Wednesday, May 31, 2006

We are officially geeks

I just spent an hour and a half on IM with my tech savvy friend fixing something on this site that no one other than me would have ever even noticed was wrong. Whhheeeee!
(Thanks, Tim!)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I borrowed my father-in-law's digital camera

Summer haircut:

In Memorial of What?

This has been one fun-packed Memorial day weekend. For my Canadian readers, Memorial day is basically the American equivalent to Victoria day, in that most people celebrate by going to the cottage, having BBQs, and getting drunk, and they make no more effort to memorialize anything than you do to send an e-card to a dead queen.

Saturday, we had some people come over for some low-key backyard lounging. It was really nice. The predicted thunderstorms seemed to hold off, but it never got so hot that we made the trek to the swim club. We did, however, make a trek to K-Mart to buy a frisbee and candy. Then we went to see X-Men 3, which was fantastic.

Sunday morning, I woke up late and grumpy. I had promised that I would bring soup for a church potluck, and I couldn't find all my ingredients, so we ended up being late to church. I was worried about being late because I was supposed to be in the nursery, but it turns out that the only two kids who were going to the nursery were waiting until after the singing was over, so I was worried for nothing. Playing knights and Batman with the pastor's kid did wonders for my mood, and I had a great time at the potluck afterwards, to which several ESL students had been invited to practice their English.

Sunday afternoon, it really warmed up, and all the cousins went to the pool. I, unfortunately, had to work, but I guess it's only fair since I had Friday, Saturday, and Monday off. I had a good shift, then came home and stayed up late watching Firefly on DVD. If there had been more than three episodes on one disc, I probably would have stayed up watching them all night, but I was too lazy to get out of bed and change the disc, so I went to sleep after the third episode.

On Monday, we had two Memorial day parties to go to, but it was so hot and humid that we decided we had time to go to the pool first. I was happy to discover that last year's bathing suit does still fit, and I had a great time splashing around with my in-laws and two of the cousins. We played the movie game for ages, and I was somewhat shocked to discover how many children's and family movies I can remember. I guess it's all those years of day camps.

We came home and showered, then headed to party #1: the family party. We ate sloppy joes, I taught the kids a whole bunch of bad Bible puns, and I showed them my dad's magic trick where he banged the glass through the table. Then we played Flinch and Baby in the Air with the kids until it was time to go to party #2: the friends' party. Unfortunately, we had traded cars with Mark, so he had the car with the directions to the party and the scones we were bringing to the party. Eventually, we managed to connect, and switch the stuff over to the car we were driving, and we headed down into the city.

Other than the hosts, we didn't know anyone at the second party, but Tim had set up a slack line that a bunch of his climbing buddies were playing on, and we migrated back to them and had a good time watching people who knew what they were doing goof around on the line. Eventually, we gave it a go ourselves, and while I never reached a point where I could actually achieve mobility, I was sometimes able to balance for a second or three. It was fun, and I would like to give it another try sometime. (Although I don't think Jer liked it much, and I'll probably be on my own next time.)

And now it is Tuesday, and I slept in this morning because I don't work until 6:30 tonight. I've spent far too long on my computer already today, so I think I will put it away for a little while and see what it's like outside. Hot, I think. I'll probably be back in the air-conditioned house before long. Too bad the pool is only open on weekends until school lets out. Darned kids think they control the world. (Although at the pool, they basically do.)

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Now with 70% less hair!

I chopped my hair off. It's all one length and comes to my chin. It's just about the same length it would have been if I had simply cut my pigtails off at the base. But slightly more even. At least, it is now that I touched up the few places that were uneven. My hair is so touchy. It always looks perfect when it's first cut, but as soon as I wash it, stray hairs come out of hiding, an inch longer than those around them. I just don't get it. Fortunately, I have a pair of hair scissors for just such occasions.

Why the drastic change? I have a few theories:

1. I like to get my money's worth out of a haircut. If I'm going to shell out my hard-earned dollars for someone to change my hair, it darned well better look different!

2. There's really nothing drastic about it. I have cyclical hair - It grows in, then I chop it all off. Keeping my hair the same way for more than a couple of years: Now THAT would be drastic!

3. I was sick of my hair falling out. It probably doesn't actually fall out less when it's shorter, but it seems like less, because the individual strands are smaller.

