Monday, June 30, 2008

*spoiler alert*

Sometimes being addicted to certain Great British Dramas can be hazardous to ones nerves. Most of the episodes are shown in Canada weeks or months later than in the UK, and I foolishly keep reading entertainment news on the internet. Forgetting about the serious *spoiler alert* that follows.

Now, I already get Corrieblog sent to me by email. And, yes, I do read the episode updates. So I already know about future births and deaths and leavings. I've gotten used to and almost like those spoilers and am prepared for Vera. (And as for that other one, for my Brit friends to understand how bad this gets - Nana Moon has just died!)

But today, I was absent-mindedly reading the Guardian Homepage and right there, on the right hand side, was "Tennant Evicted" Dr Who? A new Doctor!?? Say it isn't so! I anxiously opened the link and with a slight sense of dread, read that the weekend's cliffhanger could mean this was Tennant's last stand. He was exterminated by a dalek as he rushed to be reunited with Rose. The universe was falling apart.
There's rumours galore.
James Nesbitt? Robert Carlysle? Christopher Ecclestone returning for a special?
David Tennant not really leaving?
A woman Doctor?
Who is Donna?

OMG We are so far behind.

There are already over 200 comments on the article.
Dr Who fans are very prolific. And ardent. And opinionated. And oh, so picky. They pay very close attention to every detail. They know who directed or wrote every episode. Comparisons are made. Criticisms are levied. Seriously. They are also very entertaining.

You've been warned.

Monday AMuse



Egg Timer For (German) Football Fan

Put in pot with egg and it will play a melody when desired firmness of egg is reached:
National Anthem for soft boiled
Stadium Clap for medium boiled
Triumph March for hard boiled

Sunday, June 29, 2008

the view from here

I am sitting in my 'sitting room' that is commonly called a 'living room'. Except, in the layout of my apartment it should be the dining room. So I can call it anything I want, then. It is an L-shaped room with the computer at the short end. To my right is the kitchen, which sits in the crook of the L, to the left is the wall of windows and the door to the balcony. I can see out to the balcony and also the tv and the aquarium. And keep an eye on anything on the stove. It is the perfect location. The computer sits in an armoir that is also overflowing with a small stereo, a couple of cd's, baskets and file boxes with stuff thrown in, a mandarin orange scented candle, an array of bills, scrap bits of paper, a paperweight not weighting any paper and a printer that does not work unless you print big and double space. There is also a wedding invitation and some lip gloss. The beauty of the armoir is being able to close the doors and forget all about the mess. Except that lately I have been sitting here reading stories of lives as if reading a novel. Several novels. The doors are not usually ever closed.

Outside my windows I can see the trees that block the view of the building opposite. It will be a few years before they will block the view of the new condo being built, but for the time being there is a crane that hovers... I have put my plants on tables or hanging from the railing so that I can see them also through the windows.

I see that the windows need cleaning.

Damn. I was having such a good time.

A Big Shout Out to Spain


Espana 1 - Deutschland 0


44 year wait
(and 23 million euros for team)


Bath Spa

The last time I took a vacation was ... 5 years ago. It is easy to keep track of as my passport now needs renewing. As it did the vacation before that. Five years previous. I don't know when this trend started. I don't think it was intentional. It certainly hasn't been due to being a work-a-holic.

Oh, yeah, I remember. I went back to school, then started a new career, which took off rather slowly. So, it was money.

There has been a bit of an emotional toll over the last 5 years with family.

We all have family issues, and I don't want to moan about any of it. But the short version: hospital visits; SIL's breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and remission; putting both parents, separately, into new accommodation; house clearing out; house selling; family discord; more hospital visits; both parents dying within 15 months of each other and the financial issues that come with that.

But now, I have holidays booked.

My cousin's son is getting married, and I have been invited. They think I might need cheering up. Something to look forward to. I'm okay with that thought.

I am a little freaked out at the air fares!!! And I keep hearing that it will only get worse.

How is it that airlines are still allowed to entice you by advertising such a reasonable fare like say from $229 one way ex app taxes.
Then zing you with those app taxes that are MORE THAN THE ORIGINAL FARE ??

