Thursday, April 27, 2006
In other news...
I have been going flat out at work this week. This morning I sat at my desk for a grand total of about 3 minutes. Yesterday I spent the day in Moncton for work. I've had meetings, phone calls, questions... just really damn busy this week.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
to John! Today he is old enough to join the ranks of these guys but as I keep telling him, you can't be president of the US while living in Canada. They frown on that sort of thing.
Caly also wishes you a happy birthday and is sorry for puking on the floor 3 times last night, and the incessant peeing "ever since SHE's been gone."
Good luck at sweeps tonight
Win lots of
and be as happy as this guy seems to be
p.s. I love you
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Friday, April 21, 2006
- We have not set a date nor do we even have a vague idea of when it will be
- We don't know where it will be held, be it here, SoCal, or other location
- We don't know what venue it will be held in, be it a church, city hall, etc
- We're in no rush to plan anything about the wedding, as we've got our hands full with moving, immigration, etc.
- Yes, I know what I'm doing. No, it's not happening too fast. We're engaged, not running off to Vegas.
- That is a picture of my actual ring on the proposal post, it just looks a little lighter due to the camera. I will GLADLY show you in person, just ask :)
Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank everyone for their well-wishes. I've been a bit swamped upon returning home, but I really appreciate the comments from those who are happy to hear the news.
Saturday was the wedding of John's best friend. It started off a pretty crappy day, actually. I seemed to be running behind, having not done my manicure yet, noticing wrinkles in my dress, getting my dress dirty as I put it on... I was losing my temper. We finally managed to make it out the door, stopped at Target for some umbrellas for the wedding guests in case the weather turned, and then headed on to Laguna Beach.
The wedding ceremony was held in the Heisler Park Gazebo, which overlooks the Pacific. Here's a pic of it and the scenery to the left & right of it.
This last pic shows a spot off in the distance close to where John used to do Tai Chi.
The wedding was non-traditional in a few senses. Wedding photos were taken before the ceremony. The reception was held at the restaurant next to the gazebo, Las Brisas. There was no head table (I was able to sit with John), no toasts by the best man, and no wedding cake (which is why I don't have a picture for Suzy). Just people having lunch together with the new couple and having a good time. We sat with two of John's friends and were often joined by the bride & groom for a chat. With the guest list being small, they were able to spend more time with us. It was a very classy, different, relaxed wedding and we had a great time.
After the wedding, we came home and while still dressed up, John proposed. The rest of the day is personal. :P
Sunday morning we got up and started to cook breakfast while deciding what Easter mass we'd attend. We started receiving notes and calls from people by then with congratulations. We headed off for a noon mass, where we were lucky to get a seat. Churches are certainly more well-attended than here, I'll give them that. After church we came home and I began to let my family know of the news. I called my Dad first, he seemed genuinely shocked but congratulated me. He called me last night to ask me a software question and said "so do you have a ring?" "Yes Dad, I actually picked it out myself." I think it's still sinking in for him. My brothers were both surprised but seemed happy to hear the news. My older brother still hasn't met John yet, so I need to find a way to get the two of them in the same spot and introduce them. My grandfather had the best response, he just let out this huge whoop! and seemed very happy to hear my news.
Next was an email to aunts, uncles and cousins and I also added my mother to that list, despite the fact she's still not talking to me. A couple of relatives seemed to give what I'd call more formal replies, I think they're worried I don't know what I'm doing. My mother hasn't said a word, which is both good and bad at the same time.
A work colleague sent me an ecard when I would normally have gotten a phone call from him regarding the news. Maybe he's just out of town and can't call, but it seemed a bit odd to me.
Most people at work were happy for me, but there were a couple of people who seemed insulted by the fact that I didn't specifically seek them out to tell them my news. Well, if you heard the cheers from the other side of the office, why didn't you come by and see what the fuss was about, instead of sitting in your office being indignant? Whatever. Thanks for trying to make it about you instead of me.
