Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Broken record blog

One day off out of 18 is not enough dangit. It sure did feel good though to do nothing on Monday. Even a nothing day is filled with activities though, like working out (it had been almost three weeks and I can sure feel it now!) and taking Georgie out on walks and to the doggie park. His behavior at the doggie park has changed and instead of boycotting me and pretending my existence is invisible once inside, he now keeps tabs on me and counts on playing a few rounds of fetch. If I walk around looking for an old tennis ball to throw him (there's always one around somewhere, or at the very least a stick) he will walk alongside me "looking" for one too, tail wagging all the while. It makes me smile. This blog certainly has turned into a dog journal of late but I suppose you all prefer that to my poop journal phases I occasionally subject you to.

Here's our clusterfuck of the week. The government sent back the check for the penalties and interest we had been assessed (we mailed a check, they didn't receive it, we didn't notice, they didn't tell us until four months later, and hence the penalties and interest) because I had dated it for 2009 instead of 2010. They requested a new check with the correct date. And here we thought they hadn't cashed that check and were going to let us off on the penalty part. (When we submitted the original check we had requested clemency for the penalties and interest since it was a first time offense and the fact that we always pay on time so we were hoping that they'd just let it go. Apparently not.) Anyway, I sent the check and then  Monday we received a letter saying our penalties had been expunged and that our $300 bill had been reduced to $11. Yippee right? Well, no. I went down there today to pay the $11 in person and they told me that the $300 check would be cashed anyway and we'd then have a credit with them. "Or you could stop payment on the check. We don't charge anything for the returned check, though your bank will," said the nice agent to me. So that's what I did. Watch, the bank will clear the check before the stop payment goes through (it takes 24hrs and $12.50 to do it at my bank). That was an eye-glazing-over inducing paragraph, wasn't it?

We're having a humdinger of a heat wave up here. Surely it must be the last at this stage. Our average high for this week is 72 degrees (22C) and it's been close to 90 (32) all week. They're saying it won't break until the weekend. Our A/C is working wonderfully and keeping the house at a nice steady 74. It is my favorite appliance today.

Not much else going on and general contentedness reigns. For that, I am deeply grateful. Have a lovely day.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Burnout spawned drivel

Serge made a stab at steak tartare yesterday. Georgie was highly interested in it. What you can't see in the picture is the almost whispered whimpering he was doing. If you couldn't see, you'd have thought he was in some kind of pain. I'm sure we shouldn't have been eating raw beef, but we did use filet mignon and washed it down with bacteria killing alcoholic beverages.

Today is my last day of the two week workathon. But I only have one day off before I work some more. The real light at the end of the tunnel (hey look another platititude) will be next weekend when we have three glorious days off in a row. I was talking with my colleague this week about the idiomatic expressions (like the afore light at the end of the tunnel) and how we were taught to never use those as it makes your writing hackneyed and banal. Yet now, we are explicitly training people to use them because people being tested for language skills have to demonstrate that they can know and use them. Sometimes this causes us trouble because we can't think them up on the spot. Mostly though, it's dirtying our otherwise clever dialogue and writing.

I'm sure there's more but my brain is fried. I know what burnout feels like cause this is it. I can play the role of a workaholic temporarily but it's really not in my DNA. Sorry for the unscintillatingness (a word unheard of until now on the internets) of it all. I'm sure mojo will be in the offing sometime in September.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Workathon day 10

Because there's never a bad reason to put up a pic of Georgie. He's been so clingy to me lately. This probably has to do with the fact that I leave all day every day. When I'm home he's on me like flies on stink always trying to lie down in my lap. Good thing I love him to death. He will not have gone to the doggie park for over two weeks when I finish this friggin workathon I'm on. Only four more days and then I finally get one day off. And that I had to insist on. Since this work money was unplanned, it makes me itch to go somewhere. I don't know if you all know this but early September is an awesome time to travel to the Caribbean for super cheap. There are a couple of reasons for this. One, the kidlets are all back in school and two, it's the peak of hurricane season. Occupancy rates are low and thus are prices. For instance, there are quite a few all-inclusive one week deals for under $500. Seriously, it's almost more expensive to stay home. That all-inclusive price includes airfare, hotel, all meals and open bar. Though I would just love to take off for a week in the tropics, I think I'm going to play the adult and schedule the remaining dental work I've been putting off. It sure was more fun being immature.

