Thursday, December 27, 2007

Digital Hydro Meters - watch your bills!

So... we're Toronto Hydro customers. yippee. So what? Well, I just want to get that out of the way, because I'm not sure if the following is a reflection on the company, or the meters (which are employed by hydro companies throughout North America).

I used to pay our hydro bill, but 3 bills ago, D took over paying them. That doesn't have any bearing on the story, other than to say that I wasn't quite as aware of the amounts on the bills recently.

We had a fairly 'usual' hydro bill amount. Obviously, it would be slightly higher in the summer (A/C) than in winter (lights on timers, so the more hours of darkness weren't a big impact for us).

The last bill I paid was in June (based on a late May reading).

Then they changed our hydro meter from the old analog ones to a new digital meter. Very fancy, supposedly more accurate... and no requirement to have someone come out to read it.

The next bill (based on a late July reading, usually) was listed as an "estimate"... probably because of the change in meters. Ok... it was about $40 more than our 'usual', but it was also summer, we'd had a couple of heat waves... possible it was accurate, I suppose.

The next bill (based on a late September reading) was about $125 higher than 'usual'... but I didn't see it for it to raise flags with me.

The most recent bill (based on a late November reading) was about $300 higher than 'usual'!!!! WTF!?!?!? Umm... no. Well, we paid the damn thing because I don't want my credit rating to be screwed (the bill's in my name), but we did some investigation before calling them.

Here's the thing...

The bill says the meter reading of November 26th was 6770... D did a visual check of the meter on December 22nd (nearly a full month after the bill's reading) and it showed 4515. Ain't no way in hell that meter ran backwards or rolled over in that month, so obviously the damn thing is pooched and 'called home' with the wrong number... or their billing system pooched it.

So I called Hydro this morning to try to sort it out... and I don't think I quite got my point across to the woman I was dealing with. Although, I did get across that there's an issue with the last 3 bills, that the reading one month after the current bill is LOWER than the one on the bill, and that our lifestyle has not changed significantly since we moved into this house over a year ago, but the last 3 bills have been getting increasingly higher out of our 'usual' range.

They're sending someone in person to look at the meter within the next 7 days, but we won't see any adjustment (if there is one) until the next bill... which I expect to see sometime mid-February... stay tuned, and in the mean time, Keep an eye on your bills if you've been switched to a digital meter!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Traffic Lights and Devious People

Yeah... I know... strange title for a blog post. But those are the subjects of the day.

First, the traffic lights. This was just odd. So, I've been off work or working from home every day so far this week, so this was my first morning heading to the GO station to catch my usual train. To get there, I hang a left at a stop sign, hang a right at some traffic lights, hang a left at some traffic lights, and then a right into the parking lot (with straight lines of varying lengths between them all, obviously). The problem? The traffic lights at which I turn left were red. And not changing. At all. After 4 minutes trapped in line, I finally got a break in traffic turning right and ducked into a plaza that also feeds out onto the cross-street. Made my left and sailed on through the green light. Which stayed green. In my rearview mirror, I saw several other cars pulling out of the plaza or turning right and pulling a u-turn. Very odd. I feel kind of bad for the people who were on the bus I was behind and trying to catch the train, because when the train pulled in 12 minutes later, that bus still hadn't managed to turn.

Now on to the devious people.

The house beside us was sold at the end of May. In mid-September it was busted as a grow-op (nice... you'd think they'd do some research, since the house directly across the street from them was busted 2 years ago... so now the neighbours know what to look for ;) ). Over the past couple of days, a For Sale sign has appeared on the boulevard outside the house. Odd. They city hasn't been by to inspect and do necessary post-grow-op renovations (which they're required to do). So I hop on and look up the listing. Interesting... the picture is the same one used back in May (different agent, though). I can tell, because it's nice and sunny and green... the front door is red (that was the first change... the door got painted white)... and there's lots of plants out front (that was the second change... all the plants in the flower bed got razed... looked like they just started mowing and kept going). The listing says the house is being sold in "as is" condition. First alarm bell. The house is listed at $349,000. Second alarm bell... and third, actually. Second because that seems pretty high for a house that was sold 7 months ago with no significant upgrades listed in the listing... plus it's a bungalow (we paid less than that for our back-split). Third because that price is completely at odds with the words "as is condition". Deduction: either the seller is trying to pull the wool over everyone's eyes... or the listing agent is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of potential buyers. Not cool... and I feel bad for whoever buys the place.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Trip to St. Lucia

Ok, so I’ve tried to write this darn blog entry about our trip to St. Lucia a half-dozen times already, and it always ends up too long. But, I’ll give it another shot… bear with me. And while we’re at it… be warned that it’s going to be long. Very long. And all text ‘cuz I don’t have my pics online at the moment.

Trip: November 10 – 17, 2007
Destination: St. Lucia
Resort: Sandals Halcyon Beach
Review in a nutshell: Beautiful Island. Avoid this resort like the plague (actually, you might end up with the plague…)

I can hear you now… “Whaaaaaaaaaa??? But it’s a Sandals!!!” Yeah, that’s pretty much what we thought, too. Had our opinion been based purely on this resort, Sandals would never get another penny of our money. However, having seen two other of their properties while in St. Lucia, we’re almost willing to give them another chance. Maybe.

We booked this trip last-minute. Fairly literally. We decided on November 3rd that we were going and booked on November 4th, to leave November 10th. We chose this resort based on the website for it… the text and images on that site (having examined the site more closely since we returned, the inconsistencies in information between pages and the “sound stage” look to some of the pictures should perhaps have set off the suspicion alarms, but at the time, we had other things on our mind). Of the properties on St. Lucia, this looked like the best fit for us.

We’re not beach people, per se. The website said this beach was pristine white sand beach. Nothing about this beach in reality tempted us to become beach people. What the site failed to mention was that this is a PUBLIC beach. As such, setting foot NEAR the beach (you didn’t even have to go ONTO it) resulted in being accosted by local beach bums, peddlers and drug dealers. Yes, drug dealers. Nice, no? I should also point out at this juncture that these people were also benefiting from the all-inclusive bar aspect of the resort free-of-charge thanks to the resort’s bar-tenders. Maybe that wouldn’t have bothered me so much if D and I were drinkers *shrug*. But getting back to the beach.. it was short, dirty brown, and ‘pristine’ is not a word I’d remotely consider applying to it.

The beaches at the other two properties, on the other hand were beautiful… and private.

We booked a “Luxury Ocean View” room. It was dark, dank, had a crack running most of the height of one wall, had no screen in the bathroom window, had no doors on the ‘closet’, had an elderly ceiling fan we were afraid to turn above ‘low’ in case it fell on the bed, and the window A/C which was the only way to control the dank smell was constantly being turned off by housekeeping. As for the ocean view, if you stood in exactly the right spot and the wind was cooperating, you could see a small sliver of blue that might have been water. Maybe. Primarily our view was of our overhung patio (a little pruning goes a long way with clematis), and pedestrian traffic between the other rooms and the main complex (lobby, taxis, busses, restaurants, main pool, administrative buildings, gift shop, etc.). I was particularly fond of the parades of housekeeping carts, luggage carts and ice carts. Oh yes, did I forget to mention that the ice was kept in insulated bins scattered around the gardens? Located every 500 metres to make up for the lack of refrigerators in the rooms.

The site mentioned 24 hour food availability. Nope. No room service. Breakfast from 7:30 – 11:00, lunch from 12:30 – 2, dinner starts at 6:00. From 10 – 5:00, I think, and again from 10 – 3 a.m. (I think… I’d need to confirm those times) there WAS a “grill” open… primarily for it’s bar, but there were offerings of seafood pizza (scary), and a few grillable items (burgers of questionable food safety and hot dogs, primarily). There was afternoon tea at the lagoon pool.

The pools bore no resemblance to the website. The food was mediocre at best (and it didn’t get to ‘best’ too often). The service was abysmal. There were feral cats with the run of the main restaurant (and the rest of the resort, but they stayed off my dining table elsewhere), birds crapping on the tables. Every time we went for a meal something was missing from our table… napkins, glasses, cutlery, salt shaker (not that it would have done us any good anyway… exposed 24/7 to the humid sea air had turned it into a salt-lick more than a salt shaker)… and almost always missing from our table, no matter how many times it was requested: D’s morning coffee. Maybe I have unrealistic expectations, but I figure if you ask someone if they’d like coffee, tea, or a mimosa… and they say they’d like coffee… it’s reasonable to expect that coffee would be forthcoming, no? Apparently… no. There’s no alcohol in coffee, so why serve it? Of course, if you’re not going to serve it, perhaps you shouldn’t offer it, either.

And then there were the bugs. I don’t particularly like thinking about the bugs. I mean, I recognize that bugs exist… that they’re a bigger issue in humid areas… and that I am the preferred snack food. But the biting started as soon as we stepped off the mini-bus from the airport (oh yes… the trip from Toronto to the resort and back again is a whole other story for another entry)… and didn’t stop until we left. And, worst of all, I woke up some mornings with more bites than I’d had when I went to bed *shudder*.

I think our favourite spot at the resort was the shuttle bus to the Grande St. Lucian. And only because it took us to the resort that DID look like the one on the website. And had food I could eat (allergies to shellfish, peppers, and grapefruit meant that I couldn’t eat most things… including most of the fruit due to cross-contamination). Honestly, access to this resort is the only reason we’d even consider giving Sandals a second chance. The service was great… the public areas looked awesome… (the pool tables were indoors)… they’ve got a pub… and they room keys are key cards (as opposed to our resort where we discovered at checkout that all the rooms have the exact same key… thank goodness we’re security paranoid and deadbolted and chained the door at night… and locked up or hid our valuables when we weren’t in the room).

So yeah… While I’d recommend the island to beach bums, adventure tourists, and just folks who like a pretty view, I wouldn’t recommend that particular resort to anyone I liked even a little bit.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Did you know....?

... burning teeth smell a wee bit like cinnamon?