Between the mixed responses and the barrage of questions I really didn't have that great of a first day back. The reactions have been interesting, to say the least.
Anyway, back to my trip.
Sunday afternoon we had lupper at Olive Garden. Late afternoon is a good time to go, the only exception being the obnoxious kid who deserved some old-fashioned corporal punishment for yelling everything he said (he was heard through the whole dining room) and being rude to the waiter.
Monday morning John worked and I headed across the street to do a bit of shopping. Didn't buy much for myself this trip, mostly books and soap and a measuring cup. In the afternoon he came home and we headed out for lunch at Cathay Newport (Asian food). We went to the beach and spent some time there. Also hit See's Candy so I could get some more Peanut Brittle Bars. Have eaten 2 already since being home. Finally we hit Krispy Kreme so I could get another donut. mmmm, Krispy Kreme.
Tuesday morning I went to Costco, the grocery store, and Target. In the afternoon John came home and grilled me another delicious steak (totally spoiled now) and I had to pack. We watched Capote that night.
I can't recall specifically which nights we watched movies on, but we watched 4 DVDs at home. Not much of interest at the theater right now. We saw Austin Powers in Goldmember (John had never seen it and it made an easily available rental from Netflix); Proof (I preferred the stage play to the screen version); Derailed (ugh, bad movie); and Capote (good performances, movie felt like 3h instead of 2).
The cat and I were getting along great... until Saturday. I think she's protesting the proposal. All of a sudden she stopping letting me pet/scratch her, she would move her head away from me. She stuck around long enough to have some pink brush treatment, but didn't want anything else to do with me. She knows she's been permanently bumped down to #2 in John's life, and she's not happy about it.
Wednesday morning we had set the alarm for 5:30am. Considering the fact that that was 9:30am Atlantic, it wasn't so bad for me. I was busy packing the few remaining items which luckily distracted me from being upset. The shuttle came and away I went. The look on John's face as I drove away was pretty heartbreaking -- I hate that look. At least I wasn't bawling all over him this time.
The flights home were a bit shorter due to tail winds instead of head winds. About the only thing exciting to happen was the lady across the aisle on my LAX-YUL flight who puked up orange juice all over those seats before we even took off. She'd apparently had food poisining.
My luggage made out impressively well, especially considering the fact that it weighed 58lbs on the return trip. The limit is 50lbs and they're supposed to charge you over that, but they let me off the hook. Next time I want to buy books while I'm away, I'd better take 2 suitcases. :)
Thursday, April 20, 2006
I had a large post written on my Blackberry which I then accidentally deleted, otherwise you'd be reading about the rest of my trip. I'll re-write things tonight.
Not feeling too bad this morning, but I usually have a much easier time adjusting to coming east.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Friday, April 14, 2006
Here it's just another Friday. Not wanting to cater to one religious group over another, no one has the day off, but if you have to go to a church service, they let you have the time off work so they aren't sued. It's the American way. I'm glad that I still have the day off at home. It helps with the solemnity of the day for it not to be like any other day.
I am just hanging out at home this morning, doing laundry. I was going to head across the street to Target & the grocery store, but it started to pour rain. I have my umbrella with me, but my enthusiasm for walking in the rain is lacking right now, so I just decided to stay in until it's time to go to church.
Yesterday was the visit to Disneyland, or as I have re-named it, the Land of the Stroller. The single largest gathering of strollers I have ever seen. By the end of the day, if I saw one more stroller in my way or bumping into me... *shakes fist. What Walt didn't keep in mind when he declared Disneyland the "happiest place in the world" was that there would eventually be a day when there are too many people in one spot. Spring Break (not allowed to call it Easter break) is this week in SoCal and Disneyland was PACKED. Some rides had 2-3h waits. Others weren't so bad, but was still 30-45 minutes in a line for a 5 min ride. It made for a long day of walking. I didn't bring my pedometer with me, but I'm damn sure I walked more than 10,000 steps yesterday.