4. It shortens my prep-for-work time. Now, instead of taking three minutes to braid my hair, or one minute to stick it in a ponytail, I can simply push it back and hide it all under my hat. Talk about convenient!

What's that? You want a picture? You forgot to say please. And I don't have one.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Late nights and later mornings

I just got back from serving caramel macchiattos to high school kids at an after-prom lock-in. It was so much fun. I wish my high school had done that.

In order to prepare my body for staying up until four today, I went out last night. Okay, fine, that wasn't the real reason. I hadn't been out in ages, and I hadn't seen Erin since Christmas, and I hardly ever get to wear my fishnets. But the bedtime stretching was an added bonus, as I don't think I would have made it tonight without having slept in until 1:30 today. It was a blast. And, although I did get a bit lost finding the place, I found my way home without even having to look at a map, which made me feel really good.

Now, I have two whole days off in which I really should try to get some things done. But I probably won't.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Feeling Opinionated

It was so nice out when I woke up today, I decided to turn on my wireless connection and bring my laptop to the backyard. Unfortunately, even with the sun behind the screen, I was barely able to read anything in the brightness. So I moved to the shade. A decent compromise, I guess, but my towel is calling out to me to lie back down.

But I will delay a little bit longer, because several things struck an opinionated chord in me as I was making my rounds of the internet this morning. And what's the point in getting angry if I can't share it with the world? (Or at least with the tiny subset of the world who know my blog exists. Hi, subset!)

First, the Queen of Spain got me thinking about the Dixie Chicks. Do you remember three years ago when one of them said she was ashamed to come from the same state as George W. Bush? Apparently, the country music community has never stopped giving them a hard time about it. How DARE a country singer express an opinion not in keeping with the predominantly republican country and western mindset! (Although I am sure, somewhere, there is staunch republican gangsta rapper with the same complaint.) Well, apparently, they got sick of trying to smoothe things over, and just threw caution to the wind and held to their views. And the country stations are refusing to play their new single (which is, unquestionably, a pretty strongly worded criticism of the way they have been characterized), and everyone seems to hate them all over again.

I guess what bugs me the most about the whole Dixie Chicks thing is that I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion. And, in a country where there are really only two parties to choose from, and there's a pretty even number of people who vote for each of those parties, I have a hard time believing that it's even remotely fair to think of everyone on the other side as being totally stupid, even if I disagree with them. I'm not sure I wholly agree with the way the Dixie Chicks are going about expressing their opinions (refusing to appear on the View was a bit of a low blow, although I don't blame them - I hate that show myself), but I agree even less with the response they are getting from the community that once supported them. I haven't heard the new single yet, so I don't know if I will even like it, but I am tempted to buy the album just on principle. Or at least go and buy the "Goodbye Earl" single. I love that song.

So maybe I was already a little bit riled up when I came across this Washington Post article about new federal guidelines that ask all potentially fertile women to treat themselves as "pre-pregnant".

Among other things, this means all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control.

Now, before you lump me into one category or another, let me first start off by saying that I am opposed to abortion in most cases. But my reason for being opposed to abortion is that I think we should take sex a whole lot more seriously than we do as a culture, and I believe that we should be held responsible for the consequences of our actions, and if even the best birth control is only 99% effective, then no one should have sex who is not willing and able to deal with the statistically significant 1% chance that they will become pregnant. (I often say, "I am pro-choice, you chose to have sex.")

That said, I absolutely HATE the mindset that women are nothing more than walking wombs. I am opposed to abortion because I believe that women have a choice to have sex or not, and I believe that as human beings, they are capable of dealing with whatever consequences that choice might have. I am not opposed to abortion because I think that the baby's life is more valuable than the mother's and that it must be protected at any cost to her. (As an aside, I find it fascinating that so many people who are opposed to abortion are in favour of the death penalty, because really, they are both based on the same premise: that it is okay to take one life for the benefit of another.)

But this article goes too far. Is it not enough that the images of supermodels on every magazine tell me I am fat and ugly? Is it not enough that I feel guilty every time I reach for seconds because I probably could stand to lose a few pounds? Is it not enough that every doctor and naturopath and dietician and well-meaning friend has a different recipe for health and success, many of which contradict one another? I might be carrying around an extra few pounds, but I've read that those pounds could actually give me a better pregnancy. Whose formula for health is the government going to apply? (Almost definitely an allopathic formula; this country loves its drugs.)