How do I know this? Because yesterday I had the joy of a root canal. Yup... lots of fun. Especially the bit where the endodontist told me that the roots of my teeth are really long. No, smart-ass... my teeth just aren't fully erupted. Think about it... I'm 6' tall and fully mature, but I've got tiny little teeth. *shrug*

Anyway... at several points in the process (I tried to tune out) there was a whiff of scent vaguely reminiscent of cinnamon... but warmer. Turns out it was when she was using a tool inside the tooth that applies localized heat. Not sure if it was to cauterize something, or fill the roots with molten metal (a la soldering iron), and I really didn't want to ask.

Other adventures of the process: 4 sets of x-rays (really, Lady, the tooth hasn't changed position or structure in the last 20 minutes... honest... other than you filing the insides out of it, anyway), the metal frame holding the latex shield over the tooth in question popping off and flying across the room to the tune of "oh crap" from the endodontist... and 90 minutes in the chair with my mouth stuck open.

Joy. But on the plus side, I think this takes care of both teeth that have had the most dental work on them in the past... so I should be good for a while now *laugh* Stupid hereditary weak enamel.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Winter's here...

Yup. In spite of the calendar, winter is most definitely here. While not the first snowfall/storm of the season, Saturday night/Sunday is currently winning for least pleasant.

The adventure started thusly:

On Wednesday, I contacted a friend of some 21 years (21 years!! Yikes! How'd that happen? Now I feel old!) to ask about a mailing address for another friend of ours who I had sadly lost touch with (although he promised in my wedding guest book that he'd email ;) ). I knew this friend had moved, so in an effort to actually get Christmas cards out to people this year I thought I'd update the mailing list. Anyway, long story short(er), I discovered that he and his fiancée (and their assorted kids ;) ) were having a housewarming party on Saturday night. In Kitchener. Oddly, about 6 blocks from where D lived when I first met him. So, of course, I wanted to seize the opportunity to see C again, see his new place, meet his future wife, etc. etc. etc.

Then I heard the weather forecast. Saturday night was supposed to bring a storm after 2 days of rain. Hrm. So I didn't email C to let him know we'd be there... partly to surprise him... partly because I didn't know if we'd make it.

Saturday dawned and we started the mad scramble to get all the things we wanted to get done this weekend done. D was actually off this Saturday, so that was a nice change... gave us a bit more time to work with for the things that needed both of us. Off I went to do the usual singing thing at church (not sure how much longer I'll be doing that... they're really starting to irritate me)... then mad dash home to grab D, the housewarming gift, some emergency supplies (just in case... having been through the Ottawa Ice Storm in the winter of '97/'98, I figure better safe than frozen) and hit the road. We took my car... it's less "sporty", more comfortable, and I just feel safer in it in bad weather (no offence to D's car... it's the same kind I originally wanted to buy when I got Zippy, but I couldn't afford to insure it so... *shrug*). I had decided that Milton was going to be our 'drop dead' point. If we got to Milton before meeting the snow, we'd go the whole way... if the snow started at any point up to there, we'd turn around. Well, we actually made it all the way to Kitchener with no snow. Yay!!! We had also figured that, worst case, the in-laws are only a short way further out the road from there so we could over-night with them and try the trip home in the morning.

Anyway... much fun was had... it was great to see C again (and maybe this time we'll actually manage to keep in touch). A couple of rough moments for D and I... but that relates to certain other events in our lives recently and is entirely our own problem *shrug*.

At about 10:45 (give or take), P (the friend of 21 years) showed up and said the storm was coming. Actually, the snow had started. So D and I saddled up for the homeward trek, hoping to beat the worst of it.

Next time remind me of two things: D is much better at night driving, especially on stretches of highway with no street-lights; There's no point in trying to beat a storm home from KW.

Now, I'm a decent driver. While I've been known to be a bit of a speed demon at times, I don't take stupid risks (especially if there's someone else in the car), and I drive for the weather conditions. Sadly, I cannot say the same for others. It's a freakin' miracle that we didn't see anyone spin out or in a ditch on the way home. And I have to say, the worst were the truckers. Now, I know some truckers... great guys... helpful folks. But oh my gawd the truckers on Saturday night were psychotic and wrapped up in their own universe. If the speed of traffic is 80 at best because of road conditions, don't whip by in the fast lane (where they're not supposed to be in the first place) at 120 throwing snow all over everyone, blinding other drivers, and whipping cars around in your wake. It's just not cool. Frankly, I don't care if you have a deadline for your shipment... I just want to get home alive. Thankfully, once we got the hell off the 401 and on to the 407, there were practically no truckers. Of course, there WERE pseudo snowplows. And I say 'pseudo' because they were really only making the situation worse. There was no salt going down behind them, so the thin sheet of compressed snow and ice from where the heat of the friction of blade on road melted things was MORE dangerous than if they'd just left it well enough alone. But that's ok... most of them were on the other side of the higway anyway.

I think we lucked out. The normally hour-and-a-half drive took about two-and-a-quarter hours. Considering that for quite a large stretch at the beginning our speed never topped 60, that says a lot for road conditions closer to, and across T.O..

It was great seeing C again, meeting his new (well, new to us) family unit... now that he's closer to the in-laws, the chances of us visiting again increase significantly, too ;)

Then on Sunday, after the snow came the freezing rain. And after the freezing rain came the blackout. Yeah... several hours in the dark. Not fun. So we used our "über candle" for both light and warmth (it's a huge 3-wicked bee's wax thing... throws a fair amount of both light and heat), since the fan on the furnace is electric, and the fans on both gas fireplaces are electric. Luckily, we could at least make dinner, because the stove top is gas. And wouldn't you know it? As soon as I was done making dinner the power came back on (literally... I turned off the burner on the stove and the lights came on at almost the same moment). Well, at least we didn't have to ask my parents for a warm place to sleep (they're only 3 blocks away, but on the other side of a major road, and their part of the grid was still on).

And, as winter is quite comfy where she is, we're still dealing with snow, freezing rain, and my personal fave, really strong freakin' cold winds. Which brings me to my Question of the Day:

Why do people so often fail to consider the weather before choosing their footwear? I can't count the number of people I saw this morning with leather-soled (or otherwise traction-less) shoes. Slip slidin' away... slip slidin' awaaaaay... you know the nearer your destination, the more you're slip slidin' awaaay. ;)

Have a great one, folks! Still working on the St. Lucia experience post.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Wow people are bright.

So... decided to drive to work this morning. This is unusual for me... usually I take the GO Train and enjoy NOT having to deal with idiot drivers, but today I just couldn't face the prospect of another cold and windy walk along Front Street.

On the way, I needed to stop for gas... no biggie, I drive past a station anyway. Well, some bright spark has decided overnight that it'd be a good idea to send out a street sweeper along the major artery I drive along, complete with water jet to wash the road. Let me tell all you folks who don't live in Southern Ontario why this was an issue. At 6:30 this morning the temperature was -3. Below freezing. Fine spray of water... below freezing temps... let's just say getting into and out of the gas station was a fun ride. Our first idiot of the day award goes to whoever decided they needed to clean the road last night.

Fast forward about 30 minutes (I avoid highways in Toronto like the plague between the hours of 6:00 and 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. Monday - Friday... the drive takes LESS time if I do).... driving along Wellington Street through the financial district (almost at work, in fact). Cabbie is driving along in front of me. I suddenly realize that the back of the cab is getting a lot closer. Yes, folks, he has NO brake lights. None. Zero out of three. Now there's a safe prospect. And you know, that's not the sort of thing that happens without someone knowing. That's the sort of thing that happens when someone unplugs something and OOOPS, forgets to plug it back in. Idiot of the day award #2 goes to the cabbie. However, the cab company is spared, because when I called to let them know, they actually put me on hold rather suddenly to get the dispatcher to put the call out to him. Of course, they were probably just covering their own butts on that one... the way people drive in this city, it could well result in the death of a passenger... or at least a hefty ticket and fine.

TGIF. And hopefully the drive home won't be as interesting (although it's supposed to snow, so 97% of the people on the roads home will likely have forgotten how to drive. Blah.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Disgusted with Grey Cup fans

Let me start with an aside note that as soon as I've sent my letter to them, I'll post something about our recent trip to St. Lucia and the Sandals Halcyon Beach resort.

Now... on to the real post.

I live in Toronto. I cherish no illusions that it’s a “super-clean” city. I know we have litter and dirt issues. We’re a city, I’d find it a little spooky if we didn’t.

That said, I have to say I was thoroughly disgusted on my morning commute to walk along Front Street and see the amount of crap left over from last night’s Grey Cup. Normally, Front Street is a pretty clean part of town. What with the CN Tower, Rogers Centre (aka the SkyDome), and the Convention Centre, there’s a fairly high tourist traffic level, so they make an effort to keep it clean and tidy. Generally, the most litter around is cigarette butts. There are large planters that are filled with reasonably attractive plants from March through November (and often beyond if it’s a snow-light winter).

This morning? Papers, flyers, napkins, food detritus (half-eaten burgers, pizza crusts, hot peppers, etc.), plants ripped out of the planters and thrown on the ground, empty booze and beer bottles (drinking on a public street is still illegal, last time I checked), vomit pools and, in at least one spot, crap. Literally. Shit. Fecal Matter. Human solid waste. Who the hell thinks it’s ok to drop drawers on a main thoroughfare and take a dump??!??!?!!?

And while I understand and appreciate that the game didn’t end until 9:00 or so, there’s no reason why the city and/or the Grey Cup committee couldn’t have done something to clean up the after-math overnight.


On a happier note… we went to the One of a Kind show yesterday and our favourite photographer was there. He’s got some great new shots in his collection, along with the old favourites. We picked up his new book (which he inscribed for me) and one of his desk calendars… and he remembered us from previous shows. Check him out!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Interesting: Question of the Day

I know, I know... it's been far too long, and soon I'll post an update. For now, here's a really, really, really long "what the hell were they thinking" post :)

Today's question: How does someone sue for breach-of-contract when no contract was signed?

