Monday, December 28, 2009

Ack! We're half-way through the week between Christmas and New Year's!

The holidays are almost over ... but they won't go out without a proverbial bang! Make the most of the few remaining days left of ther 2009 holiday season!

I received this email forward regarding how to survive the holidays ... in the best way possible:


1.Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare.. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk, whole milk or cream. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Holiday party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labour Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, 2010 is just around the corner.

Remember this motto to live by: Have a great holiday season!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A little help?

I started using google reader sometime in the spring to keep track of all the blogs I was following. After the wedding, I initially continued to follow the wedding planning blogs. Gradually, it became wedding overload. I continued to follow the personal blogs of people planning weddings (and still am following a couple so I can see the wedding come to fruition!) but I decided to discontinue following the mass-blogs such as weddingbee and weddzilla. It was a surprisingly emotional decision; not tearful or anything, but I definitely felt a twinge of regret as I realized I was leaving wedding planning behind (something I truly enjoyed).

Nevertheless, every other day or so, weddzilla pops back up in my google reader. I go into my subscriptions, and there it is as a blog I'm following. I remove the subscription, but two days later it's back. This has been going on for months, and I am not exaggerating.

I feel like poor Mr. Johnson whose cat kept coming back:
Although I never did figure out why Mr. Johnson didn't just find a proper home for the cat. Then it wouldn't keep coming back, now would it? Also, in retrospect, this is a disturbing song. I didn't remember all the lyrics; just the chorus. If you don't remember the lyrics, either, just have a listen to hear how disturbing it is!

Anyway, does anyone have any ideas as to why this subscription can't be deleted?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

From our family (Wade, Princess and myself) to yours!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Nutcracker

Tonight, I was treated to my "first" Christmas present from Wade and Princess: tickets to The Nutcracker! It was another one of those artistic versions (most seem to be) that has changes from the original. The one that plays in Toronto (The National Ballet) is fairly "true" to the original (set in Imperial Russia, crazy uncle brings weird nutcracker as a gift), except that a brother joins his sister on the adventure. Having a brother and sister go on the adventure changes the dynamic. The one that came through my town (a travelling troupe) sets this version in Ontario with a little girl named Klara; a schoolmate destroys the Nutcracker instead of her brothers; instead of a mouse-king there's a bat-king; instead of the land of sweets there's Algonquin Park in Ontario; instead of the sweets and foods there are different animals (the squirrels were played by very cute little children; the loons were graceful; and the raccoons were entertaining); and instead of a Sugar Plum Fairy there was a beautiful "Lady Birch". I was a little skeptical, but it worked. Being a mobile travelling ballet, they did not have the same stage set-up that The National Ballet in Toronto has, nor the live accompaniment. But it's still a great tale and was creatively and well-performed.

As for my absence in posting, it was a combination of busy-ness and laziness! :) I'll post pictures from cookie baking with some kids I know soon so you can see one of the reasons I was busy! In the meantime, being in a Nutcracker kind of mood, I think I'll go back to humming The Waltz of the Flowers (probably my favourite) and the catchy Russian Dance. And of course, everyone knows the Sugar Plum Fairy's solo:

Friday, December 18, 2009

A letter to 2009:

Dear 2009:

You have been the best and the worst year of my life.

I have always liked the number 9. Probably because my birthday is on the ninth day of the twelfth month of the eighty-first year (i.e. nine-squared) of the twentieth century. I had good feelings for the ninth year of the twenty-first century. I was right ... and wrong.

During this year, my mom was diagnosed with kidney cancer. If you have ever had anyone close to you diagnosed with cancer, you understand the emotional implications that means. Fortunately, she was diagnosed before symptoms showed up during an ultrasound for an unrelated screening. Unfortunately, it was still pretty advanced.

[To give you an idea of how bad kidney cancer can be, my mom's cousin's husband was also diagnosed with kidney cancer, about 3 months after my mom. Today was his wake. RIP, Chris Barrett.]

In my mom's case, she will be on chemo for a long time. The prognosis is a million times better than it was just five years ago; that's how far treatment options have come in such a short period of time. That being said the cancer is more advanced than she lets on to most people. Nevertheless, the prognosis is better than you might assume. Cancer is not necessarily the diagnosis it once was, but it is still serious in many cases. What bothers my mom is when people (well meaning, of course) start discussing my mom's treatment/health with her. She receives suggestions about her nutrition, her kidney function, her liver function, and all sorts of other functions (many of which are irrelevant to her cancer). While she appreciates the sentiment, she is an intensely personal person and prefers not to discuss her health with friends or most family. And as a highly trained intensive care nurse, she knows a lot more about organ function than most of these well-meaning people. [Yeah, my mom and I are kind of opposites that way. I will discuss anything with anyone, but she won't. But she discusses almost everything with me.] My mom is doing a great job of putting herself first (something many cancer patients are NOT good at). I'm so proud that she put herself first. For years, she put my brothers and I first. That is, in my opinion, what a good parent must often do. But when it was time, she realized it was time for her to come first, and she has done that admirably. I have watched others still continue to give to their families, jobs or communities, at a risk to their health as they continued to battle cancer. My mom basically went: "to hell with it! My health comes first now!"

So, that's the worst part of 2009.

The best part, of course (and I presume all my readers know this) is that I got married this year. Yay!

Another low-light was losing my job in September.

Another highlight ... or five: welcome to the world Charlie in February (son of friends Dave and Pam), Charlotte in mid-November (daughter of friends Jane and Matt), Madeleine in late-November (daughter of friend Sarah), Olivia in late-November (daughter of friend from elementary school and baseball Angela) and Kiara in early-December (daughter of friends Corry and Ryan). Yep, that's a lot of healthy babies in one year! (And a lot of couples getting busy in February!)

Another lowlight was having to carry two mortgages for two months. I didn't discuss this much on this blog, but days before the closing date on our house, the buyer backed out. It was completely a breach of contract by the buyer, but nevertheless it left us financially strapped as we carried two mortgages on one salary for two months. Yuck. We sold our house at the start of December, so that time is behind us!

Another highlight ... our doggy Princess! Yay!

Those are the highlights and lowlights of 2009, which admittedly is not over yet.

Here's to: an uneventful end of 2009; a healthy, happy and safe 2010; many years of life for my mom; and many years of marriage!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Well, Gaynor, I didn't forget. I was just slow to respond!

Gaynor at "Our Day By Design" nominated me for this fund blog award over a month ago!

So in order to accept the award, I have to tell everyone 10 interesting facts about myself and pass the award onto 10 other lovely bloggers. {Um, I can't guarantee these will be interesting facts.}

1. I am passionate about a few causes: anti-animal cruelty, human rights, environmental stewartship, equal access to healthcare and social services. I contribute to these causes in different ways: volunteering my time, financial contributions, verbal support, working on / signing petitions, etc. I also financially support a few different diseases: mainly the Canadian Cancer Society, the Heart & Stroke Foundation, and the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and a few others.

2. I was married on D-Day, or rather on the 65th anniversary.

3. My birthday is today. (That's not really interesting, but it's something.) I get unusually excited about my birthday. You know how little kids get really excited about their birthdays? Well, that's me ... and I have mellowed about my birthday substantially in the last five years. In university, I had a month long count down to my birthday. Although, I still refer to the week around my birthday as "birthday week".

4. My husband and I spent most of our honeymoon in France, but we also visisted England, the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland.

5. I am unemployed. Not by choice. That's not a good fact, but it is interesting. When employed, I work in occupational health and safety.

