Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day 30

Well, this is it - the last of my daily posts for November.

I did not accomplish everything I thought I would - the steps are not done, the Montreal trip didn't happen - but I did manage to post every day. It's a small victory, but I'll take it.

I actually went to work today and survived the entire day. After that, I went to Sparks

Now? I'm completely exhausted. I'm off to get some sleep. Tomorrow is a new day month.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Yes, I vaguely remember when I titled posts

It's Wanda's birthday today. She's had a cold a day or two longer than I have, and she's finally on the mend (although not 100%).

I had originally thought we'd go out for dinner, but neither of us was up to it, so we ordered in. Hey, as long as I don't have to cook ....

I had worked from home (again - hopefully tomorrow I will be back at work), so I ordered as soon as I was done.

The food was tasty, and I'm still awake even though it's after 9 p.m.

I'll consider this a win.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Today, I discovered that my niece knows the words to Green Is The Colour. Yes, it's Grey Cup again, a repeat of last year.

I'm writing this before it's over - I fully expect to be asleep before it ends.

My cold has gotten worse, which does not bode well for work tomorrow. I have no energy today, and I feel OK as long as I'm lying down.

Needless to say, I haven't accomplished much today except playing Sims 2 for the DS. I haven't made any progress from where I was last time I played it a year or two ago, but I did play it long enough to wear out the battery.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I was supposed to be Christmas shopping in Montreal today. I am not - both Wanda and I have colds, so we stayed home.

I even skipped boxing - it was hard to decide, but I had already resigned myself to missing today's class, and it was snowing, and I was coughing a bit, and so I didn't go.

I didn't do much - I mixed up some cookies which, now that I think of it, are still chilling. I also put up the Christmas tree. (I didn't decorate it, but it's up.)

I'm at that annoying stage of the cold where I'm not 100% sick, but I'm not 100% well. I wish I'd just get sick so that I can get it over with (preferably before Monday).

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Mystery Project of Mystery

I finished the mystery project of mystery last night. You can see the result above.

They are belly dance pants for Wanda. I made them for her birthday on Monday, but I couldn't stand the suspense, so I made her open them today.

It's a stretchy, textured material with three ruffles at the bottom.

They're heavy, so I hope they stay on while she's dancing.

I started with a pattern for pajamas, then added three ruffles on each leg. After she finally found out and tried them on, I had to make some adjustments around the waist and hips, but only minor ones.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Today, I am thankful that it's American Thanksgiving.

True, I didn't get the day off, but work was much quieter than usual, because most of the issues I deal with come from the US.

I worked from home (in an effort to avoid spreading my cold/get 30 minutes more sleep), and I managed to get caught up on a lot of things that had been sitting for a while.

In fact, I only have 3 unread e-mails at work, and none at home.

Yes, it's shocking.

Tomorrow will be quiet, too, and I suspect I will be working from home again (because I've never gotten over a cold in 2 days). If only I could convince the guy who stocks the kitchen at work to make home deliveries so I didn't have to go to the grocery store ....

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I woke up with a sore throat this morning.

Actually, it might be more accurate to say that I woke up because of a sore throat.

Nevertheless, I got up and went to the gym. It got a little better, and I had hope that maybe it wouldn't be too bad.

Got home, showered, ate breakfast, went to work, had many cups of tea - still doing OK.

In fact, it wasn't too bad until about 4, when I felt like I'd been hit by a truck.

And that's why I went to sleep at 8:20.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Emergency Preparedness

My Sparks are working on their Emergency Preparedness challenge, so we've been talking a lot about the different types of emergencies that can happen. We've talked about earthquakes, floods, fires, and ice storms.

We've talked about how to take care of pets in an emergency and what you should have at home in case of emergency. Next week, everyone is bringing a doll so we can practice first aid.

This week, though, we talked about volcanoes. Everyone knew that a volcano was a mountain with a hole in it (thank you, dinosaur cartoons), and that when volcanoes erupt, lava comes out.

This is the kind of emergency where you need to get away (like floods and fire), rather than the type where you need to be prepared but getting away isn't practical (like an ice storm or earthquake).

Volcanoes are fun to talk about because, well, they don't happen here, so it's not something we really have to worry about. (I heard a theory once that young kids like dinosaurs because they're big and scary ... and dead. Volcanoes are similar - fun to scare ourselves with, but not really a big concern in Ottawa.)

They're also fun because of the easiest science experiment ever. I put a bud vase in a pan and built a paper mache volcano around it, then filled the vase 1/4 full of baking soda. At Sparks, we passed around vinegar (so that we could all smell it), then poured it into the vase.

