I went to the optometrist for the first regular checkup in many years. They did the pupil dilation thing, which was sort of annoying and now I remember how much I didn't like it the last time. I probably should have used the cheap sunglasses they gave me, but I didn't. On an overcast day, on the walk back to the office, the white lines on the road were blinding me. Yeesh. My pupils looked, and still look, like an animé character's.

Night fell shortly after I got back to the office, which was convenient. And from then until now, everything is brighter than I expect, and point-source lights have pretty auras around them.

I walked [livejournal.com profile] roverthedog through the big park, which has been decked out in Christmas lights.

Wow. Pretty. Very pretty.

The strings of lights in the trees each looked like thick cables, bright but not quite painfully bright. Again with the pretty auras. If I could have turned off the streetlights, it would have been perfect.

I'm not sure I would recommend this as a way to get into the Christmas spirit, but hey, as long as I've got weird vision, might as well take advantage of the few unexpected benefits.
It's true- the condo is technically a rental from the builders until around December; and the house sale became final as of today.

We've been ready for the house to sell for 4 months- and since it got repainted in beiges last month, it hasn't even felt to me like the home we had lived in for eleven years. It's a good time to move on.

The sale was supposed to become final next Wednesdy, except last Thursday our realtor emailed to say the buyers have requested closing a week early.

...Um, OK maybe, because this was 4:30pm, and [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball was to leave in 90 minutes for Slovenia.

Our lawyer indicated the change was likely possible, so we prepped a few things in lieu of d. being present at the paperwork-signing before we popped off to the airport. On Friday I spent a few hours finding documents the lawyer needed such as the survey, deed from our purchase and so on; and signing the revised papers with our agent. (And I will note that I'm quite pleased that our city has a single-phonecall service to handle starting/closing accounts with all of the municipally owned water and gas utilities, tax rolls, and rental hot-water heater. That call plus one to the power company was sum total of required calls to change the closing date).

In the evening I went to clean out the shed and attic, which the buyers had realized still had junk in them. Junk that mostly belonged to the prior owners. Ugh.

Part of this story is that a few weeks ago I had decided I was going to treat this weekend as a personal retreat- centered around a massage on Saturday. So I had a fair bit of grumpiness about upending the retreat in favour of mortgage paperwork and cleaning out junk I didn't realize we had to deal with. Friday after work, I went to the house and began hauling junk- meditatively. Believe it or not, it worked- I wasn't grumpy at the buyers, or us for not cleaning it previously, or the previous owners; the retreat now just had a physical labour component.

Would you believe that worked? I scarcely did. It kept me going till 9pm, at least, which is when I finished the worst of it, leaving the rest to handle on trash night.

And lest you think [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball was merely lounging around in Slovenian castles, by 4pm he had electronically signed and emailed back the legal documents fulfilling his part of the paperwork, which meant I just had to go into the lawyer's office Monday morning with some paperwork, and everything would be finished, save accepting a scary big sum into our bank account, which is now shifted over to a 1.8% savings account.

I'm still a bit impressed that it all came together.

And now my keychain is one key lighter, and we no longer own a lawn-mower.


Tuesday, 4 September 2012 07:56 pm
There was quite a downpour this morning. I was hanging out with my parents at their hotel just as they were on their way back home; I stuck around a bit longer so I wouldn't be caught in the worst of it getting back to the car. It turned out to be a very warm rain, but also a lot of water.

Things I then saw on my way to work:

- ducks swimming on the shoulder of the road
- a toddler joyfully stomping in puddles in a front yard
- a pair of middle-aged women driving a scooter in the bike-lane with raincoats billowing. The one in the front looked like she was soaked to the bone and had an ear-to-ear grin.


Saturday, 15 October 2011 01:42 pm
In post-cold torpor. Woke up early enough to drive dan to the train station (he's working at a University Fair all day today) and was going to go back to sleep, but it turns out I'm not at all tired.

