Sunday, December 17, 2006

A review for Edmonton, of all things...

Last night, Jenn and I went to my office Christmas Party at Gabanna on Jasper Avenue and 111 st, just three doors down from the Sicilian Pasta Kitchen, across the street from "Who Cares" a shop that Jenn advises me is loaded with clothes for young professionals and is not at all trendoid.

Gabanna is what you might call "Asian and Western cuisine" but with an Oliver Square attitude. Upscale young professionals living cheek to jowel in condos call for equally upscale dining and drinking, and they get it in spades at Gabanna. The wine list, for example, includes Opus 1 ($300) and Chateau Muton Rothschild 98 ($450), and even the house red, Lindeman's Bin 50 Shiraz is passable. For a Thai joint, they did not have my favorite Thai beer - Singa.

For appetizers I sampled grilled portobello mushroom on tofu - wonderful, and green onion cakes - best I've had and came with a sun-dried tomato and goat cheese salsa. Main courses included my Thai Seafood Bowl, which was two huge scallops, two 6-8 count shrimp, a large piece of salmon, crab, deep fried banana fritters, and coconut black sticky rice in a mild red curry sauce, and Jenn's lemon chicken which was a whole breast pounded into a schnitzel-like cutlet with a wonderful lemon sauce seasonal grilled and stir-fried veg, and two "shrimp wontons" which were huge fresh shrimp deep fried in wonton wrappers. Jenn had a pomegranate martini or two, I had a Tiger Lager. Both our entrees, which were enough to choke a horse, came in under $20. The apps were $5-7, I don't have any idea what the desserts ran, but our Chocolate Truffle Cake was wonderful. The best part was that I didn't have to pay for it, which made me very happy. They also served wild boar salads, steak, wiener schnitzel, and a handful of other "western" dishes. If you want authentic Thai, don't go to this place, but if you want trendy upscale "fusion" (or rather an upscale re-interpretation of Chinese and Western cuisine) try this place out. It has great food, good value, and an atmosphere that was inoffensive to the senses. Everyone had a good time, and even the poor hostess who kept getting felt up by all the old guys in expensive suits waiting by the door was in good humor.

Gabbana gets 4 lemongrass martinis. I probably would have gone as high as 4 and a half, but it was too upscale for my tastes, not nearly dive-y enough.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

More reviews

Two reviews since the last update. First is the Siam Thai located in the Cossack Inn. This place is in the location of what alledgedly used to be a serious dive. The stench of old cigarette smoke as soon as you walk in confirms it. That's a smell that won't come out without new carpet and a fresh coat of paint, which I don't expect to be forthcoming considering the decor as it stands now.

That decor is kinda groovy, actually. The room is essentially the same as when this was the "quiet bar" of the local dive hotel, decorated with a nautical theme of knots, ships in bottles, a brass diver's helmet, maps, and whatnot. Presiding over all the seafaring knicknackary and bric-a-brac is two portraits (the king and queen of Siam) and a statue (Bhudda). All in all, it makes for a strange atmosphere, but I have always said that you can't judge a restaurant by its tables.

The service is what you might call glacial, if pleasant. Two early middle aged Thai ladies seem to run the place, all smiles and slow movements. What eventually arrived at our table, however, was wonderful. I had the Garlic Pork lunch, which came with rice and two hand-wrapped spring rolls. Debbie had the Chili-Basil chicken with peppers, which was also great, and Dana had what may be the best Pad Thai I have ever had (not that I eat that much Pad Thai). The servings were huge (all the better to justify the $13 a plate for the lunch combos and $9 for what amounted to, essentially, a plate of noodles.

Taking into account the glacial service, odd atmosphere, bad smell, and relatively high price (but good value and very good quality) plus the fact that today I heard an unconfirmed rumour that the place may have an insect issue, I am only inclined to grant three and a half pints of Singha beer. They need to work on speed, smell, and infestation in order to drive that grade up.

Next, Bing's, a Spruce Grove and Stony Plain institution (having locations in both) serving Chinese and wastern cuisine. I had the Combo #3 for $9, which was a large helping of rice, Canadian style chow mien (which is to say chop suey with crunchy noodles on top) sweet&sour spare ribs and pineapple chicken balls. The rice was steamed, but it was good quality and not at all like the dry horrible muck from the Rainbow Palace. The chop suey was tasty, with obviously fresh ingredients, and freshly made. The sweet and sour sauce on the spareribs was not to my taste, but good enough for what it was, but the pineapple chicken was extremely good. Not nearly as good as my mom's, but very good for a restaurant. The service was fast, and we were done in a short time. Debbie's Chicken & Peppers looked good, as did Dana's Wor Wonton Soup.

The room itself could have been a smitty's or any of a hundred different chains that live beside major routes. I give no score on the atmosphere, and then, of course, all the staff are white, but the fact remains that this was an excellent example of "Chinese & Western cuisine" at its best, with good service and quality ingredients well prepared. The general level of busyness was a good indicator to me of good things to come. All in all, I give it Two pints of TsingTao, and Two pints of Great Western Brewing Pilsner. Chinese and Western well executed.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

But now that the beer is done exploding...

It seems to have calmed down and now is bubbling away quite happily in my closet. The mess on the floor and in the blow-off jug smelled really good, so I expect this one to be quite drinkable. Another big milestone for me was my first genuine mediation. It clocked in at two and a half hours, and it meant that I didn't get home until after 7, which is kind of unusual, but as far as I could tell from the discussions that occurred and the feedback that I got, it was a success. An assortment of people getting in touch with their inner adults.

I'm still waiting on results for the final three categories I entered in the Gambrinus Challenge at Paddock Wood in Saskatoon, but that should come along soon enough. Those were what you might call small categories, where I would likely be amongst only a handful of competitors. I hold out high hopes for a medal.

In other news, Jenn is only three school days away from her final day of Student Teaching at the current placement. She has learned a great deal, and has really gotten interesting perspectives on teaching, but she is looking forward to student teaching in her major area, where she will feel more at home with the material.

We are both looking forward to Christmas like a couple of little kids. Jenn has apparently gone way overboard on buying me presents, and I am looking forward to getting a few days off to work on my thesis without keeling over from exhaustion. This Friday and Saturday are big Christmas days for me. On Friday there are two meet&greet style parties in the Grove for me to hang out with realtors and bankers and lawyers, and then on Saturday we have the company Christmas Party. Jenn will get to meet all my co-workers and I will get to eat Thai food on the company tab. It's a win win.

That's all for now, I just thought I would give an update since nobody I know who blogs has written anything substantial since the first of the month, and I though I would be part of the solution.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

My hobby is messy.

Today I tried something a bit different with my beer. I pitched a yeast starter into my beer. That is to say that instead of putting a little yeast in my beer today, I put a little yeast in some unfermented beer two days ago in a gallon jug on top of my fridge, and put all that in my beer today. Then, because I was in a hurry, I put an airlock on the whole affair and went out to a friend's for supper for a few hours, secure in the knowledge that in the past it had taken at least overnight to get a vigorous fermentation going in my beer.

When we got home, the airlock had been blown completely off the carboy, and there was beer foaming out of the top.

Mopping at midnight is so much fun. On the up side, it seems like this beer will ferment out nicely, it sure is going hard.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What we did on Monday Night

On Monday night, we attended the annual Christmas Potluck of the Edmonton Homebrewer's Guild (my wife is so tolerant). At this meeting, I drank a great deal of very good beer, discovered that I had won a silver medal in at least one category in the Saskatoon Gambrinus Challenge (for the Wheat beer that was, in fact, up.) and We each won a prize in the 50/50.

I won a 650 ml bottle of beer (that is not otherwise available in Canada, thanks to those who hand-imported it) and Jenn won a 2 gig iPod Nano. Needless to say, there was no question that Jenn won the beer and I won the iPod. Why would you even think such a thing? That's dumb.

Speaking of contests, there are still 3 categories that I entered the Gambrinus in which have yet to be judged, so watch this space to see if there is anything else I will be winning.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Oh, yeah, that's what I was going to blog about before I got distracted!

So I went downstairs on Tuesday morning, the morning that we reached our record low for the day of -29 (a high of -27) with windchils in the -40s, and I tried to start my car. It turned over fine, but the oil was in a solid block. Little did I suspect that overnight the plug I plug my block heater into had STOPPED WORKING! I called in, let them know at work, plugged my car into a different outlet, and headed upstairs. I returned a few minutes later with a lamp to see which outlets were working, and it was just as well I did because the alternative plug wasn't working either. The third try was the charm, as they say, and about an hour and a half later the car reluctantly turned over and caught. Needless to say, I didn't have a super day that day. Today, I walked outside and it was -19 with no wind, and I actually thought to myself, "Well, when did it get so nice out all of a sudden?" I don't want to hear any complaining from Ottawa about the rain, and I don't want to hear any complaining from Vancouver about the snow, because however bad you have it, Edmonton is getting it worse. Yay for you, you're glum because of the rain. Go outside for ten minutes without a jacket. Okay, you back? Are you alive? Then it's better where you are than it is here.

Fish & Chips

While I'm at the reviewing stage, I guess I'll bring myself totally up to date on all the places I've been to in Spruce Grove. My assistant guilted me into going for lunch with her the other Friday because she didn't bring a lunch and Debbie wasn't there to go with. Since I had only brought terrible salad I reluctantly agreed to go. We went to Docherty's, which is a Fish & Chip place on McLeod Avenue. I walked in and knew that I was in my kind of place. First off, the seating is at benches around tables all packed into this space which is open to the fry-room (I hesitate to say kitchen). The walls and parts of the ceiling are covered with souvenir tea-towels from all over the UK and other bits of the commonwealth. "A Geordie's Prayer", "Scots Wa Hae", "The Rules of Cricket" and whatnot sort of thing. Very very authentic. Also authentic is the food, which is heavily into the fried zone. You can also get haggis. In fact, there are few items on the menu which are not fried fish, potatoes, clams, oysters, shrimp, scallops, or onion rings. They would be as follows:Corn fritters, mushy peas, gravy, chicken fingers, haggis, and drinks. 2 draft beers, Moosehead and Newcastle Brown. That's it. Oh, wait, one gem amongst the fried-ness - Mussels in wine butter sauce. Prices include GST and are reasonable in the extreme. At lunch I had a 2 piece fish & chips for $7.25 that would choke a donkey. The chips are home-cut but are pre-blanched for extra goodness. Nothing is on a heat table, the takeout menu admonishes customers to allow 15 minutes for preparation, and if you can't wait to call ahead.

