Sunday, January 31, 2010

And how was your weekend?

I had a very relaxing weekend.

Yesterday I got my hair cut - it's much shorter and darker than it had been. And ... that's pretty much what I did all day.

Today was quiet too. I did manage to do my laundry, run (and empty) the dishwasher, make supper (cheesy scalloped potatoes and chicken), and sew a patch on to my camp blanket in preparation for camp next week.

I also crocheted a hat that I totally plan to wear at camp next weekend. It was pretty simple, yet it managed to take close to two balls of wool. I'm looking forward to wearing it.

I also read the latest book in the demon hunter series by Julie Kenner. They're fluffy but enjoyable books.

What have you all been up to?

Friday, January 29, 2010


This is new release week at the gym. I said on twitter that I suspect that these particular new releases were planned to get rid of anyone who isn't really committed to going to the gym - i.e. the New Year's Resolutions people. I've done body pump twice and body combat once, and let me tell you, these releases are hard. I rarely get stiff after going to the gym, but this morning some muscles in my back were stiff. I'm not sure whether to blame combat (yesterday) or pump (on Wednesday). I'm leaning towards combat because that muscle is used a lot for upper cuts.

And ... that brings us to boxing today. I don't know why, but this week seemed much harder than usual (even though it wasn't a crazy hard week). I'm sore tonight, but it's the kind of sore that will be better tomorrow ... I hope.

On the job hunting front, I got a call yesterday about a job I applied for in Regina. We'll see what happens there.

I also have a second interview next week for the job I interviewed for last week. (How many people did I lose with that sentence?)

Spark camp is coming up - we're doing a winter camp in buildings - and for breakfast we're doing an interesting-sounding concoction of frozen hash browns, eggs, and cheese in the slow cooker. It sounds tasty, so I hope it turns out well.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I admit it, I have a problem with shoes

I have a different bag for all of my regular activities - a red knapsack for going to the gym, a grey knapsack for Irish Dancing (even though I don't do that anymore), a black knapsack for boxing, and a black bag with leopard and cheetah prints and a tiger on it for Sparks.

My Sparks bag is the same bag I used when I used to be a leader with Guides, which is the branch of Girl Guides for 9-12 year old girls. If I remember correctly, I quit in 2004.

That would be almost six years ago.

When I started doing Sparks, I grabbed the same bag, since it already had the essential - cheap runners for in the gym, a pencil case with pens, glue, a stapler, and scissors, and a small notebook for planning.

When I first pulled the shoes out of the bag, I had to laugh - they were old, cracked, and had splotches of yellow paint on them from fish stenciling*. Clearly, it's a good thing I kept them for the 4 years I wasn't a leader.

Making it even funnier was the fact that I had another pair of identical (except, you know, new) runners in the closet that I had probably bought knowing those ones would soon be tossed out.

Just to be clear, I started being a Sparks leader a year and a half ago.

Yesterday, I swapped the shoes and threw out the old ones.

I also took everything out of the bag and vacuumed the bag out. Somehow, a plastic bag that I'd had in there got completely destroyed (i.e. basically, it was clingy confetti) and the pieces were getting on my nerves. (Whatever happened to the bag happened recently - this hasn't been a problem for 6 years.)

Anyway, my bag is now cleaned out and ready to use.

* Fish stenciling - painting yellow fish by the storm drains to remind people that any water washed into the storm drains goes straight into the river without being treated.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chocolate sushi

It has been a while since I've updated, so let me fill you in on what's been going on.

Yesterday was the annual Winter Carnival in the community. I was scheduled to work in the kitchen in the afternoon, then I had some friends coming over for dinner. When I get together with these friends, everyone brings something. (Yesterday, everyone brought more than one thing, so the food was plentiful.) One of my contributions was chocolate sushi.

I got the basic idea here.

I melted the chocolate chips, added the corn syrup, and refrigerated. When I pulled it out of the fridge, I divided it into four pieces:

It was a littler colder than I wanted it to be, so I microwaved each piece for 5 seconds immediately before rolling.

