Thursday, June 29, 2006


From what I can tell, they held the plane in Chicago and John was able to make the flight. I had already contacted my brother earlier today just in case he got stuck overnight in Montreal. Would have been weird for them to meet that way, but at least it wouldn't have meant sleeping in the airport.

I am now at the airport waiting for him to land. Very glad he wasn't coming through Toronto this time - the late flight has been cancelled. The Montreal flight is listed as being on time, despite the density level of the fog out there tonight. Go Dash 8!

So glad he was able to make it here in one day. I imagine he'll be pretty tired coming off the plane. I took tomorrow off so we can spend it together. I need a day off myself, work has been so crazy lately. Oh, and I did label the piece of equipment I went digging for today. Those lucky pennies I always stop for are paying off. :)

Unluckiest traveler ever

If it wasn't for bad luck, John would have no luck at all. I just checked the status of his flight. Due to a crew change, his flight has been delayed by an hour, leaving him a 23min connection time in Chicago, during which he has to walk between terminals. United shuts the doors of their flights 15min before departure. I don't think he's going to make it unless they do arrive earlier than it says. Funny, I think he said something to me last night about there being no way his flight out of OC would be delayed...

Please cut the guy some slack!! No wonder he hates traveling.

Now that I've proven I *can* mow my lawn,

I never want to mow a lawn again. Ever. Holy crap am I sore today. Mowing semi-damp lawn with a heavy mower on an incline with no upper body strength is not fun. I got the whole front and side done, but the back still needs to be hayed. Yes, hayed. That enjoyment I leave for John. Welcome home, honey!

Today at work I get to go back in time. Circumstances have me digging through old equipment to figure out which piece belonged to which location, so that it can be re-installed and do things old-school. I have no idea if I'll be able to easily identify the correct piece of equipment. I wasn't smart enough to label them, as I couldn't dream of ever needing it again... famous last words. I guess that will teach me to label things.

John comes in tonight on the late flight from Montreal at 11pm. I hope he has an easier time flying today. He has bad luck when it comes to flights being on-time when he travels here. This trip he's opted to only have a carry-on, which should speed things up going through Customs... unless they ask why he's only bringing a carry-on for a week's stay. He also has a terminal change in Chicago, an airport he's unfamiliar with, but I sent him a map of O'Hare. O'Hare is well signed and he doesn't have to go through Customs there, just change terminals, and he has 1.25h to do so as long as his flight isn't late. He just always seems to have some kind of flying adventure to tell me when he gets off the plane... I hope it's less eventful for him today. On his flight between Chicago and Montreal, he's on an Embraer 175, which has the personal viewscreens on the seat in front of you.

He made a funny comment to me last night about looking forward to seeing the fog. I'm hoping he brings some sunshine with him instead. So far it's not shaping up to be that great a summer.

Just got an email from him, actually. He's just waiting for the shuttle to arrive to pick him up and get to the airport. It's coming up on 6am out there right now, which is pretty early for an 8:35am flight, but as we learned last time I was there, you need to be checked in 2h in advance of an "international" flight. At least he's flying out of Orange County and not LAX, so a much shorter drive.

Oh, and Caly, the apartment is not your litterbox. Be a good cat while John is gone. That means not peeing everywhere. I know this is probably too much to ask, but thought I'd try.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Canada Day shindig

I guess I haven't made any real announcement on this yet, but I'm having a shindig on Canada Day. Some backyard BBQ and hopefully I can get the badminton net up in the backyard.

I will have the usual plates, cups, condiments, cupcakes, chips, and pop. Bring something to BBQ and WW-friendly snacks if chips & cupcakes aren't on your menu. Wear your Canada Day shirts if you have them.

I guess a start time depends on Shakespeare rehearsal. Late afternoon is good if we want to do any badminton, before it gets post-supper and cold.

As far as the rest of things going on with me, there really hasn't been much to talk about. I've been working a lot and watching Season 2 of original Star Trek. That's literally it. This week I'm preparing for John's arrival -- he arrives late Thursday night. Still need a few last minute groceries, including a new variety of 1/2 moon, with strawberry as well as vanilla filling. He should enjoy that. I'm really happy I was able to find some lactose-free ice cream at Superstore for him. 3 days to go. Been a long time since he was here, I will be glad to have him back in my own surroundings again.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Just like SoCal

I am in my car, inching toward the Harbour Bridge. I'm on my way to Bathurst, but it looks like it's going to take me a while to get out of the West Side. It started backing up beside Lancaster Mall. Supposedly a tractor trailer came unhinged around the Market Square exit. Crazy.

Going to be a long day if this keeps up. I have to drive to Bathurst, work there, then drive back to Moncton. I'll stay overnight tonight in Moncton and work there tomorrow.

