Saturday, December 1, 2007

Mr. T is angry and he's in my stomach.

Various pop culture entities make regular appearances in my stomach. They usually have an agenda and can be very persuasive. By far the worst is when the Tribbles come by and scream for brownies. Sure, Roddenberry will have you believe that Tribbles are non-verbal fuzz balls that sort of trill or chirp like our rotten little (furry-slug) kitten Leo. In actuality, in times of ultimate need, Tribbles are capable of emitting a terrifying screech-like howl, and they usually use it to demand that I eat brownies.

Tonight, I'm hosting Mr. T, and he's not happy. He told me at lunch "I pity the fool who eats that fish burrito", but I didn't listen, and ate it anyway. After all, everyone else was doing it. Then tonight, I made a roasted vegetable soup, and put in a little too much pepper, and he said "Oh man, you made me mad now!". And is he ever. Well, this sucka' has learned her lesson.

Roasted Veggie Soup (which Sean has willingly eaten and likened to vegetable gravy)
  • 1 really small squash, halved & scooped (whatever you like except spaghetti)- I used a freaky looking squished orange one)
  • 2-3 small zucchinis or 1 big one, cut into large chunks
  • 2-3 parsnips, peeled
  • 3 smallish carrots, peeled
  • 1 small red onion, peeled & quartered
  • 3 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 L of chicken or vegetable stock
  • sea salt & fresh ground pepper
  • sage & turmeric, to taste & for colour.
  • 1 T maple syrup (optional)

Toss veggies in olive oil, season with salt & pepper, and roast at 425 F for about 40 mins, or until tender. Remove veggies to a food processor or blender (scoop squash flesh out and discard shell, squeeze soft garlic out and discard skins). Add a couple cups of heated broth, and blend. Add broth until soup is smooth and consistency of, well, thick gravy, I guess. Season with sage, turmeric, salt & pepper to taste. A little maple syrup plays nicely off the sweetness of the squash and carrots. A yam might be a nice addition for a change, actually, you could use pretty much any combination of root veggies, and experiment. Just don't overdo the pepper.

Welcome to the Weekend

Well Folks, I woke up this morning expecting to have a crap ending to a crap week. Monday we had concert tickets (Lifehouse & YUCA) but Sean was sick, then Thursday we had concert tickets (Paul Brandt) but I was sick. The last thing I wanted to do was spend my Saturday in a cramped room with a bunch of custodians and waste management guys, but funny thing is, it didn't turn out too bad!

I got up early this morning, and opened the blinds to behold the revolting dump of snow that arrived overnight. Sure glad I have those snow tires, because I had to drive all the way out to Langley for a Union course. On the way there, there must have been three different roads closed due to ice or accidents; it was absolutely ridiculous. Gave me lots of opportunities to use my horn though, and that always cheers me up. Hee hee hee...

The course was Apathy to Action, which was not too bad and I'll be bringing back some ideas to try within my local. My local Pres was supposed to be there, but she must not have wanted to drive in the snow.

My local's been very good about getting newer members out to educationals, week-long schools and conventions. This spring I'll be going to Harrison Hot Springs for a week-long 'Facing Management' course. From what I hear, it's quite a bit of work, but they have a hell of a good time when the day is done.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Vigilante Holly

This weekend I'm going down to the States with a girlfriend to take in the post-Thanksgiving sales.


I will not let you in. If you try to butt in front of me, I WILL hit your car. If you get out of your car, I WILL hit your face.


Thursday, November 15, 2007


Every family, regardless of size, wealth, or religious perspective, has their own Christmas traditions. In my family, there wasn't always a lot of extra money for lavish presents, but it didn't matter; Christmas was about family.

Christmas was always the one day of every year where my brother, sister and I were not pinching, biting, hitting, slapping or otherwise beating the crap out of each other. This Christmas truce also coincided with my Dad's one day off. (He worked very, very hard at his own business, with clients and contacts around the world, and Christmas was the only day they weren't calling.)

The day would start with the three of us waking up unreasonably early, to jump on our parents in bed. We learned very early that parents would much prefer to get up than have 3 children jumping and screaming all over them. It was the perfect plan. In later years (say, post 13), Melo and Adam would wake me up in the same manner before dragging me off to ambush Mom & Dad.

From there, we would all go grab our stockings and open them up in bed together. (the 3 of us would trade our candy because Mom never could remember who liked what) Then came the sugar coma as we waited for dad to pop breakfast in the oven. Breakfast was always either fruit, cheese & croissants, or "Christmas Morning Mom Saver" which was something like a strata.

After Breakfast, we would eat still more chocolate while waiting for Grandma & Grandad. When they arrived we'd open presents one by one, with lots of pictures, and 'oooohing & aaahhhing'.

