Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Whack Job!

Here's a thing to try - it's called a Google Whack:
Google something, and keep changing it until you get just ONE result. Not no results, that would be easy. One single result. Not as easy as one may think, but fun. Fun in a kind of a "Lord is my office job ever boring" kind of a way.

And if you're kind and thoughtful, and interested in filling in some of my down time with stuff to read, you'll comment with whatever you came up with for your Google Whack.

Pass or Fail

I don't know if I have a stong enough work ethic to keep me sitting at this stupid desk today. I can hear a kayak calling to me from the Marina. (In winter my bed talks to me, as do the covers, begging me to stay in bed). Sun, a light breeze and an afternoon paddling around - how can I say no?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Yet another post for today, because this is crazy!

I have an office filled with huge lovely windows. I have an armchair to sit in on breaks, some neat art and my calendar is a French picture-a-day calendar. All in all an ok office, if one has to be in one. And this one has bills to pay so I do have to be in one.

The most interesting thing about this office though is the windows. They are windows to me, but mirrors to those on the outside. Now I know that everyone knows this on some level, but for the most part people walking by just seem to see them as giant mirrors placed there for their pleasure. Which as it happens is my pleasure. If they knew I could see them, I wouldn’t find the windows anywhere near as interesting

My current favourite is this really nice looking woman that works on some other floor of the building, but parks on the road behind where I work. She ALWAYS stops to check herself out on the way to and from her car. Yes, always. Once she even stopped and took a full minute of contemplating her own lovely self:

“Boy, am I pretty. I’m the prettiest girl here. I bet everyone else wishes they could be as pretty as me, but they can’t. I am the prettiest person in the whole city, and people love me. I think it makes people happy just to look at me and enjoy the prettiness. I feel sad for all the non pretty people, their lives must be so sad. But they can always look at me and be happy again. Who wouldn’t be happy seeing such prettiness? I’m almost doing a public service with my prettiness”.

Unfortunately, what she doesn’t seem to realize is that the smug self-satisfied expression that seems to be permanently affixed to her face negates the whole nice looking thing.

There is a building being put up next door, and once morning, a construction worker stopped to…re-arrange his package. Worried that he might decide that it was a good place for a bathroom break, I stood up and rapped on the window. Scared the be-jesus out of him! Hated to do it, but watching some stranger peeing in public first thing in the morning is not on my things I want to do list. He had to be stopped.

Why mention this now? Because mere minutes ago there was a couple kissing outside my window. He had a ring on his “I’m married” finger, she didn’t. May mean nothing, may mean everything, but in the meantime they need to STOP. It isn’t a mirror, ya morons!

Reality and Fantasy

I just got harangued by a little old lady. Little and old, at least. Shuffling along with a walker, on her way to the IGA next door. I was just coming back from scoping out the fruit to see what new dessert the restaurant should have. I was reading, and she stopped right by me and started in on how dangerous reading and walking was, and it would serve me right if I got hit by a car.

Now, there are two problems with this: I was on the sidewalk, not the street. The carless sidewalk. And I do look up when it's time to turn into the driveway of the office. I mean, if I were on safari and wandering the veldt reading and not watching where I was going, well fair enough. Let a lion eat me. But on a sidewalk, with no driveways or side roads I figure I'm pretty safe.

The second problem is that I was in the book WAY too deep. Normally I read something simple at work - ever since I found out that my co-workers mock me when I read at lunch, because I don't seem to have a clue as to what's going on. They left me once (boss included) at our morning coffee break reading away, just to see when I'd realize that it was time to go. (If you must know, I didn't notice until the early lunch people arrived in the coffee room). So I try to stay away from the deeply absorbing books. Today, however, I was at a compelling part of a decent book. It's set in Rome, and the main character is a shape-changer. The paragraph I was on was describing her difficulty in keeping her alternate self hidden when she was out amongst the people. I was thinking how cool it would be to have your human eyes change into wolf eyes when you're talking to someone who was annoying you. And that is the point that the woman started her harangue. So I'm totally confused - what happened to Rome? Where are the soldiers that were chasing me? What happened to the escape route taken to avoid the soldiers? Who is this woman, what does she want and can I make my eyes look like wolf eyes to her?

So I stood there staring in confusion, and let her have her moment of chastisment. She came from the retirement home on the north side of the office - I may be the only person she gets a chance to yell at all day, so perhaps in the end it was a good thing to let her have her say.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Victoria, I love you.

Ah, Victoria, if only I could live there right now. But I can’t, so a visit will have to do.

It was a very quick trip, this time, the main intention being to meet my sisters intended some time before the wedding. I did, and I like him. I knew he makes her happy, I can hear it in her voice when we talk on the phone. With the visit I was able to see that she makes him happy as well. An excellent match!

