30 August 2007

Good news, bad news.

Good news: our passports showed up today -- faster than I expected, since they were mailed on June 29th (so two months... not bad).

Bad news: I can't go anywhere for a while due to my broken ankle. Sigh.


Hubby, however, could run away....

28 August 2007

You know that scene in Misery.....?

I used a lot more obscenities when my foot folded that way Sunday afternoon.

So... for those of you who have asked, here's the details (skip em if you are squeamish, but I will try to keep it to a minimum). I was carrying two small computer towers (sideways, stacked one on top of the other) to the strata complex's common room. This room is down four concrete steps and the door is at a right angle to the bottom stair. Hubby had already propped the door open, so I just wanted to get the computers in the room and go back up to watch kiddo (still in the townhouse). Instead, I slipped on the second to last or last step (not sure which) reached out with my right arm to steady the fall (bruised and scraped, but not broken), dropped the computers (I think they missed me, but may have in fact complicated things) and slammed into the door at the bottom. As I say, when I looked down, my foot was folded sideways; dislocated at the ankle.

I screamed bloody murder and Hubby got to me in about three strides. He steadied my leg and got me to focus; a neighbour was already on the phone with a 911 operator. Hubby called his mother to come watch kiddo while they loaded me into the ambulance.

I arrived at the hospital at roughly noon and was seen to fairly quickly. X-rays confirmed the dislocation of the talar (foot bone) plus breaks to both the tibia and the fibula (leg bones). The surgeon spoke to me about the operation (pins and plates and other fun stuff) and said he may or may not see me that evening. By 8:00 we learned that there were no more spots in the operating rooms, so I would be going in first thing Monday. The operation seems to have gone smoothly; I go back to see the surgeon for reassessment on September 4th.

I won't say much about the hospital stay except that sharing a room sucks -- I shared mine with a loud, bitter old man, a loud, whiny teenager, and, on the first night a man hooked to a machine that went click-click-click-WHRRRRRR all damn night. The second night, machine guy was replaced by a woman who reminded me of my grandmother (broken hip and all) who, in the middle of the night started mumbling that she needed to "get back to the hospital" for her operation in the morning. The nurse had to turn on the lights to prove she was *already in* the hospital. My extended medical covers a private room, but I tried that after kiddo was born -- the hospital staff did everything they could not to laugh out loud then; I wasn't about to suggest it this time. As it was, the shortage of beds meant that the bed beside of me was empty for less than three hours between patients.

Still, it all could have been worse. I landed on my back on the steps -- I could easily have damaged my spine or my head... and that would never do. Plus, I am thankful that my recent walking regimen (generally twice a week around Ring Road -- about 1.2 miles -- plus stairs in lieu of elevators where possible) has kept my legs in good enough shape that there doesn't seem to be any muscle, nerve or other major internal damage on my foot; and getting around, though tough, is not impossible.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to watch some Looney Tunes before I dip into some more Tylenol 3s.

26 August 2007

Home again... for a few days.

Back from our trip to Vancouver... kid-friendly, including science world, a ride on the giant rocking horse at Metrotown, staying in a Holiday Inn Kid-Suite, going to the Jurrassic Alive display (and riding a cheezy animatronic dino), and playing at the Fun4Kids area with her cousins. We got plenty of shopping in too... clothes, toys, household stuff, Asian groceries, and hubby finally found the remote control R2D2 he's wanted for over a year.




23 August 2007

Things that go BUMP in the night.

You know, I like the dark, the macabre, the just-plain-weird... but there was something very unsettling about being Downtown in the darker corners last night taking photos. Even though hubby was nearby, I felt uncomfortable.


Partly, this goes back to my previous rant about what's wrong with Victoria (and no, I haven't sent those letters yet) but I wonder if I'm just, you know, old enough to no longer feel invincible. Actually, I think I am way past the invincible stage, but there's some sort of psychological line to be crossed where one realizes they are not only mortal, but that death is sneaky and unpredictable. Having lost two friends in the past year -- both of them younger than me, and both to completely unexpected causes -- I think I have crossed that line.


OK, now some less morbid stuff from here and there:

I love this t-shirt for the National Sarcasm Society "Like we need your support." Which reminds me of one of my favourite Simpsons' moments: the Mensa episode where Comic Book Guy criticizes Professor Frink's sarcasm detector, "Oh that's a useful invention," subsequently causing the detector to explode.

