31 May 2005

War almost over -- really!

from CNN.com:

"The vice president said he expected the war would end during President Bush's second term, which ends in 2009."

WTF!? "Major combat operations" were declared over on May 1, 2003. Now two years (and a whole lot of death/injuries) later, and they think the war may take another 4 years? That seems pretty damned inefficient.

[Here's a useful timeline of the Iraq war.]

30 May 2005

Forgotten Fun?

Oh, wow. Along with the "Found_Objects" group on Livejournal, I found "Buried_in_green" which included a link to this site (which alas, I cannot read) that shows some amazing photos of
an abandoned amusement park, now overgrown and rusted. I love this stuff!

Once there were parking lots

Now it's a peaceful oasis

You got it, you got it

This was a Pizza Hut

Now it's all covered with daisies

-- Talking Heads "Nothing But Flowers"

No magic left here....

When the kiddo and I were combing the beach last week we found a non-so-magic carpet washed up at low tide. I considered dragging it home to clean it but dismissed that as a terribly stupid plan. Instead I took a photo:


Today I posted that photo in a livejournal group: found_objects: No magic left here.... and have had much fun reading the feedback! It's such a nice ego boost.

29 May 2005

As BNL likes it.

A chartered jet! My kingdom -- OK, "maybe all the coins in my wallet" for a chartered jet! I need to get to Stratford, Ontario's Shakespeare festival to see As You Like It, scored by the Barenaked Ladies and set in 1969, the "summer of love" [Playbill News].

Damn. Hope it's popular enough to tour. I'd definitely cross the Straight to see it.

27 May 2005

Nifty app.

This is a nice, useful application. ClockLink.com provides analog and digital clocks to embed in your webpage and show the current time for your region, like this:

26 May 2005

City Hall at work.

OoooOOooh. I made City Hall work for me today. As a taxpayer/concerned citizen, I contacted the Bylaw Enforcement department and lodged an official complaint.

I expect to be able, when needed, to get out of my vehicle, get my passengers out safely and pay at the parking meter on the curb. Unfortunately, when I went Downtown to get some lunch today, the only parking space was in front of a cafe which had a number of tables and chairs on the sidewalk. This meant having to ask several people to move in order get out of the van and pay for my parking. In fact, I ended up accidentally elbowing someone in the back of the head in doing so, because he hadn't actually moved when I asked, he just said "Oh, sorry." (Moron.)

Grumpy from my morning adventure (see last post), I gathered the kiddo and went inside the establishment and asked to see the manager. I explained that I was frustrated by the fact that the chairs seemed to be too close to the curb. She said, "Yeah, it's an ongoing concern." I waited a beat or two to see if she was going to even glance outside and check, but no, nothing. I'm not unreasonable; if she had gone outside and asked the customers to move the chairs back where they belonged, I'd have left it at that. Instead she just stood there looking at me rather blankly. So I told her I would be calling City Hall to complain. And I did.

I phoned and then followed up with an email:

My complaint is in regards to [*] on Fisgard St. At approximately 11:50 a.m. today I pulled into one of the parking spaces at the curb in front of the establishment. I had to ask people to move in order to get to my vehicle and to help my toddler out of the back seat of the van. Thankfully I have a vehicle with a sliding door. I again had to ask people to move so that I could access the City of Victoria parking meter.

According to the Sidewalk Cafe Bylaw, these temporary seats should be no less than 0.6 m from the curb where the curb lane is used for parking. I am certain they were in violation of this bylaw as some of the chairs were parallel to the parking meters. I indicated to the manager that I was unhappy with the placement of the furniture and she indicated that it was an "ongoing issue" but seemed unwilling to address it in any way. I then told her I was going to register a complaint with the City.

