Thursday, December 22, 2016

Tablet cases

Last weekend, I decided to make some tablet cases. I'm sure you can appreciate that it was a total coincidence that it was a week before Christmas. I started with this site and adapted as necessary. I used hard-backed canvas with fun foam glued to it for the inside of the case.

I cut a hole for the camera, and made sure the buttons were accessible.

(Those shears are from Lee Valley and they're awesome.)

They turned out well.

Friday, November 11, 2016


On Fridays, I do a yoga workout. Well, stretching, really. I was off today, but I thought I should do the workout anyway. I got up, went into the bathroom, and put my hair up in a ponytail. The next thing I knew, I was in the shower. Ok, no problem, it's just stretching, I can do it after my shower. I got out of the shower, dried my hair, and went to get dressed. The first thing I put on was socks - which are completely unnecessary for yoga.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


I'm organizing my community association's haunted house again this year. We are doing a haunted graveyard theme, and I've been busy making props.

I started with eyeball flowers, I glued some floral wire to the back of some dollar store eyeballs.

Next, I cut some green fun foam for the eyelids. 

I added some leaves and they were done.

I also made a crypt. I made a box out of plywood and added some foam to the top. Next, I covered Wanda in garbage bags and packing tape, then cut her out of them to get a Wanda-shaped body form, which I stuffed with newspaper.

I taped that arm back on and covered her body with some fabric, then added a layer of paint mixed with plaster of Paris.

Finally, I made some burning coals. I started by gluing some LED lights to a board and covering some of them with bottles and lids.

I added a layer of spray foam.

And then I spray painted the top black.

And that's what I've been up to.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Buying groceries while sitting on the couch

One of the local grocery stores has started offering the option of ordering groceries online. I've thought about trying it for a while, but didn't give it a try until just before Mom's visit.

Here's how it works.

You go online and create an account. If you have a points card, you can link it to your account. This means you get the points for the groceries and makes it easy to find things you buy often. In fact, the site will tell you what you sometimes buy, as well as what you usually buy.

Pick a store, and start adding groceries to your cart. For things like apples, you choose how many you want, and the site gives you an approximate price.

When you've added everything, pick a pickup window. Windows are two hours long, and each one is assigned a cost (usually $3-$5). I picked the window that corresponded to the end of physio. You will be asked whether you'll accept substitutions if they're out of something, whether you're bringing your own bags, and any other notes for the person picking out your groceries. 

During the two hour window, you drive to the store and park in one of the four marked spots, then call them to let the,minor you're there. They'll come out and get your bags, then pack up the groceries, wheel the out on a cart, and load them into the car. It usually takes about 10 minutes.

The only charge is the $3-$5 - and frankly, I impulsively buy more than that if I go in.

Since that first time, it has become the way I shop. I don't have to wander the aisles looking for something I buy once a year, I can check to see what we have, and I can add items to my cart as I think of them.

The only downside is that you can't make changes online the day of pickup, even if you placed the order that day. But till live with that.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The visit, 2016

Mom, my sister, and my niece came to visit in July. Somehow, my niece is taller than me, even though I'm pretty sure I told her that wasn't allowed.

We went to the museum of history - the entire third floor is closed, so I'd wait until next year to go.

We did a cruise on the St. Lawrence.

And we went downtown.

And, of course, my niece took over my social media accounts and changed my profile picture on Instagram.

Since she also did a fantastic job of cleaning my car, I guess I'll let her get away with it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A busy weekend

On the Canada Day weekend, I started feeling more mobile.

I did my own laundry. You have no idea how exciting that was, for both me and Wanda. 

I worked on a messenger bag.

And finally, I started a coffee table. I had a coffee table, but despite living with it for 16 years, I decided it was too big. Time for a change.
I got it mostly built, but not entirely - I had to attach the top, sand, stain, and varnish. I worked on it in the evenings last week and finally finished it last night.

I moved it into the house today. Tomorrow the old coffee table gets donated.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Some thoughts on accessibility

I'm waking again. In fact, I no longer need the boot, which is awesome. But being on wheels for five weeks gave me some new insight into what life is like for people who aren't that mobile. 