And what about men? Half a fetus is made from sperm, shouldn't we prevent them from engaging in any activities that might possibly damage their sperm? And shouldn't we also sterilize everyone with genetic diseases so they can't pass them down to their children?

The article cites high infant mortality as one of the reasons for these guidelines. America has one of the highest rates of infant mortality among industrialized nations. It's also one of the few without some measure of socialized medicine. Perhaps we might start there as a solution, rather than regulating everything I am allowed to eat and do for 40 years of my adult life? Or maybe, just maybe, we could educate women a little bit better about sex as an emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually unifying experience that ought not to be entered into lightly? I was a virgin for 23 years and NOT ONCE, either before or after, have I ever felt like I was missing out on something. In fact, I think my marriage is better in so many ways because we treated sex as part of its sacred bond.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Did You Miss Me?

I just got back from the airport, where I said goodbye to Sarah after spending a fantastic five days gallavanting about with a girlfriend for the second time in two weeks. I wish I could bookmark this page of my life and come back when it's normal and boring again. I guess that's what journals are for, eh?

I'm leaning towards not giving a full-on detailed breakdown of what we did on our travels. Thursday and Friday were spent in New York City, Saturday at the Jersey shore, Sunday relaxing and visiting with family, and today visiting a few of the famous Philadelphia landmarks. There, consider yourself informed. I did keep a notebook log of all the various things we did on our travels, but re-typing that list would make for a very boring entry. Not that this entry is really much better, but at least it includes sentences and punctuation. (Because we all know that punctuation is the number one criterion for good bloggery. ?[.;??.}.,":!, See? Now this post is awesome!)

I'm going to make an effort to update my 100 words blog with some verbal snapshots of things we did in NYC. It was my first visit to New York, and I feel like I have enough observations to fill a book. There would be normal touristy observations, like how Times Square is so unbelievably bright that midnight feels like midday, and how the subways all smell like urine, and how the Statue of Liberty somehow makes even a Canadian feel a surge of patriotism. Then there would be the more experience-specific observations, like how it pays to know someone in New York, because maybe the best Thai food is in Queens, and how if you're at the top of the Empire State Building when there is zero visibility you can still tell in which direction New Jersey lies because the fog over there is yellow, and how it doesn't pay to listen to internet rumours because U2 isn't really playing at the Apple Store Opening, and how your tourist dollars really are best invested in food.

I bought a cheap, pink "I Love NY" t-shirt and had a wonderful time. Oh yeah, and we watched Sam Rockwell filming a movie in Central Park. Oh yeah, and it turns out there is a Chinatown bus that travels between Philly and NYC for only $20 round trip, so that was a nice money saver!

If you have ever had the misfortune of being in the same room as me when I return from vacation, you'll know that I have an amazing knack for rambling on and on and on. So before I add on any more "Oh yeah"s, I'm going to sign off. Goodnight!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My Diary

(Aside: Apparently, Blogger does not have an autosave feature. I'm sure this post was better the first time around, but I have an uncanny knack for making Firefox crash.)

Every time I visit my mom's house, I go through the drawers of my old dresser. They are filled with all manner of things from camp t-shirts to ten-year-old souvenir lollipops, and for some reason, I usually seem to decide to just leave them there until my next visit, rather than taking them home or just throwing them out. Maybe it's because my dad once told me, after I forgot a toy or something at Grandma's house, that we always leave something behind in places we want to return to, so that we'll always have an excuse to go back. Or maybe I'm just too sentimental to throw out the poems that Kris wrote for me and the ring that he gave me, even though that chapter of my life is finished and I don't really want them in my own home.

But, after passing over my diary during ten years worth of visits to my mom's house, I finally brought it home with me this time. It's been fun reading back through some of the things I wrote. It amazes me how quickly I can get back inside my ten-year-old head, and remember vividly thinking and feeling the things that I wrote. It also amazes me how little I remember thinking and feeling some of the other things I wrote.

