31 December 2006

Happy New Year!

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
We hosted a small but successful year-end open house last night. Hubby created some yummy appetizers which were supplemented with standbys of fresh fruit, vegetables, crackers, cheese and cookies.

My break has been quiet and, it seems, short. We saw lots of people though, and mostly I just killed time doing very little on the computer. I did manage to build a list of all our DVDs (well, not quite all; kiddo's are not yet included in the list) -- 265. Huh. That's quite a few.

Looking forward to a quiet January, I hope, and a calm year ahead.

26 December 2006

Boxing Day / Hang Day


Super quiet day hanging at home. I merged in as much of our new stuff as I could... I took out one large bin and two small bins of stuff from Kiddo's shelving area to make room for the new LEGO and Playmobil bounty:


I also turned the LEGO table 90° which Kiddo much prefers -- now she can look out into the living room while she is playing on her table instead of looking at the wall.

My haul included: a new bathrobe, several movies (Army of Darkness, 12 Monkeys, Goblet of Fire, V for Vendetta, and Playing By Heart, one of my favourite ensemble films -- who could be cuter than Gillian Anderson and Jon Stewart as a couple?), books (Spiderwick Chronicles, Anansi Boys, Encyclopedia of Stupidity, Dracula, and Urgent 2nd Class), a lovely new teapot from Silk Road Tea, two martini glasses, and more. (Thanks again, to all!)

Also, this may be the first Christmas ever that I have not received any chocolate. Very odd.

Back to hanging around, I guess. Hope your festivities were pleasant.

24 December 2006

Is it time already?

I guess my level of busy-ness should be an indicator that Christmas day is around the corner. This time tomorrow we'll be well into opening what's under the tree... which is going to be a long process because we have all the grandparents coming over with their armloads of gifts, too. Hubby will be preparing a ham for lunch and a turkey for dinner.


Earlier this week....

The local WalMart (evil retailer of doom) is one of a handful in BC open 24 hours for Christmas shopping (they started on the 18th) and we decided to head in at about 11:00 at night on Thursday night thinking it would have settled down -- Kiddo was staying at Nana's -- but it was as zooey as a Saturday morning! Craziness! Only bonus was the distinct lack of small children screaming around.

Friday was Kiddo's last day of school so Hubby and I went downtown to gather last-minute stocking stuffers (for each other, mostly). The bigger stores were lined up out the door, but most of the smaller stores were eager for my few dollars, which I happily spent on this and that in small packages. Once I decided I had enough for Hubby's stocking, I checked my watch and decided I had juuuuuust enough time to check Sally Ann. I went in looking for something I had wanted to add to another gift (which I found), and then I stumbled on the most amazing find -- two tubs of LEGO, one of which included some vintage "LEGO System" boxes. At $24 for the two, I had to buy them. When I sorted them out later that evening, I found that one ofthe vintage sets was complete, the other incomplete; there were also many minifigs, accessories, creatures (a manta ray, shark, monkey, scorpions, parrot and a snake!) and vehicles -- plus hundreds of basic bricks. One of my best finds ever. (Most of it will be under the tree for Kiddo; I'm keeping the vintage LEGO and a few minifigs, though I may sell the vintage stuff.)

Yesterday was mostly puttering around here (putting up the last of the decorations) and then we went to a friends' open house and Kiddo disappeared into their daughter's room, reappearing in costume...


....then disappearing again. Eventually, she got cranky and started to fight with the boys, so we took her home. She fell asleep almost as soon as we started driving, poor tyke.


One more sleep.... then we can start tidying for our open house on the 30th.


20 December 2006

Carl Sagan Blogathon....

Carl Sagan. The astronomer/scientist/evolutionist who opened my eyes to the expanses of the universe and of time. He died 10 years ago today, and this is one of many blogs joining in to talk about the way he influenced us.

How many evenings we sat, as a family, watching Cosmos on PBS... space itself unfolding through ground-breaking animations to the soothing sounds of Sagan's voice scored by Vangelis' eerie instrumental works. "Billions and billions of stars...." he said, at a time before the number "billions" was really conceivable outside national debts. He stood beside a wall representing the time which had elapsed on Earth since its birth and gestured toward a tiny little line that represented human history in comparisson. Ouch. Humbling.

Of course, I'd seen Star Wars just a couple of years earlier, so my fascination with space was already active, Sagan just gave it a nudge toward the scholarly. A lot of what Cosmos covered was simplified, I later discovered, but at age 10, it was amazing stuff indeed.

I entered my first science fair at age 11, in no small part because of Sagan and the science education I got outside school, and continued to be a science geek right through high school. I still enjoy the popular side of science -- watching shows like Nova or Daily Planet and reading about everyday science. Heck, even shows like Robot Wars and Good Eats owe some of their popularity to geeks like me raised on Sagan and those who followed in his footsteps.