6. I was 24 when I took my first flight. I was flying to England to do a term for 4 months, and was so nervous. When in Europe, I flew around a bit, and a year later had a job that required me to fly many times, so now I couldn't even count how many times I have flown. Maybe almost 40 times? I don't know!

7. I am severely allergic to cats. It will usually exacerbate an asthma attack that can last days, or it can initiate a histamine response so bad my eye has virtually swollen shut. I become very upset, and almost personally hurt, if a friend gets a cat, because it means I have to significantly medicate myself before and after visiting that friend, will probably have asthma for days, and will generally be miserable for anywhere from 3 hours to a few days. It's a shame because I loved cats before I developed my allergy (which started as a minor histamine response when I was about 5 or 6 or 7).

8. That being said, not all cats initiate my asthma as bad as others. My family cat Pepper did not initiate a very strong asthma reaction. She was my third birthday gift and she lived to be 22 (although she stayed with my parents when I moved out).

9. I recently submitted a petition to the Ontario government to include all approved chemotherapies in our provincial healthcare system. (Currently, only intravenous chemo is covered, but oral chemo is not. So in our public healthcare system, you have to pay for your cancer treatment if it's oral.)

10. I like many holidays, but my favourites are Hallowe'en, Christmas, and any reason for a barbecue in the summer!

So now I'm going to pass on the award to 10 other lovely blogs that I have been enjoying lately (in no particular order):
The Introverted Wife
Marie-Eve in Montreal
The Cheap Wife
Carly (aka the Less Than Domesticated Goddess)
Rachel (aka Girl Learning Along the Way)
Dawn (aka The Alternative Bride)
Marie (The Wife in the City)
The Professional Bridesmaid
Mrs. B.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


When we moved into our new house, I took some video. I showed you "day 0" before. Now here's "day 1": our first full day in the home!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Copenhagen: a chance to fight climate change

The Copenhagen Conference might be our best chance to prevent further climate change. China and the U.S. are disagreeing about the changes. As I understand it, China says the rich countries who got us in this mess should pay (e.g. the U.S.), whereas the U.S. says everyone should pay. The best answer is probably to take into account the country's economics. I mean, do we expect Ethiopia or Sierra Leone to contribute equally to China or the U.S.? Of course not. But China is hardly a poor country now. And a few other large, but poor, countries aren't exactly helping; I'm thinking of India. And while most Canadians are supporting initatives to prevent climate change (according to recent polls), our government is only willing to commit to a 3% decrease (to protect our lucrative but polluting tar sands). Saudia Arabia, I believe, is still saying climate change isn't real. So this is a fine mess.

Here's hoping they can agree to some meaningful reductions: goals that are achievable with action plans that the bigger countries / regions can at least agree to implement (particularly the EU, U.S. Canada, Australia, China and India, and perhaps a couple other countries). That would probably (in my uneducated and humble opinion) be a great start and have a large impact on the world.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Wedding in the News!

I met my friend Jenn in England. She's from Nova Scotia, specifically from a very small town just a few minutes down the road from the very small town my Grandma grew up in. In spite of living so far apart (Ontario to Nova Scotia is 1500 km / 950 miles), we have kept in touch.

Jenn recently shared this story of her grandfather:

Isn't that adorable? I loved it when Roberta refers to her new groom as her "toy boy". May we all be so filled with life and love in our 80s.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

"You wouldn't like me when I'm angry ... "

I won't turn green and get big. But I'll rant.

Look at this beautiful labradoodle (labrador retriever / poodle cross): Beautiful, right? Poor thing has been taken back to the humane society three times.

1. The first time was because "he became too big". Um, the mix of standard poodle and lab might get big. These breeds might become more than 100 lbs, but of course you can never predict his exact weight. Think about it with people: ever seen two average height people have a tall child? One or more pups in the litter might be smaller than the rest, and one or more might become larger than the rest. It happens with dogs on an even greater scale than in humans. And this dog comes from big-ish dog breeds. That is irresponsible and abusive to the dog's needs. A dog becomes a member of your family, not something to be returned if it's too big, small, or imperfect in the human's eyes.
2. The second time was because the family was moving ... so they just left the dog behind in the laundry room. I cannot fathom such cruelty. It is deplorable, abusive and inhumane. Those humans do not deserve to call themselves human. That's all I have to say about them.
3. The third time was because the household cats could not get used to the dog, so the owners just returned the dog to the humane society. (Socializing pets with new pets can be hard. The owners may not have done the research needed to prepare or put the effort into doing it, but who knows their whole story?)

Isn't that poor dog's history disgusting and angering? This poor dog has done nothing wrong. He's been loyal, beautiful and innocent as human after human abused him in some way or another. Click here for his story.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

We have another 4-legged animal

I would love to adopt a second rescue dog. There are so many dogs in need of homes, and we have the room to have them. But Wade is happy with one dog.

So I was surprised when Wade told me right before bed, "We have another four legged animal in the house".

I knew he didn't just go out and pick up a dog. "A mouse?" I asked. "Yep."

Wade tried to kill it with his hockey stick. He almost got it, he told me, but he just missed when he brought the stick down. He told me that if he was closer, he'd have gone after it with his hands. Apparently, at a friend's house, he caught a mouse with his bare hands. (I did not ask what he did with the mouse.)

That freaked me out. Wade got a lecture on diseases: rabies and hantavirus. I told him not to TOUCH a wild mouse again.

We were both surprised by the mouse. There are no "signs" of a mouse living in our house (well, the unfinished area of our basement). There's no torn up tissue, no chewings, no mouse droppings.) Hopefully, that means the mouse hasn't been here long. I don't care about the mouse per se, but rather about the droppings it leaves (because that's unsanitary, gross and disease-causing). Wade's getting mouse traps on the way home. I don't want to kill the mouse - I mean, he just found a warm spot to winter (kinda like snowbirds). But what other option do we have? If we catch and release, he might find his way back to our house.

Do you have experiences with mice, vermin, or other uninvited guests?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

KFL&A Public Health: follow-up "letter"

Remember when I told you how inefficient your system was? Remember when I sent you about three different emails expressing my concern? (Thanks for the prompt replies, by the way. I did appreicate it.) And remember when I sent letters to the editor that were published in two local newspapers expressing my displeasure with your organization system's inefficiencies?

Yeah, me too.

Well, it seems like you've figured things out. Finally! If anyone shows up with more than a 45 minute wait, you get a wrist-band to come back at a designated time. That's great news!

And even better, the flu shot has been available to EVERYONE in Canada for the past week. No more prioritization by "high risk": everyone can get vaccinated for free in Canada.

My husband went on Friday, and the wait was only 30 minutes. (He still didn't feel like waiting 30 minutes, so he left. But he'll go back when he has more time.)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Introducing Charlotte

Charlotte is 3 days old, weight 6 lbs 2 oz at birth, and is the daughter of some very good friends of mine: Welcome to the world, Charlotte!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Princess was a very bad girl today

Very bad.

We went to my mom's neighbourhood and went for a walk with Yogi Bear, my mom's American Eskimo dog. A kid (maybe 12 years old) was riding his bike on the sidewalk, and as he went by us, he stopped and Princess bit at his leg. He was okay, he wasn't shook up, and the skin wasn't broken. At first, we actually (including the kid) thought she only got his jeans, but that wasn't the case. I gave his dad my vet's contact information (so he could verify she was up-to-date on all shots). As soon as we got back, I called the vet to tell them what happened and ask for a recommendation on a dog trainer. The father hadn't yet called the vet to ask about Princess at that time, but when he does, they'll confirm Princess is in fact up-to-date on all shots. Also, since the skin wasn't broken, there's no risk of any disease transmission, but I'm sure it'll still reassure the father.

