning of the desk and shredding of papers as well.

Tomorrow I have to take the car in (the steering is making some noise), so I will be gone all day. (I'll get them to drop me off at ITO, since I can work on my course in the morning and go to a seminar in the afternoon.)

Friday will be the usual busy-ness of the gym and boxing. Saturday I plan to do nothing. I am very much looking forward to it.

In a completely unrelated note, I recommend Rick Mercer's rant from last night (found here). My personal pet peeve is people who stop their carts in the middle of the aisle at the grocery store.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mmm, cookies

Tonight at Sparks we made cookies in a jar.

Basically, you take a 1 litre jar and layer the dry ingredients for the cookies in it. You include instructions on how to bake the cookies.

It's definitely our most involved meeting of the year, and we had 4 parents come in to help (for a total of 8 adults). We do an assembly line with one adult at every point along the way (and one adult entertaining the other girls).

This afternoon, I had to print out the instructions. Luckily, my friend Jennifer gave me her old printer a couple of weeks ago. (The other printer is in Wanda's room, so I can't use it while she's sleeping. Since she works nights, that can be a problem.)

Today I set up that printer and downloaded and installed the driver. It worked well, and I was able to get everything printed. (Thanks, Jennifer!)

Making the cookies went well with one minor mishap - one girl dropped her jar on her way out the door and it broke. Luckily, we had made an extra jar as a thank-you for a guest we had last week, so she ended up taking that one home.

Here's the recipe we made:
Oatmeal Raisin Spice Cookie Mix In a Jar

Ingredients:
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar (clean inside of jar with dry paper towel after this layer)
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup raisins
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup flour mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt

Layer ingredients in order given in a 1 quart wide mouth canning jar. It will be a tight fit, make sure you firmly pack down each layer in place before adding the flour mixture.

Here are the instructions that go with the mix:
Oatmeal Raisin Spice Cookies
Empty cookie mix into large mixing bowl. Use your hands to thoroughly blend mix.
Add:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix until completely blended. You will need to finish mixing with your hands. Shape into walnut-sized balls. Place 2" apart on a parchment lined or lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 11 to 13 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Remove cookies to baking racks to finish cooling.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Monday, November 30, 2009

That was where?

I took the car in to get its new bumper today. I dropped it off a little after 8. The estimate had been that it would take 1.5 days - yet somehow they finished it today, so I got to pick it up today. That will make tomorrow much easier.

I also continued cleaning the furnace room - specifically the workbench where I keep my tools. I found:
- recipes for ice cream (odd, but that can kind of be explained by the fact that they were from camping, and my camping equipment is in that room)
- a drill bit randomly sitting on the bench
- a board with a screw through it
- the deed for my house (I have no idea why/how it was there)
- fun foam ears from an old sheep Halloween costume
- the owner's manual for my 8 year-old BBQ (for which the automatic ignition never worked, possibly because I didn't put it together properly - will I ever fix it? No.)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Seeing Red

So today is Wanda's birthday.

I started the day by washing all of my sheets and my duvet cover. I then put them all in the dryer (with a few pieces of clothing) and ... it turned into a giant ball of clothes inside my duvet cover. It was funny, but it took a long time to detangle. I split it into two loads and dried them that way.

Our cousin Daniel came over for supper and to watch the game.

Well, let me back up.

I come from Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan has a football team - the Roughriders. Rider football is a very, very big deal in Saskatchewan. Rider fans are probably the most rabid fans in the Canadian Football League.

The CFL final (the Grey Cup) was tonight ... and last week the Riders won the western final, so they were playing in the Grey Cup against the Montreal Alouettes. This year, the game was in Calgary, which is an 8 hour drive from Regina. The stadium was packed with Riders fans. It was essentially like playing at home.

In fact, I heard rumours that a grocery store in Calgary ran out of watermelons and had to special order more. (Riders fans hollow them out and wear them as hats. No, wearing a watermelon as a hat in Calgary in November doesn't seem like a good idea to me either.)

The Alouettes were heavily favoured by everyone other than the fans, but the Riders took an early lead. By halftime, they were up by 2 touchdowns.

Starting the second half, the Alouettes started to catch up. The last few minutes, they were two points down. With five seconds left, they tried for a field goal and missed.

Zero seconds left on the clock.

And ... a penalty was called because the Riders had too many men on the field. The Alouettes went for the field goal again and they got it. The Riders lost by one point ... after leading for the entire game.

This is why I don't usually watch football.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Montreal

As I mentioned yesterday, Wanda's birthday is tomorrow. She took the weekend off of work (so that she'd be awake during the day, since she normally works nights), and she decided that she wanted to spend today in Montreal.