After a fairly barefootish-ish departure, I arrived in Vancouver in time to get the bus to the 1:00 PM ferry to Schwartz Bay. It was FANTASTIC. I spent every single minute outside, met a lot of people (including a woman who spoke Spanish, and she was from Spain, not South America or Mexico). Our conversation was limited by my lack of speaking Spanish, but I do understand a fair bit, so we did communicate in a strange sort of a way. Saw lots of birds – cormorants, gulls, eagles – and a herd of seals, their black-spotted grey bodies playing in a bay just as we started into the Narrow Passage.

One of our traditions is a drive around the Saanich Peninsula when I arrive. Dad drives, and I get to look at all the tall green things. What are they again? Oh, yeah, trees. Huge forests with tons of trees. I think I’ve been in Saskatchewan too long!

We went in to Victoria and met my sister for supper. It took tons of hints and lots of giggling, and then an outright “notice anything” before I twigged to the engagement ring on her finger. Silly me! I knew it would happen before the end of July, I should have checked her hand first thing. In the end, though, I’m just happy to see her so happy.

After supper we went to her place to drop my stuff off, then to his place for the big meeting. I am happy to report that he is a very nice man, and I am thrilled that the whole move to Victoria thing worked for her. Perhaps I should consider doing the same!

We went for a walk, hoping to find a coffee shop. Lots of Star Bucks open, but nothing local. Tons of people out and about, though. Tourists, mainly, from three cruise ships that were in. We listened to some really good street musicians, wandered around, saw things and just enjoyed the beautiful evening in a beautiful city. Stayed up to late, of course!

Sunday was not really a sleep-in day, because my sister and her fiancé wanted me to meet their church, and his mom. So off we went to St. Matthias. Very nice church, and I got te meet their friends and family. Matthew (so I don’t have to keep calling him “her fiancé”) took my sister, myself and his mother out for lunch at a waterfront restaurant. Excellent fish, and we had a cheese plate as an appetizer. Yum!

We then took his mother home, and went for another drive. Saw Patrick Stewarts house, but not the man himself. (He lives in the same neighbourhood as Matthews’ mother). Bugger.

Sunday night was out birthday supper (we’re not twins, but we do share the same birthday, June 8th) at Dunsmuir Lodge. Is see this place all the time, when I fly into Victoria. As you leave the airport there is what looks like a huge house hidden in the middle of the hill opposite the airport. Great food, and I really enjoyed sitting at the window and looking at the water and the misty hills in the distance. Dad and I took the little car home, and Matthew dropped S. and the luggage at his place later on in the evening.

No sleep in Monday, either, but then this was a holiday to do stuff, not sleep! Dad always goes out for coffee Monday mornings with his buddies, so we went to. Some I’d met before and some I hadn’t, but all of them were perfectly charming. (Can one still use the word charming?).

The rest of Monday was a hair appointment for me, and shopping. The hair took forever, but it feels so nice to have short hair. Unfortunately – and typically! – I can’t make it look as perfect as the hair guy did, but such is life. I’m glad it looked great for one day, though, because my sister beat me to a fantastic coat. All I can say is that after the wedding, I hope I get a chance to wear it somewhere. Not sure where, as it is a jewel toned sapphire blue, fitted at the top, and full length with silver butters down the front. And I mean full length! Every time envy raised its ugly head I thought about the hair. (I’m still worried about the people who may have heard me chanting “she has the coat, but my hair looks great” over and over again. Then again, it was likely no stranger than anything else going on. Lots of interesting people in Victoria!).

I did buy things, too. Can you guess? Yup, no surprise, lingerie and a game. A peignoir that I couldn’t resist and a game from Interactivity games on Fort Street that I should have bought the last time I was in Victoria. I need to do something somewhat less predictable. Although the former purchase ended up being a perfect match to my room makeover, so clearly that was a wise purchase. But that coat, I want the coat!

Monday night I think supper was toast, which is what we had on Tuesday, too. Afterwards we met with friends of theirs from church, and I made dessert. The strawberry thing, of course. But now I have this bottle of Stoli strawberry vodka in my cupboard. I’m going to have to come up with some new thing to do with it.

We went to a play Tuesday evening, “Maggie’s Getting Married”, at the Langham Court Theatre. It was funny, and I enjoyed myself. Very late when we got home, and again for Wednesday no sleep in. I had to get my sister to a conference, and then on to Sidney to get packed and on the plane.

As usual, Victoria didn’t disappoint. I hope that next time I have more time, as I didn’t see everyone I usually do whilst there, and didn’t do some of the things on my list.

Oh, yeah, one other thing worth mentioning: Matthew is the Chief City Planner for Langford. We went on a drive on Bear Mountain, and his boss the City Administrator, was at the house they are building (“they” being the administrator and his family). We got the full tour, and all I can say is that I hope I can see when its finished. Gorgeous view, quiet street, lovely house. Lots of those tree things again. I wish I lived somewhere with giant forests nearby. Someday!