It seems a New York lawyer got married this summer and wasn’t thrilled with the flowers. She had paid for them in advance by cashier’s cheque for somewhat over $27,000. She ordered rust and green hydrangeas for her 22 centrepieces. She got pastel pink and green hydrangeas, which apparently clashed with everything at the reception. She also claims that cheaper orchids were substituted in her bouquet and the equivalent of $5 street-vendor roses were used at a cost of $55 - $65. After the wedding, she requested a refund of $4,000. When she didn’t get it, she decided to sue. For $400,000. Oh yes, she’s also claiming that the flowers were wilted and browning, and that they were put in dusty vases with insufficient water.

The florist claims that they didn’t make this bride sign a contract, because they trusted her, having dealt with her sister’s wedding previously. He claims that the bride was told that they would do their best to match a picture she had presented, but due to the nature of the flowers involved and the lighting in the room, they might look different. He also said his father warned him not to deal with lawyers.

I’ve got a few issues with this:

1/ Who the heck pays for wedding flowers entirely up front by cashier’s cheque??? Anyone with half a brain (and one would assume an associate at a high-priced NY law firm who have represented celebrities and other people with more money than sense falls into the category of having at least HALF a brain) would cover themselves and pay by credit card. That way there’s options for restitution or refund for failure to deliver.

2/ Who the heck spends $27,000 on FLOWERS????????? Obviously a poor little rich girl from the Upper East Side does… I can’t see anyone else paying that much. I paid $400, personally… although admittedly we only used roses, not tempermental out-of-season, notoriously fussy flowers.

3/ Who sues for 100x the amount she’s already pretty much asserted she was entitled to for failure to provide the agreed upon flowers exactly as she imagined?

4/ Who really thinks that a professional who’s been in business for years would use dusty vases at a hoity-toity hall?

5/ Who, having decided they wanted hydrangeas, would fail to educate themselves on the delicate nature of said flowers? Such education would show that they generally bloom (naturally) in late spring or early summer… they don’t take kindly to excessive heat… and they start to wilt/brown almost as soon as they’re cut… regardless of how much water they sit in (and really, the water on cut flowers only needs to be about a half-inch above the cut ends, so unless the stems were really, really short, less than half a vase would be plenty of water… so how much was in the darn things to constitute “insufficient”?)

And, of course, as the opening line said: How can you sue for breach-of-contract when no contract was signed?

Oh, if you want the details, I suggest you Google “bride sues florist”. The NY Times article is a good one to start with.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Question of the day...

Today's question... is it a violation of the city's leash laws if one end of the leash is attached to the dog's collar and the other end is in it's mouth?

Interesting question. Here's why I ask it: Today I went out at lunch time to run an errand. In my travels I was passed by a large Alsatian-type dog (a cross... not sure what with) trotting demurely down the street with a leash attached to it's collar. The other end of the leash was not in the hand of the man walking behind the dog, but was rather in the dog's mouth. Now, yes, they were headed to a park that may be a leash-free zone (I haven't checked, although it wasn't a couple of years ago), but they were, at that point, still on the street/sidewalk.

The official answer? Yes, it's a violation. Because in spite of the much spoken "dogs must be on a leash except on private property or in designated 'off-leash' areas of city parks" ... the actual restriction is this:
Dogs running at large.
A. No owner of a dog shall cause or permit the dog to run at large in the City, except as
permitted in those areas of City parks where dogs are permitted to run at large as
designated by City by-law.
B. For the purposes of this chapter, a dog shall be deemed to be running at large when found in any place other than the premises of the owner of the dog and not under the control of any person.
C. No person shall keep a dog off the premises of the owner other than on a leash
which shall not exceed two metres in length except where consent is given by the
person owning the property where the dog is found.

This lesson has been brought to you by the letter D and the number 31.

Have a great long weekend folks!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Miscellaneous rambling...

So... a number of different topics today.

1. The campaign from hell. It got even more 'interesting' yesterday when I discovered that a request I made at the beginning of the month never got done. Why? Because apparently it doesn't fall into the frame of tasks for either of the people I asked to do it. And they didn't tell me that on the 3rd when I'd have had a chance of fixing the issue because? No clue... you've got me... I'm going to have to resort to citing idiocy, I think. So... that left me scrambling to contact another group to get it done. A group with a 5-day turn-around to RESPOND. With a target launch of Tuesday. Yes, folks you can do the math... that leaves 3 days to get it done by a group with a 5 day turn-around to say "yeah? What do you want?". So... the guy whose job this campaign ACTUALLY is got a 6:30 a.m. email today alerting him to the situation and suggesting he start escalating now. What happens remains to be seen.

2. Ding! Dong! The bitch is dead! Or leaving town, anyway. Yes, one of the people who was so utterly horrified to discover a shared friend is leaving town for an extended period of time! *happy dance* Wheeee!

3. Some people have no sense of discretion. Some people have no sense of socially acceptable behaviour and tact. Put the two together in the same group and watch the stupidity ensue!

4. Medical secretaries who think they're "god" need a reality check. A really, really big one. A Publisher's Clearing House sized one. Tact, diplomacy, sensitivity, and actually letting people talk to the doctor when they say they need to... these are important skills. So is "breaking news gently". Where's a flame-thrower when you need one?

5. There are times when video game violence is quite therapeutic. Much like pool, but without the same level of thinking required ;)

6. I need a vacation. 10 days from now I'll be sitting by a lake looking at nothing but rocks and trees (until I turn my head and see 12 cabins, a 'camp store', several boats, a fish-cleaning shed... oh yes, and 2 people very dear to me :) ). Now remains the task of trying to figure out what to bring... and what groceries to pack from here and what groceries to stop part-way there and pick up.

New job is finally ticking along... apparently I'm a Business Analyst now (poop)... and picking up a project mid-flow, so I've got a lot of ground to make up. Plus I'm not sure why I'm on the project, since I technically work on the secure sites and this is launching first on the public sites. *shrug* Oh well... life goes on, at least I won't have to deal with the campaigns from hell any more.

And that's the morning ramble...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sad and wondering

Well, the title sums up how my mornings have been for the past little while. They go something like this:

get up. Run around like a mad woman trying to get organized and out the door on time. Marvel at the sunrise (I love sunrises... there's so much promise and magic in them). Catch train. Look out window on train at lake for the first couple of minutes until the shoreline and rail line part company.

Now, here's where the sad and wondering creep in. Back in spring, I saw a pair of swans had taken up residence in the area of the lakeshore near where a local creek spills into the lake. They're a nice change from the goose commune and the gull infestation.

Lately, there's only been one swan. No mate. No cygnets. Now, I know that swans mate for life, and they're generally pretty much a 'family unit' if there's a hatching. So to only see one where previously there had been a pair generally signifies bad things... like one of them died... and the lack of cygnets would suggest one of them died either before laying, or before hatching. And that makes me sad... because not only has one of these glorious birds apparently died, but another will be alone for the rest of its life (however long or short that may be). And the wondering creeps in as wondering what happened. Did one of them eat something it shouldn't have? (there's a few chemical treatment plants near that creek) Was there a garbage issue (like choking on something not so friendly, or getting noosed on a 6-pack ring or something)? Or was there something more sinister at play? Was one deliberately poisoned or beaten or otherwise killed?

So... sad and wondering is how my days start now :(

Friday, August 10, 2007

Another week... another bad picture

So, the realization dawned on me the other day that my Health Card is about to expire. Yes... expire. For those of you outside of Ontario, our health cards, if we're "lucky" enough to have a photo card (and thanks to changing my name when I married, I've got one of those) they expire every 5 years (or so... the first one can be anywhere from 3 - 7 years apparently)... and just like the drivers licence it's tied to your birthday.

Theoretically, they mail out a notice that it's about to expire 2 months before it goes away. Not in my case. No, in my case, I had to rely on the strange workings of my brain to say "hmmm... you're gonne be needing that health card in the near future, maybe you should make sure this isn't the year it expires". Sadly, not so lucky... it expires on Tuesday. Which means I have to find a MInistry of Health office and get the damn thing renewed.... ASAP!

So I look around at the 'local' offices closest to work and home. Work's out... the nearest office isn't all that close and it's only open 'til 5:00. Home... well, it seems only the Scarborough office is open past 5:00... so I guess I'll go there. Of course, if I'd thought of it yesterday, I could have gone on one of the 4 days per week that they're open 'til 7:00... but no, I thought of it on Friday, when they close at 6:30... so no dinner for me before I hare on over there ('cuz normally I get home at 4:50... need to stop for gas... takes close to a half hour to get there at the best of times... then stand in line... argue with the person behind the desk about the info on the renewal form and the ID I've brought.... get the picture taken....

Did I mention I'm having yet another frizzy pony-tail day? At least my Ontario government issued ID pics will look like the same person *laugh*

And hopefully *fingers crossed*, they'll put a sticker on it with a temporary extension or something until they mail out my new one

Other thoughts from the past week:
- some people will inevitably irritate me, regardless of how often or infrequently I see them or how long or short a time I'm exposed to them. It's just their nature... I realize it, but sadly, it doesn't help in dealing with them.
- the TNDC meeting this week was in Whitby and attendance was the very large group of myself and the Diva herself ;) Much fun, chatter, commiseration, and many wings.
- We went to the annual sale of "seconds" and "discontinued" items for Tilley (if you're unfamiliar with Tilley... very good clothing for travel... but not so good if you're tall, or under the age of 45, it seems... or maybe that's just me)
- Shopping for a baby shower can be both intriguing and depressing
- this reorg is never going to be finalized and some of us will be stuck doing jobs that aren't technically our responsibilities for the rest of eternity. (can you tell this damn campaign is just getting better and better?)

But... it's Friday... it's practically the weekend... next week is my "Hey, I'm another year older" day, and next weekend we're going to see the new Cirque show "Kooza".

Have a great one!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Is it Friday yet?

Sadly, no... not yet Friday.

This is just a chatty post... nothing to rant about... yet... it's only 9:45, though, so I'm sure there's still time for someone to piss me off today *laugh*

Crazy weather today... at 5:30 this morning it was already feeling like 29° with the humidity... it's supposed to hit 35° today (base temp)... Extreme Heat Alert... Smog Advisory... Humidex Advisory... the guy on the news this morning was figureing it'd feel about 42° when everything was factored in. I should have worked from home. Got to work this morning at 7:20 and already my lungs were staging a strike. In case you were wondering... asthma really sucks... especially in the city in summer.

