31 October 2009

Falling back and such

Since we still haven't solved that whole Daylight Savings nonsense, tonight we'll be changing a bunch of clocks (and the rest tomorrow). Right now, I am making the most of what is left of Halloween by watching Practical Magic. I stayed home to hand out candy while Hubby took Kiddo around the neighbourhood and then off to Oak Bay to see the bonfire.

She loved her costume this year -- Ahsoka, from Star Wars: the Clone Wars -- but was frustrated by how often she had to explain it. She had more fun earlier when she tried on Hubby's V for Vendetta mask:


(BTW, I saw several people wearing that mask yesterday among the many protesters in Centennial Square (some of whom later caused enough of a ruckus that the route for the Olympic Torch Relay had to be adjusted to avoid them).)


Bonus: linkdump!

  • Supernatural Collective Nouns by Wondermark -- I immediately bookmarked this for future reference and amusement.
  • Star Wars zombie art -- yeah, I think I am over zombies now... but this is still an amusing set.
  • Cell size and scale -- if you haven't already seen this, go look, play with the slider, and break your brain a little. Then show your kids. It's edutastic!

Oh, and if any of you are on Google Wave, let me know. I can't invite others (yet?) and I'd like to see if more people would make it suck less. (Right now, it seems kinda sucky and pointless.)

Starting tomorrow, it's PeGeStuDoMo!

28 October 2009


For the first time in a long while, I am absolutely torn on a health issue. Usually, I can sort my way through the hype, find some decent research papers and make an informed decision.

I thought I had done that with H1N1 -- I was pretty confident that this posed no greater threat than the seasonal flu, something for which I have never bothered to be immunized. I usually get a bunch of colds and the odd bout of flu every year so it never occurred to me to be concerned.

Now that I am seeing the results of this flu hitting people I know, making its way through my workplace and my city, I'm not so sure. Throw in the never-ending media microscope and FightFlu.ca, the Public Health Canada website I was accessing in order to send out info on the Union listserv and I caught myself in something close to a panic, trying to decide if I already had H1N1. Now I've read almost every document on the site plus a lot more around the web and mostly convinced myself that the vaccine is better than the virus.... and yet part of me is still torn (admittedly more about the fact that there may be some truth tucked in the sensation that the media is peddling.)

However, my biggest worry is Friday. We are planning to be in town to watch (and photograph) part of the torch relay and the protests that are bound to accompany it (Kiddo will be going to school as usual). My worry is that people who would otherwise stay home because they are sick and that's the right thing to do will instead be crowded shoulder to shoulder in order to witness a once-in-a-lifetime event. Sigh. I'll have to check my paranoia level Friday morning.

27 October 2009

Almost got sucked in....

I just managed to lose about a half an hour on YouTube... I got distracted looking at 80s ads then classic LEGO ads then I found this:

We had a good number of those sets (my brother now has them -- I got to keep the "town" LEGO sets). By the way, if you are in Victoria, did you know you can buy LEGO bits in bulk at Cherry Bomb Toys? They let you pick through bins and tuck the pieces into a plastic cup for $7. I got some nifty pieces last week....

25 October 2009

Facebook Fix

For those of you annoyed by Facebook's latest uninvited "improvement" -- i.e. the evil that is the News Feed versus the clutter that is the Live Feed, I'd like to share with you a way to fix it. Someone else posted this on one of the three or four protest groups which have popped up; his name is Russian (in Cyrillic font) so I really can't give the right credit here but he gets a big THANK YOU.

Basically, what you can do is step back to the way it was two "improvements" ago by making friends' status feeds your default view. Here's how:

1. Go to your main page. Probably it's set to News Feed or Live Feed.
2. Look to the left column, where your friend groups and apps are listed, click on "More"

3. Find Status Updates in the list and drag it to the very top. Now click on it to close the list and make it your default view.

And that's it! Now you don't have to choose between a jumbled list of postings and updates or an amalgamation of information overload. For now, at least.

24 October 2009

Little Shop of Horrors Market

Hubby and I are off to the Little Shop of Horrors from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. -- we have a table at the Zombie/Halloween Market being held at Logan's Pub, 1821 Cook Street...

I'll be taking Creative Miscellany monsters, a few other odds and ends plus the Special Zombie edition of Bümfmag.