I sent that email at about 1:15, about 90 minutes after it happened. I just received a call back, two hours later. That's pretty good time. By then, the officer had viewed the site, spoken to the manager, and also spoken to the business owner. He assured me that (as I suspected) customers had moved the furniture. He also said that the owner was going to speak to all the staff and let them know they were responsible for maintaining the seating plan as approved by City engineers -- the one that is on file to enable them to have a "temporary sidewalk cafe" under the Sidewalk Cafe Bylaw [PDF]. He also indicated thathe plan would be placed on display at the cafe by tomorrow.


*the establishment's name has been removed to prevent added exposure/advertising


OUCH! [large stream of expletives] THAT HURT!

I just (10 minutes ago) got stung by a wasp. On the tip of my nose. Aside from the urgent pain, my eyes and nose immediately sprung leaks. Grabbed an ice pack first then went looking for anti-histamines. Took one.

Now it feels like I am having dental work on my front teeth; the top of my gumline is numb from the venom. My left eye is also not thanking me for the experience.

So later today we shall be NUKING the stink out of the wasp nest (I thought they were paper wasps, but apparently they are yellowjackets) that I had been willing to "let be" on our deck.

wasp nest

Damned, stupid insects.

25 May 2005

For the curious...

Many of you know that both hubby and I have been working on shedding some pounds over the past few months. Now we both have blogs dedicated to the ups and downs and details of our struggles with weight:

They aren't updated every day; they do contain a mix of insights about diets, dieting, fads, calorie comparisons, recipes and yeah, some personal stuff too. And for the record, I just bought a pair of pants which may or may not be mislabeled as size 16 -- a size I haven't worn for about 12 years. Yay!

24 May 2005

A Meal? Sure, Wink wink, nudge nudge...

Google tells surfers restaurants are brothels [Scotsman.com]

EXCLUSIVE city restaurants and Festival venues have been listed as "brothels" on the world’s leading internet search engine.

The new Google Maps website allows surfers to pinpoint the location of any type of business in the UK using a simple search string.

But if someone looking for a house of ill-repute in Edinburgh uses the website, they are told to visit the award-winning Witchery by the Castle restaurant, or exclusive French eaterie Maison Bleue.

A further glance down the city’s ten "brothels" includes the Edinburgh International Film Festival headquarters, the home of the Edinburgh Fringe on the Royal Mile, and the offices of The Banner of Truth Trust - a Christian publishing house.

I wonder if there are a lot of horny people who end up shelling out for expensive meals because they are too embarrased to admit what they went looking for...

23 May 2005

Two Days Without Entries?

Wow. You are probably thinking I had a busy weekend; maybe went away or something. You're wrong! I had a lazy Saturday (punctuated by some spending -- new bras! whee!) and I worked Sunday(in fact I worked on Sunday -- I managed to complete 4 of the 7 things on my "to do" list; the stuff I need to do before I start the new job). Today, well, I ended up caving and going to see ROTS in the theatre. I went because hubby wanted to go but he was waffling because he couldn't figure out with whom. So, it was an afternoon date (kiddo got to hang with Granny for a few hours). Unfortunately, I ate too much popcorn (ooooh, ugh) but otherwise it was a pleasant afternoon.

My take on the film? Well, in one sentence, "It was better than I expected." That said, I went in with expectations that were somewhere in the sub-basement, and there were times I had to cover my mouth so that WHOOPS of laughter would not disturb the other theatregoers. On the other hand, big kudos to Lucas for tying everything up so very neatly, and kudos, too, for theiving so obviously from visual history (film and art) while making it all fit seamlessly into the Star Wars universe. Yoda is more believeable as a badass in this film (maybe Frank Oz spent some time hanging around Samuel L. Jackson between this movie and the last) and R2 seems to be hiding some steel cahones under that tin suit. Jar-Jar is pleasantly (almost) absent. I wouldn't recommend taking kids under the age of 9 or 10, but if you let your kids play first-person shooter games with gory cut-sequences, they'll be fine in this movie.

Tonight, we tidy for tomorrow hubby starts his new job!

This contest was made for me....

