Wednesday, July 31, 2002

You want that when?
I have a set of training material to create and complete for Friday and I'm learning the software as I go. Busy busy! Someone please have something alcoholic for me and soak up some sun......

Monday, July 29, 2002

I'm back!
Let's recap the journey:
Friday at 11, I said my goodbyes to the people at the NY office and jumped in the car to drive to the airport. Of course, traffic, tons of it, but I factored a ton of traffic into my plans, so no problem. I listened to my bootleg Sheryl Crow and enjoyed the last hours of air conditioned car goodness. I arrived at the airport (yes, I actually didn't get lost this time) and started following the signs to the rental car buildings. 30 minutes later, I was still trying to figure out how to get to Hertz. New York has many signs that have arrows which point in vague directions, not left or right, more 'over there someplace' and then no follow up signs to let you know that you guessed correctly. The airport is no exception. I finally followed a courtesy pick-up bus. The car drop off was amazing, there was a guy who motioned me into a parking spot, scanned the code on the windshield and handed me a bill. Easy! I took the courtesy bus back to the airport and made the driver circle the route twice because I didn't hear him call the airline the first time.
At the airport I waited in a long snaking line for about 45 minutes. While there, Danny Glover passed by me with his cart of baggage two or three times. He looked like he'd been travelling for a while and needed a good sleep and a shower. I got through the line and was waiting in line for the baggage x-ray when one of the x-ray machine ladies yelled for three adults and a little girl to cut the line and come right over to her. One woman seemed a tad overdressed and wore sunglasses. I found out from the lady at my x-ray machine that it was Lil' Kim. Some other women around me were surprised that she didn't seem to be travelling with a bodyguard.
The computers went down all over the airport causing many delays. We finally got on the plane and were almost ready to leave when a man from the airline boarded and asked for two volunteers to wait for another flight so a woman and her two kids could get on. One man volunteered, but no one else wanted to leave so the airline guy said that the plane wasn't taking off until someone else got off. There were a lot of Americans on the plane, and they staged a small revolt. A couple were bumped by the airline guy amid much grumbling and the woman and her kids boarded and we were off, over an hour late. I was surrounded by a family, grandparents, parents and three children, a girl of about 7 was sitting next to me, who all had the plague. They were all coughing and hacking. I finally had to ask the little girl to please cover her mouth, she resembled a goose honking germs into the air and it was making me crazy. Her mother looked over at her and said, "I told you so". I'm not sure what that was supposed to mean because not 6 seconds earlier she was doing the same thing. Their son remarked that they were going to freeze when he heard that the temperature was 20C, and no parent corrected him. I'm starting to discover why Americans get such a hard rap. It seems that they only let the ignorant ones travel.
We had a fantastic flight and landing which of course ended with me stuck in rush hour traffic in a cab in which the driver spoke neither of the official languages and smoked in the cab.
It's great to be home!
Welcome Back Dina!!

Hope you don't miss "the city that never sleeps" too much. Doesn't it suck that we don't have a good beach near us?

We missed ya. Thanks for the frequent updates. It almost felt like we were there with you!

Friday, July 26, 2002

Last Day
As much as I was loathe to come here in the first place, I will miss it here. Americans are friendly people for the most part, and I have had a lovely time.
Went to the beach last night and walked in the waves for the last time. I will miss the beach, I will miss wandering around the city and I will miss the yogurt.
I'm looking forward to seeing Steve though :-)
Now I have to finish some work before I leave.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Almost the last day
Went into the city again last night. This time, my colleague took me down to Canal street. We had to hurry, because they close up at 8, but it was knock off central! The street is lined with tiny shops with pull-down metal doors. Every day they open the doors and sell fake every designer brand of watch and handbag that you can think of. Then of course you have to haggle. A lot of the stuff looks the same from store to store, but the quality can be different. I would have taken pictures, but seeing as how it's illegal to sell this stuff, I didn't want to risk pissing anyone off. There was also shoes, toys, souvenirs, thelist goes on and one. A few people had carts in the street selling CDs and movies. We got 3 CDs (complete copies of course) for $11. I was surprised to see that every movie in the cart was something that was out in theatre or was going to be out in theatre (I saw the new Austin Powers). All for $5-not bad....
After Canal street we took a tour through SOHO, very much like a large Old Montreal with high-end stores, very pretty. We then headed over to Grenwich Village and parked and walked around. This is my type of neighbourhood, lots to see, lots of bars, not as sterile as SOHO, kind of like the plateau. We found a bar with live music and had a beer, then enjoyed watching all the people as we took a walk around the area. I stopped at a dep and bought something called Naked Juice, people at the office rave about it and I admit that it's very good.
We got back to the hotel after midnight and I fell into bed, the alarm was way too early this morning. Today I'm working my brains out trying to get things done before I leave, rush rush!