It's funny, but I found Disneyland a bit more disorganized than DisneyWorld. I don't remember DisneyWorld being as hard to get around in as Disneyland was. Granted, World is newer than Land and thus they would have had more experience to plan it. What I really don't understand is how my older brother is able to go to Universal in Florida and spend multiple days there. One day, sure, it's fun. If he could, he'd spend a week there. I just don't get it.
Anyway, despite the long lines and long day on my feet I had a good time. John's sister, her husband and son arrived at the apartment first, with his mom following a bit later to pick me up. I wasn't expecting presents but they each came bearing gifts. His sister (editor of Teddy Bear and Friends Magazine) brought me the 25th anniversary Snuffles -- I was speechless. John had sent her the picture of my Wall of Snuffles, and she got this one for me. I was really touched. Since I bought my house I've had to curb the Snuffles collecting. His mom arrived and gave me a cream-colored shawl that she had crocheted and it's really beautiful.
We arrived at the park and met up with John's aunt, uncle & 5 kids. This made us a group of 12... we really could have used matching shirts :) I passed the quiz by remembering everyone's name, only needing one reminder. His cousins range in age from 16-3, and I have to say, they put my cousins to shame. They're really great kids, not whiny and spoiled. Everyone I met yesterday was really nice. John has a great family.
John left work and met us for supper at Downtown Disney, where there are shops & restaurants and you don't have to pay the park fee to come in. We ate at ESPNZone as it had a shorter wait time than the jungle restaurant. We were such a large group that they ended up putting us in a separate room, and we had a nice meal. After that, the crew headed back into the park, and John, his mom and I all headed for home.
Here are some pics I took throughout the day, and some that John's mom took for me with my camera.
The castle, which after seeing the castle at DisneyWorld, looks a lot smaller :)
The Matterhorn, which I thought was a fun ride, after I regained my hearing due to the people behind us who insisted on screaming as loud as possible, complaining at it to speed up, and then at the end saying it was lame and sucked.
More pics in a bit, I just realized it's almost time for church and I have to get ready.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Got off the plane and headed for the Super Shuttle. Between the traffic and the accent of my driver, it made it difficult for me to understand him when he asked if I was going to Irvine, but we got that sorted out and managed to get myself on the right bus. Despite having a reservation, they couldn't seem to find my file, so when we arrived at John's apartment and he came down to meet me, he had to go back up and dig around for the confirmation number on the reservation. Finally found that, and then we were able to head up to the apartment.
He waited to take lunch until I arrived, so we sat curled up for a while just talking and glad to finally be back together.
John had to resume working, so I got up to unpack a few things. After a few minutes of that I started to feel pretty wonky, so I laid down for a nap. John grilled us some chicken with some KD on the side for supper so I got up to eat. Managed to not pass out at the dinner table but still wasn't feeling so great, so I stayed home while he went to bowling. He just got back and is sitting behind me blogging about his spectacular night. He's pretty excited as tonight determined their position.
I woke up a bit ago when Caly came in to join me on the bed. Caly is not one to want to miss out on any kind of activity involving sleep. She curled up with me for quite a while. She hasn't been giving me that Look of Fear like last time, and came around me within the first hour of me being here, so she must remember me in some fashion. While we were hanging out on the bed, Caly decided she missed John, and meandered over to curl up with his pants. It was even funnier when she was rubbing her head all over, but I couldn't quite get that on camera - every time I moved the camera she became fascinated with that.
So that's it from here, I am up again for a while in an attempt to be able to sleep through the night. Tomorrow is Disneyland and hopefully I'll be a bit more adjusted than I was last time I saw his mom :) I'll be seeing her again, and meeting his sister Mindy, nephew Jack, brother in-law Scott, Uncle Fred, Aunt Wendy, and their 4 kids, all while John is at work. He'll meet us after work for dinner at a yet-to-be-determined location. Originally it was going to be Medieval Times, but than plan has changed.