Of course if I went on vacation (for the umpteenth time this year) I would blow the diet, so there's that too. I've lost three pounds so far, a paltry sum, except it doesn't seem so paltry when I pick up three packages of ground beef for perspective. Only ten more pounds to go to reach my goal. I hope to have that done by the holidays. I hate this feeling hungry all the time but I now see that it was the mindless snacking that was killing me. OMG a third of a cup of peanuts has over 300 calories! Haven't touched a chip or a nut or an olive in over a week.

Finally today a little funny. One of my students, when asked about how his weekend was, replied, "Oh I went to the cottage and played with my dick." I chimed right in, "Excuse me what?" He said, "My English Dick." By the look on my face he could see that I didn't understand so he clarified, "My English dictionary." It seems he thought we could abbreviate the cumbersome length of the word dictionary. I had to set him straight on that.  We howled with laughter of course.

Monday, August 23, 2010

This and that

I got the new camera in the mail Friday. I decided to get the cheapest one that was better than my previous one. So I went from 8 megapixels to 10 and got a better zoom blah blah blah and it only set me back $78 with tax and shipping. Of course then there was the $15 memory card I had to get but still it was all done for under a hundy. Not bad, right? I haven't taken very many pictures except of Georgie since that's the only interesting subject to photograph around here lately. Friday night was fun going out to eat with spouse. We did our usual sharing of a bunch of appetizers. This is not to economize (the bill was still over $200) but to get the maximum tasting experiences out of the event. It was really good but some of the taste combinations left me scratching my head a bit. BBQ octopus with hummus? Nacho cheese chips with tuna tartare? Why again are we combining these?

Today is day 7 of the two week non-stop workathon. I haven't been stressing really, though the cold sore I got might indicate differently. At least I get the cold sore inside my nose. Still awfully painful but thankfully largely invisible to others as oozing pus is easily mistakable for a little runny nose snot. (Are you eating at the moment? In that case, please accept my apologies.)

Couple things I've learned this week. Regularize is indeed a word. I had been certain it wasn't. Means something similar to resolve. Also, there is a distinction between arguably and unarguably. In the former, you can argue for or against that which is being described while in the latter, there is no way to argue against it. For example, Montreal is arguably the greatest city in Canada and it is unarguably the largest bilingual city in Canada.

Have a lovely Monday all!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Checking in

Hey all, just stopping by to let you know that I haven't died, I'm just working all the time and thus have no computer time to speak of. I'm woefully out of touch with my fave blogs and have a total lack of information to report. Every day is the same for me in this, day four of my fourteen day workathon. Get up at 6, check email, shower etc, walk the dog, catch the 7:30 bus. Work all day in the shiny skyscraper, come home, walk the dog again, make din din (shouldn't this be Serge's job?) veg out (you're welcome Blobby) on the couch and in bed at 9:30. Not only is there no blogging time, there are no blogging topics. Well maybe just one. Today marks 17 years since Serge and I met in that hidden club in Hong Kong. See "Road to Montreal" in the sidebar for that whole story. We are going to celebrate by going out to dinner tonight. The camera is still dead (though I have ordered another one) so there won't be any pictures unless Serge takes some. He's not very kid-Kodak though so prolly not. We're going here.  Have a swell weekend y'all!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The way life shoud be

Hey there now, we just got back from Ogunquit, oh about an hour ago and tomorrow I start on my 14 day odyssey of teaching. So what I'm gonna do is splash a few mementos up here on the blog before I go blob on the couch. Sorry Blobby, it's public domain. These are our good friends from Boston who planned this little weekend getaway to the heretofore unbeknownst to me town of Ogunquit. And I am just so tickled to have made its acquaintance. (Forgive my weird writing voice, I've been driving all day and have post vacation fatigue.)

