Tuesday, September 30, 2008

eensy weensy fruit fly

This morning I found a six legged spider in my bathroom. That's probably what made it easier for me to squash it with a fistful of wadded toilet paper.

For this reason, I can never become a Buddhist.

But, on the upside, I can at least do my own spider killings. This is progress.

I once was ready to abandon my car in the parking lot at work and take the streetcar home because there was a HUMONGOUS spider making a web inside my steering wheel. A co-worker, who wanted a ride to the subway, SWISHED the web then sat down in the passenger seat.

She actually expected me to get in that car with a HUMONGOUS spider now on the loose, god-knows-where, but certainly within seriously, frighteningly, close proximity to my own bodily self. She was not happy while I made her search the car and provide squashed evidence of this interloper's remains.

I still shudder when I think of this.

Then again, perhaps I shouldn't have killed that spider. Afterall, they are the 'good' insects. They prove themselves useful by eating flies and other annoying dastardly flying bugs*. For the past week, I have been wanting to sit out on my balcony with a glass of something and a good book... but that has been darn near impossible what with the hundred thousand gazillion fruit fly like things swarming about. It is a plague, I tell you.
You think I am exaggerating?

Yes, just for you I photographed these deceased creatures from inside my lobby. The others had been swept up already and these guys came to replace them.

*and just where is the spider who spun for this web feast?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008

my Friday nights...

If you are expecting a concise precis and opinion piece about the Presidential Debate, I should let you know that you will not find it here. You'll need to look elsewhere.

While many of your were sat on your sofas watching the debate last night, I was not. You see, I had a date with The Doctor. Who? Yes, he is back. After months of waiting, months and months (this season started in APRIL in the UK, for crissakes!) HE has returned.

Am I alone in this? Any other David Tennant fans?* Dr Who allegiances? Do you need an explanation? What is Dr Who?

Here is a brief (very) synopsis:
  • Dr Who, in its various incarnations, is the longest sci fi series on television.
  • The Doctor has been around for millennia. Dr Who as a series only for my lifetime.

  • The Doctor has no known first name.

  • The Doctor is a mysterious human-ish alien who uses a TARDIS to time-travel

  • the TARDIS (time and relative dimension in space) is a space capsule that is in the shape of a Police Call Box which has a considerably larger interior than exterior.
  • there have been several Doctors, with David Tennant being the tenth.

  • other Doctors included Christopher Eccleston (ninth), Tom Baker (fourth) and Peter Davison (Tristan Farnham from All Creatures Great and Small fame) (fifth)

  • the Doctor always has a companion to share his adventures, the current one being comedienne Catherine Tate

  • the Doctor has many strange looking adversaries (read monsters), the most well-known are the Daleks

Last week introduced Catherine Tate as Donna (actually introduced in the Christmas special in the UK, which CBC has not deemed important enough to show here. Damn them. Who makes these decisions?) I wasn't sure about this comedienne as a companion, but by now I realize I love Donna. She is a refreshing break from the giddy, awestruck Rose and the mediocre Martha. Donna stands up to the Doctor and there's less adoring glances and more sass. There is more hilarity this time around and the chemistry between The Doctor and Donna should prove to be an intriguing season.

Okay, I'll stop. For now. You can read about The Doctor here and the episodes here. And watch online here. The official website is here.
*I know Crystal Jigsaw and Sagittarian are with me. Check out More Canterbury Tales for her post on David Tennant.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

falls on falls

Ah. The guests have left. This means I can have my bed back and the place to myself. And I don't have to do another trip to Niagara.

My friend Malia came down to pick up relatives visiting from Denmark. They were not what we expected. They were older, with some limited mobility (and a zippy wheelchair). But certainly not limited zest. Or laughter. Or opinions. They are now on their way driving to Manitoba for a family event. They left in shock (the Danes) at how long it will take to get there and slightly disappointed that a side trip to Montreal could not be included during their stay here.

