Monday, September 30, 2002

The weekend was great, but so far Monday has proved to be a repeat of Friday.
Friday night, Melissa and I drove to Laval and visited Suzie with Liz. We were all sitting around the diningroom table. Suzie had put out a few light snacks. Keeping in mind that Suzie is Italian, there was a fruit platter, two kinds of baked chips, a big bowl of bbq mini rice cakes, olives and pizza. Also, she made biscotti for coffee :-) We were having a great time, when someone looked at a clock and realised that it was 2am! Saturday I slept in and then we got Colin's gift and went over and gave it to him. We got him a semi truck that holds hot wheels-sized cars. It came with 20, but there's also room for storing about 20 more. He seemed very delighted and unlike most 5 year olds, thanked us very much and said that they were very cool. Saturday night we met Dan and Libby for Indian food. They are moving down to New York tomorrow where Libby's starting work at a law firm next week. They found a place in the village-too cool!
Sunday was a lazy day. I went to the fabric store and found some nice suede-like material for a skirt. Fabric stores are very strange, I'll have to write a post about it sometime soon.
Today has mostly been wasted by more computer problems and people who don't seem to know what's going on. I also managed to give myself a huge heel blister from shoes that were fine last year. I'm hoping that with enough bandaids I'll be able to go workout tonight.

Friday, September 27, 2002

Do over
Get to work, wait for laptop. Do other work. Wait. Wait. Call IS guy. He's says that he's waiting for my admin to call him back. Go over to admin's office and watch her talk to her friend for a while, then intrude and ask her to call IS guy. IS guy calls me back and tells me that the machine is ready and I can come and pick it up. Admin calls me and tells me that the machine is ready and I can go and pick it up. I ask admin where the machine is (I forgot to ask IS guy). Call IS guy and get correct location. Fetch laptop. Find cables, power cords, network adapter, and bag. Lots of last minute fixes to get the laptop 'network-ready' (included stealing my boss' network card - shhhhh!). Rush down and beg hardware guys to reconfigure machine.
Get to gym, change clothes, realise that I don't have my shoes. How could I not notice I didn't have my shoes? Change back into street clothes and leave gym. Drive home to do aerobics with shoes. Get home. No house keys. Get in car and go and pick up husband downtown who has keys. Drive home. Make husband watch tv for an hour so I can do aerobics in peace.
After 7pm, the day finally fell into place. Somedays just require a re-synch.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Hey, anybody wanna hear me on the radio?

Tomorrow (Friday) on C'est la Vie my first "pak" (packaged item) will be broadcast across the country. Tune in to 88.5 FM at 11:30 am to hear the humourous musings of the biggest dork in the world.

If you can't listen then (and you can listen live through the website), you can download the show from the C'est la Vie website after it's put up.

I worked very hard on this, so I want to make sure someone listens, even though I'm nervous as hell.

Thanks guys.
Laughing and exercise sound like a very good mix. A magazine I get (realsimple) has a series of exercises for exercise balls if you'd like to see it.

And now for something completely different... Need to find the Antichrist? Google to the rescue! Just type in "go to hell" (just like that; don't forget the quotes).

Now that we know where he works, does he have voicemail?
Meandering writer
Ok, so it looks like I'll have that laptop sometime this morning. I got a really great support guy who walked over here and picked it up yesterday. This means that I'll have to go over to the other building today. Of course, I was supposed to be over there last week. What else could happen? I'm betting that they haven't turned on the network outlets at my temporary office even though I asked them to last week.
I made my weekly trip to the veggie store and made a cucumber salad when I got home and washed my lettuce, etc. I bought some more mangoes, so maybe there will be sorbet sometime soon.
I tried the exercise ball for actual exercise last night. It came with a short video with a general range of exercises. You wouldn't think that rolling around on a large inflatable ball would be that difficult. Several of the poses that the lady on the video suggested were nearly impossible to get into without a great deal of clutziness on my part and all the failed attempts that resulted in me rolling off the ball in a heap. I had to pause the tape several times, because I was laughing too hard and couldn't hear the instructor or the relaxing background music.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

You can't send me anywhere....
Remember the problems that I had when the company I work for sent me to the US for two weeks? Getting a laptop with the software that I need on it for two weeks while I work between two buildings is proving to be another pain in the neck. The admin is being a cow again and thwarting my attempt to work. The best was when she tried to talk me into replacing my hard-won pentium 3 desktop system for a clunky compaq pentium 2 laptop - you're dreaming lady! After talking to the manager, we may have something worked out. What a hassle!
Maybe I should just carry my desktop system back and forth, it might be easier.....

