31 October 2007

Halloween Link-O-Rama

1. Etsy's Costume Contest (this was only open to Americans. Sigh.) -- Winners did show off some very clever costumes; my favourite is probably the shrimp costume for an infant. [Another great/simple costume idea: be a LEGO brick.]

2. Skeletal Looney Tunes Characters on display; not nearly as impressive as the 3D Looney Tunes skeletons by Hyungkoo Lee, but still amusing.

3. Best use ever for an old Mac: Mac-O-Lanterns. (Yes, I do think it's better than the MacAquarium, because it takes less maintenance!)

4. Has Al Gore got to you? Some thoughts on how to go Green for Halloween.

5. Feeling the need for something creepier? Here's an easy way to put a head in a jar and a sea creature that is likely to give me nightmares... or at least make me less likely to put my finger in the touch-and-feel tank at the aquarium.

6. Last but not least, please consider watching this educational video on How to Survive a Zombie Attack:

Happy Halloween!

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
Yes, folks, it's that day again.... a day of costumes, candy and general creepiness... and yet it's a Wednesday.

As a parent, I know mid-week is good for Halloween, but my inner 18-year old is a bit bummed. (Not that I am in any shape to party this year....) Of course my inner grumpy-old-man is happy that not only does midweek generally mean less chaos, but also that the City of Victoria has also really reigned in the fireworks sales this year, so there will be fewer ya-hoos blowing up pumpkins.

I will be going out this evening with Kiddo, but I don't plan on walking too far (Hubby will do more of the walking, and other friends will be coming along too). I expect by the time we get home I will just want to collapse.

29 October 2007

Time remains unchanged...

Last night, something strange happened. All day, I felt out of whack and by the time 10:30 rolled around I was nowhere near sleepy. Hubby suggested that after over 30 years of adjusting to the end of Daylight Savings Time at the end of October my body had actually anticipated the change. Normally, I would grumpily wave that kind of suggestion off... but it might hold water; recent research shows that our bodies never really adjust to Daylight Savings timeshifts in the spring, so maybe my body just wanted to get back to normal.

Of course, thanks to knuckleheaded US Congress and Canada's ovine politicians, we are "falling back" one week later than we have for years. I've said it before and I'll say it again. We need to abolish this stupid timeshift nonsense altogether. Just knock it off already and give me my natural rhythm back!


27 October 2007

Pint-Sized Halloween Fun

Well, we survived Kiddo's first shot at hosting a Halloween party. There were six guests and some loosely planned activities; the two biggest hits were the Sculpey creations -- we started out by getting the kids sculpting some monsters and other Hallowen-y things which we then baked for them to take home -- and reading I Spy books (Spooky Night then Treasure Hunt) -- an on-the-fly activity I started when one guest had bored of crafting but we weren't quite ready for the next activity; soon most of the kids were gathered round helping each other find the hidden things in each picture.


Once the kids realized they could tuck in to the treats, they dove in -- Cheezies® were the overall hit; I think every guest had a bag (and I suspect we'll be finding strays under furniture for a few days yet....). At this point, the kids started amusing themselves; some playing gate-keeper, others watching Monsters Inc. which was playing in the background.

Next was Halloween Grossology (not scientific at all -- more like the old campfire game where bowls of goop are passed off as body parts); guests were blindfolded and led into the kitchen where hubby let them feel bowls filled with various things -- cold tea bags, spaghetti and pumpkin guts, and peeled grapes. This too was a hit; more than one kid wanted a second chance!

All in all, I think everyone left happy, andKiddo was certainly pleased. Hubby and I were both pretty much exhausted, but we'd happily do it again.

24 October 2007

Back in the Saddle

Monday morning was back to work, albeit only for half a day. In that half day, I got about 15 minutes of work done -- mainly because people kept asking how I was doing, but also because I had a meeting to attend. Yesterday was a bit better, but I didn't have access to my computer as my profile was being migrated to a new server. This meant I didn't have access to my calendar program and didn't get the notification about a meeting yesterday... which I subsequently missed.


Meanwhile, my evenings have been busy-ish. Monday I had to finish a review for a Nancy Drew DVD Game (yes, you play the game on your DVD player), The Curse of Blackmoor Manor. Last night, I spent a couple of hours putting together kiddo's costume for this year: a spider. It's not quite done yet... but if she had to go now, she could.


Next challenge: prepping for the Halloween party she is hosting on Saturday afternoon.

20 October 2007

Stormy Harbour

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
It's been stormy around here of late -- apparently it is the leftovers from Tropical Storm Lingling and it is making for some very mixed-up weather patterns. Within minutes the skies change from angry grey to bright blue with puffy little clouds; you have to dress prepared for anything.

Last night the rain was coming down so hard it was bouncing back up off the pavement several feet and with the wind, it seemed to be coming down in several directions at once. Just walking from the car to the front door meant getting soaked head to toe.

Ahh, fall.

We're off to Nanaimo today, just a brief roadtrip for no real reason other than just getting out of the city for a few hours.

