Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year...


Guess it's time to bring the patio furniture inside, huh?

We were outside earlier today running errands and it was half-raining, half-snowing, but melting instantly upon hitting the ground. A few hours spent indoors not paying attention to the weather outside, and look what happens!


These lumps of white with green sticking out? Yeah, those used to be plants with really colourful wildflowers popping out all over...

Every year, I manage to be surprised at the first snowfall. But this year is earlier than the last few, for sure.


Our winter tires go on just next weekend. And I suppose I should stop procrastinating, and pull out the winter coats and boots... *sigh* Mon pays, c'est l'hiver. The crazy thing (or not, considering it's Canada and highly unpredictable weather sometimes) is that I was outside on Friday afternoon a few times just in short sleeves! (But then the temperature plummeted just a few hours later, so I should have known.)

Monday, October 04, 2010

Flubbed shot, my a$$

Sorry. Coming on the electronic heels of my previous story (yeah, 6 weeks later, I know), I had to laugh when I saw this:

Tiger Woods flubs shot and gives us the best golf shot you'll ever see.

Read the full story on Yahoo! Sports here.

Freakin' déjà vu. Except I, of course, never saw what hit me. Literally. And I suspect Tiger's flubbed shot was not quite as powerful as the one that hit me, else we probably wouldn't be able to view this picture at all.

Yes, I will post proper news again someday. Someday. Something interesting has to happen first, that's the catch, see?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Meet Bruisie. We're friends.


Take it from me, golf balls and nearby appendages do not mix.


Bruisie brought along a friend, Swelling Sack of Fluid. (You can't really see so well here, but my forearm was quite swollen below the elbow. It was a beneath-the-skin, hard sack of pain.)

From here, Bruisie looks like a giant razz-berry. How cute.

Day 2. Bruisie's new look. Kinda Goth, n'est-ce pas?

Swelling Sack went home sometime overnight, thankfully. I won't miss the little bugger, though he did leave his little brothers Tender and Sore behind to keep Bruisie company.

Golf is a dangerous game.

We had our annual Golf Day at work yesterday. I got hit by a freak shot at the tee-off for the 3rd or 4th hole. We were playing in teams of 4, and after having made my fist non-sucky shot of the day (I made it halfway down to the hole), I retreated to the sidelines to chat with my boss while our last team player, her husband, took his shot. We were off to the side, next to our carts, and somehow Greg managed to totally mess up his tee-off, and winged the ball straight toward us at a sharp 30-40 degree angle. All I remember was him calling, "Watch out!", me turning my head to look down the fairway to see where his ball had gone (yeah, I'm a dumbass), and then WHUMP! -something hitting my arm.* And then burning. And Margo saying, "Are you OK?", and Mary getting an icepack and asking me if I wanted to sit down, which I did, and which were probably the smartest two things I did all day.

Then there was lots of phone-calling (Mary to her husband, who had driven us there and was shopping nearby, to come back to the golf course to pick me up and take me to the walk-in clinic; me to Randal to get him to go home to get the car to meet me at the clinic), driving (from Gatineau to Orleans, which is not that far but we kept hitting traffic and construction), waiting (first at the clinic, which was not taking walk-ins till 3 (thankfully it was almost 2:20 when I got there); then at home, while Randal searched for a new ice pack (he ended up giving me a Mr. Freeze); then at the X-ray clinic; then at Shoppers to get my prescriptions filled, where the pharmacy was the busiest I'd ever seen), and icing, lots and lots of icing.

Thankfully, the doctor called this morning to say the X-ray was clean and there was no sign of a break or other abnormality. I stayed home today, and the arm has gone back to almost its normal size, though I have the strangest little wound ever. Maybe I should get a tattoo?

Oh, and the (somewhat) ironic part? Because my teammate struck me instead of the fairway, and we were playing "best ball" (where you play each subsequent shot based on where the closest ball ended up) MY ball was the best one that round, and so when I insisted they keep playing without me, my teammates continued on my ball.

* My arms being crossed over my chest at the time. I don't even want to think of what might have happened if my arms had not been crossed there.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


pimp your myspace at
Rion, Born to be Wild, on

Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way...

You so know that's the mental soundtrack playing in his head.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

How I missed the Ottawa Tulip Fest again

I started to write this post a few weeks ago, about the two back-to-back conferences that I went to in May. But then the entry started to get longer and longer, as I went through more and more of my conference notes. I have 10 pages of typed notes so far, and I'm not even on conference #2! So I'm not going to post any of that here, though if anyone is interested, I can send you my notes.