But, the only thing they really wanted to see was Niagara Falls.

Doesn't everyone?

By a happy, happy coincidence this week is also the Niagara Wine Festival. So we fortified ourselves with a hearty breakfast and set out. Dropped by a winery or two. Visited an antique shop or two. Drove some back roads. Shopped at some incredibly tacky touristy places in Niagara Falls and some expensive places in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Some of us went up a big ferris wheel thingy to see the birds eye view and came down enthralled with the experience. I was happy for them. The Falls themselves did not disappoint. Neither, it turned out did the Casino! I think they broke even in the end, but not for lack of trying.

Then we went back again (three times!) for more. More wine, more food, more driving around Niagara-on-the-Lake and encountering many, many tourists.

The sun shone brightly every day. The temperature was warm. The flowers were vibrant, the birds sang, the Canada Geese got in our way and the butterflies were abundant.

The only thing to disappoint were the fall colours.
Where are you? Perhaps Malia can search them out during the loooong drive North of Superior.

I want to have that much energy when I am in my 70's.
God Bless.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

who shot the clock

I woke up feeling rather groggy and stuffed up about an hour ago. Looked at the clock and gasped - 10:50 AM! How did that happen? I went to bed shortly after 9 PM. I slept for more than 3 hours.

I usually work 7 nights a week. Yes, every night. Though Sundays I only have one paper to deliver and it takes less than an hour for me to get up, drive to pick up the papers, deliver them, crawl back into bed with some juice and the comics. Then I'm awake for another 2-3 hours. Sigh.

Last night a friend covered my route so that I would do his a few times . I'll get two nights off a month in exchange for covering his for one Sunday a month. I have 65 papers, he has 295. It's a lop-sided exhange, but since, I'm awake ... well you know. I'm going to really look forward to my uninterrupted nights of sleep.

Outside the still drawn blinds it is grey and overcast. I have showered, made some tea and toast. I turned on the computer.

Clock on computer says 7:43.
Gasp! I have spent the last hour thinking it was mid-morning, and now I realize morning has barely begun.

This just feels so wrong.

Waiting for the sun to break through the gloom. Watching The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. I've never seen this movie but am always up for some Jimmy Stewart.

What else does one do at 8:30 on a Sunday morning?

Now, this just feels so right.
It's going to be a long day.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

a classical night

I have my car radio finely tuned to 18 presets. I like to have a variety and all options available at the touch of a finger. I can change stations without looking at my dashboard and usually get the one I'm looking for on the first try.

Mostly, I have CBC Radio 1 and 2, JazzFM, and Wave (new jazz), plus a country station, three 'top forty' stations (are they still called 'top forty'?), two oldies, an classic rock (70's and 80's) (more current than the other oldies, which is mostly 50's and 60's), one classical station, two university stations for the alternative music you never hear anywhere else, NPR from New York (reception varies), another US station I forget about, until the weather comes on... and AM640 for the "traffic and weather on the ones". And another one I obviously don't listen to as I cannot think of it and I'm not going down to the car to check.

It wasn't until I was back home that I realized I had heard absolutely no music while staying at EM's in England. When we were in the house, the 'wireless' was only on twice and both times to talk radio, while EM did her baking for the market. In the car, the radio wasn't on, but then we were chatting up a storm and didn't need the extra noise. When I commented on that during a lull in the conversation, EM did put the radio on and I got my FIRST listen to 'The Archers'!* I have been going to the UK for the better part of 35 years, and I have never heard this apocryphal radio serial. But not once was there music around. It probably would have been the same as what we hear here, but thinking about it's absence is strange to me.