The Tyee's Teen Angst Poetry Contest

Send in your poem(s) (as many as you like) along with the backstory (what lead you to write the poem). Watch for the example of a poem and backstory each week on the site. To enter, you have to be over 18, but the poems need to be from when you were 19 or under.

Now where did I stash those diaries....?

20 May 2005

A good day for beginning.

Today, hubby worked his last day at what will now be called alternately, "his old job" and "Ceti-Alpha V." Meanwhile, I enjoyed one of my final Fridays-off (until I am able to work flex time again -- I forgot I have to pass probation before I can start that schedule! Doh!) with my Mom and the kiddo. We went to Fanny's Fabrics (the store is closing, so there were savings to be had), had lunch at Montana's (oooohhhh, the Yankeee Pot Roast was amazing!), wandered Tillicum Mall for a while, and then popped into Value Village (big score today: a matched set of placemats for the dinner table and another set for the patio) before heading back home.

I was all set for hubby to hit the bars tonight with three of his friends in celebration of being unemployed for the next 48 hours, but one bailed and one other couldn't be located. When the third friend arrived and pitched dinner, hubby asked if we could all go -- so we did. What followed was a yummy meal at Azuma Sushi -- I had mixed tempura; hubby had sashimi and gyoza; the kiddo had beef udon; and our friend had chicken teriyaki. After dinner, it was back to Tillicum Mall where hubby bought me a new toy -- I am finally the owner of an mp3 player**. Whee!

Upon returning home I shuffled the kiddo into bed, ignoring her stall tactics. She was asleep within minutes -- it seems we have successfuly curtailed her bedtime to 9:00. When I start my day shift she'll need to be going to bed around 8:00, but this is a good start.

So it is a good day to begin the transition from old jobs to new; old routines to new; old lives -- where we felt like two single parents five days a week -- to new, where we can feel like a family every day.

**After much hemming and hawing and scoping out opinions, I went with Sony's 512 MB Psyc player. I figure I don't care that it isn't Mac compatible (I don't own a Mac) or that it doesn't have a built-in FM radio (I don't much like FM radio), or a record function (what the hell would I really need to record?) or that the interface is a bit clunky (hell, I've used a lot of programs that work despite clunky interfaces). What sold me -- aside from the Sony name, because I'm a sucker for Sony -- was a compact size that wasn't so compact as to get lost in the bottom of my purse, an integrated lariat loop instead of a ring that could easily become separated, its little display screen, and its overall "look." Yep, I bought it for its look. I liked that it was round and had orange accents. So sue me.

I Like Lumber Floors!

The last two days (May 18th and 19th) were "International Museum Day" [sic].* Around here that meant admission was half price at most local museums and attractions. Since I had to work both days I wanted to try and make sure the kiddo got the best deal. I asked my Mother-in-Law if she'd be interested in taking her with her cousins to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria on Wednesday afternoon, so she did and they all really enjoyed it. Yesterday, her cousins were in school** so the three of us went to the Royal BC Museum together. Great fun, though a lot of little things have changed in the main galleries since the last time I visited and it no longer feels like "my museum" -- the one I knew as well as my school or the public library. I had a regular route I would take in order to see my favourite displays in about an hour (or a little less). Anyway, suffice to say it is still very much a world class museum, and I shouldn't whine because it is a great to have access to such a fine resource. It was even more of a treat to be able to visit at half price!

One of the galleries is on the resource industries of BC; there is a display of an old saw mill set-up and I was explaining how the saw was used to cut the bark off trees and then slice the tree to make lumber. At this, the kid looks down at the plank floor and says, "Oh. Like the
lumber for this floor!" and when I said, "Yes. Exactly like the lumber for this floor," she said, "I like lumber floors." After that, she proceeded to point out all the lumber in the museum -- lumber stairs, lumber rails and lumber furniture!

Later, when I asked what her favourite part had been, she proclaimed, "The Bully Mamoth!" Heheheh.