Believe me, rolling out the chocolate was a pain. I tried parchment paper and wax paper before settling on wax paper on the top, plastic wrap on the bottom. (Did I mention that I finally got my green bin open? The kitchen container was the recipient of the ripped parchment/wax paper.) It would start more easily, but cool as I rolled. Finally I had pieces the approximate size (20 c.m. by 20 c.m.). (Admittedly, I did some patching.)

When I had all of the chocolate rolled out, I mixed up the rice krispie squares, omitting one cup of cereal to make them gooier. They were much easier to roll out.

I stacked them on top of the chocolate, then put a row of dried strawberries and a row of marshmallows on one end.

Then was the easy part - I rolled them up, wrapped them in the plastic wrap they were sitting on, and stuck them in the fridge.

When it was time to serve them, I pulled them out and sliced them. The final product:

They were good, but pretty rich. The dried strawberries were tasty, but fresh strawberries probably would have been visually nicer.

Overall, they were a hit

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Another interview

Yesterday morning one of my neighbours called. Her company was looking for someone for a 10-month contract - was I interested?

I'm definitely overqualified, but it sounds interesting and it certainly couldn't hurt to check it out, so I said yes. I had the interview today.

I still think it's an interesting position. It's customer service, not development, so I wouldn't be using many technical skills. It involves shift work, but all of the shifts are between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., which isn't too bad (as long as there's some flexibility to allow me to still do Sparks and boxing).

The only unknown right now is the salary - I have no idea what the salary would be. I'm working with my neighbour at a community winter carnival on Saturday, so I'll see what I can find out then.

In anti-procrastination news, yesterday I fixed my purse. You see, right before Christmas (that day when I was late to meet with the recruiter), I managed to lose the zipper pull for my purse. It's somewhere in the car, but I haven't found it.

When I go out of town, I change purses. I do this for a couple of reasons. First of all, if I put my stuff in an empty purse, I know what liquids and gels I'm carrying. Secondly, my travel purse has an adjustable strap so that I can either carry it under my arm or across my body.

In other words, I didn't use my normal purse over Christmas, so I didn't fix the zipper pull.

When I got back, I was, well, lazy. Yesterday I finally decided to stop being a fool, so I took a zipper pull off of one of the superfluous zippers and put it on the main zipper. It was so much easier to open and close my purse today.

Today's anti-procrastination project was also fixing something that broke before Christmas. The day I left for Saskatchewan, my shredder broke. It would reverse but not advance. I played with it for a while, going from reverse to advance and back. I pulled paper out manually (even using tweezers to pull out some bits). I even took the screws out of the bottom to pull the whole thing apart, but I was unsuccessful in getting the cover off.

I decided to follow my usual method of fixing electronics - i.e. unplug it for a week or two and hope for the best. Today I plugged it back in and turned it on. It still wouldn't advance, so I hit reverse for a while and the paper jam cleared. It now works fine.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Let's do this in chronological order.

Yesterday's anti-procrastination project was to get rid of the batteries that were sitting in the kitchen.

You see, one day I needed to change some batteries. I left the old batteries on the half-wall in the kitchen to be disposed of later. Little did I know that used batteries attract other used batteries. Yesterday, I decided to do something about it. No, I didn't drop them off for disposal. I did find a shoebox and put it in the front hall closet for storage of the batteries until I take them in.

Also, remember how I didn't need to take the toilet paper holder off the wall to fix it? About that .... Yup, today I had to take the toilet paper holder off the wall to fix it.

This morning, one of my colleagues from the big telecom company was online, so I asked him to wish our mutual friend happy birthday. He asked if I was going to come in. I decided to go in, so I baked mini-cheesecakes and headed in for coffee. Somehow, 20 minutes for coffee turned into an hour and a half. It was good to see the guys again.

I also got in touch with the doctor about my biopsy. The results? Benign. Nothing to worry about. (Yay!)