I need to have the radio on when I am working. I like the lift certain songs give. Classical music is lovely if you are curled up reading, or daydreaming, but it is usually too somnolent to keep me running at my job. Jazz is good sometimes early in the morning. I wait in breathless anticipation for Alan Jackson to croon over the airwaves so the country station gets lots of hits. I have been known to occasionally belt out "It's Five O'clock, Somewhere" or "Life in a Northern Town". Sometimes I listen to CBC Overnight where there is an assortment of half hour "news and information broadcasts from around the globe". BBC, Radio Sweden, Radio Australia are my favourites, but also Radio Poland, and one from Czech Republic. That sometimes slows me down though, as I sit in the car while listening to a particularly amusing or intriguing interview...picking the right moment to run up to the house with my rolled newspaper in hand to toss and run back before missing any morsel of the conversation. This sometimes results in missed steps. I have had a few scrapes.

Last night, while anticipating a foul temper, I was afraid of it being exacerbated by finding every song I heard annoying. I discover that all three newspapers I deliver would have an extra section (and you know they are going to be filled to overflowing with glossy flyers that want to fall out). I found that I was, in fact, in a very good humour. No coffee passed my lips. I fortified myself with a large bottle of some orange, mango and cranberry concoction and a carrot muffin. For some reason, the classical station was appealing. I found a picnic table by the lake and decided to do most of my inserting there. It was quiet. Warm, with no hint of a wind. The sky was clear with lots of stars visible. The lake was glistening and smelled as fresh as Lake Ontario can smell.

A strangely, happy night.

* I have now found out one can listen to it over the internet. How many years do I have to get caught up???

Friday, September 19, 2008

In an effort to regain a semi normal sleep pattern, I have decided to forego coffee.

It has been 78 hours.*

There may be periods of irritability.

that's 78 hours since my last cup of coffee, not sleep.

If you are visiting from the black box, drop a line in my comments box and say hello. I'll likely still be awake.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

fun stuff

I have decided that my wee black cat on my sidebar needs a name. She is now Maisie.

Maisie, as you can see, is also trying to play with my new widget, the black box. Ha, but it is just out of her reach. You have control of the cursor so go ahead and play if you dare. Someone described it as like being on a magic carpet ride. I'd like to give them credit, but I have no idea where I saw that while I was being whisked off to various blogs through the magic of randomness. The coolest and most addictive widget to hit the internet was created by the Stray of Chasing Sheep, for Caroline of In Search of Adam – as a marketing tool for Caroline’s new book Black Boxes. So, learn about Black Boxes and how to get your own by clicking on about black boxes. That's easy. Then when you are ready to play, move your cursor thingy over to 'decide' and click, then make your choice and see where you end up. You may discover a new bloggy friend.

So, an extra special WELCOME if you came here via the black box. Please say hello, cheers, or anything nice you can think of, in the comments. I'm friendly and will definitely return the cheer.

For the rest of us who do not live in the US, but will still be affected by the upcoming election, and who already have had many, many discussions over who we think should win, well now we have a chance to make absolutely no difference at all with a vote. Go to If The World Could Vote where you will be able to cast a ballot for either Obama or McCain. The site uses your IP address to determine which country you are in and only one ballot can be used per computer. The results are mapped out with the results shown on a world map and a bar graph for each candidate in each country.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

mix and match and moving

My tidying up went rather well yesterday. I'm now ready for autumn. Bring it on! My duvet has been aired and is on the bed. The flannel sheets are on the top of the linen pile. The cushion covers have been changed from bright to moody. The fall wreath is on the door - the one with yellow and reddish brown berries. And the closet has been reorganized so I can neatly stash stuff in it. It is no longer a space of a confused multitude of things. And I found out that the bottom drawer of the sideboard was ... almost empty. How that happened, I do not know. But there was a humidifier and a file box in front of the drawer... Yes, I am that lazy. I hadn't bothered to move them out of the way for a long time.

I actually have a lot of storage space where I am living. A double closet in both the bedroom and the living room, plus a coat closet and a linen cupboard. And 15 kitchen cupboards. It is also the newest built place I've lived in, having been built around 1964. I think this is an important point. Robin had asked how it was possible for an apartment to not have closets. I started to think, maybe I had misremembered. Is it possible? None at all? But no, it was true. I spent the rest of the night at work thinking about all the places I have lived.

