Friday, September 30, 2011

And that's the most I've ever spent on groceries at one time

I mentioned a while ago that I had decided to wait two weeks between trips to the grocery store. It was a success, so I did it again.

(Admittedly, there was a minor incident last weekend where I ended up at the grocery store, but that was due to a clogged sink, not for groceries.)

Overall, it's working well. It takes a bit more planning, but that's not necessarily bad. We're certainly not starving, but impulse meals are a bit more of a problem. And snacks become increasingly scarce the farther we get from grocery day. By last night, there was no snack food left - someone had even eaten all of the chocolate chips.

One of the other side effects is that each time I go shopping costs me much more than usual - which makes sense, because I should theoretically be buying twice as much. This week, though, I hit a new record. I was out of expensive things (flour, dishwasher detergent, cheese) and I was stocking up for Thanksgiving (which is an off week, grocery-wise).

Technically, I've spent more on groceries than I did today, but that was buying food for a large group camping trip, not buying enough groceries so that two people don't starve in the next two weeks.

On the other hand, I've never bought two turkeys for a camping trip.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


The Ontario Girl Guides have several camps that groups can use. In the Ottawa area, it's Camp Woolsey.

The camp is an amazing place. It's on the Ottawa River and has 6 separate cabin sites as well as quite a few tenting sites. It's beautiful and peaceful, and it's a fabulous place to camp - not just because of the site itself, but because there are always multiple groups camping, which gives everyone a chance to interact with other levels of Guiding.

A few weeks ago, an e-mail went around asking for help cleaning up from storm damage and preparing for winter. There were three weekends to choose from.

I didn't want to help. I hate giving up my weekends, and I just didn't want to do it.

But ... the camp is wonderful, and the land is probably worth a fortune. If we don't care for it, we'll lose it. I said I'd go up for Saturday morning.

Once I'd committed to going, it wasn't so bad. I didn't have to pack much - I grabbed some tools and threw them in the car, and off I went.

(Usually it takes me about 10 trips to get everything to the car when I'm going to Woolsey, so that was a treat in itself.)

I got there a little before 9 and we got started. I walked down to check out the fire pits on the sites and immediately ran into my neighbour, who was there were her Guides. After I figured out what needed to be done there, I went back to the parking lot and met up with the others ... and promptly ran into someone I used to take Irish Dancing with.

We moved furniture out of one cabin, fixed rails, and moved logs cut to sit on.

Before I knew it, it was noon. I would have considered staying longer, but I had a meeting to get to, so that was it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I write a lot of blog posts that you never see - and by "write" I mean "compose in my head while nowhere near a computer".

This is probably good as it avoids this blog becoming focused on rants about terrible drivers and construction. (Are Ottawa construction workers paid bonuses if they disrupt traffic longer, in stranger ways, and at weirder hours than ever before? Because I've been caught in traffic jams at 9 p.m. the last two Wednesdays.)

That's not all that hasn't made it to a computer though.

There was the story of the only marginally responsive guy passed out on York St. at 7 in the evening, and the picture of the chair I painted on the weekend that I never quite got around to taking. There's the story of apple picking and the news that my contract at work was extended. I didn't talk about the first meeting for Sparks or the community corn roast.

I didn't even talk about how I spent three evenings last week reading the Hunger Games series (which I loved and highly recommend, by the way, even though the concept sounds terrible).

I didn't even rant about how I don't mind so much when racoons/chipmunks/groundhogs/etc. eat my tomatoes, but it's adding insult to injury when they climb up on the patio furniture and leave the tomato skins there.

Maybe next time.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Going in circles

The more I do, the more I have to do.

It started in July when I noticed some siding on the house needed painting. I spent an evening painting, and noticed that the windows needed to be re-caulked.

I spent the last two weekends re-caulking the windows. While I was doing that, I noticed that the metal posts under the overhang (you can see them in the far right of the picture below) needed to be painted. Yesterday, I sanded them and put on a coat of primer.

While I was doing that, I noticed some siding that needed painting.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Paper or plastic?

I mentioned a while ago that I got a Kobo e-reader, and I thought I'd share some thoughts now that I've had a chance to get used to it. Keep in mind that I have the wireless version that pre-dated the touch, so some of this might be different on the touch.

It's been a few months, and I still have not bought a single ebook. I have bought two paper books. One of them will be passed around a group of friends, but mostly it feels strange to spend money on an ebook. (Yes, I have worked in high tech since 1995. And yes, I do occasionally buy music online. I don't really know why it feels different with a book.)

Having said that, I've never bought many books. I read a lot - if I bought every book I read for $10, I could easily spend $160 - $200 a month on books. And I wouldn't be able to walk in my house. Since I'll read almost anything, I borrow books from the library, friends, and family.

It's definitely not the same experience as a paper book - there are pros and cons to each. Here's what I've found so far.

Paper or plastic?

  • Borrowing library books - Plastic. Much easier, faster, and it can be done from the couch.
  • Returning library books - Plastic. It took me a while to figure out how to do this, but now I love it - especially since Ottawa Public Library only lets you have 10 ebooks out at once.
  • Storage - Plastic. No piles of books around, just one little device. Well, OK, fewer piles of books around.
  • Killing spiders - Paper. Plastic might work for killing spiders, but I suspect it wouldn't work for anything else afterwards.
  • Going back a few pages to reread something - Paper. There's no concept of "It was on the bottom quarter of a left-hand page" with an ereader. And I find turning multiple pages at once really slow.
  • Skipping ahead to make sure an enjoyable character survives the book - Paper. Um, not that I do that.
  • Borrowing books someone else has bought - Paper. If anyone knows how to do this (legally) on an ereader, let me know.
Some books (and again, keep in mind that these are borrowed books, not purchased books) are better formatted than other, and a lot of them are a little too close to the physical book. For example, a lot of ebooks have as their second page an excerpt from the book or some quotes about the author. In a physical book, that gives you some information about whether you'd like the book. In an ebook, it's too late - you already have the book.

I'm really enjoying the Kobo - I'm reading a lot more (even by my standards), but I'm also reading things I might never have come across in a paper book world. I'm also considering figuring out how to make PDFs that work with it so that so that I can move my recipe book onto the Kobo.

Of course, given how splattered some pages in my recipe book are, maybe that's not such a good idea.