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Showing posts from 2005

Let's see...

Got the shelf up, after much trial and patience. Thank goodness M's dad works close by and had a hacksaw to borrow. M seems to like the shelf. I have proved my handiwork capabilities (insert manly grunt here). It's even surprisingly level. Now I have to get the shelf that was in that closet installed in the basement bedroom closet. And I still have doors to hang. And a toychest to finish... and....

It's a good thing I love my girlfriend, otherwise I might think she's just using me for home improvement and repairs! ;-)

Last night I had a blast with T-L/Van and M at a Sea Dogs game (ice hockey). T-L and Van were nice enough to answer my many questions about hockey, and the local team won, so all was good. Oh, and we went to Vito's prior-- man I like their lasagna! Yum!

Tonight is a retirement party (brief appearance), dinner with my girl at Suwanna, and then the late show at the movies (The Producers). Friday is, I think, mostly free again. Then the New Years party on …

Arthritis

The only negative I have experienced while up here is a flare-up of my arthritis in, of all places, my thumbs. First my left thumb became virtually unusable due to swelling and pain, and then my right thumb started up right as the left one started to heal. Right now, my left thumb is mostly fine, but my right thumb is swollen, hurts really bad, and I can't use it hardly at all.

Not being able to use your thumbs really shows you why human beings climbed up the ladder as dominant species on this planet. There are so many simple things you can't do when you can't use or put any pressure on your opposable thumbs.

Hopefully the right will heal as quickly as the left. I've got more chores that need doing!

;-)

Update - Boxing Day (Dec 26)

Right thumb starting to come around. I have about 50% usage of it and it seems to be getting better hourly. Wahoo!

It can be a bit frustrating not to be able to trust your body at times. At least I have an understanding girlfriend, who realizes I&…

Snow! Part Deux and Xmas Morning

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Apparently the snow we had two days ago was not "good enough" for me to play in or make a snowman. In CA, we cannot be as picky about the snow we have, and must make due with whatever falls to the ground before it melts.

Here in Canada, like the Eskimos, they have many different types of snows. The snow two days ago was too light and didn't pack well. Yesterday's snow, however, was wetter and better to pack.

So I finally got released to play in the snow!! I had to beg and cajole, but M finally bundled me up in my warm clothes, found me a pair of snow pants that fit, and out we went.

Glorious!

We made a snowman that was about 4 feet tall, with a big nose and three mohawks for hair.



We then made snow angels in the backyard, went for a walk up to the school at the top of the hill, and then I shoveled snow off the back porch and front walk. One thing I did learn, walking, playing, and shoveling snow is tiring.

But what fun! *happy dance

Her brother came over and we then went t…

Snow!

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This is what M's Front and back yards looked like yesterday:


(sorry, the one got rotated and doesn't want to rotate back)

This is what M's front and back yards look like at 9am this morning:





The Weather Channel says 5 cm of accumulation today.

You can't imagine the smile on my face seeing real snow and real snow fall! Remind me of this glee in a few days when I blog about how miserably cold and wet I am.

Couch... from Hell!

I have never been a napper. Even as a small child, when the kindergarten or first grade teachers would schedule a nap, I didn't nap. I sat or laid quietly, or read, or played until the others were done. The only time in my life I have ever napped is when sick.

M has a couch. This couch, or demon spawn, whatever, has this weird pull on me. Tuesday, after arriving and M going back to work, I sat on the couch. Next thing I knew, she was arriving home. Then Wednesday, I sat down there to wait for her to come home because I knew we were heading off to her father's for dinner... and she startled me awake when she opened the door!

Now, granted, both days I was pretty tired from the traveling and the getting used to the time change. Yesterday I also had a pretty bad headache.

Today, however, I feel well-rested, in full grasp of all my faculties, healthy and happy. I decided I was done with my chores for the day and that I would go out and either read a little or watch some TV. I sat down…

Dehydration and Slave Labor!