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Meanwhile, back in Montreal....

We have a superly gorgeous day...cool, clear and hey, what the heck am I doing at the office kind of day! Our building is throwing a BBQ in the square. Free hotdogs for all! I however will not be attending (much and all as I would like to, the smell of BBQ has been permeating my office all morning) as I have power walking date with my friend at McGill.

Things are typically quiet for this time of year, sort of. However, with the bleeding of the markets, CDS is very busy and once the selloff stops things will likely slow right down to a trickle until investors start buying again...????
Day 10
It rained here yesterday, so I went to the mall. The rain is crazy here, torrential and violent, then nothing. My colleague went down to the beach after work and said that there was a huge sandstorm with the rain that forced people into their cars. If you've ever been out in a sandstorm with bare legs, you know how painful grains of sand can become when they work together.
As for shopping, so far I haven't seen anything that I can't live without. I am going to pick up some marinades at Trader Joes before I go.
Tonight: beach? we shall see.....

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Day Nine
Yesterday was a rough for various bad reasons and I was glad that I had enough stuff to do to hide in my cubicle with my head down. After work, we drove into the city and had a meal and walked around Times Square and up to Rockefeller Center where they have the ice skating during the winter. It is much smaller than you think it is when you see it on tv. I think that ice makes a place look bigger. I always thought that the Molson Centre was enormous, but then I got a chance to go skating there and it's way smaller than it looks when you watch a hockey game on tv. Anyway, we wandered around the city and only got back to the hotel after midnight. I arrived to several phone messages from Steve, I had him worried sick. Oops!
Tonight I'm going to the mall or the beach, I will let the weather decide.......

Monday, July 22, 2002

Weekend Update
The weekend did not get off to the greatest start, but it picked up soon after. Steve's flight was cancelled and he called me to let me know that he'd be flying in Saturday morning instead. I decided to drive to Kuan's anyway and come back in the morning and pick up Steve. With no traffic, the drive from work should have been about 90 minutes. I left the office at 6:30 pm and the rain started. There were downpours all over NY and NJ, and they seem to have created tons of traffic. I was stuck for an hour trying to get off Long Island, then I missed a turnoff somewhere and ended up going south when I should have been going north, oops. More traffic, got turned in the right direction, more traffic, got to a bridge, traffic and a toll, traffic, another bridge, traffic, off the bridge and onto to NJ turnpike, traffic, another toll, traffic, traffic, finally get to Kuan's area and it's dark and there are no house numbers visible from the road. I called her, but they had gone out for supper because they knew I was going to be late. I sat in the car for a while, watched a possum cross the road, and then dug the flashlight out of my bag and tried not to look like a burglar slinking quietly up to houses where they could be armed. Finally found Kuan, she made me a big drink and we talked late into the night.
Kuan woke me up early in the morning, made some coffee (the first good coffee that I've had all week) and off we went to get Steve. The trip was a breeze compared to the night before, we sailed through, getting lost only slightly in NY city and made it to the airport in under an hour. Let me just say that I have now driven through Ny city three times and I'm amazed at how clean it is. We went out for a big breakfast after we picked Steve up and then spent the rest of the day lounging on Kuan and Chris' comfy furniture and in their backyard and had an amazing home cooked shrimp supper.
Sunday we feasted on fresh bagels and hung out some more and I did some laundry, then we got ready and headed over to Debbie's for her birthday bbq. They live about 45 minutes away. We got to meet Debbie's husband and many friends that Kuan talks about. We had lots of yummy food and enjoyed their huge backyard. Kuan and Chris drove us back to their house and we said our goodbyes and headed out for the airport. The drive was again quite uneventful, no traffic to speak of and we arrived at the airport on time. Saying goodbye to Steve was hard too, I hate being away from him. I was a bit down on the way back to the hotel. I saw the sign for Jones Beach and thought, what the heck and drove down there and spent a few hours at the beach watching people packing up and enjoying the end of the day. I went ome, unpacked my laundry and did some reading. Steve called to say that he was home safe and sound. It felt like a long weekend, but I would have loved to spend more time with my friends.....
Now it's back to work, lots to keep me busy!