I've already contacted the recommended dog trainer and am awaiting them to get back to me.

Can you believe this little thing was such a bad girl?

I was very shook up for at least an hour and a half afterward, and I'm still a little shook up. We will certainly make sure this doesn't happen again.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Our house is sold ...

... again

Call me cynical, but given our last experience, I think I'll hold off on "celebrating" until the house sale has completely closed.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Extreme Honesty

Seriously, the past few days have been really bad for lacking self control. If you know me personally, please don't judge me for what I say in this post! Tonight, Wade wanted dessert, so I baked cupcakes. And I proceeded to eat 4 1/2 of them. Apparently, two or even three cupcakes wasn't enough to satisfy me, so I ate 4 1/2. Think that's bad? Earlier this week, I had 1.5 L of ice cream over a period of two days. That is not a typo: I had 6 cups of the delicious cookie dough ice cream. Seriously, what is wrong with me? I ALWAYS feel overfull afterwards. I did this a lot when I was 10, 11, 12 years old, but I kicked the compulsion. It has always come back occassionally, but it lessened over time. Although, like this week, my over-indulging still happens now and then, it hasn't happened in well over a year. When this compulsion occurs, it's like some monster that must be fed overcomes me, and I can't stop eating until I am FULL. And I don't mean a little full, I mean bursting at the seams with more calories, sugar and fat than I would normally eat in a week.

There is no feelings of gratification when I'm done. I used to feel extreme guilt and shame for doing this to myself. Now, I realize there is no sense in feeling guilty. I just feel mad and frustrated with myself for not having more self control. It's just sometimes, once I start indulging, something turns "on", and I just can't stop eating.

I felt sick fifteen minutes ago. I wonder if I would feel better if I was sick, but I never want to go down that road, fearing it could lead to bulimia. My body just doesn't work that way: I am never sick if I overeat. Once the sugar high subsides (from the icing on the cupcake), I might feel so gross (as my insides digest all this unhealthy food) that I'll curl into a ball, or maybe (and this is what prefer) I'll have enough energy (and not feel too gross) so I can go for a walk and feel a bit better. I do not see myself as bulimic, but perhaps I have the potential to lean that way. I don't get sick, exercise or starve myself to compensate (as is the definition of bulimia), but I might go for a walk to feel better, and am often "turned off" sweets for days after (even thinking of sweets actually turns my stomac right now).

It really is like a compulsion, a monster that overtakes me and must be fed. How awful.

If you have any similar experiences, please feel free to share. Do you feel guilty after binge-eating? Do you or did you have any binge behaviours - eating, drinking, or otherwise? Do you see me differently (positively or negatively) for what I've admitted. Please feel free to share by commenting or emailing me.

Go Gaels, Go!

My husband and I both did our undergraduate degrees at Queen's University, a reputable school in Canada.

Although Queen's has acquired a bit of a party image in the past five years, the "big party" is only held on one week-end a year. Um, a party school that only has one party week-end and where most of the partiers don't even attend the school? Not such a party school, IMO. (For more information, see here or here).

Anyway, other than the one week-end of partying, at Queen's, we do things just a little different: for example, fraternities and sororities are banned (to foster school spirit and loyality, and it seems to work), and our official school song is in Scottish Gaelic. Yes, Scottish Gaelic.

Our football team just won the Yates Cup, which means next week, they play the semi-finals for the National Championship, referred to as the Vanier Cup. While we watched the game, tuckered-out Princess (tired from a 45 minute walk with Wade), helped us cheer on Queen's:
How cute is she?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Do you have triskaidekaphobia? Or worse paraskevidekatriaphobia? Then today is your worst day (for the third time this year)!

Paraskevidekatriaphobia is fear of Friday the 13th, and today is the third Friday the 13th this year. I didn't know that word until I looked up Friday the 13th on wikipedia! I did, however, know triskaidekaphobia, the fear of 13.

Why is 13 such an unpopular number? Well, again, according to wikipiedia, it's unnatural because it's one higher than 12. Twelve is good because there are twelve months in a year, twelve zodiac signs, twelve hours in a clock, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve apostles of Jesus and twelve gods of Mount Olympus. Evidently, twelve is a good number, therefore thirteen is a bad number.

And why is Friday the thirteenth bad? According to my all-knowing (and usually accurate) wikipiedia, Friday is unlucky because Jesus was crucified on a Friday. Therefore, Friday + 13 = double bad.

So, how do you like that history and cultural lesson?

Anyway, that's all I have to say about today. Best to avoid stepping on cracks, breaking mirrors, spilling salt, walking under ladders, and so on today. Oh, and join me in wishing Jen a Happy Birthday! Jen and I met in grade 6 figure skating, then went to school together from grade 7 to the end of high school (called OAC here, also known as grade 13). She's a terrific gal, and even though I've only averaged seeing her every other year the past five years, I still consider her a friend!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Princess learned a new skill today

She learned how to play by herself, taking her toy and throwing it in the air then catching it herself. It's pretty funny to watch.

While we wanted to name her Kiah (Australian aborigine for a beautiful place), she really does know her name is Princess. She responds to it so easily. So at this point, it's less and less likely we'll make any attempt to change her name.

That's all I have to post today. :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lest We Forget

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

This poem In Flanders Fields is recited by (English speaking) children all over Canada. It was written by Major Doctor John McCrae, a Canadian serving in World War I. He later died in that conflict. I recited this poem aloud when I stood in Flanders in 2005. I recited it in my head at Vimy Ridge earlier this year. It always sends chills down my spine when I recite it. It is powerful and emotional, and is also performed in other Commonwealth countries on Remembrance Day.

My wedding date was June 6th, 2009. Exactly 55 years earlier, Operation Overlord, now better known as D-Day commenced. Canadians paid a pivotal role in this battle, securing Juno Beach faster than any other allied force and advancing farther into France than any other allied force on that day.

A picture I took of some remaining trenches in Flanders Fields, 2005:

A picture I took of Vimy Ridge, 2009:

A picture of Wade and me at Juno Beach, 2009:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

So ... you have mere hours to enter!

You have probably already heard about Professional Bridesmaid's (who I often refer to as Pro 'Maid, or just PM) super-duper amazing giveaway: a personalized address stamp from Barbara Kua Calligraphy. If you haven't heard, you should go check it out now!

Friday, November 6, 2009

More Princess pictures!

A woman and a dog were playing fetch on tv. Princess saw the person throw the ball, then wagged her tail and ran behind the tv to look for the ball.


So I threw a ball for her.

Here's some new pictures of her:

Setting into our new home ... Day 0!

You know I moved recently. Well, just over a month ago. Here's a "home movie" I took on "day 0" - the evening we moved in!

By the way, I had no idea I was so emotional in my facial expressions.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

100 days to the Olympics!

The Bay (the company that outfitted Canada's Olympic Team) emailed me to tell me there are 100 days to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver!