Ok, the thing I'm having some trouble with is the dehydration. I'm in a colder place, I'm staying indoors for the most part, and yet I am even more dehydrated than in the desert, where I am habitually dehydrated. What gives?

I recognize that the fire/stove is producing a different kind of heat than I am used to and is very drying, but I spend most of my time upstairs.

It got so bad this morning that shortly after M left for work, I got a nose bleed! Sheesh. Glad it cleared up before her dad stopped by-- he might have thought I was being abused! ;-)

Anyway, note to self: drink a LOT more liquids.

Seem to be making decent headway with my Honey-do list. As I am on vacation and don't want to rush through anything, I am not hitting it as hard as I could, spending some time reading, watching TV, and just relaxing between chores. M seems happy with the quantity and quality of work so far, so I guess I'm pacing myself well. Then again, maybe she's chafing to add even more…

Monster

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Since I don't drink coffee at all, let alone Starbucks, and I know of no corn fields around which I can lurk, I think the results are somewhat suspect. But good for a laugh.

Your Monster Profile
Twisted Hunter

You Feast On: Starbucks

You Lurk Around In: Corn Fields

You Especially Like to Torment: CrybabiesWhat's Your Monster Name?

Made it...

I am on the cold, ice-covered ground. I am at M's house and unpacked.

The first flight wound up being ok, all things considered (I was flying, after all!). We were pretty late arriving, though, landing at 6:49 am when we were scheduled to land at 6:11. Had some people's luggage make the flight without the people. So off their luggage had to go! My just-over-an-hour-to-clear-customs-and-make-my-connection had turned into about 30 minutes of frantic scurrying. However, being the "old pro" at it by now (yeah, right!) I actually helped a few people make it to the right area to take the tram to Terminal 1 (no one believes you have to go that far, and the wall through which you must walk to reach security looks like a dead end with a door in it). I was late enough that they weren't sure they would get my bags with me on the plane (but they did).

I also experienced my first blast of the Great White North as I stepped out of Terminal 2 to take the shuttle and slammed right…

Waiting...

I'm all packed, just waiting for my ride to get here so we can head off to LAX.

Feel a bit better this time, as I've done it before. But still hate flying.

May not update this much while I'm gone, so Happy Christmas and New Year.

Idle Thoughts for a Friday

1. Will this day never end?

2. This has been the longest week on record.

3. Normally I would be starting my Xmas shopping this weekend. Instead of being primarily done with just a couple of nicknacks left to get.

4. I wish we had bowled on Wednesday rather than doing a makeup tomorrow-- I may need those three hours!

5. The guy in the parking lot of Albertsons at lunch has to know everyone thinks he's gay. You can't wear an open, plaid, flannel shirt over a t-shirt, with cut-off jeans shorts (that are way too short), and steel-toed work boots with white socks without having everyone's "gay" stereotype alert go off. From the looks of others in that parking lot, I wasn't the only one thinking that.

6. Should have sold my company stock two months ago, when it was worth $4k more than it is now. *sigh

7. It is going to be so freaking cold in Canada-- colder than any cold I've ever been in.

8. I hope M realizes I'm trying. This is not my favorite time of year (und…

Candy Cane Tootsie Pops

Renee, my boss, brought in a bag of Candy Cane Tootsie Pops. They are peppermint candy cane flavored/textured coating surrounding the usual Tootsie Roll center of all Tootsie Pops. I was hesitant to try them, at first, but her coaxing and my sweet tooth won out and I had one.

I am now seriously considering buying her a new bag of them before the Holiday treat is gone because I have had so many of them! The mixture of the mint and the chocolate is quite tasty. Plus, the peppermint flavor just sort of makes me happy.

If you like mint and Tootsie Rolls (not everyone likes the chocolate flavor of a Tootsie Roll), I recommend you seek out a bag of these treats and try one.

Separation of Church and State

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Above is the entire First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. That’s it, folks. I have emphasized the part dealing with the concept of “separation of church and state” because, once again during this very Christian time of the year, we are hearing from Christian groups who just simply don’t get the separation of church and state issue and are trying to make it into something it isn’t.

