Friday, December 30, 2005

Stef's Annual Christmas Update Letter

For those of you who have received this by email, my apologies for repeating myself. For those of you I forgot to email, my apologies, but here it is now.

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Hey everybody,

Oops - Christmas seems to have come and gone before I had the chance to send this out. Anyway, hope you've all had a successful year and are all healthy. Ready for the annual update? It's been a busy year for me; I hope you're sitting comfortably.

Christmas last year was a little different for the Titcombe Family. Little Darcy (my niece) made her first visit to Montreal over the Christmas holidays. It was quite a different atmosphere with a baby around. I'm looking forward to Christmas dinner at my parents this year, just to see how Darcy will react to all the people, presents and food!

As many of you will already know, in February I spent 2 weeks in Panama volunteering at a girls' orphanage and a seniors' residence, both run by the Salvation Army. It was a most enriching experience and I look to repeat it in 2007. If you're interested in looking at some of the pictures, have a look my flickr site.

In March I was able to join my group at work for the annual ski weekend. With a little arm twisting, I was able to bring a friend with me and we had a fabulous time at the spa. Nothing like a spa day complete with massage to make a girl feel great!

At the beginning of July, Nick, Sue & Darcy spent a week in Montreal. I noticed a huge change in Darcy from December to July. I also took a whole bunch of pictures.

In July and August I spent three weeks in Europe. First a week in England, visiting with my pen-friend Jilly and her family. What a riot that was! Her 3 girls are all growing so fast and are lots of fun to be with. Jilly and I managed to do some serious damage at the shops in Liverpool!! From England I flew to Switzerland and spent a week with Yvette and her family at a farm in the Emmental Valley. We experienced all kinds of new things – milking goats, the stench of pigs, treks up mountain sides and swimming in the river. I don't know who had more fun – her kids or me! It was great to spend such quality time with Yvette, Andy, Kolina & Dylan. After that I spent a few days with my Grandmaman in Vevey, an aunt in Bern, a cousin in Basel and finally back to Zurich for a few days before heading home again. Three weeks passed far too quickly…

September saw me on a road trip with my parents to Windsor for a visit with Nick, Sue & Darcy (starting to sound like we see an awful lot of each other). We spent a long weekend at their place and lots of time spoiling precious little Darcy. Oh yeah, and taking more pictures!

Suddenly fall was here and to provide a little pre-Christmas cheer, I got a group of women at work involved with providing some Christmas presents for the young girls in Panama that I met in February. Keith, our fearless and ever patient organizer from February's trip, made a quick trip down to Panama with hockey bags full of goodies. Lots of pictures were taken and I'm glad I was able to help out a little.

And there you have it! Lots more has happened too, but those are the highlights. If you want to catch up with me during the year, check out my blog. Plenty of ranting and raving going on there.

Thanks very much for all your cards and pictures of you and your kids - but I have to admit it kind of freaks me out that so many of my friends have children now! Please keep in touch. I always love to hear from those of you I haven't seen in ages and also those I do see more often. Wishing you and your families the best energy, health and successes for 2006.

Much love,

Stef

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Happy Anniversary, Yvette & Andy!

Happy Anniversary to Yvette & Andy! 15 years ago today ... remember the snow?! I also remember having a little cry during the ceremony. It was a small wedding, but it was cozy and loving.

15 years, 2 kids - how does it feel?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Post Christmas, Pre-New Year

It's now a couple of days after Christmas and still a couple of days before the New Year. Have you had enough yet? I have. Enough food, enough drink, enough days off. Believe it or not, but I was glad to have a purpose when I got up this morning. Getting myself to work was (oh I know I'm going to hear about this ...) a pleasure.

Anyway, for those of you that I've seen, heard from or talked to - thanks for your thoughtful cards, pictures and letters, the food we shared, the time we were able to spend together or the time we spent chatting. I wish I could see more of you, but distance seems to play a huge factor in so many of our lives. Thank goodness for the internet, right?!

For the record, I'll have my annual update letter available here soon.

Oh yeah, and here are a few pictures of Christmas at the Titcombe's, featuring Darcy!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

New career?

Came in to the office early this morning (well, my usual 8am) and dropped off nearly 20 cookie bags on the desks of my team and some friends. They seem to be quite the hit and much appreciated. It's funny how different people have different tastes and therefore, a different favourite cookie. A couple of people have even asked if I'd be willing to take orders for next year!

Wonder if this is the beginning of a new career? Naahhh ...

Oh, what a good Auntie I am

In Monday's mail I received a nice family Christmas picture from my brother. Also included was the most adorable wallet-sized picture of my niece, Darcy. So adorable a picture that, believe it or not, I promptly pulled out my wallet and placed it inside.

But wait - it gets better! Yesterday at lunchtime, I pulled out my wallet and proudly passed the picture around to my friends at the table. They (I'll admit it) were shocked that I had a picture of a baby in my wallet. I told them it was a first for me. We all had a good laugh and then they declared that I was finally becoming a real Auntie, pictures in the wallet and all.

PS - I can't wait to see my little niece! They'll be here on Saturday!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Tweedle Dee Dictionary, Part 15

Boobonnière/Bombonnière: candy filled pouches generally given out at weddings, i.e. bonbonnière

My face on this one must've been priceless. I asked Tweedle Dee "boob-what"?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Tummy Trouble

'Tis the season for upset stomachs. This weekend was a little much for me. Too many meals out, too much rich food all equals a wobbly stomach.

Friday I didn't eat at home. All three meals were eaten out of the house and I ate of a bunch of foods I don't usually eat in one sitting, let alone one day.

Breakfast: fruit salad, mini croissant, scrambled eggs.

Lunch: shrimp, smoked salmon, egg salad wraps, tomato and cucumber salad, cold pizza, raw veggies with dip, cake.

Dinner: More egg salad wraps, more tomato and cucumber salad, chips, more raw veggies with dip, a chocolate.

Saturday I had dinner at our firm's Holiday Party: sushi and smoked salmon, cream of mushroom soup, grapefruit granité, mahi mahi with sauce, mashed potatoes and steamed veggies, mousse cake, coffee.

Sunday night I had a tomato and mushroom pizza with a friend after being all cultural and going to see The Nutcracker in the afternoon.

Monday: my stomach let me know that it can take no more meals out, fast food or other such junk. I'm back on the plain cereal for breakfast and the plate of salad for lunch with a few fruit for snacks. Tonight will be a little soup with a piece of toast and some tea. I'm hurtin'.

Recipes

As requested

For Sue: Cranberry Noels, originally I had seen Martha make them on her show. I lost her recipe but found what I believe to be the exact same recipe online. I've used it for several years now.

I can't seem to find my recipe for the almond bark/brittle. I'll have to give my recipe books a thorough search.

For Nick: Bruti ma Buoni (aka the Toblerone cookies). Not the real Italian Brutti ma Buoni cookies, but a Canadian Living version. Anyone I've ever given this cookie to has been in awe of it. One of my favourites.

Let me know if there's anything else.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Me and my big mouth

So here's the story. Tomorrow we're having a floor-wide party at work. Those of us that have decided to participate in the festivities have been separated into groups. Each group has to bring one dessert which will serve 12-15 people.

Being the organized person I am, I sent out an email to the people in this group of mine (who by the way, are all professional staff earning about a million times more than me) asking if anyone would volunteer to buy or prepare a dessert. No response. I waited until the end of the day, and then bit the bullet and sent a reminder with an offer to prepare something myself if I didn't hear anything from the group by the end of the day Thursday (which is today). Well, in about 5 minutes, I had responses from all of them saying "Thanks, please take care of this!".

What the hell was I thinking? Like I haven't done enough baking this year? Like I have time to make a cake tonight? (I'm going to a yoga class after work.) Why did I offer to bake something? Why didn't I just say I'd buy something and the team could pay me for it? WHY??? I've obviously got something wrong with me. Sheesh.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Christmas Baking

So far I've got 9 kinds of cookies (ok, well, 2 of them are chocolate barks) ready for Christmas. It was a bit of a push last weekend to get so much done, but I'm glad I did. Now there are just a couple more to do and then I can start putting the cookie bags together.

Hope you're all ready to gorge yourselves.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tweedle Dee Dictionary, Part 14

Maybe I'm just hanging out with the wrong crowd, but here's an expression I have never heard used before.

"Please note that I will be leaving the office at 4:30 today to do a few messages."

Messages? Do you do messages? Don't you run errands? What do you think?

Winter has Arrived

It's not December 21 yet, but for all intents and purposes, winter has arrived. At least in Montreal. The sidewalks are half covered in ice and it is treacherous walking. Oh joy.

How much longer until spring?

GazMet

Last night I opened my front door and was greeted with the overwhelming stench of gas. Not just someone farted kind of gas. I'm talking scare the crap out of you because you think your house is about to blow up kind of gas. Before I even had my coat and boots off, I had my head in my cupboard over by my water tank sourcing the smell. I was sure it was coming from the drain. (I was right, but I'll get to that in a minute.)

Next I placed four frantic phone calls. First to my parents (no answer), second to my Dad's cell (no answer), third to my Mom's cell (no answer) and finally to my brother, Eric - who answered! I was so happy to speak to a person! Unfortunately, he doesn't know much about gas leaks or plumbing so all he could tell me was to call Gaz Métropolitain. It was what I did eventually, but not before more frantic calls. Decided to call my parents again, this time leaving messages at all three numbers because there was still no answer. (Just where my parents were at 7pm on a Monday night is beyond me. Shouldn't they just be at home???)