I work for an employer who accommodates many people with disabilities, but yet one of the ramps into the building has a manhole in the middle of it. If I'd hit it at full speed, I could have been seriously injured.

The ramp inside the building - the one I need to take from my desk to the bathroom - is scary steep, especially going up (because, I slipped, id be rolling backwards.)

Speaking of the bathroom, the one closest to my desk doesn't have automatic doors or a stall big enough for a scooter, so I had to go down to the other end of the building.

And, during the five weeks I used the scooter, we had two days where the closest elevators were out of service, two days where the elevators i. The transit station were out of service, and one power outage long enough hat they sent us home. (A coworker carried my scooter down the stairs. Luckily I could put some weight on my foot by then.)

Most of the bus drivers were great, and passengers usually cleared a space for me to sit without being asked. But....
- sometimes they'd clear the entire seat and put it up before I got on the bus. That did t help, because I can't sit on the scooter, so I'd have to out it back down
- some people tried to help by grabbing my scooter when I got off the bus. Since I depended on it for balance, that was a problem.
- finally, I had to explain more than once that, while I understand that someone is getting in the bus with a stroller, I won't be standing so that you can put the seat up. 

The scooter was way easier than crutches, but it took a lot of energy, and I was glad to see the last of it.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

More about the foot

I had an appointment with my surgeon this week. To my surprise, the foot is healed. I still can't walk - I have about 6 weeks of physio ahead of me - but this is good news. 


The surgeon referred me to the physiotherapy place at the hospital. I called while I was still at the hospital, but they didn't answer. I could have scooted over to find them, but I didn't know exactly where they were, and I don't tend to do any more travel than I need to.

They called back when I was on the bus, and said they needed the req before they'd book an appointment. I could either drop it off during business hours or fax it in.

I have a job, so dropping it off during business hours is out. And I do not have a fax machine.

I eventually figured out that, but I am not impressed with the customer-hostile approach they've taken. There is no earthly reason why I can't bring the req with me to the first appointment, other than that their process is broken. There is no reason why they can't put a mail slot in their door so that people can't drop off reqs outside of business hours. And there is no reason they can't accept reqs via email, rather than relying on technology from the last century. 

I plan to start physiotherapy this week, but it may not be with these yahoos.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Well, I survived the two weeks sitting around with my feet up, which is not as fun as it sounds. I also rented a knee scooter, which made a huge difference to my mobility.

That's Wanda on my knee scooter.

Last week I went back to work. One of my neighbours gave me a ride, which I greatly appreciated. 

This week I started taking the bus again. I wanted to be back on my own schedule, and it worked out ok. I did get a ride home yesterday, though, since I was getting pretty sore.

I've been in pretty good spirits so far, but today I've hit my limits. I want to stop being sore, and I want to be able to do stuff again.

I can't heal fast enough for me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Oh right, it's one foot in front of the other

'On Saturday, I forgot how to walk down stairs.

You see, a friend invited me to go to Wonderland with her and her daughters. We were staying with her sister-in-law, and we got in around 11:30 on Friday night. Everyone was asleep, so we went to bed ourselves. In the morning, I got up, took a shower, meet the sister-in-law for the first time, and then fell down the stairs.

I knew immediately that I was hurt pretty bad, and it became obvious very quickly that my ankle was broken. My friend applied ice and a splint, and then we figured out that we needed to call an ambulance. The paramedics arrived, splinted it properly, and then carried me out to the ambulance.

Incidentally, it's weird to be in a moving vehicle while lying down. 

I got to the hospital and they transferred me to a bed there. I had X-rays, and they discovered that my ankle was dislocated and broken in three places. 

They put me under to realign it, then put a temporary cast on it. It felt much, much better after it was no longer dislocated, although it was obviously not great. 