In simple layman’s terms, the government cannot start or favor a religion and they cannot stop you from practicing any religion you want (unless that religion infringes on other rights granted in the Constitution or Bill of Rights). The framers of the Constitution did this because America was primarily found…

The Chronicles of Narnia

‘The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe’ is one of my all-time favorite novels. I have a tradition of reading it before Christmas every year, with a bowl of ice cream and preferably in front of a warm fire. Where many of my friends looked to the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, I was a Narnia fan.

To say I was nervous about a live-action movie being made of this book is an understatement.

I loved it.

There were some things I would have done very differently, had I been in charge. But I think that is true of any fan of any book being made into a movie. In this case, like in Lord of the Rings, the movie makers felt they needed to change things to speed up the storytelling in certain areas, yet overly extended other scenes to lend more drama to the story. However, they managed to maintain the feeling and the intent of the story throughout. And some of the changes felt like ones made for more sophisticated audiences; as though the filmmakers felt that children today would be able to understa…

New Drug

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I don't know who came up with this idea, but I think they should get Merck started on it right away!

Of course, I'm sure some people would say that the drug already exists, in various forms.

USPS

I have been a little irritated with the US Postal Service this past week. They claim they tried to deliver a package to me at midnight on December 1, which simply isn’t true. They actually made the first attempt to deliver the package on the 6th during the day. I left a note asking them to deliver it to the front office of the apartment on Wednesday. I got a note back saying they could not because the office was closed—which just isn’t true. There is supposed to always be someone in the office for just this sort of thing. Unless the PO was trying to deliver the package after 6:30 pm, there was someone there.

Anyway, this package contains the two gifts I got for my group’s secret santa party and gift exchange, so I really need the loot. I went online and was able to find a Redelivery option on the USPS site. I put in the tracking number, my address and other info, and selected Saturday as my redelivery date.

How cool is that?

Now, rather than having to find the Post Office to which this p…

Decisions, Decisions

“Give ‘Em Hell” Harry Truman knew that a President has to make a decision and move forward. He made one of the most monumental decisions ever made by anyone—dropping nuclear weapons on Japan. He felt that the “shock and awe” of that much power released on two cities in a short period of time would devastate the seemingly implacable will of the Japanese to continue the World War even as their allies fell around them. He felt that those bombs would actually save many more lives, both Japanese and American, which would otherwise be lost in a needless invasion of the Japanese homeland. He was certain that the Japanese, a proud people, would fight the Americans on every street corner and even women and children would die to protect their leader.

He had many times when he questioned that decision later in life. It is a devastating thing to issue an order to kill thousands of people in two nuclear fireballs. Being a human being, and a very rational and intelligent man, I am certain that, if a…

Bald Men, Unite!

Already this week, and it is only Wednesday, remember, I have had three separate incidences of people making a comment about my “follicly challenged” head. Now, I know I’m balding, I usually shave my head so that it is truly bald, and I have a good sense of humor about these things, but a few things stood out to me about these three incidents:The people who made the comments barely know me and have no idea how I will receive such comments. I have grown my hair some, enough that it is visible all over my head (well, where I have hair). At the moment I am definitely not “bald.”Why is it still alright to make off the cuff remarks to bald men about something over which they have little to no control?I am no prude. And I am anything but Politically Correct. I will not complain about their comments and I will give back as good as I get most days, as I did in each of these situations. It just seems strange to me that people I hardly know would feel it is perfectly okay to make a comment abou…

Fear The Future

In my job, I have direct accountability. If I don’t do a good job, if I don’t make a deadline, if I have a poor or sour disposition, my boss and the HR department get involved and the repercussions can be as mild as an informal talking to or as severe as being fired and having an official demarcation entered into my work history for that company and could follow me to the next job when that company’s HR department calls for a background check.

I’ve only had three “Talking to’s” in my career. First, at XXXXXXX’s Photography where the owner wasn’t sure I was “invested” in the company. When I explained that I didn’t feel he was invested in me or cared what my opinions were, he agreed and our relationship improved.