Anyway, I knocked on my neighbour's door and asked her if she had any weird smells in her place. She didn't but offered to come and have a sniff at my place. She smelled the gas the minute the popped her head in. Luckily she is one of the people on the condo board, so had the keys to the "special" doors in our building. We then made a little tour of the building to see if we could smell gas coming from anywhere else. Nothing. Not a whiff. Then she told me that maybe one of the owners upstairs would know because she had a gas stove in her place. So, we knocked on her door and asked the question. Nada. But she did have the number to call in case you smell gas.

What happened next was nothing short of impressive. I called GazMet, they answered on the second ring, I spoke to the guy in English and he responded in flawless English (shock!) and within 30 seconds told me (a) that there had been a gas leak in the area late that afternoon and (b) he'd have someone at my place in about 30 minutes to check out the situation. 15 minutes later my doorbell buzzed and there was the most polite, patient (and dare I say good looking) GazMet guy. He spent the next hour testing for gas leaks in my place (thank goodness I keep a clean home!), throughout my building and outside my building. Finally, after testing with two kinds of machines, he agreed that the smell of gas was coming from the water drain behind the water tank and probably because the drain was dried up. He then showed exactly where the smell was coming from and explained why the drain dried up and even showed me how to put water in it to stop the smells from coming up. Within 5 minutes of him pouring a couple of litres of water down the drain, the smell was already dissipating. Then he told me to open the window and air the place out. I was embarrassed to tell him that I couldn't because the windows were frozen shut, but I did anyway and he ever so kindly asked if I wanted him to do it for me. I did. And he did.

The thing I'm so impressed about is that someone showed up so quickly, the guy knew what he was doing and he was polite. I was expecting some cranky old fart, to be rude and arrogant and pawn me off with a bunch of excuses. The service I got last night was the complete opposite.

My heartfelt thanks go out to M. Riendeau (GazMet guy) and whoever I spoke to on the phone last night. You were both awesome! While I didn't exactly sleep well last night (up every hour checking for smells), this morning there was still no smell and I will consider the problem solved. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Date 7 Report

Yesterday afternoon we were supposed to meet at this coffee shop close to the Atwater Market. Being the punctual person I am, I arrived about 10 minutes early (1:50pm), by the time 2:15 rolled around, I was starting to get pissed that this guy hadn't shown up yet. I checked my phone, called the voicemail service. Nothing. By 2:30 I was mad. Called his cell, no answer. Left a voicemail stating that I'd been at the meeting place since 2:00 and that if he wasn't there in the next 15 minutes, I'd be leaving. 2:45 - still no sign of this guy, still no call from him. So I left another message telling him that I was leaving. And I left. Oh yeah, and now it's Monday morning and there's no email from him either.

Analysis: 0/10

PS - In the unlikely event that he ever reads this - Daniel you're an ASS!!!

Date 6 Report

Don't freak out now. I'm still dating Guy #3, but am also still meeting other guys.

Saturday night, Guy #6 took me out for dinner. Yes, a Saturday night date! Now I'm a pretty independent kind of woman, but I'll admit, it was awfully nice to be treated to an enjoyable evening out. That is until mid-way through dinner he came out with a number of sexist and racist comments. Things could have gone quickly downhill from there, but I managed to steer the conversation onto more superficial matters. Also, forgive me - but there's something a little weird about a 45 year old living with his mother ...

Analysis: 2/10 - mostly because of the sexist/racist comments.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Tweedle Dee Dictionary - Question of the Week

This couldn't wait until next week. Here's a doozy for you.

Question: "Stephanie, you speak Mexican, right?"

Answer: "If you're asking 'do I speak Spanish', the answer is yes."

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Tweedle Dee Dictionary, Part 13

This week's entry is an expression used incorrectly, rather than a word.

Used of it. Example, "You’ve just got to get used of it". I believe the person means to say 'used to it'.

Monday, December 05, 2005

One too many Down Dog

Saturday I dropped in on a yoga class to try out the Joy of Yoga studio in the hope that it may be the place where I take a class this winter. It was a great class. Invigorating and energizing. Much more challenging than my regular Tuesday class at work. So much so that now, even two days later, I'm still feeling some muscles I never knew I had. Guess this is a sign I need to be a little more active ... I'm putting it down to one too many Down Dog.

I gotta to tell ya though - I came out of there with a smile on face T H I S big.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Off to the Races

Good luck to Sue, my sister-in-law, who is running her first 5k race this weekend in the Santa Shuffle.

The purpose of the Santa Shuffle is to raise money for the work of the Salvation Army at Christmas time.

At the same time, my brother Nick (who by the way, is also Sue's husband), will be running against his work colleagues in the quest for an iPod nano.

Good luck to both of you!

Date 3 Report - Update #3

This will be the final update on Guy #3. We went out for the third time last night. Things are progressing well, so I have decided not to discuss what happens between us on my blog anymore.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to Jilly & John. They're celebrating 15 years of marriage today! It seems impossible that so much time has passed.

Of course, it also seems impossible that Jilly and I have been pen-friends since we were 10, but there you go.

Congratulations!!!

Sunrise

The clouds were still tinged with pink from the rising sun this morning on my way in to work. It was beautiful.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Date 3 Report - Update #2

Guy #3 and I had our second date last night. We went out for drinks after work. Met at 6pm, left at 10pm. Sounds like a good time, right? And I did have a good time; lots of laughing and talking about all manner of things. But here's the thing - I'm not sure if he's really into me or not. It's hard to figure out. I can't say I felt any "vibes", you know. Hmm.

Tweedle Dee Dictionary, Part 12

Alphabeticalize: to arrange alphabetically, i.e. alphabetize

Monday, November 28, 2005

It's a Record!

I think this is an all time record for me - as of Saturday, my Christmas shopping is done and last night I wrapped everything. Now I can concentrate on baking many, many cookies.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Question of the Week

Question: "I wonder why they've never played here before?"

Answer:
"Uhh ... actually, they have. A bunch of times. I think the first time was 1985."

Talking of upcoming U2 concerts in Montreal on November 26 and 28, with ... guess who? Tweedle Dee, of course!

Happy Birthday, Why!

Happy Birthday to mybestestclosestfriend, Why!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Birthday, Rachel

Happy Birthday, Rachel!

She's 14 today! I could offer words of wisdom or advice, but really who wants to hear that when you're 14?! So - here's wishing you a great year and have fun!!!

Date 5 Report

Talk, talk, talk ... blah, blah, blah ...

It would've been nice if I hadn't been the only one asking questions last night. This guy seemed to be one of these people who, when asked a question, can talk for half an hour. He also laughed a little too long and a little too loud at his own jokes - most of which didn't make me laugh, they just made me groan.

To give him credit, he was on time, polite, well dressed, educated. Just not the guy for me. Oh well.

Analysis: 6/10.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Tweedle Dee Dictionary, Part 11

This week's entry isn't a single word, it's the use of a double superlative. Here are just a couple of examples: more funner, most funniest, most beautifulest.

I mean really ... it's funny when you know you're saying it wrong, but when you have to listen to a person say it who doesn't know the difference, it's like nails on a chalkboard. (And that little nervous tick starts up again.)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Date 3 Report - Update

Yes!!! Can you believe it? I'm going to see this guy again!

I did send him an email yesterday (and yes, I saw your comment, Why) and he wrote back asking me out for a "real" drink and a chance to get to know more about each other. He also said I was easy-going, fun to talk with and that I have pretty eyes (!). This so makes up for the terrible date I had yesterday.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Date 4 Report

Where to begin? I'm so friggin' mad right now, I can hardly think straight!!!

When I first talked to this guy a few nights ago, I wasn't too enthused after our conversation, but put it down to nerves (both his and mine). I had found him difficult to talk to and quite negative in a lot of his responses, but decided the only way to really decide was to meet him. So, we decided to meet this afternoon at a cafe of his choosing. Now, understand that when you meet someone at 1pm on a Sunday afternoon in a place that is more restaurant than cafe - there is going to be a crowd. I arrived a few minutes early and noticed a few people hanging around outside but didn't pay particular attention to see if one of these people was the guy I was meeting. Went inside, waited a few minutes for a table and sat down. This guys comes in about 5 minutes later and tells me that he saw me go in, but didn't stop me, even though he thought it was me. (Is it me, or is that ... well, stupid?) I'll tell you why I didn't recognize him. The picture I had of this guy was about 10 years old (again this happens!).

He sat down and had a look around. It suddenly dawns on him that everyone is having breakfast/lunch. We ordered our coffee. I got a bowl of fruit too because I hadn't eaten lunch yet. He started complaining that he wasn't used to coffee (why he didn't order tea from the 50 types they had, I don't know.)

Conversation got off to a slow start (now I am comparing him to the great date I had yesterday). And it didn't get any easier. Finally, I was starting to feel rather like a chatterbox and told him speak up, interrupt, take part in the conversation a little. Now, I could've said it mean and snarky, but I didn't - I was trying to funny about it. It didn't work. At all. He got a little upset. OK - my bad.

Then I started on another round of questions. I tried to talk about music - he wasn't interested. I tried to talk about books. He hadn't anything to say about them, except for The Merchant of Venice which he read in high school. I tried again. What were some of the most recent books he had read. Answer: Dan Brown's books (and he thought they were good).

I tried to talk to him about my experience volunteering in Panama last year and about the gifts I had recently helped collect for the girls. This didn't go over so well with him. He pretty much told me that I wasn't helping these kids by providing them with gifts simply to subscribe to the North American consumer attitude (or something like that), that the time I spent was more beneficial to them than any "gift". Maybe I shouldn't have taken it so personally, but I did. In fact, I was pretty insulted.

That's when I picked up my cheque and walked to the cash. Outside he asked if I wanted him to call me. (WHAT???) I said no. Total length of date: 40 minutes. I think this might be a new record for me.