18 December 2006


in the news:
  1. Hockey player fired for not signing flag for troops. (CBC.ca)
  2. I'm TIME magazine's person of the year! And so are you, and you, and you. (TIME.com)
  3. Rosie O'Donnel is "sorry" but still ignorant. (Vancouver Sun)
  4. Bob Dylan throws a wobbly -- actually what's ridiculous about this is the press that the movie (which may or may not suck) is getting for free. Really, when will celebs figure out that sometimes it's better to shut up.
and then there is this weird/disturbing "Carrie" cake I noticed on flickr....

Cakewalk: Carrie Cake

It might be one of those weeks.

17 December 2006

Our Tree, 2006

The tree is trimmed... and I think the trimming emphasizes its wonkiness... but I'm sticking by that assymetry as part of the charm of a real tree. Apparently another part of the "charm" is branches that are alternately too stiff to bend or too weak to accomodate decorations... the result is... well, more quirkiness.


Kiddo put up her tree a couple of nights ago.. it's much smaller, and sits beside her bed. I've also put up the snowflake and icicle garland (though I am still short one snowflake... I'm working on it) but have yet to put up the ornament balls we crafted a couple of weekends ago.

We are hoping to host an open house after Christmas... so the decorations will stay up until sometime in January, likely.

Pre-Christmas Madness

Between the storms (which closed school for kiddo), hubby being sick and being stupidly busy trying to track down a hacker on the server at work, last minute shopping, and the usual insanity that increases tenfold at this time of year, it's been a busy week. So... here's the highlights.

Storms -- wow. I have never seen so many trees down after a storm. I feel a bit bad for the BC Hydro crews who haven't had much time to rest all week with three windstorms in a row. Tens of thousands of households and businesses in the region were without power for at least part of the week. We managed to escape that fate (::knock wood::) though we had candles and flashlights at the ready. As I mentioned though, kiddo's school lost power twice. Once on Monday for just a couple of hours and on Friday -- no sooner had she been dropped off when hubby got a call to pick her up again due to having no heat. When we drove out to the Westshore yesterday, the whole area smelled like a Christmas Tree lot!!

Speaking of trees... Christmas Tree -- we had decided to get a cut tree this year, as we gave away our artificial one last year. I had spotted a little lot close to home, run by the Kiwanis Club, that had some nice, natural looking BC trees. We ran some other errands Friday evening, thinking we had plenty of time, then arrived at the lot around 6:30 only to find it closed!! I was soooooo frustrated. It meant we had to come back on Saturday without kiddo to get the tree, grrr, but I did find a nice, albeit wonky, tree. It's pretty much backless which means we can snug it up against the bookcase. However, it needs more than the 300 lights we put on there, so I have to go out this afternoon to get another 50 or so.

Errands -- yesterday, despite hubby being sick (very sick... I felt bad) he decided he wanted out of the house... so we headed out to the Westshore to run a number of errands: (1) Glenwood Meats -- about 20 lbs of meat (various forms of sausage, chicken, beef, and bacon) for $55. We have been totally spoiled by the quality and value of the meat from Glenwood, and we buy very little meat elsewhere any more. (2) Island Ink Jet -- drop off our printer cartridge for refil. They had some trouble because the blue tank had all but dried out. So they took a looooooong time. But they did eventually get it going again. (3) The Evil Retailer (yeah, they're all evil, but I hate even admitting I shop at the place with the Smiley logo) -- for a bunch of basic consumables which had run low -- paper products, kitchen wraps, bathroom personal stuff... you know. (4) The tree (see above) which we got on our way back home, along with fast-food lunch that disagreed with me terribly (urrrrrr).

And what would the holidays be without a rant? ... I've been annoyed by a host of little silly things... but this item really got me wanting to rant. Care of the Shopping Network, they suggest as a last minute gift, the Creative Kids Basket. I assure you there is NOTHING creative about this basket -- in fact, it isn't even pictured as a basket! It is a BAG full of CANDY. And not even good candy, just crappy sugary junk. To add insult to injury, the price is $36.49 PLUS $10 shipping!! There's no way the contents cost more than $15, and the bag maybe $2 -- in fact the whole thing could be pulled together from stock in any dollar store. Bah.

OK.. off to run more errands (We're out of coffee!! Oh the HORROR!).

11 December 2006

Vancouver Vacation

On Friday and Saturday, we spent two days in Vancouver. We went over mostly to see BodyWorlds which is at Science World (pardon me, that would be "Science World at the Telus World of Science" -- gag.) until mid-January. We took kiddo -- yes, she was fine; interested even. She loves anatomy. It was well-worth it. Interesting, eduacational, and artistic all at once. I could have done without the 2 by 4 over the head part of the exhibit -- the giant I QUIT stop-smoking corner -- but aside from that, I took in everything, even the fetuses (kiddo did skip that part), which I have to admit, for the most part looked like tiny dolls.... or rather, dollmakers are getting much better at making realistic tiny babies.