The fish was terrific, the chips were terrific, the decor was terrific. I will definitely be going back to this place, as long as I can get enough other places out of the way on my long journey to utter knowledge of the food environment in Spruce Grove and Stony Plain.

Five pints of Newcastle Brown Ale, because, simply, that's what they serve.

I can't help but feel that I have been giving out a lot of good ratings to these establishments in Spruce Grove, but my feeling is that if the places weren't any good, the town is small enough that word of mouth would kill the weak.

Food Review

I have eaten at J's diner a couple of times now, and I am just getting around to the review. It is a dive-y little hole in the wall across the street from my office next to a little caesar's and a Macs. Naturally, I chose to eat at the locally owned and operated joint. They have a sub counter, a couple of donair meat rotating kebabs, an ice cream counter, and a countertop fry-o-lator. Their menu runs to basically a very few things: Donairs of all varieties as long as you want donair meat. This is not the kind of place where they have chicken breast donairs. Tacos. Subs. Ice Cream. Assorted things that can be fried up from frozen.

The guy who runs it (I'm presuming that this is "J" (which I assume is short for Jalalabad, or something to this effect) speaks an undetermined amount of English, particularly as it applies to non-donair related topics. He works pretty slow, but boy, does he make a mean donair, and I love a good donair.

The decor is Formica, ancient video game, and pool table, with Canadian Geographic for Kids on the TV, and a pull down screen for movie nights. This place is only open late on the weekend - it is strictly a lunch kind of place. There are cases and cases of empty beer bottles stacked on the counters, but no beer on the menu. I would be shocked if the place had a liquor license, but my assistant assures me that years ago when she was underage, it was a choice location to hang out and score no-ID beers. My feeling on that is that the beer is generally behind the counter in the meat cooler, and a person with the appropriate $4 a bottle could get what they needed.

All in all, this is my kind of dingy little hole. The dingier the hole, the better the food, is the general rule, and this place has proved no exception. It gets four pints of strong middle-eastern coffee and one can of crappy bootleg beer.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

More reviews and a brief note on my first court appearance in two years.

Okay, first thing's first: I lost. Bigtime. I have never seen a chambers application before when one side was not called on to speak, and neither had opposing counsel. There. Done. That having been said, I don't think I would have brought the application if it had been mine to make, but it was already in progress when I arrived, and I inherited the file.

On to more important matters: Reviewing independent eataries in Spruce Grove and Stony Plain.

First, Honshu - a sushi and Japanese cuisine joint in Spruce Grove.

How good could it possibly be, you ask? Better than Tokyo Express, better than T&T market sushi counter, better than safeway or 7-11. All in all, pretty OK. Better than anywhere I ate in Vancouver or Victoria? No. Not really. That having been said, it is a Sushi place in Spruce Grove, and better than one might expect. I give it three 500 ml cans of Kirin Lager, but the kind brewed in Canada for export to the US, not the kind from Japan.

Second: Linda's Kitchen.

I discovered Linda's kitchen because I assumed that there would be some kind of food court in the Mall in Spruce Grove. I was right, in a sense. There are the appropriate tables, and two food outlets next to each other. One is a Grandma Lee's. The other is Linda's Kitchen. Linda was (incidentally) cooking. The menu runs to all day breakfast, sandwitches, burgers, perogies and kubasa, and an evening choice of pork chops, hamburger steak, or pork cutlets with boiled veg and a baked potato. The place is like a cut rate diner right there in the food court. It even had real plates instead of paper, and the fries were hand cut right in front of me. The downside of that was the fact that the fries were not pre-blanched, so they weren't super crispy. A large fries, incidentally, is two and a half POUNDS of potatoes.

My fries were uninspiring, but the burger was terrific. It was a hand-made patty just like my mom used to make from scratch. Frozen patties just don't come in that shape. The thing about this place is that all the food appears to be made from scratch, which is odd in today's world of eating establishments. I had no notion of a real handmade burger patty today, but there it was sitting in front of me. This place is as authentic as it gets, but maybe not as good as it might be. Therefore it gets five pints of old-fashioned homebrewed beer made with a can of blue ribbon malt extract and a lot of table sugar and bakers yeast. It's super authentic, and just what you remembered from years ago, but a modern touch or a little more attention to detail might not go astray.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I'm not sure whether to be happy that my cat is getting more willing to sleep snuggled up with me, or to regret the fact that I will never sleep well again. My cat Koda started off sleeping next to the bathroom door down the hall from my bedroom. Slowly, however, over the course of several months, he has crept up the hallway through the bedroom door, until he was sleeping in my night-table on the little shelf where my books are supposed to go. Then, slowly but surely, he slipped from there to the foot of the bed, until last night when he was curled up next to my chest. I wouldn't mind, except that Koda isn't exactly a cuddly cat. He refuses, for example, to curl up on top of someone. Instead, if he wants to be where I am sleeping, he will hit me, repeatedly, with his paws. No claws...yet...just bapping me in the face and waking me up. I think he has decided that I am sleeping on his side of the bed, and that my sleep patterns will suffer for this indefinitely. I have two remedies for this behaviour. FIrst, if he is within arm's reach when this happens, I grab him and give him a big hug, trapping him and making him feel all uncomfortable and wanting to get away. If that doesn't work, he gets the sprayer. Unfortunately, the sprayer has been used so much that it takes several pulls on the trigger to get it spraying, and by then he has hidden. Not that getting him to leave me alone wasn't the original goal, but spraying my cat with water is just so satisfying.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Okay. First thing's first - I'M FINE!

But last night at 1:30 in the morning I was in an ambulence taking me to the hospital.

I had woken up with no feeling in my arm, which is not unusal, but what followed was. The feeling wouldn't come back. I shook it and played with it for a while, but to no avail, so I got up and went into the bathroom so I wou;dn't wake up Jenn with my strangeness. As I was sitting there, after about 5-6 minutes, I felt a throbing in the vein on the back of my upper arm, and then a rush pf blood to my arm, which I thought, "great, good, I can go back to..." and then I came to with greyed out vision and my head between my knees and a pounding in my chest. My first thought was, "Okay, now, which arm is it that hurts when you have a heart attack?" WHich I cou;dn't remember, so I levered myself up, and - feeling somewhat better - moved over to my computer, and fired it up and searched the internet for "Heart Attack Symptoms." I wasn't super worried, but I kept thinking of my cousin distant - by marriage- who had died extremely young of a heart attack.

Sitting at the computer and waiting for it to come up with search results, the room greyed out again and I almost fell out of my chair. At that point I staggered into the bedrom and pounded on the wall yelling at Jenn to get up, then I collapsed onto the bed in a cold sweat, pale as a ghost. Needless to say, Jenn was a little shaken up by this, and asked if I needed to go to the hospital, to which I replied yes. She looked at me, saw the shaking, paleness, clamminess, and whatnot, and suggested that maybe an ambulance ought to be in order, to which I agreed, which I think frightened her even more, since I am NEVER wanting to go to the hospital, and if we go, we can damn well drive ourselves, since the hospital is only about 6 blocks from us.

About three minutes later, two very nice paramedics came up with sirens blazing, and hooked me up to every electrode and device known to man, which showed, among other things, that my heart was fine, my blood pressure normal, and my heart rate okay. They took me in anyway, figuring that bloodwork might be in order, but they didn't turn on the siren or anything, since I was walking down to the ambulence, and hadn't passed out agian.

After a remarkably short wait (even though everyone ahead of us went first) We were seen first by an affable if rather large male RN with more blood pressure monitoring gear, and then surprisingly soon by the doctor on watch.

Apparantly if your upper extremities fall really really asleep, and apparently this mostly happens to lightweights who drink more than they are accustomed and fall asleep on a limb "really hard", and your neck nerves crick up too, blood can start pooling in your lower body. When the blood eventually rushes back into your limb, your blood pressure temporarily drops, and you can grey-out and even collapse. Apparantly this isn't that uncommon, although I have never heard of someone passing out from having their arm asleep before. Side effects? Apparently my arm will be tingly for some time since it was so cut off from blood, but if it stays like that for more than a week to go see my family doctor.

So bottom line, no heart attack, no stroke, do broken off blood clots, just fell asleep on my arm. Kind of upsetting, though, a but embarassing that I went to the hospital because my arm fell asleep (although to be fair, I went to the hospital because I passed out twice). Nice thing, though, is that the emergency room at the Mis on a Friday night, unlike the ones at the university and grey nuns, is not packed with bleeding drunk people. It's just not that kind of hospital. The guy next to us, however, and his rather-too-perfectly-turned-out-at-3:30-in-the-morning girlfriend (Jenn initially thought maybe escort, although genuine familiar concern seemed to rule that out) seemed to be ODing on something clubbish, what with all the vomiting and him telling the girl to go to the triage nurst and tell them "oh, and tell them I took, like three puffs on this, too" handing her his ventolin. Yeah. He didn't seem to be having an asthma attack, more of a shaking vomiting attack.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Obligatory Political Blog Entry

That's Democrats 2, Republicans 0. See you in 2008, President Canard.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Edmonton Homebrewers Guild

It is days like today, when I have drank a great deal of beer on a Monday night, that I am grateful for the love and forebearance of my wife, who puts up with my monthly beer-a-thons and even drives me home after. Today, I drank beers from the ridiculous to the sublime, and served up a few of my own. It was real good.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Stupid mid-winter fire alarm.