Brayford family Christmas dinner has always been quite the production. Mom would do most of the cooking in the days leading up to Christmas, so she had more time than most Moms Xmas day. Half the time we would have a wonderful turkey with 'brayford stuffing', mashed potatoes (which my brother & I would make sculptures with, but never eat.), sweet potato & apple bake, green bean casserole & dessert. Other years we had Ham, Steak, or even lamb. Then, there were the 'creative' years where Mom was sick of turkey and decided to do something 'different'. One of those years, we had Tandoori Chicken with creamed spinach. At least it was red & green...

In recent years, our traditions have changed along with our family. Dinners included friends, & significant others, and we started having to feed Grandma & Grandad booze to loosen them up enough to allow them to relax and enjoy themselves. I'll never forget the Christmas when my straight-laced, retired school teacher and principal Grandad got up at the dinner table and did his impression of Britney Spears: "Look at me, I'm Britney Spears! Look at my navel! Look at my everything!" Luckily, clothes stayed put, but there was a frightening amount of gyrating. I have to admit I'm somewhat scarred for life. Thinking back on it, I think he was making reference to how well us kids had turned out, unlike poor 'Britney'. I guess it was a compliment...
This year, Sean and I will be starting our own traditions. We'll be spending Christmas with his family out in New Brunswick, then we'll have a "Ukrainian Christmas" (not that either of us has even a drop of Ukrainian blood- it's just convenient!) here. While I will miss my old traditions, I'm looking forward to building new ones with Sean.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Just an ordinary day...

Today is just an ordinary day. Nothing wrong with that. I've had my two cups of coffee, breakfast and a Pepsi in the car, (ok, for accuracy's sake, it was a Diet Cherry Coke, but that doesn't mean I'm switching sides!) and a phone call to my best friend.

At work, we unlocked the bookdrop because Halloween is the one day of the year we lock it overnight. You don't even want to know some of the things I've seen in bookdrops... not too pleasant.

We got our first SPUD delivery today. SPUD stands for Small Potatoes Urban Delivery, and they are a company which will deliver local organic produce and groceries to your home or work. Check out their website here. We haven't eaten any of it yet (I'm still at work), but it looks terrific! Even better than I'd hoped!

Last night we only got 2 trick-or-treaters, and they don't even really count because I ambushed them in the foyer of the building. It's too bad actually, the kids are soo cute in their costumes!

Tonight we're going to have some steak done on our new indoor grill (Thanks Jeff & Jody!), some mushrooms and a nice big salad (green for me, greek for Sean). Everything is local & organic- even the beef! I was really surprised that it doesn't cost much more at all to buy mostly organic and local. The difference is we're not buying any processed foods (for the most part) and that saves a lot of money. It also means I have to bake more, but I'm getting used to that! Quinn Family Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies tonight... if Sean can keep me away from the XBox.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My husband and I have an unnatural attraction to dishes. Wherever we go, we're always seeing sets we like and try to justify buying more. So far, we've been able to hold back the urge, but as Christmas approaches, so do the dreaded sales. To save ourselves from bankruptcy, we settled on a compromise; we'll buy mugs. When we see a set or piece we really like, we'll buy one mug and add it to our collection. You might ask how many mugs 2 people actually need, but you'd be surprised how long a mug can go unloved and unnoticed, sitting dirty on a nightstand.

I won't say I'm the ring leader in this mug-revolution; Sean craves dishes as much as I do (or more!) . I will say that I do love mugs, especially unusual ones, and have never really met one I didn't like.

Until last weekend.

Last weekend, we went to Canadian Tire to pick up a 5-way grill given to us by my wonderful Sister-in-law Jody, her husband Jeff and son Sawyer (both equally wonderful). On the way to the check-out, we passed through the Dishes isle. Sean's eyes grew big with wonder as he reached for an item half hidden at the back of a lower shelf. In his hands was the ugliest mug I have ever seen. He held it reverently, like some Holy chalice and proclaimed that it would be coming home with us.

I begged. I pleaded. I even suggested we get a whole set of the red dishes he'd been eyeing before. He would not be moved; the mug had to be his.

I love my Husband very much, so he got his mug. I've even promised to not knowingly damage or destroy it.

Of course, accidents do happen...

(picture of ugly mug to be added later today)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


It has been a very, very long time since I’ve written anything here. I’m very, very sorry. The thing is, things kept happening! I just couldn’t keep up! There was un-wedding planning, lots of Union work (I’m vice-pres of my local and the Pres took ill unexpectedly), family doos, birthdays and of course, a wedding. Our wedding in fact!

Let it be known that Sean & I (sort of) eloped on October 6th at Noon, in the pouring rain, in a picnic shelter. The first words out of my married mouth were “Holy Crap, we’re married!”.

We had a wonderful wedding day, a perfect honeymoon, and a great Thai dinner with a few friends and family in Seattle. Then, of course, we both caught a cold and missed half a week of work. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like sharing your electric blanket and anti-bacterial Kleenex. We were disgusting, but we were together.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Max, and our furry-slug Leo, are monkeys. Just for the record.

All last week we've had the kickplate off of the front door, so that the building could lay down new carpeting in the common areas. The boys seemed to think this meant it was fair game to send every single one of their toys shooting out into the hall. I can't imagine what the neighbours must think when they see the blast zone around our door consisting of furry mice with their tails ripped off, string toys with mangy half eaten feathers, and of course, a large assortment of balls.