Caly is posing again. As you can see, she hasn't lost any weight :)
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Well, I'm glad I wasn't in a hurry to clear customs in Montreal. We landed in plenty of time, flight was only an hour and a half really. The holdup was waiting for connecting bags.
This is the first time in a while that I've come through Montreal on my way to the US. Usually I end up going through Toronto. The connecting baggage conveyor belt is about the same size as the one at home (read: damn small). I lost count of the number of times the damn thing stopped and started to load luggage. For a major airport, that size belt just doesn't cut it. Especially when the tour group of Quebec teenagers showed up and swarmed the belt.
Anyway, after somewhere between 20-30 minutes of standing there waiting for my bag, it finally appeared. So far so good on the dirt factor. They also had men loading bags back on the belt so that saved me from wrangling it. I also got a "how you doin'" from the baggage guys. :) I smiled and thanked them for the baggage help. Other than that, mind too busy with thoughts of boyfriend. :)
After that I had to go through security again. I finished up there and walked past a room labelled "Reconciliation Room." Just in time for Holy Week, the airports are offering confessions! How nice is that? :P
Also walked past the gate for Reagan National. Whole other separate set of security. I knew about it, of course, had just never seen the extra setup myself.
Didn't manage to get much sleep on my first flight, despite having the seat beside me empty, because it was too noisy. Propeller planes will do that. My teeth were chattering and my earplugs made the vibration noises of the plane even worse. I did doze off a couple of times, but I'm looking forward to getting some more sleep on this flight. This one is 6h long.
Boarding soon, more from LA. Since it would take 2h each direction for John to come and pick me up, we decided I would take a shuttle rather than him take a half-day off work. So the Super Shuttle will be delivering me from LAX to John's door. Frankly, if I was him, I don't know how I'd get any work done today, I'd be looking out the window seeing if the van was there yet. Hope you get something done before I get there. :)
Here I am, at the airport once again. I woke up at 4:30am and Dad picked me up just after 5. I'm pretty tired this morning. Got about 5h of sleep last night. Hope to be able to get as much sleep as I can on the plane.
I did web check-in last night, and while SJ airport isn't that busy, it really comes in handy when you're headed for a large airport. Last time I was away, I did web check-in before we left John's apartment. I avoided a long line and had the security of knowing that I already had my boarding pass. Very handy.
I can't believe it's here already, that it's time to go away again. You think it will never get here, and then there is the rush of packing and preparing, and all of a sudden it's time to go. I'm excited to be able to see John again. We never have enough time together.
Dad told me that Air Canada is no longer flying jets from here to Montreal. All of the flights are now Dash-8s. Doubles the flight time from 1h to 2h. *sigh. I guess I should be thankful that there are any flights out of here, since it's not exactly a money-making run.
Both my carry-on and luggage are new for this trip. My new luggage hasn't gotten much of a test run just yet - the true test for that will be in Montreal when I clear customs. I recently got a new laptop for work, and with it I got a backpack for it instead of a traditional laptop bag. So far I am really enjoying it. There are a lot more pockets, nooks and crannies in which to put things. The laptop itself is 6 lbs, so if I'm going to lug that around, no sense in wrecking my shoulder.
Couldn't avoid taking the laptop with me this time, as my co-worker who is filling in for me is on her own with no one else in the office who could help until Tuesday. This means I have to be a little more accessible to work on this trip, unfortunately. Oh well, I am not in as desperate a need for a break as I was last time :)
They just called pre-boarding, so I guess I'd better pack up. More later from Montreal.
Monday, April 10, 2006
It's quite a neat set, actually. The front that you see here is nylon and expandable, but the rest is hard-shell polypropylene, so it's hybrid luggage. Protection and expandability, and still lighter than my old luggage. The handles are molded plastic and fold down, as opposed to faux-leather stitched handles that hurt your hands after virtually any carrying.