This skeleton, which could be considered morbid if it weren't so cute, is carved entirely from pumpkins. Bet it smells pretty nasty after a day or two....

Need something to listen to? There are almost 500 podcasts on almost as many topics at NPR -- I love that they provide multiple formats (including plain old mp3) for listening options. Of course the CBC also offers a bucketload of podcasts for every taste.

22 August 2007

Haiku for the Masses

My latest CafePress project: Haiku for the Masses -- my haiku on t-shirts, mugs, and all that other stuff....

I am starting with my popular "Moving On" zombie haiku and I will expand from there. Hopefully the offbeat nature will win over shoppers.

If you have suggestions for haiku subjects you'd like to see on a t-shirt, mouse pad, messenger bag or mug, let me know. I may even hold a contest...

21 August 2007

Imaginary world....

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
Kiddo would make a great mad scientist. She has no concerns for the way things "ought to be" or, you know, the laws of nature. Instead she merrily mixes and matches things, creating all manner of things that Should Not Be.

The creation pictured is "tyrannoturtle" which she put together this week by adding a dinosaur skull (from a build-a-dinosaur kit) to a little plastic turtle. She is queen of the mashups with her toys.

Some of the most amusing things are from her LEGO box. She pays no attention to the way LEGO is "supposed" to go together, either. She regularly creates monsters -- like the person who is currently called "Four Head" because he has four heads stacked one on top of the other and is off to collect more. My favourite is the camel map bug though... I can't describe it, so I will have to find and photograph it unless she has already deconstructed it.

I can't remember what it is like to ignore reality so completely. I'm a little envious.


In other imaginary news... I have been restless the last few nights and realized there was a story brewing in there. I got the start of it written yesterday and hopefully will work on some more of it today. I won't say much aside from the fact that, at the moment at least, it is kidlit and while it's based in the real world, there is a fantasy aspect. If it develops into anything readable, I'll share more.

20 August 2007

Garage Sold.

Well, not exatly. We weren't selling a garage -- we don't have one to sell. But, we did have a "garage sale" in the strata's common room and while we didn't make an outrageous amount of cash, we did manage to clear out a LOT of stuff. In the end, we took a van full of stuff to Value Village, another load to ReStore, Freecycled some bulky things, and decided to tuck a few things back into the storage locker. Not much though. And I really feel good about clearing things out; our storage locker is in much better shape.

One thing I kept was a ridiculous fish tank -- it was too small to really hold a goldfish, and there is no easy way to fit it with a filter. Having seen Betta fish (a.k.a. Siamese Fighting Fish) in pet stores over the years, I thought it might be suitable for one ... but apparently not. Anyone know of something that will live in a tiny tank? Maybe I will get more sea monkeys....

sea monkey

Our next two weekends are "away" weekends. Coming up first is a quick trip to Vancouver. We're making this one a kiddo-friendly trip, staying in a Holiday Inn "kids' room" (they come with bunk beds and a separate TV), and visiting Science World and the Jurassic Alive display at Aberdeen. (The weekend was supposed to be Daddy-daughter time, but they decided to let me come along.)

Labour day weekend will be spent up-island doing camping and outdoorsy things like canoing and hiking. I'll need the following week to recover... but I will also be ferrying kiddo to and from school for her first week of grade one. Wow, where did summer go?

17 August 2007

This post needs a title.

I love action figures. Well, actually, I love most little plastic figures, action or not. Heck, right now, on my desk at work, are a Nancy Pearl Librarian Action Figure, The Librarian from Mirrormask, and Bill from the Schoolhouse Rock "I'm Just a Bill" cartoon. Only Nancy Pearl has "shushing action;" the others are stationary.


What I love most, though, are the high-end art vinyl figures (like those at MyPlasticHeart and BugVinyl). Not that I can afford to collect them (well, maybe I can afford them, I just can't justify them, since I don't have room to store them.... and I would need room, because inevitably I would not be able to stop at just one.... but I digress).

On the other hand, I could totally have fun with some thrift store/garage sale action figures and some epoxy putty, with Make's guide to mashing up action figures close at hand.