Leo has been continuing his regular water sports, including sneaking into the shower, 'helping' us brush our teeth, and jumping into toilets. He has, however, added a few more activities to his repertoire. The most inventive is what I like to call 'Bathroom Ballet". It's a special dance he does whenever Sean's in the bathroom. It's sort of a mix of jumping at the doorknob and writhing around on the ground. Also, to compensate for now being too big to fit underneath the entertainment centre, Leo has discovered that he can now jump from the floor to the kitchen counter (which he couldn't do until now), and therefor, from the counter to the fridge and fridge to cabinets. Was he ever proud of himself when I got home! Lord help us.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Can't everyone just stand still for a minute?! I need to catch up!!

Right now, I'm sitting on my imaginary lawn chair watching life fly past me from the middle of this lovely tornado. Trouble is, I think the chair's about to pack it in...

Apparently, even if you're throwing tradition to the wind, there is still a modicum of preparation required when having a un-wedding. Like, um shoes. Yeah, I just realised I'll probably need a pair of shoes to go with my dress. A marriage liscence might also come in handy... but only if we can get a marriage commissioner. I think it's going to be a busy weekend.

On a brighter note, our crappy old fridge is spewing orange mystery goo, so I think we'll be buying a new one this weekend. Then I'll fill it with vegetables- mwah-ha-ha-ha!! Just kidding Sean. The washer is also expelling it's own special goo, but if it thinks that's enough to get it off the hook, it's got another thing coming.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Fork in the Road

I'm having a bad day.

Haven't slept much in the last couple of days due to excessive preparing and packing for SOAR. (SOAR stands for Spirit Of Adventure Rendezvous- a week-long jamboree style camp of girl guides from BC, Canada & around the world, held every 3 years) I'm just about all packed- gear for 7 girls & 2 adults takes a lot of planning! We leave tomorrow, and I look forward to posting pics and detailing our adventures. This will be my 'Last Hurrah' in Girl Guides as a leader, and I'm looking forward to being responsibility free! I'll miss my girls though. Some of them...

We had quite a bit of rain today and part of the ceiling in the backroom of the library caved in. There was water, ceiling tile and rat droppings everywhere. *disgusted spasm*

The highlight of my day, so far, has been impaling my index finger with a fork. Yes, I stabbed myself with a fork. Just a tip- don't store your forks in the drying rack prongs up if you're a clutz like me!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Because the Union Makes Us Strong!! (Oy! Oy! Oy!!)

This past weekend my local (1698) sent me to a Youth Convention for my union (CUPE). There were two of us there from FVRL (Fraser Valley Regional Library), myself and Trista, and we happened to be assigned to the same cabin with another girl named Charity- a lifeguard from Quesnel.

The conference took place in Naramata, which is a cute little village up high in the wine country, above Okanagan Lake in BC's interior. It was planned and implemented by young people from within CUPE.

Long story short, (because I've been writing this for over a week now) we got the nicest cabin, met some great people, drank ourselves stupid, learned about our union, drank some more, learned about collective bargaining, went to the pub, had some pretty decent meals, had a few more beers, went skinny dipping, got very little sleep, bought more beer and started all over!!

It wasn't all about the booze, but it is funny how a bottle of Rye can level the playing field and bring people together.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Prostate Whistles and Vomitoriums

Ooof. I'm sooo full.

We had everyone over for Father's Day and my family has just left after a normal visit consisting of too much food and Wii. The theme of tonight's dinner was a melange of excessive foodTV watching and too much time on my hands. Here's what we had:

  • Slow roasted pulled pork, rubbed with a mix of spices and served with bbq sauce
  • BBQ'd honey glazed chicken breasts (bone-in & skin on) served with a sweet green pea & mint sauce with a hint of wasabi.
  • Thai curried cauliflower skewers
  • Grilled asparagus
  • Grilled romaine hearts with a caesar-caper dressing
  • Rolls and butter
Pretty weird, eh?

I don't know what I was thinking- I need to watch less cooking shows and more action movies- clearly! However, I really liked the dinner, my family enjoyed it, and Sean even managed to get enough to eat. He's so patient with me when I go mental and decide to get fancy in the kitchen.

Aside from the food, the visit went as usual- lots of inappropriate dinner conversation, and reminiscing about past embarrassing moments. My Mom gave my Dad a little fundraising kit she'd gotten to benefit Prostate Cancer research which contained a rubber bracelet, a whistle and a flashlight. You might be able to imagine some of the jokes that resulted from those! And what family dinner could be complete without a conversation about barf? Not one of ours unfortunately.

All of these crazy antics, (cooking included, since my Mom was always making us into fusion-cuisine guinea-pigs) are just normal fare for me, because that's just how my family's always been. It's different now though with Sean being part of the family... poor guy just tries to keep his head down. He put it really well once, kind of like this; In my family, you can come to the table and swear and talk about just about anything, but you dress up and take your hat off, and in his family it's the other way around. I think we're both doing pretty well, considering.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Can't I just fast-forward to Monday?