It is pretty girly looking, but since I'm a girl, that works out pretty well. I also looked at a set of luggage in Walsh Luggage that was purple, which is what I wanted, but internet research told me that it weighed more than what I bought. The nylon in the purple set wasn't as tight a weave. It was slightly larger though, and my fave color. In the end I think I made the right choice, based on the fact that it's lighter than what I have, it's definitely distinctive, I really like the hybrid, and the two pieces together were cheaper than a single piece at Walsh. I don't mind paying more for good quality, I just happened to luck out in finding it at Winners. I'm leery of the light color, but with 3/4 of it being polypropylene, perhaps it will still pick up less dirt than all nylon. It's going to get dirty, there's no stopping it, so I'll just have to live with it.
Luggage is a tough purchase because you really don't know what it will truly be like until you've used it and it's too late to return it, after multiple uses to get a full opinion. I have a subscription to Consumer Reports' website, but even they didn't have a whole lot to say specifically about lightweight luggage. They had sections on inexpensive luggage and how to choose luggage, but no real recommendations or comments on lightweight luggage. In any event, I did the best I could with the info I had, so here's hoping I made a good investment.
Now that I have new luggage, I have to get packing! That's tonight's project, along with getting my pedicure out of the way, if I have time.
Friday afternoon I had a conference call with John and an immigration lawyer to get some answers on his ability to move. The bottom line came down to it being a lot easier if we were married, but neither of us wants to jump the gun there, so we have to get some other things organized in order to prove we are indeed "together" before I could sponsor him as "family". I personally find it a bit insulting to have to prove to anyone that I have a real relationship, but thanks to those who try to abuse the system, my word isn't enough. We have to start getting some things jointly in our names, so we'll work towards that. We're also investigating the work option for sponsorship, we'll see how that pans out. The good news is that health care doesn't appear to be an issue, and Caly the cat will have the easiest move of all - just a rabies shot and she can come on over. So the cat can basically move in with me anytime, but John can't. Figures. :P
Friday night I was on call for work. They finally called around 11pm and said they wouldn't be ready for me until sometime on Saturday, but they didn't know when. Joy.
After speaking on the phone with the lawyer earlier in the day, John and I abandoned the typing that night in favor of the telephone. It's funny how typing so much makes you start to forget what the other person sounds like. I will be glad not to have that problem anymore.
Saturday was damn busy. I had postponed my hair appointment last weekend due to my brother's visit, so I headed there in the morning. She worked me in between other customers, so it took a bit longer than usual, but I had planned enough time in between. After hair was done, I zipped down to Winners and bought the luggage. Also ran into Wal-Mart, against my better judgement, for a couple of things I could only get there. Then I headed uptown for a salon appointment. Saw my Dad, who offered to drive me to the airport on Wednesday morning. Dropped in to Walsh Luggage to make sure there wasn't something better than what I bought.
Palm Sunday was this weekend, so church ran longer than usual due to the reading of the Passion.
After church I headed to Suwanna with Jenn and Stew for dinner, in recompense for having to miss it last weekend with everyone else. Very yummy Suwanna chicken, as usual.
Saturday night was going to see Moonchildren, which was a great show and the cast all did a wonderful job. Very entertaining. Post-show we headed over to the Ale House for drinks & dessert, then off to the cast party. I had a good time, though I hadn't intended on staying out as late as I did. By the time I dropped off Jenn & Stew and crawled into bed, it was 4am. Good practice for the time zone change I'll be going through, but having to work today & tomorrow means I won't really be able to take advantage of that.
Slept in to recover from the very late night. Did some cleaning in prep for having people over for JCS. Started some laundry so I'd have everything ready to choose from for packing. Ordered John's birthday presents online so they'll be there when I arrive. I have to leave a week before his birthday, so we'll celebrate while I'm there.