I have decided to go for it. And I tried Alda, but cannot quite swing a stopover in Iceland this time. My curiosity will have to continue to be piqued by Alda's reports.

So, am heading off to England in mid August for two weeks. Finding someone to cover for my two paper routes over Labour Day weekend is way too stressful to even consider. My other jobs are easy to rearrange.

One wedding at a country estate, 3 days in Bath, the rest at my cousins in Berkshire.

Air + hotels all booked.

I am so excited, I need to do something silly. (see below)

doleful cows


Ben & Jerry's is on sale!


and what is everyone's favourite flavour?
(does anyone know where Vermonty Python slithered off to? haven't found it in a long time)

New 6 week diet starts tomorrow.

Friday, June 27, 2008

a long weekend (of sorts)

You know how sometimes, when you finally get to bed and you know you are really only going to have a nap because you don't have more than 4 hours to sleep before you have to get up again, and you set your alarm, but mysteriously wake up an hour before the alarm goes off? And how you've really only been asleep for a short while, yet somehow feel so very refreshed, as if you actually had slept for 8 hours?

You lie in bed, thinking, my God, but that was a good sleep.

Then immediately think, my God, but it is too early to get up.

Then ... COFFEE.

Then you immediately fall back to sleep.

And wake up with the alarm a few minutes later.

And feel like shit, as if you've overslept by 4 hours.

Yeah. That's how my day began.



And has anyone wondered about how the stat holiday [weekends] have become so generically referred to as simply The Long Weekend?
Even this weekend. Which is Canada Day. On TUESDAY.
So, the holiday weekend is Saturday, Sunday ... and Tuesday?
Does that mean a lot of people are taking Monday off as well?
Or having a Long Weekend Interruptus?
I'm now heading to the generically named Beer Store. Haven't decided what beer to get, probably some Lowenbrau to celebrate Germany on Sunday. And then search for umlauts.
HAPPY LONG WEEKEND EVERYBODY

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

skipping naked through the dew

Around these parts we have had rather a lot of rain of late. Yesterday was actually the first day the weather forecast did not include any of the words: rain, showers, thunder storms.

The rain hasn't been that bad. And there has been rather a lot of sunshine throughout it all, so it certainly hasn't been gloomy. And, until today there has been no humidity. The clouds have been amazing, too.

So, no, I am not complaining about the weather.

I have three part-time jobs. None of them are what you might call the normal 9-5 kind. And none of them include sitting at a desk. Or in front of a computer. I consider myself very fortunate for that.

One of my jobs involves being outside. Making deliveries. In the middle of the night. I do a fair bit of walking in between a lot of driving.

I also do a fair bit of lawn walking as I make my way up to your front porch.

Where I drop off

your newspaper.

Every night. Rain or moonshine.

Now, what I have noticed over the years is that an awful lot of people have these automatic sprinkler systems. They seem to be timed to come on no matter what the weather. Rain or drought.

A few years ago when we had a water ban, a snitch line was set up to report people who insisted on watering their lawn. I don't think it was very successful, or that anyone was actually charged never mind deterred. One of the offenders happened to be the local cop shop. A friend of mine called the snitch line. Nothing changed. He tried to make sure the bag their paper was in got wet.

Really, those verdant green patches were not hard to miss among all the dull brown patches. Interestingly, once it finally did rain, the lawns turned

green!

Just like that.

Gardening experts will say that a once a week soaking is enough. Yet, there are many people who insist on a nightly or every other nightly soaking. Mushrooms are starting to sprout. Some lawns are veritable bogs.