Discovered the basement has had undetected standing water long enough to mildew a few cardboard liquour boxes, and probably ruined a bag of flour, sigh. So I did the "dry out the carpet with the big box fan" dance (lifting a dripping carpet to put crates to air out underneath while trying to not get dripped on) along with the "eek, there are multiple spiders in there" shuffle.

And for the last few hours I've worked on pruning the bookshelves. Found roughly 20" of books to go to the thrift shop, along with another pile that aren't worth anything to anybody other than me-of-20-years-ago (Cornell Student Handbook for 1992?).

Haven't figured what to do with two thin books I bought even before then: "Young, Gay, and Proud", and "One Teenager in 10." Almost certainly as much use today as... hm... the Whole Earth Catalog? With less obvious charm?

There's a melancholy of going through bookshelves one hasn't touched in years, especially if one can remember, 4 or 5 years ago, choosing to keep some of the books based on a plan to actually read them. My pleasure reading for the last few years has been almost entirely the daily Globe and Mail and 3 monthly magazines that I am underwater on reading. I've been forging my way through the last six issues of Harpers, dunno what I will do about The Atlantic which I never seem to get to...

I could choose to spend less time browsing on the web, and more time with a good book. But why do I have the feeling that I won't?
The frost this morning was gorgeous. My shadow looked like it was 20 feet long against the bike path. My headgear and gloves, just barely warm enough. This biking season will be drawing to a close soon.

I appreciate that at 8:30, many people have been at work for hours, many even in the same time-zone as me. But as one who often leaves for work at 9:30, I wanted to write down that this morning was magical.

(And next week at this time, I will wake up in darkness, and at 9:30 the shadows will be just as long as they were this morning at 8:30, and I will be grumpy.)


I was reminding myself that my ski-jacket style coat needs its zipper-pull replaced, as I loaded my backpack this morning, and a zipper-pull on my backpack shattered in my hands. ><
(c'mon Jansport; it's only lasted fifteen years so far. what ever happened to durability?)


Google voice's transcript of a message left on my cell this morning is sort of worth noting:

And analysts is so I'm calling from the strippers We're supposed to pick up there this morning. If you could please give us a call, but let's talk to someone there at least okay and phone number here is xxx-xxxx

That's actually quite a good transcript. The Strippers are refinishing our table, and they were due for pickup at 8am. Cheerful, matter-of-fact, efficient, and not cheap. Would recommend.

a storm

Tuesday, 15 May 2007 07:10 pm
I hear other parts of town are just getting a drizzle or heavy rain. Well, we were getting quite the wind and rain just now.

That wasn't even the worst of it; my camera only gets video in 30-second chunks.

Ah well, the backyard tree seems intact; the only damage done seems to be a house plant that got knocked over in the wind. I wonder if there's much more due; we're still getting a fair bit of lightning and thunder. The radar map shows another big red blob down by Windsor aimed directly at us. :)

Hope everyone else is OK. ...Toronto, batten down hatches!

[edit to add: and now the birds are chirping again.]

Socks (pt. 2)

Wednesday, 20 December 2006 12:55 pm
Of 28 respondants in yesterday's sock poll:

13 will toss the holey sock right away (including 5 who toss its mate),
8 will keep wearing it indefinitely,
4 or so will put it somewhere hoping it'll get fixed or used as a rag,
and 3 are darners or have a darning grandma.


My unhealthy curiosity about what happens in the privacy my friends' sock drawers is multi-part.

First, I had a theory that lots of people on my friends-list would hang onto the holey sock for various reasons; this was partly validated by 8 wearers, 4 stashers, and 3 darners. 15 in all. I had expected there to be a few darners, and fortunately there were- including [livejournal.com profile] fyddlestyx the Darning Queen! ("See that girl, watch that scene...")