It's about a 2 hour drive, so we left around 9:45. We got a little misplaced, so we didn't park until 12:30.

The thing about Montreal is that when you get downtown, you can go into the underground city - shops below various buildings that are all linked underground. That's what we did.

We spent the afternoon walking around the various shops. Wanda bought some jeans and we both bought some Christmas gifts. By the time we headed back to the car (around 5), my legs were getting pretty tired.

Does everyone remember last year?

That's right, when I tried to leave the parking garage (a different one than last year), I had trouble paying. I put the ticket in, and it said to put in a credit card. I did, and nothing happened. I tried again. I changed the way I was inserting the ticket ... and the credit card. I tried a second credit card.

Finally, I pressed the intercom button and the security guard told me to park again, come inside and pay there. I was about to do that, but Wanda got out and managed to make it work. I still don't know what I did wrong, but at least I'm not still stuck in a parking garage.

We left Montreal, then stopped for supper. After that, it was time to head home.

You know, walking for 5 hours, then sitting for supper and the car ride home makes me walk like my legs are unfamiliar with the concept.

Anyway, I got home and did something that has been bugging me for a while - I organized the drawer that has all of my plastic containers. It only took a couple of minutes, and it's much less cluttered now.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Finish something? Whatever do you mean?

Today was a busy day. I met up with some former co-workers for lunch, so I started the day by going to the gym. (I usually go at lunch on Friday.)

I also had to run a bunch of errands, because I'm going to Montreal tomorrow, Wanda's birthday is Sunday, and then I lose the use of the car for 2 days.

Of course, there's also the usual job hunting stuff.

Somehow, I managed to get it all done.

I also made it to boxing. (Yay!) This week was the dreaded boxathon. Basically, a typical class consists of a warm up, 12 stations, a couple of punch outs, and maybe a cool down. A boxathon consists of 24 stations. Each station is 2 minutes long with 30 seconds between each station. It was great. (At the end, I felt like I could do another 12 stations. Should I be worried about that? Probably, right?)

After that, I came home and, when I came into the house, I brought all of the CDs from the car in. You see, I have a visor CD holder. I believe it holds 10 CDs. I also had probably 15 CDs in their cases in the car and another multiple CD holder. It was ridiculous.

I've gone through them and am only putting back the 10 CD holder (which now contains 8 CDs). I'm sure that will get us through 4 hours of driving tomorrow.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pantry


My kitchen has a cupboard intended for use as a pantry. It starts at about waist height and is almost as deep as my refrigerator. Immediately underneath it are two cutting boards, mostly used to put stuff on when moving stuff around in the pantry.

The above picture is how it was earlier today.

Today I cleaned it out and organized it. Now, instead of having pasta all over the place, it's all in one spot. The after picture is below.

Now all that remains is keeping stuff where it's supposed to go.

(The shelves are straight, by the way. It's the camera angle that is crooked.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ready to fly

My lego arrived today.

I mean, my niece's lego arrived today.

I had ordered a set plus some extra pieces - only the set arrived today. They were shipped separately, so that's not a huge shock.

I also booked my flight for Christmas. Back in September, I was considering heading back to Regina for a few days, but I didn't have enough aeroplan points. Today I checked to see how many I would need to go back for Christmas - and I did have enough for that.

In other news, the great "put pictures into photo album" project continued today. I've actually got the pictures from my first trip to Botswana into an album.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This video is made of awesome

So the car is going in to be fixed on Monday.

I also put more pictures in albums today.

None of that is terribly interesting though. You know what is? This:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Things I don't understand

There are many things I don't understand.

1. News reports say there is no seasonal flu in Ottawa, so if you get the flu, it is H1N1. They also say that the only people getting tested to find out the specific type of flu they have are people admitted to hospital. My question: how do they know there is no seasonal flu in Ottawa if they aren't testing to see what kinds of flu people are getting?

2. A young child died at Pearson International Airport in Toronto yesterday. It was a horrible accident. What puzzles me is the following line in the story: "A makeshift memorial was set up Monday morning near the area where the baby fell."

Why do people set up these memorials? I don't get it. I doubt it's the family - I'm sure they have many more important things to deal with right now. I'm assuming it was strangers -but why? Do they feel they're doing something to help?

3. If you were an insurance agent, why would you not return a call from a client? Are you unaware how easy it is to change insurance companies?

4. Why is OC Transpo (the Ottawa bus company) still not calling out the next stop. I've ridden the bus 4 times in the last month, and I've heard maybe two stops get announced - and I was on the transitway where stops have official names (not just "street x at street y"). They've lost a court case saying they have to call them out.