Drop by
if you can -- say you saw it on Flotsam & Jetsam and I'll give you $2 off a minimum $10 purchase.

23 October 2009


There's a buzz among friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter... it's time again for NaNoWriMo. However, I will not be participating. I tried, a while back, and it was ... painful. I'd been inspired by Star who had been so supportive of my writing and had suggested that I try it. I did, but life derailed the writing. As with so many of my projects, I lost interest and put it aside for a couple of weeks. I picked it up again at the start of December and thought, reasonably, that even if I didn't meet the challenge of NaNoWriMo, the story was still salvageable. I planned to email Star to tell her I was still working on the story but I didn't get the chance. I've tried revisiting the story a few times but I still can't quite approach it.

However, just because I'm not doing NaNoWriMo doesn't mean I can't set a goal or two... so I introduce to you PeGeStuDoMo -- Personal Getting Stuff Done Month. It's been a while since I really looked at my/our Big List o' Projects and it bears revisiting and revising. There are a few things near the top of the list that just seem to hover and I am determined to finish them even if it means (gasp!) turning off my computer for a few hours -- or at least disconnecting from the net. I am proclaiming November my PeGeStuDoMo because I still have sewing to do for Halloween costumes and other committments in the next week.

If I drift off tangent next month, please feel free to give me a virtual kick in the pants.

21 October 2009

Zombies, zombies everywhere....

Victoria used to be known, jokingly, as the home of the newly wed and nearly dead but I am starting to think it may be the home of the newly dead and nearly wed.

This year, the zombie walk has tried to go "legit" -- complete with permits and sponsors. They also chose to move the officially-blessed walk to Halloween day; in part to coordinate with the Comic Convention that is one of the primary sponsors (those in costume get in for reduced rate. woo). Unfortunately, this move pissed off those who think a zombie walk should be closer to a flash mob than a parade so they have organized a separate walk on a different day -- I am currently getting event invites for both on Facebook.

On top of that, there is a little thing called the Olympics. The torch relay starts here on October 30th and there will be plenty of protests to go along with it including, you guessed it, another zombie walk -- this one "in memoriam" for missing women, residential school survivors, those who have died at the hand of police, and so on.

Oh, and did I mention, a zombie craft fair, too? (it was supposed to follow the official zombie walk, hence the other date) Hubby and I will be participating in the craft fair; Kiddo and I are working on a special Zombie edition of Bümfmag for the occasion. I tried to make some plush zombie stuff... but so far it has been a "pit of fail"... but I will at least be there to keep him company and hawk his wares.

I think after October ends, though, I'm going to need some zombie-free time.

17 October 2009

Tomato bounty

So... for all my whining about my never-ripening tomatoes, we ended up getting a lot of bang for our buck. If you remember, we bought six (eight?) seedlings and also tried starting some from seed then got a bunch of seedlings from a friend, which resulted in a tomato forest in our garden. However, the weather this year was a bit weird and most people in the area had to wait a long time for any ripe fruit.

I got a bunch of yellow cherry-sized tomatoes off our plants and a few larger tomatoes that, once inside, eventually turned orange-red. However, last week, when the forecast threatened frost, I pulled all the remaining plants and harvested a HUGE mountain of mostly green tomatoes. We also got a couple of pounds of ripe tomatoes from the same friend who gave us the seedlings.

I found a quick-and-dirty recipe for pickled green tomatoes from Martha Stewart of all people -- basically just dunk them in leftover pickle brine for a week. I did that with about a cup of sliced tomatoes but then I went looking for other recipes. I finally decided to wing it after looking at oodles of recipes. I made two quarts last week and another three quarts today. I sure hope they taste OK... ;)


I put aside a few of the nicest tomatoes that remained then the rest went into a tri-colour tomato sauce -- I didn't measure at all and it came out a full quart.


So, we have two pounds of green tomatoes waiting to ripen in paper bags and about a pound of ripe fruit. Truthfully, I'm almost as tired of tomatoes as I am of cucumbers but I am still thankful for the bounty that my garden provided in the end.

14 October 2009

I wanna flip camera

Since I've started using Twitter for FrugalVictoria, I've found (and been found by) all sorts of other Canadian freebie sites including CanadianFreeStuff which is currently holding a contest for a Flip Video Camera that I would be happy to win.