Analysis: 2/10. Making me spitting mad on a first date is a guaranteed no call back.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Date 3 Report

I can hardly believe this happened only a few hours ago, but it's true. I had a good date. No, I had a pretty damn good date. No kidding.

It wasn't terribly awkward. It didn't seem forced. He was on time, polite, looked the same as his picture, didn't lie about his height. We spent nearly 2 hours over coffee, just chatting, laughing and getting a feel for each other. It was fun and enjoyable. I'm still quite shocked.

Analysis: 9/10. Feel I can't give a 10 because ... well, I suppose, because I'm hoping to see him again and want to feel like there's only one way to go - and that's up!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Sleep Workshop - Week 6

It's over. Last night was the last workshop. While I know it was helpful in certain aspects, in others it was simply not the environment for me.

In the end, it comes down to practice and consistency. Keeping these things on the top of my priority list will help. The things I have to work on are: keeping a regular sleep time and wake up time. This means every day, seven days a week. No matter if I'm taking a day off, it's the weekend or it's vacation. My body needs to know when it's going to go to sleep and when it's going to wake up. If my sleep efficiency is less than 90%, I must stay up 15 minutes longer. Next, I need to keep up with my sleep hygiene - less caffeine (and none after 3pm), give myself a specific time to worry (but not at bedtime), take an hour to relax before bed (practice breathing and relaxation exercises). Finally, change my thinking - I can get by on little sleep, one bad night won't be the worst thing to happen, be kind to myself.

After a follow-up visit with my sleep specialist 2 weeks ago, I have decided to go with her suggestion to get this oral appliance that will help to keep my airway open when I sleep. This is going to be expensive ($1800). Unfortunately it's not covered by my insurance so it looks like I'll be working the tax pool again this year... Oh well, not the worst thing to happen. And hey - it could be the combination (appliance and sleep hygiene) that finally helps me get the restorative sleep I need.

Guess what? I'm hopeful.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Blackmarket Naps

Yesterday afternoon was a tough one. Tough being that I couldn't take the nap I so desperately wanted. I'm telling you, if I could've bought a nap, I would've paid for it. I often kid around with the woman who sits behind me at work, about having naps at our desks in the afternoon (she's got 2-3, I've got 3-4). Well, yesterday I wanted to buy some of her nap time and she refused (the nerve!). I joked that I was in the blackmarket nap business. Later that night, I thought that maybe it's not such a crazy idea. I have heard of shopping centres and airports having areas where people can catch a few zzz's. Seriously, I really think this is a huge money maker for someone with the right know-how.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tweedle Dee Dictionary, Part 10

Lozenger: i.e. lozenge. Small sweet or medicinal tablet to be dissolved in the mouth. Usage "I gave her a throat lozenger".

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sleep Workshop - Week 5

What to report? Not much really. Other than the fact that I was embarrassed at my lack of math skills. We had to start charting some of our sleep data from the last 5 weeks, work out averages, etc. For most people this is not an issue. For me, in a public setting, it's hugely stressful and all out nerve wracking (first calculating my time sleeping, then my time in bed, dividing that number and multiplying by 100 to get some other number). Everyone else in the class was able to provide some kind of data. I was the last one called on and here's what I had to offer: "Yeah, I've got nothing. This is too much math for me."

Ended up spending nearly 3 hours Saturday morning figuring out all these numbers. Ugh. It gave me a headache.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Thank you, Boys!

Thanks go out to Marko, Tim and all the boys who made last night such a great evening. There is nothing like a few drinks, some innocent flirting and many, many laughs (my cheeks are still sore!) to end off an otherwise ho-hum week.

Happy Birthday, Marko. I won’t tell everyone how old you are now, just that you’re great at being tall, skinny and dipping (not chips, me!).

Smooches to all of you!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Mr. Darcy!

So I did all the stuff I mentioned earlier today. Ended up doing a little more shopping than originally planned, but got everything I wanted and more!

One of my favourite second hand book shops in the Monkland Village, Déjà Lu, is closing. The man who runs it is retiring sometime in December and is selling everything at 50% off. I managed to pick up 6 books for $15 (which comes to approximately $2.50 each) – what a steal!!

Super C and I met for lunch at St. Viateur Bagel Restaurant & Café for a late lunch. Man, what a crowd! Good thing we didn’t try to meet at noon, or I think we’d still be waiting for a table.

Then to the library where I managed to find a number of books in that I want to read. Only took one though as I seem to have amassed quite a pile of books in my book basket.

And so to the movies. Ended up seeing Pride & Prejudice because Water didn’t start until nearly an hour later. Now, being a huge Jane Austen fan and a fan of the A&E mini-series done in 1995, I was prepared to compare the book and mini-series against the movie. And I did. There were many details that were omitted or shortened for the length of the movie: the Lucas family (except for Charlotte), Mr. Bingley’s married sister, Jane’s time in London and meeting with the Bingley sisters, Lizzy’s aunt’s connection to Derbyshire & Lambton. One thing that really ticked me off was how they changed some details, one such example being the sculpture busts of the Darcy family instead of miniature paintings. Honestly, I think that unless you’ve read the book or at least seen the mini-series, it may have been difficult to follow all the comings and goings.

Casting: didn’t care much Keira Kneightly (plays Elizabeth) or whatever her name is. Judi Dench was good as Lady Catherine DeBourgh. Jane was very pretty and reserved. Mr. Bingley was a bit too stupid for me. Miss Bingley was good and snobby. Charlotte Lucas was nice and plain. Mr. Bennet (Donald Sutherland) was, well, kind of iffy – accent wasn’t spot on and I really didn’t get a feel for the strong bond between him and Lizzy. Finally, Mr. Darcy: I was not prepared for was how much I liked the guy playing Mr. Darcy (Matthew McFadyen). I didn’t like him at first, but he kinda grew on me. And by the last scene in the movie (it’s actually the second to last scene, but I am choosing to forget the AWFUL last scene altogether), I was all “Oh, hello, Mr. Darcy!!!” Striding across the early morning field, with his great-coat billowing behind him and his shirt undone at the neck … *sigh* That even gave Colin Firth a run for his money! I kid you not. All in all, I think I may actually have to add it to my dvd collection, when the times comes, for that scene alone. Oh yeah, and also the big argument between Mr. Darcy and Lizzy in the rain.

Final analysis: not bad considering what they had to scrunch into 2 hours, but not a classic either. Rather disappointing.

Bank Day

It’s Friday and I’m at home. No, it’s not a holiday. I’m using up some of my banked overtime hours. Plans for the day: trip out to St. Hubert Street to price some of my Christmas wish list, over to St. Denis to have a look in some Naturopath shops, lunch and some shopping in Monkland Village with Super C, followed by a trip to the library and perhaps a movie (Pride & Prejudice or Water) then a little birthday party for a friend of a friend. It’s sunny out so I have great hopes it’ll be a nice day.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Date 2 Report

Before I say anything else, I've got to say this: Why, why, why do people lie about their height? And again - WHY??? Just so you understand where I'm coming from - I am 5'7. Exactly. I have three brothers. They are all taller than me and range from 6'0 to 5'10-ish. If you are shorter than them - YOU ARE NOT SIX FEET TALL. Got it? Good.

Moving on.

The date started off well enough. He was on time (and in my books that actually means early). He was presentable and in fact was colour coordinated to me. He is a "friend of the museum" (meaning he pays an annual fee so can bring someone with him when he visits) so I didn't have to pay the entry fee. Was kind enough to explain some of the differences in style, the influences and wasn't too pretentious about it all. After the exhibition he gave me a little box of Godiva chocolates (this is worth bonus points later). We went out for dinner and wouldn't let me pay my share (and no, I didn't do one of those pretend reach for my purse gestures - I actually had the money in my hand to give to him). And finally - he didn't cry!

That said, there were a few negatives. The first being the whole height thing. It's starting to sound like I have an issue with height and it's probably true. But my point is that I just don't understand why a person would lie about something so obvious. Next is the language. I knew beforehand that English was not this guy's first (or second) language. We had talked on the phone and I found it very difficult to understand him. His English in person was a little easier to understand. Perhaps because I was able to see the body language and facial expressions that went with the speech, but it was easier. However, it was still no simple feat to follow the thread of conversation while trying to put together each sentence in my head. He may have found me quite silent. This was not entirely my natural reserve but rather the sheer intensity of my thought process in figuring out what he was talking about. After the exhibition he invited out dinner. We agreed on Chinese food. He got lost walking there (it was cold, rainy and windy) and we ended up at a Mexican restaurant. (Coincidentally the one restaurant I won't eat at anymore because the last time I did I was sick afterwards.) My feet were soaked through, the bottom of my pants were soaked, I was cold and shivering (all this means I was cranky). Then he spent the better part of dinner talking about his ex-girlfriends and past long term relationships. (FYI: not what any woman wants to hear about on a FIRST date.) Finally, he told me I "made a mistake" by not having noticed his age before agreeing to see him. He's 47. I'm 36. I realise there is an age/generation gap, but I wasn't there to decide whether I'd spend the rest of my life with him. It was a date.

Right. So we said our goodbyes. I jumped into a taxi and headed home. Strangely enough, the taxi driver and I started chatting about the horrid weather (that's what us Canadians do, eh) and the next thing I knew he was asking me if I had time to go out for coffee! I kid you not! I politely declined and he just took me home. Then I gave him a $20 to pay the ($10) fare but he didn't have any change, so let me off the hook giving him about $5.55 in change. I thanked him profusely. Quite a difference from one of my more recent taxi experiences).