I had Sparks tonight. Our big activity was to make edible campfires. We started with raisins (for a circle of rocks around our campfire). Next we used hickory sticks as kindling, then pretzels as sticks, then cheezies as logs, and finally a red gumdrop as fire. The girls loved it, in part because they got to eat their campfire afterwards.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The weekend update

So the anti-procrastination project is off to a slow start. I did get a few (quick) things done this weekend.

1) I figured out what type of light bulb I needed for the bathroom. bought a replacement, figured out how to remove the old bulb, and replaced it with a new bulb.

2) I took the toothbrush I got during my dentist visit a couple of weeks ago out of my purse and started using it. I had completely forgotten that it existed.

3) I fixed my toilet paper holder. You see, the holder in my bathroom works well, but as time goes on, it tends to loosen and twist. Sometimes it's an easy fix, sometimes I have to practically take it off the wall and start over. This one was an easy fix.

I also made it out cross country skiing today. It snow wasn't the best, since we've had a couple of days of warm temperatures, but if I wait for perfect conditions, I'll never go. I didn't last long - my foot started to hurt, plus I was lazy - but it was good to get outside. Also, now I'm halfway to achieving one of my New Year's resolutions.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Yes, I'm still alive

Let me share some highlights from my week.
  1. The job I had the second interview for last week (which is the same job that asked for salary expectations in the subject line of the application) asked for references (which I provided).
  2. The appointment to get the results of the biopsy got pushed out a month.
  3. I went to the gym 4 days! (Yay! But I do need to work on finding a better schedule, especially for Thursdays.)
  4. Two recruiters contacted me about potential jobs.
  5. The job from #1 contacted me saying that their salary range was considerably lower than I had stated - should they still check my references?
  6. I filled out an application for security clearance for one of the jobs in #4.
  7. I procrastinated about starting my anti-procrastination project back up.
  8. One of the three bulbs in the light fixture in my bathroom burnt out. I have never replaced them, so now I need to figure out where to buy those weird bulbs. (And I might as well buy three at once.)
  9. It melted today. It is possible that I might now be able to open my green bin. I haven't tried yet today.
  10. I went to leave for boxing and couldn't find my purse. (I had left it in the car after pump class earlier today. It was still there.)
  11. The skin on my ankle kind of hurt, and when I finally looked at it a day later, I realized I had a cut that had become infected.
  12. I created a bunch of new miis. They are all better at Wii Sports Resort than I am ... even when I'm the one playing them.

So, to summarize: I have no idea what's going on job-wise. NBC is continuing to war with people who work for them. And I am re-starting the anti-procrastination project tomorrow.

How was your week?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

(Edited to add #8.)

I don't usually make New Year's Resolutions - this blog being the obvious exception.

New Year's just seems like a terrible time to resolve anything. There's not much daylight, it's cold, and I'm usually traveling.

However, here are some resolutions for 2010. Let's see how many I achieve.
  1. There are currently 4 different types of body lotion in my bathroom. By the end of the year, I want there to be no more than two.
  2. Get a job. (This is actually more important that the lotion resolution.)
  3. Make it to level 4 of boxing.
  4. Go on a road trip.
  5. Clean out my closet and get rid of clothes I don't wear anymore. Drop them off to a charity that will use them.
  6. Take a first aid course.
  7. Go camping (not counting Spark camp).
  8. Go cross-country skiing twice.
Any other suggestions?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Let's talk about music

I used to listen to music a lot. I constantly had the radio on (or the TV on a video channel). For a while, I had a portable CD player on my desk at work (until I broke it by flinging it off the desk because I forgot that I had my headphones around my neck).

I'm not sure what happened, but I don't really listen to music anymore. In fact, when I'm home I don't usually listen to anything.

I suspect that what happened is that I started spending more time on the internet, and I find music too distracting.

Having said that, I usually like music that contains lyrics. I'm not fond of instrumentals.

