Thursday, December 31, 2015


My uncle passed away in Calgary the day before I left for Christmas. It wasn't unexpected - he had been in hospice for over a month.

A day later, I flew to Regina for the most hectic Christmas ever.

I arrived Saturday morning. That day there was a birthday part of another uncle, so I got to see lots of family and bowl a couple of terrible games.  (The almost 2-year-old beat me, for the record).

Sunday was more time with family, and then we left for Calgary. We stopped in Medicine Hat (3 provinces & timezones in 3 days!) for the night and ended up arriving around 11:30 on Monday.

Monday night I got to see a couple of cousins and an aunt I rarely see, and then at the funeral on Tuesday I saw a lot more relatives. We drove back to Regina that night.

Wednesday morning I took my niece shopping for her mom's present, as is our tradition, and Wednesday night I made her go to Star Wars. (She liked it, even though she did not want to go.)

Thursday, of course, was Christmas Eve.

My cousin had us all over on Boxing Day, and then I went to see some friends of the family.

The 27th was the first relaxing day of the trip - we went to my niece's ringette game and then watched movies and played games. Naturally, I left at the crack of dawn on the 28th.

I am very much looking forward to doing nothing this weekend, starting with my annual tradition of falling asleep on the couch at 10 tonight.

Friday, November 20, 2015

All about me quilt #2

You may recall that last year, I made an all-about-me quilt for my niece. It was her favourite colours, and every square was different and related to her in some way.

When my cousin's daughter Sky was here in the summer, she said she wanted one, too, and rattled off a list of things about her.

(When I went home for a few days, her mom was telling me that all of her kids got quilts as part of the vacation school they did, Sky immediately said "You still have to make me mine.")

I finished it the first week in November, and obsessively checked the status of the parcel until it arrived last Friday.

On Saturday morning, I got this email:
thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you its beautiful.  (though i have no idea that it was necessary to add the hugs and kisses) still thank you
my favourite are: the barn, the church , the socks, the long board,the skate and ball, and the mermaid
hopefully you didn’t over do you self
Miss Feline

and i love the fuzzy inside and all the details like the camping one thats one of my favourite too. 

 Totally worth it.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Halloween, just a few weeks late.

On Halloween, my Pathfinders built and ran a haunted house for the local community association. We prepared in advance, and planned to start setting up at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

On Friday night, I went to boxing and stopped to pick up supper. For some reason, I didn't protest when they handed me two drinks in a drink holder. I set it on the seat and drove home.

When I got home, I went to pick up the drinks and managed to flip them onto the floor. The lid of one came off and it spilled.

I went running to the house, and by the time I got there, I didn't have my keys. I banged on the door and Wanda let me in. I grabbed a towel and went to mop up the car.

Still no keys.

I ate, showered, and left to go pick up some supplies for the haunted house. (I had to borrow Wanda's keys, because mine were nowhere to be found - but it was dark, and they were either in the car or on the ground, so I figured I'd find them in the morning.)

On Saturday morning, I got up and got ready for the day. I went outside to search the car and the walk, but there were no keys to be found.  My co-leader came by to pick up the pre-assembled walls, and I went to move the car off the driveway - and there were my keys, on the top of the steering wheel.

I never put my keys there - well, not on purpose.

We went to the community centre and started assembling the haunted house. We finished in the nick of time before it opened at 1.

It turned out well, and it was really popular. We had about 50 kids go through it over the course of the event (some of them up to 10 times).
20151031_133804 20151031_122438 20151031_122442
It looked creepier with the lights out.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Elephant of Surprise

Wanda has been really into the Hamilton soundtrack. For those who don't know, Hamilton is a hip-hop musical based on the life of US founding father Alexander Hamilton. She's been listening to the soundtrack, and now I've started listening to the soundtrack.

There's one line that refers to the "element of surprise". One day that line was stuck in my head, but I kept mispronouncing it "elephant of surprise". Wanda thought that was hilarious.

When she came home the next day, I'd printed out a picture of a elephant with the word "surprise!" above her head.

The next day, Wanda left early for dance and talked about running a secret errand. She promised I'd find out about it the next day (Friday).