5. What will it take to get city council working again? Can I get elected dictator? City council is beyond pathetic. (Sadly, I live in a ward with a councilor who mostly is competent, so I won't be running. But I'd take the dictator job.)

(Small project today. I'm not done with the pictures that need to be put in albums, but I moved the full ones.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Busy, busy, busy

Remember how yesterday I made a lot of perogies? Well, today I did it again.

You see, we made two types of perogies yesterday - cottage cheese and cheddar cheese. We used up all of the cheddar cheese filling, but there was still cottage cheese filling left, so today I made another batch of dough, more potatoes (for more cheddar cheese filling) and I made another three cookie sheets of perogies.

As if that weren't enough, I then made one of my favourite types of Christmas cookies, schnecken.

Here's the recipe.

Mix 4 cups flour & 1 1/2 cups butter.
Add 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten, 1 cup sour cream, and 1 tsp vanilla.

Mix well and chill.

Beat fluffy 3 egg whites. Add 3 tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp vanilla.

Divide dough into 8 parts. Roll each part into a circle on board dusted with icing sugar. Cut into 8 or 12 wedges.

Brush rolled dough with egg mixture and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Roll each wedge loosely, starting with the wide end. Brush with egg whites and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Place on greased cookie sheet, bake at 400 F for 10-12 minutes.


So, yes, I made 8 dozen cookies today. Eight dozen small cookies, I would like to add. These are awesome cookies, though - all cinnamon-y and moist.

In other words, it was a productive day.

I even took the time to do a small anti-procrastination project. You see, when this house was built, the stairs to the basement were off of the kitchen. In the early 90s, the owners decided to expand the dining room and build a porch outside of where the back door had been. The stairs were moved out to the porch. I would have designed the porch differently (so that, for example, it contained a closet), but such is life. Basically, there is a small landing, then stairs to the basement. Along the stairs is a ledge.

Somehow, that ledge has become a holding place for anything I used outside but was too lazy to take downstairs. Today I started cleaning off that ledge. I decided to leave everyday gardening things there (gloves, weed pullers, etc.) because it's not realistic to think that I'll walk downstairs to get them - I'm not a big fan of gardening, there's no point in making it harder. However, the more infrequently used things (seeds, a bike bag, edging) are now downstairs.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Picture this

Today was a busy day.

A friend came over for a perogy-making extravaganza. That took much of the afternoon (and resulted in lots of perogies). I then drove her home - and got rear-ended on the way home. The bumper will need to be replaced, but no one was hurt.

This evening was a Chuck marathon. (Apparently it comes back January 10, for those who are interested.) While I was watching TV, I started putting pictures in albums. I started with a bunch of really old pictures. There's still more to do, but it's a start.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Two days today

I started feeling better yesterday. Not 100%, so I still skipped boxing tonight (even though I really wanted to go), but I have energy and food doesn't repulse me, so that's something.

Remember how I was cleaning off one bookshelf so that I could move stuff over there from the desk? Yesterday I started moving stuff over. The next things to go will be photo albums, but before I do that, I need to put pictures in the photo albums. Specifically, I haven't put any pictures from my two trips to Botswana in albums - and I haven't even gotten prints from my trip this year. (Yes, I have them all on the computer, but it's a bit more convenient to show people actual prints sometimes.)

Today I did some more filing. I haven't cleaned out the filing cabinet, but that's on the list. I also did some more shredding - that pile is getting a lot smaller.

I'm not spending much time each day doing these things - maybe 10 minutes on an average day - but it really does add up.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Getting hot

It's kind of weird being perfectly healthy except for having had a fever for a week. It is good if your goal is to take afternoon naps, though.

This morning when I got up, I looked at my microwave.

Well, let me back up.

My kitchen is a decently sized room, but it has three doors as well as the first three steps to the basement, so there's not a lot of usable space. When I moved it, the counters were U-shaped. It was horrible - there was absolutely no room to have more than one person in the kitchen at a time.

Let's see if I can find a picture:

Note the microwave stand (which sat where the fridge was supposed to go but didn't because it was too tall).

There was room for a small table and chairs, but at the cost of storage space. I had the kitchen renovated four years ago.

Here's a picture from the same angle:

When I did, I got rid of my microwave and replaced it with an over the stove microwave/fan.

(Yes, the outlets are covered now.)

This morning, I decided to clean the filter for the microwave vent. I pulled it off and washed it, then I washed the part of the microwave that it was covering. I let it dry all morning, then I put it back on. (It probably didn't need to dry all morning, but it didn't hurt.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lego

So ... I was overly optimistic when I said my fever was gone. It is back - but on and off. Very odd.

The staffing firm I was working with called this morning. They have another possibility for me. I have applied at that company before, but the guy I work with at the staffing company is going to check and see if he can still present me as a candidate.