There's also a forum at CanadianFreeStuff where you can earn points toward stuff based on your level of participation. If you sign up there, tell 'em "triviaqueen" sent you ;)

As with the other sites I've found, there is overlap but there is good info on all of them and I still feel like FrugalVictoria fits nicely into the mix. (Phew!)

12 October 2009

Vacation's End

All told, this was one of the best fall vacations we've had.

This time last year we had just moved in. It seems hard to believe it's been a year, so hard that until I looked it up on the blog I wasn't completely sure what day we had moved in (it was October 9th).

With the getaway at the start of the week off, we got back relaxed for the rest of our week off. We balanced some hang time with getting-stuff-done and some time with friends and family (though Thanksgiving was extra tense this year -- not sure what really was going on there...). Kiddo and I did some crafting together including a "rag doll with Coraline eyes" that she designed and we collaborated to finish:


Hubby made lots of headway on getting the new deck stairs underway (the "deathtrap stairs of doom" have to go -- the new stairs will go down the back of the deck, toward the apple trees and easier access to the bbq. It's the first step toward prepping for the addition.

Today, Hubby pulled down most of the weird carport skeleton over the driveway to reclaim the wood for the project, too. And you know what? I really wish we had pulled that sucker down earlier. After it was down, I moved and re-stacked the wood we had hastily thrown there, and our driveway looked pretty good.

We had an unseasonably warm and dry week, too; tomorrow we are expecting rain with frost forecast for this evening. We turned the gas fireplace on today for the first time in months and I decided I had best get in the last of the cucumbers (the vines were dried up anyhow) and pull out the tomato plants. There were 6 cucumbers left and I don't know how many pounds of mostly green tomatoes... I think I may try pickling them...


Back to work tomorrow. Sigh. At least it's a short (if busy) week.

07 October 2009

Sooke Harbour House escape

To celebrate our 12th anniversary, Hubby and I splurged and booked two nights at the Sooke Harbour House which is one of the top 100 hotels in the world, as voted by Conde Nast Traveller readers -- and it is in our back yard, less than an hour away.

And you know what? It was one of the best experiences I've had both for accommodation and dining, despite a major, though completely unexpected hitch.*

Our room included a large shower (large = half the size of our bedroom at home) and a private jacuzzi tub on the deck. Add a fireplace and a queen size bed plus high ceilings and lots of little extras and I could have been happy with just that.

Of course there is also a 5 star restaurant on site that specializes in fresh, local fare; the hotel is situated on the water's edge, not far from the Southern end of the West Coast Trail; and the hotel boasts an impressive and ever-changing array of art by local artisans and a big library, free for guests to use during their stay. They even offer small televisions and dvd players and had an impressively eclectic selection of films (including two we hadn't seen).

Would I go back? Heck yes, if our budget allowed. Would I recommend it to others? Absolutely.

And you know what? If you live in the region, you should go have a peek anyway -- through the "quiet season" (i.e. now) they have an open house every Sunday from 1-4; you can peek in the rooms (each one is decorated to a theme -- ours was the Phycologist's Study) and see all the artwork.


shhse_phycrm0 shhse_art_display


*We had selected the "Kitchen Adventure" package which included three hours in the kitchen with the chef and staff along with a tour of the gardens. Unfortunately, just a short time before we were set to meet in the kitchen, the chef was called away for a family emergency and the sous-chef was out of province and understandably unreachable. We were extended a gift certificate for a "do-over" of that portion, including another night in the hotel -- far beyond the minimal service I have come to expect from the hospitality industry in recent years. (I'll let you know when we take advantage of the do-over.)

01 October 2009

October arrives

I love October. Why?

  • Our anniversary is in October and I always take vacation to go with it.
  • I finally get to tell people to stop complaining about the rain, "it's October; it's supposed to rain."
  • The weather is cool enough that I can bake without suffering all evening in an overheated house.
  • Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie.
  • Halloween means that when we put weird things on our lawn fewer people freak out.
  • It's close enough to Christmas that I don't seem wacky for working on Christmas projects and far enough away that I actually have a shot at finishing them.
  • October's colour is orange and I look good in orange.