My diary is one of those little, padded, white books, with an easily breakable lock and a yellow butterfly on the front. I have filled every available white space on the cover with hand-written warnings, including my two favourites: "The butterfly is watching you!" and "Not to be used for book reports." It also has the words "Five Year Diary" printed on the front, but I have scribbled out the "Five" and replaced it with a "2" because it turned out to be the worst design for a diary ever. At the top of each page is the date, below which the page is divided into five sections of four lines, each beginning with a little "19__" so that the writer can indicate in which year that entry was written. Even as a ten-year-old, four lines was never enough for me. Most of my entries spilled over at least a few words onto the next line, which I would carefully draw around to indicate that they belonged to the previous entry, and at some point, I just gave up and started writing as much as I wanted, ignoring the pre-printed dates. For my tenth birthday, I got a blank, bound notebook that I used as my diary off and on over the next few years. For some reason, the binding is gone, but I have all the pages that I apparently tore out at some point. After that, my diary degraded into writing in various spiral notebooks, and never very consistently. It would be nice to have a more complete journal history of my life, but I'm grateful for what I've got.

I wonder what my ten-year-old self would say if she knew I was posting her private thoughts on the internet?

Excerpts from My Diary: Volume One

January 1, 1988
Today I threw a snowball at Danny & I'm afraid that He thinks I like him and I've lost all hope of getting Sheldon to like me.

March 25, 1988
Today there was no school and I don't think I'll write any more about boys because later on I'll regret it. I'll decide who I really love when I'm 16.

April 6, 1988
In my books I broke a world record for reading. I read a full Nancy Drew book with 25 chapters in about 3 hours and 45 minutes!!!!

April 7, 1988
Jenny claims she could read a Nancy Drew book in 30 minutes. I don't believe her. We wen't to Jeff and Laurie's today for pizza.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Back to Life

I was going to apologize for the length of my last post, but one of the blogs on my blogroll accumulated 40 posts during the five days that I was away, so I have decided that one long post isn't so bad after all.

It's been a busy readjustment to being home. Saturday I had to open the store, and then I went on a training course to be an official "learning coach", which means I get to train new hires. It's kindof like a promotion, but one that doesn't come with any extra pay. I'm really flattered, though, because I think of all the people in the class, I had been with the company for the shortest amount of time, and I actually really enjoy training new people, so it's all good.

After church Sunday morning, I came home and made crepes for 25 people. They turned out really well, and everyone loved them, so that was good. Have I mentioned how much I like having an extended family nearby who get together at least once a month for birthdays and holidays? Really? I have? Well, it's great. It'll be even greater when I have kids of my own to bring to these events and all the aunts and uncles and cousins can hold them for me and gush over them. (Oh come on, did you seriously think I could visit two pregnant friends and twin babies and not come back wanting one of my own?)

Then, I worked Sunday night, in order to make up some of the hours from the five days I took off. I also will be working the next two days to make up for the time I am taking off while Sarah is visiting this week. She arrives Wednesday night, and I am so excited!

But I think I need to recover a bit before she arrives. I woke up with a sore throat on Friday that has since crept into my sinuses and I am all lovely and congested today. So I'm taking it easy until I have to go to work at 5:00; I slept in and I might even take a bath. If only I can drag myself away from my computer...

You know, I never really got into soap operas, but I think I get it now. One day, I was reading my blogs and there was something else I needed to do, and I distinctly remember telling myself I would do it after my stories. My Stories. Like a middle-aged housewife who won't vacuum until "Days of our Lives" is over, I am deeply involved in the lives of people I don't know. Except it's better, I tell myself, because these are real people, but that just brings us to reality TV, and I don't want to go there. I think the real difference is that I have a soap opera blog of my own, so I have to live my life, at least a little, in order to get some content. And with that, I'm off to take a bubble bath. If it's an interesting bubble bath, maybe I'll come back and blog about it.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Ottawa Tulip and Baby Tour 2006

DISCLAIMER: All of the pictures I took on this trip are currently being stored in little plastic rolls until they get made into real, paper pictures. Full credit for all of the pictures appearing in this post must be given to Rachel, who, unlike me, has a functional digital camera and does not appear in any of these pictures, since she was hiding behind the viewfinder the whole time.

Monday, 8:45 am
I answered the door in my towel because Rachel was ready to go, but I was not. I quickly got dressed and we folded the load of laundry that I had decided to wash on Sunday night. I finished packing and we hit the road at about 9:15.

5:30 pm
After an extremely beautiful drive through Pennsylvania, New York, and a bit of Ontario, we arrived at my mom's house in Ottawa. She wasn't expecting us until 6:00, so dinner was not quite ready yet. We decided to stretch our legs and took a walk around the storm pond.

