Tuesday, July 31, 2001

The weekend, invitations and keyboard yoga
I ran out of time to write yesterday. I was so tired and busy that the day trudged by without a blog. I had a nice weekend, the folks brought in a wood box that they made and now the balcony looks much better. They also helped put up a new clothes line, so I'll be able to hang up some clothes! I love line drying. Besides that, we did chores and shopping and we went over to Bill's Sat.night for a visit. It was busy though, and I woke up on Monday really beat. Today I am doing sales and trying to come up with a new layout for the manuals.
The invitations went in to the printers Monday, I hear about the terrible layout job I did some time today. If everything goes well, I think that we should have them by August 7. If nothing goes well, there's still the idea about an ad in the Gazette...
Just as an aside, we went to Club Price on Sunday and let me tell you that compared to the Bay, things are wayyyyy cheaper, and don't look any different. I wish that we could register there......
Found these sites while my mind was wandering. Keyboard yoga and what looks like a lovely little place to take a 5 minute break.
Look ma, no banners!
Ok, I took advantage of the deal that they had going to get rid of the banners for $9.95. Yup, I'm a sucker....... but doesn't it look better? If you're like me, you didn't even notice when you glanced at the site.

Friday, July 27, 2001

Bill and I were just joking about me making a wedding dress out of duct tape, then she sent me this.
Yay! It's Friday again and we're ready to roll! The phones are dead today, so I'm sending emails to old leads and hoping that they email back so I can close their files or sell them something. I was surprised how many people actually return my emails, I never would. Half the office is working from home today too, taking advantage of the beautiful, non-sticky day! I saw a nice pair of shoes last night, but they didn't have my size. I think that I will try another store and see if I can find them. I also need sandals, mine have had it. This is not the time of year to find nice sandals though. They're all on sale, but most of them are ugly.

Caroline, I know what you mean about the elevation problems. I have experienced the same problem with my mom's recipes here in Montreal. True, there's probably only a few inches of difference, but it really throws the off the classics that we so carefully try to duplicate ;-)

Back to The Bay
Steve and I went back to the downtown Bay and zapped a few more things for the registry. We hope that it will give people an idea of what we'd like. That store has really had it, it was slim pickins. We were looking for a medium-sized pot that was less than $100-forget it! A word to the wise - don't buy anything there unless you can't find it cheaper anywhere else! We were also looking for things like a couple of platters in bright colours, a nice salad bowl set, nice sheets, once again, nuthin'. We're going to another Bay this weekend and see if it's just the one downtown that sucks. The only thing that I care about is the mixer :-)

Heather is in town and is coming to visit with Maggie tonight, should be fun!

Thursday, July 26, 2001

Dina, your mum's apple cake/pie still rules! Yum-yum!
Otherwise, funny you mention home cooking: I tried Monday to bake my mum's scones because I had been thinking about having some proper English scones for ages and was tired of the blah scones from those other coffee shop places. Having these scones would just make everything right with the world and bring me right back home, I thought. Whenever my mum made her scones, they usually lasted about a day or so (the record is 1/2 a day), they were that moist, tender, and yummy, even fragrent with hints of lemon zest, filled with plump raisins, and di-VINE with whipped cream and fresh hot coffee or tea, and if you had them on hand, fresh strawberries or raspberries. Anyway, was I ever disappointed because mine were a disaster! Of course, the elevation difference between here in Calgary and the Eastern Townships of Quebec is the complete, utter and sole cause (oven too hot or something). The fact that I tried to translate ounces into cups, tripled the batch, and forgot how much baking powder I put in, had NOTHING whatsoever to do with these scones that I think even the squirrels won't eat (shades of the banana bread fiasco, Dina, remember?!); they're flat, crunchy, dry and nothing like they should be (wait! a whole new creation!). Oh well, maybe this is one memory that will stay that way...

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

MMMMmmmmm, butter tarts...
Unfortuanately, my mother was never much of a baker, except for pies. She used to make these thumbprint cookies filled with jam that my dad would eat, but I thought were pretty gross. That got me to thinking about jam. My mom's always made jam, strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, gooseberry, all sealed with wax and identified with marker and masking tape on the lid. One year when we were in Alaska, we spent our vacation at Mt McKinley, one of the most beautiful national parks. We found this huge field of blueberries and my mom made us go and get buckets and pick blueberries, until our fingers were purple (as well as our tongues). Thinking about it now, with the large bear population, we could have been seriously invading a bear blueberry buffet. My mom took the berries, along with fresh raspberries, and made the best jam I ever tasted. A while ago, I bought some store jam that tasted awfully darn close and I was back picking those blueberries again.