At XXX, I got into an argument with my boss at the time, David, that ended up with a snotty email from me and a reprisal email from him that had the words “and possible termination” in it as a threat. I had already decided to leave at that point, since that man was (and still is)…

Life, or Something Like It

The linked article is about Lorenzo Neal, a fullback in the NFL. I was struck by the simplicity of this man. He understands what it takes to do his job, strives to be the best there is at that position, and seems to understand that he is blessed to do what he does.

I am often struck by people who just seem to "fit" into their lives. So many of us are struggling against something-- our work, our personal time, the clock, those significant in our lives. Whenever I see someone who just sort of "gets it," I take a moment. Most often, these characters are fictional (for example, Doc "Moonlight" Graham, from Field of Dreams-- "If I hadn't been a doctor. Ah, that would be the tragedy."). But occasionally I stumble on an article that shows that there are some people who can "fit" in the real world.

It strikes me that those who seek out the limelight, need to make the statement, are the ones who have something missing in their lives. A Terr…

Things I have been wondering lately

Why is a Milky Way bar sold as a Mars bar in Canada? Are there other versions of a Milky Way sold to other countries?
Why do they make you take your laptop out of the case and then x-ray it at the airport?
Why does the President think Americans are so stupid as to still believe his lies? Isn’t his huge drop in the polls indicting we are getting wise to him? (don’t actually answer that—I know we’re stupid)
Why are stores already putting up Christmas decorations when it is not even Thanksgiving yet? We’ve skipped Thanksgiving and are having Halloween followed by Christmas this year.
Why does Matt Millen still have a job in Detroit? He has the worst record of any GM in the league during his tenure.
When will Susan Cooper’s incredible series, or at least the first book, Over Sea, Under Stone, but turned into a live-action movie? Incredible tale, and the first book is perfect for the “tween” audience.
If copper wires have a hard limit of 9600 baud, then how do DSL and higher-speed modems work? A…

Bowling Update (11/16/05)

Well, as a team we bowled well, with Tai getting two 160 games and Arvin coming alive in the middle game with a 170 game and finished strong in the 150s. I managed a 248, my second highest score ever (and only my second 240 ever), and also managed back to back 600 series for the first time in league play. Jean was absent, and we couldn’t find a substitute for her, so we had to use a blind score.

But -- (and you could feel that coming) -- we went against a team that bowled out of their minds. In the first game, every member of the team bowled about 30 pins above their average. They cruised in the second, and we only just managed to beat them in the third game. We lost total pins by 50.

Oh, and we had an 84 pin handicap lead on the team that they very easily made up every game.

So, we went 1-3 tonight. At worst, we should be tied for first place in the league.

Still, I’m proud of how our team is doing. Tai got down on himself a bit in the second game, when he threw a gutter ball and then 4 …

Is This Maturity?

I left to see M on Thursday, September 15. Because of this, I did not buy comic books that day (Thursday is my usual comic book day). When I returned from Tucson, I had a lot going on and did not buy comics that week, either (September 22).

I fully expected to jump back on my comic buying the following week (September 29). It would be easy to catch up on the two weeks I missed, get back into the swing of things, and continue the neverending soap opera that is the world of comic book heroes.

But I did not.

It is now November 16, and I look at the calendar and realize that tomorrow is “comic book day” and, instead, I have scheduled an evening of online game time with two friends, for which they would like me to get home as promptly as I can.

For those not initiated into the world of comic books, the companies publish most comic books monthly. They stagger the release of their titles so that something is released every week. So, for example, one week I might pick up Iron Man, Hulk, Batman, J…

Fog

I can understand why, throughout history, people thought of fog as an evil thing with a mind of its own. Fog has its own rules that sometimes seem to contradict physics and our knowledge of the natural world.

Irvine has a few areas where the fog creeps in on its little cat feet and then stays well after when it should be slinking back out to sea. Both mornings this week, driving into work at a little after 8 am, I ran through a fog bank so thick that I could not see more than about 100-200 feet ahead. The only reason I could see that far is because the sun was already up, the temperature was already heading toward 70, and the fog was fighting a losing battle against dehydration.