Final score: 4/10. (Allocation: 1 point for showing up, 1 point for being presentable, 2 points for giving me chocolates)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

iStockPhoto.com

Came across an interesting article in The Gazette on Monday about an online stock photo company that sells royalty free images. They're called iStockPhoto. iStockPhoto maintains an archive of nearly 500,000 digital photographs, sold to advertisers, graphic designers and publishers for use in everything from annual reports to billboards. Clients can download pictures for a fee of $1 to $20 and use them as many times as they wish without paying royalties. Meanwhile, the photographer gets a cut of the purchase price.

Some people use AdSense or other ways to make money with their blogs. Think I'll load some of my pictures to iStockPhoto and see if I can make any money from my own pictures.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Tweedle Dee Dictionary, Part 9

Sorry, I missed last week's entry. Just clean forgot.

Youz: the plural for 'you'. As in, "What did youz guys do today?" Talk about aggravating my nervous tick. My head practically falls off from all the twitching I do when I hear that.

Monday, November 07, 2005

DontDateHimGirl.com

Public Service Announcement:

In the paper this morning there was an interesting article about a website that caters to scorned women. Check out dontdatehimgirl.com.

DontDateHimGirl.com, masterminded by Toronto resident Tasha Joseph, attracts an average 200,000 hits a day by unmasking alledged philanderers from around the world.

So, if you're angry or just interested, have a look-see.

Date 1 Report

If there's one thing I cannot stand, it's liars. Lies, be they small and seemingly insignificant, will backfire on you.

I may become petty and picky here, but not without some good reason.

Things started off a little bit on the wrong foot. I arrived at the coffee shop about 10 minutes early and made a quick detour to force myself to arrive only 5 minutes early. I ordered my coffee and sat down at a table. It was exactly our appointed meeting time. Shortly after that my phone rang and it was my date, calling to ask where I was. Where I was? Where was he was more the question. Apparently he had arrived at the correct coffee shop 15 minutes early, not found me there and decided to see if I was somewhere else. I explained patiently and kindly (honest!) where I was. He showed about about 5 minutes later. Fine.

Now - imagine, if you will, you are expecting to meet someone for the first time. You have a (supposedly recent)picture of this person and some physical details. This person shows up and is not the person you are expecting to see. This person is a good 4-6 inches shorter than indicated on the profile he wrote. This person gave you a picture that must've been taken at least 10 years ago and some significant physical changes have occurred since then. Why would you lie about your height? Do you think I won't notice? Why would you give me an old picture? Do you think I won't notice the difference between now and then? All I can think of at this point is if this guy has lied about his height, deceived me with his picture, what's next?

So we had a quick coffee and then left for a walk along the Canal. It was a beautiful afternoon, sunny, a little bit of wind, not too cold - good walking weather. Here's when I thought we'd really start talking. We had previously talked on the phone for over an hour a couple of days prior. I did find it difficult to talk to him and felt myself really trying hard to get him to talk. Possibly it was just because we were talking for the first time, but it was awkward. Understandable. But now there we were, face-to-face, and it wasn't getting any easier. I tried. And I tried hard. I asked all kinds of questions. And all I got in response most of the time was a one-word answer. An hour and a half of one word answers.

I certainly wasn't expecting to meet the perfect guy on my first date in nearly a year, but COME ON!!! Give me something to work with here! Ask me something, anything! He never asked me a single question without me giving him some kind of lead up to it. I know I can be intimidating (and both friends and family will tell me so), but I was trying so hard to put this guy at ease and getting nothing in return. His profile tag line was "Laugh a lot". In the hour we were on the phone, plus the time we were together on Sunday, take a guess at how many times I laughed. Wild guess here. Anyone? A grand total of ZERO. Oh no, I'm sorry, close to the end of our walk, (as I was getting more and more frustrated) I did one of those sarcastic little "Heh" laughs. Probably not the best thing to do on a first date. But I was fed up.

Oh yeah, here's the petty part - the more he didn't respond and didn't ask questions, the faster I walked. And he couldn't keep up with me.

Final score: 4/10. He gets a few points for not crying on the first date. (Yes, this has happened, twice.)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Wish me luck

I've got a date tomorrow afternoon. Going to meet a guy whose last name is the same as the name of the building where I live. No relation. Two friends have said this is a sign. I don't know if I'm inclined to agree, but I'm willing to give it a chance. Will let you know how it goes.

Then on Wednesday, I've got another date. His name is Ying. Is he the ying to my yang? (Although ying is the female and yang is the male.) We'll see ...

Wish me luck.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Sleep Workshop - Week 4

If you've been reading this space faithfully, you'll have realized that I didn't write anything after last week's session. I could say I was busy and that I didn't have the time. It's true. But really, I just didn't have the energy for it. While I still am pretty low on energy these days, I think it would be good to get this down on paper, so to speak. Right - so last night we continued on the topic of cognitive behaviours and techniques.

First we discussed the nine ways to reshape our thinking. I'm finding all of this really helpful and maybe you will too.
1 - Clean up your thoughts: Involves simply identifying those maladaptive cognitive distortions.
2 - Straight forward approach: Substitute more positive and realistic thoughts for your negative thoughts. Ask yourself "Is this negative thought true? Is there another way to look at the situation?" Instead of "I know I'm not going to fall asleep", think "People are very bad at guessing when they'll fall asleep - it's very possible I'm asleep within a few minutes."
3 - Cost benefit analysis: List advantages and disadvantages of a negative feeling (becoming angry in traffic), a negative thought (I'm no good at this). Ask yourself "How will this attitude help me and how will it hurt me?" Once we are able to identify that our automatic thoughts almost always are unhelpful, it becomes easier to reject them.
4 - Double standard technique: Instead of putting yourself down, talk to yourself in the same compassionate way you might talk to a friend who was upset. You may be amazed at how mean you are to yourself. Yelling at yourself (mentally or otherwise) is entirely unproductive.
5 - Examine the evidence: Instead of assuming that your negative thought is true, examine the actual evidence for it. What are the facts? Is it true? Probably not. Substitute the thought for something more realistic.
6 - Experimental method: Do an experiment to test the accuracy of your negative thought. (e.g. counting backwards from 100 by sevens "100, 93, 86 ..." - OK - so maybe not a math test for me ...) Do the task after good nights and bad nights and you may see that your sleep does not render you useless after all.
7 - Thinking in shades of grey: Instead of thinking about your problems in black and white categories, evaluate things in shades of grey. When things don't work out out as well as you had hoped, think about the experience as a partial success. Try to pinpoint your errors instead of thinking of yourself as a total failure. This is important while you're trying to incorporate muscle relaxation and other techniques into your routine. Giving up on things that are difficult is very easy and made easier by black or white thinking.
8 - Semantic method: Related somewhat to the problem of using "should statements", substitute for language that is less colourful and emotionally loaded.
9 - Reattribution: Instead of blaming yourself entirely for a problem, think about the many factors that may have contributed to it. Focus on solving the problem instead of using all your energy blaming yourself and feeling guilty. The fact of the matter is, there are factors that are somewhat out of your control; acknowledging that they are out of your control may reduce your anxiety.

Strangely enough, all these things brought up some nearly forgotten tips I had picked up at a yoga workshop about a year ago, but I'll get to that in a minute. Bear with me.

Next we discussed some procedures for identifying and countering negative self-talk and how we can break these habits. Here are the steps:
1. Notice - catch yourself in the act of engaging in negative self-talk. Be aware of situations that are likely to precipitate or aggravate negative self-talk. i.e. any occasion when you're feeling nervous or anxious, anticipation of having to face a difficult task, occasions when you've made some kind of mistake and feel critical of yourself, occasions when you're feeling depressed or discouraged, situations when you're angry at yourself or others, situations where you feel guilty, ashamed or embarrassed.
2. Stop - Ask yourself any/all of the following questions: What am I telling myself that is making me feel this way? Do I really want to do this to myself? Do I really want to stay upset?
3. Relax - Disrupt your train of negative thought with relaxation. The point is to let go, slow yourself down, and relax.
4. Write down the negative self-talk or inner dialogue that led you to feel anxious, upset, or depressed. It's often difficult to decipher what you're telling yourself by merely reflecting on it. It can be confusing to try to think about what you've just been thinking. The act of writing things down will help to clarify what specific statements you actually made to yourself.
5. Identify the type of negative self-talk you engaged in. After doing this for a while, you'll become aware of the particular types of negative inner dialogue and particular types of cognitive distortions you're especially prone to use.
6. Answer or dispute your negative self-talk with positive, rational, self-supportive statements.

Now back to the yoga tip list. More of it was resurfacing in my mind and I couldn't wait to get home and have a look at it. When I did get to it, I was astounded at how closely some of them are related to the techniques I'd just been learning. All these things were swirling around in my head last night as I recognized many of my own attitudes and beliefs. Here are the Top Ten Way to Reduce Stress (especially during the holidays)
1. Adopt an attitude of gratitude
2. Work from intention
3. Go with the flow
4. Practice metta (loving kindness) to oneself
5. Practice metta to others
6. Take a break
7. Practice gentle yoga
8. Turn off the TV, throw away the magazines
9. Find time for spiritual practice
10. Breathe!

Is this great or what? I'm going to make a copy for the others in the workshop as well. Maybe it can be of use to them.

More good news - I was "allowed" to add 15 minutes to my sleep time. And if my sleep efficiency continues to remain above 90% after 2 or 3 days at the new time, then I can add another 15 minutes, and so on ... At this rate I'll be up to 8 hours of sleep in no time! I know there will probably be some problems getting there, but I'm ready for them. Feeling rather proud of myself.

On that note, thanks to the two friends (you know who you are) who both gave me the same advice - be kind to yourself. Tonight I will go home and thrill in the no longer guilty pleasure of Prince or other things ... ;-)

Monday, October 31, 2005

All Hallows' Eve

What is it about Hallowe'en that has everyone with kids leaving the office early? What time do they go trick or treating? And how long does it actually take to throw a costume on a kid?