I fell asleep at 7:30 last night. I woke up a few time in the night, but I think that I am finally well rested.

Tuesday, July 24, 2001

A Food Nostalgia Moment
I visited my parents in Niagara over the weekend and went on a bike ride on the beautiful Niagara Cycling trail past orchards, vineyards and salt-box historic homes. In Queeston, there's a little cafe owned by Steve Bauer (yes! the Olympic cyclist) by the trail. After riding for 45 minutes in the 32C and 70% humidity that's typical for the area, I was happy to have an excuse to stop and rest. I went in and laid eyes on homemade butter tarts, my absolute fave Friday night treat when I was a kid. They had all three kinds of butter tarts--plain (runny), with raisins, and with pecans--to satisfy all schools of butter tart purists, as I read once to my surprise in Harrowsmith magazine. (I'm from the runny camp, myself.)

Well. That butter tart was amazing. Incredibly sweet, slightly tart, with buttery, crumbly pastry, it brought me right back to my Grama's place, when we'd sit on the back steps, listening to the buzzing of insects and watching the fiery-red sun set.

Funny how food can make you relive certain moments and memories. I just love moments like that.
Checked out that article on Salon on pro anorexia groups and it's very sad that people want to normalize that sickness. I think it's partly media-driven and partly about taking control over one's life, albeit in a very extreme, obsessive way. This site is just a way for them to marginalize themselves and withdraw even further. Very sad.
Steve was telling me about this pro anorexia movement last night and I couldn't believe it. I suppose you have the right to be dangerously thin, but to celebrate it and share diet tips? I've often wondered why people decide to starve themselves. Is it the media-driven ideal of thinness, or is it that these people are so unhappy that they're trying to become children again? Perhaps it's a bit of both. I guess it's also to get attention. What happened to these people to make them so unhappy with themselves, so under-nourished emotionally?

The sales stint is still going well. I'm having fun and learning some stuff. I like the team too, which is great! I left work early yesterday and went home and slept. I wasn't feeling well, kinda achy and restless. The nap did me a world of good. I was very thankful for the air conditioner in the bedroom. Worked a bit on the invitations and slept some more. I seem to be much better this morning.

Monday, July 23, 2001

Wow! There are other Coaster Queens out there, imagine!WICKED COOL COASTERS
Is it Monday already?
Oh dear but I'm tired this morning! Had a lot of activity this weekend. The folks came on Saturday and hung out, had lunch and relaxed and left. They brought in my flowerbox (now on the front balcony), and 5 tomato plants that look very happy in the back. Saturday night we relaxed a bit, that was nice. Sunday I scrubbed the kitchen floor by hand because I was tired of all the ground-in dirt. Now it's easy to mop and the floor's nice and clean. Kathy came over at around 2 with Trevor and he's a cutie! He wandered around the back deck playing and then we went to the park and he played with us and two little kids and their grandmother. He was very friendly. Maggie and Andrew came by with the kids later and we visited for a while and had watermelon, and Dave came over to play with Steve. It was a busy, busy day. This morning I'm pooped!
Today, I'm on the sales phones as usual. I hope that I wake up a bit because I feel too dopey to talk to people.

Friday, July 20, 2001

Wheeee! Yippee! For the first time in a couple of weeks I think that I finally have no killer deadlines and will be able to have a normal day at work with the sales department. I may sell something today, you never know...
I need to do some cleaning up tonight for my folks coming tomorrow. Not much, because frankly, the place is a mess no matter what I do, but just move a couple of things out of the way and mop a bit. The weather is continuing to be absolutely beautiful, if a little hot today. We picked up the lease last night from our friend Dave. We are now armed against the baliffs in case they decide to come and try to take away our stuff.
I think that I will go to Ikea at lunch today and look for a watering can, I remembering them having some nice ones.

