31 July 2006

The Great Calendar Project of 2006

OK... I am late in getting to this... I knew in May that I wanted to make this calendar as a gift... and now the gift-giving date draws very near! I have been picking and choosing from my many rabbit photos... there are soooo many to choose from. I think I have narrowed them down to 12, including this cuuuuuute little fella:


I'll post photos when I am done... and hopefully from this I will learn how to make more... the trick will be getting the finished project bound. Zap Copy on campus charges $2.75 for coil binding... and hopefully they can do so quickly... if not I will go to one of the office stores on the weekend, I guess.

I have to say, I am pretty happy with the photo printer, though.

tags: craft-fu, diy, calendar, photography

30 July 2006

Add this to the ever-growing list....

... of stuff I really want but don't need. Well, not until I win that lottery:

A 12-Pack of Custom-Labelled Jones Soda

Only US$48.95 for that kinda vanity (including shipping to US and Canada).

tags: youresovain, buyitonline

29 July 2006


I actually had to ask this out loud the other day after the WORST service I've had in a Victoria restaurant in ages.

Friday, lunch rush (about 12:30) -- in the peak of tourist season,I might add -- and we (my mother, kiddo and I) decide we will part with our cash at the Wharfside Eatery.* The hostess greets us, and tracks down a kids' menu (hooray! those seemed scarce, elsewhere) and then offered to seat us "inside" because it was too windy on the outer deck. My mother requested that we not have to sit in direct sunlight (it's a peeve of mine too, to have to squint while you eat). So the hostess offers us a table in their sunroom. In direct sunlight. Um. No.

She tries again, offering us two other tables in the sun. Finally we spotted one against a wall and the hostess seemed to appologize for its very existence, but said, yes we could sit there "if we wanted to."

We did. We sat, made our decisions. Grumbled that the prices had increased considerably since our last visit, and then waited. No one came to take our drink order. Servers wandered by and bussers cleared nearby tables, but we, apparently were invisible.

After no less than TWENTY minutes, we decided this was nonsense. We got up, gathered our things, and I prepared to give the hostess an earful. We walked past two other server-types having a conversation at the bar who didn't even blink at us. Alas, the hostess was not at her post either.... so we kept walking.

(Oh, how quaint. There's even a typo in the title of their HTML page. Awwww.)


We ended up going to the restaurant in The Bay, up on the 5th floor. It's a cafeteria-style restaurant and the prices reflect that, but the staff are constantly bustling around clearing tables and really catering to the customers. Plus there is a pretty good view of the Inner Harbour! This was the view from our table:


The bonus: Friday was some special "Carnival" celebration so there were freebies throughout the store, and every purchase at the restaurant came with a free draw -- I got a free soup and my mother got a free entree (to be used by August 31st).

*this decision was made after ruling out several other restaurants including the recently upscaled Earl's restaurant (snOOOoty hostess), Ric's restaurant (no kid's meals), and ReBar (which I love, but didn't suit my Mother).

tags: restaurants, customer disservice, victoriabc

25 July 2006

My Latest Obsession

When our local station stopped producing a morning news show (Curse you, CHUM!!) we considered watching one of the Vancouver feeds... but really that means you get weather and frequent traffic reports mingled with polite banter and Very Serious News™. Instead, we turned South... and now we get our start with The Daily Buzz on UPN 11 (soon to be CW 11, and I sure as hell hope they keep this morning show).

It's ridiculously funny for that hour while the coffee is just kicking in.

Sure, there's news. But then they have the all the silly stuff that I might find surfing the web ... like "News by the Numbers" which literally pulls a number out of a headline, then boils down the story into a sentence or two ... or Daily Buzz Old School which plays 1960s era commercials that I could download from YouTube ... they read emails out loud... they mock each other (and more importantly they mock celebrities!!)... it's all too much! I mean, I could sit at the web and find all this after an hour of surfing, forwarding funny things to family and friends, or I could sit and eat breakfast with my family and laugh as we all watch the same nonsense! Brilliant!