So there – backwards in order, but that is the trip in a rather large nutshell.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Can I be an elf when I grow up? I've got the room.

I’m not sure what to do first – the greatness of Victoria, or the really cool thing that happened when I got back? I guess chronological would be best. I mean, it even has the word logical in it. Must be the right choice.

No wait – my life never seems to progress in the most logical fashion, so I’m doing it backwards. Yes, I went to Victoria and it was great. More later. So, coming home:

It took longer than the original plan, so it was quite late when I got home. And not only had it been raining for days when I left, including the day I actually left, but it was pouring when I got back. Were there any sunny days in my absence? I got home cold, wet and muddy. I took the dogs for a walk and then (wetter, colder and muddier) I returned home. Brushed my teeth, and opened the door to my bedroom…but it was no longer my room. It was a piece of paradise!

My house sitters, La famille Hingston, had given me a bedroom makeover. It desperately needed a paint job – the three yellow walls that went with the yellow and blue wall paper hadn’t been painted since I moved in in 1995. They had asked about this at last year's birthday (I went to Victoria to meet my sister’s intended and to celebrate our mutual birthday). I thought they meant, well, paint. It needed paint. They had three prints that are the same genre as (but not this specific one) this:

(Bugger. Can't make the picture work. Suffice it to say it is elf/fairy/fantasy all in blues).

They wanted my opinion of the blues in them. Yup, I love blues. We’ll work out the time sometime. Except I never went anywhere until May, when I went to Edmonton. But they were away that weekend too. Apart from which, it was really a job that perhaps they shouldn’t do. Painting is not something I’d volunteer for. But let me tell you, as well as being wonderful and kind and funny (in three entirely different ways, oddly enough), they are also tall, beautiful (again, in three different ways) and TALENTED! Who knew?

So my room: gone was the flowered wall paper, which I liked at first but had in the past years been feeling as though I had a nursery for a bedroom. Instead all four walls are now this amazing blue. The furniture is moved around, quite effectively. They made blue drapes which not only look great but also (did you three do it on purpose?) make the room really dark – a huge benefit if you get migraines.

There is a new night table. To be honest, thanks to my TOTALLY LACKING housekeeping skills, my previous night table was actually a stool. This is an true table, with a cover. A cover made with the same material as the runner on the dresser. A runner which cleverly hides the flaws that are inevitably found when the dresser is a hand me down of a hand me down of a hand me down. Now it looks all new and pretty.

The three prints are all framed and hanging, and the night table – and dresser – have really nice candles in blue and green glass dishes. I’ve never actually had a light in the room (other than the overhead one) so I’ve always only used candles. The old candle holders let the wax drip, making of mess of the table, er, stool. The candles in the dishes won’t do that. And in the corner where, for two years I’ve had a dead plant hanging from the ceiling, they hung this neat metal lantern thing (yes, for candles). It is a totally cool fairly medieval looking bedroom. Did they look at how many fantasy books are in my bookshelves? (Also clean, organized and moved to a new spot in the room), or perhaps the type of movies I like? The dreams that I have where I’m a warrior elf…they know about those, maybe that was the inspiration for the fairy/elf/fantasy room? Maybe though, just maybe, they know me that well.

I thought – initially – there was one thing missing. Why wasn’t Naveen Andrews, or HIM, or the Rock, or Oded Fehr or even Mark Harmon not part of the décor? And then I realized it wasn’t that the room was missing a guy, it was that I needed a totally cool medieval gown thingy to wear in it. Something like the one I had just bought in Victoria. Perfect timing. I even wondered if they were in cahoots with my sister, but she was as surprised as I was when I phoned her to tell her about the room.

All I can say in conclusion, is that A) I’m going to need Ky’s mailing address and B) those Hingstons better be prepared for being cooked for on a regular basis. ‘Cause they’re AWESOME. I’d put the whole thing on a level with how wonderful it was to go on Safari in Africa. And let me tell you, going on safari is an absolutely amazing experience. Merci, Al, Bronwyn, Ky and Lyn.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Edmonton, Part Three

We arrived in Edmonton at the hotel with enough time to eat, shower and get dressed for the wedding itself. It was a very nice wedding – very low key, none of the crazy expensive dancing camel weirdness that so many weddings seem to have these days. Also, unlike the bride at the last wedding I went to, the bride didn’t pass out drunk before the evening was over.

We checked out early the next day because we planned on spending the day at the West Edmonton Mall. I am not overly fond of mall life, but given that we’re not likely to be there again, it seemed fitting that we should spend some time there. And boy, did we spend some time there! Eight and a half hours in total.