I grew up in a 1950 era bungalow and have since lived in high-rises, low-rises, attics and basements. I've lived in one room in a house with another family, boarded and shared kitchens and bathrooms and even stayed in an intentional community. I lived in a dorm for 6 months in Holland and out of suitcase for 6 months in Australia and NZ.

All in all I add it up to 14 addresses.

In some of these, it didn't matter about the storage as I was young and didn't have much stuff. But, it does boggle the mind to look at older homes and their layout. The tiny bedroom closets. Some have no hall closet at all. So if you are living in a main floor flat of a house, chances are there may not be any closet built in. My favourite flat was in a walkup of an Edwardian building (1912). It had the smallest kitchen (you could turn on the tap, stir a pot on the stove and open the fridge door by simply turning around). It had only enough counter space for a small drying rack. The table in the corner was used for prep and eating. And holding the toaster and coffee maker with an extension cord to the only outlet in the dining room on the other side of the wall. The two bedrooms had only corner closets! Where did people put their winter coats, never mind their other clothes? I put up hooks. Another flat I lived in was the main floor of a small semi-detached 1930's house. The washroom was in the unfinished basement, which served as the only closet. That kitchen was huge (I had a rocking chair in it, plus a table that sat 6) but it had only 2 kitchen cupboards over the sink. The strangest flat I had was a room with a toilet and sink. The shared kitchen was in the hall and there was a full bathroom (also shared) on a landing to another flat. But, it was in an architecturally arresting 18thC five-story walkup in Amsterdam.

When I was growing up in the 60's I remember the excitement of the new gadgets that entered our house, most of them requiring electricity. By then, the war was long past and people were able to buy more new and 'useful' things. A lot of it was kitchen aids for the housewife to enjoy her work. This is where the new need for extra storage became a necessity. The need for more electrical outlets was also a necessity but mostly, I think that meant having one in every room. Storage containers (Tupperware, anyone?) became ubiquitous. Electric appliances proliferated (can openers, knives, frying pans, waffle irons, Osterizers, kettles) and all were much larger than their previous manual cousins. The bane of my kitchen is the crockpot. I love it, but it does take up so much space. Now there is the microwave, which requires it's own set of cookware.
Luckily, I don't bake so I don't have one of those nifty retro mixers - I would love to have one as an accent for the look alone if they weren't so expensive and useless to me.
But I'd probably have to move to find room for it.
And I've done enough of that.

How about you? What kinds of accommodation have you found yourself living in? What quirky features have you learned to live with?

Home Samples

Monday, September 15, 2008

To read more about Chantal Petitclerc and the Paralympics follow this link below.

Petitclerc remains untouchable

a stressful golden win

BEIJING - The greatest wheelchair racer in Paralympic history added another first yesterday as Chantal Petitclerc of Montreal won gold medals 80 minutes apart in front of a roaring crowd jammed into the 91,000-seat National Stadium.
A crazy athletics schedule had the women's T54 200 and 800-metre races run not only on the same evening, but just a short time apart.
But it didn't faze the incomparable 38-year-old Petitclerc, who just keeps getting better with age. She won both events in world record time, smashing her own marks in the process.
"I told my coach never again, this was a stressful day," said Petitclerc, who now has won four gold medals in Beijing after sweeping all five events she entered in Athens in 2004. "I think when I go back to the village and get into my room with those two gold medals and think about it ... it's just amazing."

Nobody is mentally tougher or physically as strong as the broad-shouldered Petitclerc, who now has 20 Paralympic medals from five Games in her outstanding career.

Petitclerc will go for her fifth gold medal tomorrow in the 1,500 metres, then call it quits on her Paralympic career to concentrate on road racing and marathons.
-Gary Kingston, National Post.