BUT... we're headed out to New Hamburg for the weekend, so that should help clear out the lungs again (assuming I make it to Saturday night without dying *laugh*).

Have to go get a new driver's licence picture tonight... figures. Hottest day of the year so far, but Thursday is late opening day at the MTO, and I'd rather have my new licence in-hand when the old one expires (in 12 days), so tonight it has to be. D needs to go get his plate sticker renewed before tomorrow, too, so we'll be there anyway. So now I'll spend 5 years with the picture on my card being one with my hair up in a likely very frizzy pony-tail. Fun.

We'll probably go out to "the good nursery" in Ajax after that... scope out some plants for the sunroom and get some more ideas for things we'd like to put in the back yard next summer. Funny how we always seem to be going to this place on evenings when the weather folks are talking rain, though. Maybe we'll talk to their fish guy while we're out there and see what prices are like on new fish and how many we can reasonably put in our little pond, and how to introduce new fish to the group.

We seem to be having decent luck resurrecting our hibiscus. We got the thing at Canadian Tire (first mistake)... then listened to the gal there (second mistake) who said it's a tropical plant and doesn't need much water. Ended up with a very thirsty plant (ok... mostly a stick with branches and a few tiny shriveled leaves) infested with spider mites *sigh*. It's been about a week and a half treating for the mites and about a week of actual daily waterings (thanks Michelle for telling me how yours is thriving so much!) and there's lots of new growth and far fewer webs appearing than there were.

So... in case anyone's wondering... it's getting about 2L of water daily (the bottom of the pot is raised to ensure we don't run into root rot... it's not sitting in water for longer than about a half hour, if that)... and sprayed once a week with a solution of water and sunlight dish soap.

Here's hoping we'll get it back to full health in time for it to show us a few more blooms this season. Of course, we'll likely have to stress it out a bit by bringing it inside for the winter... the sunroom isn't as "all season" as we were led to believe and I'm not sure it'd survive winter out there *sigh*

And that's about it for now... stay cool, stay hydrated, stay mildly sane!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

So... does this make sense to you?

Situation: You are a marketing manager working on a tight timeline to get a campaign launched. Your timelines were already tight and you keep changing what you want.
Question: Do you take a week's vacation immediately preceding your launch target?

Yup... you guessed it. This damn campaign I'm working on (because I don't have a name yet to pass it off to) is set to launch September 4th (the Tuesday immediately following the labour day weekend). It was a tight schedule when working to September 4th. It has just come to my attention that we actually have a week LESS time because the marketing gal is taking a week's vacation August 27 - 31. Of course, all the deadlines given to this woman to work with were based on having everything finalized and final approval given by August 31st... and now we actually need everything to be done with final approval by August 24th. Actually, available in test by the 20th.

Plus, the relationship manager for this campaign, who won't let me hand it off to him until he has a marketing coordinator, is getting information from the marketing rep and not sharing all of it... and he's talking to our coding folks for some things, but expecting me to talk to them about other things. GAH!!! Enough already! Somebody send out the damn org chart and give me a name to hand off to!!!!

And, on other, unrelated topics... I got my first card from my new SGF today. Yay! And some items I ordered to pamper myself, too :)

The weather is insane (last check, with the humidity it was feeling like 39 out there... and since it was only supposed to hit 32, that's pretty sticky)... the A/C here at home is working over-time (not ideal for so many reasons)... and I'm a teensy bit concerned about a plant I'm trying to bring back from the dead (drought conditions) which is in our sunroom... which is considerably warmer *sigh*

Ah well.. life goes on... 2 more days to the long weekend!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I'm throwing a pity party and everyone's invited

Yup... like the title says, I'm throwing a pity party. I'm doing this here to serve a couple of purposes... I'm hoping if I blog it, I'll get it out of my system quickly and be able to move on and function somewhat normally for the rest of the day/week/month/undetermined period of time. I'm also going to own up to something.

So... an old friend, part of a group with whom I had a falling out 3 years ago and the only one who seems willing to get over it and be civil (nay, even occaisionally friendly) has just announced she's pregnant. 11 weeks. Conceived on her honeymoon.

I'm thrilled for her. Honest I am.

But at the same time I'm a wee bit bummed. Why? Because (and here comes the owning up... cherish it, there will likely be no further references to it)... we've been trying for a considerable amount of time and we're having difficulties. The kind of difficulties that require significant intervention. The kind of difficulties that lead to being heartbrokenly jealous in the midst of being happy for someone else. I imagine I'll go through something similar in a couple of weeks when I go to another friend's baby shower.

So, now on to bigger and better things... A couple of weeks ago, I started a 'letter writing campaign'. No, not petitioning companies and governments to mend their ways and stop doing things I object to... 'cuz I generally only do that when I think it might amount to something (I'm something of a champion 'letter of complaint' writer ;) )... but social letter-writing. That lost art involving actual pens, actual paper, and actual envelopes! It all started with a group of gals online who were looking for 'pen pals'... so I joined the fray and now have 3 pen pals on there (I've written to 2 of them so far)... and that got me thinking about an old friend with whom I shared letters for a 4 month-stretch back in '94 (13 years ago... what an oddly appropriate number *laugh*)... so I wrote to him, too (having recently reconnected with him thanks to FaceBook). Well, last week I got my first pen pal letter in the mail... and I see from a facebook status that there's a good chance I'll be getting a letter from my old friend, too :) That put a smile on my face this morning... it's so nice to get mail that's not a bill or junk... and it's even nicer to look forward to hearing from an old friend in a real letter... not some hastily typed short email or wall post or online message of any kind, but a real letter... written on real paper with real ink. Maybe it's just because I'm crazy, but I think there's far more of a connection with someone if you're writing actual letters that require thought and planning and effor than if you're just using electronic media.

Anyway... I'll focus on the prospects of lots of fun mail over the next while to distract me from the pity party ;)

Have a great one, folks! (assuming anyone actually reads this damn thing)

Monday, July 30, 2007

When did the weekends get so short?

Another weekend over. Another week begins. I remember when Monday used to arrive and Friday was a dim memory... lately it seems like Monday arrives on the heels of Friday and the weekend is a figment of imagination. Even on the weeks when D ISN'T working on Saturday and we actually have a full weekend together *sigh*

This weekend, for all that it was alarmingly short, was actually a decent one.

Saturday we went to a surprise party for the husband half of a 'couple' friendship... his "big 3-0"... I think we qualify as old now... D's 30th was last year... mine was 3 years ago... ah well, I'm told that life goes on, so I'll just roll with it *laugh*

Yesterday we finally got back to the zoo... haven't been there since March, I think? It sucks, we got memberships, we live closer than we did a year ago, and we hardly ever manage to get there. But Sunday morning we got up decently early, grabbed the cameras, and headed off on a hunt. I'm disappointed with most of my pictures, although D assures me I've got some good shots... I think I've got camera envy *laugh* But... I'll have to make do for a while yet. I suppose I can always borrow D's camera if there's something I especially want to get. (how the heck did 2 people end up with 5 decent cameras in addition to a couple of 'idiot proof' point and shoots? 2 film SLRs, 2 digital SLRs, and a higher-end digital point-and-shoot... and this is just an occasional hobby! Hell, we go to weddings and events and leave the camera in the car if we even remember to bring the damn thing with us *laugh*)

Next major hunting expedition? September up North. We're going to a cottage camp North of Manitoulin Island... near Whitefish Falls if that means anything to you... close to Killarney Park. Gorgeous area, and I'm hoping we'll get some fall colours while we're there, so keep your fingers crossed! Even if we don't get fall colours though, I'm looking forward to shooting up there... there are some absolutely outstanding landscapes with all that rock and water :)

And now I'm back at work... where hopefully by the end of the week I'll have a job description *laugh*

Friday, July 27, 2007

Potentially busted...

So, stupid me, it has JUST dawned on me that my own asigned SGF may read this blog... so if you do and you've now figured out my secret identity... I'm sorry :( But I'm still having a blast sending you stuff, so do me a favour and let me maintain the illusion that you don't know who I am? Thanks *laugh*

I'm looking forward to next month... I've got me a new SGF assignment, so I might actually get stuff! Not that I wasn't already looking forward to next month... 2 birthdays, a baby shower, and CIRQUE! (so far)

Anyhoo... off to rip my hair out over this damned campaign. When am I going to find out who I can pass it all off to???? I wanna know NOW!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Flakey - part 2

Well.... contrary to expectations... blogging yesterday didn't miraculously make a parcel show up. And still none today. I have, however, confirmed the identity of the girl who's supposed to be sending me things, and I know she's got time to play on facebook, so one would think she'd have time to write a card and mail it, or say something on the forums. But no.

So today I posted something in the thread devoted to this 'game'. I mean, I don't want to add to anyone's stress levels, especially someone who's getting married in just over a month, but it sucks being told to expect something in the mailbox that doesn't show up.

At least with the pen-pals thing I have decently low expectations... it's more casual, the commitment is just to write sometimes. And I've already gotten my first pen pal communication, and hope to get at least one next week, too. I've sent a few things off into postal limbo... I know one of them got where it was going, so I expect another one did as well (it remains to be seen if that one will yield any response, though, it was more of an unsolicited contact and I'm not 100% sure it's a welcome one *shrug* Oh well... life... I hear it goes on).

So... now I wait. Do I get contact? Do I get reassigned? Do I pretend it doesn't bug me and just take pleasure in sending stuff to my own assignment? (which reminds me, I need to send another one tomorrow so I know it'll get there before the end of the month... August will be a busy month for both of us, but I don't want to get all slacker on the girl... she's much too fun to send stuff to :)

And, on a completely different topic... I, yet again, want to strangle the over-zealous dumbass who clipped Chloe's claws before we got her. Whoever it was cut them too short (I expect they bled and caused the poor snuggle-monster pain), and now she gets very stressed and twitchy when I try to clip her claws. She did well tonight... I got 4 (of 10) done before she started pulling her paws away, flinching, and growling. Guess I'll try for the other 6 another time... or two times... or 6 times... *sigh* Poor kitten is sticking to the carpet in the basement, though, so it's got to be done soon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Flakey people suck

So... one of the online forums I'm involved with has a "secret girl friend" (SGF) exchange going on. It was set to start June 1st and run 'til the end of the year. Everyone who signed up was assigned someone to send to and was in turn assigned to someone else, so everyone should be both sending and receiving... 2 cards and one 'gift' (target range $5 - 10, but discretionary) per month.