Then it occurred to me that, perhaps far more interesting than the conferences themselves, was the fact that, while I have lived in Ottawa almost 3 years now since returning from Japan (and for 2 years before that), I have managed to miss Tulip Fest almost every single spring of those three years. Or, rather, I have indulged in tulips elsewhere.

In May 2008, we were in Quebec City.
Les tulipes

In May 2009, I was in Halifax.
More tulips!

In May 2010, I was in Hamilton (and also Windsor, but I didn't see any tulips there).*
Tulips, close-up

Following this realization, I completely forgot (again) to finish this draft post. The pictures made it up on Flickr but this entry sat here, unfinished but not unloved. Until now.

So anyway, from May 8-12, I was in Windsor, Ontario, at the annual conference of the Canadian Association of Law Librarians. It was, comme toujours,** a great conference. I didn't particularly like the venue (Caesar's casino in Windsor), and the city of Windsor was uber-depressing,*** but the sessions themselves were fantastic, and I came out with some good ideas and inspiration.

Margo + Me
My boss Margo and I, doing a good job of pretending it wasn't wicked cold and windy.**** Click here for a few more pics of Windsor-Detroit.

I left CALL early on the last day to hightail it up to Hamilton, for the Workshop in Instruction in Library Use (WILU). This is an awkwardly named conference, but it was incredibly excellent. It's basically for librarians (and others) interested in information literacy, and I'm thinking I'd like to add it to my annual conference repertoire.

WILU finished at lunchtime on Friday. Afterwards, my colleague Andrée and I went to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, and then, since we were both headed to various corners of Toronto for the weekend, Andrée gave me a ride into town.

At the Rockery
Hot! Lovely! Beautiful! ...The weather was sunny and pleasant, too, and the tulips were colourful. Click here for the full set.

And that, albeit in a less literary fashion than Mr. Dickens, is my Tale of Two Cities. And I'm going to post it before forgetting about it again. Will attempt to be more interesting next time. ...Well, there's always hope.

* For the record, if anyone cares, in May 2005, which was my first spring here, we were in Amsterdam, but after its tulip season. In May 2006, I think I may have caught a tulip or two between three (3!) visits to Toronto (mentioned here and here. In May 2007, we were in Japan with nary a tulip to be seen (they're in bloom in March and April).

** "Comme toujours" = all two times I have been.

*** We were originally going to go to Detroit to sit in a pub to watch a Detroit Red Wings game. The Wings got eliminated right before the conference began, however, so we didn't bother crossing the border, though it was right there, and I have trouble ignoring borders that are, like, right there. After hearing from a few people who did cross over to Detroit, I have decided it really wouldn't have been worth it. Although it looks pretty from across the river, with big shiny buildings, it's apparently as desolate and depressing as Windsor. Sorry Windsor-Detroit.

**** I'm not sure why, but Margo and I seem to be starting an annual tradition of travelling to cold places together.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

This is awesome

Why? Because we're camping in Bon Echo this long weekend, so really, the weather could not be any more perfect than this. :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


EARTHQUAKE! ...OK, this was faked.

Yup, it's true.*

At 1:41 this afternoon, we had an earthquake. It was first listed on CBC at 5.5, but I see that they are now listing it at 5.0 and the USGS confirms this.

Take that L.A.! Our blue box is bigger than (all of) your blue box(es)!

The epicenter happened about 30km north of Buckingham, which is almost directly across the river from Cumberland, which is the next town over from Orléans where we live, so within 40km of Ottawa proper.

I was in training this afternoon, at a different building on campus from usual. At the first rumble, we stopped our work but weren't concerned yet. Then the rumble got louder and the shaking stronger, and the windows started rattling. Then the building really jumped, if you know what I mean, about 4 times, then more rumbling. It didn't last very long, maybe 10-15 seconds in total, maybe longer I'm not sure, but having been in a number of earthquakes in the past, I can tell you that even 15 seconds feels like a very long time. Luckily, since I am somewhat knowledgeable about earthquakes (or like to think I am), I was not too worried, but I think some of the other people in my group (U of O profs) were starting to get a bit concerned. Then it stopped. Someone said, "Earthquake?" One of the trainers thought that perhaps it was an explosion, either from the ongoing construction in the building next door or elsewhere, but we decided no, it was definitely an earthquake. We didn't know what to do. Someone said maybe we should go outside. Someone else said we should stay inside. We decided to go outside, which I remember having been told to do in Japan, though I saw later online that the recommendation actually depends on how earthquake-proof your building is.**