So where, you might well ask is the TV coverage of these incredible athletes? These sports are just as exciting - if not more - than the 'regular' Olympics, which got blanket coverage. The stories of some of the athletes are inspirational to the nth degree. Their struggles and accomplishments are far and beyond what most of us able-bodied couch potatoes could imagine. Farther than what most able-bodied athletes could imagine, I assume, but I not one of those, so I will only speak on behalf of those of us who get excited over the thrills and spills of those who will endure anything for their dream.

The Paralympics are treated as an add-on to the Olympics. As a humouring of the athletes. Held afterwards, as if an afterthought. It is insulting to the Paralympians competing.

Monday AMuse

Sunday, September 14, 2008

moving things around

I was looking around my home and thought: maybe I should get around to decluttering things a bit. Or tidying up a bit. No reason, other than it would be nice to be able to walk three feet without having to step over or around something. And to be able to get into my closets without having to move something from in front of the doors. Or move myself away from the doors, once they are opened.

The motivation would be that. And, I am having company coming next week, so I do want to make a good impression. Preferably one that looks like it came out of one of those scrumptious decorating magazines or websites devoted to perfectly coiffed* homes. Not a 'staged home'. Staged homes have no personality. They are bland. They have corporate looking art on the walls. They have huge vases filled with lemons. I never understood that. How would you get the lemons out when you wanted your gin & tonic? Or daily hot water and lemon? Staged home people don't drink hot water and lemon in the morning. So, wouldn't the lemons just keep deteriorating and turn an icky hard, less lemony colour? Staged homes have no love put into them. A coiffed home is just for you.

I put a lot of love into my home. It is filled with (I think) nice furniture. Lovely antiques. Books. Plants and animals. Candles. Pretty cushions and accessories.

Perhaps too much of the furniture and accessories.

I am what you might describe as a collector. I often have great plans for the things I collect. They usually don't happen. But, by then I have fallen in love with the things I've collected and will desperately try to make them fit in, even if it means banishing it to the closet until it does fit in. Which usually means banishing something else to the closet in its place. I lived in three apartments that did not have closets. Life was very hard for those years.

I know that these are just objects. That they shouldn't be coveted. I've already gotten rid of the stuff I no longer covet. And I don't miss them.

But it is time for my biannual changeover of the accessory colour scheme, now from turquoise to orange. And during this process I always find something that has been put away and suddenly I think: I've missed you. You must be brought out to be enjoyed.

I will tackle the closets first, in my decluttering. There must be a way to make more things fit. I will keep you informed of my progress.

*coif: verb, arrange attractively, give a neat appearance to

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Kick Ass, in an unspectacular way.

I have been a little neglectful.

But really, it was all so overwhelming.

It seems that even while I'm on holiday, I can still Kick Ass. And I should acknowledge it before Urban Animal comes to find me and actually kicks my ass for not mentioning my NEWEST AWARD.

Also, while still on holiday, I got tagged by Frogdancer over at Dancing With Frogs.

TWO Recognitions! I think I actually squealed when I read them. Abby looked up at me from her sleeping post on the footstool, and I could just tell by her eyes, and the strange curve of her mouth that stifled a yawn, that she was thinking: oh god, please no, she's going to want to tell me about this, whatever it is and I'll need to go find somewhere else to sleep. And off she ambled to another room. I followed her anyway and tried to explain my excitement but she was having none of it and took a sharp right turn to the litter box, turning to glance my way with a look that could only say: privacy, please. I knew better than to continue following. She's a quiet, wordless cat, with a potent litter box.

Anyway, thank you Urban Animal. And I know, I'm supposed to pass it on, but after my last post, probably no one wants to know about my ass kicking abilities!

But, from Frogdancer, I need to list 6 unspectacular things about myself.

Only 6?? I came up with 35. Oh well. Here's my list:
  1. I am nervous around dogs. More afraid of being licked than bitten.