It's nice to have other people looking for jobs for me.

Anyway, today's anti-procrastination project was continuing to clean/organize my bookshelf. Nothing too exciting there, just a bunch of old papers I should have gotten rid of years ago.

Let's talk about something more interesting, OK?

A month or two ago, my niece called me. She wanted to ask if I would help her build a Lego house when I go for Christmas. Apparently she was trying to build one and she was having problems.

I said I would and pointed out that she's only five - it's OK if she doesn't know how to do everything.

Since she wants to build a really big house, I decided to buy her more Lego for Christmas.

I looked in stores around here, but most of them sell specific kits. I just wanted an assortment of blocks.

It seems like the kind of thing the internet would know about, so today I checked it out. It turns out that Lego sells basic kits. They also sell individual pieces.

I bought a pile of roof pieces and a basic kit. Hopefully, we'll have a good time playing this Christmas.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Green bins

Today I was far more consistently sick than I have been. I had a fever most of the day. This evening I started coughing - and the fever seems to be gone. I'm hoping I'm past the feverish/tired stage of this thing. (Don't worry, by tomorrow I will annoyed at the coughing.)

I did some filing today (as my anti-procrastination project) since I could do that sitting down.

As I was sitting on the couch today, I noticed more noise than usual outside. (OK, fine, I was playing Sims 2 Castaway again.) I was a little puzzled about what could be making that noise.

Eventually, it reached my end of the street. (Well, it didn't take that long, it's a short street.)

It was the city of Ottawa delivering our green bins.

For those of you outside of Ottawa, green bins are used for biodegradable items - veggies, fruit, meat, etc. I have a backyard composter, so I'm not sure whether I'll use this one or not.

The bins are pretty heavy, which is probably good from a "keeping the wildlife out" perspective. The latch I found a little difficult to operate, but that will only be an issue if I start using it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The weekend

I had all kinds of plans for this weekend, but ended up canceling them all. I'm feeling OK most of the time. Yesterday, for example, I felt fine until about 4:30 - then I felt awful for a couple of hours, then I was fine again.

I did get some more cleaning/organizing done on the bookshelf. Today, following my "don't finish anything completely" plan, I moved back to the furnace room and did some more organizing there.

Since I didn't do much this weekend, I don't have much to talk about. Today, for example, I spent hours (literally) playing Sims 2 Castaway on the Wii. (Wanda rented it on Friday.)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Feed a cold, starve a fever?

I'm pretty sure I have some variant of the flu, but it's very odd.

First of all, sometimes I have a fever, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I feel fine, sometimes I feel awful. This afternoon, the nerves in my legs spent their time reminding me that I was wearing pants. Not painful, but unnecessary - I knew I was wearing pants. That stopped for a while, but has now started again. I also am unable to reliably stand up for any length of time. Sadly, that meant I skipped boxing.

Also, I've eaten about four hundred things today. (This might have something to do with why I had a stomach ache this afternoon.) I'm not sure if this is related to the fever coming and going or whether my brain has just gone haywire.

However, I started feeling better this evening, so I started cleaning out the bookshelf in one of the bedrooms. This is necessary because I need to move some stuff from the desk into that shelf.

Like I said, this thing comes and goes, so I expect it to be back tomorrow.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

How cheap will you work?

I woke up coughing this morning. I've had a fever and a headache most of the day - not really incapacitating, but not fun nonetheless. I did carry out a small anti-procrastination project - I bagged up the garbage I had created by cleaning out my desk and took it to the curb for garbage day tomorrow.

I also checked the job listings as usual. There's one job that sounds interesting and I'm 95% qualified for, but it has an odd requirement - they want applicants to put their salary expectations in the subject line of the e-mail.

Keep in mind that they don't share details on their web page about benefits, vacation, business hours, or sick time.

It strikes me as a way to eliminate people without bothering to open the e-mail and read the cover letter or resume.

I haven't decided if I'm going to bother to apply. Do I really want to work somewhere where the primary hiring criteria is how much they have to pay you? Do I want to put the effort into composing a cover letter & adapting my resume if I'm going to be screened out without anyone reading either?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembering


Remembrance Day is not a statutory holiday here in Ontario, so I usually have to work. Not this year, however, so I decided to head downtown to take part in the national ceremony.

I got there around 9:15. People were starting to accumulate, but it was not terribly busy yet. Note the lack of people by the Parliament Buildings.

I ended up right by the barricade on the east side of the cenotaph.

It was a beautiful, sunny day. I chatted with the people on either side of me.

There was some discussion about the Canadian flag with the blue stripes on it. (I googled it after I got home.)