After it finished erupting, I did it again. And again.

And again.

They were fascinated. I only stopped when it started getting too hard to keep fingers out of the lava. Apparently, they like vinegar.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I woke up to freezing rain this morning.

Luckily for me, Wanda had scraped the car windows and put salt on the steps. I worked at 10 today, so I went to the gym for 7. The roads weren't bad, but my sidewalk had me slipping and sliding all the way to the car.

The nice part about going to the gym first thing in the morning is that most of the class is over before I really wake up - and let's face it, there's no need to be alert for 5 minutes of squats.

A few weeks ago, I was working the later shift on Thursdays and Fridays, so I went to the 7 a.m. class at a different gym location. That class was crowded - I had to make sure to get there early enough to get a spot. This class had quite a few people, but it wasn't nearly as crowded.

I work the early shift tomorrow, but I'm back on the later shift on Wednesday, so I'll be at the 7 a.m. class again - still hoping to stay asleep until the bicep track is done. Man, I hate biceps.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Somehow, I lost my motivation overnight. However, I persevered, and managed to continue on yesterday's projects.

Sadly, nothing is totally done, but I made some good progress. Now that I've picked a direction for the steps in the kitchen, I took the tile off the second step and started removing the adhesive. It went faster than the first one (in part because I knew what I was doing), but it's not ready for staining yet.

I made a volcano for Sparks on Tuesday using a bud vase and construction paper, then paper mache-ed the outside.

The mystery project of mystery continues, and is going well (but slowly).

If only the weekend were five or six days long ....

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Today was a busy day. I went to Rona, trying to figure out what to do with the step I partially demolished two weeks ago. I now have a plan, so I started working on it again.

In another burst of motivation, I cut out the pieces for some shorts I told Wanda I'd make her for belly dance. I didn't sew them, but it's a start (and it's the part I most hate to do).

And then my motivation was totally derailed by a phone conversation with a friend I haven't talked to in a few months - not because of the contents of the conversation, but because it literally lasted hours.

Here's hoping the motivation is back again tomorrow.

Friday, November 19, 2010

For the last few months, I've been doing the weekly grocery shopping after work on Fridays. It's usually a little less busy than on Saturday, and also, it's one less reason to have to leave the house on Saturday it frees up Saturday for more fun activities. Like not leaving the house.

Today I decided to do something far more exciting. Instead of merely going to the grocery store, I went to Bulk Barn, a mystery store at which I bought pieces of two non-Christmas gifts, Dollarama, and then the grocery store.

I bought exciting things like dog treats and soap. I checked out potential gifts for my niece & my cousin's kids. I bought mysterious things I can't talk about on the internet. It was way more exciting than it should have been.

I should probably get out more.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

On Halloween, Wanda broke her toe when she ran into the coffee table.

She did a good job of it, too - her foot is still bruised. She has been to the doctor, but, well, there's not much you can do for a broken toe except keep it still.

Two days later, I accidentally set the alarm when I went to work, which gave her the opportunity to run through the house to turn it off. She wasn't terribly happy with me. I was just confused - I haven't set the alarm in 2 years, where did that reflex come from?

The whining has gradually stopped (although she still refers to the coffee table as her nemesis), but when I dropped her off for her allergy shot this morning and offered to let her walk a (long) block, she did not seem too thrilled about the idea.

Because I'm a wonderful person, I let her out at the lights instead.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Crossing things off

When I worked at the big high tech company, I had to wear a badge at work. It was on a cord that went around my neck. If I was going over to someone else's desk to ask them a question about something, I would jot down anything I needed to remember on a sticky note, put the sticky note on the back of my badge, and walk over.

This is the beauty of sticky notes - if you get the small ones, they will fit anywhere.

For example, I mentioned at one point that I had made a to-do list. It's a physical list on a sticky note, which currently resides on the back of my cell phone.

It's quite effective, which is why there's only one item remaining to be done.

Looks like I need to make a bigger to-do list.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stupid poetic justice

Yesterday, I talked about how it was easier to come up with ideas when I post every day.

Today, I have nothing to talk about.

I mean, I could talk about how annoying it is that it takes 24 hours for the pharmacy to get a refill ready if you call it in but only 20 minutes if you go in, or about how I haven't started my Christmas shopping, or about how warm the weather in Ottawa has been, but let's face it, those are boring.

Any suggestions for tomorrow?

Monday, November 15, 2010


I got an e-mail this morning from a friend I haven't talked to in years. Probably 10 or 11 years, actually.

I find the difference between what you talk about with someone you see every day and what you talk about with someone you talk to every couple of years decade interesting.