Friday came and went, and there was no surprise.

She then told me I'd find out what it was on Monday.

Again, nothing.

On Tuesday morning, I went to put my lunch in my bag and found a stuffed elephant. I laughed and laughed, and then put it under her pillow.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Level 6!

On Friday, my boxing coach told me I was advancing to level six after ... years at level 5.

I find this hilarious, because this is how this session has gone:
Week 1 - normal week, but I haven't boxed since June, so I'm a little rusty.
Week 2 - Head coach isn't there (he's only there every second week).
Week 3 - I missed this week, since I had the flu
Week 4 - recovering from the flu. This is the class where I hurt my hand. (Well, it was the class or grocery shopping. Either way, I had it taped up for a week.) Head coach is off.
Week 5 - my hand has been taped all week, plus my Pathfinders are at camp and I'm joining them after class, so my head isn't really in the game.
Week 6 - Head coach is subbing. I have a cold and am having issues breathing.
Week 7 - Guess what? I'm going to level 6!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Life gets in the way

So three weeks into my new job, I got the flu. I ended up missing two days of work.

(My supervisor was awesome about it, but I felt bad. Couldn't be helped, though.)

A week after my return, I hurt my wrist and ended up taping it for 5 days.

The next week, I got a cold.

I've been lots of fun to be around, let me tell you.

Somewhere in there I went apple picking, spent the weekend at Pathfinder camp, sewed 2 Halloween costumes, and celebrated Thanksgiving.

Luckily, I'm now healthy (mostly) and unhurt (mostly). It's time to get back to working on another "all about me" quilt. I need 35 squares, and I'm done somewhere around 23 of them. I'd like to get it done this month so that I can start the next one and get it done in time for Christmas.

That might be a pipe dream, but I think I can do it, if I just stay off the internet.

So yeah, pipe dream.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Job news

I started a new job 7 business days ago. It's a short term job, but it's interesting and it gets me out of the house.

I'm taking the bus there, which is nice unless I have somewhere to be, since those are inevitably the days when the bus just doesn't show up. On the bright side I can read on the bus, even while clinging to a pole. 

There is a gym at work which I have not joined. Part of me wants to, but I have to figure out the logistics of getting gym stuff there on a crowded bus. I am still working out at home, and I now am the proud owner of a chin up bar.

I was planning to work on chin-ups this summer. My motivation is that chin ups were part of the warrior workout at boxing, and i was going to start trying them this fall. All I had to do was walk four houses down the street to the park to try them.

I made it there zero times. 

And then on Friday, I went to boxing and discovered that chin-ups are now part of the circuit, not an optional extra.

September me wishes July me had been more motivated.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A quick trip

Last Friday, I flew back to Saskatchewan to see the dog, who is quite sick (albeit finally getting a little better). People can travel to see me, but she can't, so off I went.

When I got there, she was at the vet. I went to pick her up, and she was happy to see me. (I like to believe she was happier than she would have been to see anyone else, but that's probably not true.)

Of course, I got to see a lot of people, too. On Saturday I helped two of my sisters build a bed, and then we went to see some family friends.

My sister's mattress + box spring mean the bed is level with the shelf

On Sunday, we met up with some cousins at the lake. (I scraped my knee getting into the boat, and it promptly got infected, so I've been treating it twice a day ever since.)

On Monday, I helped mom look for railings for her steps, went for lunch with my mom, sisters, and niece, and got together with a friend for a walk by the lake.

Tuesday we decided to have an appetizer supper, so mom, B, and I spent the afternoon making appetizers. Yay for pear/brie/prosciutto appetizers!

Yesterday I flew back, just in time to enjoy the loud taxi strike at the airport.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Popcorn Story

I've told this story a few times lately, so I thought I'd share it here.

A couple of years ago, I bought some microwave popcorn. I don't eat popcorn often (um, except for at the movies), but occasionally I like it, and this particular microwave popcorn came with a cheese topping.

One night while Wanda was at work, I decided to try the popcorn. I microwaved the popcorn, poured it into a mixing bowl, and sprinkled on the cheese topping, then I sat down to enjoy my treat.