It has rained every day for more than 2 weeks. Heavy soaker type rain. Light soaker type drizzle. Every type of rain imaginable.
Type 33 (light pricking drizzle which made the roads slippery), to 39 (heavy spotting). [Types] 47-51 (vertical light drizzle through to sharply slanting light to moderate drizzle freshening), 87 and 88 (two finely distinguished varieties of vertical torrential downpour), 100 (post downpour squalling) all the seastorm types between 192 and 213 at once, 123, 124, 126, 127 (mild and intermediate cold gusting, regular and syncopated cab drumming), 11 (breezy droplets), and [even the least favourite of all], type 17. Rain type 17 was a dirty blatter blattering against the windscreen so hard that it didn't matter whether the wipers were on or off. *

Yet, still people are contributing to this wanton waste of water. Gallons and gallons of water on a lawn that is not thirsty.

At this time of year, the dew is heavy on the leaf. Your lawn is soaked to the skin in dew.
Trust me. It is true.

At midsummer it is a tradition to walk in the dew barefoot to help keep your skin from getting chapped, or wash your face in it to help keep your complexion young.

Or roll around naked in it for healing. Or skip naked through it for fertility.

I have not encountered anyone rolling around naked. Thank God.


Folks you are ruining the dew.


For more midsummer festivities and pictures see The Iceland Weather Report

* So long, and thanks for all the fish
the fourth book in the Hitch Hiker Trilogy

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

running in circles

It is early morning. Early enough that there is little traffic yet, but enough daylight to see clearly. We are stopped at a red light. Waiting. Three cars, ours heading in one direction and two others side by side facing us. We are all watching the road where a rabbit has positioned itself. The light turns green. Nobody moves. "someone should do something" says my friend Jon. He gets out of the car at the same time as guy in car #1 also gets out. They look at the rabbit, at each other, wondering how to help. There is some waving of arms, some shoo-ing, some murmuring of encouraging words. But the rabbit is oblivious to their attempts to help. He continues to run around frantically in a clock-wise circle. After about three or four turns he flops on the ground, panting, then gets himself up and goes into another frenzy of turning. By now, traffic is gaining on us. Car #2 has pulled out, realizing the rabbit is not going to change lanes. Jon gets back in the car and we head off, leaving guy#1. A few minutes later, our errand finished, we are back at the intersection, slowing down to look for the rabbit. There he is, on the other side of the cross street, on the boulevard. We do not know how he got that far. I fear he does not feel the soft grass under his feet. Nor the fact that he is now safely out of the way of danger. Still with the clockwise turns.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Monday AMuse (of a sort)

George Carlin's Views on Aging

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions. "How old are you?" "I'm four and a half!" You're never thirty-six and a half. You're four and a half, going on five! That's the key.

You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead. "How old are you?" "I'm gonna be 16!" You could be 13, but hey, you're gonna be 16!

And then the greatest day of your life. You become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony. YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There's no fun now, you're just a sour-dumpling. What's wrong? What's changed? You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it's all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 and your dreams are gone. But wait!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn't think you would!

So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60. You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it's a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday! You get into your 80's and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn't end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; "I Was JUST 92."

Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. "I'm 100 and a half!" May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!

Sadly, George Carlin did not make it to 100 and a half.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

what is in my fridge


I have always wanted a Smeg Refrigerator.

I don't believe I have ever seen one in real life.

But every time I see one in any of the UK design magazines I am addicted to, I drool.
Swoon, even.
And dream.

My small windowless kitchen would be transformed with such an aesthetic beauty gracing the corner.

Its rounded curves and luscious handle, its sleek 50's design would be perfect for a 1962 kitchen.

However, I do not have one of these.
I do at least have a frost free model with a separate freezer.