This weekend I embark on yet another Girl Guide Camp. However, this camp is indisputably the worst kind of Guide camp... District Camp.

Duhn duhn duuuuhhh!

Can you tell I'm not thrilled? The problem's not with the girls; again, I have a good group coming along. The problem lies with the adults.

Long ago, I noticed that volunteers (in Guiding at least) can usually be divided into a few universal categories:

  1. Lifers. (I was in it as a kid, and now I'm back because I don't know any better.)
  2. Control Freaks (My marriage is lousy and my work is unfulfilling, and this seems like a good venue to exert the control I lack in other spheres of my life.)
  3. Attention seekers. (Camp? Oh, I'd love to, but I have this back condition, and it's really painful, so I'll be there, but I might be in sooo much pain that I won't be able to help with anything physical. I'll do campfire though- I have a wonderful voice!)
  4. Crazy crafters. (Isn't it wonderful? I made it out of old socks, glitter and fishing line!)
  5. Over-achievers. (Sure, I'll be responsible for that. And that. And that. And I can do that too. Maybe you'd better let me do that for you while I'm at it.)

While everyone has their heart in the right place (I guess), it makes for an uncomfortable mix of personalities. Several of the ladies are quite bossy, and well, I don't take too well to being bossed. However, I'll try to swallow my pride and do what I can to make camp fun and smooth running. My only worry is that they will try to treat my girls like 'helpers'. I've already made it pretty clear that my girls deserve to enjoy camp like any other participant, especially since they're paying to be there. They have enough Moms to help with all that. We'll see how it goes.

On the upside, Camp Olave is a beautiful place and holds so much magic for the little ones and fond memories for the older girls. For most of my girls, it will be their last time at Olave, so I hope it's special.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My Last Skeeter

I survived Skeeter 2007 and what a great last year!

Secretly, all spring long I'd been dreading taking my girls to Skeeter. We've had a rough year full personality conflicts and non-committal teenagers. In fact, it got to the point that I wasn't having fun anymore, and since Guiding has been a big part of my life for 20 years now, that's saying something. I'd decided this would be my last year in Guiding, and I was counting down the days.

The girls, of course, have been anxiously awaiting Skeeter since 'Rovent', the last social camp that took place in Manning Park in February. With good food, 2 dances, jello wrestling, a casino, tons of free time and hundreds of teenage boys, what girl wouldn't be excited to go?

I looked for any possible way out of going, but I'd promised to take them, so I was stuck. The packing adventure began.

The weatherman said it was going to pour, so into the car went the extra tarps, rope & poles. Camp staff said the water might not be potable, so into the car went jug upon jug of water. There were some personality conflicts before camp ("I HATE you!!!" "I HATE you MORE!!") so into the car went an extra 2-man tent. My girl with a blood sugar disorder was coming to camp, so into the car went an extra box of fruit leathers. My girls with life-threatening anaphylactic allergies were coming to camp, so into the car went extra epi-pens. Pam was coming, and Pam's a Princess, so into the car went the biggest bloody camp cot the world has ever seen. Insert a few choice words of frustration, a cup of tea and we were ready to carve out enough room for the driver and passenger. We were away!

Heather, my very young and crazy friend (also known as un-Bridesmaid # 3) was my passenger. She was also looking forward to camp, but was starting to worry that she might be too old (she's 19) to find herself any hot guys that weekend. That brought be back to the last year I went to Skeeter before I became a Leader. I was also 19 and I was walking around camp the first night with a couple of girlfriends, checking things (and guys, of course) out. A guy came up to us and started chatting us up. He talked a bit with my two friends then seemed to zero-in on me. We only chatted a bit (I thought he was kinda weird) then he asked me how old I was. I said I was nineteen and he screamed "EeeeeeWwwwwww! you're OLD" and literally ran away. I warned Heather she might be hanging out with Me and the 'Old People' tonight.

Heather and I, despite not having ferry reservations on a long weekend, got right onto the ferry and made it to camp before lunch. Camp Caillet- the home of Skeeter, is just outside Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. We registered our group, caught up with Staff members and Scouters we knew, then both feeling like She-Ra Princess of Power, we hauled all the group gear to the spot we always camp in. We've been camping in the same spot for about 5 years now; right in between the field, the jello wrestling pit and the dance area. It is undeniably the loudest place at camp, so we always fit right in.

Having nothing better to do (you know, because we're so OLD) we decided to put up our tent, tarp it, set up the kitchen area and shelter, tarp a 'living room' for the girls and flag off an area for the girls' tent. When the girls got there several hours later, like the mean Leader I am, I made them set up their tent and tarp it right away. Good thing too, because as soon as we were in bed that night, it POURED.

