28 April 2007

Queen of the mountain

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
Kiddo made herself at home at our friends' place, proclaiming herself "Queen of Everything" in their backyard this evening. We showed up for an improptu barbeque that turned out to also be a belated birthday celebration for hubby complete with cake and icecream -- thanks all!

Busy Week!

Wow, this last few days just flew by. Here's the rundown: craziness at work (renovations are now starting to impact our work area, and there is much confusion about timelines and available space for our reorganized area); hubby's birthday (mellow celebration, just family); prearation for our roadtrip (we leave early tomorrow morning).

I'm looking forward to the trip to Naramata. We are going to try taking the Crowsnest route(Highway 3) there and then the Coquihalla on the way back [check out BC Highway webcams, if you're curious]. It's been a long time (at least 15 years) since I've travelled that direction.

The Naramata Centre (where I'll be taking a CUPE course/workshop) is described as "rustic but comfortable" -- i.e. indoor plumbing, but no television -- so, while I am taking my laptop, I don't know whether I will have internet access over the next week. If I do have access, I don't know if I will have time to blog; likely my priorities will be checking email and posting to Flickr.

See you in a week!

24 April 2007

CH-CH-CHEK it out....

Looks like Victoria's CH will be getting its other letters back this fall. From Channel Canada:

CanWest MediaWorks To Bring E! to Canada

On September 1, 2007, CanWest will bring one of the world’s definitive entertainment brands to Canadians across multiple platforms including broadcast, online, mobile, video-on-demand and satellite radio. As part of this agreement, CanWest’s current CH Network will be rebranded as E! beginning this fall.


Each station will also continue to serve its local audiences via local news and information programming. Concurrent with the E! launch, each station’s local content will relaunch with a refreshed on-air image under the banner of their historical call letters (CHCH News, CHEK News, CHBC News, CHCA News and CJNT Montreal). This is an acknowledgement of the depth of the connection that the stations have with their local communities – some for over 50 years.
This could be interesting, or it could suck. I guess it can't be any worse than what's there now...

21 April 2007

Polly Wanna Coffee!

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
Last night Kiddo said this at some point and it made me laugh. I got this image in my head... so I spent a good chunk of today creating it. Now it's for sale on shirts and mugs at cafepress.com.

And if you wanna buy it on a mousepad or a canvas bag, lemme know; I'll add it to the shop!

20 April 2007

Long Day Off...

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
After taking the van in for servicing (turned out we needed new front brakes too, oops), kiddo and I headed out for the day. She had a day off school and I opted to spend it with her.

We went out for breakfast then hopped on the bus out to Butterfly Gardens. We spent a little over an hour there in which time I took about 200 photos (!!) including this one of a butterfly standing tall on a leaf in the mist -- I was surprised how well this turned out since I basically held the camera out over a railing and snapped (twice).

After getting a cold drink (because the gardens were "stinking hot" according to kiddo), we bussed back to Mayfair Mall where we had lunch and shopped until it was time to collect the van.

Kiddo seemed to enjoy herself but I think we were both pretty exhausted by the time we pulled into the driveway.

19 April 2007

No longer on the dial....

So... I'd seen Shaw Cable's ad which advised that there were channel changes coming to our region and to check at their website. I did, and couldn't see any changes to the channels we get (we have resisted digital, so we subscribe to "full cable," which I learned is now called "classic cable" -- great, now I have the 66 Corvette of television signals). However, since I don't trust Shaw, I phoned them. I waited for a while and eventually got to a person. I asked her whether any of the channel changes would affect customers on classic cable. She uhhhmed and ahhhhed for a few moments (probably reading company bumf) and finally said, "It looks like you'll just be losing The Shopping Channel," to which I replied, "Oh, heck. That's too bad."

And this is where I started smiling... because although I coated that statement liberally with sarcasm, she completely missed it, thinking I really was upset by the loss of Canada's version of QVC. She assured me that it was their call to go all digital, not Shaw's, and that the channel had sent all their customers letters -- had I received a letter? -- and if I could wait until May 9th Shaw would be offering their digital converters for a reduced price... etc.

I thanked her, said I would consider the digital option and then allowed myself to giggle after hanging up.

Snap Happy

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
Climbed off the bus a stop early this morning. It was chilly and partly cloudy but still bright. I took many photos in the Finnerty Gardens today, I think April may be when the gardens are at their best with most of the rhodos in bloom and plenty of other colour... so pretty.

I'm glad I got some nice photos today, because the past few days my photos have been... mediocre. I've been having trouble with the autofocus and judging light levels, resulting in blurry and glary photos.

Last night I took a bunch of photos of jewelery for etsy; after the first few it occurred to me that I would benefit from using the tripod. Actually though, I really ought to build a lightbox one of these days.