As time went on, people started to gather behind us, as well as on the lawn at the Parliament Buildings.


Around 10:30, the dignitaries started to arrive. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was the first to arrive (or at least the first to be announced). Shortly after that, the Silver Cross Mother arrived. (The Silver Cross Mother is the mother of a soldier killed in action.)

After that, there was a looonnng wait. Finally, the Governor General arrived, followed shortly by Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla. I was standing right where I could see the cars go by. I was a little confused by the Governor General - I wasn't expecting her to be wearing a military uniform. Prince Charles was the easiest to spot in the cars - in part because he had the window open.



Just before 11, the ceremony started with O Canada. There was 2 minutes of silence, as well as prayers, songs, poems, a 21-gun salute, and the laying of dozens of wreaths.

This picture is looking back from where I was standing at the barricade towards a giant TV screen showing what was going on in front of the cenotaph.
Around 12, the veterans started to parade out, followed by current members of the military, cadets, and RCMP officers. (They immediately followed by paramedics, but that wasn't part of the official list.)


As the parade ended, someone behind me in the crowd collapsed. The people immediately around him (including some current members of the military) started first aid, and I asked the cop on the other side of the barricade to get the paramedics. A couple of other police officers came over and managed to get the fence open while someone located the paramedics.

By that time, everything was over so I escaped through the opening in the fence to give them more room to work. (I was pretty cold, and my feet were getting numb.)

This is the cenotaph from the front.

Walking back to the bus, I took a few more pictures. Ottawa is really a beautiful ciy.
From the Mackenzie King Bridge, looking back towards the cenotaph. If you look closely, you can see the people still crowded around.

I was still cold when I got home, so I took a bubble bath. I did warm up but it took a while.

(On the anti-procrastination front, I did some more desk organizing.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Miscellanea

I'm definitely starting to get a cold (or something). I'm getting a cough, and I felt like I had a fever today. When I took my temperature tonight, it was 98.5. Yesterday it was 96.3. I think I need a new thermometer.

Anyway, I'm not feeling really sick yet. I don't know whether to hope that I get really sick so that I get better or whether I should hope that I don't get really sick at all. This in-between stage is annoying.

I did some more organizing of my desk today. I keep the oddest things. Seriously, do I need my bus pass from grade 9? My union card from a job in 1990? A piece of styrofoam? Three random batteries (not matching)? Anyway, my quest to get the desk cleaned out is not yet over.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Transportation

Every spring, I get a full-service car wash. They clean the floor mats, vacuum the car, wash the dash and the inside of the windows, and wash the outside of the car.

This spring, I didn't quite get there. In fact, I finally made it there today. (In case you're as confused as I am about what month it is, I'd like to point out that it's November.)

Anyway, the car is clean now.

I also got a slightly-overdue oil change.

After my car-related errands, I went to Zumba. I left halfway through the class because my foot was hurting. Wanda was still in the class, so I used one of the recumbent exercise bikes. It was a good choice - my foot didn't bother me at all while I was on it. The only minor flaw was that I timed it poorly - I was expecting it to make me do a cool down, and it didn't, so I had to wait for Wanda a little longer than I would have liked.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Letters from the past

Today I was able to walk around the house without wearing shoes. It has been about a month since I've been able to do that, so I'm quite excited about it. My right foot is still turned out mysteriously, but it doesn't hurt, so that's fine.

I also continued cleaning out my desk today. I found a bunch of cards and letters. Let me share a letter from my sister Wanda soon after I moved to Ottawa:

Dear Colette,
Hi, my Darling, Sweet, Generous sister who is going to send me money. (In case you didn't guess, I was sucking up.) Did you watch Lois and Clark on Sunday? How are things in Ottawa? Did you get fired yet? If you didn't I am very proud of you. So are we better then [sic] those Ottawa Pathfinders? Well the play is doing O.K. but we can't seem to dance and sing at the same time. My mind is wandering around in fear because Kathleen got her Lisence [sic] and Ted is going for his sometime today. Am I asking too many questions? I probably am, huh? Hum de dum. (Is that how you spell hum de dum.)
From your Darling sister,
Wanda
P.S. Write back soon.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Kitchen's so Bright, I Have to Wear Shades

Compared to last Saturday, toady was a very relaxing day. I got my hair done. (It looks awesome.) I did a few errands.

I even did some anti-procrastination projects. First of all, I continued working to clean out my desk. I found a bunch of pictures that need to go in albums (and a bunch of albums, most of which have pictures in them). I found a bunch of pages from an old page-a-day calendar. (I'm not clear on why I kept them.)

I also changed a light bulb in the kitchen.