*I don't know why "Day" is not plural, but apparently the International Council of Museums suggests celebrations be centered "around May 18th" each year.
**Actually, the younger cousin, B was in school; the older cousin, L was on a "field trip" to see Revenge of the Sith!! In fact, they had Star Wars quizzes and games all week. I suspect their principal is an uber geek.

18 May 2005

Defection the Day After

Twenty-Four hours after I first heard the news that Belinda Stronach crossed the floor not to sit as an independent, but as a full member of the Liberal cabinet, I'm still digesting the news. So are others ( see The Globe and Mail: MacKay ‘shocked' by Stronach defection.)

What I find curious is that Martin first said he didn't want to call the Budget vote on Tuesday because of the BC Election, but his press conference with Stronach pretty much overshaddowed Election Day, even here in the capital, until after the polls closed.

Even more interesting is the effect of handing Stronach the tainted Human Resources portfolio -- it means she will get to implement whatever is directed by the Gomery Inquiry -- so the Liberals won't feel betrayed by "one of their own" and she will be facing a foe across the floor that she knows very, very well.

Martin has played this very well, I think. Stronach will probably go down in flames much like other women who have been brought in to take political falls for their leaders (note especially: Kim Campbell and Rita Johnston).

17 May 2005

Yeah, I voted.

Yeah, I voted. I arranged to go at the same time as my Mother-in-law to make sure she also had time to vote. This means (I think) that the kiddo has been with us to every election -- Federal, Provincial and Municipal -- since 2000 (that first one was in utero!)

I am currently wearing a label that reads "YES! I VOTED!" because I have to work until after the polls close. Then I will be heading home to watch the talking heads argue over the results and haggle over too-close-to-call ridings.

16 May 2005

Education at any price?

Another great Tyee article prior to tomorrow's election:

thetyee.ca Why Is Higher Ed off the Election Radar?

The best quote:
"Clearly, the Liberals understood that today's students would pay almost any price to get through post-secondary. But some just can't afford it."

Working in a post-secondary institution I can attest to the validity of almost every statement in the article. Especially the question in the headline -- why is it a non-issue?

Our union local, in addition to one other on our campus plus others in the province, is currently in the midst of contract negotiations and I would love to know if rumors are true about what will happen to us when/if the Liberals are re-elected to a majority. I really don't like the idea of a strike, but they could easily do as much damage to our contract as they did to the BCTF contract in their first term.

Changes Changes

I got the job!

I start June 1st. Hours will be 8:30-4:30 Monday to Friday plus flex time. I had the joy/terror of handing in a letter of resignation for my current position today. Woo!

And for those of you who were curious, hubby has a new job too. He starts a week today with an organization that builds communication interfaces for non-profits and government groups around the globe. The big bonus is his commute will be just a few feet, to the top floor of our townhouse which will be his office from 8-5 Monday to Friday.

Now we have to go daycare shopping for the kiddo but I think she will adjust just fine.


I think I've earned a Peanut Buster Parfait or maybe a Pecan Mudslide. (I'd link to the DQ website but it sucks and I don't do any favours for crap web design.)

15 May 2005

Tetris Shelving

Every geek should have this stuff in their living room/parents' basement: Tetris shelving from Inhabitat. The "art house" prices are out of my range:

Each block runs about $350 however, so if you want more than 3 or 4 blocks, you are going to be spending some serious dough. The ten-piece set shown above is $6790.

... but of course with a few tools, one could make their own set.

14 May 2005

damn I'm stupid.

Even after this afternoon's trauma, the following actually happened: at dinner, I casually complemented hubby on the evening's meal -- FISH.

Needless to say there was some hasty explaining to do. Doh!

Bye bye, Goldie.

The past couple of weeks, I had noticed our fish (at first named Fishy-fish, then Goldie) hadn't been eating all his food. Today, after I changed his water, he couldn't find which way was up. I hoped perhaps he was stunned and it was temporary, but when we came back this afternoon, Goldie was still and no longer breathing.