Ogunquit, in case you are unfamiliar as I was, is a little town of 1500 year round residents who put on a great "cute little hamlet beach getaway" show in the summer. I loved it. Here you see the high tide and the throngs of Maine vacationers. The beach thinned out considerably if you strolled down a ways. Two miles of lovely beach and the water was about 67 degrees, nearly as warm as Southern California waters. I didn't go all the way in though. Call me a wimp if you will, but the seabreeze never let me get hot enough to need to go in.

The place we stayed at had a little happy hour bar outside which we made use of. I wonder how many rounds it took for Serge to let this picture be taken. There seemed to be quite a few wealthy people around (with rocks on their fingers you'd certainly choke on) but they were so cool and down to Earth (and a hoot!) that I instantly wanted to come back to this town for a lengthier visit. 

For instance. And I really hope I'm not contravening any rules right now, but this lady was so great (I know her name but don't want to get busted) and sang a fun Karaoke to us all. It was like going to a secret hideaway with a bunch of fun people that you wouldn't mind running into again. Hard to explain, but I haven't felt this vibe in a place in a long time. It's why I loved this sign:

Which of course was on the happy hour bar patio. The town has a bunch of cute shops and restaurants and during the day the beach is packed. They have a little trolley that can take you all around to the various cutesy enclaves and vistas so you just arrive, park the car and then forget about any driving until you leave. Loved that.

David in the picture turned me on to the Loseit! application for the iphone and I'm really diggin it. I'm gonna lose that paunch if it's the last of me. (Sorry for the platitudes lately, it's a byproduct of my job, I think)  When you log everything you eat and drink, you exert more self control, I dunno why. When I plugged in my info I said I wanted to lose 13 pounds and gave myself until next February to do it. My daily calorie budget is 2410 with extra if I exercise. Definitely doable.

When the tide was out, the beach was more than twice as big. It looked like they had some pretty big tides there and the little river behind the sand dunes switched directions four times a day. Unfortunately after I took this picture I dropped my camera into the sand. It wouldn't take pictures anymore no matter what I did. Finally on the way home in the car, I was able to get the lens moving again, but alas, the camera I'm afraid, has irreparable ailments. The pictures she takes now come out like this:

So getting another camera goes on the list. (I'll pinch Serge's until then.) In other exciting news, I got a speeding ticket on the way home in Vermont. He radar gunned me at 83. The limit was 65. Sheesh. Mom drove at least that fast all the way back from Vegas no problem. Stinking $166 I gotta pay or lose my privelege to drive in Vermont.

Anyway, I loved the little whirlwind trip though staying longer next time would definitely interest me since it's a 5.5 hour drive. Not sure how frequently I'll post since I have no days off but I'll try not to disappear. And this concludes the every five minute travel extravaganza. The next trip is a whopping 4 months away.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

12 of 12

My morning view, as usual. I have made a lot of money raiding the couch cushions. Serge says his back feels better when he sleeps there. He comes to bed once or twice a week these days.

Dudes, this is pre-coffee. What do you think about the hair sitch. Keep letting it grow or chop it off? I haven't gotten it cut since February.

It was Thursday so why not trip down memory lane for a little HNT. I know it's blurry (thank goodness) but the flash has to be off. I moan and groan a lot about my weight gain, but I don't think it's all that bad for my age.

Shortly after the shower, Georgie stuck to me like glue whimpering since that's his walky-poo time. This is near the spot where he got stung (presumably) by a big ole bee. He does look kinda trepidatious, no?

Hey look it's me again. Narcissistic much? Well, it is 12 of 12 and this IS what I did, so there. Worked out in my little dungeon. Plus side of working out at home? Singing, dancing and taking pictures of myself. I would never do any of those things at a public gym.