Now, some gals jumped the gun and started in May as soon as assignements were out, but the official start was June 1st. I've been having a blast sending cards and little things to my SGF... and while part of that is finding things to send her (which is far more fun than I expected), part of it is her very enthusiastic online response when she gets something. She, as far as I know, has no idea who is sending things to her, and although I might send a clue or two, I don't plan on revealing myself until Christmas.

I, on the other hand have recieved absolutely nothing. Not a card. Not a 'gift'. Nothing. And I'm pretty sure I know who has me. Apparently her June gift got sent back to her because she had the wrong address. And rather than re-send it, she figured she'd add to it for July. So I've had some "private messages" in my account on that site asking what kind of books I like and telling me that she now had a shoebox full of stuff to send. She also said she'd mail it last Tuesday. Now, unless she's in a VERY rural area, the Canada Post delivery standard for inside the province is a maximum 4 days. And I suspect this gal is in the Ottawa area... not exactly VERY rural (by VERY rural, we're talking float-plane to get there). So if it was mailed on Tuesday, it should have gotten to me on Friday... yesterday at the latest if she missed the Tuesday pick-up. Nada.

OK... so I was willing to let June slide... apparently she was going through some stuff. When July rolled around without even a card, though, I was getting discouraged. Now that we're in the last full week of July and I haven't gotten jack, I'm beyond discouraged and firmly entrenched in peeved. OK, I understand that life gets in the way sometimes and putting together a parcel is one of those things that can easily be let slide... but c'mon... it takes 5 minutes to write a card, address it, slap a stamp on it, and shove it in a mailbox. In 7 days she'll be 4 cards and 2 parcels behind on her commitment. That's just kinda flakey. And irritating since if it's who I think it is, she's been getting stuff from her SGF.

So now, the dilemma. Do I PM her and say "WTF? Did it get 'lost' again?"... or do I PM the organizer and say "can you let my SGF know that she can save her postage 'cuz I don't want to keep hoping for something in my mailbox if she's not going to send anything"?

Of course, now that I've written this, there should be something in my mailbox tonight, right? Isn't that how this works? *sigh*

Friday, July 20, 2007


Yup... another week over. And not a moment too soon! I'm tellin' ya, this whole "who do I work for? What's my job now? Who do I pass all this other stuff on to?" schtick is getting old really fast!

Had a meeting today to iron out some details of a campaign that I likely will not be seeing through to launch. It's going live in about 6 weeks, and I expect by then I'll be well and truly in the new job. Of course, my expectations have veered wide of reality on more than one occasion, so anything's possible, I suppose.

It's been a busy week for not being at home, too.

Monday night I went with Mom out to the airport to see my aunt off on her way back across the pond.
Tuesday night was Shannon's weekly gathering of fun and fabulous gals (odd... I never really liked hanging out with gals until quite recently... but these Chiquitas are hilarious and awesome!)...
Wednesday D and I went out for dinner and discussion and then ended up at a garden centre looking at very very very cool plants to get ideas for our garden and sunroom (likely not to see fruition until next year, but that's ok)...
last night I was actually home! And spent a goodly portion of the evening (having first exposed large hunks of red meat to flames in the preparation of dinner. Mmmm.... steak *drool*) preparing the rest of the gooseberries for the making of yet more jam on Saturday.

Tonight, in keeping with a week of dinners out, I'm meeting TifF (from way back in UW Residence days) for dinner. I haven't seen the girl for a few years (I don't think D and I were married yet, but we were together... so that would put it at late fall 2002, I think) and last time we chatted she was headed to London (England, not Ontario). So I was a wee bit surprised to find she's in Toronto at the moment (for another month or so). This should be interesting.

Tomorrow... a day of jam-making... present wrapping, and bag packing. Followed by a drive out to Bustling New Hamburg. Sunday, then, will be some small relaxation, the likely conclusion of my first sewing project, and D's nephew's birthday party (I suppose I really should start calling him my nephew... he's been mine my marriage for nearly 4 years now *laugh*).... then the long drive through cottage country traffic back to Outer Scarberia to collapse into bed and wake up to a brand new week of work-related insanity.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Why does summer have to be so darned expensive?

This is insanity! Why does everything seem to happen in summer?

It starts in May with Mother's Day (x2) and a family birthday.... June... 2 family birthdays and Father's Day (x2)... July... 3 family birthdays, and this year a friend's birthday, too (it's a significant number, it must be marked!)... next month we've got a baby shower, D's birthday, my birthday, Cirque du Soleil (paid for last fall... but possibly another show which we don't have tickets for but really want to see... which will also involve considerable travel time since it's in London, ON and we're in Toronto). In fact, between Canada Day and mid-August (well, the 18th, really), there isn't a single week without at least one event requiring expenditure!

Don't get me wrong... I love showering the people I care about with gifts and sieze every opportunity to do so... but summer's also when all the house expenses creep up... what with buying plants for the garden and sunroom, and looking into repairs and improvement projects, and the Bug and all... why it sneaks up on us every year, I don't know, but there you go *sigh*

Madness, I say! ;) not that it stops me from buying fun things for people, or going out for dinner with friends... altough really it probably should. Many things are changing at work, but sadly my salary isn't one of them *laugh*

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

And yet again I say...

... I suck at blogging/journalling/stuff like this.

So... let's see if I can capture the highlights of the past couple of weeks.

My aunt (well, one of them... one of the twins) came over from Ireland. She was going to some liturgical musicians' conference that Dad was going to, so they (along with Mom and the director of the group I sing with at church) all drove down together. Much fun was had by all accounts. And when they got back, I showed off our still-relatively-new-to-us home. Much oooh-ing and aaaah-ing :)

I decided as a belated birthday present for my Mom that I'd go get some gooseberries at our local pick-your-own farm and make her some gooseberry jam. She grew up with gooseberry bushes in the bottom of the garden and her mom used to make jam every year, so there's a nostalgia aspect. So... 2.5 hours, 4 mosquito bites, a dozen or so bad scratches (those things have inch-long spikes on the stems!), and many sore muscles later, I had two small baskets of berries. Then began the "topping and tailing" of them... taking off the stems and the extra bit at the bottom. Talk about time consuming! But it's for Mom, so I'm happy to do it. And today.... today I finally made the jam. Well, the first batch, anyway. The recipe I've got makes a batch using about 1/3 of the berries, so I've got another 2 batches to go. I will say this, though... I tried a berry on it's own... not a big fan, but the jam's quite tasty!

We had a shake-up at work. Figures. Less than 6 months on the job and we go through a re-org. Not just a re-org, though, a re-org that has myself, my team-mate (W) and our boss (J) moving to work for another manager. Indeed, one that has our team dissolved so that neither W nor I report to J any more. So, after 2 weeks of wondering who I work for, or even what I do, I found out on Monday that I'm actually not going to the other senior manager with W and J. I'm staying put in a new role that doesn't have a title or a mandate as of yet, reporting to someone who hasn't been hired yet. So, I still don't know who I report to or what I do, but at least I don't have to pack my desk *laugh*.

I must say, I'm looking forward to handing off a few of the things I've got on the go... one in particular is causing me unnecessary angst and I won't be sorry to see it go to someone else. My concern (because of my warped sense of responsibility) is that it's a fairly large campaign that's going to be a rush job (for various reasons) and it's set to launch either August 31st or September 4th (long weekend). So I really need to keep working on that until I know who'll be taking it over. Annoying. My other projects are less urgent, but I'd like to hand them off soon rather than get sucked too far into them. So here's hoping that the new org chart comes out today.

Dad had his 60th birthday while they were away... so when they got back we had a big dinner out. 10 people total. Fancy schmancy restaurant (Duncan House, if you know it).

Been hitting Shannon's Tuesday Night Distraction Club with decent regularity. It's good for some laughs with a great group of gals... and it gets me out of the house. Last night 3 of us had dinner at La Papillon... yummy crepes!

My primary chat forum is doing a 'secret girlfriend' exchange. Everyone's got an assignement and we send 2 cards and 1 'gift' per month. We're in month #2 now... I'm having a blast sending stuff to my gal. Just sent my second package to her yesterday, and Canada Post tell me she should get it tomorrow. Yay! In return I've gotten.... nothing yet. Not a card, even. That kinda sucks. I mean, I understand that life gets in the way sometimes and packages might not get sent (or might get sent with the wrong address, apparently)... but it takes 5 minutes to write a card and shove it in a mailbox. :( So, in order to assure I get something in the mail that's not a bill or junk, I've also arranged a few pen-pals ;) Should be fun.

Nik came over on Sunday for a few hours. Saw the new place. Met Chloe. Oddly, Chloe and Grimm seemed to switch roles for her visit. Grimm was very social with her (even gave her some "kisses").... while Chloe wanted nothing to do with her! Very odd.

Our other little project has hit a fairly significant snag, so it's on hold for a month or so while we figure out how we want to deal with that.

We've finally got all the dead stuff cleared out of the sun-room... and we bought a hibiscus to plant in the one spot that still needs clearing (some funky palm-type thing that's just gone crazy... it grew horizontal before I started to go vertical, and as a result, it's taking up entirely too much space and really can't be 'fixed'... so it's going to get chucked).

And that's about it. Next up... BJ's birthday party this Sunday, then a surprise party not too far distant to prep for and a baby shower in August. Plus D's birthday and my own (which I'd happily ignore if I was allowed *laugh*)

So... I think that's it... caught up. Now if only I could remember to update a bit more often it might be more entertaining... and maybe, just maybe people would read the damn thing! *laugh*

Thursday, June 28, 2007

disclaimer (ok, afterthought)....

Just a disclaimer/afterthought/whatever you want to callit for my earlier post (below)....