Last night, about 1:45, the stupid fire alarm went off. We wnet through our standard run for the exit, and went to sit in the truck with the cats. Turns out, it was somebody pulling the downstairs back hallway fire alarm, and since that door still doesn't lock after all these months, it could have been any random asshole off the streets. Hopefully the thought of paying for false alarm after false alarm will result in thoughts of FIXING THE BACK DOOR!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Jenn's Birthday Dinner, Redux

Jenn's birthday week-long celebration has come chugging to a conclusion with her final birthday dinner Tuesday night at Tropika, which has three locations: Edmonton South, Edmonton West, and Calgary on Centre Street. We went to Edmonton South. This was our second foray into the Tropika. First time, we had satay, home-style chicken, something else, and nsai goering. This time, we had satay, Malaysia bread with a crazy tamarind sauce, chicken and potato curry, and stuffed tofu with peanut sauce. I can't really go into detail on any of these things because normally my method is to nit-pick the failings of various places. This place is more awesomer than just about any other ethnic place I've ever been. The food is tasty, plentiful, and while not cheap, it is a good value. The food overwhelms you with flavours you don;t recognize (tamarind, lemongrass, coconut, pandan leaf, and others in strange combination make up a lot of the base) Really really good.

Five pints of Tiger Lager, everyone's favorite Malaysian beer.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

More foodieing

In the grand tradition of writing reviews that are not helpful in the slightest way to my regular readers, I will be starting today a series reviewing every single independant eating establishment in the Stony Plain - Spruce Grove area. The odds that anyone will ever go to any of these besides me? Slim to none. Do I care? Not even slightly. Why do I do it? Mostly to amuse myself.

The first review is of the Rainbow Palace - A "Chinese and Western" joint located right below my office. I assumed - wrongly - that it was so close that it made no difference how good the food was, it was worth a try. Did I mention that I was wrong? Yeah... Wrong.

I ordered the Chinese Lunch Special - which consists of chicken chop-suey, sweet & sour pork, and fried rice. I shall review them in that order. Oh, and it included a small bowl of salad-in-a-bag and an individual portion container of dressing. They have both kinds - ranch and italian.

Chop Suey - bean sprouts and coleslaw mix and leftover boiled chicken bits, stir fried in a sauce that seemed to consist of canola oil and water. It tasted about like it sounds.

Sweet & Sour Pork - dry fried pork bits with flavourless orange sauce. May have had some vinegar in it, but I cou;dn't tell. Probably mostly orange food coloring and sugar.

Fried Rice - Dry and flavourless, made from what appears to be uncle ben's converted, rather than chinese rice. Really, really bad.

It wasn't even a very good value. Taken as a whole, it sucked. It gets one and a half pints of the kind of watery draft beer you get in shady dive bars. You know, the kind that tastes sort of like beer, but not enough like beer to justify drinking it.

A down-home patriotic kind of beer.

I just bottled a North American Pale Ale, (Treewhale Pale) which is a style typical of the region that western separatists usually call Cascadia, and found very little elsewhere. This version is a deep copper, with a strong Cascade Hop aroma and flavour. I am less impressed with the head retention that I have seen so far, but who knows, that may get better. It was also a little chunky going into the bottles due to the single stage fermentation. It may not be a medal winner, as it is up against stiff competition in that category, but I'm sure it will be good enough to drink. I happened to chance into a couple of dozen empty bottles that took me over the top in terms of my bottling capacity, which I had expected to require me to drink another dozen or so beers prior to bottling.

Now I am pondering the next brew. I am thinking of a mash-extract California Common Beer, and do half the batch as a blueberry, that way I can enter one beer in two categories in the competitions this year. Also, I added a spice tea to a few bottles of my cider, so that I can enter it as two ciders as well. This is all in response to the call for each member of the Edmonton Homebrewer's Guild to enter at least three beers for competition this year. This way, with my Hefeweizen, my Pale Ale, and my ciders, I can make one more beer, flavour half of it blueberry, and enter a total of 6 times, all with making only one more beer this competition season. I think that this is a pretty good way to start, since this will be my first competitive season. If nothing else, I will make the better brewed beers seem good by comparison.

Don't ask me about tires.

Needless to say, I still don't have snow tires, and I hate the tire people at Costco. The dry goods people and optical crowd can stay, but the tire people are useless. I'm going to Fountain Tire, where they, at least, know that wheels come in different shapes and sizes, and that the rim offset matters.

In happier news, Jenn and I got to sleep this weekend. Great glorious long stretches of sleep for hours at a time, with an extra hour falling back as well. It was great.

Another great thing was Jenn's birthday party, where we did a murder-mystery and I got to be the killer. Much food and fun was had by all, thanks to all the people who were there, you made it tons of fun.

For the crowd from Calgary, if the weather holds, we will be arriving on the morning of the Saturday of the long weekend, along with four dozen empty wine bottles, two cats, and Lucy, our demented highway-eater. Plans include Dim sum on Sunday morning, and hanging out with friends I haven't seen in too long. If you think that this may apply to you, you are probably right.

Also, work is keeping me medium-busy with the potential for even more busy in the immediate future, so I'm enjoying that a ton. Meanwhile, I'm trying to get my thesis finished right quick. Hopefully I can get it done right away, but this last minth has not been condusive to finishing. I really don't want to take a whole extra semester, but I guess if I have to, I have to. Trying to avoid it, though.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Bawled out for almost buying myself something.

Hey, there, Jenn pointed out that I shouldn't be buying myself anything for the next few months because it's hard enough to shop for presents for me. If any of you really feel like getting me a present, you can always check out my web page, or if you really want to spend an arm and a leg on something that I myself can't afford (at the moment, let's see how the two-incomes thing works out next year) you could get me this. Expensive, AND in US funds. a double hit.

Well, best of the season to you all.

Monday, October 16, 2006

This is how we roll in the C-H-U-K ...

"They called up the white Coupe de Ville at once. Everything was automatic. I could sit in the red-leather driver's seat and make every inch of the car jump, by touching the proper buttons. It was a wonderful machine: Ten grand worth of gimmicks and high-priced Special Effects. The rear windows leaped up with a touch, like frogs in a dynamite pond. The white canvas top ran up and down like a roller-coaster. The dashboard was full of esoteric lights & dials & meters that I would never understand - but there was no doubt in my mind that I was into a superior machine." - HST, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

1- The leather is grey, not red.
2- It has a sunroof, not a cloth-top.
3- It is a Sedan de Ville, Fleetwood, not a Coupe.

Other than that, yeah. And you get to name her.

Rule of thumb: if you have a choice between buying a 15 year old car that cost 9,000 new and a 15 year old car that cost 60,000 new, both of which cost the same now, get the one that used to be 60,000. It is still way more car than the smaller one, and what are you going to do? Drive a $1700 car for years and years yet? C'mon! You are buying this car like seasonal clothes that will be out of style next year.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

An update brought to you without the use of a keyboard.

Believe it or not this blog was written entirely using voice recognition software. Although I had to tell my computer what a blog was, I haven't had to touch my keyboard yet... Which I think is pretty impressive. My using voice recognition software is of course in aid of my dictating documents electronically for work. I suspect that initially this will go slower than my just typing these documents but, that may just be a function of my not normally having a complete sentence in my mind at one time.

One of the problems with this is that it requires a very distinct way of speaking. I'm not really used to speaking this clearly all the time and it will take some getting used to. On the upside, it looks as though if I actually have something to say I will be able to get it down on paper in a reasonably quick way. If I'm not using strange words like blog that didn't even exist in the time that's this program originated, it seems to have little difficulty in recognizing what is that I say. Another interesting thing that I can do with this is control my Windows environment using only my voice. For example, I just opened in close my WordPerfect without having to touch my keyboard.

As an aside I also seem to acquired from work a brand-new laptop computer. Nothing to fancy, mind you, but a more powerful computer than my brother built for me lo these many years ago. It is a 1.7 gigahertz notebook with all the bells and whistles that you get for under grand these days. I'll need to pick up a USB mouse to go with it because I still can't stand using this little thing-I don't even know what you would call it, a track pad? At any rate I seem to have plenty of power for this voice recognition software.

As for work, it has been interesting as one could expect considering that I can't really practice law right now because I'm not insured. As a result I have just been going over files and catching up on a bunch of stuff that I messed well I was not practicing. Not the least amongst these things is the family law act which has made some changes to the way that I will be practicing especially for people who are common law rather than married people seeking a divorce. It is had the effect of replacing a bunch of old statutes (I'm really surprised that this thing wrote down statutes instead of statues!) With one all-encompassing statute that covers areas of spousal support, child support, guardianship, custody and access, and a bunch of miscellaneous stuff that before now was scattered to the winds amongst a bunch of different statutes. I must say that I will not miss The Domestic Relations Act, the Parentage and Maintenance Act, and the family provisions of the Provincial Court Act.

OK I'm kind of choked about this, WordPerfect doesn't seem to be recognizing when I talk to it. It looks like I will have to dictate all my stuff into Dragon Pad, which comes with the voice recognition software, copy it, and then loaded and save it in what ever program I decide to use. That having been said it's still a lot faster than my typing my own documents or even having my secretary transcribe what I've dictated.

Other fun stuff that is going to be going on for me this week includes a big brewing session on Friday evening, and when we have some friends coming over one of whom has no interest in beer or brewing, whose job will be to entertain Jenn for the evening, the other of whom will be assisting me in brewing a batch of North American style pale ale. This is one of my favorite styles of beer, consisting of a malty amber beverage with almost overpowering hop aroma and flavor, with the classic flavor of a North American hop, namely Cascade. The flavor profile is citrusy, and very characteristic of beers brewed in the Pacific Northwest and California such as the classic of the style Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. For a very good local example, try Alley Kat Brewing Co. Full Moon Pale Ale.

Well, I have to get up early tomorrow morning so I need to start getting ready for bed early tonight. Goodnight all and hopefully, this voice recognition program will keep working this well I'm at work.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A bit better

Yesterday I felt like I had been run over by the flu bus. Today, it seems more like a bicycle, or maybe a hand-cart.Thanks to the amazing restorative power of an extra 20 or so hours of sleep and a bunch of ginsing, my main complaint now is the coughing stuff up, as opposed to the feeling of having just been beaten by a sack of sweet valencia oranges. Hopefully I will be much better by tomorrow when I have a bunch of stuff to do.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I'm sick.