In the meantime, my friend's daughters and their cousins were at Wonderland. Around 6, it became obvious that surgery was not going to happen, and the surgeon gave me three choices: transfer to another hospital for the night, then have surgery in the morning; go home for the night and come back to the Ajax hospital for surgery, or go back to Ottawa. We decided to go back to Ottawa, so we called the girls and asked them to come back. (My friend's brother had taken my car, so we needed the car, too.)

We left around 9 and had to stop to get a prescription fcr pain. It turns out Percocet doesn't help me with pain, but it does make me drowsy. I wasn't in too much pain, though, so it was OK.

We got back to Ottawa around 2 a.m. and went straight to emergency. They took more X-rays and told me to come back at 8. Getting into the house at 4 am was interesting. At one point, I offered to sleep in the front hall, but my friend and Wanda managed to get me onto my foot. 

We went back to the hospital at 8. I talked to the surgeon, and he sent me home until they were ready to operate. It was so much nicer to be at home. They called later on Sunday and said that they weren't going to operate that day, and that I could eat and drink until midnight. After two days of fasting most of the day, this was good news. 

Yesterday morning, they called and told me to be at the hospital at 10:30. They operated around 12:30, and Wanda picked me up around 5. A friend's parents also came to the hospital in case Wanda needed help, but I was pretty functional.

You know, I know some pretty awesome people. People have brought food, and a reclining chair, and a shower stool, and a walker and wheelchair. It's been really nice.

I have to sit with my foot up above my heart, so I am off work for two weeks. I expect I'll be bored at some point, but right now I'm spending a lot of time sleeping. I can't really concentrate on much, either, so little iPad games are all I can do for entertainment. Hopefully that will improve soon.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

All About Me quilts 4 & 5

Yesterday I finished two more all about me quilts. These ones will be the last ones for a while - Ottawa went from snow on Monday to summer today, and I am looking forward to doing more outdoor projects (including woodworking, which I do outside since there's no good space inside).

Here are some pictures:

I dropped the quilts off last night, and the kids were really happy with them. It's actually funny how much kids love these. I think the appealing part is how customized they are - the colours are their favourite colours, and many of the squares are inspired by things they like. It's always fun to deliver one.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The small matter of a kitchen fire

On Sunday, I pulled the big cast iron frying pan out of the drawer. The outside of it felt greasy, so I ran some hot water and washed it. When I thought it was clean, I put it on the stove and started to cook.

I was busy getting things ready, but at some point I thought it was a good idea to pick up the pan. (Why did I do that? It's a mystery.) As soon as I picked it up, there were flames on the entire bottom and sides of the pan.

That's right, heat + fuel + oxygen makes fire. I set the pan down and the fire went out immediately.

Apparently the pan wasn't as clean as I thought.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Manipulation, failed

Wanda is pretty suggestible when it comes to food. If I mention something she likes, sooner or later she will go make or get it. I will admit I sometimes use that to my advantage.

Earlier today, I took some pumpkin out of the freezer with the intention of making pumpkin muffins, but it took a while to thaw, and I was doing other stuff, and suddenly it was 7:30 and there were no muffins made. 

Me: "Mmm, pumpkin muffins."
Me: "You know, I did fix your winter jacket earlier."
Wanda: "Uh huh."
Me: "That requires payment, you know."
Wanda: "Would you like ... a piece of cheese?"

I made the muffins.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

At the sugar bush

Yesterday, I went out to Fulton's Maple Farm. Fulton's is one of the local sugar bush places, which are popular this time of year when the sap is running. It's a chance to see how maple syrup is made and get out of the city.

I haven't been in ... a few years - by which I mean that I'm pretty sure the last time I went was before my 12-year-old niece was born, so I decided to go this year. 

We got there around noon and went on a sleigh ride through the forest.

It was a little chilly, so we went over to the bonfire to warm up. While we were there, we discovered a woman using coals to carve out the inside of a spoon. We decided to try it ourselves, so we paid our $10 for all three of us to give it a try. They gave us each a piece of wood in the shape of a spoon, and picked hot coals out of the fire.

We used the stick to hold the coal in place and blew on the coal to make it burn.