I am fully aware of the increased liklihood of mistakes and such in understaffed situations or 'new to the job' situations (heck... I'm new to my job and came from one where we were understaffed for the amount of work and deadlines involved).

The irritation expressed was not so much because this guy fouled up. It was his shrug-worthy, apathetic response when called on it. The shrug of "oh well" was practially audible over the phone when I spoke with him. THAT is just not cool... at all... in a business that's theoretically client-focused to be told you fouled up and as a result had a potentially significant negative impact on the client experience and to respond with a shrug? Nope... not cool.

and THAT, ladies and gents, is the real source of my irritation. The fact that this came at the end of a very long day when I really just wanted to come back from my meeting, make 4 clicks, send an email and get home 20 minutes later than normal, and instead had to do a mad scramble and end up over an hour later than normal getting home to fix something that should have been fixed well in advance of my end-of-day meeting had I but known when it was actually done was a secondary irritant.

And if you haven't read my other post... you're now possibly confused... go read it *laugh*

Do the work, send an email... is that so hard?

Alrighty... yet another rant today, i think... but I have to vent a bit about how my day ended yesterday.

Ok... so some of you know I work in online marketing... and part of that is the Client Experience (ensuring that people who hit our sites have a good experience free of annoyance).

So, I got an assignement... seemed pretty straightforward. Person A will tell you when target Q is live. When you get that notice, have our coding wizards change this page to activate these links (currently hidden), then ask webmaster to launch them.

Got the notice from Person A... target Q will be live at 1:00 p.m. Do what you need anytime after then and before the end of the day. Got our coding guys to do their magic. Sent the request at 1:30 to launch. Now, sometimes it takes our webmaster folks a while to launch things. I can understand that... they're busy folks. The longest I've ever had to wait was about an hour and a quarter.

3:00 meeting... didn't have a notification before I left... figured it'd be there when I got back. Nope. 4:00 got back... still no notification. Frantic email marked urgent in as many ways as I could think of requesting and update because this is something that absolutely HAD to launch on Wednesday. Email back saying it's done. Go to check the page... the links which worked in development don't work in the real world. Problem. About to pick up the phone to call our coding guys for ideas when my phone rings. Webmaster of the moment calling... "yeah... it was launched at 1:36, I guess I forgot to send the email". WTF!?!?!?!?!? So there's been broken links on a fairly high-traffic page directing to something that's likely to be high demand for 3 hours?!?!?!?!!!!!! Not cool! So I point out to him that had I known at 1:36, I could have been testing by 1:38... found the broken links, been on the phone to my coding guys by 1:40 to fix the damn thing... rather than trying to contact them at the end of the day (after 4:00) and throwing my plans for my real life (outside this place) into disarray because I'd already missed my train (a fact I didn't mention)... and then I asked how long someone would be there to help fix this. "umm... I can probably help you 'til about 5:00". Damn skippy you can help me 'til 5:00... it's your fault this mad scramble is happening, buddy.

Anyway... turned out that the problem had a very simple fix, and had I known about it at 1:36, could have had it resolved by 2:00 easily. So I call buddy... ok, bud, I need you to launch these other two files (one English, one French 'cuz we're in Canada and we do things in both languages)... he tells me they're done... English works fine, French still doesn't work. "oh, really? Let me try uploading that again". Right. "Done". Nope, still doesn't work. "oh, we might have to wait a couple of seconds because the next resynch is at 4:30, which is in 3 minutes". Hey, guy? You know what? 3 minutes isn't a couple of seconds. It's 180 seconds. (at this point he was just pissing me off). 4:31... tested again... finally! Quick note to the people involved to let them know it's up... quick shut-down and grab my stuff... out the door at 4:45 (only an hour later than usual *grumble*), hit play on the 'pod... and sailed on to Union Station to the strains of Rammstein (such perfect music when one's in a foul mood ;) nothing like German Industrial music to make your troubles seem smaller *laugh*)

And so ended my work day yesterday. Fun!

On other topics... made it to the mailbox before the 5 p.m. pick-up, so my secret pal (I shower her with cards and gifts... she has no idea who they're coming from) should be getting her next surprise today or tomorrow... got "found" by two old high-school friends on facebook... and was saddened to read of the passing of William Hutt yesterday (yes... he was 87... yes he'd had a good long run at life... yes, he had lukemia... but the man was an outstanding actor with a tremendous command of the stage, and it's sad to know that one more actor of that calibre, a rare breed these days, has passed from the theatre world). And apparently Liz Claibourne died, too... although I must admit that means very little to me *shrug* I'm about as far from a fashionista as it's possible to get *laugh*

And so begins another day... Have a great one!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Stupid people shouldn't be allowed to drive....

So... last night I got off the GO train after a lovely evening of fun, food, bevvies, and a massive amount of laughter at the Tuesday Night Distraction Club (bless you, Diva dear, for putting that together!)... walk across the parking lot to my car... only to discover....

I can't open the damn driver's door because some asshole with a Dodge Ram has parked so damn close they must have got out their passenger door... 'cuz honestly, Nicole Ritchie would have had a hard time fitting between the two vehicles. And Nicole Ritchie, I ain't... I've got curves, baby!

Yup... a less than happy note was left on the windshield before I crawled in through my passenger door and performed feats of contortionism to manouver my 6' (plus heels) over the centre console and under the steering wheel. (oooh... bendy girl! ;) )

Did I mention ours were the only two vehicles in the row? 'cuz they were and that just makes it so much more irritating. *sigh*

But... to end this entry on a happier note, I've just discovered that my 4:00 - 5:00 p.m. meeting today has been bumped out to 3 - 4 next Tuesday, so I'll be able to get out of here close to my regular time and not have to catch a train an hour and a half later :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wow... i really suck at this journalling thing...

...not that you weren't all warned about that long ago.

So, I was going to update yesterday, but my post about the past 2 weeks just got too long. Suffice it to say, much stress was endured, much fun was had, and I've reconnected with some people from the past who I hope will grow to be friends.

But what prompted this entry is actually another blast from the past. Today I got a message on facebook from a guy I haven't seen since mid-summer 1991. Who, indeed, I met in summer of 1990. We worked at Wonderland together. I'm a little surprised that he remembered me, really... although I suppose shared trauma leads to longer memories. He and I worked with a crew that included 3 people who died in a bad car crash at the end of the 1990 season... it was an ugly wreck, and it happened because someone decided they were sober enough to drive. Parts of that summer and fall are etched in my memory as sharply today as if they had happened last month and not nearly 17 years ago. Of course, hearing from him has also brought them into sharper focus *laugh* Wow. Weird. Not bad weird. Just weird. I'm curious to find out what he's been up to ;)

Anyhoo... Boss Man is on vacation this week and next... and I've got work to do, so I'll leave this for now. Looking forward to seeing Diva and friends tonight... not looking forward to dealing with the heat, humidity, and smog (all of which are bad enough to have warranted alerts and warnings) to get there... but such is life in the big city.

Have a great one!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Rant alert! Take cover!

I’ve had enough of people.

Well, ok, perhaps that’s overstating things a bit.

I’ve had enough of people who want things done by a deadline, but won’t provide the things needed to make it happen. I’ve had enough of people who change their requirements umpteen times before deadline, but still expect everything to be perfect.

I’ve had enough of people who go through the motions of being team players, but aren’t really.

I’ve had enough of people who won’t let the past be the past and move on. I’ve had enough of people who will quote phrases about the importance of being as nice as possible to as many people as possible whenever possible, but make a point of being pointlessly cruel. I’ve had enough of people maligning me and attributing statements and characteristics to me that are neither flattering nor true.

I’ve also had enough of people who think I’m the only person on the planet who denotes actions in text with the use of asterisks (e.g. *rolls eyes*). Heaven forbid I should adopt a trend popular in other parts of the online world than their own little universe. I’m sorry if you find it annoying, but wake up to reality… it’s not just me, and frankly, it’s a hell of a lot less annoying than 17 little happy faces doing whatever is applicable (laughing, winking, rolling eyes, spitting water, puking, whatever). One, people. One is usually enough.

I’ve had enough of hypocrites, slackers, and people with their heads up their asses.

And now I feel better ;) <-- see? Just one. Gets the point across just fine *laugh*

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Secondary post... 'cuz I can't NOT mention this...

Today is my cat Grimm's 11th birtday. Born on 1996-6-6. My crotchety old man :)

Must think of a good special treat to give him tonight to celebrate the day and thank him for nearly 11 years of wonderful friendship...

he really looks impressed, doesn't he? *laugh*

The Tuesday Night Distraction Club

Before I begin, please bear with me while I let off a little steam. This dang survey that’s been plaguing me… the same one that changed direction 2 weeks back while Boss Man was on vacation… it’s driving me up the freakin’ wall! So far… it’s gone from being just a survey, to being a survey with a sweepstakes. It’s gone from being generic and un-named to having a definite name (after my designer was already done with the ads and masthead *sigh*). I STILL don’t have copy (did I mention it’s supposed to launch on Friday?) or feedback on the mock-up. It’s 11:20 on Wednesday. Launch is Friday (never ideal). Tomorrow is a write-off, so basically, it has to be pretty much done by the end of today, or I have to bail on a team-building exercise (and much needed break) to try to pull it together at the last minute. Gah!!!

Anyhoo… on to happier topics….

Today is Wednesday. No, really… it is! (sorry, odd mood… I blame this marketing exec destroying what was left of my sanity *laugh*) Last night was the inaugural meeting of Shannon’s Tuesday Night Distraction group. The poor dear has organized a weekly outing, not merely for the diva-esqueness of a weekly trip to some fabulous venue with friends (and strangers ;) ), but because her darling husband has made some new social connections (awesome) that have her home overrun with players of Dungeons & Dragons every Tuesday night (not nearly as awesome). Last night was the first of, I hope anyway, many outings with “the girls”. Turned out to be a small group… Shannon, two girls she works with, myself (who up ‘til last night only knew her through WB and her blog), and her hubby’s niece (I think?). Truly wonderful gals… great conversation… much laughter. Basically the essential ingredients of an entertaining evening… plus vodka! Martinis all ‘round (and, might I add, as someone who doesn’t really like vodka, the “Perestroika” martini I had was yummy! Vodka, cassis (mmm, black currant), and white cranberry juice *drool*). Some muchies. Incomprehensible Russian films that look like they’re from the 60s. A washroom that was incredibly badly lit, remarkably clean, and had a hand dryer that seemed determined to knock users to the floor. The sticker on the dryer inviting you to “feel the power” wasn’t kidding!