This week, they even have Joey Fatone (settle down, NSYNC fans fan...) as a guest host. Too much fun at 7 a.m. I recommend it highly if your brain, like mine, is not at its peak before noon.

tags: television, morning tv, daily buzz.

Some relief...


I wiggled my toes in the damp freshly mowed grass under a tree on campus while I waited for hubby to collect me after work... ohhhhh that felt gooooood.

While sleeping was no easier last night (the house was still HOT and stuffy) at least it seems livable at the moment... there is a nice little breeeeeze drifting in. (Sorry about the flaky colours... but ya know, sometimes a girl needs to be flaky.)

Let me back up. Saturday night I was feeling lazy and lethargic.. I figured it was the heat. Sunday I woke up feeling awful... sick to my stomach and all. After spending most of Sunday sleeping on-and-off, I took Monday off work. By Monday night I was feeling human again, and even went for a lovely evening walk along the waterfront with hubby and kiddo before she went to bed.

fishermans wharf

Work today was busy and hot, but mostly all right... I got a lot of books moved off my desk and a few trickier problems settled. Only things on my calendar at work this week are social -- coffees and lunches -- then Friday is my flex day. Woo!

tags: weather, health, work, photos

22 July 2006

Contest Alert

Hey, readers! This contest is no use to me... but some of you might be interested.

Win a two day getaway to Victoria!

QM/FM and Tourism Victoria are giving you a chance to explore the urban and natural delights of our Province’s Capitol city. You could win two nights accommodations at the Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour, round trip travel on BC Ferries including complimentary reservations and a three hour whale watching tour.

Of course, this seems to presume you are travelling from Vancouver -- but if you got that far, the ferry fare and hotel would be covered.

tags: contest, victoriabc, tourism

21 July 2006

I could reflect better if I weren't melting.

I've had an odd reflective, distracted week. Reflecting on pets past, present and future; distracted by a busy workweek and a little local heatwave.

Last night, the heat really didn't dissipate, so this morning we woke up to temperatures that would normally hit at midday; needless to say, it was HOT for Victoria -- 33 celsius (that's 91.4 fahrenheit according to Google calculator) by the early afternoon.

We retreated to the mall this evening for some air-conditioned calm before I had to collect Sierra's ashes. I went in and got them as quickly as I could -- so that I didn't burst into tears. I should have cried instead. They are in a tiny green urn with a ribbon around the neck and a little card that makes it look like homemade jam. It is not what I had expected. (When Orbit died, his ashes were put in a little wood box, with a name plaque, which seems much more respectful.) Also, the pawprint I requested was not with it... but even so... I really don't want to go back and complain. I don't have the strength.

I have a heap of books and other stuff to review... enough to keep me busy for several weeks... but I can't put my head to it right now. I keep reading the same sentences over and over.

tags: weather, grief

17 July 2006

Eye Candy and Mind Candy...

Two movies in two days....

1. Eye candy: Pirates of the Carribean, Dead Man's Chest. Entertaining though unflinchingly derivative. Still, Johnny Depp plus a whole lot of tentacles made for a lot of amusement. The giant tub popcorn didn't hurt either.

2. Mind candy: The Aristocrats is an adventure in obscenity by way of a shared joke among the comedy/entertainment industry. As my mind was desperately trying not to laugh at the delivery of alarmingly inappropriate subjects (suffice to say, anyone actually performing the acts pitched would be thrown in prison if they were very lucky) I was thoroughly entranced by watching working comedians actually work to tell a joke and talk about how they tell the joke.

tags: movies

15 July 2006

Goodbye Cici.


Sierra, a.k.a. Cici

An ultrasound yesterday confirmed the location of the mass the first vet felt from an external exam. Her platelets were too low to do a biopsy or exploratory surgery without a transfusion; but the pet hospital lacked enough blood to do the transfusion. We offered our other cat, Max, without hesitsation, and luckily, his blood was a match.