Now, before you wonder how anyone could spend that much time shopping, I should clarify: we spent that much time at the mall, but very little of it shopping. We ate breakfast there, and then went on the rollercoaster. WOW! I sat with M., who was white-faced and silent the whole ride. (Which, by the way, was the most time on a rollercoaster that I’ve had. They weren’t stingy at all, none of the 40 seconds and you’re done stuff here). A. and I hooted and hollered the whole time. Great ride, and despite having eater minutes before, no one was sick.

The next stop was the much anticipated (by M.) Build-a-Bear workshop. The woman who started the thing (they had her biography there) was told it would never work but let me tell you, there were four tills working non-stop the whole time we were there. M. spent all of her holiday money there. That place must be making money hand over fist.

The next stop was supposed to be the pool area, but there was a bungee thing on the way. A bungee cords and trampoline sort of arrangement. Both kids wanted to try it, so I said I’d pay. No way to be able to pay for A. to do the big jump, so this seemed like a good compromise. I wasn’t going to do it myself, but A. said this may be the closest I’d get to jumping off a balcony a la Lara Croft (my favourite part of the first Croft movie) and I should do it. I wanted to hold out for an actual castle and a bungee, but in all honesty he was probably right, so we all did it. It was wonderful, I highly recommend it. If I could afford to set this up in the back yard I would. Or in a castle, but I’d need to find the castle first.

Finally, the part that I was looking forward to: the water park. I am a water baby, and so are my two babies. We spent five hours in the pool area. A. and I couldn’t get enough of the wave pool, and the slides, once we started on them were wonderful. There was one, though, that I almost didn’t do. It was one of those slide with a really severe drop. No gently sloping curve with turns and twists, just one straight slide. Sitting at the top I thought that despite my love of water sliding my fear of heights would win out. But A. was in the twin slide beside me, a couple of teens were behind us waiting, so when A. said “one, two three go!” I went. Holy Moly, that’s all I have to say. More sliding, more surfing and then we decided that we had to get the dog and get some supper.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Land of 1000 Euphemisms.

Normally I get guys. More than I get women, actually. Get as in understand, not get get. And yes, saying the same word twice changes its meaning. Sometimes, though, I just don’t get things at all. Two recent incidents come to mind.

The first one, yes, I’m an idiot but I caught on pretty quickly. I was in the kitchen, cookie dough ready to go, and I couldn’t find the racks. So there I was, slowly looking around, trying to find them. And things went roughly like this:

What do you need?
Where are the racks? I NEED A RACK.
Well. It would appear to me that you already have one.

Yes, it took a second, but I did get it. The kitchen boys thought it was hilarious. Because they’re guys? Who knows.

The second incident needs some defense before I talk about it. You know how you get one idea in your head, and you just stay on that track? Well, I make good iced tea. May-B makes better, but if I make the effort and add sliced citrus to mine it is excellent. But the only thing I have to make it in is the plastic container we used to make Kool-aid with (no more K.A., too much sugar). It’s icky. If I was going to brew really good tea, and then slice up some nice lemons and oranges, I wanted a really nice glass pitcher for it. So that was my mind set.” Need something nice for iced tea”. Off to the store I went.

I get a few other things, but I cannot for the life of me find anything for the tea. At the front by the customer service counter there are four guys. As I stand there looking like I need help, things progress thusly:
Can I help you find something?
Yes. Do you have any jugs?
(giggle) What?
Do you have jugs?
(giggle giggle)
I’m sorry…you’re trying to find jugs? Giggle. And yet more giggles.
Yes! And what’s so funny? (At this point, I look just behind me, and see a whole display of jugs, but they’re the plastic kind, and too small. I brilliantly deduce that they are laughing because I want help finding something that I am standing beside).

Oh…you’re laughing because of the jugs right in front of me. Well, they’re too small! I want something much bigger. Big (and God help me I actually used my hands here) jugs.

(Gales of laughter. So much so that I thought one guy was going to pee).
(Giggle). Jugs. You said jugs.

Light goes on in brain. I am mortified. They are vastly humoured. I leave the store jug-less. So to speak.

In a similar vein (well, similar in that I am still talking about guys, and body parts. Just a different part, and a different guy). I went to Campbell Collegiate two nights last week to listen to the kids band concerts. On the second night I was walking on the sidewalk behind a man who was with his son. They must have been going to the gym, because the son was wearing gym clothes and had a basketball under his arm. (Which begs the question: why bring your own basketball to a game at school? How different can they be?) The dad has that rumpled potato that just got off the coach look to him. He has shorts on, and one leg of the shorts is sort of ricked up. And…well…there he was, exposed to the world. So how on earth can you be outside, on a cool and breezy Saskatchewan evening and not be aware that your Johnson is out and about? HOW??