The perfect capper to the evening… I didn’t have to take the train home alone! Shannon’s living in Whitby, so we hit McPuke’s for a quick dinner (because dinner at 9:00 p.m. is not generally a good idea) and hopped the 8:13 train East… where we proceeded to chatter until the train stopped at my station. A highly enjoyable evening and I’m looking forward to the next event!

On other topics… I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think if I know any nice single guys I could point towards my newly reacquired friend. I’m stumped. The guys I know that I’m SURE would be a good match are all taken… there are a few that I think might be a good match personality and interest wise, but their slime potential is entirely too high (I want to keep this gal as a friend, so fixing her up with someone who’s going to do something slimy is a poor choice, I’m thinking). There’s one guy who I think might be a good match, but he’s not really a close friend. Actually, to be completely honest, I know remarkably little about his life these days. He was probably my first crush… way back in grade school some time. His little brother was in my class and our mothers were good friends. Still are, really… his parents were at my wedding… my parents were at his little brother’s wedding… that sort of thing. I think they might get along well, but it’s hard to know for sure. Ah well… as I said, he’s not really that close a friend… in fact, I’m not even sure of his relationship status… maybe it’s time to do some baking and go visit my “second mom” ;)

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Tuesday sappy moment...

So, I heard this song on my 'pod this morning on my way in to work and it sparked all these "warm & fuzzy" thoughts. Obviously I'm gettting sappy in my old age *laugh*

This is the song that D used as his yard-stick for wife-material. Remember, when he and I got together he was never getting married... or at least, not unless he found someone who embodied the sentiments in this song for him. Of course, he figured he'd never find that, so he was never getting married. 5 years and one wedding later... here we are... married ;)

Savage Garden - "Crash & Burn"

When you feel all alone
And the world has turned its back on you
Give me a moment please to tame your wild wild heart
I know you feel like the walls are closing in on you
Its hard to find relief and people can be so cold
When darkness is upon your door and you feel like you cant take anymore

Let me be the one you call
If you jump Ill break your fall
Lift you up and fly away with you into the night
If you need to fall apart
I can mend a broken heart
If you need to crash then crash and burn
You're not alone

When you feel all alone
And a loyal friend is hard to find
You're caught in a one way street
With the monsters in your head
When hopes and dreams are far away and
You feel like you cant face the day

Let me be the one you call
If you jump Ill break your fall
Lift you up and fly away with you into the night
If you need to fall apart
I can mend a broken heart
If you need to crash then crash and burn
You're not alone

And there has always been heartache and pain
And when its over you'll breathe again
You'll breath again

When you feel all alone
And the world has turned its back on you
Give me a moment please
To tame your wild wild heart

Let me be the one you call
If you jump Ill break your fall
Lift you up and fly away with you into the night
If you need to fall apart
I can mend a broken heart
If you need to crash then crash and burn
You're not alone


Friends that last…

I know I’ve commented before about how interesting it is that you can be close to some people, not see them for a few weeks, and have to start from scratch, but there are others that you can completely lose touch with and when you reconnect it’s like picking up where you left off.

This past weekend, I had the joy of reconnecting with one of the latter type.

I first met Nikki when we were both still living in residence at University. Her personality appealed to me. She’s very honest and genuine… she’s a caring soul, of the sort who would drop everything to help a friend in need, but at the same time, she pulls no punches. If she’s got something to say to you, you’re going to be treated to an untainted view. And for those two character traits, I value her deeply.

We shared a similar background, too, in a way… both being products of Catholic families and all-girls schools.

We became good friends. In fact, when I first became engaged back in the day, she was the first person I called with the news, and asked her to be in my wedding party. Sadly, that relationship fell apart and I kind of withdrew from the world around the same time she was moving away to help her parents establish a restaurant and we lost touch. That was in ’98.

Last month we reconnected (facebook IS good for something other than eating time!) and on Sunday I visited her at her new apartment. 5 hours of chatter later, I had to run (since I was really supposed to be home an hour or so before I realized the time *laugh*), but it was like no time had passed.

Yes, we had a lot to catch up on… the boys of the intervening years… the real reason for the breakup of my first engagement… pictures to look at… careers to catch up on… stories of Katrina (the Hurricane… she was living in New Orleans at the time)… the lasting effects of psychological and emotional trauma that a surprising number of people just don’t “get”…religion vs. spirituality… wishes and dreams… we shared views on various subjects… we ate, we drank, we chatted like we had back in school. There was no awkwardness, just an easy friendship.

I am very thankful for facebook at the moment for bringing Nikki back into my life. I’ve missed her, and often wondered what her life had brought her. Thank goodness we both found that darn site… and thank goodness I took a chance and sent a message to her, even without benefit of a picture to be sure it was the right person *laugh*

I look forward to more afternoons and evenings of friendship and chatter… to showing her my home (eventually)… to chillin’ with her cat ;) … and introducing her to mine… to having her and D meet (and hopefully get along)… to redecorating her bathroom (ah, the challenges of sea-foam green tiles *laugh*)… to discussion photography... and this time I’m going to make darn sure we don’t fade out of each others’ lives again for no good reason!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

'k... I suck... and in this case, not in the fun way

Yeah... so... I know I've mentioned this before (although it might have been in the old blog)... I suck at blogging/journalling/documenting my thoughts on a regular basis. I blame the fact that my brain keeps going until it stops. There's no happy decline in which to stop processing new items and start documenting the events of the day. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it! ;)

Anyway... it's been an interesting week and half. The long weekend was remarkably stress-free. Got lots of stuff done around the house, but still managed to relax. We didn't go away anywhere, 'cuz D was working on Saturday, but that's ok. Then there was the week. Good grief am I glad that's over!

Boss Man was on vacation... and for some unknown reason he designated me as his backup. Me... new to the job... still not really sure what I'm doing. Not fun. Things that shouldn't have needed any action suddenly did. Things that should have gone smoothly didn't. And then there's the campaign I'm working on. I had a specific understanding of what was involved. Just needed copy and creative from Marketing. Yeah... turns out, it's going in a different direction. Completely. Can you say "panic". Go on... give it a shot. Panic. Yup... that's what the end of my week was.... 2 full days of panic. Hopefully it's all under control now and will still manage to get out for the 4th. *fingers crossed*

Then there's D's show that he's been working on. Volunteer position. Now, D has a theatre background. Even more than me (ok, I studied technical theatre, but he has far more actual practical experience even though he didn't study it). This is the same group he was involved with 2 years ago, and hated it. But he thought maybe it was a fluke, so when they asked him to be involved last year, he said sure. Why he then agreed to "help them out" for a third year isn't really clear to either of us. The stories he's coming home with make me cringe. You know things are bad when it comes to the load in (which should include the lighting hang & focus) and the director and lighting designer haven't actually sat down yet to discuss what effects are wanted and what lights have been ordered. Today was supposed to be the cue to cue. But since the hang and focus didn't really get done, that would make it a little difficult to build the cues and do an actual cue to cue. Theoretcially it was supposed to end about an hour ago... but I don't expect to see D until quite late... if I'm even still awake when he gets in *sigh*

I've done remarkably little this weekend... which I desperately needed after the week I had. More time with D would have been good, though... 'cuz I'm not going to see much of him for the next 2 weeks with this show *shrug* Ah well... got my sunrise pics uploaded to my photobucket account (now I just have to tell people where to find them... and the 'read only' password... which I might do here tomorrow in case anyone's actually reading this darn thing *laugh*)... did some clean-up on my laptop... did a little crafty-stuff... chilled with the cats... all's good.

This week.. what's on tap? Hmmm... lunch with PeeWee on Tuesday... working from home on Wednesday (first try at the working from home thing... must remember to have my off-site password reset before then)... for some reason I've got Thursday sticking in my brain as something other than just the last day before June... I have no doubt that there will be more of interest as it unfolds.

Have a good one!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Well, that's just Not Right!

Take note of the date... May 18th... the Friday of the long weekend. Expected high today 17, tomorrow 22.

Got up this morning... walked out to head off to work. Back window is covered in dew, so I get out the squeegee ('cuz I figure being able to reverse and see where I'm going is a Good Thing). Put squeegee to window.... Hmm. Well that's Not Right (yes... Capital 'N', capital 'R').

Frost!!!!! My car had freakin' FROST on it!!!!

Ah, memories of 5 years back... went camping with D (and yes... I don't camp, generally) for the May Long Weekend... and it snowed! Yup... May 20th... snow. I did, however, learn on that trip that a hot waterbottle will nicely heat a 3-man tent *laugh*

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Well, that was nice... and unexpected!

So... this morning got off to a rip-roaring start. Nature put on a fun light-and-sound show... but the rain had stopped by the time we were leaving the house.

Got to the GO station... walked down the platform to where I normally stand (puts me in the car closest to the exit from the platform closest to work). !0 minutes 'til train time and the rumbling starts again. I figure "a little rain never hurt anyone" and figured I'd just deal (not a big fan of umbrellas in electrical storms... I don't mind a little water... and the nearest shelter is not particularly close to that end of the paltform). All was going well... a little bit of drizzle... then, as the train came around the bend (still a good minute or two away) the big, heavy drops started splattering all around. Damn!

And then an unusual thing happened. A woman who takes the same train, with whom I have never before shared so much as a "good morning" lifted her umbrella (she being a good foot shorter than me) and offered me shelter. *boggle* Bless her!

Then... I got on the train and in my haste to get organized and sit down I ripped my earphones from my ear. Literally. And unfortunately the silicone cover for one popped off (a fact I did not notice until I had sat down and was going to put them back in my ears. *sigh* So I figured by the time we got to Union (4 intervening stops) it'd probably be long gone. I had resigned myself to a quick scan at Union and the liklihood of having to buy another set.