It seems that if I get too happy about anything, fate steps in to balance my life. I had been happy to have a new job and to be finally getting close to done my thesis, but here I am, knocked flat on my back with a fever and sore throat. I'd go into more detail, but the ny-quil is kicking in, and I can't hold my head up all that much right now.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

And yes, wheat is, in fact, up.

Wheat, or rather weizenbier, is on tap at the Whale and Cedar Freehouse, and if you come by, you can have some. It comes in three sizes, and I'm sure you know what they are:

Wee (12 Fl Oz)
No So Wee (20 Fl Oz)
Friggin HUGE (34 Fl Oz) (Mmmm, german liter stein)

All servings come with a slice of lemon, and our patented Treewhale Charm.

Also, I wrote to my aunt Nan today, and if you have an aunt Nan, you should too. If not, you should write to a different elderly relative, because if you don't, who will?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Wheat's up with Owen

Well, in the last couple of days, I've gotten a job (lawyering, of all things, who would have thought) been called back by my thesis advisor (only good things, astonishingly enough), and bought my first new pair of shoes in over two years. Good shoes, too, Clarkes, they make my old shoes feel like the insoles were made of plywood (those ones were $12 runners from Zellers that I got when my stomp-y boots disintegrated. Yes, it has been a good couple of days for YT.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

More problems with this Nirvana I call Home

Let's put it this way:

The thermostat is set to 25 degrees C.

The temperature reading on the thermostat reads 13.5 degrees C.

Why does this always happen on a weekend?

Too cold to post with no socks on. Going back to bed.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My last two days:

Yesterday, I got to hang out with some friends who have been hard to pin down for various reasons, ranging from overwork to living in different cities. Just as I was sitting down with them, however, Jenn's sister called from the emergency room indicating that we needed to come and pick up her mum, and that she had needed to get painkillers for her tooth, and couldn't wait until the end of the long weekend. When we got to the hospital, expecting to take her home and put her to bed, it turned out that she in fact needed much more attention that Kayla had let on, and that Jenn would need to look after her on an ongoing basis for the evening. Fine. I made arrangements with my friend who was supposed to come for supper, and was, in fact, able to keep that date, although Jenn was not, which made Suz sad, but when your mom calls from the hospital, you kinda hafta go.

Had a good visit with Suz, and made quite merry over vegetarian lasagana and virgin margaritas on my deck.

That was good and all, but it became apparent that Jenn (and by default, I) needed to stay the night to drive her mum around in the morning. Normally this would be fine, but all the beds and even some couches were full, leaving Jenn and Myself to sleep on a slowly deflating air mattress on the living room floor. By four in the morning, the mattress had deflated enough that at least one part of me was resting on the floor no matter how I positioned myself. I was drifting gently in and out of a fitful sleep when, out of the darkness, the two cats who hate each other erupted into a vicious fight on my crotch. There was screaming and kicking (and not a little blasphemy on my part) which apparently woke the house to much amusement as they were able to reconstruct in their mind's eye almost instantly the situation in the living room.

At that point, Jenn stuck the offending evil white cat in the basement and, she thought, locked the cat door to prevent her from getting back upstairs. Better she should bother her real owner in the basement than my crotch in the living room. Unfortunately, the door proved too tricky for Jenn to operate in the dark at four in the morning with no glasses on, and less than an hour later, the stupid cat was back and had gotten stuck in the blinds about two feet from my head, proving that she doesn't need to fight the other cat to sound like she is killing babies.

Needless to say, I am so sleep deprived that I am almost passing out as I write this.

I hate that cat.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Weird Dreams.

Last night, I had, like a dozen just out-there vivid dreams, but the only one I remember is this one where my brother and I were playing Atari 2600 and he gives me this ice cream cone (cookies and cream in a flat-bottom cone, since I know you weirdos are going to ask). That is the one I can remember, because I said to myself as he gave me the ice cream cone, "Well, this must be a dream. He wouldn't give me an ice cream cone. He's mad at me because of that whole thing, which is too bad, because I like ice cream."

Sunday, August 27, 2006


In order to celebrate our newfound hot water, we decided that it would be fun to replay our past week's experience of no hot water and go camping. We hopped in the truck with a few friends in convoy and headed to Thunder Lake Provincial Park. We got there just in time to get the last site that would fit all our vehicles and one tent. This is just as well, since there would have been an extra $20 per night PER TENT!!! For tents over one.

incidentally, if we had, say, three people camping each in a one-man backpacking tent, all on foot, we would have paid $65 per night in site fees. The people in the next site had 3 full sized pickup trucks and a 35 foot trailer, with air conditioning and satellite dish, and had a full dozen people staying there, all for $25 per night. The site is the site, no matter how many tents are on it, it should be one site one fee, anything else is absurd.

Needless to say, however, it was a successful trip. We ate and drank ourselves stupid, played crib and president, and generally chilled out around a campfire. I also discovered that my Coleman stove doesn't need new seals - it is about 20 years old and had been in storage with no fuel in it for about 19 of those 20 years, and the last time I took it out it seeped gas around the seals. No longer, however, sitting full of naphtha for a few months has reinvigorated the leather in the seals, and the thing should run trouble free for many years to come. Heck, it's probably the last camping stove I'll ever need to buy. We cooked a bunch of good stuff, both over the fire and on the stove, and we relaxed in one of the few totally dead cellphone zones I know.

Once we returned, we divvied up the remaining food and headed off to our respective showers to de-stink ourselves. I learned how to play crib again, which probably makes the fifth time or so. I also learned how to bake muffins on a campfire, and that you shouldn't drink red wine that had been lying in the sun for several hours.

Friday, August 18, 2006

You get to drink from.... THE FIRE HOSE!!!!

Updates, updates, updates....

Just 8 short days after having our hot water cut off, we are now once again in the money, the hot water money, that is. It came on again as a lukewarm trickle this morning, and has been slowly heating all day. Normally this would be cause for celebration.


As we sat back enjoying Jenn's first day of Not School this summer, we heard an unusual sound coming from the hallway. Sirens. Klaxons. Fire Alarms. Not to put too fine a point on it, the building was on fire.

Happily, some forethought had gone into this, since we had a rabid paranoia about fire at our old wood-frame, smoking-encouraged, bad-wiring building. Our insurance contact information, CDs of all our pictures, and a copy of my thesis are in a steel box on an easy-to-access shelf in the office. The cat carriers, somehow, had managed to become disassembled, however, which led to our running down the stairs with cats under our arms and a box in the other hand, tossing the whole mixture into the back of the truck once we got outside, and sat chatting about previous fires in the building with elderly residents as sirens approached. I heard of the time one complete unit burned out, but as a concrete building, every wall is a fire wall, and therefore one unit can burn to a cinder and not damage its neigbour but for the smoke.

As it turned out, this fire was on 18 - a byproduct of repairs being made involving heat guns to dry drywall patching in a unit that had been damaged by the exploding hot-water system. To celebrate the fact that the building has not burned down, I will go have a nice hot shower. In my own apartment. For a change.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Updates from behind the barrier

Even as the ravening masses outside pound at our door trying to get in and kill us for our electric kettle, we have been living a more or less (mostly less, actually) comfortable life without hot water since Friday Morning, which means that we are will into our sixth day without hot water. Here's a couple of observations:

1) I smell funny. Even though I have been using the shower at the pool, I suspect that the inadequate temperature and pressure of that water, and the proximity of goat-smelling Uzbecks is preventing a really good cleansing.

2) Doing dishes with water you have heated on the stove is a huge hassle, especially if you have to do the dishes that were in the dishwasher when the water turned off and so everything got baked on and nasty, and especially if you are rinsing them in the bathtub, one turkey roaster at a time.

3) My face is breaking out from the lack of hot water washing, or possibly from the greasy food that I have been eating in the absence of anything more homemade, it being difficult to face the idea of cooking, which would lead to dishes, see above.

4) No hot water has _NOT_ actually prevented me from enjoying my favorite hobby - zymurgy - I bottled 30 bottles of Kiwi-Melon Pinot Grigio last night, and laid on a 5 gallon batch of Wheat Beer, using a Brewhouse Prairie Wheat kit with Wyeast #3333 German Wheat Beer Yeast. The results ought to be tasty with a slice of lemon in a tall glass. Results will be mentioned in about 3-4 weeks.

Monday, August 14, 2006

No Hot Water

Let me first say that my hot water is something that I hold dear. Hot running water is what separates us from the savages. Were it not for hot running water, we would all be reduced to a pack of wild animals fighting in the streets for the scraps of our fetid and dying civilization, as Foreigners with strange customs and lower expectations for the daily necessities arrived in droves to cast us down from our Liberal Democratic Throne and hurl the world into a pit of darkness lasting a thousand years. A new Dark Age for Mankind! Just as we are on the cusp of attaining the keys to a golden age of civilization - unlimited power from fusion, vast advances in medicine, No Disease, universal education for children around the world, a grand time for all! Instead, we will struggle in a new darkness extending throughout all 18 floors of this stinking building, as the overarching stench of unwashed bodies mixes with he sickly sweet stench of rotting unwashed dishes.


I think I saw George Romero setting up his cameras at the end of my hallway for his new film, shot on location in the heart of the Real Action! The stringy hair, the ugly skin, and the zombie stench are too much for a civilized person to bear. I have bolted the door, and I will not be going out until the all clear is sounded! We are Well Armed! Many may try to get through the door, but they will not succeed! While others panic and run, we have forted up, hunkered down, and are awaiting the end with gleeful anticipation! This is what it means to be one of The Prepared!

On one mission earlier today I left the apartment to get the feeling for the brewing crisis. I approached the panicking security guard at the front desk of the complex. "A LETTER?" he exclaimed, bewildered, "A Letter? You expect something to happen? NOTHING will happen! Don't you Understand???"

Indeed I understand too well! His Russian Mafia employers are trying to do to us what we did to them! Bitterness over the Cold War has resurged and they are trying to destroy our Civilization, our WAY OF LIFE! They are in league with the terrorists, no doubt.