Sunday, July 21, 2002

Finally getting a handle on all this new-fangled technology.... these are the photos taken with my brand-spanking-new digital camera (thanks Mum) at the family reunion this weekend. See, Dina, I told you my Dad was really and truly descended from actual human beings!

Friday, July 19, 2002

Bloody weather
Steve's flight was cancelled because of a storm somewhere in upstate NY. Now he'll only be here tomorrow at 9. I'm so bummed......
Day 5
We went out for yummy Indian food after work. We were planning on going into the city, but it was too hot. We will go in next week. Today, my sweetie is getting on a plane and coming to see me! His flight only gets in at 6, so I can probably leave here at 4:30 or 5 and make it. There's a ton of traffic here getting on and off the island. There aren't many routes, so they seem to be constantly jammed. It may not be that bad because a lot of people seem to take Fridays off here during the summer. After he gets here and I find him at the airport and get him in the car, we're going to New Jersey to see my friend Kuan Yin (name's can be deceiving, she's blonde and nearly 6 feet tall-her mom was a hippy, but that's another story). I have directions this time, so it shouldn't be so bad. She has promised to feed us when we get there. I'm dying to see her house, they bought it two years ago and this is the first time I've been down to visit and see it, I'm a horrible friend! I'm very excited. We're planning on just hanging out, going to a party Saturday night, maybe doing some light sightseeing.
The NY office apparently has bagel Fridays, when I walked in this morning the receptionist told me that there were fresh bagels upstairs and the fixins. She was right, there's a huge pile of them and about eight containers of whipped butter, some cream cheese and jam. I decided to steer clear of the whipped butter. There were four people in the cafeteria, they were making fun of a yoga show that they had on the tv:
woman: Hey Bob, do you like yoga?
man: Yeah, with strawberries.
You gotta love 'em.......