The JCS viewing was pretty quiet, just me, Jenn, Stew and Brian. With the cast party recovery and the Crucible read-through, most people weren't able to make it, but that was expected. I wish I would have been able to choose another night with fewer conflicts. Hopefully next year I can move it back to Good Friday. In any event, the 4 of us watched the show and had a good time. Jenn and I sang along, but no kickline :)
Time to get packing. Only 2 more sleeps!
Thursday, April 06, 2006
I'm having a dilemma with my luggage. I have luggage, it's in good shape, there's nothing really wrong with it other than the fact that it's too damn heavy. When I travel, it's usually by myself. A lot of the time I travel to the US, to see John or for work, which means I always have to handle my own luggage through customs. I am not known for packing light, I'll admit that adds to the problem. But when your luggage weighs 13lbs (≈6kg) before even putting anything in it, that just makes it suck even worse. So, my dilemma is, do I invest in luggage I can actually carry and manoeuver more easily on my own, or do I just deal with what I have? The problem is that I really don't do that much traveling. But when I do, it's a killer to have to carry my own luggage. I've thought about spiltting it up between 2 bags, but that's even more annoying when you have to carry/wheel it down a hall in an airport. I'd rather deal with one bag.
My luggage right now is red. Distinctive enough, but red is becoming the new black. What I really want is purple luggage -- this is me, after all. But really, it's a darker color, so it won't show the dirt as much, and not many people have purple luggage.
I'm not sure what to do. As of right now, I know I will [likely] be traveling 3 times, all to the US, over the next 6 months; next week plus two times for work. Do I spend the money, or just put up with what I have?
My brother's visit on Saturday was quick but good. I had a hair appointment for that day but cancelled it in case they were going to drop by in the afternoon. Plans changed a few times, but eventually I headed off to church, and then met up with my family at The Falls for dinner. After dinner everyone came back to my place, where we chatted and I got to see the wedding pictures. My SIL said I was very photogenic and looked great in all the pics. I could still see my creepy red eye, but I was specifically looking for it, so I guess in the end it wasn't that bad. Hopefully my brother will get some time to scan some of them in. Need another pic to add to the bridesmaid pile ;) I also recently found out that I've finally made the leap and on my 10th wedding appearance, next summer, I will achieve maid of honor status. My career is advancing! From flower girl to junior bridesmaid to bridesmaid to maid of honor. For all your wedding attendant needs, call Liz! 25 years of experience! Book now!
As of right now, unless plans change, next year's dress will be blue. I've worn seafoam green, pink, mauve, forest green, red... I think this will be my first blue bridesmaid's dress. I wore that blue dress when I was the guest book minder, but that wasn't a bridesmaid's dress.
After my family left it was only 10:30, so I called over to Jenn & Stew's to see if people were still hanging out. I headed over there in time to see people, which was nice. With my brother being in town I had to miss out on part of the evening, but thankfully I got to see people later on.
John and I have been in contact with a lawyer about immigration. We decided there were too many variables and complications to our situation to handle on our own. We want to be sure that when he moves here, we don't have too many surprises. So if we have to spend some money getting that assurance, I'm ok with it. We hope to be able to talk to the lawyer tomorrow and maybe get some answers to some outstanding questions.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
They're digging up a bunch of grass there also. Likely building a bigger parking lot.
Spring is here!
Saturday, April 01, 2006
My nephew would love this. Coincidentally, Grave Digger is doing a show tonight in London, ON. Somehow I don't think his mother will be taking him to a monster truck show :P
I guess bunnies no more signify Easter than a monster truck. Seeing as how I can't eat food shaped like animals, I guess that makes the monster truck more edible to me.
On reflection, I do find the thought of eating a monster truck disturbing as well. I like to think of Grave Digger as "indestructible" - sort of like George, my old truck. Eating the chocolate Grave Digger would destroy it. I don't think I can handle that responsibility.
Anyone looking to buy me Easter chocolate, you'd best stick with eggs. Or See's Peanut Brittle Bars. John's mom gave me a box of these and I'm hooked. And no, this is not a hint. I still haven't finished the chocolate I brought back from my last trip!!