I can hear you now, "What rot!" you say, "What rot this fellow is talking! Surely he knows that no hot water in one building will not destroy civilization as we know it!" Indeed you may say that, but while it may be only one building now, there is NO END IN SIGHT! Parts have been ordered, they say, time to make the repairs, they say, patience is appreciated, they say, but All The While, I have not had a shower in my own home in days, and my dishes are piling up at an alarming rate. Rome wasn't built in a day, but it sure as the pope drinks wheat beer burned in a day, and that is Our Fate if we do nothing to stop it!

Do you part! Stay armed, fill the bathtub with water, because you can rest assured that once they have taken the hot water, the cold will follow as surely as night follows day, and then the Electricity, and then... And then... You have seen them... Yes, they'll be coming for you, jackals gnawing the displaced hip-bone of Our Nation. I must go now. I need to stack Heavy things in front of the door, and test to make sure the whiskey supply hasn't been poisoned.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Edmonton Heritage Festival

On Sunday, Jenn and I went to the Heritage Festival, a long-weekend adventure of eating and cultural stuff that we enjoyed greatly. There were about 60 different cultural associations with tents displaying arts and crafts, cultural stuff, and mostly food. It works a lot like the midway. You buy a sheet of tickets and each food is so many, between 1 ticket for little bits of thing like a cookie, to 7 tickets for the big 3 items and rice sort of affairs. I could bore you with details, but suffice it to say that we were there for about 7 hours and didn't stop eating. Here are a few of our observations:

1 - every culture in the world has grilled meat on a stick.
2- It must be very hard to do the layout for the event, keeping the Arab tent across from the Israeli tent, the Serbs and the Croatians and the Bosnians equi-distant, and all away from the Greeks, and so forth. (Incidentally, the Canadian Forces recruiting display was in the middle of that particular triangle)
3-Every culture has deep fried dough with sugar on it, but the biggest ones come from Romania.
4 - There is less vomiting at the heritage festival than at the midway.

Monday, July 31, 2006

A party and a day just for ourselves

As some of you may know, our 1st wedding anniversary passed this weekend, and we celebrated in style.

First, on Saturday, we had about 15 people over for a great big barbecue on the deck. Folks came from as far away as Calgary to wish us well, which was much appreciated. For those of you who couldn't make it, you missed out on some serious rib eye and plenty of potluck, and cake, the entire top layer of our wedding cake. This means that I now have room in my freezer for actual food I can eat without getting a divorce.

Jenn was sweet enough to get me my very own copy of the classic, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" Along with two 3 DVD sets of "The French Chef". It was almost as like she could read my mind.

Thanks to everyone who made our party a success, it will be the first of many, I'm sure.

Then on Sunday, we finally got around to the breakfast that we had been looking forward to the day after our wedding, but which we just didn't have time for. We went for a leisurely 2 hour brunch at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald. In the Empire Ballroom, which has been restored to its original 1915 condition. Needless to say the food was wonderful, with handmade crepes, mimosas, pastries, seafood, hot and cold items of all kinds.

We then headed to the Telus World of Science, because we are both very strange people. We also popped over to the flea market, because that is what we used to do on a Sunday when I lived in Westmount, we would pop over to the flea market and listen to the vinyl cafe on CBC.

In the evening we went to the Keg, because so many of you have seen fit to give us the gift of red meat, which is much appreciated. I had an enormous rib eye which I couldn't come close to finishing, and Jenn had the blue cheese filet, which she came closer to finishing, but not quite. Lunch leftovers today were lovely, by the way.

Once home, we collapsed, and passed out from red meat until this morning. I hope everyone got home safe from Edmonton, thanks for coming.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Lovely supper

Today was farmer's market day in Collingwood, as well as "Jenn and Owen go to T&T" day, so we wound up with an assortment of lovely things. First of all, new potatoes, then hardneck garlic, peaches, salmon steak, and artichokes. We took advantage of our Barbecue having a side burner as we boiled the potatoes and artichokes together, and grilled the salmon. I also made Aioli with taragon, chive, and scallion, and topped the potatoes with that. The artichokes we had en vinaigrette. All this was accompanied by a bottle of Viognier, which went down a treat, and for dessert? Watermelon. All in all, a nice day.

Oh, and we went for a swim before supper, too, which took the edge off the 34 degree heat.

Taste of Edmonton

So today we went to the Taste of Edmonton festival, where about 20 different food outlets have a booth doing 2 different dishes, and you pay with tickets. It's kinda like a culinary midway. The Heritage Festival is similar, but then it is more ethnic and more different foods per booth, and it is in the park instead of Churchill Square. Anyway, here's my review of the food I had:

Buffaloaf with Caramelized Onion Gravy: Tasted like sage stuffing.

Brewster's Brewpub:
Lobster Penne: Tasted good. Had some lobster in it. It was pub pasta, how good does it get?
Deep fried Cheesecake: Okay, you read the name, right? That's what it was. A heart-attack in a bowl. I was in favour.

Hoang Long:
Green Papaya salad with Beef Jerkey: Way cilantro. Way way cilantro.

Korean Village:
Vegetable Tempura: Like all deep fried veg, it was good. It was really good with Ponzu and chillie sauce.
Bul-Go-Gi Chicken with Kimchi and Rice: The kimchi was better than the chicken. Neither was as good as the tempura.

Krua Wilai:
Penang Beef with Rice: It was Thai Curry. It was okay, I make better.

La Tapa:
Patatas Aioli: Potatoes with garlic mayo. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. I want this again, enough for me to bother to make my own mayonaise.

Lakeside Grill:
Seafood Paella: Not as good as the stuff at Las Caletas, for which I have the recipe, and would make if anyone I knew would eat it with me. I can't eat a whole paella myself, you know.

Martinique Cafe:
Grilled west coast salmon: Dry, but it came with a sauce of capers and tomatoes. Happily, I didn't pay for it, I had a bite of someone else's.

Polka Cafe: Potato pancakes: Greasy, but good. This is the sort of thing I would make if I ever had leftover mashed potatoes, but to do that, I would need to have mashed potatoes to begin with.

Sutton Place Hotel:
Cappacino Chocolate shooter cup: Dark chocolate cup filled with coffe-cream. Uh, what part of this might not be good? None? None less good? Yeah, that's about it.

That's Aroma:
Garlic Tomato Salad: Plenty of garlic. I liked it. I might make it someday, If I find a recipe I like.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Water Damage

So after several weeks of waiting, they finally came and repaired not only our water damaged wall, but also the leaking toilet tank in our bathroom. This had been somewhat of a saga, as they were supposed to paint our wall last Friday, but never showed. By 3:00 on Monday, after plenty of calling on our part, I got a call from the administration to see if the work had been done yet. It hadn't. The admin lady came up and looked. Then she looked mad. She gets on her cell right then and there and starts bawling out the guy on the other end. It sounded like this:

It hasn't been done.

No, it hasn't.

I'm right here, looking at yellow stains on the walls.

No, there's no grandfather clock here.

What building was it?

You painted #605 in the WRONG BUILDING! Can't you tell if there's stains on the walls or not?


And then she hung up. The guy was here in about an hour, and took all of 20 minutes to paint the place including some fast drying spray primer. Was that so hard? NO!

Now Jenn is making me supper, and that makes me happy.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Even more psychic cheezy poof connection:

As we were finishing up lunch, and discussing what we would take to the potluck tomorrow, Jenn said, "I think I'll make some chocolate chip cookies." To which I said, "Hun..." To which she replied, "You want to eat the dough with the frozen yoghurt in the freezer, don't you?"

Dangit, neither of us can conceal our various food cravings from the other with this psychic cheezy-poof connection.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Mmmmmmmm .... Beer.

Today, Jenn and I bottled the batch of beer that we had brewing in the storeroom. We had tried some raspberry beer at Swan's Brewpub in Victoria, liked it, and decided to make some ourselves. Happily, we were putting in an order to one of our more esoteric suppliers just as I got back and 120 ml of raspberry beer essence was obtained, along with a Brewhouse American Premium Lager kit and a couple of cases of bottles and some caps. I also snaked a bunch of supplies from my Dad's place when I was there on the way back from the coast.

We started the beer pretty soon after we got back, and siphoned it over almost right away again. It was during a heat wave that we started it, so I'm just as happy that I didn't go for the liquid yeast, which wouldn't have done so well in that heat. Today we got up the gumption to bottle, and wound up with 24 650 ml bottles and 20 or so 341 ml bottles. Plenty of beer for the money. The proof, however, will be in the tasting, which will not happen for another week or so, while we wait for it to carbonate itself.