Next on the list was a little trip to the Dollarama. They've changed and now offer items up to $2. This has vastly increased the number of desirable goods. All that for $35! I pay almost double for all of those things at the regular market/pharmacy.

One of the things I got was a little treat for Georgie. He made quick work of destuffing the thing and rooting out the noisemaker. I gotta take a video of him when he gets a special treat like that. He cries like, "I can't believe I have something so goooooood."

I had a little time so I had a chicken sandwich and played my little addiction, yahoo's Literati. I did a little laundry too. I tried not to think about how stressed I'm going to be when I do the 14 consecutive days. Of course trying not to think about it only causes me to think of it more thereby increasing the stressful feelings.

Meanwhile I waited for the prop 8 decision on the motion to stay story.  It was good news that the stay would be lifted, but it made me suspicious that it was only lifted in another week. Lots of things can go down in a week. I'm hoping though!

Then it was time for Georgie's afternoon trip to the doggy park. He ran and ran and then when the other dogs went and plopped back down in the shade I threw the ball I had found for him and then when he was done he dropped the ball and panted. So cute.

Serge was there all day juggling his clients and projects. Just a regular work day for him.

Paella and Shiraz for supper. There may (sometimes may means surely) have been martinis prior. To see other peoples recount of the day from all over the world, go here.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Just been cleaning up dog vomit. What is wrong with dogs and the eating of the grass impulse followed by the vomit dance? At least they give you notice with that wolp, wolp, wolp sound that precedes the actual projectile. That way I can make sure to move the dog so that the vomit will come out on an easily cleanable surface. I'd understand more if he vomited after snarfling up a turd, but it's always the grass that does it.

More irritation today in the form of a dead battery. Oh wait, a ten month old dead battery that only came with a 90 day warranty that cost $150 and will not hold a charge anymore. We are probably at fault for this only starting it up once every couple of weeks. We've left the van in the garage for most of the summer so we don't have to move it all the time for street sweeping. That was a bad plan I now see in retrospect. I went and bought a battery charger but even it won't work on a super dead battery (which they don't tell you in the instructions, but they cheerfully inform you when you call the help line.) So another $60 I'm out.

The school just emailed me and asked if I would work all of the 4 days off I have left this month. I'm gonna do it but it means 14 days in a row, seven teaching hours a day. Any teacher readers out there will certainly recoil at the thought. I started a new group yesterday and one of the students does that weird speech shadowing thing where they mouth everything that I say while I'm saying it. If you've ever interacted with someone like this, you'll know exaclty what I mean. It is so distracting, but I don't think the student is really even aware of it. It's probably the 4th or 5th student I've had with this tic.

One bright spot today is that I finally got a little bit of unemployment insurance money. It's a good thing I didn't really need it to eat with that money with how long it takes. I stopped working the 18 of June and got some money finally today. (Two weeks didn't count though because I was in California.)

I need a big thunderstorm to cheer me up. We've got the severe thunderstorm watch, so maybe we will get one. Later y'all, I'm gonna go skywatching now. Just ignore this last bit EAVB_LRTWMSPTVM

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Another Georgie post

That's my good boy. He's been great since he got over the terrible mystery injury he suffered the other day. I've been keeping my walking circuit a little closer to home though just in case. It was hard carrying him in my arms for half a mile.

I'm not used to this working every day all day thing. How do you all do it? I do it for a week and I'm ready to cry uncle. Knowing it's temporary helps but gosh this 8:30 to 4:30 deal is looooong. Why we all agree to be slaves is the cruelest joke of capitalism. We do it for the money, of course. I think most of my adult life has been spent trying to figure out how to work less and make more. I've gotten the work less thing down pretty well, but the making more part eludes me. One day.

Well kids, I'm boring this morning. All work and no play makes tornwordo a dull boy. Here watch this cute video of Georgie with me instead of reading more of my drivel.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Eat hot death...