People you see every day know the big things, so you talk about the little things. You know, things like:
  • I finally found Kraft Dinner at the grocery store. For some reason, it was in the ethnic food aisle, or
  • Guess who's in the boxing class after mine?, or
  • I recently realized that when I shower at the gym, I put my shoes on before my shirt. That's weird, isn't it?
On the other hand, when you haven't seen someone in years, you say things like:
  • Oh yeah, I got laid off from the rapidly shrinking telecom company in 2007 or
  • Are you still into skiing? I bet you're hoping for a lot of snow this year, or
  • What got you interested in widget collecting?
When you don't talk with someone often, there's pressure to make the conversation count - after all, you don't want to have an hour long conversation with someone you haven't seen in five years and come out of it only knowing that they got new cell phone.

This blog is the same kind of thing. When I post once or twice a week, it's hard to think of what to write about. When I post every day, that's not a problem.

It seems that every year I have to learn that the best way to do something is simply to start doing it. This is yet another example.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I have a fish.

Yes, just one.

He's a betta fish, and he lives in a glass jar with a peace lily at the top. I got the first one back in 2001, just before Christmas. The thing is, fish don't live that long - at least not in small glass containers - so I got another one, and another one, and ... well, I forget exactly how many. At first, I changed names with each fish, but eventually it was easier to just call them all Elmo.

The current Elmo has lived a long time. About a year ago, he started doing odd things (like swimming on his side, which isn't really normal for a fish). He did it many times and I thought the end was near, but then he just stopped doing it.

Today, he's still happily swimming around, hiding in the plant roots and trying to avoid being taken out so that I can clean the bowl.

He might be the last Elmo. It seems like a boring life (even for a fish), and it might be better to stop buying fish so that they can live out their lives in their natural habitats, instead of in a fish bowl.

Luckily, I don't have to make a decision about that unless Elmo starts swimming on his side again. Or his back - that's even worse.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

At the movies

I went to see Morning Glory today.

For those of you who are counting, that's two non-cartoon movies in a row. That has to be a record - recently it seems like I only go to cartoons.

Morning Glory is the movie about a morning news show, with Harrison Ford as one of the anchors. It's a pretty light movie - nothing too serious or life changing - but enjoyable.

Interestingly, I don't remember seeing that many people at the movies in, well, ages. There were lots of people in the lobby, and the theatre ended up almost full. (I had to sit beside someone I don't even know.) Lately, it seems that theatres are at most half full.

Of course, maybe that's just the cartoons.

Friday, November 12, 2010

You know she's out of ideas when she's talking about garbage

It's garbage day today.

I don't mind taking the garbage out, but I'm not a fan of bringing the empty garbage can - and recycle bin, and green bin, and yard waste garbage can - back in.

For those of you who don't live in Ottawa, the green bin is for compostable items - food, food wrappers, wax drink cups, etc. The bins are heavy and have latches to make them wildlife proof.

Sadly, no one told the wildlife. Lately, it's not unusual to go outside and see the green bin tipped over and open.

We have two types of recycle bins - the blue box for cans, glass, and plastic, and the black box for paper. Pick up of recycling alternates - one week it's the blue box, the next week it's the black box.

Yard waste is just that - leaves, grass, branches, etc. You can buy big paper bags for yard waste, but I have a big garbage can that I usually use instead - it's more solid, has wheels, and doesn't require me to go to the store. If it's full (i.e. if my mom is in town), I occasionally use bags, but usually it's just the garbage can.

Most of the time, everything goes like clockwork - the garbage is picked up on schedule, and ends up in the trucks.

The last few weeks have been ... less good. Less garbage seems to be making it into the truck, and tonight the yard waste didn't get picked up until 6:30.

I heard the truck go by and knew I had to go get the garbage can in. I procrastinated a bit, but eventually I pulled on my gardening gloves, grabbed a grocery bag, and went out to pick up the garbage that had accumulated along the road. Once I had it bagged, I grabbed the yard waste can and dumped the garbage in the garbage can.

Let's hope it actually gets picked up next week.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Social Media For The Win

On Monday, I got an e-mail from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care for Ontario. They are launching a new website, and their social media team is contacting Ontario bloggers.

The website is here.

I looked at it, thought it was interesting but not terribly relevant to me right now. I have a doctor, I'm not waiting for tests or surgery, but it's good to know it's good to know that it's there.

Then today, there was a discussion about which emergency room had the shortest wait times, and I remembered the web page.