Also, after that, I want to T&T supermarket and bought some frozen spring rolls, because they were on sale and we were out, and Shanghai noodles, which I made into our supper and tomorrow's lunch, and a duck, which will sit in my freezer until I decide I need to make Caneton a l'orange, sometime soon. If you want in on the big supper, let us know, because we need at least 2 other people to dig into a 5 pound duck with all the trimmings. T&T is having this really good sale, southeast Asian specialty foods, and as a result, they have got a bunch of Thai and Malaysian food in the hot counter which I totally want. Maybe sometime this week I will get some.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Furniture Assembly and the Inevitable

Today, Owen and I finally broke down and bought a futon frame to put our futon mattress on. Our futon mattress is still at my parent’s house, and they have been after us to take it for two months now. Anyhow, we now have our new futon fame assembled and in place in the living room. It was really the last piece of furniture we were waiting for until we would feel completely settled into our new apartment. Well, today would be the day, or at least 99% closer, the 1% coming after we picked up the mattress, but we still can’t have our living room to ourselves. You see, shortly before we left for our trip to Victoria, I noticed that our walls, which had been freshly painted the day we moved in, were suddenly yellowing. Then, I recalled a few days earlier when I had been trying to put up pictures on that wall. The nails were not sitting well in the drywall. I really didn’t think much of it at the time and continued to put my pictures up anyhow. Well, in addition to the yellowing walls tipping me off, our framed poster I had put up on the wall was starting to bubble, the matting was also bubbling and the ink running! YUCK!
Anyhow, I phoned the building management, and they sent someone up immediately. It turns out the people beside us had just phoned as they were having the same problem, as were the people upstairs (go figure.) At the beginning of May when we had all that rain, we had heard grumbling from people on the higher floors up (17 and 18 so way up) that they were having some flooding from the roof. We didn’t think much of it, being on the 6th floor. The water seems to have seeped down the walls along the support columns soaking the dry wall and oozing its way down towards the ground floors, as gravity would of course have it do. Yuck. Well, I reported this BEFORE our vacation. We were gone nearly two weeks and have now been back for over a week and still have no idea what is going on. Some one was supposed to come back and do a more thorough assessment of the damage, but we have no idea when to expect the repairs to be made. So needless to say, all of our stuff is pulled away from the wall in affected area, and is of course sitting in a pile in the middle of the living room. This would explain why we do not have our living room arranged as we would like it just yet. The frustration!
Also, today Owen and I assembled our porch swing. My parents and Grandparents bought it for us as an anniversary gift. Our anniversary isn’t until the end of the month, but the wanted us to have it now so we could enjoy it in this beautiful weather. Our patio is now complete at least.
Now, if only any furniture assembling story could be that dull. Owen and I did manage to assemble both pieces of furniture today, without getting angry at each other and fighting about who is sticking piece Nb into Ma when it should go into Bq with a Bc bolt instead of a Er bolt….Damn assemble it yourself furniture….You know how it goes. Anyhow, we actually managed the construction fairly well, we were a good team, but furniture assemble would not be complete without the war wounds. As were putting one post up and bolting them together I lost my grip on post and slashed the inside of my arm on a sharp “thingy”. I am now sporting a bloody, oozing gash on the inside of my arm which is about four inched long. Then the inevitable occurred. My husband, the eternal head bonker, got bonked over the head with a post. This was doomed to have happened, it’s just something that happens whenever Owen is involved in furniture construction. We aren’t completely sure how it happened this time and he would like to blame me for his misfortune, but I don’t think I was responsible for it although it may have been a joint effort… Anyhow, the furniture is now assembled whether or not we are is another question.

Tomorrow I am back in school every day for three hours a day for the next six weeks. I will be taking two of my Educational psychology courses which I require as part of my practicum curriculum. The first course is all about inclusion in the classroom and working with children with special needs. Not my favorite areas of study, but I have to take it anyhow. I am starting to get excited about actually doing my practicum. Maybe, it’s because after that I am finally finished and can get a real job and then we can stop living like students…


A neologism developed for days like the recent heat wave in Alberta and the acompanying physical and mental meltdown.

Floob: To lie about the place in a state of physical entropy and mental ennui.

(To feel) Floobidy: Feeling as though one has no choice but to floob.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Our Trip to Victoria: The FInal Chapter.

Now the continuation of our Victoria saga. About this time Jenn acquired a knee brace as walking was getting too painful for her, even at the reduced pace typical in Victoria, who use walkers, canes, or powered scooters to travel. We took a day for her to recover, and watched the world cup, cheering for whoever had cooler uniforms. That night we hit the Med Grill, a fabulous place in Sannich serving modern Italian at a four course prix fixé that can’t be beat. We started with Antipasti, followed by a choice of salads, (Caesar for me, Walnut Spinach Vinaigrette for Jenn) we skipped the soup of the day, reasoning that it was too hot for corn chowder, even after dusk. We moved on to the Main course, (Ron- Mediterranean chicken, Jenn- Smoked Chicken pasta, Owen – Gorgonzola Sirloin Ravioli) which were all fabulous, and rounded it out with dessert, tiramisu, Crème Brulee, and some other assorted stuff I can’t recall. All this was accompanied by a reasonable Argentine Malbec. Thanks to Ron who took us out there for a lovely dinner.

The next day, we caught a ride to Oak Bay where we dawdled around eating Pain au Chocolate and poking into shops like Science Works and 10,000 villages. The Italian supermarket was having a cultural day, and to celebrate, a half dozen perfectly preserved Ferraris were parked out front attended by the perfectly preserved trophy wives who went with them. Then we headed downtown one more time to enjoy a touch of IMAX, where we saw “Mystic India” which was cool looking, and then went to Hugo’s, which is a cool little brew lounge near the Royal BC Museum. We had the “Super G” ginger beer and the seasonal beer, Heffeweizen that had had mandarin oranges in the serving tanks. That was good. Then we hit the foodie shops around upper Fort Street around the antique district, and bought some Salami and Cheese for our supper sandwiches. Jenn then proceeded to make the best sandwich ever.

The next morning we were up and away hitting the highway up island in our rented Ford Taurus. I didn’t think that they still made these things, actually, but I guess they still sell to fleet customers at a steep discount. It was a bit like oozing up the road on a piece of foam rubber lubricated with lard, but not in a good way. Not the most fun ride I’ve ever had. Once we got to our halfway destination, however, we were all set to enjoy a bit of agri-tourism, which, incidentally, is much heavier on the tourism than the last time I was there. Before, tasting rooms were tucked into the back corners of sheds, now, both places I went had their own 40 seat bistros, granite countertops in custom-built tasting and guest reception centres, and much more production capacity. It was a Merridale Cidery where we first ran into the Vancouver Island Miata Owner’s Club. ttp:// All through the valley, we were buzzed by a bunch of middle aged guys and their wives bombing around the place at high speed on backroads, guts pressing precariously on steering wheels, silver hair flashing in the sun. Anyway, Merridale was great, but at the next stop, Cherry Point Vineyards, a former mink ranch turned 34 acre estate winery, and the biggest and best of the bunch on the island, the wine wasn’t up to the fancy digs. To be completely fair, I make better wine than them, with the exception of a very good Gewurtz. Definitely nothing worth $25 a bottle. I did notice, however that at some point they replaced the scaled-up versions of my own equipment with stainless tanks and a real commercial press not bought from an Italian grocer, and also replaced the cows with more vines. Their original 10 acres of plantings seem to have expanded to the entire property minus the winery proper and guest facilities.

We decided, not finding anything stunning, to travel on to what Jenn had been really looking forward to – Cheese. Hillary’s Cheese Pointe Farm is home to an artisinal cheese farm and many many goats. We tried four varieties, including a goat blue cheese that I loved but was just too much for Jenn. Blue Cheese good, goat cheese good, both together – too advanced. It was here that we encountered the Vancouver Island Cadillac Owners club and the Miata Guys again. We managed to elbow our way to the front of the line for cheese and head up island fast for lunch with Ewan, Anne, and Alison at a cute little Vietnamese place in Nanaimo.

Driving home I almost wet myself due to slush intake, but held out until the Thrifty’s on Quadra and MacKenzie, where I peed in the dairy case (just kidding). Where we bought some cold cuts and bread and ice cream and headed home for our last supper on the Island. It was at this supper that Ron brought out some olives to add to the general cheesy- bready goodness. Which was fine, except for the inadequate warning associated with certain olives. Here was the description: “Anne put some of these in some pasta and it was a bit hot.” So I tried one, and my brain melted. Turns out that these olives were jumbo green olives stuffed with Habanero peppers. Once I got a couple of Granville Island Heffeweizens down my throat and could see again, I tried them without the stuffing, and they were still hot, but not insane.

The next day we flew out and into Calgary, followed by a drive back to Edmonton which was happily uneventful. So there, that was our holiday.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Finally! Now you all can look for yourselves amongst the many pictures...

Well, it's been nearly a year and I have finally gotten around to getting all of our wedding pictures up on-line for all to view. And I mean ALL the pictures ( professional wedding pictures as well as all of the pictures taken on the little cameras that were on the tables at the reception,) nearly 1200 of them. Take a look, it is very likely that if you were at our wedding, you will appear somewhere in these pictures. If you weren't at our wedding, take a look and you will feel as if you were.

Look also for pictures from other events as I will be adding them as well.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Long march in Victoria

Once we were good and sunburned (and rested) we headed downtown for a day of touristing. We hopped the bus, and headed down to Douglas & Pandora, then walked back towards Chinatown. On the way, we stopped at a couple of places, notably Silk Road Tea, which is a pretty fancy joint, not Chinese, but selling tea notwithstanding. Mostly fancy herbal teas, and we got a couple, Angelwater, which is spearmint-lavender, and a sour-cherry sencha. Then we hopped on down to Don Mee for a bite of brunch. We had lotus leaf rice, Siu Mai, Honey Buns, ginger pork dumplings, and a couple of other things. Upon waddling away, we shopped a bit and wound up at Swan's where we tried the Berry Ale and the Wit. Both were excellent. (On a later visit, we would add Arctic Ale and Bitter to the mix, and they were good as well.) More shopping followed, including the consumption of chocolate at Chocolaterie du Victoria, which were awesome, and some Sushi at a place on Blanshard near Fisgard next to the Arabian Nights Cafe. Then we hopped a bus to the house, and promptly got lost by missing our stop and going on a grim forced-march back to the house. Happily we were spotted by our kind hosts and Jenn got a ride up the hill. By this time Jenn's knee and Hip were in a good deal of pain from all the walking, and she needed a solid dose of Jinuhntonucks in order to sort her out. To this was added BBQ of halibut, salmon, and smoked sablefish, along with stir-fry and rice, which were all good, although Jenn didn't care for the sablefish. Then off to bed with visions of more dawdling in our minds.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

So then, like,

Upon finishing our time in Calgary, we hopped a plane for Victoria, or, rather, we trudged for the crack-of-dawn flight, and fought our way through the business travelers trying to hit Vancouver by their mid-morning meetings. Jenn had to sit next to a very rude woman on the plane, who had almost been detained at security for making a scene over her coffee cup. We flew out on a CRJ 200 and arrived at a reasonable time in Victoria. Upon our arrival, we were met by my Uncle, who drove us into town, set us up at the house, and left us unattended while we slept (Jenn) and sunburned (Owen).

Upon the return of our kind hosts, we dove into the Ginnantonyks and some very good Chinese food, and called it an early day.