This is how he looked most of the day yesterday. Holding his paw up like that because he hurt it somehow. We were just walking along in the park when suddenly he started shrieking and then lay down on his back. He refused to walk on his paw though when I manipulated it, I could see no injury and he didn't cry louder. Weird. Of course this happened at the point that was the very farthest from home on our long walk. I had to carry him all the way back. I felt so bad for the little guy and also helpless but I also know these things often just work themselves out. Which is of course what happened. I did give him half an aspirin in the afternoon and by dinnertime, he started walking normally again.

We saw Inception. Meh. Neither of us was blown away, maybe the hype jaded us. Oh we both liked it but agreed that the bang bang gunniness over and over was a bit much. More interesting to me that day was the amazing tropical downpours that we had. We got 3.03 inches of rain at our house, more than I think I've ever seen in a single day. It just poured and poured and didn't stop. It gave us a good chance to inspect the leaks in the garage. One looks like it's just a matter of putting a little Mighty Putty (shit really works dudes) on it while the other looks a little more complicated. Luckily it's just the garage so there's no rush.

While I was playing Scrabble (Literati on Yahoo) on line the other day, my opponent got a bit chatty because he got really lucky and beat me despite my way superior ranking. What I found strange was how he kind of introduced himself. "Boston here and I hate the messiah occupying the white house." Is this really how we identify ourselves now? By announcing whom we hate? I'm fairly sure that during the Bush years I never would have said, "Hi I'm Torn and I loathe the moron who stole the election." Oh sure it would have been true, I just never would have said it. When the guy learned that I lived in Canada, he immediately said, "You got that healthcare then." I remarked that, yes, it's run by the province and there's a second sales tax that pays for it so it probably comes out to the same thing out of pocket. His response? It can't be good if it's run by the government. My prejudice would lean the same way, but profit taking from my health care also seems like a conflict of interest. Private companies would certainly tend to better efficiency, but better health care I'm not so sure.

Best part of yesterday? Receiving a text from Em that read, "Eat hot death Christianist h8ers!" I knew Prop 8 had been overturned. Hopefully the Supreme Court will eventually uphold this overturning and settle this issue once and for all. Of course an overturning of the overturning is also possible which would be a dark day for all of us. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Two heaping helpings

That's the view from my weekend classroom.  My student just wants to practice speaking, no grammar or listening or pronunciation. This is a pretty easy gig since she's a big talker. The downtown core sure is sleepy on a Sunday morning though. Totally deserted.

This made me laugh. You're supposed to type the two words in order to prove your humanness. The best part is that I typed "text viper" and it worked! I hate that we have so many security hurdles to jump now as we run around playing on the internet. I totally see the necessity though. This year my email account has been hacked, my twitter account was hacked and lord knows what else. I tend to walk around in this pollyanna haze believing that everyone is good and that dangers are exaggerated in society. These internet experiences bring me back to Earth. My question is always "Why?" Why do people do bad things to others. Why? I suppose as much energy I spend trying not to harm others is matched by those expending energy to actually do the harm. I guess that's called balance. Cue the heavy sigh.

I did it! I successfully made my first paella. And it came out delicious too. We both had two heaping helpings of it. There was enough for 5 meals so we ate one, put one in the fridge and froze three. It cost $55 to make so that's not so bad considering how chock full o seafood and imported chorizo there is in it. Even though the browned kinda burny part on the bottom is supposed to be the best part, we didn't like it so much. Can't wait for lunch leftovers today! 

It wouldn't be a proper post without the Georgiemeister would it? He is so blobby in the summer. He'll get roused for walks and meals but the rest of the time it's sloth Georgie. I'm looking forward to cooler temps and more energy from him.

I've almost got caught up on the blogs, hopefully today I can get through most of the backlog. Of course there is new backlog from the time I've been trying to clear the backlog, a neverending cycle. It's Tuesday, cheap day at the cinema, so we are going to go see this Inception flick that everyone is buzzing about. It better be good since it's so long at 143 minutes. Later gaters!