My kitchen light consists of four halogen bulbs. They can swivel in any direction. When they're all lit, the kitchen is very bright. When one of them is burnt out, some part of the kitchen is shadowy and dark.

However, the kitchen light is on a lot. And there are four bulbs. And they are tricky to change. Usually, one of them burns out, I change it, then the next one burns out, etc. The last time I changed a bulb, I made a note that we were out of bulbs. I bought them about a week later. A day after that, another bulb burnt out.

I didn't bother changing it.

That was several weeks ago. Today I finally managed to change the light bulb.

I continue to be amazed at how bright the kitchen is.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Ready for the song and dance?

Today's anti-procrastination projects are things that just happened today. They are things I could (and usually would) procrastinate about, though, so I've decided they count.

Let's start with the second one.

Remember how a couple of weeks ago, I bought new runners? Well, tonight at boxing I noticed that one edge was catching on the floor when I pivoted. That's right, the sole was coming off the shoes.

When I got home, I immediately boxed them back up and took them back to the store. (Well, not that immediately, I took a shower first.) The cashiers were really good about it - they had to get the manager's permission to exchange the shoes because they were obviously worn, but they were victorious. Then, they looked for a replacement. There was some minor panic when they didn't have another identical pair, but it turned out they had the same shoe in a different colour. I'll miss my silver alien shoes, but I'll survive with my white and red shoes.

Incidentally, this makes the third year in a row that it has taken me two pairs of shoes before getting one that works. (The last two times it was a fit problem. This is the first defective pair I've had.)

When I got home, I dealt with the first potential procrastination item of the day. When I got the mail, there was a cheque address to some business I'd never heard of at my address. I was puzzled, but I planned to write "not at this address" and toss it back in the mailbox tomorrow.

However, on my way to boxing, I remembered a conversation with one of my neighbours about a business he was starting. I was pretty sure that this was meant for him.

I called him, and yes, it was his cheque, so I ran over and dropped it off.

I'm glad I eventually clued in.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

So ... I don't know what was going on last night, but I feel fine today.

This afternoon, I went clothes shopping - I have one set of interview-suitable clothing, but almost everywhere seems to be doing at least two interviews, so I wanted to pick up something else in case I ever get a second interview.

My anti-procrastination project for the day was cleaning out the fridge freezer. Even I was surprised at how many bread bags containing only one piece of crust were in the freezer.

Also, pierogies - I think I found 3 bags.

In completely unrelated news, my niece talked to me on the phone today. (It has been a while.) She told me that she's invisible, so when I go there I won't be able to see her, but she'll still be there. She also told me about her dog, Kasey, who had an operation this week to remove the parts that make babies. She got distracted, so I hung up - and she called me back to tell me that she's not really invisible. That's good to know.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

If you think I've been lazy so far

For the last week, I've been feeling a little off.

This morning, I woke up feeling OK. I went to the gym at noon, and everything was fine.

This afternoon, I'm definitely feeling worse. So in other words, if you think my anti-procrastination projects haven't required much effort so far, just wait and see where they go from here.

Anyway, today I lost all patience with my heating system's cold air intake. It has been a while since I cleaned the metal grid that covered it, so I pulled the grid off and washed the dust off of it. It looks much better now.

I also went through my over-the-counter and prescription medicines from my trips to Africa and took them in to the pharmacy for disposal. The boxes, naturally, are still sitting on the bathroom counter.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My mind is broken

I had Sparks tonight. The girls were completely crazy. I suspect it's a combination of Halloween candy and being more tired than usual due to the time change.

This afternoon, I continued working on cleaning out the desk. I got rid of a bunch of travel stuff (maps and tour books) that I'm unlikely to need again. I also found Lemon Aid car buying books from when I bought my car ... nine years ago. There's no reason to keep those anymore.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Two days today

For the month of November, bloggers everywhere vow to update every day.

I, on the other hand, started the month by totally forgetting to update. I'm lucky I didn't sign up.

Yesterday I put all of the Halloween decorations away, except for a giant spider that is mysteriously sitting on the rug in the front hall.

I also (finally) turned off the air conditioning. I didn't realize that I hadn't covered up the air conditioner or turned it off until I went to set the Halloween black light on top of it. I covered it up on Saturday, but I didn't turn it off for reasons I don't really remember. I assume laziness is near the top of the list, though.

Today I had another interview. I think it went well - it's a small company, so I interviewed with the company president, then I met with the HR person. I think we were philosophically on the same page. It's an interesting business, and it sounds like a good place to work. We'll see how it goes.

When I got home, I continued on my quest to clean out my desk. Things I found today included:
- 3 books of music for the trumpet
- my high school yearbooks
- a binder full of orientation material from my job at the big company (the one I got laid off from in 2007). It's a nice binder that I had no idea even existed.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I know I didn't update yesterday. It was a crazy day. I had my usual activities (the gym and boxing) plus decorating for Halloween and carving a pumpkin.

