Thursday, May 27, 2010


It has been hot in Ottawa this week.

Really hot.

I believe we've had more hot days than the last two summers combined.

I'm enjoying it - when we don't get the warm weather in the summer, I feel like I've missed out. Since I'm on the late shift this week, I can spend the mornings outside - which is also when my backyard actually has shade.

Yesterday, the heat was more of a problem. You see, Tuesday night was hot (and I haven't resorted to air conditioning at home yet), so I was pretty warm when I woke up. I got up and went to the gym, then came home and got ready for work. (I had switched shifts, so I had to be there at 10.) I worked all day, then went to boxing.

I think I've mentioned that my boxing class is above a pool. It's always warm and humid. Yesterday was worse than usual - and it was boxathon week, which means 24 stations instead of 12.

I was on station 18 when I realized I'd better slow down. I didn't work nearly as hard at the last 6 stations, but I was still pretty warm when the class ended. I wasn't the only one - that kind of exertion is tough when it's that hot.

I came home and downed a lot of liquid, but I was still thirsty when I woke up this morning. I'm going to be recovering from that for a while.

In other news, I managed to break my laptop. Well, the laptop is fine, but the display is destroyed, so now I'm trying to figure out how to get it to display on an external monitor (and then I need to figure out whether it's worth trying to fix it or whether I should just get a new one). I guess I know what I'm doing this weekend...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Basking in the sun

Today is a stat. holiday in Canada (Victoria Day, in fact). It's the unofficial start of summer. Gardens get planted, the campgrounds open, and BBQs get fired up.

I don't get the day off. However, I'm on the late shift, so I don't start until 11:30. That means I've spent the morning enjoying the beautiful weather. I love lying outside reading a book in the summer - although it often results in just lying outside doing nothing. It's hard to believe that last weekend I was sitting outside feeling cold.

The flower garden is done - As expected, I finished it yesterday.

Here's a picture of the rotted boards that I replaced:

Here's the less-than-perfect finished project:
Oh well, it's done, the dirt is reasonably contained, and mini-sunflower is really cute.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

All I wanted to do was plant some flowers

When I bought this house, there was a flower garden to the left of the walkway as you're walking to the front door. (You can see a picture of it in the glow-in-the-dark area of this post.)

It's not in line with the edge of the lawn on the other side of the walkway. In fact, it sticks out 4-6 inches. The border is made out of wood.

Well, actually, that should read "the border was made out of wood".

You see, wood rots and if, for example, you back your car into the protruding flower garden, the rotten wood breaks off.

Hypothetically, that is.

Anyway, that was two weeks ago. It was raining (of course), so I ignored it until it was sunny - and then last week I was busy with the rally, so today was the day.

My plan was to move the edge of the flower bed in while I was putting a new border on. I pulled out the rotten wood - the piece that fell off was built on top of another piece, so I had to pull them both out. When I got the second one out, I discovered that the driveway was paved to the edge of the flower bed. Moving the flower bed wasn't an option.

I toyed with a couple of options (buying replacement boards, building a proper retaining wall, etc.) but ended up just going with lawn edging for a couple of reasons:
1) The boards were attached using rebar, and I can't remove it
2) It's cheap
3) At some point, I'm going to build a garage (well, not by myself - I'll pay someone to do it). At that point, the driveway will have to be re-done, so I'll have the flower garden moved at that point

It's not done - I need another piece of edging and Home Depot is closed - but I'll be able to get it finished tomorrow if the weather is nice. If that happens, I'll finally be able to plant the flowers that are sitting in the middle of my driveway.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fire hydrants are taller than I thought

Yesterday was Rally Day. As I mentioned on Friday, Girl Guides turns 100 years old today, so all across Canada, there were gatherings of Sparks, Brownies, Guides, Pathfinders, Rangers, Link, Trefoil Guild, and Guiders.

Our gathering was on Parliament Hill. We only had 2 girls attend, and both of their moms came as well.

We met at 9:15 and took the bus downtown. We already had our registration packet, so we got in line for the parade. There were between 2500 and 3000 people there, so the parade from the Supreme Court to the Parliament buildings took a while. We ended up near the front of the crowd, so we had a good view of the opening ceremony.