Thursday, July 19, 2001

I found this blog through another blog, if your interested in typography, looks interesting. Textism
Almost Friday, Weeeee! I'm very tired, forgot to set the alarm last night, luckily I have that internal clock thing going on. I woke up with enough time to not be late. It's another hot day here, looks like we're going to have some perfect summer weather for the weekend. I've invited the folks in to have a look at the place and have some lunch. I didn't sell anything yesterday, but did rewrite the installation chapters of two manuals. The invitations are progressing, should have everything ready soon! I was talking to one of my friends last night from Nortel and she said that everyone's really demoralized over there. There's only so many times that you can cut staff and ignore the extreme contributions and efforts of those left before you become jaded and start wondering why you're bothering. Melissa stopped by for a quick hello as well.
A couple of days ago, we received a Final Notice from a baliff of Montreal for the woman who used to live at our place. It was a 48 hours warning that if she didn't pay $180, they were going to come and seize stuff. Steve called the number on the paper and it looks like all we have to do is present our lease to whoever shows up at the door. Problem is, we don't have our lease right now. The landlady didn't sign parts of the lease by mistake (new forms), so we gave them back to her son (our friend Dave) so that she could sign them. He was supposed to come over last night with the lease, but he didn't, so I'm hoping that there are no gorillas in suits on the doorstep when I get home.

Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Selling fool
I made two sales yesterday! Granted, they were people who called the sales line that wanted the product and I had nothing to do with their decision, but I actually participated in the transaction. Elizabeth came over with Samuel last night for a little visit. Samuel loved the park and was hesitant to leave the "slide house". The invitations are coming along, I had a good mockup by the end of the evening and will progress to seeing how many I can get on a page tonight. The idea is to print everything on a heavy weight paper (card stock). That means fitting in the thank you cards and any other printing that we want on one run. It's a good concept. Time to go and get some sales!

Tuesday, July 17, 2001

News, Canadian Style
Move over, naked Scottish weathergirl! News will never be the same again thanks to NakedNews, a site to satisfy even the most jaded Canadian news junkies. I can personally vouch for the charms of one of the male anchors. Who ever said Canadians are boring?
Just put me in a quiet room with some popsicles sticks and glue
Ok, Steve guilted me into working on the invites last night and we're closer to having them finished. The sales thing is going well, but would be better if I didn't have so much other work to do! I think that what I need is a few days with nothing to do, which may happen some time in September. I look forward to it! Busy, busy days!

Monday, July 16, 2001

I love growing herbs. This year I said to heck with flowering annuals and just bought herbs: basil, dill, oregano and rosemary. That's in addition to the mint and chives that try to overrun the rest of my garden. RealSimple has a great-sounding recipe for rosemary flatbread to try out on your BBQ. There's also a recipe for grilled peaches, too. Yummy!

Monday morning
Ugh, I'm tired! Went out Saturday night to Kyong's going away party, he's leaving to study Veterinary medicine in Australia. We were there until the wee hours and then I woke up very early and couldn't go back to sleep. I got some herbs at the market and planted them out on the deck this weekend. I also got a nice plant for the bathroom. In addition, some cleaning was accomplished, but I don't really feel like I got a lot done. I start my first real week of making calls and such. The majority of my real work was supposed to be done by now, but things got put off. Still, that's not my fault and if I have to be on the phone here all day, there's not much that I can do about the manuals.
On the bright side, the traffic was barely noticeable this morning. I'm looking forward to two weeks of easy commuting. It would be nice to have a few days off though, I haven't touched the invitations yet and time's a wasting!

Thursday, July 12, 2001

New PuppyI know all you guys out there are just sitting on the edge of your seats for this blog, but seeing as one can be a little self-indulgent here, I will be....

Yes, I got a new (Sheltie) tri-colour puppy finally after 2 years of waiting. He will be the companion to my 6 year-old (sable) Sheltie male Willie. The puppy's name is Trevor and I believe the kennel name will be Silkseal's Smoke and Mirrors.

Tomorrow he will be 8 weeks old and he is bundle of energy, a constant motion machine of curiousity, enthusiasm and an avid ball player. For those of you who know about Willie, (a ballaholic from way back), this is bound to be an interesting relationship.

Needless to say, after my first week, I am completely pooped and in dire need of some sleep. I had forgotten just what it was like and have a deep respect and appreciation for all of you with small children. The good news is, my husband is actually very helpful in this project and I can count on him to take over when I collapse on my sofa and take that needed nap!