These are things I don't get. Will someone please explain?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Knowing the Right People

It has hardly ever happened before that I feel like I know the right people in life, but tonight I am sure I do. This afternoon my friend Cecilia (aka Super C) came over to do reflexology on my feet. It’s been quite a while since she’s done that to me. And, oh my God … I’d forgotten how wonderful it felt. It was sheer heaven.

Before Super C started doing reflexology, I didn't think I’d be too crazy about having someone touch my feet. How wrong I was!!! Although I’ve never had anyone else do reflexology on me, I really don’t think anyone else could be quite so good. Sorry, if this seems a bit over the top, but I am just so impressed with Super C's skill and the way it makes me feel. She totally lives up to her nickname.

Must also give thanks to Sina, another friend, who has recently gone into massage therapy. She came over last Wednesday night to give me a massage. She was fantastic. She didn’t sweat on me, didn’t breathe heavy on me, didn’t give me a wedgie with the sheet, didn’t let the sheet fall off my bum, didn’t tickle me, didn’t surprise me … in short, it was wonderful. It was an honour to be her first client! Thanks, Sina and I’ll be making another appointment soon!

Here’s to knowing the right people!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Caught in the Matrix

Is it possible that I am becoming too relaxed? Or am I just not paying attention to where I’m going?

This afternoon I decided to head over to Monkland Village so I caught the bus, then jumped on the metro. I live on the green line and Monkland Village is on the orange line, so I had to change metro at Lionel Groulx. I did, went down the stairs and waited for the metro to take me in the direction of Côte Vertu. Or so I thought … the metro arrived in the station, I got on, the doors closed and off we went. I was plugged into my iPod mini so didn’t hear the driver announce the next stop. You can imagine my surprise when we arrived at the station and it wasn’t the place I was expecting. It wasn’t Place St-Henri – it was Charlevoix (where I just got on)!!! Momentarily confused, I know – it’s not hard, I then realized that I had got on the wrong metro. I hadn’t looked to see the colour of the sign or read the signs indicating which direction the metro was going. So, I got off at Charlevoix and started my journey all over again. While I was waiting at Lionel Groulx (for the second time) I had to laugh (not out loud, there are enough lunatics down there), for that split second before I realized what I’d done wrong, I had that feeling that Neo must’ve had in The Matrix when he was stuck in the subway. He ran out one end and came back into the station at the other end.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Duran Duran Live in London

"How do I love thee, let me count the ways". Elizabeth Barrett Browning puts this so eloquently and for me, I just can't say it enough about Duran Duran. I know, it sounds crazy, and maybe it kinda is, just a little. But I don't care.

Last night I turned on the TV just after 10pm and started flicking through the channels. Hit Much More Music and stopped as I heard the opening drum beats to Please, Please Tell Me Now. Ahhh how the memories came flooding back. 15 years old again. Me and each of my friends madly in love with a different member of the group. Screaming and laughing ourselves into hysterics. Does life get better than that?

Anyway, in the last 20 years the band has of course aged. What I found remarkable (or scary) was that Nick still looks the same age - and you're not gonna tell me it's his clean living or something. That "man" must have had some work done. Second on the scary list is Andy, who used to be such a cutie. What is with the sunglasses ALL the time? All I can think at this point is that he had a botched eye lift. Next, Simon - starting to look a little thick necked.

As for John and Roger - they looked the best. Roger, despite the craggy face, was lookin' f-i-n-e!!! Finally, my very own heart throb, John, looked as wonderful as ever. My opinion is probably biased, but so what! He's got some wrinkles and I don't care. His eyes shone as brightly as ever, his smile was as genuine and his attention to the audience endearing. Phew! He still makes me smile and giggle even when I'm all by myself.

The crowd was a testament to the times as well. No more teenagers in the audience; now it's all women in their mid-30s and a remarkable number of men (perhaps the husbands of these women). One of the best moments was during Save A Prayer. During the chorus, Simon turned the mic to the audience and they all still knew the words! Interesting to note though, not so many lighters being held up in the air, rather more cell phone lights being waved around! Sign of the times, or what?

Now I figure there were 2 reasons they played that last night:
1) The Duran Duran Live in London DVD is coming out on Nov. 1 (just in time for Christmas ... ;)
2) It was Simon's birthday yesterday. Am surprised I actually remember that, but there you go.

Tweedle Dee Dictionary, Part 8

Apologies for the delay in posting this week's entry. I just clean forgot.

The word this week is: Orthodontics. I will agree that the word itself isn't a made up one. It refers to the correction of irregularities in teeth and jaws. However, Tweedle Dee doesn't use it correctly. Tweedle Dee should be saying orthodontist. Not only is it said wrong by this person, they also write it wrong in emails.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Music Review

Music reviews are usually my brother's department, but I just couldn't wait any longer.

I'm a big fan of DJ Shadow and check out his web site every now and then. In August I was reading through his news and found out that he was listening to a band called Stateless. Never having heard of this band, I asked my favourite music critic (i.e. The Muddler) if he'd heard of them. He hadn't and I guess he was busy or something because I never heard anymore. Then in one of my "need new music" moods, I checked on iTunes to see if they had this band. They did! And it would only cost me $3.96 to buy this four song EP. I listened to all the 30 second samples and put it on my wishlist. Finally, in early September I decided to just buy it already. Boy, am I glad I did! Have been listening to their EP Bloodstream a lot. The style of the music kind of reminds me of Massive Attack.

If you're interested, check out the Stateless web site. They are apparently in the studio recording 4 more tracks for their debut album. I can't wait!

Thank You Dove!

It's so long ago now, I hardly remember the exact details, but here you go

Last spring I cut out a bunch of coupons for Dove products and also a coupon for a free t-shirt. At the time, I filled out the info for a free t-shirt, sent in my two proof of purchase receipts and pretty much forgot all about it. Since then I've been using the coupons as needed. Being a long-time Dove girl, this is no hardship. A couple of weeks after sending in the t-shirt offer, I got a call from someone at Dove. I had apparently forgotten to fill in the info indicating which t-shirt (of 3 on offer) I wanted. The guy on the phone gave me the choices and I picked one. But before I actually received the t-shirt, the original paper I'd filled out got sent back to me asking me to indicate (again) which t-shirt I wanted. Typically, I couldn't remember what I'd told the guy on the phone, so just checked off a t-shirt and sent it all back. A short time after that I got a t-shirt. But not the one I'd checked off - I guess it was the one I'd requested on the phone. No matter, it was fine. I was happy and kept it. And then last night (surely 3 or 4 months later) I opened my mail box and there was a large envelope from Dove. Inside was another t-shirt. This time the one I'd requested on the coupon. So now I'm really happy!

Thank you, Dove!

Monday, October 24, 2005

In response to 7 comments from last post

Sheesh - I logged on to my this morning and was stunned to see 7 comments after my last post. I thought I might comment back to all these comments, but I have decided to just post a new entry.

The Hallway Incident will not be discussed in this blog. Angry Gnome (why did you have to mention it? I told you I wouldn't blog about it precisely because my family (i.e. parents) read this) and Why know the details. Sue - we'll talk.

Angry Gnome - I hope you realise that if Everett reads your blog, he will eventually click on a link that brings him to this blog. And then, you know, he'll know and well, is that what you want? That said, I'm always happy to oblige if you need my space to relate your Everett stories.

Nick & Why - you are now the 3rd and 4th people to tell me to get talking. I will get talking. However, I have decided to speak to the therapist privately as I am not comfortable bringing these particular problems out in the open in front of a group of strangers. It'll be hard enough for me to talk to the therapist.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

I am such an idiot!

Sometimes I really wonder what I’m thinking. This morning I walked over to the shops. It took about 15-20 minutes. Did the shopping I had to do and had planned to take the bus back home. With 2 minutes to spare, I walked across the street, saw that the bus was coming and waited on the corner. Then, for some reason, the bus stopped at the corner a block away from where I was waiting. But it didn’t dawn on me until the bus zoomed past me that I was standing at the wrong corner. There was no bus stop where I was standing! The only reason I can think I did this, was because there were 2 women sitting on a bench in front of a coffee shop. It looked like they were waiting for the bus. Naturally, they were not. They finished their muffins and coffee, picked up their bags and continued on their errands.

Guess I got left holding the bag on this one. Ended up walking home. Not the end of the world, but my shopping bags were pretty heavy by the time I got back. Silly me.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Sleep Workshop - Week 2

After last night's workshop and a night to think things over, I've made a few notes to ... to ... I don't know - not summarize the topics we discussed, but more to say how I feel about being there.

What I realised last night was that the three other people in this workshop all seem to be much more at ease speaking about their problems and not at all bothered by how much time they're taking with talking about their problems. Why am I not talking more? I know I'm trying to present the problems I have in a concise and factual manner, without being whiny about it. And while I am fast to commit to a goal for the next week, the others don't seem to want to commit to a concrete objective. It sometimes sounds like they want results but aren't willing to make the effort. Are the goals I'm setting too easy for me? Is that why I feel the others aren't really working hard enough? Am I imposing my own perfectionist ideals on others? Is this another sign of my perfectionist attitude creeping out? I do realise that everyone deals with problems differently and probably, these people are working their problems out by talking them through and that for them it's the first step. Not everyone is goal oriented like me, not everyone is perfect (like me - ha, ha!) and everyone will handle the healing process differently. I have got to stop judging people because they don't do things the way I do.

