Friday, August 26, 2011


Remember when I used to do new things? By the end of the year, I was all "oh, it's so much easier to do new things now".

Then I stopped.

This week (last week? Sometime recently) I heard about a roller derby open house. I've always thought roller derby looked like fun, but I didn't want to buy all the gear, and I was afraid I'd hurt myself.

When I found out I could rent shoes, I was in. After all, I didn't think I'd get terribly badly hurt the first time.

Today I left work, promised I'd be back on Monday if I didn't kill myself at roller derby, and promptly picked the worst possible route home. (Stupid construction.)

When I got home, I just had time to change before Wanda and I were back in the car. It was good to have someone along to keep me from chickening out.

We got there, paid our $15 for the time & the shoes, and started getting ready while the people who knew what they were doing did some sort of loaves and fishes thing with the other gear. ("We're out of knee pads ... oh wait, here's some more.)

I got gear before Wanda and went for a lap around the rink.

Have you ever taken someone who has never seen snow ice skating? You know how they kind of shuffle along as steadily as a boulder balanced on a stack of tea cups? That was me.

I eventually made it around the rink and back to where Wanda was still getting ready. By that time, I was tired and would have happily gone home. That seemed kind of pathetic, though, so I talked myself into staying.

I got a few tips from people and tried it a few more times. I had conversations with other new people about how much harder it was than it looked, and how none of us knew how to stop. Wanda finished getting ready and joined us and we skated around again.

Eventually, we broke up into groups - people who had been there before went off to do something involving exotic skills like stopping while the rest of us learned how to fall, stop, and, eventually, skate.

After a while, the entire group came back together and did some things in groups of five. One of them involved 5 people in a train with only the middle person skating. Another was "pass the gross thing". I'd explain, but I'm sure you can imagine how that worked.

By the end of the night, I wasn't good, but I was a lot better than at the beginning.

It was a lot of fun.

Despite my fears, I never felt like I was in danger of hurting myself. Between the knee pads, the elbow pads, and the wrist guards, I felt pretty secure.

But I'm pretty sure I'm going to be sore tomorrow.

Monday, August 22, 2011

What to eat

I usually go grocery shopping after work on Friday. The sales start on Friday (so they're not usually sold out), plus it gives me one less reason to leave the house on Saturday.

I shop with a list, but when something's a really good deal, I'll buy it even when it's not on the list. This works well - until the cupboards and freezer are full.

Last Friday, I bought two weeks worth of milk. I don't plan to buy groceries again until the first weekend in September. Maybe even later.

It's been three days and we're out of snack-type food. Also, the potatoes that are left are rather more squishy than I'd like, and I fully expect we'll run out of cheese.

I suspect I'll be at the grocery store before the cupboards and freezer are totally empty, but it will b e a good exercise in using up some of the food on hand before it goes bad.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Customer Service?

When I'm at work, I keep my cell phone on my desk. This isn't so much because I want to be instantly accessible as it is because if I lock it up with my purse, it doesn't get any service and the battery goes dead fast.

It hardly ever rings - I'd say in the past 18 months, I've received maybe 8 calls at work. I keep the volume loud (so that I have some hope of hearing it in the car), so when it does ring, I jump out of my skin.

When it rang today, it was a robo-caller from Bell Solo (my cell phone provider) telling me that because they value my business, they're giving me extra minutes every month. I have 100 peak minutes included in my plan, and based on the past 6 months, the most I've ever used was 25. That was much higher than the other months. I don't have long conversations on my cell phone. Extra minutes are of absolutely no value to me.

I signed up for this plan three years ago. It's a three year plan, and when I signed up, I was offered a year of voicemail & caller ID.

I didn't get it.

I called them, they said that wasn't an offer. I called again, they again said I couldn't have been offered that because it didn't exist.

I wrote to Bell executive customer service, who routed me to a supervisor at Solo, who -that's right - had no interest in honouring what I'd been promised. They couldn't possibly do it.

My contract expires on September 12.

Do you think the useless minutes will convince me to stay?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Summer's still here, but it seems to have one foot out the door.

It's still hot during the day, but it cools off at night. It's getting dark earlier - it's not even 8:30 and it's pretty dark out there.

It doesn't feel like fall yet - we haven't had one of those days where the air is crisp and you know summer is over - but we're getting there.

I've enjoyed my summer. I got sunburned more times than is healthy. I went camping (sunburn #2). I wrestled with the half-dead tree. I visited with friends and family. I watched baby rabbits on the lawn. I worked from the patio. I dug out that annoying thorned vine that grows by my compost bin.