Today I got up early (too early) to write three tests for jobs with the federal government. The first test started at 8:30, so I left the house at 7. (Well, OK, 7:05). It was pouring.

I was two minutes from the bus stop when the bus went by (early, I might note). The next bus was late ('cause that's how it works). I got there in time, though, and wrote the first test.

For the first test, we were allowed an hour and a half (after the 30 minutes of reading the instructions and handing out the test booklets). I finished a couple of minutes early.

After that, I had an hour before the next test at 11:30. We were again allowed an hour and a half, but I was done in less than an hour.

That gave me lots of time before my third test at 2:30. For this one, we were allowed an hour and forty minutes. I again finished in about an hour - which was awesome, because I was more than ready to go home - and the rain had stopped!

Yesterday, I decorated the house/yard. After I got home, I put out a few extra decorations that I didn't want out in the rain. I also took some pictures ... so I hope you're all ready.



That is Wanda, all dressed up for Halloween. She was planning to go to a party tonight, but she has been sick the last couple of days, and in the end she didn't feel up to going. She is answering the door instead.

Wanda's vampire pumpkin (carved last night).
Pickled aliens on the front step.
The mailbox.
To the left of the front step. The skull is a candle holder. Those are my Halloween curtains - and if you look carefully, you can see the witch on the window.
The bushes to the left of the step.
The front walkway. That web has already caught one kid. I said "Yay, dinner tomorrow." His dad laughed.
I love my gargoyle.
The gargoyle sits at the corner of the house at the end of the walk.
Below the gargoyle is the glow in the dark area. The black light is behind the bushes.
Looking towards the front step.
The large cross in the front yard - with the fresh grave and the hand & eye coming out of the ground.


From the street. The white crosses were the ones I was making. (I finished them yesterday.)

My anti-procrastination project today was a mini one - I did a very, very small amount of shredding.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Remember when I was complaining about being bored?

I got a call this morning - I have another interview on Monday. The job posting was really vague, so I'm not sure what to expect for this one.

This afternoon, I went to a meet & greet with a staffing company. It was quite interesting, and I gave them my resume.

I also followed up with the staffing company that got me that interview last week - as I suspected, I'm not getting that one.

Tomorrow is free (other than regular Friday stuff). Saturday I have 3 tests to write for a federal government job.

I'm glad it's busy, but at the same time I was getting used to not having to do much.

Anyway, on to the anti-procrastination projects today.

Last Christmas, one of my necklaces broke. I tried to scam my dad into fixing it, but he was too clever for that. It has sat on my dresser every since, still broken.

Today I fixed it. It took about 2 minutes - because I had to go downstairs to get a pair of pliers.

I also cleaned my fish's bowl. That shouldn't count as an anti-procrastination project - except I have been putting it off for three weeks. It was either clean it or get reported for cruelty to fish. Anyway, his bowl is clean now.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Press more carefully

Today I continued cleaning out my desk.

Things I found:
- a manual for some software I had to buy for one of my university courses
- my old home ec sample book from grade 9 (Comments tended to be along the lines of "press more carefully" - shocking I don't iron these days, isn't it.)
- notes from my gold Duke of Edinburgh's award expedition

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Snakes!

Today I finally started cleaning out my desk.

I found:
- notes to an objective setting course
- a letter from my employer two jobs ago in a sealed envelope
- the list of houses I looked at while house hunting
- a half-completed logic puzzles book
- the "yearbook" from my elementary school when I was in grade 1 & 2.

There's still more to go - I only made it through about a quarter of the desk.

Tonight was also the Halloween party for Sparks.

I spent a half an hour doing my hair - and then it fell down in the car and I had to fix it when I got there.






Monday, October 26, 2009

More cleaning

My anti-procrastination project today was to continue cleaning the furnace room.

I did some de-cluttering, and some cleaning. There is still more to go, this will continue to be a project.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It's in the bag

I've always read a lot. I'll read pretty much anything - or at least I'll start reading almost anything.

I don't buy books all that often - I read too many for that to be practical. I do have a few authors whose books I buy, but otherwise I rely on borrowing them, usually from the library.

I usually have 6 - 10 books out at any given time. I have an old, cloth grocery bag that I use to transport my library books.

It's a really thin bag, and has had a rip in it for ... a long time.

Well over a year ago, I came up with a plan for a new bag to use for my library runs, but I didn't get around to making it. Last year, Wanda moved in and my sewing stuff got moved quickly. End result: no bag.

Today my anti-procrastination project was to make the bag I had planned.