Ack! I'm not ready!
I tried to listen to calls again yesterday, so far I have not heard one opening call! I told this to the supervisor who wanted to start me on the phones (supervised, of course) this morning. I'm hoping to listen to a few calls this morning so I can try a few this afternoon. Maybe I'll qualify someone who turns into a sale and get a tiny commission. It's almost Friday! This week has just flown by. I'm hoping to get some cleaning done tonight and this weekend I may go looking for a few plants at Atwater or Reno Depot. I've also had a hankering for my bulgar-lentil salad, so perhaps I will get some bulgarian feta at my cheese shop as well....... Of course I haven't done anything with the invitations yet either, sigh, time's a wasting!

Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Voicemail heck
So far, I have barely listened to any real sales conversations, and none to pertain to the type of calls that I'll be making. Everyone seems to have left town and we're getting voicemail, voicemail, voicemail. I got in at 7:30 this morning, which is normal, but I had a lot of work to get done before the sales stuff started. I was here until 7pm last night trying to create 3 new installation guides based on one. Blech! I'm a little tired, but I'm not bored!
Stupid Westmount Well, not really. Last summer, I got three parking tickets from Westmount when I thought that I was supposed to be in a legal spot. Westmount has these 4 hour rules, but they're only posted on signs when you enter the city, so if you don't know about them, like me, you follow the normal parking signs posted on the street and then get nailed with a ticket. I parked in Westmount for two weeks before I got my first ticket. Thinking that the meter maid was loopy, I contested the ticket, and then the two others that came after that over the course of two weeks until someone finally told me what was happening and I stopped driving to work. Last week I received three notices of judgement. Since I hadn't been notified of any court dates, I called and found out that they had sent the court date stuff to me at the end of May to my new address. I got my new driver's license in May and had changed my address on the license after explaining to the nice lady behind the counter that I was only moving June 24. Someone at my new address returned the letters to Westmount. Instead of trying to call or something, they had my court dates without me. Now I have to go in and file an Application for revocation of judgement. What a pain!

Tuesday, July 10, 2001

Speaking of notaries, I've been trying to get in touch with Robin Lefebvre and he hasn't returned any of my calls. I'm wondering whether my messages are stuck in voice mail limbo somewhere....
Hey! St. Ambroise made Toronto Life! Woo woo!
Dina in sales, day 2 Well, the first day of the rotation was fine. I read a manual and then did some exercises on the computer. It was pretty easy, but I wasn't supposed to finish until today sometime. I'm familiar with the database software though, my old company used something similar for customer support and I worked on a manual for it. I don't know what I'm doing today, tomorrow I'm supposed to spend the day listening to a real sales person qualify leads. Apparently, it gets easier as you go along. This morning I have more reading and exercises to do, they're a bit dull, but I'm learning something.
Last night Steve and I went to the notary and signed the paperwork for the separation as to property. That's one more thing done! Then, we had some supper and vegged. It's hard to get motivated in the evenings.
Recycling nazis Yesterday we put out a box of recycling and a whole bunch of cardboard and the lazy buggers didn't take it! So much for trying to be good to the environment!

Monday, July 09, 2001

The sales rotation begins!
Wheee! The girl who couldn't sell girl guide cookies is going to start her 4 weeks of sales today! This should be fun! I will probably only be checking my email at lunch or so.
We got quite a bit accomplished this weekend. I went through boxes and Steve took them down to the storage area. There's now quite a bit of stuff down there. It frees up a lot of space upstairs so that we can move. It's coming along! Oops! gotta start work!

Friday, July 06, 2001

Thank goodness that the week is over! I need a nap! Met the gals last night for the bookclub and had a good time and a good discussion. Speaking of good discussions, had one with the other tech writer here and we might have things worked out. She's still not the laid back person I've ever met, but now I know that I can campaign to rid the manuals of justified text. My sales rotation finally starts next Monday, which is a drag because we have manuals to get out for July 12, I guess that it would never truly be a good time.
I'm looking forward to relaxing a bit on the weekend and getting some stuff done. The invitations have to be finished because people are starting to complain and of course we still have a gazillion boxes everywhere and have to decide if we're going to start the walls ourselves or what. I think I will also have another golf nap on Sunday.

Thursday, July 05, 2001

I just checked the Repercussion site, they only have one play this year and something called the Green Show. Kinda neat. They're touring all over the place too.
I really like the Touched by a Tech Writer concept, I could fix manuals, fix the printer, fix lives....
Hey guys - we should go support Repercussion's Shakespeare in the Park! The schedule is up for this summer's performances.