Glad I have the XM for my road trip. :)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Go play in your own yard

In the last 3 days, I have had kids in my yard.

Two nights ago, I was walking into the bathroom when I heard a voice outside. The kid from the house behind mine was trying to corral his dog. They ended up walking all over my lawn. I hope I escaped dog crap. There's nothing worse than not owning a dog and still having to clean up its crap. At least this appearance in my yard wasn't intentional as it looks like the dog got away from the kid.

Last night I found kids in my driveway when I arrived home. I believe they were playing with my hose because the area beneath it was wet and had not been wet when I left the house to go get gas. They saw me coming and somewhat reluctantly and slowly moved out of my driveway and went 3 doors down to drive up someone else's driveway. Later last night, as I sat on the deck resting, a kid came to the back edge of my property, crossed the ditch, and walked his bike across my back lawn, onto my driveway, and up the street.

Tonight, I was home watching TV and heard voices near the house. I live alone, and hearing strange voices nearby on the outside of my house scares me. I looked outside and saw a second kid driving his bike over my lawn -- my $5000 lawn that I am trying desperately to keep in good shape in its tender growing stage. There are still areas, particularly in the front, where the grass is just beginning to take root. I ran to the door and firmly but not yelling told him to not drive on the grass, and told them to go play somewhere else.

Apparently my yard has become the neighborhood playground. It is also apparent that their parents haven't taught them to stay out of other people's yards. If I want kids driving over my lawn, I'll get some of my own. In the meantime, don't scare the crap out of me by going right up to my porch and going under it or whatever the heck they were doing.

This is my property. I pay for it, I maintain it, and I decide what happens on it. It doesn't include being an entertainment area/transportation path for uninvited children. You have your own yard and yards of friends. Go play on those and leave mine alone.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I can mow

I just mowed most of the front and side of my lawn. First time ever mowing. Wish it was my last too. I did ok, it's just really damn heavy because it's not self-propelled. Bag kept filling up really quickly because it was so long. Some of my land is swampy and I didn't mow it. I'm not convinced there should be lawn in places because it will always be swampy, even when it's not raining every day.

So tired. But I did it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The short version

Been doing funeral stuff the last few days. I'm glad it's over. It was great to have my brother home for a couple of days, even if it was under sad circumstances. In our non-funeral time we watched some Star Trek. I got up at 5am this morning to drive him to the airport. Then I came home and went back to bed before getting up for work.

The good thing to come out of this funeral scenario is that my mother is speaking to us again. I am approaching things cautiously. I don't want to fall back into old patterns.

John has blogged a good summary of our move status, I won't repeat that here, but if you're interested, head over there to see where we're at.

Apparently the problem with my lawn mower was that it didn't have enough gas. With help from my brother, I bought a gas tank and a weed whacker last night, but now it's raining again and I haven't had a chance to tackle either of those things. But at least I don't have to water the lawn. It's been getting plenty of that.

Raccoons keep knocking over my compost bin.

I now have a crack in my windshield that I didn't notice until after it had spread. Now I'll have to get that replaced. Car is also making humming noise, conveniently just days after the warranty has run out. And of course the crack in front end that I've had for a couple of years, which I still haven't fixed.

I am thinking of going to see The Lake House on Sunday or next week sometime. I have a free pass that is good Sunday-Thursday. If anyone is interested in going, let me know.

I think John and I will plan on having people over on Canada Day. Backyard BBQ and maybe even some badminton if the grass is in good enough shape by then. Let me know if you'd be interested in that too.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Long Day

Let me start off by talking about my day yesterday. Got up at 6:30am Atlantic (4:30 Central) so we’d be able to get to the airport in time for the minimum 2h international departure. Learned that lesson after leaving Orange County last time. We made it through everything with plenty of time to wait. Got on the plane bound for Chicago, and made it there with no problems. We had just over an hour wait in Chicago before heading for Toronto. We get on the plane in Toronto, and then are informed that the plane was being taken out of service as they had found a problem with it. We deplaned, and they sent us across the hall with another plane having just landed and we’d be able to use. We waited for the cleaners to go through, and boarded the second plane. Sat and waited. And waited. The captain comes over the speaker and says we have to deplane again, now *this* plane was being taken out of service because of some dents. We got off that plane and lined up for meal vouchers.

Supposedly the meal vouchers were good at any airport vendor – that’s what it said on the paper. All I wanted was some popcorn and pop, but noooo, “we don’t take vouchers anymore.” GRRRRR. After deplaning twice I was losing my patience.