The rain was torrential. I usually sleep through anything. I sleep through blizzards and lightning storms. I sleep through dances and armed raccoon reconnaissance missions. But I woke up when these rains came and wondered if the Yanks were bombing the local army base. It was that bad. But then of course I fell back asleep, and come morning it was beautiful and sunny, and we were all bone dry (thanks to me being a 'mean Leader').

The girls had a great time all weekend doing everything from playing cards and volleyball to jello wrestling each other and sucking face with random pimply-faced scouts. I fed them and all their many male groupies who learn really quickly that if they want to hang around they're welcome so long as they are respectful to the girls and to the Guiders.

A few years back, while going over the rules for co-ed camps, one of the kids was giving me some lip. The rule was "Buddy System at all times" and the boy asked if he counted as a buddy. I replied that the buddy needed to be a girl. He asked if he could be a buddy if he wore a wig. I said "No, you have a penis; you can't be a buddy". This prompted the eventual reworking of the 'Official Co-ed Camp Rules' featured below, for your enjoyment.

1) Buddy System at all times.
2) Your Buddy cannot have a penis.
3) Check-in at meals, after the dance, and before curfew.
4) Miss curfew and you win an exciting evening with the 'Old People'
5) No drugs or alcohol period.
6) No touchy touchy below the eyebrows. (AKA: hands where I can see 'em)
7) No visiting in tents.

As a funny little aside, several girls from various Scout groups (and even a couple of staff) came to camp this year with strollers wielding 3 month old babies... you do the math.

I also had a great weekend. I got to catch up with all the guys that I grew up with- my 'Landsville' boys (they were all from Landzville). I met these guys at my very first co-ed when I was 14 (they appeared out of a bush while I was cooking pancakes) and we've been buddies ever since. Some of them are still on the island, some of them are married, and a couple even have kids. It was great meeting wives/kids and reliving the past. I told them all that I was in fact engaged and soon to be married and they were very happy and very surprised! I think it was Steve who said it best: "Dizzy's finally settling down!". Watch out Sean! I'm apparently a handful!

Apart from that, I helped the girls get de-jello-ed, and visited with various Scouters I've become acquainted with. I'm always happy to see Scouter Gary around- a genuinely friendly man always there to help when something goes sideways. My pride usually prevents me from seeking help, but two years ago at Rovent it was -30 below and I couldn't get the white gas stove to light. Propane doesn't work past -20ish but white gas does, but not that day. I was just about ready to cry when Gary came by and we sent all the kids away and proceeded to set the stove on fire (that's right, the torched the sucker) to get the assembly warm enough that it would vaporize the liquid fuel. This was also Gary's last year as a Scouter (so he says) since his eldest son Colin was in a car accident at Christmas and is now a paraplegic. (More about Colin in another post)

At the end of camp, we all pitched in and had everything packed up in 1 hr- a new record. The girls were really fantastic this camp, and it's good to see them friends with some good Scouts- the same ones year after year. I've come to call them 'my boys' and they know they can come our way for second breakfasts and dessert.

Oooh dessert. I should mention I baked my world famous camp cakes (in the dutch oven) and Meghan came by Sunday night with ice cream. I can't think of a better way to end a camp.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Wet & Whiny Weekend

This weekend I'll be taking my group of teen-aged Girl Guides to a big co-ed camp (400+ people) on the island. I've been going to this camp for more than 10 years now, and so while I certainly have better things to do, I'm also looking forward to it, if only for old-times sake.

I'll be going with one of my best friends; Pam, and the girls that are coming are pretty good ones. I've spent the morning packing up all the group gear (I own most of it), and I'm pretty sure we'll 'be prepared'. I love my 'Camping Cupboard'. It's full of all my most used camping stuff; all I have to do is haul it out and cram it all together. I have a good reputation for being ridiculously prepared (while still packing fairly light), and I find it sort of funny that my outdoor recreation is the only sphere of my life that I'm ever able to organize.

Sean has his own plans this weekend, and I'm going to miss him. We don't spend a lot of time away from each other, so it's always a surprise to wake up and remember he won't be there. :(

Well, wish me luck! We'll (both) be back Monday!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Recipe for a Bad Day

1) Wake up on the wrong side of the bed, ready to greet the world with your grouchy badness.
2) Wash your hair a second time by accident instead of using conditioner to ensure you have a bad hair day.
3) Add Soy milk, protein powder, strawberries and flax meal and mix well in blender until it explodes all over your kitchen.
4) Leave for work hungry and pissed off.
5) Turn around and go home to get your tea (because if you don't have that little bit of caffeine you'll disembowel your first customer).
6) Run out of gas coasting into the parking lot.
7) Be late for work.
8) Realise you have a great big stain on the front of your blouse.
9) Leave your lunch sitting in the sun in your car until it will probably give you botchulism.
10) Eat it anyway because you already missed breakfast.

Strangely enough, I feel much better now!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Max's Mid-life Crisis

With the new addition to our family (Leo), our 3-year old cat Max is feeling the pressure to appear fun and youthful. Instead, he just looks really silly (but gets extra hugs for trying).