Then, towards the end of the workshop, we briefly touched on the questionnaires we were asked to fill out the previous week. Two of these questionnaires have raised some concerns with me. First - I scored higher than I expected on the depression questionnaire. The therapist told us that if we scored higher than 3 or 4, we should probably talk to him or speak to our doctor. Second - I scored quite high (but not more than expected) on the anxiety questionnaire. Again the therapist said if we had a high score here it would be a good idea to speak to our doctor. I don't know what the other people scored (and I shouldn't even care). I wanted to speak to the therapist to discuss the responses to both of these questionnaires, but was too why to speak up in front of the others, mostly because I thought that they would think I'm a big whiner. I tried to delay leaving the workshop so that I could talk privately with the therapist, even though it meant missing my bus home, but before I could get a word in to the therapist, one of the other participants offered me a lift home, and so, grateful that I wouldn't have the 20-minute walk down the hill in my heels again, I accepted and left without speaking to the therapist at all. Now of course, I've spent a good part of the night sleeping even less than usual, worrying about this.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

My famous brother

While clicking around my favourite daily blogs, I happened upon the following link and look who I found - my brother, aka The Muddler. Click on this link and have a look at the picture on the right hand side of the page. Yeah - that's him! Cool, eh? Then, if you want, click on the link to the flickr page and see the other people with their gapingvoid t-shirts. Not to sound biased or anything, but The Muddler's picture is the best, hands down.

Breakthrough

Thank Waste Reduction Week, thank a variety of other factors, but whatever the reasons, I picked up No More Sleepless Nights again this week and have been pushing through that. Yesterday morning I came across a couple of pages that were so pertinent to me that they might as well have been written with me as the test subject.

The treatment recommended is the same my doctor suggested some months ago, but here it is in writing, with an explanation of how the treatment works. When the doctor first told me about it I was a bit hesitant as I didn't really understand what she was talking about (and the sound of it kinda freaked me out). We decided that I would participte in the sleep workshop first and then come back later to re-evaluate the situation. But now that I've read exactly how this treatment works, I think I may be ready to try it (even though it still kinda freaks me out). The book has answered some questions that have come up since my last visit to the doctor.

Part of my insomnia is related to upper airway resistance syndrome. This means that while I do get enough air into my lungs to maintain oxygen saturation, I struggle considerably to get this air in. Usually there is loud snoring, but no apneas or hypopneas. Rather, I awaken frequently, either from the noise of the heavy breathing or the effort to move the air.

The treatment that is referred to in this book is:
" ... a tongue-retaining device that pulls the tongue forward to prevent it falling back into the throat. An appliance is fitted over the teeth, with a bubble in front of the teeth. The patient sucks the air out of the bubble, inserts the the tongue, and the tongue is held forward for several hours. Other devices simply hold the lower jaw forward, which tends to open up the back of the airway. These dental devices work well in some cases, but [we] have seen many failures as well."

Feel like I've had a breakthrough. It's a good feeling.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Other People's Kids

I've been struggling with this all week. I know I'm not much of a people person on a good day, and even less so of a kid person. I wish I just get over it or something, but really what's the point? I don't have kids!

So what is it about other people's kids that drives me nuts? No, that's not really the right question. And I'm not sure I do know the right question to ask. The situation I'm going to lay out below doesn't refer to my adorable niece - yet. But now I'm afraid that it will eventually and I won't be cool, fun Auntie Stef anymore, but mean, nasty, old Auntie Stef. I don't want that.

Here's why I'm asking. Last Friday night I hopped on the train to the South Shore to spend the night at a friend's house. Viv & Franck have two kids; one is nearly two years old, the other about 5 months old. Now I know it's hard to have kids and get dinner ready and all that stuff. But I didn't go over to babysit. I ended up trying to entertain a 23-month old for an hour before dinner, for about an hour after dinner, and then couldn't have a conversation with my friend that I did go to visit without being interrupted by said child to read the same book over and over and over again. Little 5-month old didn't much like being held by me and proceeded to scream her head off everytime I was asked to hold her for a minute (or 30). Then on Saturday morning spent another good stretch of time repeating all this. In the 18 or so hours I was there, my friend and I had maybe, maybe an hour of chat time.

Many of you will tell me I'm mean, selfish, old and set in my ways. But you know what? I don't care. Small children are not my thing. Until they are old enough to reason with - don't even put them near me. Really - save me the agony, we'll stay friends and don't bug with me with kids. Get your husband, boyfriend, partner, parent or babysitter to look after the kids for an hour or two while you & I have a pleasant, uninterrupted visit. I'll appreciate it and I feel sure that any mother would too.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tweedle Dee Dictionary, Part 7

Although I do have a list of words, this week I'm going to mix things up a little. Today we'll have - Computer Idiots as a topic.

Now I'm the first to admit I don't know much about computers, but I do know that if you try plug your keyboard into the internet connection and then ask where the internet connection goes - YOU'VE GOT SOME SERIOUS PROBLEMS! And here's a tip from me - before you ask where the hole is to lock your computer - look for it! It's also wise to unlock a lock before you try to secure your computer. Yes, that means using the key.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Sleep Workshop - Follow-up

OK. You'll all be glad to know that none of my worst case scenarios came to pass last night. What a relief!

I did have some trouble getting to the building though. It was raining, I didn't know the area, I was stressed about getting there on time (which is a whole other issue for me). I did finally make it to the right building and the right room, but not before following the instructions on how to get there that I pulled from the internet instead of reading my notes to find the right room number. Argh!

There were only 4 of us in the workshop last night. There should apparently be 6. The moderator is a young guy, probably in his 20s. He's an intern at the hospital and has conducted this workshop several times before. Of the other people who were there, I was the youngest. There was only one other man, probably in his late 50s.

The two hours passed quickly and apart from feeling uncomfortable initially, I managed to relax a little and get something out of it. However, most of what was talked about last night I had already read in a book, recommended to me by a friend, called No More Sleepless Nights, by Peter Hauri. It concentrates on the patient (me) becoming one's own sleep therapist. But more importantly for me, I think, I had to agree to meet 2 goals for the next week.

The first is to commit to a sleep time (this means get in bed to sleep, not worry, not read) and to a wake time (meaning no more hitting the snooze button 6 or 7 times, no more sleeping in on the weekend). I've said that I will go to sleep at midnight and get up at 6:00 a.m. I tend to get in bed not to sleep earlier and get out of bed later, even though I haven't been sleeping. This will be a challenge. It was also something I was not able to do by myself. But now it's written down in the therapist's binder with my name beside it. Next week I'll have to report my success or failure. Of course, being the perfectionist I am, it will be a success.

The second goal is to get out of bed if I'm not sleeping. No tossing, no turning, no looking at the clock, no stressing about how much sleep I'm not getting, no counting the hours I have left until I have to get up, no reading in bed, no counting the times my neighbour drags his iron chair across the tiled kitchen floor. I will get out of bed and do something else. Read a book in a chair, do an easy crossword puzzle, finish up a couple of photo albums (oh - that idea just came to me!).

What did I learn? Well, I'm going to say that after last night the most important thing I have to remember is that my bed is for sleeping. Nothing else.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sleep Workshop - Week 1

Tonight I will attend the first of six sleep workshops. While I was happy to hear from the hospital last week about the workshop, since about Tuesday I've been stressing about it. Not to brag or anything, but nobody can stress like I can.

All the worst case scenarios have played through my head. There's the one with me suddenly being in the middle of some new-age touchy-feely therapy group and not being such a touchy-feely person myself, find myself running out of there at break. Then there's the one where everyone shares the most personal details of their life with this group of strangers and then it's my turn and I clam up. Because there's nothing like me clamming up in a group of strangers setting. Mustn't forget this one - discover that everyone there has much more trouble sleeping/staying asleep than I do and they all think I'm a big faker. And of course the classic - can't find the room where the workshop is supposed to take place and nobody in the hospital knows what the hell I'm talking about.

Enough!!!

I know, logically and reasonably, that none of these scenarios will play out. I know that I must give this workshop a fair chance and going in with a bad attitude will not help me. I have to be there.

Be there.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Tweedle Dee Dictionary, Part 6

Sequences: Contrary to popular belief - this does not mean a succession; set of things belonging next to one another. In this case, it is the plural of a circular spangle attached to clothing. i.e. sequins.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Clothes to Donation Drop Box

Several weeks ago I finally got fed up with the bags of old clothes in my closet waiting to be given away. Brought them all out, added a few more things and decided that would be the day to get rid of them. Picked up the two heaviest bags, because I like to get the worst part of a task over with first (and yes, I also eat that way) and made my way to my local grocery store where they have a drop box. Well, they used to have a drop box.

Got to the store and stood in front of the bare ground where the box used to be. Where was the box? Had they moved it inside? Around the corner? Nowhere apparently. It was just gone. So I picked up my two heaviest bags (argh!!!) and made the trip home. It’s not that bad – it’s about a 6 minute walk. But those bags were heavy and they were cutting my hands. It hurt. Since then the 4 bags have been sitting in my hallway waiting for me to take them up to a different grocery store, a little further away – about an 8 minute walk away. It must be 4 weeks that they sit there – looking at me, taunting me, laughing at me. I can’t stand it anymore! This weekend they will go. Once and for all.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Update: October 11. Hmph. Those stupid bags won. They’re still here.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Fall & Cooking

After an extended summer, weather wise, up until yesterday, fall is here and I’m guessing here to stay. Yesterday (Friday) was a typical fall day – rain all day and downright cold at night. Now my windows are only open a crack.

For me, this is the time of year when I get back in the house and cook – a lot! I love to cook, but in summer I prefer to be outside and take advantage of the good days. Never knowing how short or long the good days will last – this is Canada after all. And so, with the arrival of fall I retreat indoors once again and often end up in my kitchen with an apron on and a cookbook in front of me. This weekend has been no exception.