And it was desperately needing a bit of a clear out I realized, when I bought a tub of ice cream that wouldn't fit in the freezer even after the bag of chicken legs fell out. And those three cartons of juice that were on special? Not a chance unless the containers of unidentified fuzzy stuff were removed, along with the carton of eggs I'd completely forgotten about. There's more, but I won't bore you, or demoralize myself with the details.
I do believe you can tell something about a person by what is in their fridge. Some people are very private and do not like you helping yourself. Me, I love to snoop.
So one hour later all is in order.
What is left is the following:
1 litre of milk
3 750g containers of yogourt
1 tub cream cheese
1 jar mayonnaise
2 1lb butter
1 lime shaped bottle RealLime 1 lemon shaped bottle RealLemon
1 container store bought salad
6 small packets salad dressing
2 pints raspberries (each partialy eaten already) 1 pint blueberries
9 strawberries
1 jar Presidents Choice Butter Chicken sauce
3 1.89litres of Tropicana Juice (on sale 3/$5)
1 bottle V8
1 bottle POM juice (like the glass, hate the juice, saving to offer guest?)
1 jar peach preserves, 1 jar grapefruit marmalade
2 bottles flavoured maple syrup (blueberry, apple)
1 jug Brita water
1 jar pesto, 1 bottle HP sauce
1 bottle pomegranate paste, 2 jars curry paste
1 jar mango chutney, 1 jar banana chutney
2 red peppers, 1 head broccoli, 3 carrots
1 package Olivieri pasta
1 container freshly made tuna salad
2 tetrapak of wine (individual servings, so cute, so perfect)

And the Tupperware containers are soaking in the sink.
For another day.

I'm having ice cream.
And marinating chicken legs.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Saturday Afternoon

Am off to have a weep into my Heineken.









Russia 3 Netherlands 1

Friday, June 20, 2008

hats off to ASCOT



The Queen and Princess Beatrice look rather subdued in their attire















However




































Wild as ever were the hats at Ladies Day at Royal Ascot.

Really, isn't this more entertaining than the actual race?
Does anybody know who won?



The day has evolved into a no-holds-barred battle for attention from the crème
de la crème of British high society, those with the time and the money to spend
months planning their outfits. Top designers were employed, and few seemed
daunted by a Royal Ascot edict designed to limit the amount of flesh on display.

Responding to an alarming trend of revealing fashions in recent years —
cover that shoulder, dear! — race organizers asked women not to wear skirts that
were too short, tops that were too revealing, or contemporary fashions that
exposed the tummy.

Spaghetti straps were definitely out — dress straps
were expected to be one inch (2.5-centimeters) wide. And there was a warning
about fake tans.

No one even addressed the question of naval piercings,
exposed tattoos or ankle bracelets. But a slightly tongue in cheek advisory did
suggest that women wear outfits that covered up their underwear, while men were
told to make sure their zippers were done up to avoid a "schoolboy error" that
might ruin their whole outfit.

The unusual fashion edicts were an
attempt to keep the recent trend toward skimpy tops, exposed bras and tiny
skirts from migrating from the streets of London into the royal enclosure where
the queen — a devoted fan of horse-racing — entertains each year.
(from The International Herald tribune)


PS It was a 6 year old named YEATS who won the Gold Cup for the
second year in a row, by 1 1/2 lengths. He failed miserably in the Melbourne Cup
last year, but after this, his spirits are high and he may give the two-mile
race another attempt in November.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

getting all dolled up

I received this email this morning.

Now, I am not overly concerned about this

but really, are these changes not a little bit disturbing?

I feel sorry for the poor calico cat getting turfed for a CELL PHONE!!



From Ralph & Terry Kovel, the Antique Collectors:

Strawberry Shortcake, who moved to Hasbro from American Greetings this month, is a doll from the 1980s. She and her other fruit-scented friends have been given total makeovers. Strawberry has had a face lift, lip plumping, freckle removal, and a nose job. She also has longer hair, a dye job, green eyes, and a new wardrobe from Juicy Couture. Will collectors think she is the same doll?

Now, my very FIRST THOUGHT on seeing this was

Strawberry Shortcake is an ANTIQUE?


For further news on this and other doll makeovers see this story from the NY Times.

___________________________________________________________
and I have been honoured by a link of the day from Dr John
I'm off to have a wander over there and continue reading~

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

flower power

Some people do not seem to care for gardens. Their front yards are wastelands of green. Maybe a few bushes up close to the house. Perhaps for a splash of colour, a nod to a garden, there may be some tulips. These will invariably be red.

For some (perhaps) unidentifiable reason, I see the inhabitants as being unimaginative. And sad.

In my travels I have seen streets in towns completely adorned with planters and wee front yards overflowing with blooms. Apartment blocks where it was mandated the residents MUST have a balcony garden, making the building look a colourful painting.