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Meetings are fun!
Ok, normally they aren't, but today, a certain person known as a pain to all, was summarily dimissed from a meeting I was attending. There was much rejoicing, I definitely give the meeting a 9.5 for excitement. The office politics are escalating.......
In other news, my godson turns the big 5 today. Where does the time go? Seems like only yesterday that he was a stripe on a white plastic stick...........

Monday, September 23, 2002

Bounce, bounce
Last week was super busy, but I'm back!
Had a fun weekend. Friday night I headed over to Jen's for a Colin Firth extravaganza! We watched all 5 hours of Pride and Prejudice and stuffed ourselves with George's souvlaki and cookies.
Saturday we got up quite late and wandered around. Late afternoon we jumped in the car and went to Club Price where I bought an exercise ball. I've wanted one for a while because they look like fun. It took us forever to blow up, exercise in itself! Saturday night we watched a bit of tv. We watched the first episode of a new series called Firefly that premiered last week (we taped it). It's a western set in outerspace, not bad. It's created by the same guy who did Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I doubt it will be that good. Sunday we also slept in and then Steve went to his card tournament and I went out and ran some errands. I ended up at the Bay downtown and had a nice lady at the Mac counter do my makeup. I looked pretty good, but I was dressed like a bum, so I looked a bit strange. Francois came home with Steve and we had bbq'd hamburgers and I did a bean salad. All in all a very good, uneventful weekend.
Today I am wondering where I am supposed to be. There's all kinds of office politics arising from the project that I'm supposed to be working on across the street. I just want everything settled so that I can work in peace. So far, I have only managed to go over to the other office for a couple of hours where I determined that no one had a clue what I was supposed to do, so I returned to my office where I await some answers.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Stir it up
Stir it up is doing something weird again. It's not displaying the number of posts correctly. Time delay perhaps?
Rent-a-writer
I just found out yesterday that I'm being loaned out to another department across the street for three weeks starting tomorrow. I have an office, but so far no computer or phone, so there's some rapid emails going back and forth trying to get me set up.
Do you think that my department asked for a deposit?
Who's the best husband?
Steve got home late last night from gaming and gave me the new Monsters Inc. DVD that just hit the stores. Kitty!!!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

I find this very funny....
Pregnancy for all
I was talking to a friend of mine recently who is planning to start a family soon. During the conversation, she said, "We're planning on getting pregnant soon, we may already be pregnant". First, I'm very happy for my friend and her husband and wish them all the best, but when did being pregnant become a tagteam event? I had no idea that a woman could hand off the little fetus so she could have a night out now and then. Seriously, I hear this turn of phrase a lot and it sounds wrong every time. Definition-wise, pregnant is defined as "containing unborn young within the body" (Merriam-Webster online). We don't point at a male and female animal and say "they are pregnant", why should we confuse the term with people? You can say "Sam and Betty are having a baby", in the sense that they will have a child at the end of the process, that seems correct. What's the deal? Do men have to be included in everything? Should I start saying things like, "Sorry Maggie, I can't come over and visit, we just got our period and we feel horrible" or "We just went in for a PAP test and a breast exam, everything checked out ok". On the same note, I don't think I ever want to say, "Wow, good thing we only have a prostate exam once a year".
We could always invent a new word that means "Sam and Betty are currently in the process of becoming parents, Betty is doing most of the actual assembly, while Sam is holding up his end by taking all the bitching and requests for strange foods in the middle of the night". Get to work!