I waited until we were finished lunch, then broke the news to my daughter. She seemed OK at first but then I let her say goodbye as we flushed Goldie to his final resting place. She said goodbye and started crying. We hugged and cried together. She offered me a tissue. Then we had to face the empty tank. With some spelling help from me, she wrote a goodbye sign; it says "Bye-bye Goldie. Love, A----." I asked her if she wanted to draw a picture of Goldie at the bottom and she said yes. She drew a lovely little fish, cried some more, and let it go. I taped the note to the front of the tank.

I told her we were going to take a break from having a fish for a while; we could visit them in the pet stores for a while and wait until we could get a bigger tank that would hold two or three fish to keep each other company. She seemed OK, but I expect more tears over the next few days.

Interview overview

About 24 hours ago, I stepped into a room with a panel of four interviewers, sat in the hot seat, and laughed with them for being late coming back from coffee (they were late; I was on time) -- it was a good ice-breaker. The interview was supposed to be 45 minutes with a 30 minute "written exercise" (they can't give us "tests" under the contract). Although the interview started late (at 11:15), I was done both the panel questions and the exercise by noon (the exercise took me a little over 5 minutes for 5 questions). That said, I felt really positive on leaving; it was a good interview, in my mind. It remains to be seen whether it was good enough to get me the job; I should know by "early next week."

Unlike other recent interviews, I was really prepared for this one. I had updated my resume recently and I made a crib sheet for my reference during the interview -- something that almost completely eliminated my "thinking" pauses. I also studied definitions which I suspected would be on the exercise (they were) and read through procedures for their department on the intranet. Though I was nervous right up until entering the room, once I sat down I was calm and focused. The preparation made a huge difference.

Now I just have to stop my brain from replaying the answers -- it's too late to change anything and either I will be offered the position or I won't.

12 May 2005

How to awake my inner-toddler.

Tell me I can't do something.

Blogs are advertising: Elections B.C. [CBC British Columbia]

Basically, Elections BC thinks that anyone who posts their opinion about a candidate or their position on STV falls under election advertising and should be registered as a media outlet.

This is unequivocally retarded. Sorry, but that is like telling everyone with a lawn sign that they are advertisers. Wake up, Elections BC -- it's an opinion! As far as I know, most bloggers aren't making any money for sharing their thoughts, which to me is the difference between opinion and advertising.

So here's how I'm voting:
I am going to hold my nose and vote for Carol James (NDP) but only because I really can't stand the thought of Jeff Bray (and the rest of his crew) getting another term.
I am also voting YES on the STV, because as weird and confusing as it seems at first, I believe it is a step forward.

Curiousity Sated.

Got to work and found that someone had brought in Krispy Kreme doughnuts (trucked in fresh this morning from the nearest Krispy Kreme (in Delta on the Lower Mainland) as part of someone's grandson's fundraising)! So now I have tasted one. They are average doughnuts that happen to taste a little better only because they are fresh. If you go to the Safeway bakery and get glazed doughnuts as they are put out fresh, they taste about the same. I am now no longer curious... and now I have to fight to avoid eating any more of the calorie-stuffed things!

Cleaning (not) sleeping and dreaming

Yesterday I got active and cleaned up our deck. I broke down a rotting cedar chest which the kid had been using to store her toys, threw out the kid's old inflatable pool (which had holes in the bottom), the old garden hose (again, holes, even after I'd mended it in two places), collected a bunch of miscellaneous detrius, and emptied two bins of useless stuff which had been taking up space. Two black garbage bags went into the bin and now our deck is clean enough to host a party! Not that we have one planned, but now we could.

Last night, I had trouble getting to sleep. I was tired, and I didn't even watch all of The Daily Show (eep!) but by 1:30 I still wasn't asleep so I bumped my alarm forward. I still woke up when hubby got up but did manage to get back to sleep... and was in the middle of an odd dream when the alarm went off an hour or so later. So now I feel all thick and dull. Ugh.