  2. Once a year, or so, I remember that I have pierced ears and will wear earrings to see if the holes have closed up.

  3. I will not eat mushrooms. Or olives. Ever. If you order a pizza with those on it, I will studiously pick out every mushroomy, olivey (and green peppery, just in case) looking bits on each slice before taking a bite.

  4. Sleeping is a favourite pastime. I wish to be a pampered cat in my next life.

  5. I talk about drinking much more than I actually drink. Alcohol. Not coffee. That I do drink more than I talk about.

  6. Until 5 years ago I had the same prescription for eye glasses as when I was 12. But not the same glasses.

Now, the rules are that I also tag 6 others with a reason for choosing them. Well, my reason is the same for all of you. I'm interested in your writings of your little world you live in and am nosy enough to ask for more.

  • Grumpy Old Ken because you tell such great stories of your life
  • Sagittarian for your great Kiwi videos you share
  • Whim because you have so much honesty in your life story and will soon be famously on a billboard
  • Gwen for the amazing art you do which almost tells a story by itself
  • Robin for your descriptions of your neighbourhood and work, the good and the bad
  • Mr Nighttime because you also want to be a writer, so must share all.
Now I'm off to spread the good news.

cheeky wee bissum

Something in the crisper, autumnal night air makes the stars shine that much brighter.

And in Iceland, this little feature was on the tv. I found this link on Alda's blog and just had to share it with you all.

Don't tell me you haven't always wondered...


The accent and translation are a little baffling (unless you are Scots or Icelandic).
Commercials follow the display ...

BTW Scotland won 2-1.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Jean was happy

From Becoming Human by Jean Vanier:

No one individual, no one group is superior to others. We may be different in race, culture, religion, and capacities, but we are all the same, with vulnerable hearts, the need to love and be loved, the need to grow, to develop our capacities, and to find our place in the world. We all need to find our selves of value. We are all the same because throughout our lives we have, every one of us, been hurt in one way or another.

Jean Vanier believes that society's fear of people with disabilities is rooted deep in the human psyche. Every young couple, he has said, is frightened that their child will have a handicap.

Many of the people who live in L'Arche are severely disabled; many need help with the most basic human functions. The foundation of L'Arche is the idea of 'living with' and not just 'doing for' people with diminished mental capacities. The paid carers and volunteers live as a family with those who are disabled. The first L'Arche was a single home for just two mentally disabled men. There are now 130 L'Arche communities around the world for about 2,500 people with all sorts of disabilities - people who might otherwise have been left in institutions or on the streets begging.

"The particular thing about many people with disabilities is that they cry out for relationship," Mr. Vanier says. "They're not crying out for power or success. They say, 'Do you believe I'm a person, that I have value?' If a child comes in here, that child can transform us by looking up and saying, 'Do you love me?' The child brings down our defense mechanisms and our barriers, and touches something deep within us. In people with disabilities there is something similar. It touches us and opens us up to something new."

"Weakness becomes our strength. Because when I say I'm weak, I say I need you. Weakness can be beautiful because it can bring us together in community."

"The sign of being human is to be a friend to the weak person. There's something in the history of humanity that shows being human is to care for the weak, the fragile."
Mr. Vanier founded L'Arche more than 40 years ago in the small French town of Trosly, where he still lives and from where he still travels the world visiting communities and encouraging new projects, giving lectures and retreats.

And today Jean Vanier turns 80.

A story:

Mr. Vanier: Oh, yes, yes. Yes, I was sitting in my office and there was a man who was a bit glum like a lot of people, a bit glum. And but, anyway, there was a knock on the door. And before I could say "Come in" Jean Claude walked in and Jean Claude technically would be Down Syndrome. And Jean Claude shook my hand and laughed, and shook the hand of the other fellow and laughed and went out laughing. And the man that had been in my office looked at me and said, "Isn't it sad, children like that?" And I mean, he, what was sad was that he was totally blind. He didn't see that Jean Claude was happy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

the bells, the bells ring out

When I was young, there was a church in our neighbourhood that rang the bells (automated) every Sunday. At some point a few years ago, on a visit home, something reminded us of this church and my mother told me that they didn't have the bells anymore as the neighbours complained. Huh?? Complaining? About church bells once a week for about 2 minutes? Probably the same people who complain that 'those annoying birds are singing again and I haven't had my cup of coffee yet. I want them stopped'.