This morning I made Ballymaloe whole wheat bread - to go with the curried leek and pear soup I made last week and froze. This afternoon I made apple crisp, pumpkin maple custards and a broccoli/cauliflower and cheese sauce. All this is in preparation of Monday’s Thanksgiving dinner ‘en famille’. Tomorrow I’m thinking of making cinnamon buns. Thanks for the tempting recipe, Sue!

Anybody hungry?

Smelly Hair

Ugh – my hair stinks. How did I forget this? Last night I was in a smoke filled pub after work. I’d forgotten how bad one’s hair smells after being around cigarette smoke. I really should’ve washed my hair before going to bed. But I didn’t and now I’ll have to wash my pillow cases too. What a horrible stench!

Is it really so long ago since this kind of thing didn’t bother me? Is this a sign of growing up/old? What’s next? Complaining about the music kids listen to?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Montreal Taxi Drivers

Having travelled what I think is a fair amount, I am constantly amazed at the rudeness and incompetence of many taxi drivers in this fair city. In other cities I have often been astonished at taxi drivers' almost psychic and omnisicent knowledge of roads. Last night was a prime example of the uselessness of the drivers in Montreal.

After work I went out with several colleagues to help entertain an out of town colleague. Drinks followed by dinner - all very enjoyable. After dinner the others planned to head out for a night of drinking and I decided to head home. Jumped into a taxi, gave my address in English (silly me!) and that's where it all went horribly wrong.

Mr. Taxi Driver decided to turn up the radio volume in the back of the taxi (he had the hockey game on, this is Montreal after all) and then while speaking (in French) to the front of the cab, asked if he could take the highway. I replied in English and told him no. He didn't say anything so I assumed he understood. Next thing I knew, we were about to head on to the highway and I had to speak loudly (the radio still blasting) and asked him not to take the highway. At the last second I practically shouted at him in French and suddenly he understood that I didn't want him to take the highway. Son of a ...

The rest of the trip was spent arguing with this guy that my way was faster and cheaper, and him trying to convince me that there were only 2 ways (there are probably about a dozen) to get to where I wanted to go. He started shouting at me that I didn't know what I was talking about and that ALL taxi drivers in Montreal went his way. So when I shouted back at him, he didn't like it much and proceeded to shout at me saying that there was no reason for me to speak to him like that. I kid you not. To this idiot I was just a stupid woman who didn't know the roads in the city where she lived and had no idea how to get around in a car. I bit my tongue and choose to ignore his sexist comments and spoke only to give him the precise and exact directions he needed to get me home. Finally we arrived at my address - probably to his complete surprise - and this guy had the nerve to tell me that there was no difference (time or cost) between his way and my way. Never mind that I proved him wrong and we managed to get to my address by not going his way... And then he "dropped" my change on the car floor and "apologized". I got out, slammed the door and in a horribly passive-aggressive manner, turned and cursed at him in French as he peeled away. Didn't even feel better.

Spent the better part of the next two hours attempting various relaxation exercises and listening to various relaxation music CDs. The key to finally getting me to relax was madly scribbling notes about the ride on a couple of post-its. I had been so furious when I got home that I couldn't even concentrate on making my lunch or preparing my clothes for work the next day. Now I'm hoping this blog post will let me vent the rest of my anger and allow me to move on. I've generally been a little (a lot) obsessive with my rage and hope that this forum will help me get it out of my system. All for a happier, healthier me - here's hoping.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Problems Dressing

Don't know what exactly my problem is, but lately I've had some problems dressing myself.

Last Friday was a particularly bad day for dressing myself and today it happened again. Allow me to explain.

Friday I wore a cool blouse (quite see-through) with a little cami (for modesty) underneath. The problems I had were with the cami. When I put it on in the morning, I didn't realize that I didn't put my left arm through the strap properly. Of course the strap irritated me all morning long. But it wasn't until about 11am that I decided to check things out. Went into a bathroom stall, took off the blouse and realized that I'd somehow missed getting my arm through the strap altogether and it was just attached to the blouse with the little snap thing at the shoulder. Fixed that and went on with my day. I did notice though that the cami kept rising and didn't seem to sit right. Paid it no mind and just figured it was me. Went out after work, got home around 11:30pm and then, as I was getting into my pj's, saw that I'd not only put the cami on back to front, but also inside out. Honestly - you'd think I'd gotten dressed in the dark! But no, I had 5 bright light bulbs all going full strength in the bathroom.

Now for today's problem. Not nearly so embarrassing, but still. Today it's supposed to be quite warm (26C, with a humidex of 29C!) so I decided to wear a little burgundy cami with sequins along the top and a light cardi to cover up while I'm in the office. Fine. Was running behind schedule so threw on the clothes after my shower. Except had another problem with the straps. But none of this I noticed until about 30 seconds before I was to leave the house! Panic in front of the door - off with cardi and cami. One strap I had apparently pulled tight and the other completely loose and then put the cardi on inside out. Fixed both cami straps and managed to get both arms in the right holes. Turned cardi right side out and managed to do the buttons up properly before running to catch with bus.

Made it with about 30 seconds to spare. Phew! Quite a morning.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Tweedle Dee Dictionary, Part 5

Combinding (i.e. combining): In this person's world, it means not just joining together, but joining and binding together. Who knew ...

Monday, October 03, 2005

Clean laundry

Ahhhh the pleasures of clean laundry. The last couple of weekends have been so busy that I haven't had time to do any laundry. This has meant that my supply of matching bras & knickers was sorely depleted by the end of last week. So depleted that I actually did not match on Thursday and Friday. What if I'd been hit by a truck and rushed to hospital?! The horrors! But all is well now. I spent part of Saturday night and most of Sunday doing laundry and cleaning. Now my bathroom tiles sparkle beautifully and my underwear matches. All is well in my the world.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Tweedle Dee Dictionary, Part 4

The addition of an extra plural to a word, examples (my two faves that are repeated more times than I can count):

How many breakfastses do you want to order?
The meetings lastses until 2:30.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Exhausted

After the crappy events on Saturday and Sunday, I finally got my day off on Monday. All went as planned - had a great time with my old friend, Tamara and her infant son, Sam (15-months). It was a rainy day, but we managed to enjoy a couple of hours downtown and then head back to my place for some catching up and dinner. It was all good.

However, a 15-month child is quite the bundle of energy. By the time we got back to my place said child had had quite enough of being stuck in a stroller or car seat and henceforth proceeded to climb onto every piece of furniture available, make a grab every breakable object within reach and throw a still undetermined number of books off the bookshelf and place them randomly throughout my condo. Between running after said child, making dinner and chatting with friend, by the time they left at 9pm (after nearly an hour of non-stop crying/screaming until blue in the face)- I found myself crashing onto my couch in sheer exhaustion. And after some 7 hours in bed, I am still exhausted and have some trouble functioning today.

This short visit has merely confirmed my decision NEVER to have children.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Work from Intention

Here we are Sunday night and I have computer access. Not a good sign. In fact, I am not at home, or at my parents, or anywhere that would be even mildly more enjoyable than where I am now. I'm at work! For the third time in two days! What the hell is wrong with me? When am I going to learn to say no?

You'll have to bear with me, but this will likely be a long and rambling entry. Skip it if you're at all impatient. I need to work this out.

Why am I here (at work)? A couple of reasons. Yesterday morning I found out the yoga workshop I was planning to attend was cancelled for lack of participants. (I'm trying so hard to get some practice in, but it's kinda feeling like somebody/someone doesn't want me practice - whole other issue, must keep to the point). Shortly after that I was called by a work colleague wondering if I could cover someone's overtime shift that afternoon. Despite my reservations accepting this offer, I (foolishly?) said yes. In all honesty, the work wasn't that bad - there wasn't much and it was simple enough. The problems have to do with ... oh no!

Now what do I do? When I started this blog I promised myself I wouldn't write about work in any way, shape or form. And guess what? Here I am about to spill the beans on a work related situation. Should I just do it? Maybe I should just stop typing and let it fester and grow like a pus filled cyst inside me (because that's what it feels like right now!!)?

OK - here's what I'll do. I went to work. Did the overtime. Left early. But not too happy. Enough.

Continued with my afternoon. Made my way out to a friend's house for one last bbq. Saw a bunch of people I haven't seen in a while. Enjoyed the company and the food. Didn't enjoy the millions of kids screaming and running all over the place. Gave me a headache within 15 minutes of arriving. Ugh. Either I am really not a kid person or I am spending too much time alone.

Then I saw a friend I really was not expecting to see. Some weeks prior I had asked if she would be able to babysit for a mutual friend for a couple of days (FYI - this mutual friend was willing to pay too). She told me that she and her family were probably going to be away during the week in question. I kind of doubted the story at the time, but took her at her word. If she didn't want to babysit, surely she would have just said so. What reason would she have for lying to me? Having known her most of my life I would've thought that she would at least have the courtesy to be honest with me after all these years. I was apparently mistaken. There was no mention of any little trip away last night. She did have the 'cojones' though to ask how this mutual friend was doing and if she finally managed to find a babysitter. Not a 'sorry I couldn't help out', not a 'maybe we could all get together', nothing. I'm so disappointed and frustrated with this (many more similar situations have happened in the last few years) I feel I can no longer call her a friend, just a person I used to know. This feels awful. And then she offered to drive me home. I was reluctant, but thought it might be rude to refuse point blank, so asked that she drop me off at a metro/bus stop. She ended up driving me all the way home. For that I am truly thankful but I almost felt like it was ... I don't know, maybe her way of 'buying' my friendship in a way.