As the coals disintegrated, we used the stick to carve out the burnt part and then got new coals. The stick came in handy to move the coals to whatever area we were working on.

When we had enough of the bowl carved out, one of the workers used a knife to shave off the top of the spoon, and to get rid of some of the extra wood around the edges.

When I got home, I used coarse sandpaper to smooth out the back and handle, and also to get rid of more of the burnt part of the inside of the bowl.

(After we made the spoon, we had the traditional pancakes, which were good but did not compare to the awesomeness of the spoon.)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Gremlins in the computer

When I got to work this morning, my computer had rebooted. When I logged in, my mouse didn't work. This is normal - I have to unplug my mouse after I log in and then plug it back in before it works. I moved one of my monitors and fiddled with the plug until it worked. I then moved the monitor back and prepared to get to work.

Except the monitor I moved was completely black. I fiddled with the plug and finally realized I'd hit the power button while moving it. I turned it in and opened my email.

My password didn't work. I tried a few times before realizing that my email domain was wrong. I fixed it and logged in.

Before doing too much, I decided to open a ticket with the help desk for my mouse problem. I opened the ticket and then locked my screen to go get some water.

When I got back, my password didn't work. I tried it a few times, checked to make sure caps lock wasn't on, and tried again. It still didn't work.

I went over to talk to someone in IT, who pointed out that my keyboard had probably changed from multi-lingual to another language. I did the control- shift thing that switches keyboard mapping schemes and logged in.

I had an email from IT about my mouse problem suggesting that I plug the mouse into the laptop instead of the docking station. I decided to do it immediately, so I unplugged the mouse.

The mouse cord was tangled with the other computer cords, but I managed to get it untangled. I sat down again, plugged the mouse in, and realized my computer was dead.

After more investigation, I realized that the power cord for my laptop docking station had come unplugged while I was untangling the mouse cord.  I plugged it back in and rebooted the computer.

My mouse didn't work. I unplugged it and plugged it in again.

I opened my email. My password didn't work because the domain had switched again. I fixed that and logged int.

An hour after I got to work, I was ready to actually work. Naturally, I had to go to a meeting.

Friday, March 4, 2016

That's why I should never leave late

For the last few months, I've taken the bus to work. It makes sense - it's faster than driving, it's convenient, and it's cheaper than driving and paying for parking.

But there are days ....

This morning, I left later than usual - just a minute or two, but enough to mess up my commute. As usual, that meant that the first bus was so full it didn't even stop.

The second bus was full, too, but it stopped, so the six of us at the stopped crammed into it. We skipped the next stop since there was no room left and continued down the road. At that point, the transit way is a lane in the side of a busy road, so we were zooming past the congestion on the road. 

At least  we were until we caught up to a cyclist. He was in the bus lane (since the bike lane was covered in snow) and he was probably going fast for a cyclist. He was not going fast for a bus. We crawled along behind him for two blocks, until we stopped to let people off and he got ahead of us.

And that's the kind of thing that happens when I leave the house late.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Limping along

Last Wednesday night, we had freezing rain. Basically, the entire city was covered in ice.

And then it rained.

Naturally, I slipped in the way to work. Luckily, I didn't hit my head, but I was pretty sore. I managed to limp to the bus stop and go to work.

I was still sore in Friday - to the point where I was wondering if I should go to boxing or, if I went, whether I should skip. I ended up going and skipping, didn't hurt, so I did that, too. It worked, too - I wasn't sore all weekend.

And then I did a strength workout on Monday. I've been sore ever since. I'm not even sure if it's a muscle issue, or a tendon, ligament, or even bone. I hope whatever it is goes away soon, though.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Happy 3rd birthday, monkey

Twelve years ago, my sister went into labour with my niece. It was Saturday night. I'd flown there Friday night, got in late, and then had to get up to go to the hospital with my sister since they were inducing the baby.

Suffice it to say I was tired, so naturally, I was not thrilled about rushing back to the hospital at 8 at night. I would have much rather gotten a good night sleep, but back to the hospital we went.
I wasn't opposed to my niece being a leap year baby, but she could have been a leap year baby if she'd been born at 12:30. The next ten hours were really just a plot to keep her least-favourite auntie from sleeping.