My first day with EM we went into town and saw the church where her son would be married. It was a very old church with a lychgate and ancient, toppling gravestones surrounding three sides in the yard. While we were looking inside, suddenly the bells started ringing - a practice. I had no idea that this was to be a part of the service and was tremendously excited when I realized there were live bellringers up in the tower pulling the cords. That such a tradition still lives on (a 400 year old English one, I've learned) intrigues me no end. Indeed, the bellringers do tours, talks and lessons. There are tutorials and opportunities to learn bell ringing and competitions and visits to other church towers to ring their bells.

Bellringing looks so very complicated, but apparently you do not need strength, as I at first thought, instead you learn control. And I think if I were to be living in England, this would be an undertaking I might enjoy.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

standing in awe

Not all the art in Bath involved pigs. I almost didn't visit the Abbey as I'd been there before and it was very crowded on Sunday with tourists and worshippers. By Tuesday however, it was considerably less crowded so I ventured inside to once more admire the stained glass windows and be dazzled by the ceiling of an incredible structure.

And to take in an exhibition of diptycts by an artist named Sue Symons.

Each of the 35 panels includes a passage from the Gospels of St Matthew depicting Jesus' life written out in illuminated calligraphy (inspiration from The Book of Kells) and is accompanied by a panel of fabric and thread needlework depicting the same passage from a personal abstract perspective. In researching this artist I found out that she was inspired to create this as a retirement project while living on Vancouver Island some 12 years ago and took calligraphy lessons specifically for this project. And, the most amazing thing, she is left handed. Being also left handed, I know how difficult calligraphy can be and to see her intricate works of art left me in almost as much awe as seeing the intricate stonework of the mediaeval building.

Jesus Enters Jerusalem Diptyct

If intrigued, have a look at the whole series here

don't, just don't

Whatever horrorscope sign you are, today is just not a good day.

To wit:

Aries: do not make important decisions today ... anything to do with wealth or possessions of others...

Taurus: this is definitely a poor day for important discussions ... don't volunteer for anything. don't agree to anything.

Gemini: be very careful at work today ... whatever you decide or agree to will have to be redone, rethought or replanned in the future.

Cancer: don't agree to anything important ...

Leo: everything is too loosey-goosey to make important decisions ...

Virgo: everything is up in the air today ... don't sign contracts or agree to anything important.

Libra: this is not a good day for finances, cash flow or expenditures ...

Scorpio: you might feel at loose ends today ... nothing is grounded ... everything is up in the air or delayed or confused.

Sagittarius: it's hard to know if you are coming or going today. it's a bit as if you are walking in quicksand...

Capricorn: take today off as a mental health day if you can ... take a grain of salt with anything anyone says.

Aquarius: discussions with authority figures...will be far too nebulous and iffy to count on today.

Pisces: avoid making travel plans...they will only have to be changed. similarly avoid important decisions.