Outside it was a bit disorderly. No one was in charge. No one knew what to do. Not even everyone had left the building. It sounds like this was the case across most of campus. Hopefully this will make the university revisit its disaster/emergency plans. We tried to call other people. One of the profs I was with has a brother-in-law in media, so he tried to call him, but got his voicemail. Some people couldn't get through on their phones at all. (Turns out some of the networks went down. Surprise, surprise.) We could see the Parliament buildings from where we were, so we decided it had not been an explosion (since that would be the most logical target, no?) but an earthquake. One woman got through to her kids at home in Barrhaven, which is about 35-40 minutes southwest of downtown Ottawa, and they had felt it there too.

Anyway, after about 25 minutes, since no one had told any of us what to do, we eventually went back in to the building and finished our training. In retrospect, I'm a bit annoyed about that - there needs to be clearer policies. I was somewhat amused when, about an hour later, I went back to the law library, and after chatting with my colleagues about it, I went to check my email, and we had an email from the main communications office of the university advising us that there had been an earthquake, that no one was hurt, that there was no damage to any building, and that if we noticed "any physical changes in the building" to notify them. Well, I guess no buildings collapsed, if you call that "no damage". But at the law library, a light fixture had become partially detached on the second floor, and things (obviously) had been knocked around. In town, windows had broken at City Hall and (according to a co-worker) at the Rideau Centre, as well as a chimney that had collapsed at a building next to City Hall. A number of government buildings had been evacuated and people sent home until inspections were completed. I found it slightly cavalier that we were just sent back to work and told to keep our eyes open for any anomalies.

After reading about various damages, I decided I had to leave. It was 3:45 so not that much earlier. But we already have a broken window here at home (caused by moisture over the window), and I wanted to make sure we didn't have any others. Plus I couldn't get in touch with Randal, who was out in the west end of the city today at a departmental summer party (he had left his phone in his office).

Everything at home was fine. The dog was a bit more anxious than usual. I saw a number of things that had shifted position, and I'm sure it was bouncing around a bit here. Poor dog. A big metal tin had fallen to the floor in Randal's computer room. A pair of earrings slid off a shelf, and a framed picture was knocked over. The painting over our bed was noticeably askew. A jar (luckily plastic) had fallen off a shelf in the basement to the floor, and another had fallen over (luckily *not* to the floor, as it was glass and would surely have broken). The medicine cabinet door was ajar. But nothing broke, so that's good. I have heard reports of houses on the Quebec side of the river (and we are only a 10-minute walk from the river) that have cracks in their walls now, so I'll take the many pairs of shoes that slid off a shelving unit and gladly place them carefully back on it. There was also serious damage in the town of Gracefield, about 40km west of the epicentre (for comparison, Orléans is about 40km south) - a church steeple collapsed, as well as some walls at a local restaurant and a community centre. This makes me doubly sad since, though I am not sure I have ever actually been to Gracefield, my paternal grandparents were from there.

Earthquake (4)
Messy shoes (and more)! Oh, the inhumanity!!!

The funniest things coming out of the earthquake? The tsunami warnings on the G20 fake lake, and, in a very similar vein, my friend Paul's claim*** that the fake quake has now put the cost of the G20 at well in excess of 3 billion dollars. Welcome to Canada, eh?****

* I'd add: "And you heard it here first, but that in almost all certainty would not be true. If it is, get better news sources.
** It turns out that many of the older buildings on campus are not necessarily earthquake-proof. I was in one of those, I'm sure - and for sure the law library is in one of those - so I guess we made the right decision.
*** I don't know if he came up with it first.
**** You can find more groaners here.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Knitting help, please?

I had* to go to Michael's last night because I wanted to pick up some size-5 needles for a project I am about to start. However, because I am not able to ever leave Michael's with only a reasonable number of items, I also picked up this project**.

Painted Circle Scarf

It looks fun and pretty, and a girl can never have enough scarves, right? Besides, I think I already own a bunch of the recommended yarn (albeit in a different colour), and I have no idea what else to do with it.

The instructions are 9 lines long, which is about a million lines shorter than most things I've attempted to knit recently. Though they look, on the face of it, relatively simple (reproduced below), I am a newish knitter and stumped by the following, which I've marked in italics:

Row 1 (WS): Purl.
Row 2 (RS): K17, turn; leave rem 5 sts unworked.
Row 3: P17.
Row 4: K12, turn; leave rem 10 sts unworked.
Row 5: P12.
Row 6: K7, turn; leave rem 15 sts unworked.
Row 7: P7.
Row 8: K across 22 sts.
Rep Rows 1–8 until piece measures about 56 in. (142cm) at widest point, end with a Row 8.