I'm excited!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

To KFL&A Public Health

To whom it may concern:

I arrived at the flu clinic at 8am for the 10am opening. I was 12th in line. Ahead of me were four people over 65 (they told me they were over 65), knowing full well that the clinic was for those under 65 with chronic conditions only. We waited until 10am, when pregnant women, children under 2 years old, then children under 5 years old skipped the line. I agreed with the first two categories skipping the line, and further agreed when those in wheel chairs and on oxygen were individually pulled out of line. But that only added about 15 minutes to my wait.

When those under 5 years of age were added, a long line formed. In fact, the line was so long that I did not get my flu shot under 11am. In spite of being 12th in line, I waited for over an hour to get my shut! The clinic opened around 9:45 am, opening early, but all the children under 5 years old getting priority meant that the 12th person in line did not get seen until 11am!

You need to reconsider your organizational system. By having the "special" high risk include children under 5 years of age, it delayed opening of the line to "general" high risk by over an hour. That is unacceptable.

Also special exemptions for those OVER 65 is not right. Rules are there for a reason, based on risk. Those over 65, you tell us, have a partial immunity to this strain because a similar flu circulated many years ago. I will, however, consider advising my older relatives (over 65) with cancer that if they make a case with the doctor on-site, they will get an exemption.

Thank you for reading my concerns.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Geez Louise, KFL&A Public Health!

I try not to curse, because cursing is vulgar. Of course, there are times when it feels like nothing but the "bad" words will describe how you feel. So "geez louise" is a subdued (and "corny) description of how I feel right now.

Here in Canada, we are blessed by some foresight by our public health officials. After the SARS fiasco, in which the City of Toronto's inadequate response (both inadequate hospital infection control and occupational safety) led to numerous cases spreading within hospitals and resulted in many deaths (including a front-line nurse), the Ontario provincial government and the federal government realized we were not ready for a pandemic flu outbreak. Provincially, public health infrastructure was strengthened. Infection control in acute care (mostly hospitals) improved, but it's still not perfect. Federally, a pandemic plan was created, including pre-purchasing vaccine to a pandemic influenza. Not knowing the vaccine, they obviously didn't actually purchase it, but they entered a contract with a pharmaceutical supplier to guarantee enough vaccines for every Canadian.

That's right, every Canadian has guaranteed access to the vaccine, if he or she wants it.

Every province rolls out the vaccine stockpiles differently. In Ontario, our public health units administer it. In fact, in Ontario we're the only province to get a free flu shot from the public health units every year, so the public health units were set up for this task. This week, priority for this vaccine was given to those with "underlying health conditions", those who are pregnant, young children, and healthcare workers get it this week. Next week, everyone can get it. Since I have asthma, I'm at a higher risk of complications if I get the H1N1 influenza (aka swine flu aka pandemic influenza), so I'm in this group. I showed up to a clinic yesterday at a local church, and was disturbed by the gabillion vehicles parked up and down the road for it. So I left! Today's clinic was from 9am - 9pm, so around 10:30ish, I showed up to a clinic with my mom (who's on chemo) and was told the wait list was 2 hours. She didn't feel she could handle waiting 2 hours in line, so we left. She went back around 3pm when the wait was under an hour. I went back around 7pm and was told they weren't letting people in line so they could close at 9pm. I looked at the line, and it wasn't even half what it had been when it was "two hours". So I didn't get it.

I am upset and the inefficiency. You say you're open until 9pm, then let me get in line at 7pm. Tell me that if I'm not seen by 9pm, I won't get to see a nurse, then let me make the decision whether to get in line and hope for the best or walk away.
(I suspect the healthcare providers are just as frustrated as the patients!)

I might try going tomorrow, but I'm not sure. It's just frustrating, because you can't get these vaccines anywhere but these clinics! Doctors' offices can't give them out yet, and my doctor has opted not to give out the vaccine for administrative reasons. This is very inefficient.

To KFL&A Public Health (formerly known as KFL&A Health Unit): please evaluate your system of organization. It doesn't work. At 10:30am, your line was 2 hours and went to the "information desk". At 3pm, the wait was under an hour. I was told at 5:30, the line was 4.5 hours. Then when I returned at 7pm, it looked less than 2 hours, by what I could tell. So that long line was a temporary blip (or an over-estimation). Why couldn't I get my vaccination at 7pm? You advertised you'd be there until 9pm! And clearly, by the line length, you didn't have a wait of 2 hours at 7pm. I don't understand your system.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

We watched our wedding video!

... And it's great. I love it! Just fantastic.

You can hear us clearly. You can hear everything wonderfully. In some of the editting, some songs were shortened (namely the processional, Debussy's Claire de lune, and during the signing of the marriage documents, Schubert's "Ave Maria"). That's the only mild down side, but don't get me wrong: everything is fantastic. And considering a friend did the filming and editing for us (it's a hobby of his), we definitely lucked out! And the video really is great!

Just one thing: when Wade and I go to kiss, it looks like I was trying to EAT WADE'S HEAD OFF! Seriously, I was a little lot overzealous in that kiss. It looks ridiculous, not at all cute or sweet. And definitely not appropriate in front of friends and family in a church. It's not like we were all making out, but it just looks ... inappropriate and not at all what we I wanted to show my family.

Even Wade said it looked like I was trying to bite his head off.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Yay - internet is fixed. I think. So let me tell you about our doggy!

So, after spending almost two hours fixing our wireless receptor (it's a cross between a satellite dish and an old-fashioned tv antenna), our internet should be fixed.

Here's hoping!

So, the dog. Her name's Princess. She's about a year and a half old. She was found wandering the streets with another dog in Kentucky. She was "very pregnant" when she was found, and was taken into a shelter with a high-kill rate. So a local (to me, not local to Kentucky) rescue agency took her and her friend in (presumably the father of the puppies, but they have no way of knowing. The puppies were born in late June. Most of her puppies were adopted in September - there's still one left, but he shouldn't be there much longer.

Here's her remaining puppy in "foster care":
This puppy was born in "foster care" and was hand-raised in that great home. He's in Peterborough, Ontario, so if you're anywhere remoting near and are interested in him (or rescue dogs in general), go here for more information.

Look at my dog in the background of the picture! Yay!

Speaking of my dog, she currently goes by the name "Princess". We're not Princess people; never in a million years would Princess have occurred to us as a name. We're used to dogs named Tippy or Misty or Yogi or Patches. Not Princess. But she's used to that name. She responds to Princess. I suspect she has many good memories of the name Princess, since she was only named that after arriving at the dog rescue foster home. So if we were to change her name (as much as we'd love to call her "Kiah", which is Australian Aborigine for a beautiful place), we're not sure if she'll appreciate it.

Maybe we'll just call her Princess Kiah, and see. Or maybe she'll stay Princess.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Internet Woes

I have more honeymoon pictures to upload, but everytime I try, the internet goes down. I have a little snippit of a wedding video to share, but again, the internet is down more than it's up. (And when it's up, it doesn't seem to last long.) I have stories to share - some are interesting, some are fairly mundane, but everytime I try to enter it, it goes down.

So in the spirit of my whining on Wednesdays (haha), today, I will tell you that our internet is having problems. It's being looked into by our internet supplier, and will hopefully be rectified. If not ... well, we'll be SOL because there are only two companies that supply high speed out here: one is wireless (yes, the signal is wireless) and the other is satellite. Both are expensive to set up, but then cost the same as any other internet supplier once installed. Of course, there's always the new "stick" internet options (the rocket stick and the internet key are the two main options here). But they can both be expensive if you use lots of bandwith.

We went with the wireless option because it was already set up in this house (meaning we don't pay the expensive set-up fee). So here's hoping their repair works, because the other options are not ideal.