17 April 2007

This is not a bibliography:

Seriously. This past weekend, we attended the Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair. One of the participants proudly displayed on her project board her full bibliography consisting of that one web address. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

Even if that was the only project her school sent to the regionals, why didn't someone -- her parents, her teachers, a random passerby -- explain to her that she needed to list her sources? I mean, for her to list only web sources might be suspicious, but listing Google??? AAAgh.

15 April 2007


Though I was disappointed with my first forray into Etsy, I have renewed my listings and am going to list some more, going with the theory that people want more to browse. I gave my shop a facelift, too; feel free to take a peek:

And if you have thoughts on what else I should sell, lemme know. I am not, however, going to sell CuppaJoe Cozies or Wradical Wraps through Etsy, since they have their own home.


Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
I completely forgot to mention; Friday night we also bought 4 bags of topsoil so I could get the garden ready for the season.... now most of my containers are topped up and I have started some seeds in egg cartons (peas and beans) and I will be starting lettuce mixes too... all in an effort to get some seedlings started before they are eaten by slugs!

14 April 2007

Bonus "Couple Time"

We ended up with a bonus night to ourselves on Friday while kiddo spent the night at her Nana's.... what did we do? Not much Friday night... we did go out and buy a new palm sander so hubby could continue work on the Sculpture of Cthulhu (SOC). We made a few other stops then came home and puttered.

This morning, we went out for breakfast at John's Place. I love that restaurant, but I have one complaint: they've changed their coffee. They used to serve Canterbury roast (mmm); now they serve Lavazza, which claims to be Italy's favourite coffee. I just have to say, if this is true, I'm not going to Italy any time soon. What I suspect is that it isn't being brewed quite right, because we ordered dark roast and got something that tasted like dishwater with coffee overtones and a slight hint of mud. That said, breakfast was good (too big though; I should have asked for a half portion).

The weather was amazing today, too, blue skies... puffy clouds... windy and sunny. Hubby was not sure what to do with the "happy-before-breakfast" version of me.

After breakfast we headed over to Michael's/Future Shop, etc. Hubby had a meeting at 10, so I went to Michaels -- after walking about a mile all the way around Mayfair Mall and back down Cloverdale. I have decided that the only way to make sure I exercise is to do something every day -- I am on day 4 of that plan and so far so good... but we'll see how I'm doing in a month. To that end, I have also signed up with SparkPeople.com... so I can track exercise along with nutrition.

I just have to add, right now hubby is playing with a particularly lame video game... he figured out how to make the character jump and is making him jump in place while the character's father delivers some tedious monologue...what's even funnier is hubby saying "Yay! Yay! Yay! Are those my barrels? Yay! Yay! Oh, this is purple! Yay! Yay!" etc...

Didn't buy much at Michael's, but I did get some new rubber stamps for greeting card production so I can finally make a dent in all the cardblanks we bought last year! I also got some ribbon that was on sale... I have plans to use it for more bottlecap pincushions.

Tomorrow we're hosting brunch and later we may attend the Regional science fair. I have a major soft spot for the science fair, having made it to the regional several times through school but we took kiddo last year and she got a kick out of it, so we're hoping to repeat that.

12 April 2007

I could use a grant...

... and HBC is giving money away, apparently.

The Hbc Local History Grant Program is designed to assist applicants involved in history and heritage commemoration. Grants up to an amount of $1,000 are available to spark new initiatives that promote greater public awareness of Canadian history, particularly among young people.

A lot of this year's grants went to museum groups, but this one gives me hope, especially as it is local...
Michael Layland (Victoria, BC) A retired map maker, he has reached into the history of the Hbc Company to reproduce the original map of Victoria.

Maybe next year though; I have too much to do right now.

09 April 2007

The Vanishing Neighbourhood Market

And in today's episode of Short Attention Span Theatre, I offer this link to a flickr slideshow of Neighbourhood Markets in and around Victoria, BC.

I actually find it fascinating because they are vanishing... some pretty quickly....

This photo of Banfield Market was taken by R. A. Paterson in December 2006, as part of the above set:

Banfield Market, Vic West

You can see, on the left, a for sale sign... and when we went there yesterday afternoon (because it's in this month's grid), we found it closed for business, it's windows papered over; hubby took this photo:

Banfield Market

It was an interesting market, attempting to be organic and upscale... when we lived in the area 10 years ago, it was a pretty typical corner store that I could usually count on to have a handful of fresh produce available. I can't remember when it went upscale... but it was after we moved out of the neighbourhood.

08 April 2007

FrugalVictoria is Live (again)

My much-neglected FrugalVictoria website is once again shiny and ready for its closeup. (Many thanks to my Hubby for wrangling it on to the server; the initial screw up was my doing, when I moved the dns, I only did half the job. Oops.)