if your birthday is today: it's time to enjoy yourself.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

pillow talk

I bought two new pillows a few weeks ago. One was an expensive pillow from IKEA that was on sale for half price. The other was an expensive pillow from Shoppers Drug Mart that was on sale for half price. I know. I only do bargains. And I even got to use my Optimum points, so I actually got the second pillow for about the same price as I usually pay for pillows, which is around $8. Though I usually get two for that. They naturally don't last very long. And are often not all that comfortable after a few weeks, or nights even. But this gosa raps pillow is still very comfortable. It doesn't flatten down to nothing the way a down filled pillow does (I could never see the point in having a pillow so pillowy soft that it downed into flatness). It also doesn't have those sticking-out-pointed-bits of feathers the way feather pillows often do. You know the bits that stab you in the cheek as you snuggle into the pillow to make it mold to your head. The bits that give your cat so much pleasure to play with. It is a little disconcerting to realize that your beloved pet is not lying by your head because she is in love with your freshly shampooed hair, but is instead waiting for you to roll over and reveal another morsel of sticking-out-pointed-feather-bits to pull on and play with and eventually kill. Don't be fooled, she is not killing the feather for you. But she will put her hind foot into your eye if need be to get at it. The other pillow is a water pillow. It is perfect, as you can adjust it to any firmness you wish merely be measuring the water inside its leakproof shell. You do need to remember to keep the side with the plugged up hole on the bottom, though. And sometimes, if you are having a strange dream, the sound of the water moving in the pillow will only add to the dream and make it even weirder. Like waves crashing on a pebble while you're floating in a kayak trying to eat a smoked salmon sandwich which dissolves as you find yourself on a mountainside in a in a garden of yellow and blue flowers when a hard screech of a train whistle sounds awfully like your alarm eventually and you wake yourself up by talking out loud about a key and then you get up and go to work.

Yeah, I have no idea either.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

shoes and cheese

Normally I do not enjoy shopping. I will put it off for as long as possible. Which is why I was frantically seeking shoes for the wedding I was to attend the day before my flight. I went into the other mall in my town, the one with the better shoe stores, and found a nice pair of strappy sandals at the first store at the top of the escalator. So, having time to kill before meeting my friend for coffee, I kept wandering to the other shoe stores, just in case, y'know. And found these
They are NAOT. The photo doesn't show off the lovely 'burnt copper' colour, which looks more burgundy to me. They are absolutely the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn in my life. It was like walking in my slippers. They were just as comfy with or without socks. I hiked up and down hills and around the streets and through the tourist sites and to various groceries, galleries and gardens...my feet blissfully unaware they were being made to work. They almost made me want to walk even more.

To walk around shops in Britain is much more fun than doing so in Canada. Don't know why, but when I am on holiday I love to shop. I could happily spend an hour in a grocery store admiring the different products, the packaging, the prices! And everything looks so different in the dress and decor shops - well they would, wouldn't they? Since I only had carry on luggage I was severely restricted in my purchases.

Which, in the grand scheme of things was fine as I was really spending all my money on things like coffee and food. Everywhere seemed to be busy with prospective buyers of whatever was available, though I am not sure how those Brits manage with the prices of everything. An example was one treat of a light snack of 2 coffees, 1 tea, and 2 muffins which came to a not unusual grand total of 8.25 BPS that translated to 18.15 CAD.

I fell in love with something called a Love Bar from Pret-a-Manger - eating my way through 6 of them while in Bath. I didn't even try to calculate the calories or the cost of the small but yummy bar. I pretended the almonds, pistachios and vanilla pumpkin seeds made it healthy.

I then moved on to devouring as much smoked salmon as I could. Which was no difficult chore. It was everywhere. In my scrambled eggs at the hotel, in the take out sandwiches at Pret and Marks&Spencer. In every restaurant and pub we visited, there it was on the menu just as if it were an everyday ordinary thing to include in a sandwich or salad like, say, tomato. Or cheese. Oh, and the cheese they offer? Not Swiss or Cheddar or Havarti. No, it would be Brie!

And then there is that little joy of buying wine in a Marks or Tesco's...

So, my shoes were the best investment I made.

Monday, September 1, 2008

More on the pigs that were decorated and scattered around Bath.
They were cute and life-size and colourful. And brought a smile to pretty much everyone who came across them.

I made it an enjoyable mission to find as many as I could.

King Bladud's Pigs

Monday AMuse

Pigs in Bath

Sky Blue

King Bladud