The dream. Oddly, I was in some sort of reality-show type contest. We were teamed up in pairs -- my teammate was some sort of template "average guy" that my brain picked out, though his voice was somewhat familiar. Anyway, our first challenge was to make a song remix. They gave us a cassette tape (in one of those old crappy "tape recorders" from the late 1970s) with 6 songs, and we were allowed to use any music we had with us to mix in, but the first thing I realized was that we didn't have the right equipment -- no stereo, no mixer, no computer -- my teammate says, "We've got a CD player." I look where he's pointing and it is some portable thing with two AA's and no power cable. Great. Worse we are in a gymnasium with all the other teams, seated at cramped tables covered in random craft supplies.

My alarm dragged me back into the real world just as I was about to decide the only way to survive was to pillage from other teams. I'm guessing I am a little stressed about my interview tomorrow which includes a written test; I don't feel prepared at all, and every time I think about the test it's as though my brain shuts down. Sigh.

11 May 2005

I'm 1 in 1,000!

Hey! I found my poll! It wasn't (directly) paid for by Harper; it was for CTV/Globe and Mail:
PM's honesty an issue as Tories lead in poll

Mr. Layton is also seen as the most charismatic of the four men. On a related question, 23 per cent said Mr. Layton is the leader they would most like to have dinner with, more than Mr. Harper and just below Mr. Martin.

It would still depend on what I was serving though I am pretty sure hubby wouldn't allow either Martin or Harper to enter our home.

The election is looking more likely; yesterday a non-confidence vote passed by a thin margin, and while Martin refused to step down, he has called an "emergency meeting" of Parliament this morning, promising the press an "important announcement."

EDIT: Darren Barefoot points out that one MP used his Blackberry to blog about the (pseudo-) non-confidence vote as it happened.
EDIT #2: Monte Solberg (the above MP) notes that Stephen Taylor also blogged about the vote (and his is more detailed).

09 May 2005

Polls aren't what they used to be.

Nice article in the Tyee about election polls: Angus Reid Says Polling Shaky. Reid, for those who may not know, is a veteran pollster, but he isn't working the current election. Instead, he outlines here the problems facing the industry and why telephone polls are no longer representative of the active voters.

I'm happy to say that last week I was polled. Whee! I'm not usually home when the calls come in, but I have always enjoyed sharing my opinion. I wonder which way I skew the polls? Am I a typical crackpot or an atypical one?

The poll was about the possible Federal Election, and I think it was paid for by Harper's camp. One of the questions was which leader I'd rather have to dinner. I replied, "That would depend what I was serving." [Happily, the pollster laughed.] Overall, I dumped on all the leaders though I did acknowledge that Jack Layton had made the most gains in my estimation. I wish I had recorded the call for quality control. I would have made it into an mp3 for your enjoyment. Next time.

Pint-sized comedienne

This morning, the cats were hissing at each other and the kid says, "Hey! You cats want something? Well here's something: plbbbbbbbbbbbbbbt!" (as she blows a great big raspberry). I nearly spit out my coffee it was so funny.

It's funny enough (to me) that I will probably spontaneously laugh like an idiot throughout the day when I remember it. Should convince my coworkers I came back from the assylum vacation too early.

08 May 2005

Vacation wind-down

Ahhh. My last weekend of vacation has started well.

Yesterday I wandered into town along the waterfront, then gathered a stack of free comics from the three comic stores along Johnson Street. I came home and watched Amelie followed by Beetlejuice. The kid took a long afternoon nap and the three of us went out to the late showing (9:40) of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The kid was so well-behaved I was stunned. The movie was less stunning. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who hadn't read the books or at least seen the BBC miniseries. That said, it was entertaining enough that I didn't feel cheated (though the lines that got the most laughs were lifted straight from the original novels). Sam Rockwell was, as always, fabulous in his performance of Zaphod Beeblebrox and Martin Freeman provided a fine interpretation of Arthur Dent.