Monday, September 16, 2002

Weekend update
Last week was crazy, but the project is now out and things are back to a grinding halt. I received special recognition for my work on the project, which I deserved completely :-)
I took off early on Friday and went to the gym and then went home and got ready to go out for Bill's birthday extravaganza. We all showed up at Carlos & Pepe's for margaritas and festivities. Bill got sloshed and a good time was had by all. We got her a CD and we made her personalized fridge magnets which she loved.
Saturday, we woke up late and eventually got the energy to go grocery shopping. Saturday night we headed over to Maggie and Andrew's for a theme Vietnamese dinner (we brought store-bought spring rolls) and watched Apocalypse Now afterwards. It was the redux version with close to an hour of extra footage. I saw it ages ago, and was a bit surprised by this second viewing. I don't like war movies, I never have. I realise that Apolcalypse Now is not strictly a war movie, I've read Heart of Darkness and I understand the underlying themes of the movie, but it is set around a war and I avoid those types of movies because of the graphic violence that they usually contain. I remember A.N. as being very violent, but as it turns out, it isn't graphic at all compared to recent war movies. It's scary how much more tolerant society in general has become of watching violence, and yet how few penises we see on the big screen....
Sunday we headed over to Club Price and bought a new portable phone because ours seems to have given up completely, even with the new battery we put in last year. I took it out of the box, put it together and plugged it in and set it to charge. It was only later when I looked at the instructions that I realised that I shouldn't have plugged it into the phone jack until it's finished charging. It's written in several places in the instructions. I think that they should have included a sticker on the phone. That's a tech writer for ya :-)

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Movie Pick

Okay. I don't know if anyone else is going to like it, but I just have to recommend a movie to y'all.

If you're a bit of a film buff, and particularly if you like cheesy Asian flicks, check out "Kung Pow: Enter the Fist".

It unbelievably stupid and freakin' brilliant, IMHO. And it's so hard to find a truly good comedy, I thought I 'd pass it on.

Go give it a try. I laughed my ass off.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Last year on the 11th I was at work (I would say naturally, but things have changed in my little world too). We dug up a tiny portable TV reserved for video presentations from the supply closet - no antenna, much less cable. In a building full of engineers, we ended up with a coat hanger and the fork from my lunch rigged up as a makeshift antenna. My boss had left on the 10th to attend an aerospace conference in Florida. He called me around 9:30 to check in, but only in the mundane, "so are ya goofin' off in my absence" sense. At the conference, with hundreds of men and women intimately involved in civilian and military aerospace, everyone was clueless. The phone call to me was the first he heard of it. Needless to say he was stuck in Florida rather longer than anticipated.

What struck me hardest at the time was the reaction from our VP. His family is Lebanese. He's very deliberately a man of the world, he drinks, he smokes, etc., etc. In other words, no religious fanatacism here. When I told him what was going on, he smiled. I nearly decked him. He said what many people, including me, have since said, that many, many people die in many, many places for many, many mindboggling outrageous reasons, and that the American reaction only illustrates one of the fundamental reasons the U.S. is so detested in so many places. But at the time I just couldn't deal with it. I told him that may be true, but this time my friend was there, dammit (Kuan, I am so very glad you're still here!)... I think he finally snapped when the towers came down, and he certainly never smiled about it again.

The cynical side of me is still outraged that Bush has managed to capitalize so thoroughly on the "tragic events of 9-11". Not to mention the havok he and his cronies have wrought on the English language (remember Rumsfeld's attempt to "incentivize" people?).

But this morning, in the car at 8:46, I was in tears, all the more so because every person in every car around me was too.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

I don't think it's trite, Rebecca. If there is one bittersweet legacy to that devastating day, I think it is an appreciation for the here and now. Many of us are a bit less like sleepwalkers as we go about our daily lives. I suspect the shockwave has rippled through our lives and our consciousness in scores of ways that we're not even fully aware of.

I listened to the special programming on the CBC today in memory of 9/11 but admit I had to turn it off. It was making me too blue. My way of remembering all those lives so cruelly erased will be flying a kite with my daughter at her school picnic again this Friday. Held a few days after Sept. 11 last year, the picnic was the only thing that brought me solace after two days on an emotional rollercoaster. Flying a kite with Camille and her friends was so simple and so peaceful that it felt as if the jagged hole inside me was almost filled. And that's what I'm trying to remember about that time, rather than the palpable fear and paranoia around me on that day.
I won't go into what I was doing, etc, except to say that I saw everything live on TV, right from the first cut into regular programming after the first plane.