I took a piece, and ... it wasn't very good.

I tried another couple of pieces. They were even worse. I decided I wasn't going to eat it, put the bowl on the counter, and went to bed. An hour or two later, Wanda got home.

When I got up in the morning, the bowl was empty. I thought "hmm, maybe it was just me. Wanda apparently liked it."

Then Wanda got out of bed, and said "That popcorn was awful!"

But ... she ate the whole bowl.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

It's all over but the laundry

This year, my mom brought my niece and one of my cousin's daughters to visit, and there were no injuries.

I couldn't believe it, either.

They flew into Toronto on a Friday night. They got in around 5 and checked in to the airport hotel, and Wanda and I drove down to meet them. We got there a little before 10.

The girls were a little ridiculously excited to see us.

Saturday morning, we met up with my cousin and all six of us drove to Niagara Falls. Another cousin met us there, and we spent the day going on the Hornblower (which used to be the Maid of the Mist), eating at the Rainforest Cafe, and walking around the falls. (My niece didn't want to go on the boat because it would be boring, but I made her go anyway. She loved it.)

A monkey in a tree

The falls

We went back to Toronto Saturday night.

Sunday morning, we checked out of the hotel and drove to a subway station with parking. We left the car there and took 2 trains to get downtown to meet up with my cousin again. We walked around downtown and ended up at the CN Tower.
The girls are somewhere around the R

We'd originally planned to go to the Ontario Science Centre - the girls have passes so would have gotten in free - but it was hot, and I was afraid that if we got back to the car, no one would want to get out of it again to go to the science center, so we went to the aquarium instead. I really like aquariums, and this one was good, despite the fact that it was crowded and there were too many people with empty strollers and wagons.

We came back to Ottawa on Sunday night, so Monday was a quiet day. We watched movies, and the girls got their hair cut. (My niece didn't want to watch Captain America because she doesn't like superhero movies, but I made her and she loved it.)

We also went to Menchies for frozen yogurt. (My niece didn't want to go because she doesn't like frozen yogurt, but I made her and she loved it.)
Not enjoying the frozen yogurt

A friend brought her kids over on Tuesday and we made stilts. We didn't' quite finished them - it was ridiculously hot - but it was still fun. After lunch, we went to Britannia Beach and the kids played in the water. We finished up Tuesday by going to see Inside Out.

We had planned to go to Calypso on Wednesday, but the cabanas were booked, so we moved it to Thursday and went shopping instead. The girls had a good time spending every penny they'd brought with them.

Thursday was Calypso. As usual, we spent a lot of time on the lazy river, and tried a bunch of the other rides. It rained Thursday morning, so it wasn't terribly crowded. The adults got sunburned, and the kids (who have t-shirt bathing suits) were fine.

Friday morning we went to see Age of Ultron (since the girls had watched the first Avengers movie at some point - I don't normally let them watch as many movies as they did this trip, but it was really, really hot out). We went for lunch, and then I cruelly forced them to go for a walk in the woods. We tried to feed the chickadees, but they were apparently on vacation as they were nowhere to be found.

Can't wait to go for a walk
Saturday we went to Ray's Reptiles. I've somehow never been there, although I've seen their traveling show. (My niece didn't want to go, but she seemed to have a good time, anyway.) This is also when I made a terrible mistake - I bought the girls magnetic rocks. They played with them constantly. It was very irritating. (I think this is also the day Wanda took them mini-golfing. It's hard to remember exactly.)

Waiting for the show at Ray's Reptiles

Kissing a turtle
Sunday we went downtown to the Busker festival. (My niece didn't want to go, but know the drill.)  We didn't have much time there, but they enjoyed it, and they got to take the bus there, so all was well. After the festival, we went out to my cousin's aunt's cottage. It was a beautiful day for it.

At the cottage

Monday morning I took the kids to Minions (even though it was the third movie they'd seen in theaters since they got here), then it was time for lunch so that they could get to the airport. They flew home last night.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The saga continues

Now that I have a new bed, my old nightstand was too low. Naturally, the solution was to make new ones.