Thursday, July 18, 2002

Day 4
Yesterday got busy and I was here last night until 8 with a developer testing an installation. I got back to the hotel and ate one of my Trader Joes frozen meals-tandoori chicken with spinach, popped open a vodka cooler, and read and watched tv until I fell asleep. Nothing special at all. The travelling and running around finally hit me and I was glad to have a quiet evening to myself. Today at lunch a couple of the other ladies are taking us to some big store called Fairway.
I forgot to add the yogurt yesterday, it was whipped yoplait peaches and cream. It was good, but not an outstanding yogurt.
Addition:
The trip to the store was good. The store was HUGE and full of all kinds of regular and tons of specialty food. I bought some lunch and a few other things. You'd really have to spend a couple of hours in there to see everything.
Yogurt of the day: Yoplait whipped key lime pie (as opposed to custard style): as good as the pie itself, I hope that they start selling this flavour in Montreal.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Observations after one week of being unemployed...
1. My cats assume that as long as I'm home, they can demand food on an hourly basis. If I don't find a job soon, Chester and Heidi will have to start shopping at the stores for the mature cat, if you get my drift.
2. I am the only person I know, among those who were laid off, or, worse yet, not, who is not seething with resentment, anger, disillusionment, and a wide variety of other negative and potentially lethal emotions.
3. I worked with a large number of people who apparently had no lives outside the office, and who are now, as a result, totally lost and terrified.
4. Daytime television has definitely not improved since the last time I had time to watch it.
5. I am remarkably capable of not even trying to find something worth watching - one full week, and I still haven't hit the remote! Yay me!
6. My husband has a hearing disorder. Evidence: I said "I'm a little shaken up by all this, and I don't want to think about the financial implications right now, because I don't want extra stress." He said "Of course, I understand... by the way, when do you get your severance cheque? How much will it be? Can you go pick it up?"
7. Despite my best intentions, it's taken me a week to get to the blog - my apologies!
8. It's really hard to come up with more than 5 or 6 really astute observations on anything.
Day 3
We went to Jones Beach last night, six miles of beach, I'm in love. The only thing missing was Steve. It's about 25 minutes from here and there's free parking after 4 on weekdays. What a terrific and relaxing way to end the day. We walked down the beach for about an hour and watched the sunset and then came back on the boardwalk. I'm tired this morning, but happy. I think that I'm genetically drawn to the ocean (I'm half maritime). I'm definitely going back and doing that again as often as I can.
I will add my daily yogurt, etc. later.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Day 2
The first day went ok. I'm getting organized and trying to figure out what needs to be done. The hotel is ok, I will take some pictures. It's not the nicest place that I've stayed at, but it's certainly not the worst. It's very clean and critter-less and smells good. The kitchenette has a full-sized fridge, two stovetop burners, a little sink and a microwave. They give you a pot, two plates, bowls, glasses, cups, etc. My colleague got a little coffee machine. I asked for a kettle, but they didn't have any. They also didn't have any extra pillows so I had to bunch up the bedspread into a Steve-shape. I got a room on the second floor, so I didn't have to worry about murderers climbing through the windows. It's a big hotel, but it's in a fairly industrial area with nothing good within walking distance. I'm not that fussy because I have a car, and there's lots within driving distance. I got a silver Mazda 626 with a/c and a cd player. If it was standard, it would be absolutely perfect.
Last night we went out for supper at a Persian restaurant and then stopped at a 24-hour grocery store for cereal, milk, more yogurt, etc.
Today I had to go and buy a sweater because I didn't bring one and I'm freezing in the office. On the way back I stopped at this healthfood store called Trader Joes. Good food, cheap as a regular grocery store. I picked up a grilled veggie wrap and noted that they have a bunch of frozen indian meals for $3 that I can pick up for suppers.

The accents are starting to bother me and it's only Tuesday.

Yogurt of the day: key lime pie yoplait (custard-low fat) - YUM!

Monday, July 15, 2002

Hey hey!
Well, I made it down to NY without anything bad happening. The customs officer was grouchy and almost didn't let me through, but he decided to cut me some slack after scowling at me for a minute. I forgot the directions to the office, so I had to do some of my famous navigation to get here. I only went the wrong way for about 30 minutes, not bad really. Long Island is like the West Island, I expected it to be more built up, but it's very suburban. On one of my wrong turns I was in an area that could have been the country.
There are Canada geese everywhere around the office. They cross the street and paddle around in the pond near here. It's kind of funny that I had to come down here to see them.
First impressions:
  • Almost everyone drives too slowly
  • Americans can be so friendly. The guy at the rental car place serenaded me. A woman at the grocery store in front of me apologized for having more than 10 items (probably 12)
  • Creamsicle whipped yogurt rocks!

Went to a great wedding of two close friends Saturday in Rigaud and really tried out the camera. I've discovered the secret to good photography: when you take over 200 pictures, a few are bound to be good.