How it changed my life: I had just moved three days before into our house. On the Friday after the 11th, I had a terrible panic attack in my bed and got up and talked to my husband about it for about two hours. I had cried and had all kinds of intimations of mortality throughout the week, but that Friday night I really felt like this might be the beginning of the end, and that we would soon know what it was like to live in fear and violence, like so many people in the world.

What I think I've taken away from that day is a new certainty that anything can happen, at any time. Life can turn on a dime and become horrible, and more often, beautiful without any warning. Last night I saw a journalist who'd covered the scene in NY that day and he said, basically: "I never thought I'd see that, and I don't think I'll ever see anything that bad again." All I could think was, "How can you be so naive? Of course we will see that bad, and worse, in our lifetimes." But I don't feel morbid or despairing about it. There's nothing you can do about it but live your life every day and remember what's really important. Sounds trite, I know, but what else is there?


Memories of the 11th

I remember get a call from my husband who was in California at the time. He had flown to LA on the 10th. He had just gotten up and was wondering what on earth was going on. My brother-in-law was on his way to New York City that morning (by car) for business in the financial district. They got turned around somewhere just outside New York and were told to go back, that the WTC was gone and therefore wouldn't be needing the artwork that they were delivering to a client there. My sister-in-law was frantic wondering where her brothers were. By the end of the day everyone was accounted for.

Meanwhile, in Toronto, all our executives had assembled in the board room (for those of you who don't know, I work in the Financial Services sector) to watch events unfold on TV. My boss was there as well with a stack of files a mile high. She spent the day as she usually does multi-tasking. Watching what was going on and plaguing here colleagues with follow-up questions on the material in her stack of files. (Never one to miss an opportunity to catch up on work.) Our senior management sat there watching TV in complete horror while she apparently looked really irritated the whole time and was actually quite snarky to her subordinates the rest of the day and as it turned out for the rest of the week. (I didn't know at that point that her mother's cancer was in the terminal phase.)

The next day, after I had submitted a long awaited business report, (which she didn't at all like in spite of the tremendous work I had put into it), we had a major row which made me seriously wonder about my future here. The following week I went on holiday knowing that the die was cast, that I would be one of those selected to leave in March 2003.

So there it is, for what it's worth, how 9/11 changed my life.
It's around this time last year when one of the guys I used to work with called the office to tell us the news (he was in New York for business). So sad. I'm taking a moment to admire our lovely Montreal skyline.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

The service seems to be down or even gone. Looks like we'll have to find another one! I'll see what I can do after work tonight.
I don't see Stir It Up, either. I noticed it yesterday but thought my computer was acting funny from low memory. Can you wave your magic wand and make it reappear, our Lady of the Rings?
What happened to "stir it up'?

I was just having a brief peak and I don't see any stir it up? Am I the only one?

Monday, September 09, 2002

Strip off that sweater baby!
It's back to the shorts and tank tops, we have ourselves a heat wave until Thursday. According to Environment Canada, we're supposed to get up to 34C today, that's HOT! I dearly miss my sweaters too, and my jeans, and long-sleeved shirts, and, well, clothing in general. If I was at home, I'd probably be wearing a wet towel. As it stands, I'm freezing in my office as usual.
We had a great weekend. We went up to teh townies for my mom's birthday and got to see the folks and my grandmother, aunt and cousin. We had a nice lunch and cake. The folks brought us back some knick-knacks from Cape Breton and got us a lovely clock, barometer, thermometer thingie that looks like a porthole for our anniversary. We have to reset the readings though because it was saying that it was much cooler in our hallway than it actually was yesterday. Yesterday we did a tiny but of cleaning and laundry and had a fun evening with Rhett and Debbie at a Thai restaurant downtown. Work's really super busy until Thursday, then we'll see what happens!