Late last night (yes, after we returned from the movie) I finally finished reading Enchantment by Orson Scott Card -- it's based on the seed of the Sleeping Beauty story as retold through Russian folktales from a modern linguist's perpective. Wait, that makes it sound amazingly dull. How about this: a guy goes back to visit his homeland in the Ukraine and ends up crossing a magical bridge, kissing and waking a princess, and going back to her world in the ninth century. Really, Card is a master storyteller; I only wish I'd discovered his work earlier as it is going to take me a long time to catch up.

This morning I awoke to the kid joyfully shouting, "Mommy! It's Mother's Day!" followed by some strong coffee and both savory and sweet stuffed crepes served up by my hubby. This afternoon promises an early dinner of KFC with my Mother-in-Law (my Mom is in Ottawa with my brother this week) followed by a lazy night of television.

Tomorrow, it's back to work. Sigh.

07 May 2005

Garden Spiderlings


This afternoon the sun glinted on a tangle of fresh spiderwebs on my fencepost and on closer inspection I found a freshly hatched group of English Garden Spiders (Araneus diadematus). These spiders are one of the most common "orb weavers" and the adults are usually brown in colour. Read more at Nick's Spiders.


06 May 2005

randomness in carnival form

Today, Hubby quit his job. (It's OK, there is a full Plan B in play.) He gave two weeks notice so his last day will be the 20th of May. How was I to know this would lead to mysterious carnivals being tossed in our path?


This afternoon, since both of us were still officially on vacation, we decided to hit the road and head for Nanaimo. We wandered through Value Village (I got a new dress, a skirt and a pair of coulottes for Summer), then Jysk at the Country Club Mall. After that was dinner at Boston Pizza so the kid could have spaghetti as requested. On our way to dinner, both hubby and I noticed a carnival at the Rutherford Mall. Luckily the kid was otherwise distracted so we actually got through dinner before offering her the option to attend. Once it was offered, she was very excited...


At the carnival she managed to go on five rides (two with her Daddy, including the Tilt-A-Whirl®) and wasn't ready to leave until she got a big "balloon" (inflatable) hammer.

We headed back to Victoria but decided to stop in Duncan for gas and groceries. In the check-out we ended up buying a DVD on impulse -- four "classic" horror films for $4.99 -- but I think it was in the cards because one of the four is Carnival of Souls.


Tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day so you can guess where I'll be for at least a while.

05 May 2005

Home Improvements

Wednesday we got up early and started the "Clean Sweep" attack on the office. About 12 hours later, we pretty much had it done. (We did go out briefly to get some storage containers and a new router with a firewall and both wired and wireless connections. As a result I am blogging from bed.)

Today was garden day -- well, it was garden day for me; hubby was doing battle with the new router ... which turned out to be a problem with our downstairs hub. (Once the hub was replaced, the offending peice of equipment was rudely dropped, dragged, kicked and thrown about until it splintered.) So anyway... the garden. I decided it was way past to get my summer veggies planted. We'll see whether anything sprouts or not. First I had to weed. Then top up some of my containers and my raised bed. I popped out to Capital Iron to buy some strawberry plants and some tomato seedlings (Roma and a cherry variety) and some new mesclun mix and spinach seeds plus I bought a new hose and sprayer (since ours actually got damaged in the week of snow we had earlier this year). Did you know that what looks like one strawberry plant is actually ten? I didn't. So now I have a LOT of strawberry plants (20) and the instructions inside the packaging assured me that they will fill in. Yikes! Good thing we all like strawberries around here. By the time all was done, I had planted mesclun mix, spinach, tomatoes, raddishes, dill, carrots, summer squash, corn, and said strawberries. The kid also planted her own carrots and some sunflowers.