Max has never been a very adventurous cat. He is afraid of the vacuum, garbage bags, loud noises, forced air (breezes, fan, hairdryer, etc.), small spaces, the elevator, people with hats and in general, anything unexpected. He often enjoys forays out into 'the wild' (ie. the hallway) but boots it back to the apartment if anyone sees him or makes noises. Recently, he'd developed an irrational fear of his scratching post/penthouse and would not go anywhere near it.

Max, to put it nicely, is also not a very small cat. In fact, he is gigantic. He probably weighs a good 18lbs and he's tall enough to stand on his hind legs with his front paws on the counter. When he wants to be held, I have to sling his front half over my shoulder and cradle his bottom half with both arms.

The arrival of Leo has turned poor Max's life upside-down. He now has competition for our attention, and has concluded that to be 'top-cat' he needs to be a kitten. In the last 2 weeks I've witnessed the following completely out of character 'Max-moments':

1) He's re-asserted his ownership of his kitty-penthouse and sleeps there most afternoons.
2) He's crammed his giant cat body into a tiny play box with only one hole.
3) He's learned to climb things by chasing Leo up the rolled up carpet.
4) He's spent 10 minutes trying to squish himself underneath the sofa because he sees Leo do it. (NB. He made it halfway but then got stuck and almost couldn't drag himself out)

It's actually a wonderful change we've seen in Max; he's really starting to mellow. Leo on the other hand...

BOB points: 8

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Just Like Me.

Today, I had a little girl tell me she wanted to be just like me.

I wasn't quite sure why, but upon further contemplation, I think it must have been for two very important reasons:

1) I can see over the counter without a stool.
2) I have the power to stamp the hands of children (and sometimes adults) who've behaved in the library.

She's headed for big things.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Burn the Books!!!

It never ceases to amaze me how sentimental people get about their books. I’ve been reminded of this these past few days as patrons have been dropping off donations for our upcoming booksale.

Because of the volume of donations that have been arriving, I’ve been tasked with checking the donations before we accept them. Why me? Well, as Sharie my co-worker said; “You’re a hard-ass, you’ll tell them where to go! We’re (indicating she and Nancy) just too nice.”

You don’t even want to know what I’ve been finding in these boxes. As an example of the book-y-badness, last year I got to the bottom of a particularly nasty box of old books to find a collection of old used Kleenex and a bedpan. Lovely. I also had an older couple come in with a heavy medium sized box. They set it down on the counter explaining they were done with the books and left before I could check the box. I opened it to find a massive collection of sex books from the 1970’s to present. Of course, we had to thoroughly examine them before deciding what to do with them. ;) In case you were wondering, body hair was definitely ‘in’ in the ‘70’s.

For the most part, people just come in with boxes upon boxes of really old books they’ve cleaned out of their basements. They pack up these boxes and think (cue thought bubble) “What should I do with these wonderful books I’ve known and loved these past 20 years?” Then it hits them: “The Library! The library has books!” and they bring them to us. They come through our front door and proudly proclaim “I’ve brought you some donations!” and they smile (they’re so please with themselves). Not only have they managed to clean out their garage, but they’ve found a new home for their beloved books. Because you can’t just throw out a book! Bad people throw out books! Fascists, Communists and Nazis throw out books!! No, no, you just can’t throw out a book.

I meet them at the counter (hard-ass in tow) and sweetly thank them for their consideration, but explain that we need to take a look at the offerings before we accept them. “Oh.” they say, taken aback. “Well they’re all really good books.”. I explain that we can only accept items that are in very good condition and fairly recently printed. They start to shift their feet. “There’s some beautiful encyclopedias in there- I’m sure someone would want them! My little Susie used them all the time when she was a kid. She’s a Doctor now!”

And so I pour over the boxes, and make two very big piles. Actually, I should say I make two piles and one is very big. That would be the pile full of encyclopedias, 10 year old textbooks, tech support manuals from 1996, coffee table books commemorating the marriage of Prince Charles to Princess Diana and ratty old tomes so faded they have a better tan than I do.

They gaze upon this paper tower of piza and I brake the news that we cannot take these items. The arguing ensues. "But this Atlas is still good! It's topographical- AND colour coded!" "Unfortunately," I reply "it contains a few pages we just can't use- namely the ones with the U.S.S.R, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia to name a few." They continue "But the National Geographics are still good- look at all the pictures!" I have to let them down by saying that we just don't have alot of call for magazines older than our Librarians.

I let them argue. I counter their arguments. If they still object to my objections I give them one final option...

"Well," I say "I can clearly see you want to get rid of these quite badly. Tell you what; I'll throw 'em out for you."

"*gasp* Throw them OUT? You mean, like, in the... GARBAGE?!"

"Actually, I can probably put most of these in our recycling bin."

Red-faced and eyes brimming with tears they quietly pack up their musty, dingy, crappy old books and continue on their quest to find them a new home. Godspeed.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Week at a Glance

Well, I have to say, it's been a hell of a week, and, if my spidey sense serves me right, we'll be in for an extra helping this coming week.