Friday, September 06, 2002

The best days of summer are in the fall
Yet another heavenly day of deep blue sky and warm sunshine! Add in the cool nights under a warm duvet, and you have all the fun of summer without the sweltering heat. Is anybody else out there enjoying the sunshine?
And speaking of creepy...
The movie One Hour Photo is out. Although the site is hard to figure out, it does a good job of conveying the creepy atmosphere of the movie and the sterile world of Robin Williams' repressed character. I won't be able to pick up my family pics again without wondering a little about the people who develop them, though... Can't wait to see the movie!

Thursday, September 05, 2002

I'm not the only one!
It's truly creepy the way that actor Jeffrey Tambor and that Phil guy from Opra look so much alike. For a long time I thought they were the same person and could never figure out why anyone would get counselling from an actor. I also discovered that Jeffrey Tambor played a character called Dr. Phil..... coincidence?
What a summer
Okay, aside from the being unemployed part...
Andrew and I went to the Supertramp concert at the Molson Centre last night. It was a great show! For years I've heard Montreal DJs talk about how our hip, with-it city was the first place to really embrace Supertramp, and for years I've thought this was essentially patting ourselves on the back. But John Helliwell made a point of saying how much the group loves Montreal, and how over the years we've always been a great place to play, and that we really were the first place to "get" their music. What an incredibly talented group! Helliwell plays three different saxes, as well as an assortment of wind instruments, Rick Davies is, as always, an amazing pianist, and Mark Hart, who has replaced Roger Hodgson, is a good singer, great keyboardist, and fantastic songwriter. Bob Siebenberg, the original drummer, is still banging away - and now his son, Jesse, is also doing percussion. Imagine growing up surrounded by these guys, and then, while your childhood friends are starting their careers in business or whatever, you go into the family business of being a rock musician!
Earlier this summer we saw Santana, and in January we're off to see the Stones. And I thought I was born too late to see these bands!
Nonetheless, the highlight of my summer has to be:
Two weekends ago, while staying at the family cottage in Long Sault, near Cornwall, Ontario, I stopped in at the LCBO (Ontario's version of the SAQ, colloquially known as the beer store). I picked up a couple of imported beers for Andrew and a pack of four El Quila. Got to the cash, and the cashier asked me for I.D.!!!! I got carded! I guess I can put off the face lift for a couple of years.
As a friend said, after that, who needs the booze?
Ghosts with shopping carts
I saw a smarmy boss that I worked for about 15 years ago at the supermarket last night. This guy came into the company that I was working for and got rid of everyone that he didn't like and eventually, one of those people was me (he fired my VP, so everyone working under him went as well). This man was responsible for turning me into the jaded, untrusting, and pesimistic employee that I am today. He taught me that know matter how well you do your job, or how happy you are to do it, someone can always just come in and fire you for no good reason. He burst my good-employee-work-ethic-give-100%-like-your-folks-taught-you bubble. Fortunately, he was as stupid as he was arrogant and made a mistake on my leaving papers that allowed me to sue the company for unjust dismissal and win. Didn't bring back happy-worker Dina though.
I didn't walk over and talk to him, he probably wouldn't have remembered me, and it's always embarassing when an arch-nemesis doesn't remember you.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

All the time
Am I the only one out there that's absolutely tired of the catch-phrase, "24-7"? I hoped it would die out, but I keep hearing normal people using it in conversation and it makes me nuts. Damn reality tv shows and email, it's all their fault. How much more abbreviated do you think language will get? Binary? Any catch phrases that you can live without hearing ever again?

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Livid
Steve just called and to tell me that he went down to the basement to get something out of our locked storage area and found that the teenage girls and their friends had taken the hinges off the door and were apparently going through our junk and watching our video tapes. Let's not even think about the stuff that they've taken......
Mad? You bet! Good thing I brought my bike upstairs a couple months ago.......
One year, wheeee!
We had a great anniversary long weekend. We went to two parties, relaxed, ate wedding cake and had a great mexican meal in Old Montreal. Steve gave me a Zen Alarm Clock, and I got him and Playstation 2 and watched him play Spiderman while I napped on the sofa. Life is good!
Great Weekend

This has to have been one of the best Labor Day Weekends I have ever spent. On Friday I thought I was going to collapse from exhaustion and I felt overwhelmed at all the things I had to get done before we took off on Saturday. All I wanted to do was crawl into a hole and sleep all weekend.