This afternoon, the vet performed the transfusion; this evening, surgery. Unfortunately, the mass was tangled around Cici's small intestine; the doctor could not remove it or even begin to reduce it without serious risk. We authorized euthenasia at about 8:00 this evening.

I know that she must have been in pain for some time, but she is no longer. I know that she was loved while she was here -- she was with us for over a decade and gave me much comfort and much love in return. I will miss her terribly.

tags: cici.

[Comments have been disabled. If you know me, you know where to find me.]

14 July 2006

Some light distraction.

I felt the need to smile today... so I have worked little and have instead been distracted by shiny things online.

I found this lovely photo of a buddha in a shopping cart on Flickr; but what makes it so much better is the tale of the zealot in line as the item was being purchased...

Last night, I was happy to see that Stephen Colbert was in fine form... check out last night's Threat Down (Jackie Chan) as an example. I laughed many times... though possibly the funniest moment came during his check-in with Jon Stewart at the end of the Daily Show. He was dressed in a silly pirate hat and eyepatch, saying that after having seen Pirates of the Carribean, his kids might like to see him in "similar garrrrrrrb." Toward the end, slipped out of pirate-ese to complain about his wife's nagging, then launched back with, "Arrrrrrrr marriage is in trouble."

tags: distractions, fun with zealots, colbert report

13 July 2006

I was angry. Now I am not.

I was all set to rant about the changes at CHUM (our local A-Channel franchise just killed off the morning show; the sister CITY-TV station in Vancouver chose to go the other way, keeping the morning show and gutting the newsroom, no longer producing evening newscasts).

I was also going to rant some more about gymnastics camp (kiddo is having a crap time, we are not going to make her finish tomorrow).

But at 4:00, we took Cici into the Vet Hospital. She is still there, at least overnight and possibly Saturday too. She is dehydrated and the vet is running tests to see what else is wrong (because something else is wrong... it's just hard to tell what it is...). As annoying as she could be at times, she's been around me for the past 10 years... and the house feels odd without her here tonight. Even her nemesis Max seems confused... sniffing around every corner looking for her.


Hopefully we will know more tomorrow.

tags: rant, CRTC, cats

10 July 2006

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Part One:

Yesterday, our return trip on BC Ferries was made extra unpleasant by some lack of communication among several layers of Ferry staff. Now, I don't travel the Ferries all that frequently, but we have been back and forth at least a half dozen times in the past 6 months plus I have sailed the same routes many times throughout my life, but I have never seen so many people unable to get out of their vehicles (or back in). We had to all climb out the side sliding door of the van, because we did not have enough room to open our front doors.


We caught an afternoon sailing on one of the older vessels yesterday, Queen of Vancouver, which was built several years before I was born, and carries a max of 338 cars. To compare, we usually travel on the S-class vessels, such as the Spirit of Vancouver Island which carry up to 470 cars. There are four lanes on either side of the upper level of the ferry. These lanes are meant for cars. Unfortunately, many vehicles now on the road have wider wheel bases, and many of these vehicles (including double wide pickup trucks) were directed to the upper level. In fact, most of the vehicles in the outer lane on the side we were loaded were trucks wide enough that they were parked with their wheels on or over the yellow line marking the lane. It's not like they had room on the other side either -- in fact some of their passengers had to climb out drivers' doors because there were girders in the way of the doors on the passenger sides.

Whose fault is it? Was it the person selling the ticket? They are responsible for measuring the height of a vehicle -- all overheights go on the lower decks. Was it the person directing vehicles to the ferry? Or was it the people loading the vehicles into the narrow lanes? Honestly, I think they were all at fault. Someone should have noticed; someone should have communicated the problem with someone else. But more than that, the Ferry Corp. itself and its greedy need for profit is at fault. They want to pack as many vehicles as possible on each vessel, and since any damage incurred is likely to be between one vehicle and another, they don't even need to consider paying higher insurance -- they refer the drivers to ICBC and more or less say "tough shit" to their customers, who pay for the "service."