It was quite the coincidence - I mean, in my years of working, there have been two times when someone has gone to the emergency room, and one of them was four days after I got an e-mail telling me how to check wait times. (It wasn't anything life-threatening, by the way.)

Of course, I don't have the end of the story - the wait times on the web could have been way off. I guess Ill find out tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And My Diamond Shoes Are Too Tight

The poppy I bought yesterday disappeared off the planet overnight. (Luckily, I keep my poppies from years gone by above the sun-visor in the car. Why, what do you do with your poppy on November 12? Assuming you don't lose it before then, of course.)

My work laptop failed to shut down last night ... or this morning, for that matter. I had to power it off by holding down the power button. In retribution, it was slower than usual.

The lemon tea at work is almost out. That's right, I might have to drink different free tea tomorrow. And they were out of pears, so I had to settle for an apple. And the Perrier was warm.

My shirt has a spot on it, and I don't even know what I spilled. I mean, I'm sure I spilled something, but I can't identify it.

When I went to leave the gym, someone had stretched the phone cord across the hallway, so I had to duck under it.

Wanda burned the grilled cheese sandwich she made me for supper. Not as badly as it would have been if I had made it myself, but still.

A telemarketer called and tried to interest me in the Ottawa Citizen (which I finally succeeded in canceling not even a month ago).

Because the men and women of the Canadian Forces do what they do, these are the biggest problems I had to deal with today. Every day, they travel to places you and I wouldn't go if they paid us, working to make the world safer for all of us.

Some of my uncles fought in WWII. My cousin has done several tours with the army.

Unlike last year, I won't be at the war memorial tomorrow. Instead, I'll be at work.

And I'll remember.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Duck, Duck, Goose

We have a small group of Sparks this year - only 7 girls. There's a big gap between our youngest girls (who haven't turned 5 yet) and our older girls (who are a mature 6).

For example, tonight we played promise duck, duck, goose. It's kind of like regular duck, duck, goose, except that as the girls go around the circle, they say the words of the promise ("I promise to share and be a friend"). If they make a mistake ("I promise to share and be a monkey"), the person who was tapped when the wrong word was said runs.

Now, most groups I've worked with get the concept pretty quickly. They run around the circle and the first one back sits down.

Not this group. Once they are running, they are running. Two, three, or four times around the circle is perfectly normal.

Many of our other games don't work, either. We did a zombie relay on Halloween - they were too excited to walk like zombies. We did a jungle walk (where they walk around the room and act like different animals in different areas), it somehow completely deteriorated as girls got stuck in the various areas.

Still, they're having fun, and that's what's important.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Somehow, the time change always makes me more tired - even when it actually results in an extra hour of sleep.

It was easier than usual to get ready for work today, but I'm paying for it now.

It didn't help that I scheduled a Sparks planning meeting for 7 but didn't get home from the gym until 6:53. It was a little more rushed than I would have liked.

I made a to-do list of all the things I've been procrastinating about (well, some of the things I'm procrastinating about - I'm sure there's more), but I'm too tired to do anything about it.

Maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A step in time

It has been five years since my kitchen renovation. I haven't had any problems with the tile floor except in one spot - the two steps that lead out to the porch. It didn't take long for the first crack to appear there.

A month or so ago, another tile cracked.

Today I decided it was time to deal with it.

I have lots of leftover tile, so option one was to replace the broken tiles. The major drawback is, of course, that they could crack just as easily as these ones did. You see, the steps are wood and thus more prone to movement than the rest of the floor.

Option two is to go with wood steps. The drawback to this is that I probably would need to replace the wood - the steps that are there now are cracked.

I lifted the tiles from one step to evaluate the situation.

And ... still not sure. I'm leaning toward the wood option, but I'll need to do a bit more investigating first.

Any thoughts?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Boxing on Saturdays

I mentioned on Twitter a while ago that I'm boxing on Saturdays this session.

It's my own fault - I didn't sign up because I was waiting to find out if I'd get extended at work, and by the time I got extended, my usual Wednesday class was full.

It's nice to have Wednesday nights free, but it makes every Saturday feel busy.

The class at my level is offered at noon on Saturdays. Last time I boxed on Saturdays, my class was at one. Somehow, noon is a much easier time to deal with.

Boxing is pretty strenuous, and I really have to pay attention to what I eat and when I eat it. When class is at one, it's hard to decide whether to eat lunch at 10:30 or at 3. Neither works particularly well.

When I box at noon, though, it's an easy decision - I eat lunch afterward. Classes do sometimes run late, but I would expect I'll always be home by 2, which isn't ridiculously late for lunch on a weekend.