Friday, July 12, 2002

Friday!
Well, I managed to thwart the evil admin's plan to strand me in New York and will soon be heading off to the bank with my shiny cheque in hopes of getting it cashed and traveller chequed. Tonight we are off to pick up the gift for Laura and Sylvie's wedding tomorrow and maybe we'll even catch a movie. I'm meeting Maggie for lunch today. She got layed off Wednesday, which really sucks. I'm sure that she will blog the details soon, her company's bad......
I've been running around trying to get everything ready for the trip. I did a bit of shopping for clothes that are slightly more appropriate for the office down there (I've heard that they dress a bit nicer than we do). I have a list of everything that I need to bring (and tons of stuff that I probably don't, but will take "just in case"). I'm looking forward to taking pictures at the wedding with my camera. I have to figure out how I'm going to download pictures form my camera while I'm down in NY. Perhaps I can talk an IS guy into burning a few CDs for me.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Snoozin'
This morning I woke up at the time I regularly leave the house, oops. I managed to get out the door 35 minutes later. After I got to work I was trying to discuss literature (that thing I have nearly two degrees in) with a colleague and couldn't remember the subject of my thesis. That was embarassing.
I remembered later, but it didn't help much at that point. I should have crib notes for the mornings when I'm not so sharp.
Another reason that our admin is a cow: I'm waiting for the cash advance for the trip. I requested it from the admin last Friday and she knew that I needed it ASAP so that I could put money into my visa for the rental car and get it exchanged into US. I have still not received it, so I call her and asked when it will be coming. She informs me that I will only get it at 3pm tomorrow (after my bank closes). Apparently it's company policy and she knew this. I called accounting and had to explain to them my situation with the hope of getting it earlier. Now that I know that our admin's job description is "impede other employees from doing their jobs" I know exactly where I stand. There will be revenge, oh yes, you know it..... :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Busy, bust busy
Nothing like a last minute complete rush to make the day go by. A project went from being completely being ignored to "we gotta have it now" in the time it took for a client to buy it.
Latest travel news: I'm going, my boss is paying for my hotel and they've promised to send me money mid-week. They seem to have booked me at a different hotel than the other woman I'm going down with, but I'm not going to be fussy as long as it's clean and has a fridge and a microwave.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Going? Staying? Who cares? Let's watch a movie!
After a very stress-filled day yesterday I went out and had a nice supper with Steve and decided to try to stop worrying about the damn trip. If I don't go, then we'll have to try to get Steve's money back, or I'll try to get the same flight and go for the weekend anyway. We'll see.
We rented Gosford Park last night. Warning, this is not a movie for the hard of hearing. There's a lot of whispering in accents. We were fiddling with the volume for most of the film, and there was some dialogue that I missed. Despite that, the film was wonderful and funny and a touch sad. The story is set in 1932 in one of those grand English country houses with tons of staff. The upper class have gathered for a weekend of shooting and brought along their various butlers and maids. The upstairs and downstairs relationships are explored and you really get to see how they interact and reflect each other in an age when the traditional family estates full of staff were rapidly disappearing. In the middle of the movie there's a murder and everyone is treated to a short, but very entertaining appearance by Stephen Fry who plays the inspector. Highly rentable!
I feel like a second class citizen in a third world country
I can't believe it, our power is out again at home. It went out at 1:45 a.m., came back on at 2:00 then it went out again at 5:10 a.m. and was still out when I went to the train station at 8:00. (The gym where I work out had power so at least I didn't lose my workout.) This is the third time since June 24th. I know that there are forest fires, but why does everybody else have power? (I don't expect an answer to that question.)

Then, I get to work this morning and my boss had left 2 long voice mail messages (2 minutes each). The system cuts you off at 2 minutes. Between her talking at 1,000 words a minute and the sound quality (which was frankly terrible, sounded as though it was coming from Afghanistan), I had a really hard time following what she was saying. I had scheduled a status meeting this morning to follow up on a number of things (our monthly deal), which she declined. Then I got mad. I called her at the office, actually got her (a surprise) and I told her I couldn't understand a word of her voicemail for the reasons stated above. I then told her I would have to spend the whole morning trying to decipher what she had said and that this was unacceptable. Then she told me she was not feeling well and has been under the weather for a week and her doctor doesn't know what's wrong with her. To which I said, let's reschedule for next week because I cannot work this way. I need to interact with her. (Or do I really?) Clearly she doesn't understand how isolated I am. If I sound unfeeling about her illness, I'm not. But I suspect she has brought it on herself, especially if you live in Toronto, you owe it to yourself to have air conditioning in your house. She is an AVP, she can afford it.