Anyway, on a positive note, we adopt our NEW DOG on Saturday!!! :) Yay! She's between a year and a year-and-a-half, a cocker spaniel / australian cattle dog / blue heeler mix. It's very exciting. I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It's a Christmas commercial!

I just saw the first Christmas commercial of the season. Even though it's mid-October. Now, I realize the toy companies amplify the toy advertising in September in preparation of Christmas. But they don't actually have Christmas songs or images. Well, had a commercial with Christmas presents and songs!

I will continue to tune Christmas out. That's my plan every year! I tune out Christmas ads until December 1st! :) Then, I'm Miss Christmas. I love Christmas, but only in December!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Did I miss something?

You need to read this article about an American justice of the peace who won't perform interracial marriages, citing "evidence" the marriage won't last. Um, hello, but don't almost half of American marriages end in divorce? That's not a very good "success" rate, and yet that doesn't stop any other justice of the peace performing any other marriage. (That's the figure I always hear quoted, but I can't verify it anywhere. In Canada, it's a little lower, but not much - it's around 33-40%.)

America is supposed to be the land of the free, a place where interracial marriages are allowed. The justice of the peace says he's not racist, just being logical given his supposed evidence interracial marriages don't last. He says proof that he's not racist is that he lets his black friends use his bathroom. (How generous of him.)

I hope this justice of the peace is reprimanded for his intolerant actions.

Age is all relative :)

Evidently, Zac Efron turns 22 this week-end. I was watching some entertainment news show inform of us this on t.v. briefly with 8-year-old Lily (one of my flower girls). I don't really watch these shows, and haven't watched this type of show in a few years. Also, I barely know who Zac Efron is, and I got the impression Lily was not really familiar with him either. After finding out he was 22, I was amazed to find out Zac Efron was in his 20s! I thought he was a teenager, but I guess it makes sense because teen "heart throbs" are usually older than their teenager years.

Lily, however, reminded me that I am a grown-up when she exclaimed: "Twenty-two! He's old!"

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Is anyone else worried about this flu season?

H1N1, aka the "swine flu" is here. It'll be where you live, if it hasn't already been there. It's real. And here's what scares me: of the people who are hospitalized because of complications, 67% are woman. It is affecting those between the ages of 20-40 in surprisingly high numbers. And, believe it or not, most people who get complications do NOT have severe underlying conditions.

That being said, most people who catch it will not get severe complications. You may have already had the H1N1 flu, and it was probably no worse than any other flu or cold. You maybe had back aches, malaise (that yucky feeling), a head ache, a slight fever and/or a cough. That's all it is for most people.

I'll be in line when the vaccine comes out. Why? It's just as safe as the seasonal flu shot. You can NOT catch the flu from the vaccine (no, you can't). The side effects of the vaccine are small (the biggest side effect is: slight arm tenderness around the injection site). And it'll mean I can't get the H1N1 flu later.

What do you think of the H1N1 flu and the vaccine? I'd love to hear what others think.*

*I'd love to hear what you think unless you're a conspiracy theorist. If you believe the H1N1 flu was engineered by humans to cull the population, or you believe the H1N1 vaccine was designed to cause sterility in women in order to control the population, please refrain from commenting on my post. If you have genuine concerns and don't believe the world governments are outwardly trying to kill people, please comment!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's Thanksgiving Monday in Canada. My mom had a turkey on Friday, my in-laws had Chinese food on Saturday (that I couldn't attend) and my hubby and I had a luncheon for our parents today. At the last minute, my parents couldn't attend (for a very good reason), but the rest of us had a lovely lunch. And I might take some leftovers to my parents tomorrow, if they're up for it.

I couldn't make the in-laws dinner on Saturday because I went to Kristy's bachelorette party in Toronto. We stayed in a suite at the Sutton Place, the hotel the stars stay at during the film festival, and it was definitely a swanky place! We had lychee martinis and wine, played some games and hung out with a large group of women, including the bride's mother and aunt (who both decorated a mean penis-shaped chocolate cupcake). Then, most of us got in a limo and were ferried on a pub crawl, starting with a "pub" (a bar when we got there, a live music hotspot when we left) and ending at a club (Devil's Martini). Those were the only two spots on our pub crawl, but it was great fun!

The lunch for our parents consisted of honey-garlic pork chops (veggie burger for me, of course), sweet potato casserole, broccoli-cauliflower casserole and cookies ("farmer's market") for dessert. Yum! I got the recipes from, and was told they were "keepers". My only criticism: the prep time was much greater than the estimated prep time on the website, and I cooked the broccoli-cauliflower casserole for much longer than it advised.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Time for me to start the honeymoon pictures!

Day 1: June 8th
From left to right: the view from our hotel room, then our walk after we got settled:

Then we went to the Eiffel Tower. It was raining, so the crowds weren't as bad as they are when it's nice. We did NOT walk up the Eiffel Tower! The elevator / lift was fine for us. :)

(That's a lot of kilometers to Canada, eh?)

Day 2: June 9th
The next day, we walked to the Musee d'Orsay. It was originally a train station, but now houses some of the best impressionist paintings. I was surprised there were some artists there copying the impressionists. How neat is that!

(That last piece of art is interesting, non?)

And at Les Invalides, we visited Napoleon's tomb. Poor man, he was villified for losing (although it was largely due to hubris that he lost at Waterloo) and ostracized and sent to die "in isolation" on an island (meaning, not in Paris). Just a few years after he died, they went, "Oh, he actually was a French hero. Bring his coffin to Paris so we can honour him!" Kind of a fickle delayed reaction.

(Look closely, and you can see Wade.)

And the view from our hotel room at night:

(Source of pictures: me, Wade, and random stranger)

How frustrating is this?

Since we moved in last Friday, there has been a buzzing on the phone line. I have had this happen before in past residences. It's annoying.

So I called Bell on Monday to ask them to fix it. I talked to Debbie, who had a strong east-asian accent. Whether that means she's in Canada or India is irrelevant to me. But I doubt her given name at birth was Debbie based on her accent. First, she asked which phone it was on. It's on all the phones. Then Debbie asked if we had unplugged all the phones then re-plugged them back in. I said yes, but in fact we hadn't. The problem isn't how we plugged in the phones, so it was a white lie. So Debbie sent out a technician for today between 8 am and 12 noon. Okay, that's a broad time (I'd prefer 9 am - 12 noon), but I'll live with it.

Today at 12:01 p.m. I called Bell to tell them NO ONE SHOWED UP.

The representative I talked to also had an east-asian accent, but she had a beautiful, distinctly asian name. Sumanya or Sumanka or something like that. I didn't quite understand - not because of her accent, but because the buzzing noise makes in hard to understand anything. I appreciate that she used her real name, I find that respectful and honest. (Many phone centre workers probably get yelled at by ignorant people who are upset they don't have an "English" name, which is why they switch to "English" names for their job. That's a shame.)

Anyway, back to the story. She said the Bell technician had fixed the line from their end, but she said that clearly they had not because she could hear the buzzing. I appreciated her recognizing that it wasn't fixed.

But it was still RUDE that the Bell technician did not tell me they had "fixed" the line. Obviously, this person thought it was fixed. But I wonder if the fix was laziness or didn't know how to fix it, or what. But had the technician just CALLED, he (or she) would have known instantly that it was NOT fixed.

Customer service? Pffft. I don't think so!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Why do we need money?