We're back

We'll be updating our blog here over a few posts with details of our little holiday, there's a bunch to talk about, so we will be taking our time.

First off, we headed out on Thursday morning after Jenn was done her exam, and after I hauled all our stuff down to the truck in preparation for a few days camping. On the way to pick her up, I went to T&T for lunch, where I got Ginger Beef and Lemon Chicken, adventurous, I know, but Jenn was writing a really hard exam, so she got comfort food, so there. We headed out along the back way to drumheller, in what can only be described as bucketing rain. When we arrived at our campground, there was an awful lot of thunderstorm going on, so we ditched and cruised the extra hour into Calgary and stayed with my parents for an extra couple of days. During that time, we were fed, watered, and I got to start some wine kits with my dad and bottle my sherry, and trim the hedge and whatnot. It was swell.

I also had a chance to stop in and visit the Hamiltons, who are living on the way way way south side of Calgary, about 75 km by car from my parents house (still in the same city however) and the happy new parents, whose little happiness causer is very very cute. I also liked the fancy low-flush toilet they installed. It really flushed hard. I don't know if it was a pressure assist or just a high speed valve, but it got the job done on 6 litres. That's quality.

We also watched the Oilers lose the Cup, which sucked, and we booed.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Making lunch, and making Jenn a happy camper.

I need to use up a whole bunch of eggs and onions between now and when we leave on holiday, so I have made two recipes from this book, Onion tart, and Quiche Lorraine. They are just getting ready to go in the oven, so they will be ready for lunch when I get Jenn. She is one lucky chick. Slowly but surely she is turning into a foodie, and it makes me happy. Another thing that makes me happy is the fact that as soon as I start working on the computer, Koda curls up at the top of my keyboard and falls asleep. He never does this when I am not here, because it is the love, you see... The cat love for me.

Speaking of happy campers, we are going camping. For the first couple of days of our trip, we are going to be camping in Drumheller, then we will be heading down to Calgary for a couple of days to check out the zoo and for me to meet with a headhunter, and then off to Victoria for a week or so for a visit and a chill out. Anyone wanting to get together with us in Calgary knows how to get a hold of me.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Our Go Oilers Ordeal:

Some people will tell you that Oilers playoff tickets can't be had for love or money. That just isn't true. Our love got us Oilers tickets in section 333, which is just below, well, the roof. But that's okay, because we were in Rexall place for the big game! I thought my heart was gonna stop after Ryan Smythe's goal.

In order to win these tickets, I had to kiss my wife. Sounds easy enough, but then try kissing for five and a half hours without stopping. No pee breaks, no removing your lips from one another, no sitting down. At the end of the ordeal, there were three couples standing, and the names went in the hat. We won, we won, we won. Woot Woot Woot. Go Oilers. Jenn will understand if we never kiss again.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

s'il vous plaît, parlez Anglais!

Aggh! Seven days of French, five hours a day, plus homework. Five more days. French immersion. Jenn is slowly...Going...Crazy...

Just in case anyone is wondering where I am.

My thesis:

So yesterday I finished the draft of my thesis that I was on, call it the third draft, although it's hard when you are using a word processor to think of drafts. This is the draft where you print it out and hand-edit it. Unfortunately, since I finished that draft, I have had to take into account the damned homegrown bombers in Toronto, so there will be a few small tweaks as I go through, but soon, SOON, it will be done! I know I have said this before, but REALLY, this thesis will be handed in almost right away, after which I will... Continue to tweak and work on it, at least until I hear back from my Advisor. Well, I might take a day off to do something fun, like, I dunno, what do people do for fun? Look for jobs?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Parents using computers.

Does this sound familliar?

I'd be concerned that my mom would post a comment objecting, but I think I am more likely to get an e-mail saying, "I tried to post a comment on your blog, but it didn't work. It kept showing me these funnly-looking letters.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Happy Birthday

Today, we will be celebrating a birthday with our friend Jocelyn. There will be a party. There will be all kinds of fun, there may even be costumes.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Google: (n.) a useful internet tool that allows you to not ask dumb questions.

Due to popular demand (from my brother), I will inform you that MRJC means the Mediation and Restorative Justice Centre of Edmonton of which I am a member and volunteer mediator. Our role is to reduce conflict in the community and keep people from
A) Clogging up small claims court.
B) Annoying the Bylaw officers.
C) Slashing each other's tires, and
D) Poisoning each other's pets.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Fun getting ready

We had fun getting ready for Rosella's after-wedding-party this weekend. Us three girls tried out different styles of Make-up and dress than we normally don, but it was fun. I am still very tired though. My weekend was way too busy and now I am back in school taking french five hours a day for the next three and a half weeks. Yuck.

How high's the water, Martha?

Friday morning, I arrive at the in-laws place to work the garage sale for the weekend, only to see a bleary-eyed sister in-law pop her head out of the doorway saying, "The basement is flooding."


I am the ranking adult.

What fun.

I hate being a grownup.

Almost immediately, however, the grandparents show up, and we embark on a mission to stop new water from coming into the house.

We check the pool: not leaking.
We check the hot water tank: not leaking.
We check the water outlets: not leaking.
We check the pipes: not leaking.
We step in the overflowing sump water.
Whoomp, there it is.

We bail out the sump until we can see the pump outlet, which is not attached. I get to manually hold the pump outlet on the outlet pipe until my hands freeze and we are able to re-attach the clamp that would normally hold the pipes together, and the sump drains. Cleanup begins. Total damage: remarkably little.

So that was my weekend. Flood damage and haggling about whether my garbage is worth $0.50 or $0.25. Plus we had company on Saturday night (and out at a wedding reception until 2:30) and Sunday night. Jenn started her French class this morning, and I am back to the old grindstone. Tonight I am an observer at an MRJC mediation, so that should be educational. Anyway, I'm off to put some caselaw in a binder and read it before I finish this section of my thesis. Then one more brief section and I hand this draft in.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Grill Grill Grill, Grill Grill Grill.

I bought some propane
and a bunch of ribeye steak
they grilled up real nice.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Job Interview

Today I had my first serious job interview in three years at Alberta Human Resources and Employment for the position of FOIP coordinator for a three ministry service sharing arrangement. Happily, I had reviewed the FOIP act and the Practices and Guidelines binder prior to the interview so I didn't look like a complete twit, and was able to actually answer pretty much all the questions that they asked regarding Access to Information and Privacy issues. Hopefully nobody better applies and my references are nice to me, because I would really quite like to do this particular job. Even if I don't stay on after the contract period, it would give me an inside look into the application of privacy legislation in government which would help me as part of my academic future, while at the same time keeping us from starving. Keep your fingers crossed for me, in my first (and in all likelihood not last) job interview of the current job search.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Starting to feel like home

Well, we have been in our new place about a week and a half and it's starting to feel like home. We are just about finished unpacking and settling in and there are only a few things left to finish doing before we are officially finished unpacking. I have been in school all week from 9-4:30 though, so the last little bit has taken a lot longer than it really should have. I have been having a lot of fun in my course though. I am taking a jazz education course and it's been a blast! We sit around all day and talk about jazz and then we play jazz music in a jazz band setting. I have been playing baritone and alto saxophone as well as doing some conducting. The course is over tomorrow :( It's been a great way to get three credits, plus I am receiving credit for this course at the graduate student or 500 level (SWEET!). So that's what I have been up to all week.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

My thesis

Holy wow. I just finished the substantive part of the latest iteration of my thesis. Now all I need to do before I hand it in is to fix up the footnotes and the bibliography and hand it in to my advisor, hopefully before I go to Saskatchewan for the weekend. Woo. This is not likely to be the final draft, but it is a lot closer than the draft that I handed in over the Christmas break. It is currently running to about 140 pages on the topic of privacy and the Lawful Access proposals (among them the last government's bill C-74) If you want to read my thesis, I suggest that you click here!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

1226 Square Feet of Bliss

Our new place is great. Firstly, it is huge, compared to our last place. Jenn and I will just sit and zone out in a room and say stupid things like, "Wow, this room is really big! I can't believe that we are both in here and we aren't touching!" Essentially, this place replicates our last apartment, with the addition of such useful things as "floor not covered with furniture", "Dishwasher" and "deck".

For those of you who helped us move, I must inform you that we will be having a Cinco de Mayo celebration on Friday night, working in the morning be damned. The menu will include:

Fresh homemade salsa, homemade corn tortillas, being made into beef and chicken tacos, homemade refried beans, and, of course, lime, mango, and peach margaritas.

I fully expect it to be glorious, if you are coming, you can bring either corona or pacifico lager, and make sure it is cold.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Slowly but surely we are getting ready to make the big move across town, away from the biker bar, over by the slammed civic gang mall, but more out of small arms range. I am sure that there will be fewer disturbances in the parking lot that make me want to tell Jenn to lie down near an interior wall away from windows. Although the scene in our living room is slightly more organized than it had been before, as noted in the pictures below, it is even more densely packed with full boxes.

Moving has, however, caused me to think about the things that I have in my "ready" shelves and what might be moved to different housing. I reckon that the food dehydrator might well need to be shifted to a more remote location despite the sentimental value as a gift in favour of something that we use more often. Ditto the chocolate fountain. The Electric grill and bread maker, however, along with the rice cooker, shall remain front and centre.

Have I mentioned how hyped I am to be moving to within a five minute drive of T&T Market? It is really going to put the zap on making any Asian food that I might want. Ah, what we give up in proximity to the Mill Woods little India, we gain in proximity to the best dang supermarket in town bar none.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Oh, and just so you know it isn't all cheap talk

I have a giant cat. He is really too big for his own good, and getting bigger every day. Remember, he is just now turning 8 months old, eleven pounds, with at least a little more growth spurt left in him.

As you can see, I no longer have a chair, I have a blue cat perch. Sometimes, he lets me sit on his cat perch. That makes me happy.

The place is neck deep in boxes.