I started FrugalVictoria.com at a time when our finances were much tighter and every dollar added up. We bought factory-second disposable diapers by the carton; we used natural cleaners; we grew our own food; and we tried every brand of coffee on the shelf until we found a suitable replacement for the higher end beans we preferred.

At the time, there were a handful of sites devoted to "tightwads" and "dollar stretchers" but they were all American; there was very little in the way of Canadian -- let alone local -- information or resources. I kept it up for a couple of years, but then got busy with other things (blogging among them) and since finances were better, it didn't seem like I needed to focus on living cheaply.

Of course,Victoria is still one of the least affordable cities in Canada -- there are statistics to prove it -- but it's also one of the most desireable locations to live. And for every "high roller" who moves here, they're going to need a host of people able to survive on low wages in order to serve them coffee, sell them clothes, and care for their children.

On the other hand, there is more to FrugalVictoria than just finances. There's also living with less; simple living and getting back to basics. Some of the things that our grandparents took for granted -- knowing how to darn a sock, tend a garden, pickle cucumbers, or build a chair from scrap lumber -- these things are getting lost in the shuffle. Sure, most of us don't need to know how to do these things, but they are helpful and part of our cultural heritage.

Overall, I hope FrugalVictoria will be a great way for me to highlight free (or cheap) local events, big sales, and issues like finding affordable housing (no I haven't written that article yet....) as well as share tips on living for less and with less in the City of Gardens. Come over for a visit...

[And, yes, I not only get to scratch one more item of the List O' Unfinished Projects, but I also learned a whole lot about Drupal along the way that I can now apply to other projects.... which means another thing I can cross off the List!! Whee!]

Happy Easter.


There's been plenty of bunny lovin' on campus lately...
I expect baby bunnies by the bucketful very soon.

Aside from kiddo's lightning-speed Easter Egg hunt, it's been a mellow morning. Hubby has been trying to wrangle Frugal Victoria on to the new server, and I've been lazing around enjoying coffee.

Yesterday, the weather was not agreeable for a day outside, so we went to see a movie instead: Meet The Robinsons (which I hope to review in full on Medianook later...), which was a fine way to spend an afternoon.

This morning, there is a little window of cloudy-but-not-pouring-rain so we are about to head out to the park. Yesterday afternoon there was a little window too, but not enough to make us want to pack out to the park.... instead I got some photos in our garden:

mysnail two_tulips cameron_rosemary

Hope you're having a pleasant weekend.

06 April 2007

Clean house, sore body.

Slept in... which was nice, considering kiddo got up at "seven oh two"... she just turned on cartoons and hung out until we got up. Yay for independence.

After a full breakfast, we gathered kiddo and the cat and dropped them both off at my Mother in Law's. Then hubby and I stripped off all the linens, vacuumed, shoved furniture around, vacuumed some more, then sprayed the place with anti-flea spray. Ugh.

While it aired out, we filled the van with laundry and headed out to Admiral's Walk where there was a laundromat (for about 8 loads of laundry, plus four more we did here), a dollar store (to get the rest of the stuff for Sunday's Easter Egg Hunt), a restaurant (for lunch), a drug store and a grocery store (for a few necessities), and a coffee house (for coffee of course!). Phew! And we managed to get everything and do what we needed inside of about 2 hours. I was actually impressed with our efficiency.

When we got back, we made the beds then shipped ourselves down to my Mother in Law's to visit and stay for dinner. For the first half hour, all I did was sit and let my body settle out all the achey bits....

When we got home, we put away all the laundry while kiddo bathed.... and I am glad we made the beds earlier, because I am really looking forward to sleeping in it... after we finish watching The Wedding Singer. Yay.


Tomorrow, we are heading over to the other side of VicWest so kiddo can get in some playtime at the park and we can get some Victoria Grid Project photos.

Sunday will be the Easter Egg Hunt followed by Easter dinner with hubby's family.... and we have no plans yet for Monday (I'm hoping for a day of very little).

05 April 2007


Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
After dinner, kiddo and I baked cookies. She is getting more and more helpful -- she measured everything, and did at least half the mixing.

The recipe is super simple:

1/2 cup soft margarine or butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup flour

Mix using hands in mixing bowl until dough forms ball. Roll into small balls and flatten on cookie sheet. At this point, you can either bake as is and decorate or, what I normally do is flatten them with a glass dipped in cinnamon-sugar or sprinkles.

The icing is out of a tub (Betty Crocker, I think) and the coloured icing is from Cake Mate tubes. (I think it looks more impressive, but I am not remotely Martha Stewart-like)

Anyway, kiddo decorated three on her own, I did the rest. Fun was had and cookies were eaten... and there are still some left!