Part Two:

A few weeks ago, I registered kiddo for gymnastics camp. I was able to register online, and while I thought it was odd that summer camps were running Tuesday-Saturday, I didn't question it, especially since the confirmation email confirmed the dates (the first week being, I thought, July 11th-15th). When I phoned this morning to find out what she needed to bring tomorrow, I was told the camp had started today.


Luckily, the receptionist was able to offer a pro-rated fee for the remainder of the week, and now I know that her August camp will be Monday to Friday. But she has missed the theme announcement for the week, and she has missed the first day of making friends (first day is so critical for that). But how many other people signed up online? Will they be in the same boat? I checked today, and the dates are still wrong on the registration page. They are however correct on another schedule, linked to from an information page about the camps -- which is where I had to dig through to find out that, yes, she did need to pack a snack (no mention of anything like that in the confirmation email either). At any rate, I have contacted the director with my complaint, and we'll see how long it takes to fix the webpage. Grr. I also suggested they contact anyone else who registered online. Grr.

tags: communication, failure, customer (dis)service

09 July 2006

Aaaaand, we're back.

This about sums up the trip:


I promise, I will elaborate tomorrow.... after sleeping in my own bed.

06 July 2006

Unplugging for a few days....

OK. Today I have been cleaning and running last minute errands while kiddo was safely out from underfoot. Tomorrow, we head for the earliest ferry possible (well, we are aiming for a 7:00 sailing, but if we get on the 8 or even the 9, so be it.) and head for the border on the other side. We will be back sometime on Sunday.

Since we want to take as little as possible with us, the laptops will be staying here.. so I will be offline until Sunday night or maybe even Monday morning (eep!). We will, however, have our cameras, so expect an illustrated travellogue next week.

Back to packing.... hope your weekend is wonderful; thanks for popping in.

tags: travel, unplugged

05 July 2006

I gave up.

After going through the storage locker in addition to everywhere else, I finally gave in at about 10:30 this morning.

I am now the owner of a newly issued Birth Certificate. And it only cost $27. And it was disturbingly easy to get. Seriously, I've been asked more challenging questions to retrieve a lost password online.... and they did not ask for any photo ID. Eek.

Hubby met us downtown after his meeting and while we were there, we also got the cash we needed for the U.S., saving us a trip tomorrow.

Still, it's done. Now I have to clean the house, clean the van (we are leaving one set of seats behind), do some laundry, refresh the music on my mp3 player, and pack. Hopefully my headache will go away soon.

tags: vital statistics, travel plans.

04 July 2006

Grrr. It's still missing.

OK... so all day, I've been thinking, "Could it be in that box?" "Where did I last see it?" ... I've been trying to envision it in my head... but there is nothing. No sign of it. Nada.

So then I checked to see what I needed... and according to US Customs and Border Protection,

"Canadian citizens generally are not required to have a visa or a passport and may visit the U.S. for up to 6 months. However, Canadians must be able to prove their identity and citizenship to enter the United States. CBP will accept either a birth certificate, citizenship certificate or passport as proof of citizenship. If the Canadian citizen does not have any of these because they were lost or stolen, we emphasize that the burden of proof is on the traveler to prove that they are Candian citizens. Copies of correspondence requesting a replacement of documents, etc. might be accepted, but it is up to the CBP officer to determine whether or not such paperwork meets that burden of proof."

Hell. So then I checked with Canadian Passport service: could I rush a new passport? -- yah right. If by rush you mean actually get it within the estimated 4 week wait time. Oh, unless there is a "bona fide" reason for emergency travel (read, "funeral in another country"). OTOH, I can get a rush Birth Certificate within 48 hours (i.e., if I go in tomorrow) for $60.