I ate ice cream in Old Montreal. I made (and ate) orange-yogurt popsicles. I ate tomatoes still warm from the sun. I BBQed - steak, pork chops, chicken, salmon.

I went to Italian Week on Preston. I canoed on Dows Lake. I went to the Carp Farmer's Market (sunburn #1). I sat in the courtyard at work and read a book in the sun. I figured out how to rid the kitchen of fruit flies (a glass with a little apple cider vinegar and a splash of dish soap). I went to Calypso (sunburn #2). I slept with the fan on and didn't get cold.

School supplies are on sale. (I love school supplies, even though I haven't been in school since 1994).

Soon it will be time to get back into a routine. Boxing's first - I have just over two weeks until the fall session starts. A few weeks later, Sparks will start and I'll be back in my normal routine.

And that's OK.

Some years I don't want fall to start because it doesn't feel like I've had a summer. (2008, I am looking at you.) This year, I'm ready.

Monday, August 8, 2011


I've been having lots of fun with my niece - a trip to Montreal on the train, visiting relatives (who have a pool), the Lion King, Mario Kart, etc.

Today, though, we went to Calypso.

There had been some debate as to whether this was a good idea - after all, B has been scared of water slides for years. She's a good swimmer, she just was too scared to go down a slide. In the end, we decided to go (after extracting a promise that she wouldn't try to spend all day in the wave pool).

We got there around noon and the first place we found was the wave pool. Now, I've only been to a wave pool once before, but it was nothing like this. These waves were 2 - 3 feet high. It was easy to end up with a face full of water. (Um, not that I did.)

After a while, though, it was time to get out and try other options. We found the jungle run - a river ride where you let the current carry you along as you float on a flutter board.

Next, we checked out the slides. We agreed that the Canyon Rafting (which allowed 4-6 people to ride together on a raft) looked OK. We started climbing the stairs. We were one flight from the top when my niece started crying. It was too high and she was too scared.

We managed to talk her into the raft.

As we careened down the ride, everyone got wet - even Grandma. We got to the bottom and she wanted to go again.

We did that ride several more times (along with the wave pool and the jungle run), then I wanted to try some other slides.

My niece refused. She liked the blue slide and there was no reason to try another one.

I offered to buy ice cream. She still refused. (At one point, she told me she was cutting me out of her family tree.)

Grandma and I went down the slide (Black Hole, one that is almost totally dark), and while we did, she and Wanda went to Pirate's Aquaplay. Somehow, Wanda talked her into trying those small slides. When they got done one of them, Wanda said, "Did you like the one in the dark?" B said she did, and they were off to the Black Hole.

The first words out of her mouth when she got down was "Can we go again?"

She's not afraid of water slides anymore.

And I'm back in the family tree.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My mom and my niece arrived yesterday. They got in around 1 and I didn't really have much planned for the rest of the day. They had lots of energy, though, so we went to the dinosaur museum - a.k.a. the Museum of Nature. The dinosaurs were popular, as was the wild bird clinic.

Today was a pretty quiet day, but we did go to Dows lake and rent a canoe for an hour. (I wanted a paddleboat, but I was overruled.)

We saw ducks, seagulls, and lots of seaweed. It was a beautiful sunny day - a little too much, after a while. By the time we finished canoeing, we were pretty thirsty. Still, it was a nice way to spend an afternoon.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Warning: I'm about to babble about boxing again

Tonight was week four of the five-week summer boxing schedule.

This is only the second time I've done a full summer session. Normally, a session is 8 weeks long, so for a 5-week session, they just cut out most of the easy weeks.

(The first week, we had 15 people in the class instead of 12, so they had to add three stations. I suggested chair massage, manicure, and pedicure, but they went with shadow boxing and two extra skipping stations instead.)

This week was the boxathon - i.e. 24 stations instead of 12.

For the first couple of years, I'd hit a wall at station 4 of the boxathon. I'd just be tired and wondering if it would ever be over, even though on a regular week I'd still have 8 stations to go.

For the last year, I wouldn't hit that point until station 14 or so.

Tonight, I never got there. I'm not sure whether I did better, or whether I just wasn't working as hard.

It's possible I wasn't working as hard. Over the past 4 weeks, I've bought new gloves, new hand wraps, and knuckle guards. Knuckle guards are basically these heavy foam pads that go under your hand wraps (and hopefully result in a lack of x-rays). Watching me try to wrap over them is ... kind of comical. They move, they bulge out in odd places, and when I finally get them on, my hands are a lot bigger than usual.

That works well on the heavy bag stations (once I struggle into my gloves), but less well on the speed bag.

I have to assume it'll get easier eventually, but I'm sure not there yet.