However, Friday went better than I could have hoped. My mother-in-law spent the afternoon at my place happily looking after her grandson (our nephew) and with my two dogs and my sister-in-law's two dogs while my husband and his sister went golfing. I went off to Agility (dog class) at 6:30 and had a great class. We got back at around 8:30 and my husband had delayed dinner for my return even though I told him to go ahead without me. Anyway, he had gone out and got some great steaks and wine and by this time we were all pretty hungry (dogs too.) He made the entire dinner and my mother-in-law cleaned up. Neither my sister-in-law nor I had to do anything much except look decorative....(sort of).

The evening was pleasant and everyone stayed over until Saturday morning. We had a good visit and the in-laws cleared out Saturday morning.

So after they left, we got our gear together and headed down Highway 15 to New York State around noon. Since we anticpated a long wait at the border, we detoured and crossed at Hemmingford which turned out to be very pleasant and faster. Once in the U.S. we stayed on the secondary roads until Plattsburg whereupon we switched over to the I-State 87. As a side note, how many of you know that the original intention of the U.S. interstate road system was built as part of its overall defense strategy? If you look at where the roads are placed, they all go through towns and cities where there is/was a military presence. That has changed since the end of the Cold War. (But I digress).

Anyway, we drove down as far as Elizabethtown and headed toward Keene Valley. The plan was to back pack in 5 miles to the Giant Mountain Lean-To before dark. We started our hike at about 2:30 and after several water breaks and chit chats with other hikers, we reached the Lean-To at around 6 p.m, set up our tent and then we settled in for the evening. Dinner was a vegetarian Tandoori dish which was surprising good. It was dark by about 7:45 so we hung out and looked at the stars and turned in early.

The next morning we woke up earlyish, around 7:30, had breakfast (Mulligan stew) and set our sights on the big climb.We left all our gear at the Lean-To except for bringing along our day bags which had some food and water for the morning. Giant Mountain is well named as its peak is at 4600 feet and we had 2000 feet to climb in a space of 1.2 miles. Yes, it is quite strenuous and more so when you have to lift up two dogs (about 30 pounds each) one at a time on the steeper/higher faces. (The dogs loved it by the way.) We managed to reach the summit in 45 minutes whereupon we enjoyed a break and some energy bars. The view was fabulous and you couldn't even hear the highway.

We hung out, took a break and then went back down. The way back was a lot harder on the legs but we got back to our tent in about 40 minutes whereupon we collapsed and had a short snooze before packing up and heading back the way we had come the day before. We left around 1:00 p.m. and figured we would need at least 3 hours to walk out since we were carrying a lot of gear and it would therefore be as slow as the day before.

However, the hike out took us 2 hours and 57 minutes this time and at the end of it we were pretty tired. The dogs couldn't wait to get into the car and have a snooze. We, on the other hand couldn't wait to get to our motel that we'd booked to have a shower and a rest before dinner. The motel was in Wilmington, about a 20 minute drive away. Just as a note to other dog owners, Wilmington boasts a lot of motels (most in fact) that take pets no problem. The motel we stayed at was very nice, clean and quiet.

There is something very satisfying coming back into civilization after a trek like that. First there is no guilt about what and how much you eat. Second, it is a really satisfying experience because the tiredness you feel is "the good kind". Third, we treated ourselves to a nice dinner at a restaurant called the Hungry Trout and yes, that is the specialty. In fact the restaurant is right on a stream and they catch their own so it doesn't get much fresher. Ralph had smoked trout and I had the trout marnier (pan fried with orange sauce).

We staggered out of the restaurant and managed to drive back to our motel to collapse for the rest of the evening.

Yesterday we woke up around 8:30 feeling stiff and sore, so we compensated with a lovely leisurely breakfast of blueberry pancakes and sausages followed by a nice leisurely drive home.

My legs are still sore but all in all I am rested and feeling peppy.

Monday, September 02, 2002

HAPPY 1ST ANNIVERSARY, DINA AND STEVE!!!!

One down, a whole lifetime to go....
Good luck and continued love and happiness.