I have traveled the same route as early as 6 am. The early fog can be so thick you cannot see the white dashed line separating your lane from the lane right next to yours. I have experience it so thick in this area that I was stopped at an intersection and could only just make out the stop light across from me. …

One Week

I've been home from visiting her for a week-- one week!-- and it feels like a month. I miss her.

I can honestly say I've never felt like this before. It seems like forever until December 20th, when I return to her.

How hard is it going to be after Christmas? Two full weeks together this time. And I won't need to work (even if she does).

This is hard.


...


She's worth it.

Bowling Update (11/9/05)

Well, our team is doing well. We are now 27-13 on the season and in first place by at least 2 games (depending on how the other teams did this week).

Tonight we went 4-0 primarily on Tai, Arvin, and Jean's bowling well. Everyone was over their average in at least 2 of the 3 games we played. Arvin also had a particular chance to shine as our Anchor by throwing well enough in the 10th frame to secure a victory (by 3 pins!) in the first game. And Jean, normally a 110-120 bowler, had two games above 150. With her 80 pin handicap, that turns into a nice gain!

My own bowling was pretty good, too. I got my first 600 series (scratch) of the season by going 209, 213, 184. I'm disappointed in the 184, as I left a 10 pin on the first throw of the 10th frame and was unable to convert it. I used to be Mr. Automatic on 10 pins, and lately I'm less than 50% on picking them up. Need to practice more specifically on those. Of course, that throw was also a very strong strike ball; not sure wh…

My One New Thing for Today

During my visit to Canada, I got a straight-razor head shave. It was fabulous! Someone else shaving your head feels great, and I look forward to going back.

During the shave, I chatted a bit with Dom, the man performing the service. He recommended that I get a bottle of American Crew oil to help me with my own head shaving. He explained that it was designed to be put on the head first, before the shaving foam, to help the razor glide over the head.

This morning, while in the shower, I thought of that bit of advice as I was preparing to shave my head with my typical safety razor (currently a Gillette Mach3). As I keep some baby oil in the shower, I thought I would try that first, and then apply the shaving cream following Dom’s advice.

Wow! The difference in the shave I managed to give myself is incredible. Fewer nicks and cuts, closer shave, and it took much less time than usual.

So, here’s a thank you to Dom. He certainly didn’t need to impart to me that bit of vital knowledge, but it wi…

Update 5b

M succinctly summarized our last day and the morning I left. All I can add is that there was equal emotion from my side of things and that the first plane flight became a "red-eye" due to the emotions I was feeling.

I'm not sure what happened, but the first flight landed at about the time that my connecting flight was supposed to start boarding... so the clock was ticking. Having never been through Montreal, I was a little concerned with finding my way and I found fewer happy, helpful Canadians to help point the way. Finally found the very small, dank room in which I needed to pick up my luggage prior to customs, then had to wait quite awhile for that. It was shortly after exiting here with all my luggage that I heard the first page over the loudspeakers looking for me (my last name often gets pronounced like a certain wine). I made it to the front of the customs line, declared what I needed to, and then moved on to the huge line for the metal detectors and searches.

This …

Update 5a

First flight: Ok, but ran a little slow.

Customs: Ok, but ran a little slow. I was 3rd to last to board the plane out of Montreal and actually was paged over the intercom. At least the woman with the metal detector wand was gentle. I expected to see some KY and gloves come out!

Second flight: BUMPY! But otherwise ok.

Drive home: Smooth. Judith was there on time and got me home safe and sound.


Now, to unwind, unpack, catch up, and put my kitty cat, who is "hiding" under the covers to my bed.

I'll provide a more detailed description when I'm more mentally stable and able to. Let me sum it up this way: I have never been so simultaneous happy to be home and sad to have left where I was before. I cannot wait to go back.