7:30 pm
We drove over to the experimental farms to see what sort of beautiful flowers they had at the ornamental gardens. The answer was: very few. It was a really nice evening to walk around, though, and we did photograph a few interesting plants.
We went home, and I called four friends that I was hoping to see while I was in Ottawa, and left messages for each of them, because apparently, no one is home on Monday nights. We played a game of Quiddler with my mom, then headed to bed.

Tuesday, 9:00 am
While eating breakfast, we received a phone call from Jenn and Rob. It turned out that we were all planning on taking walks in tulip-infested areas that morning, so we made plans to meet them at the church and walk together to Dow's Lake and Commissioner's Park, which has the highest concentration of tulips in Ottawa.
Interesting fact: Ottawa has the largest tulip festival in the world. During WWII, the Dutch royal family were harbouring in Ottawa when it came time for the Princess to be born. Canada temporarily gave the hospital room to Holland so that the Princess would be born on Dutch soil. Out of gratitude for this, and for liberating them during WWII, Holland sends Canada a bunch of tulip bulbs every year. There is something like a million tulips at the tulip festival in Ottawa.
We took lots of pictures of tulips. Here is a picture of Jenn and I taking pictures of tulips. Jenn's belly is attacking me, because she is 39 weeks and 6 days pregnant.
Jenn and Jule Ann photographing tulips

1:00 pm
Jenn and Rob suggested that we go back to their place for home-made BBQ chicken and sundried tomato pizza, which sounded much more appetizing than the cold-cut sandwiches that were sweltering in our car, so we did just that. We spent a really nice afternoon chatting with them about their life in India and pregnancy and why I dropped out of seminary. It was really nice catching up.

4:00 pm
Rachel and I decided to make the most of a road trip without husbands and do something that generally bores them: shop for second-hand clothes. I wanted to get a few new tank tops for the summer, because I have mostly outgrown my "tight little spaghetti strap tops" phase and need more of the "practical, wide straps that fit over my bra straps" variety of tank top. I found four wide-strap tops that I loved for $2 each, plus two really comfortable built-in bra tops for $6 each and a Tim Horton's little league shirt for $2. A wonderfully successful trip. Although I was disappointed when $100 US, which used to buy me $150 Cdn, only bought $108. Poop on that.

6:00 pm
Rachel and I chopped up veggies for a stir fry. I burned the onions, though, because I got a phone call at the exact same time that I remembered that I had forgotten to cut up the chicken for the stir fry, and while I might be okay at multi-tasking two things, I generally fail at one when I try three. The phone call, however, was successful, as we were able to make plans to go over to Geoff and Marg's after dinner for dessert. My mom even made us a tasty rhubarb cobbler to take with us so we wouldn't have to stop and buy dessert.

8:00 pm
We met Geoff and Marg outside as they are returning from their walk with the girls. We had a really lovely evening visiting with them and holding their babies. Geoff and Marg have twin girls who are five months old. I had my camera with me, but I didn't have my flash, and I forgot to tell Rachel to take pictures of them with her digital. So you'll have to use your imagination. Just picture the most adorable little five-month-old you have ever seen, and the proudest, most glowing parent, then times them both by two.

Wednesday, 9:30 am
We received a phone call from Katie, asking us what our plans were for the day. We decided to meet up at the War Memorial and walk down to Parliament Hill. It was another incredibly beautiful day, and I actually broke out one of my new tank tops and a pair of shorts. Ironically, I think I have returned from my trip to Canada with a tan. Take that, Hawaii.
We met up with Katie, who is about 7 1/2 months pregnant, and another friend, Peter, and spent a beautiful day walking around downtown Ottawa. Our tour of Parliament was a bit of a flop, as it included a Library that we couldn't enter due to renovations, a House of Commons that we couldn't enter due to a high-publicity budget vote, and a Senate that we couldn't enter due to afternoon nap time. We did get to go up to the top of the Peace Tower, and Rachel took some fantastic pictures from up there. This one is my favourite, because you can see the shiny, new roof to the Library and the Museum of Civilization across the river in Quebec.
Library of Parliament
After the "tour" of Parliament, we headed to the market. On the way, we visited the statues of the feminists from the famous "Persons" case, which established that the constitution does, indeed, include women in the seemingly gender-inclusive term, "persons".
Jule Ann, Katie, and a feminist
We also wandered quite a bit in the market, where I bought a replacement for my canvas purse that the strap fell off of, and we acquired many maple products. Then, we went back to Katie's house to rest and rehydrate before walking, again, amongst beautiful tulips along the canal. Peter loaned me his macro lens for a little while, so I had a lot of fun trying to get close-ups of lilacs and apple blossoms.
You wish you lived in a city where scenes like this are only minutes from downtown:
More tulips