Even the saddest of persons I think must feel a moment of joy at seeing such glory everywhere.

Now, actually, I grew up in the sadder surroundings.

My mother loved flowers and plants and was always so excited when something bloomed and distraught when it died. Yet, very little effort was made for the outdoor garden. Of course, the clay soil made it difficult. My father, who destroyed everything in his path with the lawn mower, made it difficult. The front yard was basically naked. We had a huge willow tree out back. And a lovely lilac on the property line which obtusely had its best show on the other side of the fence. Both were removed when their roots invaded the neighbours' pool next door. I cried for weeks. I still feel an intense attraction to the willow and lilac. There were an assortment of rose bushes and a forsythia that survived in spite of the neglect. And a mock orange that struggled againt the back wall, filling the bedrooms with its scent every spring. My mother loved that tree. That one she fought for.

With the construction finally ended, the trek to the garden centres has begun in earnest. My balcony will not be a wasteland. The first three planters are set up and survived the hailstorm we had the other day. The rest were carefully chosen yesterday. We spent a couple of hours wandering about arranging, picking the right height and colour combinations. All was set in place. And at this rate I will not need to worry about watering them for a while!

A lunch was in order as payment for my neighbour's help and we walked over to the LPH along the bike path. Coming home alone, after my neighbour went shopping, I rounded the corner onto my street



and ran smack into the scent of a mock orange.



Every spring the magnolias are eagerly anticipated. And after that, close inspection of the lilacs are made and great excitement when they finally are in full flower. I love lilacs and so look forward to them. But the mock orange gets short shrift. For some reason I never think about it unless I smell the flowers.


As I turned towards the tree to fill up my soul with the heady aroma

thinking


how wonderful


a mock orange




I burst into tears.



I have been weeping ever since.


photos from Ruth's blog

(and I didn't cry then when I saw your pics! It made me happy)


And we get another delightful day of rain.

No mention of t-storms today.

Will miss the drama.




....and at 2:30pm the sideways rain begins.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

paperless

Does this qualify as poor housekeeping?

Having a houseguest over and running out of toilet paper.
Putting in a box of tissues

then running out of that as well.


Seriously
can I call myself an adult?

As my houseguest pointed out: the litter box is just under the sink.

She's great. She'll be invited back.

Maybe she'll bring her own stash next time.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

swanning around

I have not just been lounging around watching muscled men in shorts run around in the wet.

No, no, I have also been watching muscled and fluffy birds run around in the wet.

video

These are the swans at Bishops Palace, Wells in Somerset. There is a swancam to follow the cygnets (hatched June 1) and the swans as they swim around the moat.

This is especially interesting to me as I am heading to England in August and hope to spend a few days in Bath, maybe even seeing this palace gardens.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

there's a reason for everything



Normal Service Will Resume .....








For anyone seriously interested,
here is the link to the official Euro2008 website.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

awake with a jolt

Well, we seem to be divided over the summer heat issue.

How do we feel about thunderstorms?

An equally divisive issue, methinks.





I love thunderstorms. The rolling clouds. The loud thunderclaps. The bright flashes of lightning bolts. The brilliantly lit up sky. And then there is the sound of rain pounding on the roof, through the trees, bouncing back up from the ground.

Of course I like to be safely under cover during these events.

It is a wonder that I remained fascinated by these spectacles that found my mother sitting on the chesterfield quivering, like a puppy. Possibly, it helped to count the seconds between the lightning and the thunder and then to guess from which direction the next one would be .

The best lightning show I ever encountered was in Colorado, though I suspect Saskatchewan has some pretty impressive displays as well. I'm not so sure I would be as enamoured of this brute force of nature were I to be living in the middle of nowhere, all alone, threats of tornadoes...



photo from Howstuffworks

Monday, June 9, 2008

Friday, June 6, 2008

and now the weather

Apparently, according to the news people on TV, a most wondrous event has happened in our area. Apparently, some of us thought this day would never arrive. The weather people are delirious. One of them is even in shorts and a ridiculous shirt.