So here we have assorted pictures of what my place looks like right now. I think that people will appreciate how much space wedding gifts take up and how many accessories wives come with when they realize that I moved from Peace River to Edmonton with one load in a compact pickup truck and two loads in a sedan. This time it Might fit in a 17' cube van, but if it doesn't, I have a truck of my own now.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The latest update on our move:

Our new moving date is May 1. Thanks to everyone who has agreed to help, and if you are reading this and feel like helping me move on that day too, let me know.

The plan as it stands right now is to do the inspection at 10:00, and then immediately load up an elevator full of boxes, rush over and pick up the dolly from the store

The truck is set for a pick-up from the company at 4:00 PM that day and so I will go, pick up the truck, and hopefully meet up with the people who are wanting to help me move at my place in the East end. At some point I may pick up Kayla from school in order to get the extra pair of hands. Incidentally, all this time, Jenn will be doing inventory at the store, so we will have already loaded up the truck by the time Jenn is done work, so we will pick her up, go to Burger Baron for supper, and then we will wheel across the city and start to unload the stuff into the building, (with maybe someone dropping Kayla off at the hospital for volunteering) hopefully with the assistance of assorted people, which ought to make it go faster. Once that is done, I will drop off the truck, pick up my truck, and wheel back across town through post-rush-hour traffic while Jenn supervises the rough unpacking of stuff and I will spend the evening hosting on the patio with my new blender.

Actually what will probably happen is that Jenn will come home, read this, and yell at me for not planning to move right, and tell me what will actually be happening.

Speaking of my new blender, can I just say how much I like it? It has way more power than my old blender, and so it makes blender drinks that are much more blended and less grainy, with fewer chunks of ice. I didn't need to constantly shake the machine to get the sides to blend down or anything. It works just great. Happily I have found a recipe for mango margaritas made with fresh fruit and no sugar that tastes good.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


No sooner had I finished the previous post than I get ANOTHER call from the fine folks at the new apartment complex telling me that my move-in date _might_ change again. They don't know, because they can't get all their shit in a pile. It turns out that when buddy told me that I would be able to move in on the 27th, what he really meant was the 1st of May around noon. How silly. I am Jack's growing resentment. The place is so huge that it employs 3 full time "leasing agents" and the one we wind up dealing with is the one who is clearly an alcoholic failed used car salesman, who can't tell the difference between April and May.

Someone can't get their act together

And it isn't me.

I got a call yesterday from our new apartment complex telling us that instead of being able to move in on the 27th, we would have to move in at 4:00 on the 28th. No biggie, in fact it will probably be easier to conscript help, but c'mon, people, I had made arrangements. I had hired a truck. I had harassed my hired goons into helping schlep my junk into and out of the truck.

Anyway, now instead of picking up the truck across the street from my place, I have to haul myself up to 118 ave and 36 st, which is a hassle, a mere hour before the only time that the new apartment would get me for a move in inspection. I'm not sure entirely how this will work, but I think that it will, in fact, work. I have little doubt of the presence of helpers on the unloading end of the move, where there is an elevator, but it is the getting this crap into my truck in the first place that concerns me. Oh well, that's what life is about, isn't it? Living up to new and exciting challenges?

Also, Courgette Gratinee a la Mornay? Sumptuous as only things with a lot of butter and cheese can be. The potato chips that followed? Not as sumptuous, but more crispy. My pants? Probably tighter than they should be. Need to work on that.

Friday, April 21, 2006

No Pancakes.

I guess that the prize package for husband of the year doesn't include your wife making you pancakes for breakfast while you are in the shower. Grump.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Finished. Now to Chill for a Bit

I am now finished. I think my choral final went ok, at least I really hope I did ok, I really don't want to take that course again. Also, I passed my make-up class with really high marks, so I am now a certified make-up artist. Anyhow, the next couple days I plan to relax, not check my grades and pack boxes. We move in one week.

By the way, a big thanks to my Excellent husband for being so wonderful while I was so busy and stressed out for the last month or so. He gets the Husband of the Year award.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Almost Finished...

Well, today I wrote my first final and tomorrow I have my last. I am not at all looking forward to my final tomorrow though. The midterm for this class was a pig and I really haven't even had a chance to study for it yet. So tonight I cram. My exam is at 8am, who schedules 8am exams?!! Yuck. I haven't even seen 8am in months, does it still exist? Anyhow, following my morning exam I will be cramming for my make-up exam. I don't think it will be nearly so brutal as my choral techniques exam (the one at 8am). But since I won't be working for the Bandstand this summer please send any business my way in the form of potential flute students, make-up clients and anyone looking to hire a musician for various events.

The packing has commenced over here at our apartment. The cats think the various cardboard boxes scattered about are the coolest things yet. They run around them and hide in them and bite them, oh to be a cat... So our official moving day is April 27, if anyone has empty boxes to donate that would be excellent, you know how to reach us. Also if anyone has the burning desire to help out that would be cool to, especially if you have room in your vehicle for boxes full of stuff... Anyhow, it might be sort of hard to find help since the day happens to be a Thursday and we have the elevator booked off for us from 11am-1pm. I am sure they won't make us carry the rest up the stairs if we aren't done before then, and I am equally sure we won't be done by then, so give us a call and see where we are at.

Other than that, not much new to share. I am very much looking forward to my last few weeks at Bandstand and after that my first summer course is a Jazz Band workshop so I am very excited about that one. I am looking forward to some time off, and I am very glad to be less than a year away from graduation finally!

Oh and the picture at the top is of my friend Jocelyn who was brave enough to be my in-class model for our glamour make-up night in the Marvelle make-up class. The assignment was to create something that would attract many stares, and it could not be an everyday look. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

On the Move Again

Well, we are moving, AGAIN, but this time we plan to stay where we are going until such time as we are both working and can secure a mortgage. We will be relocating to the west end of Edmonton, to a large sky-rise apartment. We are looking forward very much to the 1200 square feet of living space as well as the patio we will be spending much time on this summer. We will also be able to enjoy the use of the full fitness centre with 25 meter pool and hot tub as well as the gym equipment and raquetball courts. Mostly though, we are looking forward to the extra space and the not having the biker bar right behind our apartment...

In other news, I have one project left to submit electronically, two final exams and my make-up exam until I get a couple weeks off. Then it's back to work. I am taking four courses this summer and so I will be very busy. So busy, that I have resigned from my position at the Bandstand where I have been happy to work for four years. I love my job, but it is getting close to the end of my student experience and thus it's time to worry more about my teaching career and getting ready to look for a teaching position. So as of May 27, I will no longer be working at the Bandstand. :( I am hoping to freelance as a make-up artist this summer though, so if anyone needs a make-up artist, do send them my way ;)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

And another thing...

My 7 month old kitten is now over 10 pounds, and longer than my 2 year old cat. Here's how we figure his heritage works out:

1/4 Domestic Shorthair, 1/4 Maine Coon, 1/4 Cougar, 1/4 Siberian Albino Tiger.

By our reckoning, he still has the bulk of a growth spurt ahead of him. Our other two cats stabilized at about 5 pounds for a month or two while their teeth fell out, but Koda was already 9 pounds when his teeth fell out. My guess is that this cat will be well over 15 lean pounds, and tall enough to take things off of the kitchen counter without jumping on them. It's not that far away.

Monday, April 10, 2006

And by the way...

Happy Birthday to Drew,
Happy Birthday to Drew,
Happy Birthday, Andrei Glenneovich,
Happy Birthday to you.

Well, thank goodness that's over.

Yesterday, Jenn performed at her final recital for her BMus portion of her BMus/BEd degree. How was it? Not nearly so terrible as we had been expecting. First off, the anxiety attack I had been expecting to grip Jenn at any second never arrived, thus my only duties all day were to cook her a steak for breakfast, load and unload equipment and food in the rain, ice five dozen cupcakes, ride herd on the assorted concert-goers in order to ensure that intermission eventually ended so that Jenn could start playing again, and then cleaning up and loading the truck afterwards and driving Jenn to the BBQ at her parents house for the combined double-birth-a-versary-recital party where I was supposed to bbq a pile of burgers and hotdogs, but Malcolm did it for me. (Malcolm is now officially my hero and favorite houseguest of all time, even though he will tell you he isn't coming and then show up out of the blue with your brother in tow wanting to do something for the evening on a half-hour notice. Let me just take this chance to apologize for my role in his vehicular dragging that one time, but to be fair, it was mostly C.H.'s fault, since she was driving.)

As for the recital itself, Jenn played great! She totally rocked the house with the Quantz Concerto, to much approval during intermission. She also looked a vision in her lovely new blue gown and fancy earrings. There were a few little problems in the Hindemith, but really, nobody could tell who wasn't familiar with it (and if any of you have talked to me on the phone for the last two months, you have heard it, over and over).

This has led me to a number of happy sidebars. First, I got a total haul for my birthday. I got a book of ingredients (it's way better than it sounds. It is a full colour encyclopedia of obscure ingredients which are called for in any number of my Australian cookbooks.) A cookbook holder, a *framed* certificate proclaiming me to be a member in good standing of the Law Society of Alberta, the first season of Battlestar Galactica 2.0 on DVD, and a (loaner) copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1, until I can find my own copy used. More on this later, although, I will not be doing anything as insane as the Julie/Julia Project.

Jenn got a ton of flowers which are now happily sitting in a lovely crystal vase we got for a wedding present, making the house as nice as it gets right now, what with the no cleaning for so long. She also received a totally cool set of towels with a flute embroidered on them and the date of her recital, which I thought was awesome cool, and so did she. She took them to her repertoire Class today to show off to the (inevitably jealous) other students.

After all the ladies and Jenn's Grandpa got paraffin manicures, we went back to our apartment with some folks, and then to the Hardisty pool for a soak in the hot tub, which was just what the doctor ordered, then to BP at Capilano where Jenn enjoyed a blender drink of somewhat more complex proportions than I am accustomed to making. All in all, a very successful day. Now all that is left for Jenn is to finish a major assignment, do a commentary on her conducting project, and prepare for her Jury on the 14th, and then start cramming for her finals. Yes, we are bound for nothing but relaxation in the next couple of weeks, I assure you, compared with the last couple of weeks.