6:00 pm
We picked my brother up from work and headed back to my mom's house for dinner. (My sister-in-law met us there.) We had bought some fiddleheads in the market, because Rachel had never tried them before, so we delayed dinner a little bit by making everyone wait for us to cook them. It took a long time, but they were worth it. So yummy.
After dinner, we played a game of Hoopla, then drove Trish and Benjie home.

10:30 pm
It was lovely to see Katie, but I felt a little bit bad that I had missed out on seeing her husband Mike, who unfortunately had to be at work during our tour of not much of Parliament and a fair bit of the market. But, Katie had told us that he would be playing at Open Mike night at Rasputin's that evening, which is only a few minutes away from my brother's house, so we swung by to see if we could catch him there. Sadly, he had already left before we got there, but we did enjoy a few songs before heading back home to bed. I mean, before heading back home to watch the episode of Lost that we had recorded earlier before trying to go to bed but staying up like kids at a slumber party talking non-stop about Lost instead of falling asleep.

Thursday, 10:00 am
We decided to take Thursday easy, because we had been keeping so busy up until then. A friend who lives a little ways outside of the city had been keeping three bikes of mine that really probably aren't worth saving but could at least work with a little fixing up. We had borrowed a bike rack from Jer's aunt, but decided that we should probably get a bike lock, too, so that no one would steal the broken-down-crappy bikes. I finally decided that the $16 lock was enough better than the $8 lock to be worth the extra money, only to discover at the cash register that it was actually on sale for $8. So that was cool. We got the bikes, then headed back into town to do more of that shopping that our husbands don't like to tag along for: buying Cadbury's candy bars at Giant Tiger and all sorts of random, boring-to-husbands things at the Bulk Barn.

4:00 pm
We met my mom at the church so that we could take her out for Indian food as a Birthday/Mother's Day gift. We got to the restaurant 30 minutes before it would open for dinner, but fortunately, it is in a neighbourhood full of neat, little shops that occupied our time with no trouble whatsoever. Dinner was wonderful, although the beef curry was a bit too spicy for my mom (it was on the outer edge of okay for me, even), but the nice waiter got them to make gulab jamun for us without rose water, so that alone gives the dinner a thumbs-up. Call me crazy, but I just don't like my food to taste like perfume. But man, do I love those little syrupy balls otherwise.

6:15 pm
We decided that it was getting too late to go to the Art Gallery, so we were going to just go home. But my mum was appalled to discover that I had not taken Rachel to see the Prime Minister's residence or Rideau Hall (the Governor General's residence). So we did a bit of a driving tour of Ottawa. We stopped at Rideau falls, and were disappointed to be prevented from getting anywhere near them by 100,000 metres of construction-grade chainlink. But, after giving up and starting for home, we discovered that there were no fences on the opposite side of the locks, so we were able to see the falls after all.
Here is a picture of me and my mum in front of the French embassy:
Jule Ann and her mum

8:00 pm
We met up with Elf and Anna, two friends from my Bible Study from last year, at Second Cup. We chatted for a while, then headed home to try and get some sleep before our long drive the next day. We went home and looked at some of my mom's pictures of Australia until I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore, then went to bed.

Friday, 7:45 am
The alarm went off.

8:20 am
I actually got up and started getting ready to go. We packed up all our stuff and loaded it in the back seat of the car, since we couldn't really get into the trunk under all those bikes. I foolishly placed my bag of chocolate bars on the floor of the back seat, next to the center hump that gets nice and hot when the engine gets warm. They are currently re-congealing in the fridge - I hope at least a few of them are still okay :(
Before we left, Rhonda, a friend of my mom's, arrived to whisk her away for a surprise weekend. I hope I have friends like Rhonda when I'm my mom's age. They have such a great time together.