Monday, I'll be back at work -- half-time for the next month -- so we'll see how that goes. I don't expect to get much done the first day or two; I joked that I should record a You-Tube video of FAQ answers (I'm doing well, I'm in physio now; yes, I will have to wear this boot for a while longer; yes I have metal plates and screws holding my leg together; no, it doesn't hurt much most of the time; yes it did suck, but at least it wasn't fatal. ....)

18 October 2007

Background Change...

Since I was already fiddling around, I decided to change the background to one of my own images, "painted fall" which is a Photoshopped image of fall leaves on grass:

Sidebar Tidy-up

If you ever look to the left of what I write here, you'll have noticed various links and widgets which I sometimes rearrange. Today, I added the "autoroll" widget, which promises targeted blog recommendations for readers (we'll see... ) and updated some of the other little buttons and links. I also moved the archives list down to the bottom of the sidebar, so that readers get to see the other stuff in between.

The other thing I have been pondering is a tag cloud... what do you think? Are tag clouds useful? interesting? or just more clutter?

17 October 2007

Sewing Drama....

Last night, I whipped up a couple more Huggitz dolls for my etsy store... or rather, I whipped up one and got part way through the second one when my beloved Singer Style-o-Matic seized! The needle would no longer move up and down, it was stuck in place.

Since it was after 11 p.m. I took that as a sign to go to bed (more or less) and figured I would sort things out in the morning. Well, after coffee, breakfast, washing dishes, and some net surfing, I went upstairs to look at my sewing machine.

I am not afraid of machinery -- in fact I am usually very curious about how it all works -- and since I had resigned myself to the possibility that the Style-o-Matic was pining for the fjords, I gathered the tools I would need to give it one last cleaning, just in case it wasn't beyond hope.

Now, I haven't been the best owner. Sure, I have cleaned the bobbin compartment a few times, but I haven't followed all the instructions for a full maintenance cycle on the machine since my Dad gave it to me 5 or 6 years back. Happily, when he gave it to me, he included the original instruction/owners manual and a can of Singer Sewing Machine Oil (priced at 75 cents, so likely 30 years old or so).


I plugged in an extra lamp (with an adjustable neck), laid out my soft toothbrush, screwdriver, and oil, and started reading through the maintenance section of the manual. After each section was cleaned, I tried moving the needle with no luck. The only thing I hadn't done was remove the bobbin casing to clean underneath. It took quite a bit of effort but I did finally pop it out. There was a little lint underneath, but not much, and a little tiny piece of thread, wedged into the side of the casing. I removed that and was surprised to find that the casing slipped in much more easily than it had come out. Could it be...? I tried moving the needle and it moved smoothly up and down! Hooray!!

I finished off the maintenance by oiling everything according to the manual. (In fact, I may have oiled too much... I inadvertently put oil instead of lubricant on the gears... hopefully it won't make things worse... and I will go look for the proper lubricant this afternoon). I then replaced everything, threaded the bobbin and needle, and gave it a test run on a scrap of fabric. Everything seemed to work fine, so I finished sewing the other Huggitz doll and patted myself metaphorically on the back.

13 October 2007

Etsy Makeover.

I've spent a bunch of time this evening fiddling around with images in Fireworks to come up with a new banner for my Etsy shop. I wanted something to better represent me. Above is the small version, for promotional use on my webpages and such. Below is the full version that appears at the top of my Etsy shop:

I've also been trying to figure out how to best promote my shop without resorting to weaselly tactics. I was happy to find an Etsy wiki (speaking of wikis, if you've ever wanted to collaborate on a script... head over to the CrowdPublishing script wiki....), the TransCanada Etsy Team, and a few other Victoria-based Etsy sellers looking for each other....

Unfortunately, self-promotion is something at which I suck. So, if you have ideas for weasel-free self-promotion, I'd love to hear them.

12 October 2007

Zombie Grocers

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
This is the best window-painting I've seen this year. The Country Grocer in Esquimalt always paint their front windows for seasonal celebrations (including the Esquimalt Bucaneer Days), but seriously, this one is inspired. I was so glad I had my camera with me!

11 October 2007

One "step" closer

Had my first visit with the physiotherapist today. Nice guy, very personable, and answered my questions pretty clearly. He assessed my current mobility, did some manual manipulation of the joint, gave me some exercises then hooked my foot up to a functional electrical stimulation machine... which felt very odd.

At any rate, he didn't see any barriers to a gradual return to work; if my GP gives me the all clear, I will be back to work (part time) next week.

I suppose I should say "woo-hoo" but I am going to miss hanging out around the house doing my own thing. ;)

On another topic altogether, file this under geekily cool: a whole bunch of online Periodic Tables. I particularly like the first one they link to: a Dynamic Periodic table built using ajax. Verrry handy for parents whose kids are taking any level of chemistry....

10 October 2007

Cozies Redux!