The advantage of having two is that I don't have to dive across the bed to turn on the reading light - I can have a light on each side. It's awesome.

And, of course, then it's time to re-evaluate the dressers. One of them could be replaced by the drawers in the bed, so I just had to build one more.

I finished on Wednesday and transferred everything from the old dresser to the new one. That caused a minor issue, because I had to get rid of the old furniture, and I have company arriving tonight. Luckily, Wanda helped me load the furniture in the car, and yesterday morning I dropped it off at a thrift store. Problem solved.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Back in January, I came across these plans. I had three thoughts:
1) Cool!
2) I am in no way qualified to do this.
3) I'll have to wait until it warms up outside, because I don't have room to do this inside.

It's warm outside, so two weeks ago I started. I didn't want to use plywood for the head and foot boards, so I used the techniques described here (but the measurements from the first plan). I started by buying the wood for the headboard and footboard, with the exception of the posts.

(See point #2 above - I didn't want to commit to buying all of the wood if I failed miserably on step #1).

To my surprise, it was pretty easy, so I went and bought the posts, cut them, and attached them. The first wood I bought was knotty pine, but of course I couldn't get untreated pine 4x4s, so I bought cedar and thought "rats, I'm going to have to paint this", but once I got the posts attached, I liked the mixed-wood look.

So far, so good.

Then it rained for three days. I waited impatiently for it to stop, then went and bought two sheets of plywood to start on the drawer cabinets.

I finished the cabinets and decided to go with a tung oil finish. I did one coat, then waited a day and did the second coat. While that was drying, I started on the drawer boxes. I cut the drawer fronts and oiled them.

On Sunday, I took apart the old bed. I installed all of the drawers (which took a long time) and got Wanda to help me carry everything inside. The bed is heavy - I can barely lift the headboard.

I installed felt pads on the legs and Wanda helped me attach the drawer cabinets to  the headboard and footboard.

Then I measured the length of the slats, cut those, and installed them. While I was doing that, Wanda brought the drawers inside and installed them (minus the fronts and handles). After the slats were done, I had to call Wanda back upstairs to help me lift the mattress over the footboard.

Yesterday, I installed the drawer fronts and today I added the handles. They're not perfect - some of the drawers stick, and none of them are flush with the edge of the cabinet - but I love the bed anyway.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Spring camp

Last weekend was the final Pathfinder camp of the year. (The only thing left is to finalize the financial books, which I plan to do tomorrow or Monday.)

This was the hardest camp of the program for me, because the girls plan and run it themselves. I struggle with letting them do that, even though I know it's critical that they do it.

The two girls running camps did a poor job of preparing - they needed to be prodded multiple times before the camp - but they did a great job at the camp itself. One of them, in particular, has become a much stronger camper over the past two years. A year ago she'd light a match, scream, and drop it, and this weekend she was confidently lighting fires and camp stoves with no issues.

Now to get the books done and put it all away until fall.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Secret door

I painted the living room when I did because I was waiting for a back ordered set of hinges.

The closet in my front hall had a folding door, as many closets do. The door was always open, and it tended to get scuffed because it was always open, so I decided to remove it and replace it with a secret door.

I started by removing the door. I measured the opening and bought 1x6s.

The I realized that I had to remove at least the ... door edge inside the frame. Basically, the boards that covered the pink paint.

Next I drilled holes In the tile to place the bottom hinge, and made the basic door frame. (Drilling through tile takes forever, by the way.)

Once I had the frame the right size, I built the cabinet. (This took a while.) I then painted the frame. I ended up removing the rest of the previous trim as well, which required more repainting.

Then I attached the rest of the frame. This also took several adjustments.

I added trim and realized the hinges needed to be adjusted again, so I took it all apart and moved them to the front of the cabinet. 

Finally, it was done. I touched everything up and attached the latch (which requires a magnetic key to open).
Weeks later, it was finally done.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Start Spreading The News

I spent the weekend in New York. Wanda and I left Friday morning. We drove down to Newark and parked at the airport, then took the train into the city.