Hey Dina, what happened at work? I thought that things got off to a good start? What happened? Although I like the Littlest Hobo idea - wait, a new series (if only to save us from yet another remarkalbly inane "reality" show) - Touched by a Tech Writer.

Things here are, as always, great - although I'm still waiting for an answer about my raise. We've had two English and one French luncheon, and the second French one takes place today. The response has been incredible - we had twelve people for each of the English ones. The French one was predictably less populated. We've talked about our long weekends, and our dream vacation. I loved Becca's idea about the lifeboat - I think I'll intrduce it as "if you were on Survivor, why shoudn't we vote you off the island?"
Sunny Thursday!
Well, Steve's dad and brother headed out ok this morning, I hope that they don't hit too much traffic. Last night we put together the diningroom table and four of the chairs and gave it a test run for dinner. We have to organize a few of the rooms tonight and try to get the livingroom in decent shape. I wish that it were Friday. I'm getting really cheezed at the other writer, yesterday I was really pissed off. I can't figure out what her problem is, she's been defensive and unfriendly to me since I got here really. I think that since I left Eicon, it has been my destiny to work with the disgruntled and cheerless.This will have to be straightened out, but I have no idea how. I guess it's time to talk to HR and find out what's happening. Perhaps I have been sent out like the littlest hobo to make peoples' lives better.......woof!
Oh well, it's a nice day, cool, but I don't mind that at all.

Wednesday, July 04, 2001

Grey Wednesday
We're having a terrible weather week here, it's rainy and grey and quite cool considering the heat wave that we've been having. Most days we'll be lucky if it gets up to 22C. That being said, it's easy to understand why I feel I need a nap at 8am. Had a quiet evening. A painter came over to look at the place and gave us a stupidly expensive estimate. The painting's not so bad, it's the price to repair all the holes and cracks and nail holes in the walls. We will try a few other people and see what they charge. If it's really out of the budget, then we'll just attack it room by room and maybe get someone in to fix some of the bigger problems. Our new diningroom set arrives some time today, tonight we get to clear a space for it and set it up. Steve's dad and brother are leaving tomorrow morning, I wish that they had more time to visit.
A.I. sounds like it's worth seeing. It is a shame that Kubrick didn't live to see the project through, his cheesy bits were always mouldy and sure to lead to traps.

Tuesday, July 03, 2001

What a terrible loss! I really enjoyed Barney's Version and was looking forward to Richler's next novel.

Saw A.I. over the weekend. Spielberg fans will no doubt be pleased with the movie, but Kubrick fans will be disappointed. I love a good sci-fi movie that gets you thinking about basic flaws of humanity, especially when the movie is beautifully and imaginitively filmed (Bladerunner and Gattaca are two that come to mind). A.I. starts out doing this, then lets you down at the end with classic Spielberg sentimentality. Had the movie ended 20 minutes earlier, it would have been a sad but plausible futuristic fairy-tale. As is, there's a final, cheesey part that's Pinocchio meets Munsch's Love You Forever with its creepy Oedipal overtones. As a mom, let me tell you I do not want my son to obsess about me in that way. Quite frankly, it gave me the willies.

That said, A.I. is still a visual feast with some amazing acting by Haley Joel Osment and Jude Law. And it does get you thinking about certain fundamental things like our responsibility to other thinking, feeling beings, whether meca (robot) or orga (human, animal or alien). On that level, the movie does what it set out to do: entertain and provoke some thought, two rare qualities in a summer movie.
Wow! I guess that his family felt like they should warn us by telling us last week that he was undergoing cancer treatment. Poor Mordecai. My aunt used to serve him beer at the Owl's Nest and said that he was a nice enough guy, but looked like a bum. CBC News: Author Mordecai Richler dies
Another long weekend is over and I got a lot less done than I had planned. I did manage to sleep a bit, I had a really nice golf nap Sunday afternoon. Steve's dad and brother arrived and we've had a great time so far. We've been out to eat a few times and they've been going through some stuff that they're taking back to Windsor. They bought us a new diningroom table and chairs, which was really nice, they arrive Wednesday. I managed to get a few things done, the computer is finally hooked up, the shutters are up in the bathroom and a few more things are put away. The big thing is the walls, gotta do the walls. we feel a lot less disorganized now.