Of the remaining 13 people who toss the holey sock, it seems possible as many as 6 or 8 will keep the non-holey sock even if it lacks a mate. This is the other question I was curious about. Against my attempts to buy bulk identical socks, I have a fairly large number of not-quite-matching black socks, which I'll pair that way, and suffer the occasional rolled eyes from my sweetie. I figure it's one of those things we both put up with. ;) But I intentionally didn't ask whether people tossed just the holey one, to see if people would write that in, and they did.

I didn't ask how frequently people have holey socks. I came to the realization recently that I've had a batch of holey socks in my drawer for a really long time. I blame my last pair of boots, which not only gave me blisters on my heel, but wore holes in my socks, always in the same place, at the top of the heel. So I'm due for a holey-sock purge some time soon; which I've been resistant to do since it's probably about a dozen socks to be tossed. (Maybe it's time to make a pillow from them, as [livejournal.com profile] dawn_guy suggested?)


Tuesday, 19 December 2006 01:09 pm
[Poll #891868]
So far this weekend:

I finalized travel plans for next week. Leaving Tuesday pretty early, back Saturday around 6pm. Staying at my Uncle's, on Long Island, seeing my parents, one brother, and my Grandma who is in somewhat poor health.

We had dinner with two neighbours across the street, which I'd been failing to make happen since late Summer when they very kindly watched Rover for us for a week. Anyway, dinner happened, we talked about family, pets, and vacations, and it was good.

I bungied our compost bin up tight, and so far no racoon snack-bar. Yet.

I fixed (again) the clock of the world's most trivial poltergeist, so it isn't relying on electrical tape to keep a connection.

I removed the crappy, 30+-year-old flickery lightsocket from the basement ceiling, and decided no way was I willing to re-installed it since parts were falling apart in my hands (!). Talking about it with Dan, we decided we'd replace the upstairs bedroom light as well. So: basement light in the trash, ugly bedroom light installed in the basement, and reasonably nondescript new light from Home Hardware in the bedroom. Total cost, $12 and two hours of my time.

Last night, we went to [livejournal.com profile] mtffm & [livejournal.com profile] the_infamous_j's for a yummy dinner, fun conversation, and a few hands of Fluxx and Aquarius.

And, tonight we're off to see 49 Up with [livejournal.com profile] bats22.
Relaxing: coming in from a walk with the pooch, and falling into a chair in the sunroom with a glass of sherry, a piece of gouda with cumen, and some chocolate.

Not relaxing: the visit by the daddy-long-legs who crawled over my shoulder just then.

My Morning

Saturday, 29 January 2005 01:52 pm
This morning I dropped a pile of clothes and dishes and such at the local menonnite-run thift shop, successfully mailed our old DSL modem back to Bell Canada, bought bagels, and went to the Beer Store, where I stocked up on Waterloo Dark for me and Blanche de Chambley for dan.

It seems to have taken me three years, but I'm getting the hang of Canada Post. The post office itself is closed on weekends, and there's no Saturday delivery. However, there are postal outlets in various pharmacies around town that will take packages on Saturday *and* Sunday.

The bagel shop I went to has odd hours (basically when the owner feels like it), and it's in a relatively inconvenient location for us. But they have the only NY-style bagels in town, and the owner knows he has us where he wants us. They are good bagels.

I've got an annoying song stuck in my head, courtesy CBC radio the other night, when they interviewed a Saskatchewanian used car salesman who won the contest for a centenial theme song, creatively titled "Saskatchewan, We Love This Place!". The song is so insipid, but really catchy. You can read the chorus here. But don't bother, it's awful. Why in the world we had to listen to it, on Ontario public radio, is anybody's guess. Thank you, CBC. Edit: you too listen to it, too!

In a bit, d and I are going snow-shoeing, if we can figure out where to go. Then this evening, to a party. Tomorrow, to a house-cooling (dan's colleague Therese is going on a six-month sabbatical with her husband and young child). Sometime in there, I hope to get started on building the second rocking chair.

catching up

Sunday, 2 January 2005 07:59 pm
I'm entering the 9-5 world the day after tomorrow. Actually, it's more of a 8:30-4:30ish / 9:30-5:30ish job, because my boss believes in flextime, but the point is that it has regular hours, instead of being whatever the hell I want to work. That's new for me, at least since I left school. Yes, I've grown soft, working for myself from my own office in my own house.