For some reason, we decided to walk the 24 blocks from the train station to our hotel. It wasn't actually that far, but it was wall to wall people.By the time we got to our hotel, it was around 7. Since we left to come home on Sunday around 9, it was a quick trip

Here is a quick look at our trip by the numbers:
  • Modes of transportation (car, train at airport, train into city, subway, shuttle to get back to the airport since there was an issue with the train, shuttle back to the car, Staten Island ferry) - 7
  • Restaurants with free wifi - 2. Luckily, we had excellent internet access at the hotel.
  • Subway trips (to the west village, to the World Trade Center, from Battery Park to the West Village, to Times Square, to the train station)- 5
  • Number of times I filled my subway card - 3
  • Broadway shows - 1 (Hedwig)
  • Partially consumed bottles of Cherry Coke I brought home - 2 + 1 full one
  • Ice cubes obtained from the (apparently broken) ice dispenser at the hotel - 0
  • Pairs of shoes worn (by me) - 2
  • Degrees difference between NYC and home on the day we returned - 18
  • Number of states (New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey) - 3
  • Stops in each direction - 3
  • Tanks of gas - 3
  • Visits to the Sock Man - 2 (it wasn't open the first time)
  • NYC maps obtained and left in the hotel room instead of being brought with us - 2
  • Women in Times Square wearing only body paint - 2
  • Questions asked by the customs officer on our way back into the country - 4 (where are you coming from, when did you leave Canada, did you buy anything, do you have any firearms)
  • Number of tolls paid - 3 (two of them to get onto the island with the border crossing)
It was a good trip.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Adjusting to the green

It's been a week, and I'm getting used to the green. I did make a few more adjustments, though.

Most of my picture frames were dark colours:

I bought some new frames, but for the large pictures, I could only find black frames, so I painted them. (The new black frames, not the original ones, in case I want to go back.)

And I bought a new clock for $3 at IKEA, and I painted that, too.

I also painted some light switch covers. (They were gold, which wasn't enough contrast and is not my favourite in general.)

I'm much happier with the colour now.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Project #3

The next project was pretty straightforward - paint the living room.

Of course, I actually decided to start on a whim, which made it more work than it needed to be. I bought the paint Saturday morning and started cleaning out the room. Removing the furniture, pictures, and outlet covers took about three hours before we could start to paint.

I painted the ceiling while Wanda painted the trim. By that point, we were exhausted, so we stopped for the day.

On Sunday, we finished the trim, did a second coat, and started on the walls. We got two coats of primer and 1/2 a coat of paint done.

On Monday, I finished the coat of paint and did a second coat, then did another coat of trim and touched up the ceiling. I finished painting at 4:20.

The Pathfinders arrived for our meeting at 6:30.

It's very green. Maybe a little too green.

I may end up painting above the fireplace the same colour as the trim.

Of course, first there's project #4 to deal with.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Project #2

When I talked about the jewellery hanger I made, I mentioned using a piece of scrap wood. I didn't mention where that wood was from.

You see, many years ago (pre-blog), I had my upstairs bathroom redone. As part of that work, they needed to access the pipes & wires in the downstairs bathroom ceiling, which was done with those foam tiles that get stapled up. They cut a hole so they could take one down (with my permission).

Of course, you can't really fix that well, and the ceiling has been less than ideal ever since.

The main room downstairs has a similar problem, but it's even more complicated. (I want to move a bathroom wall to create a bigger shower, and move the door, and ....) Since I was just re-doing the bathroom ceiling, I needed something that would work on a small scale, but that could be removed if necessary.

I pulled down the tiles and bought some 1x4s. I painted the boards white and started screwing them in place.

Half of the boards went length-wise, half across the width.

When I was done, I caulked the gaps and painted it again.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Project #1

One of the things I've been doing for the last few weeks is working on projects around the home.

Just after Easter, I saw a necklace holder on Pinterest. (I really should stay off that app!) It looked interesting, and we'd just had sparkling lemonade for Easter, so I saved the bottle and got to work.