SUMMER is here.

Now, finally, [said the announcers breathlessly] it is time to get yourselves outdoors. To the beach. To a patio. To walk the dog. To get out of those oppressive winter clothes.

Excuse me, random person on the street being interviewed, but have we not just had the most impressive SPRING ever?? When do we get to experience SPRING? Usually it is for about a day and a half. Then we are hit with a wall of humidity and haze and heat. Surely, over the past few weeks, you could still enjoy yourselves outdoors without wearing layer upon layer of clothing.

I have been on a patio. And enjoyed the longlasting and abundant display of flowers blooming - we still have tulips not past their prime along with the newer crop of lilacs, irises and peonies. All because of the cooler days (okay, and the amount of snow we had over the winter).

But really, wasn't it refreshing to have days where you weren't wilting? Days when the sweat didn't run down your back making you feel squirmy and uncomfortable? And damp? Days when you could still feel, or smell, as fresh as a spring flower? Days when your hair didn't look drastically different in the office than in the bathroom of your home?

Days when you weren't exposing pasty bits of flesh, blinding others as they try to avert their eyes from your naked limbs.

Okay. I'll stop now. I am obviously not a fan of summer.
Just the fans of summer.

We are expected to have a hot summer. Oh really? When have we NOT had a HOT summer.

Really, as exciting and dramatic as weather can be, this is not new.

Sheesh.

Already I'm feeling irritable over the humidity.


Yesterday it was a cool 12C-17C
Today it is 32C
With a humidex of +40C







Thursday, June 5, 2008

just one more pic....or two...for today

The chicks banded and named on June 2nd. Duncan, Miles, Blashill & Elstone

My how they have grown!

They can reach the ledge....and hop about...and flap.


Update: 4:20pm
These guys are being so active - much moreso than myself, who really must get some sleep soon.

Too much wine, then coffee last night, perhaps?

I am distracted so easily


I saw these new bags from ESPE and fell in love. Again. Every season they bring out a new whimsical style. And I think I must have one. Again.


Now, my cell phone pleaded for its own little purse, but I held my ground.
And bought one of these instead.



Just to keep my credit cards from crying.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

a good day

Today I turned the mattress on my bed.

That made me feel so productive, you have no idea.

I'm off for a celebratory drink. And dinner.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

and by the way, I'm feeling better

5 Reasons To Not Stay Inside House


Monday: fire alarm testing

Tuesday: internet is soooo verrrry slow.

Wednesday: hydro will be off in the afternoon so city can test oil??

Thursday: water shutdown in building for repairs to aging pipes

Friday: expected humidex of 40C

on being missed

Well, well.

I had been ignoring the phone calls for weeks. Every time I saw that name come up on call display, I just let it ring into exhaustion. Finally, I decided to put an end to it.

I even told him he was being silly before I hung up. In desperation. It was the only way to get rid of him. And he wasn't really saying anything that made me want to talk to him.

He said he missed me. Several times he said that. I was a part of the family and he would do anything to get me back. As a member of the family, apparently he felt he had to ask what I needed from them. Why did I leave? What can we, as your family for so long, do to get you back? Again, he missed me. Everyone at Bell missed me. Presumably Frank and Gordon missed me too, as I'd been getting weekly postcards from the Official Bell Spokesbeavers. I was in the camp that thought Frank and Gordon were great. When they were on TV. Then they became unfunny. So now the postcards were just kind of annoying. And the constant phone calls from a phone company were also kind of annoying.

I've heard tales of woe about this family. So many warnings. My contact with them was limited. No internet. No long distance. No fancy add ons. Oh, except for call display, so I can ignore them. Just basic phone service. And yet, he misses me.

I want flowers every year for my birthday. Presents. Not cards from beavers.

Afterwards, I felt sad for the poor sod whose job it was to phone strangers up and tell them he misses them. Still, I had to tell him how silly he sounded.

Today, I get a cheque in the mail. A refund for the remainder of the month I abandonned their service..

$8.88

Bell Canada is great, isn't it?

Monday, June 2, 2008