On most metrics, the job is more structured than any job I've ever had. That doesn't seem to bother me as much as I thought it would.

I'm looking forward to having a boss (mostly because I feel simpatico with him after a couple meetings). I'm looking forward to regular hours and leaving work at work. I'm looking forward to making a difference to students at the University by improving their linux environments, working mostly by myself on projects mostly of my own choice. I'm certainly looking forward to a steady paycheck instead of scrounging projects and RFQs.

I'm sorta-kinda looking forward to commuting, because I do need the exercise and it's 40 minutes on foot and 15 or so on bike or bus.

I'm not looking forward to leaving Rover here alone, or commuting home in the dark for the next couple of months. But hey, the sun will be setting by 6pm by the end of February, according to this page.

I'm not looking forward to the bureaucracy I know I'll be dealing with, nor the "do it this way because we've always done it this way" attitude I know some people will have. But it's a fair tradeoff, and I think it'll be OK in that respect.

So, ya, I'm looking forward to the day after tomorrow.


Project of the last couple days: I've been doing a batch of staining and varnishing of our new fireplace mantle and staircase banister, as well as dan's chair he got from his parents for Christmas. I've finished everything except for the chair, and they all look good. Well worth the money, and I'm glad dan convinced me we should have both (mantle and banister) projects done.

This was my first experience with water-based varnish. If you ever have the option, do use it instead of oil-based. It is so much easier to clean up. Even though it should have 3 coats instead of 2 (as for oil) it still saves time, because clean up is so easy, and if you get some on the wall, it doesn't take
off the paint (yugh). And it doesn't smell awful or make my head ache.

The perfect moment while varnishing: by mid-day on December 31st, I hit my stride while working on the fireplace, and I was quite enjoying myself, brushing along and munching on a candy-cane. Meanwhile dan was cooking up a storm in the kitchen, and our dinner was starting to smell good.

I wish I could keep an instant-sense-memory of that moment, with the sanded cherry wood smell, and the foods, and the sun coming through the window (still had snow; now it's mostly melted).
This was a good weekend. Saturday afternoon was spent in a flurry of activity that included such un-sexy, yet oh, so exciting activities as scraping peeling paint from the bathroom ceiling, and oiling the garage-door.

We've lived here three years. Why didn't it occur to me that our garage door was easily fixed so it didn't make that tooth-grindingly annoying screech every time it opened and closed?

I grew accustomed to it. Much the same way, I'm sure, as the parent of a whiny three-year-old child grows accustomed to the noise pollution that causes every other adult on the bus to grit their teeth and try to mentally will them to get off at the next stop.

Of course, not one of our neighbours has ever told us: "you know, your garage door is so loud that we can hear it from our bedroom every Sunday morning when you go out at 9:30 and it makes us want to walk over with our own oil can and fix it ourselves."

No, instead I'm sure they muttered into their pillows or dream fantasies of marching out in their bathrobe and handing us an oilcan, and turning without a word and marching grimly back to bed.

It took no more than 5 minutes to oil. Well, three years plus five minutes.

The good news is, we will have a finished fireplace in less than a week- no more cardboard box! Progress, I tell ya.

(no subject)

Wednesday, 10 November 2004 02:09 pm
The Tree Fairy visited us today! She planted a nice little two-inch-diameter maple sapling in our front yard, some time today when I wasn't looking.

You don't believe in the tree fairy?

I didn't either, but the City Parks Department has told me they wouldn't get around to replacing the tree on their right-of-way in our yard until next spring at the earliest, even though they removed the old tree two summers ago. So if it wasn't the Parks Department, it must've been the Tree Fairy.

Yay, tree fairy!