I am not purporting a turn to communism. Really, I'm not. But in theory, wouldn't the world be nicer if we didn't need money? I pick up the body wash or kettle or sweater I want. I don't need to look at price, and since I'm used to this system, I don't pick the ones with all the bells and whistles of each product, but a quality product with only the features I need. In return, I don't get a pay cheque, but that's okay.

Of course, I realize there are so many problems with this system. How is it fair if I work harder than you? What if I'm really educated, and yet I want to work at a local coffee shop or fast food joint to eschew the responsibilities that come with the job for which I was trained? These roles must be filled.

But I had these grand thoughts of how it might work as I fell asleep last night. Here are some ideas:
-No one can be greedy. Just because the washing machine or jeans are free, doesn't mean I get the "most expensive" pair. (Of course, expenses don't exist. But I can't pick the item with the most features. I pick just what I need.)
-Everyone must contribute. No one lives on welfare or they don't get anything. (Perhaps that's the way it should be when there are apparently third generation families on welfare. However, they are in the minority, so I shouldn't get too upset.)
-Everyone must work to his/her ability. This is one of my plan's down points. Not everyone wants to fulfill his/her potential. The number of ladies I used to work with at Sears demonstrated that: they had no need or desire to do anything but work in bed and bath, folding towels and answering questions about threadcounts. It wasn't that they didn't have the capacity, but they wanted an easy job that paid okay.

So I don't think my "plan" would work. And as communism has demonstrated, it rarely works. There is corruption and those who want more than their share. Those in power want more. They feel they deserve more because they do more. But that's true of everyone, isn't it? I feel I deserve to make more than I did when I worked at Sears. I have more education, more responsibility, more authority. In fact, I have very unique qualifications, and while that suits me for a good income, it also means there are less jobs out there for me to apply to. So I'm not that different, I suppose, than those who corrupt. Of course, there's a difference between me and those who corrupt: I haven't actually acted on anything. Mind you, I haven't had the opportunity to become corrupt, but I hope that if I do, I make the right decision.

Anyway, no idea on how my post switched from everyone being equal and living in a perfect society to my hope that I would chose the high road if faced with a moral dilemma. But it did, and I'm going to click "post" as this is.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

We're moved in ...

... and getting settled! There's still loads to unpack and sort out. But we're not bad! I took a couple videos as we unpacked, so if I can figure it out, I will post them on here. No promises, though!

Our week-end largely involved unpacking, but we also fit in other things: I went to my Saturday aerobics class, Wade & I went shopping at Canadian Tire, I went to a baby shower today, and Wade's at hockey. So the week-end was just unpacking, but that was definitely the central theme!

I'm still not sure what to think of not living in the city. I never thought we'd move out here. I love the house, but I'm not sure I like the "commute". Sure, it's only 15 minutes north of the city, but I'm used to being in town! And Wade didn't think he'd end up living on a septic system again. But here we are, in the small town Wade grew up in, 15 minutes north of the City of Kingston on well water in a community that does not have natural gas access. Craziness!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Almost moving day!

We move here tomorrow. Obviously, the pool isn't open now. The leaves are starting to turn, so it's not so green and luscious, but it'll still be bright and beautiful!

I dread tomorrow like you wouldn't believe. I hate moving. But I look forward to living there. So much! It's a huge mixture of emotions.

Don't expect any posts for another couple days. I don't know how quickly I'll be up and running again! In theory, by the afternoon, we'll have internet. But I won't hold my breath!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Things I discovered while packing:

  • My husband owns a Worf t-shirt from 1994 (the shirt is actually signed & dated for some reason).
  • We have way more glasses than we could ever use (and much of it is now going to the local thrift store)!
  • We have way more tupperware and bakeware than we will ever use (also going to the thrift store).
  • I like wrapping things with bubblewrap.
  • I look forward to popping the aforementioned bubblewrap when unpacking!
  • I don't think bubblewrap is very eco-friendly, so we also bought some recycled paper bubblewrap substitute. It's not as fun as bubblewrap, but it's still satisfying to wrap things with it. And it's recyclable when we're done.
  • I still don't like packing, but it's easier to pack certain things (my husband's clothes, the dishes) than others (the bathroom supplies, my clothes).

Parking lots

I think most parking lots are not designed. At all. Someone plopped down the parking lot as an after thought, and didn't even consider people would drive in them. I mean, if someone actually thought about flow and safety in a parking lot, corners would be open and visible. And yet parking lots are filled with blind corners, right corners, and and full shrubs (or worse - trees) are planted at corners.

Who in their right mind would create such unsafe corners? Sure, when you planted that shrub or tree, it was small. But with even a tiny bit of forethought, you'd have realize that shrub or tree would grow and fill out, blocking visibility.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Joke of the Day!

Ever feel like when you call "Tech Support" or "Customer Services" for any given company, you're calling someone working on the other side of the world? You need to watch this video.

For Canadians ... or anyone who kinda understands how the Canadian electoral system works ... or anyone who finds that "Slap Chop" commercial annoying ... go watch this video!

Let me know what you think!

Moving and other frustrations

So we are faced with a few dilemmas and a few conundrums. (Or is it conundri?) All of these problems are relating to our move on Friday, and I'll elaborate on them more another day.

Like many new brides, I have put on weight. It started with the amazing French food on the honeymoon! It continued with a lazy, mostly relaxing summer which involved barbecues and not enough activity. In an effort to get back to my wedding weight, I have now started back up with the aerobics, which is great but painful! I have yoga tonight, which I am loving (although tonight's only the second class). On Saturdays, I have a total body training circuit class. I still feel it from my first class. So hopefully, I can get back down a few pounds so my jeans aren't so snug.

Anyway, blogging over. Back to packing!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn! (I'm tired and I hate packing)


We packed this week-end. And paused for a yummy dinner cooked by Wade's mommy.

I like packing with Wade much better than when I lived on my own. Significant parts of packing involves him holding things up and I tell him which pile it goes into. Then he packs the piles into the appropriate boxes.

And even though I have the easiest packing EVER, I still hate it.

That's how much I hate packing.

Blah. And yaaaaaaaaaaaaawn.

On the bright side: we move on Friday!
On the down side: I have to pack dishes by myself tomorrow.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

If you buy this house:

If you buy this house, our house sale will be finalized. And the seller is in a HUGE HURRY to sell, so keep that in mind when looking at their asking price. (We're no longer in a huge hurry to sell, thankfully.)

Know anyone interested in real estate in Kingston? :)

UPDATE: If that house doesn't sell by Monday, we may have to consider breaking our deal with our buyer and put our house back up on the market. We're not in a huge rush to sell, like our buyer is, because the bank approved us to carry both houses (not bridge financing, but a second loan). So then we can take our time and sell again. Our house sold in less than 2 weeks last time: 6 day to get an offer, and less than 2 weeks to fully close the deal. And that's typical in our neighbourhood. We have a small home in a very desirable neighbourhood, and real estate is good in our town right now (it's picked up since we listed in August). So we are so happy, no matter what happens, we have faith it'll work out!

Friday, September 25, 2009

So ... we're back to buying our house!

Le sigh. The big mess is fixed. As friends on facebook pointed out, the "problem" was the buyer (SM*) & her lawyer's problem, but since she lost the financing, it became our problem.