So, "leave remaining 5, 10, 15 stitches unworked." Fine. What do I do with those stitches? I don't understand! I'm sure I could look this up online, but it is far more amusing to see if any of you know.***

It's also just an excuse to direct my readers to some pictures of my most recent creation, an inchworm neck pillow for my friends Mala and Mark's daughter, due in mid-July.

Inchy the Neck Worm

* The term "had" is perhaps not used in its most technically accurate form here.

** It was free!

*** By "you", I really mean "Rebecca". Though other help is, of course, welcome as well. C'mon, knitters, get out of the woodwork!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Orleans' Got Talent

I made a GIF of 7 pictures of Randal juggling.

randal juggling on Gickr
randal juggling, done on

Yeah, I could have just filmed it, but this was way more fun.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

What is this?

We received our organic box last night, and amongst other easily-identifiable fruits and veggies, there was this:

What is this?
What is this and how do we eat it?

It's roughly hand sized, squat, and ruffled around the edges.

What is this?

The listing for this week's box provides no additional clues, since I know what the items listed that I don't think we actually received (cauliflower? nope; lettuce? nope) look like.

What's worse/better, there are 4 of them.

What is this?

Any ideas? Even classifying it as a fruit or a veggie would be a start.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Roughing It In The Bush

Our campsite

We are going camping this weekend for the first time this year. Leaving shortly, in fact.

We're headed to a new park for us, Charleston Lake. It's a bit west of Brockville, north of Gananoque, so not too far away.

Here are some photos from camping last year, this time in Murphy's Point, which was very lovely despite a harrowing encounter one night.

What the-?
What is this and what is it doing in that tree???

Plus an older set I put up a few weeks ago of Rion going swimming for the very first time, in 2008, at Bon Echo (incidentally, our favourite camping spot).


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Photoblog: Cthulhu in My Kitchen

On October 30, 2007, my dear mate R.K. and I moved to our present lodgings. Having escaped the horrors that had unfolded on Cooper Street and subsequently overseas in Japan, we were content to see that the house, while of 1970s provenance, was solid and well-built, and located in an upstanding neighbourhood. Indeed, the man charged with maintaining the building was of a reliable sort, and we soon found ourselves fairly able to attend to life's daily routines and requirements with nary a thought to the deep, dark underside of the world we had previously glimpsed.

There were occasional reminders, usually in the form of machinery spontaneously and mechanically roaring briefly to life before falling silent once again, but these oddities we were able to ascribe to the electrical fluctuations that are an inherent part of today's frenetic, hectic lifestyle. So, too, could we casually dismiss the occasional glimpse of something moving silently through the darkness outdoors, as our newfound peace helped us to convince ourselves, and others, that these were but the most pedestrian of beings, animals forced to share our urban world: raccoons, skunks, squirrels.

The night in question of which I am writing was ordinary enough. Having consumed a hearty meal of sausage, perogie and vegetables, we retired, as was our custom, for an evening of leisure and entertainment in front of a motion picture played on our television. Now, it is true that the fare was of a harsher, somewhat macabre bent. Yes, we did watch a movie about those who are neither living nor dead and who walk the night in search of blood, but I can most definitively assure you that what I later saw that night can not be dismissed as a product of a most prodigious imagination spurred on by the viewing and discussion earlier that night! No, what I saw was much more horrible, much more disturbed and fulsome and replete with horror.

R.K. having retired to his personal study to take care of some pressing business, I started my routine of closing the house for the night. I extinguished a number of lights in the main area of the house, and then made my way to the kitchen. I was hardly prepared for the sight which I then beheld. It was a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with a head that exploded into a mass of feelers, a rubbery looking body, and a short but thick whitish tail. I had apparently surprised it, for it was about to consume an innocent party.

Cthulhu in My Kitchen

Aghast and paralyzed with fear, I watched as the horrible beast reared up, then began the slow process of enveloping its prey in its huge, slimy mouth.

Cthulhu in My Kitchen

Cthulhu in My Kitchen

Cthulhu in My Kitchen

None of my previous experiences had prepared me for the vivid and horrifying intensity of this scene. I felt myself starting to swoon, but even as my body swayed, my eyes were further opened, as if some evil force had entered and was causing me to watch though my mind was averse. Much as I wanted to avert my gaze, I was being forced to watch.