Figure and Ground

Monday, 8 November 2004 09:58 am
I wish I remember who said that you never really understand democracy until you've lived through elections in at least two of them. Since moving to Canada, I've certainly said to myself, "Well the US does that element of government better" or "Canada does that much better."

There are some sad parallels between US and Canadian government right now, that I haven't seen mentioned in the papers.

In the recent Canadian election, the ruling Liberal party won a minority of the seats in the House of Commons, which means they can stay in power as long as the majority of seats don't force a "no confidence" vote.

However Paul Martin, the leader of the Liberals, is said to be governing as if he had a majority, which makes for a shaky basis for government. Maybe this means they will just keep being ineffectual at enacting the slightly-left-of-centre social policies the Liberals want to enact. In any case, if the Liberals really over-reach their mandate, their government will fall like a house of cards, and we will get a new government. (possibly better, possibly worse; but probably more representative of the will of the duly elected members of parlament).

The US has suffered through two elections where just *barely* 51% of voters distributed around the country have chosen a leader. This leader has declared that he has "earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it," presumably on chosing a new Supreme Court justice and trying to reform Social Security and taxes.

Just after the election, d remarked to me that the US didnn't have red or blue states, it has purple states. That image has stuck with me, and conveniently, a researcher at princeton has drawn a map, by county.

Read more... )

Two things strike me about those maps, where the first one erases the difference between 55/45 and 45/55, and the second one puts it in stark contrast.

The current system is blatantly unfair, though heaven only knows what to do to fix it. I'm not sure eliminating the electoral college is the right answer. A true three-party system might be.

Secondly, if Bush & Co. take their win as a universal mandate, I predict tensions in the US will be higher in four years than they are now, as 48% of voters get more and more pissed off.

What an excellent time it would be for liberals / greens / etc. to get their (our) act together and propose a real third choice.

Bye Dave

Sunday, 7 November 2004 02:52 pm
I just sent our fish tank out the door, along with the remaining Dave [1] and Dave's bicycle [2]. We've had between 1 and 20 of Dave for quite a while but since the tank was best suited for the living room, which we don't really live in (it's really a library / corridor to the dining room) and since we have a dog which completely meets our pet needs, having fish has felt superfluous for the last two years.

Of course, when we replace the cardboard box [3] in the living room with a fireplace in a few weeks, we may spend a lot more time in that room, making it well-suited to having a fish tank, but I think we'll do fine with a couple of rocking chairs, a throw-rug, and a dog at our feet.

I'm looking forward to being done with the last improvements we wanted on the first story of the house. Only three years after we've moved in.

[1] the correct plural of fish is fish, and the correct plural of Dave is Dave. We named them collectively Dave because of the Dr. Seuss poem (Did I ever tell you of Mrs. McCave / Who had 23 sons and she named them all Dave...)

[2] a tiny plastic bicycle, which we bought for Dave when Gloria Steinem got married. For further explanation, see here.

[3] The fireplace in our living room is currently a cardboard box. Somewhere I've got a photo... *rummage rummage* here. Covering that.

On coincidences

Saturday, 16 October 2004 01:31 pm
Success! I finally got ahold of the guy who will be repainting our stair-well in a couple weeks and pinned down a schedule. (We're hiring somebody to do it because d is unhappy about me painting on a ladder on the stairs. And renting a scaffolding for three days would be nearly as expensive as having him do it.) The painter and I have been playing phone-tag for at least three weeks, not counting the prior three weeks before I spoke to him the first time. So we're set, and it will happen. Yay, non-ugly staircase.

Walked with Rover to our local bank branch (well, mine, not hers). Beautiful fall morning, lots of vibrant falling leaves (on other peoples' lawns), squirrels for her to chase (ineptly, as always).

At the bank, I ran into the woman who last cut my hair. Which isn't so odd, the hair-cutting shop is just down the street. And then I ran into Glen, the guy who's painting our stairwell. Who I didn't think lived anywhere near here.

Guess it's a small town, after all.

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