After many months of procrastination, I finally took the time to refresh the website for my CuppaJoe Cozies and Wradical Wraps. I removed some excess, tidied up some info, and totally reworked the order page. Hooray!

CuppaJoe Cozies in a Row

Of course, the trigger was another shout-out by Colin over at his CoffeeCrew blog... and today, I got an email from a local area cafe interested in selling my cozies as "a Christmas impulse item." Woo! I'll let you know how that works out.


In other follow-up news, my review for Chuzzle Deluxe is up at Game-Boyz.com

08 October 2007

And the days are getting shorter....

It has definitely felt like fall with the rain settling in around here and now as the days get darker I look forward to cool evenings and the smell of wet leaves. Ahhh.

Of course, I am also starting to walk again, so I will be headed back to work soon (I just have to wait for my Doctor's "OK") and in that light, well I'm feeling a little remorse at not having done more on my time off. Before you chirp at me, I know the only thing expected of me was to heal.... but I really could have spent less time playing Chuzzle and more time writing or something....

So, to make up for it, and since I've decided not to enter any craft fairs this year, I spent the afternoon posting my crafty creations on my Etsy:

06 October 2007


Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
This used to be my brother's; he figures it's from around 1987-88; I guess that makes it "vintage."

Kiddo was wearing it tonight; she was writing out a list of emergency phone numbers because, in her words, "McDonalds is a dangerous place to work!"

Truer words may never have been spoken.

Her reaction may however be due to the news story this week that a local McDonalds restaurant was shut down by the heath authority as it was overrun by rats. It could also be because her cousin works at another local McDonalds and has been telling tales of coworkers getting burned by french-fry grease.

Either way, it's getting less likely every day that she will either want to work there or even eat there. Hooray!

05 October 2007

Happy Anniversary (to us)

Originally uploaded by triviaqueen
Last night, we dropped kiddo off with my mother, and checked in to the Oswego Victoria Boutique Hotel. We had booked a studio suite but were upgraded to a one bedroom (woo!) which looked like a designer and HGTV crews had just left the area. (More photos at Flickr)

I took some photos then settled down in front of the TV with hundreds of (repetitive) satellite channels while Hubby set about making a lovely dinner.

We started with a marinated tomato, basil and bocconcini salad then sat down for a dinner of Digby scallops, lobster tail, New York strip steak, and chanterelle, prosciutto and parmesan risotto. Mmmmmm.

Later, Hubby made coffee and went out on the deck to crackle the top of a blackberry creme brule.

We had a very nice evening to ourselves. Despite the opportunity to sleep in, however, we did rise early. We took in the complementary continental breakfast then checked out around 10 am. Afterward, we spent a little time downtown, but I found it difficult to be on my feet for too long.

Ah well, it was lovely all the same.

02 October 2007

Out and About


Three days in a row I have left the house -- that's the most activity I've managed since getting back from the hospital! Sunday, we went out to see the Blue Man Group (after which, my opinion of SNL regular Fred Armisen went up several notches). The hardest part about the evening (aside from getting to and from the van) was resting my right foot on the floor for two hours, so really, not too bad.

Monday, Hubby took me up to campus to drop off some forms, pick up a new bus pass, and say "hi" to everyone. I really didn't enjoy all the hopping on the concrete... but it was nice to see people. Afterward we went to see my Mother-in-law's new place (small but nice, and fully accessible).

As I was hobbling toward the front door, some idiot woman passing by started laughing at me, "Ha ha, you broke your foot!" to which I asked, "Excuse me? And you're laughing because....???" and she says, "Well, look at you! Hah ahaha!" after which there was an exchange of insults and curses, after which hubby yelled at her a whole lot more. Some people just plain SUCK. The thing is, she wasn't like some batshit crazy lady or anything, just an average looking middle-aged person who clearly had issues.

So, yeah, yesterday was hard.

Today, I went back to see the surgeon -- what a clusterf&*# that was! We arrived at about 8:55 for my 9:00 appointment.... we got herded into the x-ray area around 9:15 and it took about an HOUR to get through the sheer backlog of people that managed to get crammed in there, and who ended up being x-rayed in reverse order to when we had arrived. Grr. (Really, there was no reason for moving us in a huge group. Last time, the nurse moved us along two at a time and the only backlog was waiting for the surgeon; this time, the backlog was continual.) So a 9:00 appointment meant we left the hospital at about 10:40.

However, the surgeon said things looked good, and I could stop hopping and start putting weight on my right foot (hooray!). He also gave me a referral for physiotherapy along with an explanation of what I needed to work on. I remembered to ask about whether I still needed to sleep with the cast on; the short answer was "no" but with a warning that I might find my foot to be stiff in the morning.

So, I walked (albeit slowly) out of the hospital. Then we went over to my Mother-in-law's again so hubby could help hang some art and set up some electronics. After that was a trip to Cook Street Village where I did some more walking (woo!) and finally, a brief drive to check out the location of the Oswego hotel before gathering Kiddo from school.

It feels weird, but good to put my foot down on the ground again.