Speaking of garage sales... we are having one this weekend. Our goal is not "make lots of cash" but rather "clear out this stuff and don't make us put it back in storage." And a lot of it is good stuff... we just don't have room for it and/or don't need it anymore. Still, I don't relish standing around haggling with people. I realized recently that I actually hate selling anything. On the other hand, I love buying stuff. ;)


Other things going on this weekend include the Victoria Dragonboat Festival, LoFoArFa (an oh-we're-so-clever abbreviation for Lower Fort Art Fair), and the second Victoria Grid Project Gridnic (though the weather may not be ideal for the Beacon Hill event).

14 August 2007

No Coho? Are you people STUPID?


So... the task force struck to suggest changes to the Belleville Terminal -- the place the MV Coho (above) and the Clipper catamarans dock -- reported to City Council yesterday. Currently, the terminal is dull and outdated -- I am not arguing that point -- but I cannot understand why this group has decided that the terminal should be "pedestrian friendly," or rather why they have rolled up the red carpet and told Blackball ferries that their car-ferry is no longer welcome after nearly 50 years of berthing in the Inner Harbour.

Apparently, Blackball executives were blindsided by this suggestion, as was I -- I found myself yelling, "Are you KIDDING???!" at my radio when I heard the news. Of course, on reflection, I think Esquimalt council should be tripping over themselves trying to find a spot for Blackball along their waterfront.

But really what irks me the most, is that it is yet another Public-Private-Partnership being floated (Hello? Mayor Lowe? Is that arena thing still not fresh in your mind?) and while we are the capital city of BC, there has been no mention of provincial or federal funding. Why not? The province stepped up to spray cash (over $800 million) at the expansion of Vancouver's Conference Centre, so why isn't anyone signing a cheque for Victoria? My bet is no one asked.

And while it's all well and good to upgrade the terminal, do we really need another "landmark hotel" in the Inner Harbour? Do we need a waterfront that looks like every other waterfront in North America? Personally, I like our outdated and quirky waterfront. It's not that I'm not open to change (change can be good), but this is not the right plan.

Please, Mayor Lowe, send your task force back to the meeting room for another go.

13 August 2007

Fun with plastic!

Part 1:

Remember Shrinky-Dinks? (If you're over 30 you should.) They are still being manufactured (see the official Q&A), but they aren't the same as the ones from the 70s and 80s... and it can get pricey (a 10 sheet pack costs about $5). Happily, there is an alternative: #6 plastics otherwise destined for the recycle bin. I love this idea so much I blogged about it on Frugal Victoria after I spent a couple of hours testing it out! Kiddo and each I made a bunch of charms from one piece of plastic that I will use for future projects:


Part 2:

LEGO fun... the Victoria LEGO Users' Group (a.k.a. VicLUG) is putting together a trailer park for an upcoming show, so I decided to get in on the fun... I spent a couple of hours yesterday evening rifling through Kiddo's bins of LEGO (I used my own baseplate... but the rest of it is her pieces) to create a little bit of mobile home goodness... here's my single-wide (with a BBQ on the patio):

LEGO Trailer Mosaic

11 August 2007


1. Butchart Gardens is still an underwhelming experience. The weirdest thing was that the grounds were eerily sterile; I saw almost no insects... no butterflies... no bees... very weird. I did get plenty of photos, but I stand by my review that it just isn't worth the long drive and the high entrance cost. Visitors can see just as much by going to other gardens in town (I'd start by recommending the Abkhazi gardens and the Government House grounds.)

2. Stardust is thoroughly entertaining. I recommend seeing it on the big screen.

3. Another one of my photos has been chosen for the UVic homepage this week. (This isn't quite as prestigious as it sounds... the photo is thumbnail sized at the bottom of the page... you have to scroll to see it. Still... I am pleased about it.)

... see, down there in the lower right...

... here's the photo...


10 August 2007

Happy Birthday, LEGO!

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
LEGO is one of my favourite things in the whole world, and today the LEGO Group which manufactures the bricks, turns 75.

I can't imagine a world without these colourful, sturdy, fun bricks. Thank you, Ole Kirk Christiansen, your toy creation has brought (and continues to bring) me and my family many, many hours of entertainment.

08 August 2007

Coffee Haiku!

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
I finally formatted the 10 coffee haiku poems I had decided to use in the miniature book. I will be selling these on etsy soon.