Just when I felt I could bear it no longer, the beast reared up again and made a series of retching sounds, followed by a long, low sound similar to a fog horn blowing on a lonely, dark night. Then, with one final heave, it expelled what was left of its victim.

Cthulhu in My Kitchen

The monster and I locked eyes, though I would not be able to describe where those eyes might have been on this fierce and horrible creature. After what felt like an eternity, I finally fell to the ground, in complete collapse at the horror of this sight. As blackness took me over, I could hear a slithering sound, which shook through me like thunder. This is where they say R.K. later found me, curled up on the cold ceramic floor in front of the dishwashing machine, a number of smashed kiwis clutched in my hands, the juice running down my shirt sleeves and onto my pants.

With apologies to H.P. Lovecraft for stealing a few of his words when describing the monster, and also for trying (poorly) to mimic his writing style. What can I say? Sometimes I get bored in the kitchen. Other times, my camera is handy.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Why I am too busy to post (Part 3 of many)

Because I have been busy eating

Easter Dinner well as trying to make things grow.*

Wildflowers, 1 week

I've also been busy undecorating Christmas trees**

Taking down the, uh, Spring Equinox Tree

...and tracking the early arrival*** of Ottawa's annual Tulip Festival.

Tulips in back 5

All this, and more, on my Flickr site.

* Also known as "trying not to kill too many growing things", a pastime at which, alas, I am not so good.

** Or, more accurately, I've been busy taking pictures of others undecorating Christmas trees.

*** And early departure, for that matter.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sweet Home Halifax

As I start gearing up for this year's CALL (Canadian Association of Law Libraries) conference,* my thoughts turn fondly to last year's CALL conference. Or rather, more precisely, the location of last year's conference, which was in Halifax.

Halifax Clock Tower

As most of you know, while I wasn't born there, I grew up just outside Halifax, in a now-thriving suburb of Dartmouth (itself a suburb of Halifax, or rather, more accurately, now amalgamated into the Halifax-Dartmouth moniker) called Cole Harbour. Yes, that Cole Harbour.**

We moved there when I was about 2 1/2, and we left a few months before my 12th birthday, from 1979 to 1988. Consequently, I did all my grade school there. I have very fond memories of growing up at the edge of Cole Harbour (we were almost at the boundary line for Lawrencetown).

I returned to Halifax for my graduate studies, doing both my Law degree and my Master in Library and Information Studies*** at Dalhousie from 1999-2003. I was last in Halifax in May 2003 for my graduation ceremonies,**** so it was a real treat to be able to go back last spring, in May 2009.

I took lots of pictures, which you can view on my Flickr site here. You will also perhaps remember me blogging about the first half of the trip here, here, here, here and here. But if you were basing it on the photos alone, you would almost not know I was at a conference, since all the photos are very decidedly of the tourist variety. In a nutshell:

1) I wandered the waterfront and downtown.

2) I went on the Harbour Hopper.
Harbour Hopper!

3) I meandered through the Public Gardens.
Bandstand, Halifax Public Gardens

4) I took the ferry to Dartmouth and visited ye ol' homestead in Cole Harbour.
Ferry in Halifax Harbour

5) I got chilled to the bone by wind and rain at Peggy's Cove.
Peggy's Cove

6) I was further drenched by wind and rain in Mahone Bay.
Mahone Bay

7) I refused to let the wind and rain dampen my spirits at the enchanting village of Blue Rocks.
Blue Rocks

8) I cheered the slight lifting of the fog***** at Lunenberg.

What the photographic record fails to confirm, however, is that in addition to water and ships and fishing villages and quaint buildings, copious amounts of martinis were also consumed in the company of good friends. My bad - I will have to make sure that the next time I travel, I bring along my camera-which-photographs-friends.

* It's in just under 3 weeks. However, even more pressing, I am doing a short presentation at CALL this year, and my slides and presentation notes are due on Friday. This means I had better start them. Like, now. This year it is in Windsor, Ontario. I can't promise 150 photos, however.

** And no, I didn't know Crosby growing up. Not everyone out East knows everyone else out East. That, and he was a year old when we moved away from Cole Harbour. He wasn't playing hockey yet. A friend of mine whose ex-boyfriend used to coach peewee hockey out there did, however, see him play numerous times, and yes, the rumours are true - he really was as good back then as we all hear now.

*** None of this IM nonsense for me.

**** And my grandmother had just passed away the day before the ceremony, so I wasn't feeling entirely festive.

***** It's the freakin' Maritimes. We'll take whatever we can get to pass for "good" weather.