I soaked off the label and painted the bottle with a few coats of blue food coloring mixed with mod podge. I wasn't thrilled with how it looked, so I did one last coat of green food coloring and mod podge.

Next, I found a scrap board and drilled a 1" hole in it. (Well, actually, I drilled a 3/4" hole, then discovered it wasn't big enough and tried again.)

A coat of paint and a bunch of cup hooks, and it was done.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Saga of the Soap

Sometime last year, I was walking through the dollar store and I saw some soap.

Now, I don't normally buy soap at the dollar store, but it smelled nice and it was a big bar of soap, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I didn't start using it until fall - probably October or November. I was pretty excited to try it, because I really liked the smell.

It really did smell nice.

Well, at least until I got it wet. Then it smelled like death.

(But it was a really big bar of soap.)

After a couple of days, it only smelled a little like death, so I kept using it.

And kept using it.

And kept using it.

In fact, it's now May and I'd say there's probably 1/3 of it left.

It was a pretty good deal.

Except for the smell.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Yes, it's been ages

Wow, it has been ages since I updated.

Job Hunt
No job news. I've applied for a handful of jobs, but haven't had any response.  My outplacement help through my last employer expired, and I got in touch with one of the government centers. It sounded good and they set me up with a coach - which is really what I was hoping for.
I had my first meeting with the coach last Monday, and it did not go well. She asked for a copy of my resume, and then talked for 45 minutes about how I needed to change my job titles (which I'm not going to do). She's a big believer in search results, and, while I suspect that works well for someone with a linear job history, my job history is too eclectic to make that a good approach. I decided that approach wouldn't work for me so I told her I wasn't going to continue with the coaching. I may try again with another job center or I may just decide it's not valuable.

New things
I've done a few new things in the last couple of months.

First of all, I went to two career fairs. Oddly enough, I've never done that before. I have a friend who is also unemployed and we went to the first one together. We talked to employers separately, but it was helpful to have someone motivate me to get there. The first career fair was ... kind of a bust, as there were very few employers there. The second one was high-tech specific and was much better.

I also went to a "Women in Technology" evening. It was interesting - there was a general meet and greet, then a short talk, then organized networking where everyone picked a table and discussed the topic that they provided. After 20 minutes, everyone switched tables and discussed a second topic. After another 20 minutes, we switched again and discussed the third and final topic.

I also made mozzarella cheese. I had tried this at my mom's at Christmas, but we didn't have a proper thermometer so it didn't work well. I tried it again and it turned out surprisingly well. 

And Chris at boxing guilted me into trying the warrior workout, which is an optional set of exercises after boxing class. I don't do the chin ups or pull ups (my shoulder is still weak and I'm lazy) but I do squats, lunges, push ups, and tricep push ups after class. And then I end up really hungry and start trying to bribe people to bring me cookies.

It's getting to the end of the Pathfinder year. Since we meet on Mondays, it seems like the last couple of months always end up being a ridiculous rush. We don't meet during March break, then we take a meeting to sell cookies, then we miss a meeting for Easter, and then it's practically the end of the year.

And this year, one of my Pathfinders had surgery that will put her in a wheelchair for a couple of months. We spent a few meetings this year making polar fleece blankets, and I ended up with the leftover polar fleece. Since this girl is a Harry Potter fan, I used it as a backing for a wheel-chair-sized quilt.

I currently have sandals, winter boots, shoes, and hiking boots in my front hall. What will I need tomorrow? No one knows.  

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Recipe Book & Deadlines

I'm the oldest grandchild on my mom's side. I have a cousin who's a couple months younger, and then a sister and cousin who are two years younger. When I was in university, my mom wrote down a bunch of family recipes and gave all of us a recipe book.

As time went on, the computer that had the original file crashed and the file was lost. As others grew up, the old recipe books were photocopied and shared.

Two or three years ago, I thought, "Hey, we should make this an ebook."

I started copying out the recipes one at a time. I was doing this at work on the days when I stayed late because it didn't make sense to come home after boxing.

After a few weeks, it occurred to me that scanners could easily scan the book, and I could use Acrobat (which was on my work computer) to translate the resulting PDF into text.