Each one is hand-stitched into a cover made from a used coffee sleeve; each one is unique in its construction in addition to being a numbered edition limited to 40.

If you'd like one before they go for sale on etsy, let me know....


Isolated church
Originally uploaded by marches-lointaines.com
... I just want to pack up two suitcases each, buy a generator, stuff the van with provisions and survivalist books/gear, and drive off to some isolated little hut in the middle of nowhere.

Usually it's right after reading some new Orwellian law, or whatever is on the front page of EFF.org... yesterday it was watching the video at googlononymous. Gets my inner conspiracy theorist pretty wound up.

I don't know if I could mentally survive the culture shock, but some days it sure seems like it would be worth it to try.

06 August 2007

A tiny bit less clutter....

Over the weekend, I got some Grid photos taken, went to our nephew's 16th birthday party, tidied, rearranged, filed, sorted, and cleaned... and played Chuzzle ;)

Happily (despite playing Chuzzle) we now have less clutter. Not a lot less but less ... and every little bit counts.

This evening, we had guests over (one of the people we met through the Grid project and her kids, one of whom is the same age as Kiddo) and after they left, I actually put the table leaf away.

With the leaf out, I tend to leave stuff on the "other half" of the table, because it's big... but with the leaf away the goal is not to clutter it up. The other part of that plan is that I had been keeping a basket on the table (which grew into a basket plus a file rack in a crate) for stuff that needed to be filed. Needless to say, it just kept growing. I filed/recycled everything that was in there and then used the basket to declutter my desk, found a new home for the file rack (which I will still use for "current bills" and so on), and am using the crate to store my craft stuff (for now).



Earlier today, kiddo was outside playing, and got her hands covered in blue chalk... again... I had to take a photo because she did it wearing the same jumper as she was wearing nearly two years ago in one of my favourite shots of her....

September 2005:

August 2007:

03 August 2007

Another new book

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
Got this book, Count Karlstein by Phillip Pullman out of the library this evening and started reading it while kiddo played in the park.

I know I have dozens of other books on the go.... well, maybe not dozens, but enough... but none of them are going to be fast reads... I wanted something that might compare to the "high" of finishing Deathly Hallows in a hurry. So, kidlit was in order, and this is one of Phillip Pullman's earlier youth novels. I hope it will not disappoint.

One of the other books I am reading is Everything is Miscellaneous: The power of the new digital disorder. It is brain-bendingly amusing, leaping through time with little tales of those who really built the order of the world as we know it, all the while trying to explain why it's all about to crumble (allegedly). An interesting read, at the very least.

02 August 2007

Tooth Fairy Time....

Poor Kiddo. She's had a week of ups and downs. When I met her for lunch yesterday (my Mother in Law kindly dropped her off on campus) she was doing great until she bit into her salad roll and her tooth hurt.

"Oh," I said, "Is it loose?"

"Yes!" she said, her eyes bright and a small smile of realization... then suddenly tears.

It took me a while but after some soothing words, the promise of a special tooth pillow, and a call to Daddy, she eventually calmed down. I am not sure what she's really afraid of... but she sure was unhappy about it. She told hubby that if he saw the tooth fairy, "Tell her I want a toonie!" Ha! I think I may have to look on the internet for the Tooth Fairy Union guide which should include the regulation payment for each tooth. (Hmm, looks like I may lose that battle... but I love the way this parent deals with it.)

Of course, kiddo also thinks the Tooth Fairy recycles. When my Mother asked her what the Tooth Fairy does with all those teeth, she thought for a moment and answered,

"I think she jams them in babies' mouths when they're napping."

Anyway.... I am going to spend the rest of this evening working on a tooth pillow. Kiddo's only request was that it be purple....


01 August 2007

Where does one start?

Sorry to burn your eyes like that. No I didn't take this photo... I just found it washed up on the polluted shores of the internet....

So really, where to start with this?

a) It's Carrot Top. Do you really need to address anything else?

b) It's Carrot Top, but what the hell is with those arms? I think he may have had breast implants on his shoulders.

c) The outfit. Yeah, I couldn't go there either.

d) Wait, I just noticed the backdrop... they're roasting Flavor Flav?? Really? Flavor of Love wasn't enough of a roast?

e) I'm still freaking out about those arms. Seriously, his doctor should have his license revoked.