Update 4

Dinner with Family

I think it went well. There was some obvious tension at first, as Dad and Brother both got comfortable with me, and I with them. Initially they discussed their work, as Brother works for Dad. But soon some topics came up in which I could state an opinion and start getting into the conversations.

Dinner was great, even if Dad was constantly downgrading his cooking skills. He cooks a mean prime rib, folks. I also met Step-sister (Dad is remarried) at dinner.

During dinner, the awkward pauses seemed to grow a little less frequent and the conversations seemed to veer into more territories that everyone could share. I soon was commenting on how incredible Dad’s house was and he offered me a tour of the place. It is a wonderful home; 4500 square feet of living space when you include the completely finished “basement” areas (really more of just a lower level). Hardwoods everywhere, which you know I like! There are many picture windows that overlook the Saint John River (whic…

Update 3

Digression about work:
It is hard to get used to working from home from so far away. When I'm home sick, or waiting for a package, or whatever, it is different. You know you're going to be back in the office shortly. You know that you can go in if all hell breaks loose.

Renee, my boss, has been having a hell of a time with me out. Everyone is going to her, of course, even though my Out of Office note mentions that I am actually working from my present location. But, as always, everyone wants it NOW, so they go to her for immediate assistance. Also, while I am getting stuff done, it isn't the same. I can't just get up and walk to the office and talk with the right person.

Of course, this current set up isn't exactly an "at-home office" situation. M has a comfortable new desk, a nice new chair, and everything else I could want handy. However, I understand that most of the 'work from home' people at my company have dedicated phone lines and internet. Mo…

Update 2

Today was Halloween, M's favorite (nonreligious) holiday. The house was decorated, the pumpkins were carved, and the candy was purchased and sorted.

It was a lazy day, spent around the house doing odd chores and just relaxing a bit. I made French Toast, eggs, and back bacon for breakfast. I then finished the cleaning up after the pumpkin carving event while M ran some errands around the town.

Also got to light the stove for the first time this season... anyone who knows me knows how much I enjoy making fire! Fire, heh he-heh heh. I think M may have become a little frightened at that moment. ;-)

Anyway, as it was a really nice day out, M got steaks for dinner and she made the salad while I grilled. She's got a nice grill, and it burns hotter than mine so I overcooked slightly, but it was still yummy.

Finally, we sat outside with the pumpkins lit and our fleece and jackets on, under blankets, and doled out candy. Had about 70 children show up total... not bad.

Now we're off to w…

Vacation Report (10/30/05)

The first flight was a fun-filled trip involving a talkative pilot (on a red-eye) and a lot of turbulence. Not fun. I only cat-napped at best, so was pretty tired deplaning in Toronto-- int 1 degree (celsius) temperatures.

Toronto's airport was interesting and I had to wait about 30 minutes to clear customs, then get my baggage, recheck my baggage, and then get on the pimped shuttle to go the other terminal. It was hectic, never having done that before, but everyone was very helpful and polite.

The second leg was a bit better; the flight was smooth and the pilot kept to himself. The plan was pretty small so that, at my size, I was fairly cramped in my seat. I did make the man next to me smile when I glanced out the window and said, "It's so greeen!"

Desert rat, born and raised.

M met me at the Saint John airport with jacket in-hand. Most of my worries and cares from the flight sloughed away right then and there! We collected my bag and drove to her home.

I got the grand t…

Nervous Now

Okay, I admit it... I'm nervous now. Butterflies are a-flapping away in my gut and I'm totally distracted.

Not nervous about M; she's the best thing that has happened to me in a long, long time. That will be fine. Only slightly nervous about meeting friends. I've talked to many of them via IM and through emails and they all seem like great people. A bit more nervous about meeting family. Hey, it's family!

But I'm really, really nervous about the traveling.

I know in my head that everything will be okay. That hundreds of flights have no trouble whatsoever. That thousands of people fly every single day. But that doesn't stop my heart from skipping a beat every now and then.

As my mom always says, "This too shall pass." And it will, and then I'll be in Canada. With M.

Holding onto that thought.