Originally uploaded by triviaqueen.
Thank goodness it's a long weekend. Renovations started today on some new office spaces just outside my current work area... lots of thumps, bumps, whirs, and the odd sound of twisting metal....

I should be thankful that I haven't had to deal with the major construction outside as it is on the other side of the building -- opposite corner, in fact -- from where I sit.

These next few months, until December of this year, and maybe into early 2008 will be the "transitional phase" of the expansion. There will be musical desks for a while as some people will be moved into "swing space" -- temporary offices and desk areas -- until the new offices are constructed.

I will be moving too, as will three or four staff members nearby. Right now, we only know the move will happen, and we have a rough idea of the area we will be moved into.... but it's all very tenuous still...

So, interesting times are in my near future... but I survived the relocation of the public service desk; I can survive this one too. Still, it's a little like winter driving in Victoria: whether or not you can cope may be less important than whether or not those around you can cope.

04 April 2007

Patio Makeover Part 2

So, an embarassing amount of junk has been removed/recycled/etc. from the deck. There is still more than the ideal amount remaining, but it's in much better order than before and much of the remaining scrap wood and bits will be used to make at least one sculpture. I should add that the bbq we took to the dump was in a scary state of disrepair. I had no idea how wrecked the inside was -- the venturi tubes were so rusted they folded like paper; there's no way we should have been using that for the past year.

To go with the new bbq and old table I'd like to buy 4 matching chairs, but otherwise I'd say we're set for entertaining. Hubby is testing the new rotisserie on the bbq tonight, making gyros. Mmmm.

So, without further ado, here are the "after" photos:

blurry_table42 corner1 hubby_kiddo

I'm pretty happy with the results.

02 April 2007

How much is that outfit really worth?

"The 100-mile suit is a literal examination of the question "where did you get your outfit?" A fiber to finish project inspired by initiatives in sustainability such as the 100-mile diet, community supported agriculture, local car-share transport and creative collectives. The 100-mile suit unravels the disconnect of consumer to product by reintegrating and reconnecting the wearer of clothes to local trades and economies."

When I was in my 20s, I had a dream of being self sufficient. I thought being able to make my own clothes would be enough... but I never considered making the materials for those clothes. Artist Kelly Cobb enlisted 21 people to help her source and make materials (suit, shirt, slacks, shoes, socks, undies -- even the buttons on the shirt!!) within a hundred miles of Philadelphia.

The resulting outfit is... well, interesting. It would fit in just fine around here, among the greenest of green locals, but I think it would raise more than a few eyebrows in the boardroom of a big city.

Still, it is an interesting thing to consider.

01 April 2007

Lurking in my garden....

When I was moving containers around and stripping back some of the [expletive deleted] english ivy (you know, I love the look of the stuff, but it is so tenacious!!! -- I guess that's why it's considered an invasive species. Hmph.).... anyway, after stripping that back, I found a snail lurking on a planter! I have seen many slugs in my garden (grrr, don't like them eating all my plants) but never a snail before. I had to take a photo, of course:


Patio Makeover Part 1

We aren't too kind to our patio. It's a smallish space into which we have crammed: a container garden, a cooking and eating space, craft storage, outdoor toys, and our chest freezer. We started pulling stuff out on Saturday....

deck_clutter junk

... and continued moving/sorting/freecycling stuff today, since we still want to use the deck for all those things.... We've Freecycled a bookcase, a very weathered bench, a baby gate, a plastic toddler bike, and a big box of plant pots. We've taken out two basketsfull of garden trimmings, several armsfull of recycling, and several bags of garbage.

We also went out and bought a new barbeque (the old one we sort of inherited from friends finally gave up the ghost), and two Rubbermaid storage units -- one park-bench style unit and one VERY BIG storage box/bench:

reorganizing xl_deck_box

Now there is a stack of plastic storage bins in one corner, next to that (and in front of the patio door/window) is the park-bench storage unit which holds all (well almost all) of kiddo's outdoor toys.

I moved my containers around (I finally gave up the carnations for dead -- they didn't really come back after all the snow) and made room along the other wall (between two drain pipes) for the BIG storage bench. I also decided to add more dirt to the one raised bed, after dividing it; the strawberries will stay at the front, and I can plant other stuff at the back. And,I'm going to try growing cherry tomatoes in hanging baskets this year.

containers1 containers2

Meanwhile, hubby has decided to turn a lot of the remaining "junk" -- wood scraps, plastic buckets, and who knows what -- into sculptures. I'm looking forward to the results!

So, there are no "after" photos yet... we still have to cart away some unusable scrap wood (termite-ridden!!! eeee!) and the old barbeque (and where does one take old propane tanks? Hmm...), build the new barbeque, and finish tidying the deck.... then I have to tackle the garden, hopefully next weekend. =PHEW=

I ache all over, but it's for a good cause.