What confuses me the most: her realtor (JT*) told us that SM lives in Ottawa and was moving to Kingston. JT wanted us to lower our house price because we couldn't close on her preferred date (Sept 18), so SM would have to live in a hotel for a couple weeks because she was moving to Kingston on September 18, from Ottawa. That's over 200 km away! However, now we've found out that in fact SM lied to us: she does in fact live in our city. In fact, she lives about a 15 minute walk away from where we live! Something very bizarre happened here. SM is lying outright, threatening to sue us over a couple hundred dollars, and now it turns out she hadn't sold her house. And her realtor, JT, obviously knew SM lived in Kingston. So JT is a dishonest realtor, and I believe lying like this is unethical.

Long story short: we are approved to buy our new house before our current hosue sells. So it doesn't matter now! We will briefly own two houses, which will be very tight in the budget. But do-able. And once our house sells, our finances will free up! :)

Wow, how did we get caught up in this mess? We don't have drama in our lives. This isn't us.

*Initials of names may be changed for legal reasons/protection.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

House Trouble

Holy macaroni people! Don't clear your conditions on the house, buy our house, then come back and say "oh, our house sale fell through, so we can't afford to buy your house now."

You signed a contract that you would buy our house. What are you, new?

Seriously? Seriously! Arg!

If you give us a new confirmed date, then we can bridge finance and still get our house for next week. So do that. Please? Pretty Please?


Have you seen this ad?

I don't get it. Especially the balloon thing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Letter to random people:

-To the lady I almost cut off in the Home Depot parking lot:
Yes, you were on the straightaway, so me almost merging into your lane was my mistake. I apologize for not paying greater attention. But in my defense, you were going about 50 km/h in a parking lot, and you sped of nowhere, so I didn't see you. Plus, my stellar reflexes and defensive driving skills ensured I braked and let you have the right of way. While we're on the subject, perhaps you should evaluate the need to go so fast in a parking lot. Plus, glaring at someone on your right while driving forwards is not the safest way to drive. Eyes on the road, please, not glaring at other drivers. You could have driven into someone else while you were busy glaring at me!

-To the man behind me in line at Starbucks:
I realize you were talking to your wife, but you stood about 5 cm behind me and then loudly said something to your wife. I jumped because you were so close and so loud. I moved forward to give me more room between us. Next time that happens, please don't move forward. I like having a "bubble" of a couple centimetres around my body that I don't like strangers standing in.

-To the old people who live in the old people's apartments off Davis Drive:
If you can't handle driving 20 km/h on a street, you shouldn't be driving. It's a 50 km/h speed limit, and I agree that when children are playing it's better to drive slower than the limit, but 20 km/h for the entire street is too slow. You should not be driving: please be honest with yourself and consider the safety of other. Stop driving.

-To the doctors and family of the above old people:
It's embarassing to tell someone who has driven all their life that they should not drive any longer. It takes away their independence. But how will you feel if they are one of the few old people who kill someone because they confused the brake with the accelerator? Be responsible and do the right thing. And (in my mind) you are just as guilty if the above old person hurts someone while driving.

-To the healthcare agency that runs the "supported individuals home" at the end of my street:
I realize individuals with cognitive and development disabilities deserve dignity in their care. Large hospital-style settings were not ideal, they were impersonal, and they didn't provide adequate or dignified care. But are homes filled with three people who can't do a thing really the answer? On the house on my street, the individuals don't leave their house ever, your staff take out their garbage a full day before garbage day (which is unsightly and smelly), your organization doesn't clear the sidewalk of snow in front of your house (everyone else on the street keeps their sidewalks clear, as per the by-law requirements) and every now and then I walk by and hear the screaming of an upset individual inside. I don't see how that level of care is dignified. There has got to be a better answer.

-To the person who is buying our house:
We did give you last year's property tax information, which was our mistake. But that doesn't mean we're going to "knock money off" our house price. It was couple hundred dollars. The house is just over $200,000. You are concerned about peanuts and grasping at straws when you say the tax price was a selling feature. And you have just diminished our desire to clean the house before we left. We were going to scrub the house clean before we moved out. Now, you can deal with the soap scum in our your tub, and the dust on the stairwell railing. Of course, we won't trash or mistreat the house in any way. But we won't clean it to be spin 'n' span.

Ahh ... I feel a little better. I think I'll do this more often.

Monday, September 21, 2009

What an odd week-end

I played baseball on Saturday in an all week-end tournament. In the last game on Saturday, I took a line drive off my shin (well, my glove had deflected it), which smarted. But Saturday night, it really started to swell. A lot. I was quite worried, actually, so I iced it, then slept with my leg elevated. But Sunday morning, there was still significant edema, so I opted not to play on Sunday. However, in exchange for not playing, I had to look after another girl on the team's baby. Baby Liam was a joy and a delight! So we hung out all day Sunday and watched his mommy and daddy and my husband play baseball.

Our team went to the A finals (like in the mid-season tournament). Unlike in the mid-season tournament, we lost to the same team we beat earlier in the year. It was too bad, but it was a good day. I wished I was played, but I doubt my team missed me! I'm very good defensively, but I can't hit to save my life. And I'm not being modest: I batted 0 for 7 or 8 on Saturday. That's right, I never got safe at first. Boo!

Anyway, the shin's swelling today is down, and in its place is an awful bruise. Bruises are manageable, and in this case expected. I am so happy that it's healing, and will probably spend the next week or two mesmerized by the colours my shin will change!

I'm still on the job hunt - I probably will be for at least a month. I'm not worried yet, and I'm sending out plenty of resumes. But at what point will I get frustrated?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Vibrating Items (no, not those types of "items")

I posted this on my "other blog:

(I found out about this via Ellen. Is this not hilarious?!)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Job Applications

There aren't a lot of jobs posted right now. Frankly, the economy's not that bad in my part of the world. My city's main employers are a large hospital (actually three affiliated regional hospitals and a regional cancer research centre), two universities, one college, the province and the federal government. These are not employers particularly hit by the economic downturn.

There are employers in the area that have done some small lay-offs. But not many. However, many employers are being frugal, because of the economy. Frankly, most of them are using the economy as an excuse to be conscientious of spending. It's never bad for a company to be frugal, but it wasn't been popular when the economy was booming. Now it's not, and companies are being over-zealous in their reigning in the spending.

And so no one is posting hiring. But I need a job.

Yesterday, I mailed letters to five firms. Today, I mailed off another five. Tonight, I'll do another six. And in a few weeks, I'll follow-up by calling them. Anything I can do to improve my strategy?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fund-raising for a no-kill animal shelter!

A local-ish humane society shelter has a neat fund-raiser: they have a local artist who will paint your pet, and the cost of the painting supports the shelter! How great is that! They're a no-kill shelter, which means they won't euthanize healthy animals, so their costs are much higher to keep the animals comfortably housed and well fed.

Please go here to see the artwork!

What a neat idea! I love creative fund-raising ideas like this.


I had an awful panic attack last night. Actually, it wasn't as bad as they can be; it was an average panic attack. But all panic attacks are awful. Yuck. Fortunately, I don't have them often. At the time of the panic attack, they're scary. But they're really just annoying because they're so disruptive to me. And they scare the bejezus out of my husband - he can't do anything to help. I sometimes scream or yell. I use relaxation techniques to end it earlier, and usually holding me while I try to relax helps, so if my husband is there, I ask him to hold me. But sometimes, when they're bad, I will run up and down the stairs to try to tire my body, in the (futile) hope of tiring my brain, too. So I just tell him what I'm going to do and what I need him to do.