After that, we had a break for lunch before our first session. We rotated through different stations, doing origami, listening to stories, making crafts, attending a presentation by Ray's Reptiles, working on a graffiti mural, skipping, doing an egg and spoon race, and playing with giant beach balls.

The weather wasn't too bad - it was cloudy, and we needed a jacket when the sun was behind the clouds, but didn't need one when it was sunny.

The girls had a good time. The biggest drawback to the day was the supper, which took far too long. (They distributed the food by the colour of your wristband. It took us 2 hours to get called to go for food.)

As we were finishing our food, it started to drizzle, so we packed up and went to catch the bus home.

My day wasn't over, though. Last night was the last night of the NAC Pops series, so when I got home, I took a quick shower, changed, and went back downtown.

This show was Irving Berlin's music. It was an enjoyable show, even as tired as I was. I was a little afraid that it would drag simply because I was so tired, but it went quite quickly (although I almost fell asleep during the last number).

And yes, I walked into a fire hydrant in the morning. I have a huge bruise on my leg.

Friday, May 14, 2010

OC Transpo

For those of you who don't live in Ottawa, OC Transpo is the city bus company in Ottawa. Their (unofficial) motto seems to be "Buy a car".

Anyone who has ever taken the bus here has stories. Things like:
- the bus breaking down, so the passengers being left at the side of the road to wait for the next bus
- buses being early (and the next bus being late)
- the bus driver seeing someone running for the bus, stopping, then pulling away when the passenger stops to walk the last few feet to the bus door
- bus drivers being annoyed when someone asks them which direction they're going. (It's not always obvious - at the major bus stations, buses for both directions can stop in the same area.)
- bus drivers not calling out the stops - despite several court cases, the drivers rarely announce what stop they are at.
- drivers going through red lights

Don't get me wrong, there are good bus drivers out there - people who are cheerful and helpful, people who recognize the regulars and stop to wait for them. They might even be the majority, but enough of them have an unpleasant attitude to ruin the reputation of them all.

Girl Guides of Canada is 100 year old this year, and tomorrow there is a big rally at Parliament Hill. My group is taking the city bus downtown to attend, so I needed to buy bus tickets.

I usually try to have 4 bus tickets on hand (which is enough to get me two rides on the bus), but the tickets seem to expire constantly. This week I found 6 expired bus tickets.

OC Transpo will exchange those tickets - if you go to one of their 3 offices. These are also the places you go if you need to have your picture taken for your bus pass. The one in the West End is at Lincoln Fields, so after work I headed over there.

Naturally, these offices are accessible by bus. The one at Lincoln Fields isn't really accessible by car, though. There is no parking anywhere near it. I ended up parking in the parking lot for the Lincoln Fields mall (which isn't technically allowed, but my options were limited).

Why do they not have the office at a bus station that has a park & ride? Well, you see, if we make it easier for people to take the bus, people might actual start to take the bus.

I don't really understand it.

Back when I worked at a former job, there was a store on site. This was back in the tech boom, when people were changing jobs often. When someone would leave, we'd get a goodbye card and go out for lunch.

You would think that the store would be a good place to get goodbye cards, but it didn't carry them.


Because they sold out too fast.

Like OC Transpo, they kind of missed the point.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Yup, boxing again

Did I mention that I moved up to level 4 in boxing?

It seems like the kind of thing I'd talk about - probably for about an hour longer than anyone was interested in listening to me talk about it.

Anyway, I started level 4 last week.

It is definitely a step up from level 3. For starters, in level 3, you do 5 of each combination on your right (dominant) side, then 5 of each combination on the left (non-dominant) side. In level 4, you do one on each side, so you're constantly switching.

Also, in level 3 most skipping is backwards. In level 4, it's half and half.

I'm glad I started level 4 now. The absolute worst time to move up a level is at the end of June, because no one moves up in the summer and thus you have to wait until September (even if you box in the summer session). I did that after level 1, and I was really, really bored in the summer session. That won't happen this year.