Anyway, that's my day so far. It can only get better and I will make it so.... End of rant.

Monday, July 08, 2002

Arghhhhhh!
The travelling saga continues. More problems, our admin is being a total cow, they can only give me a limited cash advance, which won't pay for everything and then I find out that it's Canadian funds, which barely buys a stick of gum down there. My boss probably will never send me anywhere again, but at least he's being as helpful as possible. The admin can't get it through her head that I don't have an empty credit card with a 10k limit, she keeps telling me to "just charge it". This is especially frustrating when I have told her of the pitifully small amount that I have left on my card about ten times. I'm incredibly stressed about the whole thing. Steve has booked his flight for the weekend, so if they cancel my trip I may have to hurt someone. Business travel should not be like this...

Sunday, July 07, 2002

The end is nigh....

Not really. The fires up north have had a rather startling effect on today's sky. The entire day has been extremely hazy and almost like early evening. A litle spooky. The winds are supposed to change soon and blow the smoke east tomorrow.

Friday, July 05, 2002

Becca's on the radio!
I keep forgetting to mention this, but Rebecca's doing the arts report at 5:25 in the afternoon this week. I know that the week is almost over, but tune in today and listen.

Thursday, July 04, 2002

Hot hot hot!
Woo damn it's a steam bath out there! For some reason, this week seems longer than it should despite the fact that we had Monday off. Perhaps the heat is frying my brain. I've heard that we are supposed to get a reprieve from this weather tonight. Yay!
Happy July 4th to everyone down south of the border. I've heard that security is tight in many cities and that a lot of people plan on staying home. I used to go over to Vermont with my folks to watch the fireworks in one of the small towns, so pretty! We also used to go over to the drive-in before they closed it down. It was amazing! Big buckets of popcorn for next to nothing, a playground in front of the screens, and those speakers that you hung on the inside of your car window. Sometimes you had to try a few before you found a good one. Everyone would bring out their lawn chairs and blankets and little kids wore their jammies to the movies so they could fall asleep in the back of the car. The concession stand was run by four old ladies who could have been working there since the drive-in opened.

The ants come marching in...
The past couple of days our kitchen has been besieged by tiny ants. They are on the floor, the counters and we've even caught a few wandering around the stove top. They must be coming inside to escape the heat and humidity and they are definitely not welcome. I put some caulking around where I think that they're getting in, we'll see how well that works. The cats have no interest in them, perhaps they're too small to be considered prey. Anyway, every time you walk into the kitchen you have to stomp on a bunch of them. I've wiped the counters and removed all food, but they're still hanging around.

New York, New York
I was told at the beginning of the week that I was going to NY from the 15-26. Since then I have been struggling with the company travel software. You have to create a profile and then give preferences for airlines, hotels, rental car places, etc. that the software will then completely ignore in favour of whatever the company prefers. So you fill that out and then fill out a request for a trip and then someone calls you to discuss the arrangements anyway. I am sort of a special case because I don't have a corporate credit card so they have to give me cash advances instead, and I've been trying to avoid giving them my personal credit card number out of fear that they'll screw something up and I'll be charged for stuff by mistake. I also fear that I'll be wandering around NY with a whack of cash. There's some debate about whether or not I'm allowed to rent a car (I'm really fighting to get one). Canadian girl, looking lost, walking around NY with a wad a cash in her pocket and a map, yeah, I won't get mugged.......

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

I have been busy all day trying to put my computer back in order (new OS) and book a business trip. I am very close to losing my mind........

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Spielberg disappoints me again
I love a good sci-fi movie. Sadly, really good ones are all too rare. Case in point: this weekend, we went to see Minority Report. We came away feeling cheated out of a movie that had such great potential. In a nutshell, an agent from Precrime, a unit dedicated to preventing murders by intervening before they happen, sees himself committing a murder in the immediate future. He's determined to prove this prediction wrong. He does, and he doesn't, in a beautifully ironic twist of fate.