9:15 am
We left Ottawa in the pouring rain, the first bad weather we had encountered since we had arrived. It cleared up around Syracuse, but it slowed us down a bit for the first leg of the journey. The astute border guard counted three bikes and only two passengers, but he he didn't seem too concerned once I told him that one belonged to my husband. We really had no trouble at the border either way, which was a blessing. We arrived home at 6:00 on the nose, and were greeted by the smell of hamburgers and corn-on-the-cob cooking for dinner. And now, I really should get to bed, because I need to be at the store in less than eight hours for work. Whee.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Things that are good for the soul:

1. Long walks in the sunshine past beautiful beds of tulips.
2. Catching up with old friends.
3. Holding a baby until she falls asleep in your arms.
4. My mom's rhubard cobbler.

Today was good for my soul.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


For those of you who were worried that I have been in a deep depressive funk since Tuesday because of the pressure washer incident, please know that I am fine. If I have enough of my sense of humour left to make a flailing attempt at parodying Hebrew poetry about such an event, then I have enough of my sense of humour left to get over it pretty quickly. Really, I've just been busy.

Wednesday night I didn't have to work at the store, so I celebrated not having to work at two jobs back-to-back by sitting on my butt and not doing anything productive. Well, we watched Lost, which could count as productive. It was definitely an eventful episode. Craziness, I tell you. I don't think Libby's dead, though. They can't kill off a character without giving us any of her back story other than a split second of her at Hurley's hospital! I think she'll be gone when the next episode starts, and Henry will have taken her back to the Others or something.

Thursday I worked two jobs back-to-back again. I think I'm starting to get the hang of this teaching thing. I was too much of a pushover the first couple of days, but I'm getting better at being firm but still cool. I really made an impression on one of the kids who was playing his guitar when I asked him to stop playing Weezer and put the guitar away.
"How do YOU know Weezer?"
"Are you kidding? That album came out when I was a teenager and you weren't even born. You're playing MY music."

Friday, I worked at the store from 11:30 am to 7:30 pm, and that pretty much ate my day. I guess it was early enough to go out and do something Friday night, but I couldn't seem to rope anyone into doing something. I could have updated my blog Friday night, I guess. But I didn't.

Saturday morning, I woke up in a bad mood. I was trying to figure out how to get a Pennsylvania driver's license, but according to all of the paperwork I found, they require proof of residence that we don't have. The house is not in our names, none of the utilities are in our names, and we haven't been here long enough to get tax returns yet. But, I decided that I could write up a residency agreement of some sort to establish that we have permission from the homeowners to reside at this address, and that cheered me up for a bit. Until I went upstairs to get the in-laws to sign it and remembered that they had gone to a flea market for the day. So I went back to bed.

I went in to work in the afternoon, and that cheered me up. I had a good shift, even though it was really busy. I had invited some people over to hang out after work, but one of them had backed out and I hadn't heard from the others, so I just assumed no one was coming. So I waffled around at the store for a bit after work, and finally got home about 30 minutes late. I got home and discovered that everyone I had invited had ended up coming over, so that was a nice surprise. We had a nice time hanging out, and caught a late showing of Mission: Impossible III. I'm not hyperlinking it, because it was only meh. It was a good evening though, and good times with friends.

Today, after church, we headed to Chestnut Hill for a big street fair festival thingy. It was a blast. We saw a bunch of people from church, because one of our friends had a booth where she was selling some of her photography. Note to self: get some matting for my photos, it looks so much more professional that way. We had a blast, and I took a bunch of pictures, but I can't share any of them because they are all on my film camera, which has a backlog of about 6 rolls of film to be developed whenever I actually have spendable money to develop them with. It was a really fun day, and my legs are tired from the walking. I think I might need a Sunday nap. It is the day of rest, right?

The highlight of the day was one vendor who was selling really neat copper sprinklers (similar to these). I tried to take some pictures, but I'm sure they won't come out because the background will be too busy, even with my focal length set as short as I possibly could get it. I started to cry when I saw them, because all I could think of was how much my father would have loved them, and how much I wanted to take some pictures to show him so he could make one for himself, awkwardly and uniquely, using materials scrounged from a dumpster. Maybe I'm just hormonal, though, because I cried this morning on the way to church because my in-laws made the beef stew without me, so I didn't get to use my mom's recipe and I didn't get to make dumplings. Yup, I'm gonna go with hormones.