Got home at a reasonable hour and enjoyed Finding Neverland on TMN. Managed to sleep well despite the upsets of the day. I got 7 full hours - count 'em - s e v e n !!!

Sunday morning, waited for the call to bring me back into work (as scheduled). Came to work. Did the work. Left at the time expected. But again, not too happy. However, this time I was asked to come in again that evening. And yet again (what the hell is wrong with me???) I accepted. So here I am. It's after 8pm on a Sunday night and I am at work. On the weekend that I took Monday off so that I could enjoy a three day weekend - I ended up spending a rather large portion of it at work. Can you see what's wrong with me? Would you let me know?

Back to the whole work from intention thing, which I picked up at a yoga workshop last fall and have had varying success incorporating into my life this last year, but I keep trying. So here's what I'm thinking.

I intended to have three days off.
I intended to go to the yoga workshop.
I intended to help out at work by accepting covering the overtime.
I intended to enjoy myself at the bbq.

Everything was there, maybe I just took things a little too personally. Maybe it wasn't me these events were directed at, but others around me and the stuff they are going through. Maybe I got caught in the middle.

Your thoughts, comments, suggestions are always welcome

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Pre-Season Hockey

Last night I was fortunate enough to be asked if I wanted to go to the hockey game. Hockey in Montreal is a big deal. So I went. And because I work for some cool people, we had the use of our firm's loge for the game. It's a pretty sweet deal. You go up in a private elevator, with a guy to push the elevator button for you. Everything is carpeted. There's a hostess who orders your food, serves you drinks, snacks and lets you know when the dessert cart is there. The seats are great - without the usual number of people bumping into you, pushing to get by and standing up at the most inopportune moments. I was having a great time, feeling very special and spoiled - that is until the game started and suddenly I realised what was missing.

My brothers. At most hockey games I've been to I've usually had one of three brothers to explain things to me. Last night none of them were with me and none of the guys who were there were able/willing to explain what was happening. There are new rules in the NHL this year and I knew none of them and understood nothing of these rules and why they were instated. The only thing I did understand was that when the puck goes in the net, it's a goal. All this to say that I'm not going to any more games without a brother beside me.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tweedle Dee Dictionary, Part 3

Eggspecting (expecting). Yes, it is apparently pronounced with two 'g's. Who knew that eggs were so prominently featured in the English language?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Oh the shame & Purple Rain

Well folks, I'm going to have to come clean with you. This weekend I helped out at my uncle's annual garage sale. One of his friends also had a bunch of stuff for sale there, including a box of CDs. I flipped through briefly and came across something I might be interested in buying. Didn't buy it then but decided to think about it. Some time later, my brother Marc decided that he would buy a couple of CDs. In a fit of ... I don't know ... insanity, perhaps - I told him to buy me the one CD I had been looking at earlier (I stupidly came without any cash). I pretended that I wouldn't be upset if it was gone by this time, but when he came back with it, I was thrilled.

Here's the clincher - the CD in question is Prince's Purple Rain soundtrack. I know! It's a terrible movie but I love the music. So there you go - I'm a closet Prince fan. The Shame!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Words of Wisdom

A couple of days ago an acquaintance provided me with some words of wisdom that calmed me down in an instant. There seems to be some controversy over the origin of the poem which provides for some interesting reading. Here's a link to a web site with the history of Desiderata. Desiderata means "things to be desired" in Latin. The poem has blown me away. I keep reading it, have posted it on my bulletin board at work and am contemplating carrying a copy of it in my purse.

The poem goes like this:

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952

After reading the poem in its entirety and the history and controversy surrounding it, this acquaintance of mine also provided an interesting Canadian political/historical anecdote. Here's what he told me:

"When Pierre Elliiot Trudeau's government was defeated (I forget what year), and the press pounced on him that evening and asked what he thought, he said "No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."

He decided to step down as Liberal Party leader and retire. Before he could, Joe Clark's government fell on a motion of non confidance, and Trudeau was reelected as Prime Minister."

I thought it was pretty cool.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Tweedle Dee Dictionary, Part 2

Pedastool and Pedalstool (i.e. pedestal): This 'word' has been pronounced both ways. Generally the person saying this word is referring to someone who is admired greatly. Too bad it sounds like they are referring to one who craps as a child (peda-stool) or who bikes over crap (pedal stool).

Friday, September 09, 2005

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Tweedle Dee Dictionary

Have you ever heard someone say a word, over and over and OVER again, and they say it wrong e v e r y single time? Does this drive you mad? Before I do go mad, I've started what I like to call "The Tweedle Dee Dictionary".

Today's first entry will be -
Supposably: real word is supposedly (adv. as is generally supposed)

I cannot count the number of times I have heard this word spoken incorrectly. And believe me, this is just the beginning ...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Oops I did it again ...

This post actually has nothing to do with that trailer trash girl, but rather has everything to do with my buying more shoes this weekend. Before you all pass judgement on me - hear me out. OK, so I bought three pairs of shoes. But I actually need them.

Pair #1: black pumps - because the ones I have at work are finished and I'm going to throw them in the bin. I did tell myself the same thing for the black pumps I bought in England, but they are kind of more summery because they are strappy.

Pair #2: black flats - becauses my two other pairs are finished. I threw out the others last night as soon as I got home. Well, I didn't actually throw them out, but they are in my goodwill bag, so that's good enough.

Pair #3: walking shoes - because my other running shoes are for the summer and have mesh on the sides. Not so good for walking home in the fall when the chances of rain are significantly increased.

Now, I suppose I should rationalize the 4 pairs I bought in England, but I'm not gonna. So there.

Last Long Weekend of the Summer

The last long weekend of the summer is over. Although summer doesn't officially end until the 22 Sept., it already kind of feels like fall is here. Sigh.

As some of you may know from reading Nick's and Sue's blogs, I was in Windsor this weekend visiting them. It was incredible to see the changes in my niece, Darcy, even since July. Now she's walking and can't seem to get enough of that! She also gets cuter by the day! Her little expressions, the sounds and "words" she says are great to hear. It's obvious that she's communicating, even if we don't understand all her stories.

Incredibly, I seem to have taken over 100 pictures of Darcy. Check out the best of those (I didn't post all of them) in the latest set of Darcy pictures on my flickr site.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Welcome Why to the World of Blogging

My best friend, Yvette, has recently started a blog of her own. I've included a link on the right side under Blog Links, see Swiss Miss.

Welcome, Why!

Walk to End Breast Cancer

This weekend about 3,000 Montrealers walked 60 kilometres over 2 days in effort to raise awareness and funds for research about Breast Cancer. Altogether C$9.2 million raised! A truly awesome feat!

Three co-workers participated in this walk and I was there on Saturday to cheer them on. Check out their smiling faces here.

Congratulations to Sina, Viviane and Mark. I'm proud of your incredible energy and determination. You guys ROCK!!!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Muchos photos

Check out my flickr page for a whole whack o' pictures. Thanks to The Muddler for my birthday present which gives me the ability to upload up to 2 gigs of pictures every month for the next year!

Hope you're ready for muchos photos!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans

For those Harry Potter fans out there, you may have come across a little novelty item called "Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans". Those that have read or seen the Harry Potter series know that they mean every flavour.

Special thanks to my friendly Angry Gnome for this little pre-non-Birthday present. We tried a couple out at lunchtime today and I just ate the remaining "normal" flavoured beans.

So here's the breakdown: Black Pepper (too scared to try), Blueberry (just tastes like fake jelly bean or something), Booger (too scared to try), Earthworm (a little bit chocolatey, but made me gag), Cherry (Best one - yummy!), Cinnamon (nice, not too hot), Dirt (tastes like dirt without the grainy bits), Ear Wax (Angry Gnome will have to comment, I too scared), Grape Jelly (just like grape jelly!), Grass (just like grass ...), Green Apple (nice, good tart factor), Lemon Drop (lemony), Toasted Marshmallow (Yummy!!!), Buttered Popcorn (very buttery), Sardine (too scared to try), Soap (too scared to try), Spaghetti (exactly like you would expect a spaghetti jelly bean to taste - kinda gross), Spinach (too scared to try), Tutti-Frutti (just like bubble gum), Vomit (WAY too scared to try).

There you have it. If you've tried the really horrible ones, let me know just how gross they were.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Funny kid story #3

This is a story Why sent me ages ago. I've been saving it for a day when I really had nothing else to say. Here you go.

Dylan's best friend, Nico, is 6. At some recent family gathering, all the cousins were fooling around with Grandpa, wrestling, tickling, etc. After awhile, Grandpa had rightly had enough and told the kids to stop. Nico asked him "Grandpa, are you gay? You have no muscles!"

Monday, August 22, 2005

Stooopid Monday

Who else has an issue with Mondays? Today I'm having a particularly stooopid Monday. I suppose the problems started with not doing my ironing last night (but I was just too tired). Anyway, this is what happened this morning.

Got up half an hour late so spent the next 40 minutes running around like a chicken with my head cut off (trying to find clothes that could be worn without ironing - my shirt is ok but don't look at the collar and my pants are ok if you don't look below the knees), managed to catch the early bus and noticed that I'd forgotten to put my watch on, arrived at work and found out that 2 of the guys I work for wouldn't be in today, so in fact I didn't need to worry about getting to work early (or on time), then I found out that I only brought one running shoe with me (so I won't be walking home) and I also forgot my mango (but I brought the knife to cut it with).

Sheesh ... is this day over yet?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I love lists

For those of you who know me, and know me well, you know that I love lists. Writing them, thinking about them, crossing stuff off of them, making different lists for different activities ... I could go on.

Check out McSweeney's. They have some great lists that make me laugh. Plenty of other interesting reading there too.

I should put together that meat cereal list. Remember that, Eric, Nick & Marc?