The story had such amazing potential, probably thanks to Phillip K. Dick's writing and visionary talent (I haven't read the short story it was based on). And the imagery was great, with wonderful, sombre lighting and rich or wispy, grainy images, depending on the sequence. What got me was Spielberg's need to spell out everything to the obvious, use a child for the most irritating, corny emotional effect, and cast one-dimensional, wooden actors (although Tom Cruise was pretty good). Add non-stop product placement (Lexus, AmEx, Reebok, Guiness... the list goes on and on and on), and bad screenwriting (made for a woman, clearly written by a man), and you get a very disappointing interpretation of the work of a sci-fi master.

AI was a great movie marred at the end by Spielberg's maudlin touch. Minority Report sinks two thirds of the way through. And I so wanted to like it! If anybody has any suggestions for great sci-fi movies or their all-time fave sci-fi flick, I'd love to hear about them.
Niagara heat
It's a very St. Catharines' kind of day. Sweltering heat to fry an egg on a sidewalk, near-100% humidity, hazy... I feel totally at home today.

We had a very lovely weekend down in Niagara. We went cycling along Lake Erie from Port Dover to Turkey Point Provincial Park. Saw no turkeys except for the two-legged kind driving convertibles with trophy babes perched at the back (they would have made good hood ornaments). We rolled into the beachside town on our road bikes and I felt like a complete alien in my cycling shorts and helmet. The beach was nice, though.

The next day, we went cycling on the Niagara Parkway trail. (What an amazing bike trail! It's got gorgeous scenery, lots of shade from stately high trees, and a cool breeze from the Niagara River.) Then we joined my folks for a picnic at Queenston Heights. All in all, it was a very relaxing, fun weekend. Love to visit, love to leave.
Summer rocks!
What a great weekend! Friday night we went and visited with an old friend who is in town. Saturday we parked the car at the Old Port and walked everywhere. We walked around the Old Port, up to the Jazz fest and then up St. Laurent and down St. Denis. There were Canada day festivities as well as Jazz, so Montreal was full of summertime action. It's fun to see so many people out enjoying the city. We stopped for a very unmemorable dinner and then went back to the Old Port to watch the fireworks. All in all it was a great day. The only problem was that I shouldn't have walked all that way in sandals and I ended up with some nasty blisters. Walking back to the car was a huge effort. Sunday Steve went out gaming and I wandered around at home and Sunday night we went to Bill's housewarming. It was appropriately very warm. We broke out the fans and enjoyed the party. Monday we cleaned the house in 32C heat and cleaned out a closet. We had the air conditioner running in the bedroom for quick cooldowns. I am not a fan of air conditioning, but it was very welcome last night. The cats were limp dishrags, occasionally they were smart enough to go into the bedroom, but mostly they just found cool spots on the floor. Today is more of the same sweltering heat, and I'm at the office wearing a fleece and shivering. Apparently it's a very nasty shock when you walk outside. I don't think that I'll be going out at lunch unless I need to warm up.
Summer Heat Hysteria

I don't need to say it, so I won't. But I will say this, the media seem to think that our current weather is something to go crazy over. Announcers are telling us to stay indoors, restrict physical activity (and yes some people are more at risk than others). But when a normal summer day becomes the big news, I really wonder if anybody(particularly radio announcers) ever remember previous summers where it gets really hot especially around July 1st. We have hot weather and it does last longer than 2 weeks a year. Is anybody out there genuinely surprised that it is now hot and yes, people actually have to work outdoors in the heat...like farmers, construction workers, messengers etc. Am I the only one who finds the media hype really annoying? Do we really need to be told to be safe? I mean there are people who despite all the gum flapping you hear who will go jogging when it is 35+ celsius. They don't listen anyway. So the rest of us have to put up with dire health warnings and one announcer this morning said that Environment Canada recommends you sit under a tree and drink lemondade. (No wonder our productivity is in the toilet...we're all supposed to be sitting around drinking lemonade because we were told to...although it would be nice.)

So there it is my summer rant. But wasn't it a great weekend? So how is everybody doing today?