Last Saturday, Sean moved in, and that was a fiasco in itself. See Sean's blog (don't worry Babe, no links!) for details. I especially liked the part when Creepy Moving Guy #1 says I look really familiar. I didn't recognize him- I'm really good at remembering faces I wish I could forget.

On Sunday, we did lots and lots of errands- but got very little actually accomplished, except for something we never set out to do in the first place; we adopted a kitten! We'd swung by the pet supply store, and they have a (crazy) lady who comes by on weekends with rescue kittens for adoption. We'd been talking about getting a 'Leonidas' for Max to play with, but Sean insisted that he had to be gray with blue eyes. None of the kittens there fit the bill, but as we were going to leave one started meowing bloody murder and the crazy cat lady had to take him out of the cage. She was busy with customers, so I offered to hold him... and he promptly jumped into Sean's arms, curled up into a purr-ry ball and fell asleep. Sean decided he'd found his 'Leo' after all.

The week was a blur. I can't even straighten out the days. I went to coffee (well, tea actually. I've given up coffee!) a bunch of times with friends I've been neglecting for weeks. The Guide meeting on Thursday was especially crazy as we had our annual 'Coffee House Open Mike' and all the girls brought their poems, stories and art to share. And of course, chocolate fondue. Every evening was a hockey game as the Red Wings and the Canucks play on alternate nights. And, oh yes, unpacking. Still working on that.

I'd like to add that there was also a full moon this week, and anyone who works with the public can attest to the weird goings-on that happen around this time of month.

What happened this weekend? Um, well... oh yeah, multiple trips to Ikea, Home Depot and the 'Stuporstore'... lots of cleaning... unpacking and assembling... and we went to see 'Hot Fuzz'. Me for the first time and Sean for the second. It was freakin awesome!!!! Go see it right now! How about now? Well, what about now? ... Now?

The cats are, um... exuberant. They're finally getting along- actually they seem to have become good buddies... almost, and Leo has definately brought out the best in Max. Last night we watched Leo pick a fight with Max (jumping at someone's face claws out will do that.) and Max pin him down, ignoring Leo's flailing paws, and groom him. It was the funniest thing. Maybe I won't have to call Leo 'Stinky' much longer. Really dude, Spartans shouldn't smell like that.

BOB points: 7

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The word of the day is Cephalopod.

Last night, to thank me for helping him clean his apartment, Sean took me to my favourite restaurant even though he really doesn't like it. (very, very sweet of him) We went to Guu; that japanese pub on Thurlow just off Robson and it was great as usual- except for the service, but whatever. My favourite dish (well, untill last night when we had the grilled black cod with ponzu sauce- that was awesome) is the grilled squid legs with spicy mayonaise. Since they're very long, to eat them, you need to pick them up around the middle with your chopsticks, and bite near the top where it's tender (chew, swallow). Then, take another bite, and if you can't sever the legs with your teeth, suck them up like spaggetti. Beleive it or not, this is the least messy and probably best way of eating the little suckers, and has the added bonus of making your dinner partner turn several shades of green. If you're really lucky he might compare you to a lizard or a sea monster. Then you can slurp up another batch and get even. Hee heee heeeee he he....

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Doomed to Drudgery (warning: the following is a rant, and makes very little sense.)

I'm not a religious person, so I can say the following without fear of omnipotent smiting; Adam and Eve were dicks.

If the Christians had it right, and Eve really ate that apple that eventually developed into our need to clothe ourselves, then I have a bone to pick with her.

It's not so much that I don't like wearing clothes- aside from the fact that nothing ever looks as good on me as it does on say, Angelina Jolie, I'm OK with them. The problem is, the Big Guy upstairs, in compelling me to wear clothes, has doomed me to a life of... laundry.

I fricken hate doing laundry. I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like to do laundry for a whole family- my own is too much already!! Thankfully, I've already decided that I won't have any children until someone invents disposable, biodegradable clothing.

The absolute worst part is a process called "putting the clean clothing away". Or so I'm told. I find it never quite makes it all the way there. I might fold and empty half of the basket, but by that time I've usually made more dirty laundry and have to re-fill the basket with more clean clothes. Sometimes I wonder if I have laundry room trolls that sneak out and create more laundry while I'm at work. I'll have to set some traps or something.

Well, I've just conferred with Sean, and we have a solution. It's actually a variation on his current laundry method. All we need is a giant vat to put the clean clothes in. We'll save tons of closet space. Lets just hope the wrinkle is 'in' this season.

oh, and btw, BOB points are at 4.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Moving Moments

This past weekend, Sean and I packed and moved all his stuff to my apartment. Anyone who's ever moved or helped someone move might understand the horrors that the previous sentence implies, but for those of you who haven't, or if you are a hyper-organized freak-of-nature, read on with my compliments.

It was Easter weekend- you know that wonderful spring holiday filled with Ham and Chocolate, walks in the park and R&R. Except for us of course, who happened to be trapped in our very own self inflicted hell.