Here's a picture:



The outside is strips of fabric (pink, green, orange, yellow). The inner layer is an old pair of jeans.

There are no pockets or anything (although they would be easy to add if I needed them). I considered putting a zipper in the top but haven't done so yet.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

What can I do without leaving the couch?

Today was a very lazy day. I managed to drag myself to the grocery store, but basically I spent much of the day sitting in my "internet" chair.

Before Wanda went to work, we watched some DVDs. I hadn't done any anti-procrastination projects yet, so I cleaned out the inside of the coffee table while we watched.

That's right, so far I have cleaned off the top, the bottom, and now the inside.

This particular coffee table has a top that lifts up to become a table, and there are small storage compartments on either side of the table that you can reach when the top is lifted.

I realize that is a confusing explanation, but I hope it made sense.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Shoe shopping

My theory has been that my runners contributed to my weird foot injury from a couple of weeks ago. (They were 14 months old, so it's not shocking that I might need new ones.) I had decided to buy new ones, but I didn't want to do that until my foot was better.

This morning, I bought new runners. They are much more snug than my old ones. I immediately work them to my pump class, where they performed well. Tonight I went back to boxing, and they worked well there as well - and my foot is no more sore than it was when I got up today. (I didn't do any of the skipping at boxing - no point in being stupid about it.)

When I get home from boxing, I set my water bottle in the kitchen, then head off to the shower. As I was getting ready for my shower, I noticed that the fan cover in the bathroom was dusty.

Normally, this would be the kind of thing I'd ignore for a couple of weeks, but today I actually cleaned it.

I also did a little bit of shredding, but nothing major.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The interview

My interview was at 9 a.m. today. Now that I'm unemployed, there are many days when I'm not out of bed by 9. I could have asked for a later time, but I always wake up when Wanda gets home at 6:15, and I wanted to get it over with.

I met with the woman from HR first, then I had a test to write, then I met with a development manager. I'd say the chat with the HR woman went well, but the chat with the development manager didn't go as well. (It didn't go badly, I'm just not sure I'm the right person for the job.)

The entire process took a little over 2 hours. After that, I headed home for lunch, then totaled up the cookie money from Sparks and took it to the bank. My anti-procrastination project of the day? I remembered to bring the books I had culled to donate to their book sale.

I was pretty fried by then, but I went to yet another dollar store in search of snakes. I found some cute little ones - I'm quite excited about them.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Back to the gym

Nothing too impressive today.

I didn't sleep well last night - I was pretty stressed, and I haven't been to the gym in 2 weeks. Today I did some interview prep. (I should do more, but my brain is done.) I also finally went back to the gym.

My foot is a little iffy, but I needed the exercise. I did a weight lifting class, so I had to stand on my foot, but there was no jumping or kicking. It's a little sore, but not too bad. I'll take it easy tomorrow (unless there's a kicking and jumping component to the interview) and hopefully I'll be able to do my boxing class on Friday (as long as I skip the skipping) (hee).

While I was trying to concentrate today, I noticed the cables for my stereo system. I originally routed them over the fireplace mantle, and there really was no reason for it, so today I routed them around the base of the fireplace instead. Much less noticeable.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's just a day away

Today started slowly. I found one job I wanted to apply for and had just started the cover letter when I got a phone call from the staffing company I talked to last week. I have an interview on Thursday.

The company I'm interviewing with does testing (as well as the actual interview), so I'm brushing up on a few things before then.

Tonight was also Spark enrollment, so I had running around to do for that.

As a result, it was a light anti-procrastination day. I did some shredding and sent some e-mails I had been putting off, but that was about it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The costume and more

Today I went out to the fabric store. I bought a curtain tie (to use as a belt. I also bought some fringe for the edge of the shawl I decided to make for the costume. (It's October - a shawl is probably a good idea around here.)

I stopped at the dollar store, and bought 3 snakes. I stopped at Party Packagers and bought 3 more snakes. (The problem with buying snakes at one place is that they tend to only have one kind of snake. I want a variety.)

I got home and realized I forgot to get velcro.

Luckily, I had a white strip of snaps. (I have no idea why I bought it originally.) I put that on the dress - which is officially done now.

I put the fringe on the shawl.

Above is a picture of Wanda wearing the dress & shawl. (We did not put the snakes in her hair.)

(I also provided references to the staffing company I talked to last week, but that was about it for job-search stuff today.)

None of this was an anti-procrastination project, though, so tonight I cleaned out the fridge.

I didn't clean out everything, but I did dispose of several jars of salad dressing. (Seriously, I had 6 types of salad dressing - and I rarely eat salad.) I also go rid of various other condiments that had been in there far too long.