Live music is different, though. If it's a live performance, I will enjoy music I wouldn't otherwise listen to.

Tonight I went to see the NAC Orchestra. Tonight was part of their POPS series - it was a tribute to Benny Goodman.

I enjoyed it. There was a featured clarinetist who I wasn't terribly fond of - his music was fine, but he seemed smarmy - but the orchestra did a good job as always.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Yes, she's babbling about boxing again

Today was my first boxing class of 2010. You know, I like being at boxing, but I'm not terribly fond of going to boxing - particularly now that it's dark and cold outside.

Anyway, I got there 15 minutes before the class, and all of the streets around the gym were temporary no parking zones in preparation for snow clearing. I was mentally coming up with possible alternatives (check the other side of Rideau, park in the parkade a block away, etc.) when I remembered that the gym is next door to a parking lot. It turned into a much smaller problem than I was making it out to be.

Since it was week one, it was a relatively easy week. I did try skipping, so we'll see how my foot feels tomorrow. Overall, though, it was a good class. I always leave boxing in a better mood than I get there - and that's what motivates me enough to get me out the door.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Well, I'm gradually getting back into a normal schedule.

I'm very proud that I remembered to go to Sparks on Tuesday. On Wednesday, I actually made it back to the gym. (I really, really did not want to go - but not for any particular reason).

I also had my interview on Wednesday. I didn't feel very focused, so I'm not really expecting much. We'll see, I guess.

I've been a little discouraged about the whole job situation. I hope something comes along soon.

Part of the problem is that the gym schedules all changed this week. Yes, I know that's weird. The thing is that a bunch of my classes have changed times. That means I need to figure out a new schedule - and if I'm going to figure out a new schedule, I'd rather not do it twice, since my schedule will change when I eventually get a job.

I'm working through it, but it's frustrating.

Part of the problem probably is that I've been busy this week, and thus I'm more tired than I'd like to be. I'm still jet lagged, too. And my niece insisted that I leave her puppy there, so I don't have a puppy to snuggle with.

I think I need to re-start my anti-procrastination project. There's still stuff that needs doing around here, and I'm definitely not doing it otherwise.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Back to normal?

I started today with a dentist appointment at 8 a.m. It wasn't as hard to get out of bed to get there as I had expected it to be. My normal hygienist is on maternity leave, so I had a different one today. She seemed very new. Definitely a change.

My appointment finished at 8:35, which left me 40 minutes to kill before I needed to leave for my next appointment. This one was the biopsy. That's right, after waiting for almost 6 months, they called me on Thursday with an appointment for the next business day.

This seems to be common with some medical professionals - they think that theirs is the only schedule that matters. It's annoying - but I wanted it over with, so I went along with it. (Also, I'm still unemployed, so I really have no reason to complain.)

The biopsy itself was OK. They did an ultrasound to make sure they were hitting the right part of the mass, and then used three needles to get what they needed. Somehow, I only see two marks where the needles broke the skin. It looks like I was attacked by a vampire.

The downside is that up to 30% of the time, they don't get a conclusive result from these biopsies, so I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Decade in review

I'm catching up on various blogs today, and I saw this idea on Lynn's blog. Instead of a year-in-review, here's a review of what I've been up to for the last decade. I'm sure I've missed things, so if you remember things I don't, feel free to remind me.

2000 - Bought a house. Went to PEI for a week. Went to Winnipeg. Went camping in Manitoba and hurt my arm crossing a waterfall, then fell in the lake. Took a pottery class. Continued ballroom dancing classes. Took Irish Dancing. Bought a new car.

2001 - Tech meltdown started. Watched as friends and colleagues got laid off. Had the shingles replaced on the house & the chimney repaired. Went to Niagara Falls and Toronto.