Also, since I'm home by 2 (at the latest), it doesn't feel like the entire day is gone. Somehow, getting home at 3 makes me feel like the afternoon is over and the weekend is speeding by.

Despite the fact that the Saturday class is working for me so far, I will hopefully go back to Wednesdays in January.

Assuming I sign up in time, of course.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Gee, this looks familiar

I work in a high-rise building. There is one elevator from the underground parking structure to the lobby, and another one from the lobby up to the various office floors.

The parking structure is like most other ones - there is a level every half-floor as the ramps loop around. I usually park on the P2 level. Specifically, I park on P2 up a flight of stairs from the elevator on P2.

Yesterday and today, though, I didn't start work until 10, which meant that P2 was full.

Yesterday I parked on P4 - also up a flight of stairs from the elevator. Wen I left work, though, I had it in my head that I had parked on P3. I took the elevator down to P3, walked up the flight of stairs, and ... no car.

There is a stairwell that is the emergency exit from the parking shelter. Like the elevators, you can only get onto the stairwell from every half floor.

When I realized I had parked on P4, I walked down the stairs, took the stairs in the stairwell down to P4 and then took the stairs on P4 up to where I had parked.

This morning, I made a point of noticing that I parked on P3. When I left work, I took the elevator down to P3, walked up the flight of stairs, and ... no car.

I had parked on P3, but I had parked on the same level as the elevator. Again, I walked down the stairs (the same stairs as yesterday, incidentally) and looked around. There was my car, right where I had left it.

Luckily, next week I work the early shift, so I should be able to park on P2, but you don't hear from me, check the parking garage.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Flu shot

It's that time of year again. Last year, you may remember, was the H1N1 panic. People were lining up for hours to get vaccinated. High risk groups were able to go first, and by the time I was able to go I had the flu and couldn't go.

This year, it's back to normal, but it looks like some things were learned from last year. Most clinics in the city are first come, first served, but the one closest to me requires an appointment. I'm not really sure why this one is special, but it worked out nicely for me.

I made my appointment online on Monday. Tonight after work, I went to my appointment. I found a place to park and walked through the doors.

That's when I realized that the current City of Ottawa building used to be one of the offices for the big high-tech company I used to work for. I mean, I knew that at the time, but it has been a city building for years and I'd forgotten.

As soon as I saw the badge readers, it all came back to me. I don't remember ever being in that specific building when I worked for that company, but it felt the same as the other offices we built during the high-tech boom. The immunization clinic was in the cafeteria (with the required Tim Horton's).

The whole vaccination process was pretty straightforward - fill out the paperwork, wait a couple of minutes for a nurse, get the shot, wait 15 minutes, leave.

I usually get the flu shot the day before boxing, but this year it's two days before boxing.

Expect to hear a lot of whining on Saturday.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Remember this?

I still haven't figured out where the water is coming from. Part of the problem is that it's now just occasional moisture, not the small puddles that were happening before.

However, I finally got around to making the small hole in the wall into a big hole in the wall.

Next time it happens, I'll be ready.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It's day 2 (and I have nothing to say)

It's Tuesday, which means I had Sparks tonight. This time of year, I leave for our meeting in daylight and come home in the dark (even if I don't spend a half an hour chatting with one of my fellow leaders after the meeting, which I almost always do).

As I left, I noticed a stray Halloween decoration I'd miss when I brought them in on Sunday. Naturally, I forgot all about it by the time I got home and had to run outside with a flashlight when I remembered.

Luckily, I haven't finished putting away the decorations yet - the ones that were drying yesterday are still out.

The me who decorates next year is going to hate current me, because the stuff that is away is not away very neatly. It will be a hassle to deal with - and yet I don't care enough to fix it.

This is similar to how I will leave a bag of milk in the fridge with just a swallow of milk left in it - even though I know that I'm the one who will have to change the bag eventually.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The snow is mostly gone and the Halloween stuff is mostly away (except for a couple of things that weren't dry yet). The pumpkin is cooking on the stove, and it's time to face the fact that it is November.

I'm going to try to post once a day for November, in the interests of actually getting into the habit of posting regularly again. The biggest hurdle is almost past - I remembered to post on November 1!

I'm hoping that having to post something will encourage me to do things that I can then post about. I have a couple of ideas in mind, but make no promises.

Let's start in familiar territory - I did something new today. I gave away bags of popcorn for Halloween - specifically, Freaky Fruit popcorn. (I did not realize that it was candied popcorn until I was already home from the store, and we all know I'm too lazy to return it.) Today, I tried one of the remaining bags.

It was better than expected - kind of like popcorn dipped in Jolly Ranchers.