Ok, okay, I'm being a little over dramatic. It actually wasn't that bad- Sean, like me, is not a pack-rat, and we managed to pack/get rid of everything from Friday to Sunday. We packed dozens of boxes, carried them down to the lobby ("Oh, uh, Hi Mr. Security Guard, no, we're not moving... yes, we know we have to give notice... uh, we're just, uh, transporting some boxes.") crammed them into my Mazda Protege, drove the 35kms (1 hr drive) to my place, unloaded, drove back, rinse and repeat.

Our very last load was at about 3pm on Sunday afternoon- plenty of time to get loaded and unloaded then over to my parents' place for dinner. It was a very big load- Sean wasn't quite sure it would all fit, but I had faith in my shuvementa gifts. We piled box after box into the back seat (the seats were folded down) using every spare square inch of space, then shut the doors and opened the trunk. This is where things went sideways.

A few months ago, I locked my car keys in the trunk, and found out the hard way that my trunk release is broken. Ever since, when I open the trunk, I place my keys on the inside rim of the trunk, because you couldn't possibly shut the trunk with the keys there, right?

I placed my keys on the rim, we filled the trunk fill to the brim, we looked around to make sure there were no more items to go in, and... I slammed the trunk shut.

Well, it would appear it is possible to slam a door shut with a big wad of keys right in the middle.

We pulled, we pried, we swore, we laughed and finally we just stared at the mess we were in. The car was packed and ready to go, but parked (in a no parking zone I might add) and locked and not going anywhere.

What ended up happening was Sean rammed one of his fingers between the car and the trunk lid and managed to just tap the unlock button attached to the keys. I opened the doors and started unloading... all the bloody boxes out of the back seat, then out of the trunk, through the backseat. When everything was empty, I crawled through the backseat into the trunk and pulled the emergency release. Hurray! The trunk was open!! And as I slid out of the trunk, the seat of my pants caught on a hook... and tore a big hole in the ass of my jeans.

Let's just say, it was not on my weekend 'to do' list to stand around loading a car with boxes in a no parking zone with my ass peeking out of my pants, but alas, I did it anyway. I'm just glad we were both able to laugh our way through it.

Battle of the Bulge

Recipe of the Day: "Funny Little Muffin Tin Poached Egg Thingies"

2 eggs
2 slices Calabrese Salami or similar
green Tabasco
pepper & parsley

  1. Spray muffin tin and drape each salami slice over a muffin hole
  2. Crack an egg in each
  3. pepper, parsley & Tabasco
  4. Put in 350ish degree oven
  5. Go have a shower
  6. Take out of oven- egg white will be all cooked and yolk will be half hard/half runny- just the way I like 'em.
Don't forget the shower- very crucial to the cooking process.

So, I've started again with the low-carb eating. I'm ready this time thanks to my brief stint with the ever handy Special-K challenge which never fails to remind me how much I fucking hate eating cereal.

I thought about shelling out and trying the LA Weight Loss or maybe WW, but I've found LC to be easy to do, and effective. I lost 70 Lbs doing this before, and kept it off for almost 2 yrs, but then something happened and I have once again ballooned to ridiculous proportions. Well, like any normal bride (I'm comparing myself to a 'normal' bride, not suggesting I am one) I want to look my best on my wedding day. (Even if it is going to be taking place in somebodies office, squeezed nicely between a half dead houseplant and a coat-rack.)

Today's Battle of the Bulge points (ie: Lbs lost): 0 (I did just start this morning!)

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Boxes of memories

Yesterday, with the help of my good friend Meghan, I finally dealt with my apartment. I say 'dealt with' because the mess and clutter was just as much psychological as it was physical.

I am a messy person to begin with. I'm not a very good organizer and my time-management skills are almost non-existent. Combine all that with the fact that I deal with clutter the same way I deal with all my other problems; out of sight, out of mind... and you start to understand my predicament.

Over several hours, we completely gutted the place. Closets, drawers and shelves were emptied, their contents strewn over the living room and sorted into garbage/recycle, charity and keep. The smallest pile by far was the 'keep' pile.

The end result is that I now have a fairly organized and clean-ish apartment that is mostly ready for my fiance to move into. More importantly, I've been forced to deal with everything I've been keeping packed away. And not just the old papers and knick-knacks. For some reason when we started pulling everything apart, I hadn't anticipated all the skeletons coming out too. Not all were bad, (some were very well dressed) just a lot of mementos of people and places I'd done my best to forget, or at the very least, not think about. People that had hurt me, people I'd hurt, old friends I've out-grown (or who've out grown me), past successes and failures, bittersweet memories, old favourites, and many, many mistakes. All the things that have culminated in the person I am today.

I took a good long look. I said a silent prayer. And I let go.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Few Pages Missing...

Beginnings and Endings have always been difficult for me. So, I'm afraid I'll have to start by saying this is a story that begins in the middle. It's the story of weather-beaten friendships, crazy relatives, unpaid bills, drunken outbursts, and the self discovery of a girl who swore she'd never marry... and of course is now doing just that.

That being said; so it begins...