Man, I do NOT want to be penalized $60 for my own stupidity. But I also don't want to let kiddo down after promising her a trip to the United States. So... I will keep looking, and probably go in to see if I can get a rush replacement tomorrow. Sigh.

On the plus side, I found a $5 bill and over $6 in coins while searching. So that's something I guess. If I find the rest of the $60 tonight, I'll call it fate and get the replacement.

tags: disorganization, personal stupidity.

And so it goes....

First a HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY to my American readers. May you enjoy this Tuesday of celebration, or the last day of a 4 day weekend if you were lucky enough to have Monday off.

Now... what did I do yesterday? Oh yeah. Turned various files and "safe places" upsidedown looking for my stupid little birth certificate. I found one expired passport, my UK railpass from 1987-88, my social insurance card (What? That wasn't in my wallet? What the hell is in my wallet? Oh, right: loyalty cards for every goddamned store in the city!!), a photo album that I was meant to fill about 2 years ago... and oh so many many things in the wrong places. But no certificate. When hubby asked when I last used it, I realized I hadn't needed it since we got married nearly 9 years ago. Doh.

I also decided to tackle kiddo's craft cabinet -- everything came out, got sorted; some got tossed, and then back inside with room to spare. Of course this meant she decided to paint....


Later, I decided to take on the task of filling that photo album. My mother in law bought it for me (a nice acid-free album, with room to label each photo beside the sleeve) with the idea that I could put all my England and Europe photos in there (a good idea, it turns out, because the crummy sleeves that were holding the photos were cracked and damaged). I started at 4:00 and finished around 11:30 (with a break for dinner, of course) and overall I am pleased with the result. It's a bit haphazzard toward the end, but at least everything is labelled. What I did find was that many of the photos were awful (under or overexposed) or meaningless ... and a few were missing from the album (I did track most of them down though). Eventually I will scan the better ones in, for safekeeping.

Today, I take the van in for a tuneup (always good before a roadtrip) so kiddo and I will have to kick around town for a few hours. Hopefully we can find enough to do without boring her (or buying her something at every stop).

tags: filing system, kiddo, organization, errands

03 July 2006

File under.... Where the heck did I file that?

OK. There are few things more important in the world of documents than one's birth certificate. Since I don't have a current passport, I was planning on taking my birth certificate as ID to cross the border. (Of course, then I might need a marriage certificate, too, to show my change of name. Grr. Better call the Border Information Service...) At any rate, I can't find my birth certificate.

I haven't carried it in my wallet for years. I thought it was filed with my other important documents (e.g. marriage certificate), but it's not there either. I have checked four other places that were less obvious, but where I have filed it in the past... no luck.

So now... I have to think. Where the heck did I file it? I haven't seen either of my two expired passports in my travels either... so perhaps my bc. is with them. Sigh.

Wish me luck.

tags: forgetfulness, filing systems

02 July 2006


July 1st wasn't just any Canada Day this year. July 1st brought a change to the GST (1% less tax); the start of Harper's promised $100 per month toward childcare; and Canada and the US agreed on the final wording to the Softwood Lumber Agreement as reached in April.

On a green note, the federal government is also offering a tax break for transit pass users, effective July 1st. (If you buy a monthly pass in Victoria, save the pass itself and also the receipt in order to claim your refund; you need proof that you paid for it, so unless it has your name on it, you need a receipt.)

In BC, the Teacher's Union (BCTF) reached a settlement at the 11th hour -- they'll see 16% (in wages, and benefits improvements) over 5 years, plus a signing bonus, but workload was not addressed. In theory, this means no strikes or walkouts for 5 years, but this is BC.

In a more frivolous arena, Victoria's Shaw Cable has added another movie channel (Encore Avenue 2 -- on channel 29) to the analog lineup, banishing CNBC to the outer reaches of digital cable.

tags: federal finances, taxes, cable, unions