When I was in my church youth group, we watched this movie called Hell's Bells, which was all about how rock and roll is EVIL and when you play songs like Stairway to Heaven backwards they tell you to WORSHIP THE DEVIL! I was 12 when I saw the movie, and I don't recall being appalled either by the evilness of rock music or by the movie's journalistic weaknesses. I do recall thinking it was pretty cool that you could play music backwards, and I decided that I wanted to get a machine one day that would let me do that. Now that I have such a machine, I will confess that I have not used my computer to search for hidden messages in rock songs. But some people have. In fact, this one guy spent three months memorizing Stairway to Heaven's unique backwards sound, then filmed himself singing it backwards in a public place. When he got home, he flipped the video back around the "right way" and set it to the karaoke track of the song. The video is simply incredible, and the mystified looks from the backwards-walking pedestrians are priceless. I can only imagine what a bizarre sight it must have been to see a guy rocking out in backwards talk in front of his camcorder. Link

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A Poem for Tuesday

If I had been unable to open the outdoor water spigot to plug in the pressure washer,
it would have been enough.
If I had been unable to open the outdoor water spigot to plug in the pressure washer, but been able to plug the machine in next to the indoor spigot,
it would have been enough.
If I had not been able to plug the machine in next to the indoor spigot, but been able to at least plug it in on the same side of the building,
it would have been enough.
If I had been forced to run garden hose all the way around two sides of the building to reach the electrical outlet, but the outlet had actually worked,
it would have been enough.
If the outlet hadn't worked, but the machine had turned on after finding a second outlet, back indoors through a different door,
it would have been enough.
If the machine had refused to turn on after I found a second outlet, back indoors through a different door, but the hose I had ineffectually attached to the indoor sink had not come loose and caused a minor flood,
it would have been enough.
If the hose that I had ineffectually attached to the indoor sink had come loose and caused a minor flood, but the pressure washer actually had decent pressure once I finally got it working,
it would have been enough.
If the pressure washer had performed poorly once I finally got it working, but I had been able to complete the job initially got the pressure washer out for,
it would have been enough,
If I had been unable to complete the job I initially got the pressure washer out for, but had not sliced a huge gash into my right index finger later on in the evening,
it would have been enough.
If I had sliced a huge gash in my right index finger that bled through two band-aids, but did not already have a painful hangnail on the second finger of my right hand,
it would have been enough.
If I was typing this almost exclusively with my ring finger because the other ones hurt too much, but I didn't have to wake up early tomorrow,
it would be enough.
For all of these, alone and together, I say,

Monday, May 01, 2006

Oops, did I mention religion?

I'm glad to see people commenting and interacting, but I think I am spent for the time being. I didn't think I would be able to put my finger on why, but I think it's basically because I just don't like seeing people upset. Especially when I know that if we were all in the same room together having a real-life conversation, we could disagree, blow off steam, and still leave on friendly terms. Disagreeing is much easier to do on the internet than leaving friendly.

A few directed comments before moving on:
1. Yes, you did go to the same school.
2. I have an answer to your question about how to not be a goat, and I'm content with it, but I didn't reply because I wanted a rest from the debate.

An extra-special welcome to the new readers who have come during the last few days in which I waxed theological. I hope you still like me when I'm boring again.

So, I got a phone call today asking if I could come in to work a few hours early because someone had called in sick. So I ended up working from 2-10:30 at the store tonight. It was a really good shift, and I was given a cool little award because my shift leader thought I did a good job training the new girl on the espresso bar. This made me feel very good; I thrive on positive reinforcement.

I also got a call today from the school where I sub asking me if I could work Tuesday through Friday this week. Unfortunately, I had already told a co-worker I would work her Friday shift for her, but I said I would do Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday at the school.

I can't believe how good this timing is, though, because I am going on a road trip to Ottawa with Rachel next Monday, and I was a little worried about the lost income from asking for five days in a row off, but here I have picked up basically five extra shifts this week to make up for it. So thanks, God, for that. Oh, and the day I get back from my vacation, I will be going to a Starbucks "learning coach" class, which I am really looking forward to, because I would then be an "official" trainer and get to do more of what I did today.

We'll see how happy about this I am after working a double tomorrow on the limited amount of sleep that I am going to be able to get tonight. It's already almost midnight, and 6:30 am will come very early at this rate. But I'm practically nocturnal, lately, working almost exclusively closing shifts at the store and not getting up until almost noon most days. Ironically, the reason I am working evening shifts is so that I will be free during the day to sub at school!

"Who needs sleep? Be happy with what you're getting, there's a guy who's been awake since the Second World War."