2002 - Not a good year. Another year of layoffs. Went on a canoe trip in Algonquin park. Went to Niagara Falls once and Toronto twice. Had to pull a bird's nest out of the bathroom fan vent. Went to Cornwall a couple of times. Went to New York City twice. Went to Philadelphia, Hershey, and Gettysburg. Went to Sask. for a week. Finally decided to stop traveling for a while. Turned 30. Quit Irish Dancing. Painted the downstairs bathroom.

2003 - More layoffs. Still not me. Was a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding. Took a week off to paint the siding on the house. Finished Thursday morning. Thursday afternoon the power went out throughout much of Ontario and the Eastern U.S. Spent the next week on a forced vacation. Bought a computer & had internet at home for the first time. Went to Sask. for the Labour Day weekend. Tried archery, yoga, and belly dancing. Played laser tag for the first time.

2004 - Went to Sask. & was in the delivery room when my niece was born. Started a new job in customer support. Went to Brandon for my aunt & uncle's 50th anniversary. My niece, mom, and two sisters came to visit. Did a bus tour of England, Ireland, and Scotland.

2005 - Lived through a kitchen renovation. It was painful, but the result was wonderful. Painted the living room. My parents came to visit, as did two sisters. My mom came back in the summer and brought my niece with her. I did a Mediterranean cruise to Italy, Spain, Tunisia, and Malta, followed by a week in Italy. My bag (with my camera in it) was stolen in Pompeii. Replaced the shingles on the roof of my porch, which reminded me that I don't like heights. Went back to Sask. for my dad's 70th birthday. Quit being a leader with Girl Guides.

2006 - Went to San Francisco, Sequoia National Park, and San Jose. Spent a weekend in Syracuse & Albany. Started strength training and boxing. Had the bathroom renovated. Spent the year very unhappy at work. Started Irish Dancing again. Went to Sask. for a family reunion. Helped my sister paint her living room.

2007 - Got laid off from the rapidly shrinking telecom company and spent 7 months job hunting. Joined a new gym. Went to Sask. for Easter. Went to Toronto & Niagara Falls. Started a new job doing software development with a small aviation company. Moved to level 2 boxing. Three sisters came to visit (not all at once). Did an aerial trek and realized how weak my muscles still are. Got a new furnace.

2008 - Did at least one new thing every day and started a blog to record them. Went to Botswana twice for work. Spent a day in Munich on the way. Spent a weekend at a game reserve in South Africa. Went to Boston, Sask. and Edmonton. My niece and sister came to visit. My youngest sister moved in with me and took over the basement. Started as a leader with Sparks. Quit Irish Dancing again.

2009 - Started level 3 boxing and learned to hit the reflex bag. Tried fencing. Went on a Mediterranean cruise to Italy, Egypt, Turkey, and Greece. My mom and niece came to visit. Went on the Wakefield Steam Train. Went to Quebec City. Discovered the basement leaked at the windows and got the window wells re-done to fix the problem. Got laid off from small aviation company. Discovered that there is a lump on my thyroid. Went to many medical appointments. Did 92 days of a 100 day anti-procrastination project. Met my niece's puppy.

Happy New Year

Well, it was a busy trip - much busier than usual.

Part of it was setting up my mom's computer, but I'm not really sure why it felt so busy otherwise.

We came home yesterday. We left the house at 4:30 a.m. and headed to the airport. I was concerned about security, but it wasn't bad at all. By 5, we were in the lounge. It was a self service lounge, so the only food was potato chips, which wasn't so good.

In Toronto, we had a very short stopover, so there was no time to eat anything substantial, so by the time we landed in Ottawa at noon, I was very hungry (as well as sleepy).

We ordered food in, then I took a nap, so by last night I was feeling almost human again. I'm still tired, but I feel much better today. I did laundry and took down the Christmas tree in preparation for a busy, busy week. I'm not looking forward to my 8 a.m. dentist appointment tomorrow. (I am, however, happy that I remember that I have an 8 a.m. dentist appointment tomorrow.)

I hope all of you are having a good new year, and that everyone is ready to go back to a normal schedule tomorrow. (I know I am not ready, but I guess I have to be.)