They were in the hospital for five days, and at one point my niece was mad. I don't know why - there's not too much to complain about when you get fed, bathed, and generally cared for without having to do so much as support your own head - but she was angry. The nurse looked at my sister and said "you're going to have fun with this one".

The first night she was home, I woke up at 2 am to hear her screaming. I got up and found her crying, and my sister crying because she wouldn't calm down. After a while, we figured out that she probably had an upset stomach, but no fever or anything that indicated she needed medical attention. I have no idea how we got her to stop crying, but we must have succeeded eventually. 

By the time I came back to Ottawa, she'd figured out that she could straighten her legs. Suddenly she was harder to hold.

The next time I was there was Christmas. Her crib was in my room. (Well, my bed was in her room.) One morning, I woke up to discover her crawling around in the bed beside me. She must have cried in the middle of the night, because I apparently got up and put her between me in bed between me and the wall without waking up.
It's hard to believe that she's almost as tall as me (she's not allowed to get any taller, for the record) and that she wears a bigger size of shoe than I do.

Happy birthday, monkey.

Love, your favourite auntie.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Am I the only one?

Every year, I buy new jeans in the boxing week sales. This year, they are skinny leg jeans. They're comfortable and they fit well, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to take them off without ending up with them inside out in a crumpled ball. 

Friday, for example, I wore jeans to work. After work, I rushed home to change into my boxing clothes. I pulled off my jeans and put on my shorts - but it's February, so I wanted to wear my jeans over the shorts. I turned them back right side out and pulled them on.

I drove to boxing and took the jeans off. Yup, inside out again. I turned them right side out again and went to class. When class was over, I put my jeans on and drove home.

Anyone want to guess what happened when I took them off to shower?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Last night, my niece called. She hardly ever calls - she has way more important things to do, so usually if I hear from her, something has gone wrong.

That was the case yesterday. She was home alone and she thought there was someone else in the house.

We talked about how houses make noises that can sound scary when you're alone, she told me what she'd heard, and we figured out that there was nothing to worry about. She had the flu earlier this week, so I asked her how she was feeling.

She hung up.

I had to make Wanda call back to make sure there wasn't someone in the house.

Sunday, January 3, 2016


A little over six years ago, my sister got a dog (Kasey). Apparently, she talked with another sister before I arrived for Christmas to make sure she could send the dog over there if I couldn't stand her. (I was a little worried as well - I've never been a huge fan of dogs in the house, but most of my experience has been with big dogs, and Kasey was a miniature schnauzer, and I love my niece, so I figured we'd work it out.)

I think it took me about 5 seconds to fall in love with the dog - and vice versa. (I maintain that I was her favourite auntie, possibly due to the treats I brought).

She got sick in the spring, and spent the rest of the year being diagnosed with more and more conditions (Cushings, diabetes, blindness, and the list goes on). I went back to see her in August, and she was as sweet and cuddly as always, but she didn't have the energy she used to have.

(She would, however, still stand on her back legs if she thought there was a treat in it for her.)

My sister made the difficult decision to put her down 5 days before I arrived for Christmas. It was the right decision - she was in a lot of pain, and she wasn't getting better.

But man, the house is not the same without her.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

All About Me quilt #3

After I finished quilt #2 for Sky, I had to hurry, since her sister Star needed one, too. However, Star was much less clear about what she wanted.

It was a puzzle.

Eventually, I asked her family (parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins) to tell me stories about her, and I alternated story squares (which are striped) with regular squares. Each story square contains a word, and part of her gift was a paper explaining what story went with each word.

Here's a close-up of one of the words:
I tried using iron-on transfers, but they were less than successful. Only a couple of them survived.

It always amazes me how much the sashing helps make a bunch of discordant, unconnected squares seem like they belong together.  Compare the three columns on the left with the two on the right - the ones of the left looked just as jumbled before I added the sashing.

Here's the end result (upside down, just because):