Kiddo also got her first ride on SkyTrain, destination MetroTown. We spent a couple of hours there then crashed at the hotel for the night. Saturday we shopped in Kitsilano and hit Daiso and IKEA in Richmond -- though IKEA on a Saturday in December, was probably a stupid idea. It was packed and kiddo was whiny because there was no room in the play area and we chose not to put her on the waitlist. Sigh.

We came back via Nanaimo, to take advantage of the CoastSaver Fare sale (on until Dec. 17th on some sailings), which also meant we got to take advantage of cheaper pump prices in Duncan. Meh, it all worked out.

We came back with a lot of food -- in fact, food was probably our greatest expense -- our meals were annoyingly expensive.... but it was a vacation.... and it might be our last trip off the island for a while... we need to start saving for two possible bigger getaways next year.

10 December 2006

Goodbye Star.

I never met Star, not in person, but over the past two years, I got to know her virtual self quite well.

We first "met" on orkut -- she was the first person I added to my friend circle outside the people I knew in real life. She has always encouraged me in my writing and other creative endeavours -- she once admitted to reading "every word" I wrote, whether it was here, or on MediaNook, or elsewhere. It was Star who pointed me to the Zombie Haiku contest and who would send me links to all manner of strange things that ended up on this blog or just brightening my day. She also, just this week, received three finger puppets from me; two she purchased and one I had sent along as an "UnBirthday gift" -- since her birthday was back in June.

I always checked Sarcasmoscorner on Monday and Friday mornings -- as did many other people -- for my fill of ridiculous stuff on the web -- crazy video mashups, strange products, films, books, zombies, pirates, and things that go bump in the night. I also read along at LiveJournal, where she had recently admitted to being in a new relationship that was fabulous (he has written a heartfelt obit on his own blog).

Star led a ridiculously busy life -- her weekends could as easily include a small role in a low-budget zombie flick as a stroll through the historical parks and streets of Philadelphia, camera in hand.

Star was 33, and though I never met her, I truly miss her.


05 December 2006

Fun With Furniture

After a five hour marathon domino move last night, 4 households have different furniture. One person is getting new furniture delivered tomorrow. Her furniture went to Person B. Person B's furniture went to Person C. Person C gave us her sofa and loveseat and gave Person B her table. Our old furniture is awaiting a new Freecycle home.

So hubby, our friend, and me (though mostly hubby and our friend) moved three sofas, one loveseat two dining tables, two coffee tables, three armchairs, and a few other odd pieces. Ugh.

We were looking forward to "new leather furniture" -- and had been told the style was "masculine" and the colour "brown." So I was thinking something like this:


... but the actual furniture is about 20 years older in style:

new (to us) furniture

That said, the pieces are sturdy, comfortable, and matched. I won't cry if kiddo smears something on them or if the cat gets a claw stuck ("no... bad cat... bad....stop."). We can seat six people really comfortably now (if one uses the chair -- actually 7 if someone sits in the video-rocker or even 8 if a child uses the little rocking chair) -- more if people get cozy. And, the two pieces only cost us the price of the rental van and the gas to fill it (about $60), plus our effort ....so, I while I was initially disappointed, I'm OK with it now.


And for those of you who keep score of this sort of thing, this marks Flotsam & Jetsam's 1000th post. Woo.

tags: redecorating, furniture, milestones

04 December 2006

Jekyll & Hoff?

This appeared in my mailbox this week, coming up on the Bravo schedule:

Bravo! Television Premiere – December 30 at 8ET / 5PT
David Hasselhoff makes his Broadway debut in Jekyll & Hyde, The Musical, the adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic tale of romance, and the battle between good and evil. A whirlwind odyssey pits man against himself when Dr. Jekyll's medical experiment goes wrong and gives life to Edward Hyde, his immoral alter ego. This production co-stars Coleen Sexton, Andrea Rivette, George Merritt and Barrie Ingham and features the popular songs Someone Like You and This is the Moment.

Does anyone else see this as horrifying? And not in the way it's meant to be? I must have missed the whole fooforaw of the Hoff in the lead -- the musical itself has been touring for over 15 years and it looks like the staging that was filmed is from 2001. In fact they are going to make the musical into a film. [Are you following? Classic book, to Broadway musical, to film. Gah.]

Oh, please, if you are unfamiliar with it, go read the original story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. It's available in full online at the Free Library. I've read it already, and may re-read it before watching this ('cause you know I will have to watch the trainwreck) at the end of the month.

tags: David Hasselhoff, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jekyll and Hyde, Broadway.