Before I was done on the deck though, I deconstructed some college-style pine ladder shelving which had been sitting outside far too long. Quite by accident, I found that the shelves made a nice "boardwalk" over a muddy patch, so I just took apart the rotting ladders. It looks much better out there... I figure we are half done the deck now, but the rest will have to wait until our next combined vacation (or at least an un-booked weekend -- almost as rare).

Science World Overload

Monday morning we had breakfast in the hotel restaurant and then headed for Science World. Whee! The place is cool -- pricey (if we lived closer, I'd get an annual pass and squeeze some value out of it) but it is stuffed with fun things. Big bonus while we were there was a travelling LEGO exhibit! Long story short, the kid did not want to leave. She started whining, crying, and refusing to do what we asked. Since we had been there nearly 3 hours, and it was past lunchtime, we did leave. We headed for Granville Island with her screeching a good portion of the short ride.

After a meal in the Granville Island Market (sushi for hubby, greek for me, pizza for the kid), we tried to have a leisurely wander through some of the boutique stores but the kid started complaining about being tired, and not "able" to walk. And crying again. So we abruptly curtailed our visit and bundled her into the van. As we were trying to navigate through the many twists and turns in the area in a way that would get us to a mall where we could buy a new cooler, I looked back and thought the kid was just tired, her eyes were drooping and she looked like she was going to fall asleep at any minute. Then she threw up.

We found a suitable side street and pulled off to clean up the worst of it. Since we had spare clothes for her in the van we decided she wouldn't miss those she was wearing. She fell asleep after the cleanup. About twenty minutes of late afternoon traffic later, we arrived at Oakridge Centre and decided to wake the kid to go inside. We ended up spending almost two hours in the mall and came out with some healthy food for dinner from Safeway, some fancy Body Shop soap for the kid's bathtime, and the aforementioned cooler to transport all our produce booty back home. For her part, after a good barf and a micro-nap, the kid seemed much improved both for that evening, and since.

Tuesday morning we packed up our belongings, checked out of the hotel, had breakfast and wandered through IKEA. Biggest disappointment? No more "ball room" for the kid (instead it is a supervised play area for one hour). Biggest unexpected bonus? Scouting a dented desktop in the AsIs area then adding some legs to get hubby a new desk with a tower rack for under $50. After that it was a straight line to the ferry and back to the Island.

02 May 2005

Vacation - Richmond!

One of the big reasons for coming over to Vancouver was to head for Yaohan Centre -- a mall which includes the Osaka Supermarket -- a place the size of the average Safeway but carries the foods you would normally have to gather from several crowded stores along Fisgard in Victoria plus a lot of items you just can't find in Victoria. Needless to say we spent over $100 there. I also happily purchased a VCD of A Chinese Ghost Story (with subtitles) for $4.99 from a kiosk in the mall.

On our way to Yaohan, we passed another mall, Aberdeen, which is new enough (recently rebuilt in 2003) that it's neither full nor finished. We came back after Yaohan to investigate Aberdeen. In one corner of that mall there is a store called Daiso which is a GIANT (two-floor) store where every item is $2. Here's the scoop from HRDC Canada:

The mall’s anchor tenant is Daiso, the ‘Wal-Mart of Japan’, a two storey, 26,900 sq.ft. outlet with 24,000 items each sold for $2, including cosmetics, gardening tools, household goods, storage boxes, snack food and stationery. It is the first North American location for Daiso, which in Asia opens between one and two new stores per day. Since its December 12th opening, the Richmond store has broken all the company’s previous sales records. Daiso Richmond will employ approximately 150 people.
Daiso also had two aisles of "massage tools" which gave hubby and me the giggle-fits, as we discussed which ones were "beginners" and which were "advanced."

The food fairs in both malls are totally Asian -- not a french fry in sight -- and while the kid happily munched through noodles, she asked for milk to drink which proved to be an impossible task. Bonus: the servings were so big that we brought our lunch back to the hotel and had leftovers for dinner.