That was much, much faster.

There was still some proof-reading to do, but it was a good start.

I moved everything into InDesign (also on my work computer) and tried to figure out how to make each recipe its own link under a table of contents. (The answer, it turned out, was to make each one a separate file in the book.)

Then I discovered that I had too many recipes, because InDesign has a hard limit of 150 files. I'd have to make multiple books and then merge them in Calibre.

That was in December 2013. In January 2014, I changed to an earlier boxing class. I had no time after work to work on the book.

Last week I picked it up again. Now that I had a deadline - the work computer has to go back - it didn't take long to finish it. (Probably a couple of hours, and that was mostly because I found a formatting error that needed to be fixed in each of the 150+ files.) I made a title page on Wednesday and finalized the book.

It's finally done.

At least until someone finds a typo.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Happy birthday, Miss B

It's my niece's birthday. She's eleven, somehow. I got her the Harry Potter novels, knowing that she claims she doesn't like them (even though she has never read them). She was ... Less than pleased.

But she started to read them.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Yes, again

Last Thursday, I was laid off.

It wasn't a total shock - no one has been able to tell me what I'd be doing this year, and I knew changes were coming.

Unlike the last couple of times, I'm still expected to work u til the end of the month. I like being able to transition things, but three weeks is a little longer than I'd like.

I've got an appointment with the outplacement service next week, and I plan to get my act together job-hunting wise on Tuesday. 

But first, I need to get through winter camp.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


As you know, I had a cold at the beginning of January. At one point, I was sick enough to try the cold remedy my cousin posted on Facebook:
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp vinegar
dash of cinnamon
hot water

It sounds terrible, but it actually tastes pretty good, and it seemed to make a difference.

Unfortunately, I ran out of honey as a result. I don't often eat honey, but I'd bought some excellent local honey a couple of years ago, and I would happily buy more, so I looked up the website and found their current kiosk off of St. Laurent. They were open until 5 most weekdays, until 7 on Thursday, and on Saturdays.

The first Saturday in January, I was still sick-ish, so I didn't go. The second Saturday, I set off to find their location.

I decided to take the "most direct way" and got lost, but after far too long, I found the kiosk. 

It was closed.

I came home and checked the website. There was a note saying they were closed due to illness.

Not a big deal - I could go the next Saturday.

Last Saturday, I got up and checked the website. There was a note saying that they were kicked out of the mall they were in due to a misunderstanding with management.

Since then, they've updated their site to say they will arrange a pick-up location for orders > $50.

I don't have an order >$50. I want one jar of honey.

I could order off their website, but they charge $7 for handling +$10 shipping. The honey is $15-ish.

This is a lot of drama for a jar of honey.

I think I'll give it a month or two and see if they get this sorted out. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

I got a cold over the holidays. In fact, it was particularly bad (I.e. head-cold-y) on Saturday - not last Saturday, the one before that. 

You'd think I'd be over it by now, but I'm not - I have a lingering cough. It's the kind that's fine for hours, followed by a burst of uncontrollable coughing.

The suddenly cold weather is not helping. My asthmas does not like sudden temperature changes, so going outside triggers a coughing fit.

I'm a joy to be around, let me tell you.

I guess it's a good ab exercise, if nothing else.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


Over the past few years, I've started getting more into quilting - at least from September to December. 

The first quilt I made was for my sister, many years ago. It was a very simple quilt, but it took a long time. After that, I started making baby quilts - they'r'e a lot smaller, but they still took a long time.

These days, I make far more complex quilts, and it takes me a lot less time. 

There are a few reasons for that. Of course, just being more familiar with the process makes a difference. 

I also have better tools - I got a cutting mat and rotary cutter a couple of years ago, and that helps make sure everything is straight. 

I've also learned when to rip out the stitches. When something is really wrong, there's no amount of ignoring it that will work, and procrastinating will just mean it's a bigger mess to undo. 

And finally, I've learned that that most mistakes are fixable. On my niece's quilt, several of the squares were too small, so I added complementary fabric around the edges. Yes, you can still see where the problems were, but it looks good and she doesn't care.