Well... we got to Union, and another passenger who had been sitting in the next row of seats facing me (so several people in between) walked straight over to where it must have fallen out... picked it up and handed it back to me! He must have watched it for the whole trip. Bless him, too!

Sometimes people do things that restores my faith in the human race.

Monday, May 14, 2007

One of these days...

One of these days someone's going to comment on one of my entries... and I'm going to keel over in shock *laugh*

(and now you can keel over in shock at the short entry! ;) )

Friday, May 11, 2007

What the hell is wrong with some people?

I had a big long rant typed up, but since it was 2 full pages in Word, I figured it was probably a wee bit long to inflict on anyone who might actually be reading this thing. So, I'll summarize in a rather cryptic nut-shell.

Today I am decidedly peeved with a large group of people because they have been so completely self-absorbed that they have wounded one of the few people in the world that they can truly count on dropping everything to help them if they every really need her.

So... Mom, you rock and I'm so sorry these people suck.
extended maternal family, smarten up, already. This woman is a peach and deserves better from her family.

On other, somewhat happier, topics...

- D has decided I need to take up scrapbooking *laugh*. Well... he's looking for a hobby for me, and every so often I marvel at the things that people come up with (oh that I were nearly as creative... my photo albums are precisely that... albums full of photos... not artsy creative displays with notes and decorative embellishments). So, tonight we investigate how much the financial investment would be to pick up the hobby.

- At lunch I was on the recieving end of a look that clearly said "Ok... it's nice and all, but do you have 3 heads or something?" Why? Because I thanked a stranger for holding the garbage can open for me in the food court. Yes, folks, simple politeness has officially become so uncommon that a simple "Thank you" for a courteous action warants a double-take. But then, I've also been known to hold doors for people, and respond to similar actions with a smile and a "thanks!". What can I say... people are strange.

- I've just spent the better part of today reviewing some proposed website changes and making notes. Through this endeavour I have discovered two things:
1/ I like the "track changes" and "insert comment" features of MS Word for such activities.
2/ I hate the "compare and merge documents" feature because it seems to like adding changes that never actually took place in any of the documents involved. Case in point: two documents each with comments on a third (let's call it the "original") document. Merge document 1a into the original. Merge document 1b into the original. Suddenly the combined now shows notes saying phrases were deleted. Interesting. They weren't deleted in the original. They weren't deleted in 1a OR 1b... so where did the note come from?
Sadly, the recipient of the review now gets to combine them because I quite simply gave up.

But... it's 3:15 on Friday afternoon... another half-hour and I'll be free of this place for the weekend (although I've got some work I need to do at some point before Monday morning... but it shouldn't take too long, I'd think).

Wa-hoo! Freedom! :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Help! I need suggestions....

What do you get for a 3-year-old's brithday when the birthday girl is a "girly girl"? I was always a bit of a tomboy, and am still not particularly "girly"... this kid is VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY girly. Pink. Tinkerbell. Frilly.


What the...?

This is going to be a long one (very, very long, it seems)… I’ll understand if you don’t get through it all (she said, pretending that anyone actually reads this thing *laugh*)

Ok… I don’t usually put much stock in the “meaning” of dreams. They’re just dreams. I pay more attention to my personal intuition (more than once I’ve been overwhelmed by feelings that turned out to be fairly accurate although I had no real basis for “knowing”).

Lately, though, I’ve had a few dreams that have left me with a bad “taste” in my brain (well, ok. That just sounds odd… but I think you know what I mean… there’s a residual sense… and it’s icky). Lately my dreams have been haunted by my ex fiancé. I have absolutely no reason for him to be wandering around inside my mind. I haven’t seen him in about 8 years. I don’t deal with anyone who knows him (as far as I know…). And frankly, that’s a chapter of my life I have absolutely no desire to revisit. I can forgive and get past a lot of things from my history and see them purely as learning experiences. The time with him, however, I just can’t do that with. Nobody else has ever quite so successfully made me feel like dirt. Nobody else has isolated me from friends so effectively. Nobody else has ever been so abusive and gotten away with it for so long. And what have I been dreaming the times he’s turned up? Forgiving him and establishing a social relationship with him. Gah!

Guess it’s just further proof that I’m actually insane and just passing for well-adjusted *laugh*

So where’s the “bad taste” come in? Well, it goes something like this.

Have you ever had a dream that was so vivid that you woke up wondering if it was really a dream? I have. In fact, after one incident with this @ss, I spent several hours trying to convince myself that I’d dreamt it (sadly, I never quite convinced myself, and another incident that I know damn well wasn’t a dream undermined my careful self-brain-washing). You know that theory that you can’t dream about places you’ve never seen and people you’ve never met? Done it… in fact, while with this guy I dreamt about moving him into an apartment.... that he didn’t get for another 6 months after that (yes… exactly the same apartment… same unusual layout… same unusual light fixture…). These recent dreams have had a similar ‘feel’…. Like they’re more than just a dream, but I know damn well they haven’t happened. Yet.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I’d love to get beyond this and stop in from haunting me (for all that it helped make me the person I am today). But I just can’t see it happening. Our last few encounters were far from friendly. The only way I could possibly see me even being in the same room as him is if I was doing it for someone else. Like if, say, I discovered that a friend’s guy who she absolutely adores is the same @ss-wipe for whom I moved away from my whole family, gave up countless friends, tried to change my very nature to keep him happy, and ended up abused and assaulted. I recognize that people can change… that it’s quite possible that his family smacked some sense into him and he grew up (did I mention his mom actually called me to congratulate me for taking a stand against her boy? And that his brother who looked up to him said he wasn’t surprised because he was murder to live with?). I might have a moment of fear for the friend, but the gals I interact with are all strong women far less likely to put up with that kind of sh!t than I was. In such a situation (dear friend madly in love with him), I could conceive being civil to him.

But forgiving completely and actively pursuing a social relationship with him? I can’t see it. Not while I’m awake, anyway.

I dunno… it’s just freaking me out a bit, is all, so I thought writing might help. Sadly, not the case it seems *sigh*

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Old friends

Isn't it funny how with some people you considered friends, you don't see them for a few weeks and when you finally see them again it's strained and forced? And with other people you can go for more than a year without seeing them and when you do it's like you saw them yesterday?

Woke up this morning... sent D off to the digital imaging show with his Dad... hung out with the ma-in-law for a while and then headed off out to Stratford to meet A for "brunch". A and I met when we were both Arts frosh (ok, so it was my second Frosh year, but that's irrelevant ;) ). We became friends through classes and the friendship was solidified when we were assigned to the wardrobe crew for a show during our technical theatre course. Neither of us were particularly handy with a needle and thread, so we volunteered to be "running crew"... hours of quick repairs, quick changes, lacing people into corsets, wig dressing, and laundry. Yes... laundry... which also netted us keys to the department and 2 different buildings, which was kind of cool. When we moved off-campus, we shared accommodations for 2 terms... she was going to be a bridesmaid the first time I was wedding planning (heck, she would have been one the time I actually went through with it, but she's working in the theatre scene, so her time can be unpredictable... she goes where the shows are). Once I left Waterloo, we drifted apart and our friendship fell into the pattern of periodic emails of the "are you still alive" sort. But when we saw each other today it was like no time had passed. I mean, we spent a lot of chatter catching up, but we chatted easily.

On the other hand, I ran into a girl I was decently close to a few months back... conversation was stilted. Maybe it was the relatively short shared history. Maybe we just weren't as close as we once thought. In any case... I thought it was an interesting thing.

And... to round off the day... my ma-in-law has offered to help me learn how to sew... which could be a handy skill to have, considering how difficult it is to find clothes at a reasonable price that are built for a woman who's 6' tall (6'1" if I'm feeling energetic). So here's hoping I can learn *laugh* I'm seeing this as a positive sign and a possible bonding experience... either that or she hates my clothes and thinks I need to learn how to make something decent *laugh*

Friday, May 4, 2007

Sad for so many reasons...

I just read a news article that the Toronto Humane Society are having "Midnight Madness" tonight and extended hours all weekend in an effort to get their cat population under control (they're at the maximum... and it's kitten season).

While I love the Humans Society and the work they do for abandoned and rescued animals, I find this sad.

Sad because people are so irresponsible, careless and heartless that they have reached maximum capacity (in spite of a major adoption drive pre-Christmas).

Sad because they think a "Midnight Madness" event is a good idea. Sad because they keep having these drives leading up to holidays and "deals" and gimmicks... these are not the sorts of things that bring in quality pet owners. These are the sorts of things that bring in people who're prone to gimmick advertising or cheap kittens or cute presents... people who may very well tire of these poor animals in a matter of weeks and turn around and abuse or abandon them. And does that really get anyone ahead?

Humane Societies around the world say over and over and over "Never give a pet as a birthday or holiday present"... because it's cute in the moment, but the novelty wears off... pet ownership is a commitment. A commitment that's trivialized by pre-holiday adopt-a-thon events and Midnight Madness "sales". Reduce the adoption fees periodically, sure... throw in free spaying/neutering, sure... showcase the harder to adopt inmates, sure... but don't promote a "Midnight Madness" event or encourage people to adopt a pet at a time when they're trying to think of a cute gift. *grumble*

Midnight Madness is for furniture... not for pets.

Ok... off the soap-box now. On to happier topics....

We're heading out of town this weekend (in a few short hours, in fact) and as a result I get to have brunch tomorrow with an old friend I don't get to see nearly enough... and hopefully another friend, too who I rarely get to see and for whom I have the cutest baby-related parcel...

I'm jazzed. Plus I think I'm still a bit wound up (albeit somewhat tired) from my 'business' excursion last night. Observed a friendly and very hap-hazard game of Texas Hold'Em... played a LOT of pool... met some new people (and some not so new, but now I've got a face to go with the name)... and got the details of a pool league! I've missed playing pool in a decent environment that wasn't my basement *laugh* So, hopefully when the league starts up again in September (they take the summers off for the rec league... and I'm not really a competetive leaguer) I'll be able to join in!