Yuck. And for the record, I don't mean "panicking", I mean a panic attack. The first couple times I had a panic attack, I thought I was having a heart attack. Once I learned what I was experiencing, coping became better. I know I'm not dying; I know I'm physically fine; my breathing is not affected; I don't actually panic. But the racing heart, sweating, extreme distress, trembling, etc, are not alleviated by the fact that I know I'm physically fine. Grr. They only ever occur in the evening, almost always when I'm in bed.

Go to wikipedia or the CMHA to learn more. What they describe is typical panic attacks. I don't think I'm going to die: in fact, I know I'm not going to die, so that is not anything for me to worry about. I don't have schizophrenia at this point (Thank God), but it can appear later in life, too. Also, I don't have agoraphobia or any other phobias. In fact, I love social situations and thrive in them. So I don't fit the "classic symptoms" of a panic attack in that way.

They only affect my life if I start having them frequently. If I have a couple in the same week, I start to worry / get anxious I'll have more. Then, in a self-fulfilling prophecy, I usually have more. And that just sucks. Because I always have them at night, in bed, my sleep can suffer.

But I haven't had a panic attack in months before last night (Thank God) and I have no reason to suspect more will be coming. I'll be more vigilant in relaxation techniques before bed and not get anxious about it.

Does anyone else who reads my blog have any mental health issues? I don't mean to ask "are you crazy?". I don't consider myself crazy, at least not in the clinical sense! If you would like to comment anonymously, please feel free to do so! Mental health is so taboo, but it's nothing to be ashamed about. The more we talk about it, the more we break down stigmas. Please share!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Adoption (of doggies)

We have applied to adopt this dog.

She's about a year old, a rescue from a shelter in Kentucky (presumably a kill shelter) and we have been jumping through hoops to apply for her.
  • First, we submitted a four page application for her.
  • Then we had a 20 minute phone interview.
  • Then our four references were called and interviewed. (First question: if you were a dog, would you want Krista and Wade to be your owners?)
  • Next we have a home visit to verify our home is acceptable for a dog.
  • Then, if she's still available, we drive 2+ hours to go meet her (she's being fostered just over 2 hours away from here).
If only all pet owners - and for that matter parents - were screened like this. There would be many more happy, healthy pets and children! Pet ownership is not an easy thing: there are many challenges, and you must be prepared for this. Pets pee inside, they can exhibit aggression or other negative behaviours, they might challenge you. You have to train the dog, teach it acceptable manners and behviours, put it in its place if it becomes aggresive or challenges you, exercise it, spend money on veterinary care.

Don't get me wrong, the work is worth it. But you get what you put in. You have to constantly address behaviours so they don't become bad dogs. For example, my parent's dog can be dominant, and while my parents are very good at addressing dominant behaviours, she used to challenge me now and then. So I have to show her that I'm "dominant" over her. She rarely challenges me now, but when she was younger she did. She clearly thought, "You don't live here. Who do you think you are? I'm higher than you in this family!" So I had to show her that I may not live there, but I'm higher than her in the hierarchy. Dogs are pack animals. If you don't establish yourself in a pack hierarchy, you risk dominant or aggressive behaviours. And we're prepared to work to teach the dog, but definitely to love the dog.

Wish us luck!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Random Thought of the Day

Why is cottage cheese called cottage cheese? It has nothing to do with cottages ... unless it has to do with what it would look like if you're at the cottage and you leave the sour cream out of the fridge. I figure that would be about the same consistency as cottage cheese.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dear Michael's

I would just like to protest over your sales. Why were all your picture frames on sale last week for 40% off, but then they were all 50-55% off this week? I bought a frame last week, for a beautiful wedding picture, thinking it was a good deal. Then this week, you're on sale for more! And do you think I can find my receipt? No, of course not! I can find receipts from items purchased two months ago, but nothing from last week. Why do you tempt me with sales, only to put it on for sale for more the next week? Are you mean? Do you enjoy subjecting me to cruel and unusual punishment? Why would you do such a thing?

And while we're on the subject of sales, your "Michael's only" brand frames are made by someone else. Of course they are. I know it, you know it, and many of your customers know it. Just like Kenmore (Sears's "own" brand) is in fact made by other manufacturers, so too are your pictures frames. For example, the picture frames I love are made by Uniek (as one can discover by reading the price tag code). Beautiful frames. The 5x7" of my favourite frame costs $25.99. At 40% off, that cost me $15.60 plus taxes. Now at half off, I'd have saved another $2.60. That's not a lot of money, but it is another coffee.

And another thing. The exact same frames I like, made by Uniek, are sold at Walmart under the Uniek brand name for $12.50. Meaning that, even compared to Michael's 50% off, Walmart is still cheaper, which I hate to admit because, well, Walmart doesn't have the best business practices when it comes to purchasing from suppliers. [Although their health & safety measures for local workers are phenomenal, so that kind of makes up for it.]

So, buying another copy of the same frame I like from Walmart saved me another $0.50. Again, not much, but it's the principle. Those 40% off and 50% off sales and/or coupons aren't looking so appealing when the regular price at Walmart is better than your best price.

And I'm not even going to get into the scrapbooking supplies! Walmart now carries all the same companies you carry (K&Company, Martha Stewart, Jolie's, etc), at cheaper. The only downside is Walmart is filled with Walmart shoppers. But I can put up with the crazies for their better prices.

So, Michael's, in summary, as much as I love you (and I do) I just wanted to let you know that sometimes you're a bum. (And I mean it in the nicest way possible.) I will still shop at you. But, unfortunately, I will never again look at you with puppy dog eyes, eager to please and smitten with love. We'll still be friends, but our relationship will never be the same again.


A loving customer
who has literally spend thousands of dollars at your fine establishment

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Day 1 of unemployment

Today, I:
-slept in a bit
-applied to a job with the Government of Canada
-got groceries
-contacted our internet provider for our move
-thought about doing some dishes ... then decided against it (for now)
-thought about going appliance shopping (might still happen this afternoon ... we do need appliances for our new house)
-watched the news
-thought about what places I should cold call

Well ... not particularly productive. I'll have to improve my efficiency in the next few days!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy Labour Day!

Once again, we have a busy week-end. Yesterday, we saw the Toronto Blue Jays play the Yankees at the Skydome. The Jays lost, unfortunately, but it was a good game. The Jays hit a homerun near us: if you have really good vision you can see us in this video. Go ahead, click on it to watch the video, please!

Didn't see us? Well, in this still image (click on it to make it bigger, and you'll see us inside the red circle):
Facing us, I was to the left of Wade. I have a white hat on, Wade's wearing a white Blue Jays jersey. We're celebrities. We're famous! (Haha, I don't think so ... but it is neat.)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Well, things could be worse . . .

. . . But it still hurts when you find out you've been laid off.

That's what I found out last week. I've been asked to work out the notice time period, so I'm doing that with the best effort I can.

I'm working a contract for a utility that was to end at the end of November. I had been assured repeatedly (after asking my boss point-blank) that my contract would not be ended early. I was assured there was work for me to do. Evidently, there just isn't money to pay me.

I'm not bitter, but I'm a little annoyed. But that's not constructive. I'm working off the next week until my contract ends and starting to look for a job. If you hear of any Environmental, Health and Safety related jobs, or any jobs that will apply to someone with an undergraduate degree in Life Sciences (anatomy, genetics, pharmacy, toxicology, etc) or a graduate degree in Health Sciences / Public Health (occupational health, environmental health, health & safety, epidemiology, etc.), let me know!