They somehow quickly found us a third plane, which had just finished repairs (gives you a warm & cozy feeling, doesn’t it?) We boarded that plane, then had to sit and wait and wait and wait for bags to be loaded. Then we waited while they unloaded someone’s bag who had changed flights. Eventually we did take off, about 4 hours behind schedule. This meant no chance of making my 5pm flight home. We got off the plane at 4:30pm in Toronto, but with Customs, baggage, and terminal change I knew it just wasn’t going to happen. Luckily the late flight was not full and we all managed to get a seat on that flight. It was a really long day and I just wanted to get home. I’m going to have a hard few days coming up, with the funeral parlour and funeral to attend.


I wasn’t surprised by the news because he’d been diagnosed as terminal, but what is bothering me the most is going through all of the funeral-related stuff again, especially with my mother not speaking to me. I doubt this will make any difference to the mother situation. I hear that she asked my aunts, after he passed away, "Who will call my children?" Um, how about you call us yourself!!!! I am actually more upset about how to deal with my mother than I am about the death.

The funeral is Monday morning at 10am at the Cathedral. Grampy went there for most of the last 10 years or so as it was easier for Grammy to get into, before she was house-bound. The funeral parlour stuff begins on Saturday, but please do not worry about coming, I will have lots of family around and I know how weird it is to go while not knowing the deceased. My older brother is coming home Sunday around lunchtime and has to head back home again early Monday morning. He'll be staying with me since it's closer than staying at Dad's house. My sister-in-law won't be able to make it since she's still recovering from her neck surgery.

Thanks to everyone who left comments and/or sent emails. I appreciate your thoughts & well-wishes.

New Orleans

On to my trip itself. There are some comments I can’t make here about parts of my trip as they are work-related, but the meeting we went there for turned out to give me lots of info. Again I realize I have a lot of work to do.

As an aside, I also may get myself on a user group with our software provider that would see me going to quarterly meetings in the US, usually to fairly nice places. There is one next week in Orlando, but I won’t make it on the committee in time to attend that meeting. The next one may be tacked on to the beginning or end of the conference in Kentucky in the fall. I’m excited about this as it’s the best way to make myself heard with our software supplier, and I know it will provide me with a great learning opportunity; something I’ve been craving for a while now.

We landed in New Orleans on Tuesday and headed to Morgan City, LA. Along the way you could see lots of hurricane damage, leaning power poles, destroyed roofs/buildings, debris, etc. Overall things are either brand new because they’ve been rebuilt already, or they still look like they did right after the hurricane. There is a lot of damage and it’s going to take years to get back in shape.

We arrived in Morgan City and checked in to our hotel. To my delight, Tuesday night was karaoke night at the hotel bar. Other than bowling and karaoke, I don’t think anything else was happening in Morgan City that night. Pretty small place. That meant karaoke was pretty full of townsfolk, and the hosts weren’t very good at keeping the list in order, just doing whatever they wanted. Two of my co-workers joined me but did not sing. I did an average of about a song an hour, finishing up just after 11pm. Smoking in bars is legal there, so by the time I got up to do my third song, my voice was hoarse and I couldn’t sing it very well. I did get compliments from a couple of women in the bathroom, and the desk clerk the next morning when I checked out. I had the requisite drunk creepy guy tap me on the shoulder and tell me I needed to sing louder, and another come by and ask if I was going to sing Barbra Streisand. I made sure I was escorted to my room after that (our rooms had exterior doors).

I have to say, there were some great male karaoke performances that night. At least 3 really good male singers doing alt rock. Also a kick-ass female performer, I forget what song she did. Morgan City karaoke singers are tough to follow.

Wednesday was our meeting, and after grabbing a quick bite for lunch, we headed back to New Orleans. We checked in to a hotel near the airport, and then headed downtown to meet up with colleagues and see famed Bourbon St. Can’t say as that was my thing, seeing as how I don’t enjoy female strippers and I don’t drink, but at least I can say I’ve been there. We had dinner at the Red Fish Grill, but not being much of one for seafood, I ended up getting steak. I checked my Blackberry after finishing dinner and that was when I got word to call home and hear the news about Grampy.

After dinner we headed back to the hotel to drop someone off, then two co-workers wanted to go shopping, so I joined them at the mall to keep my mind occupied. I picked up a few things at the semi-annual Bath & Body Works sale. Pretty picked over by the time we were shopping. Also went into a huge, 2 level Target, but it was close to closing time so my tour was pretty short. I came back to the hotel and finished up the evening chatting with John. Got to bed pretty late and then had an early rise.

I did take some pictures, but my camera is in my luggage, so I’ll have to post them later.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


My grandfather, Lorne McQuade (Mum's dad), passed away this evening at about 6:15pm. The pneumonia he caught after finishing his radiation is unfortunately what did him in. I am still in New Orleans, but am scheduled to come home on Thursday anyway. Since this only happened a few hours ago, no plans have been made just yet. One of my aunts is in Texas for work and is trying to get back home.

With terminal cancer, we knew it would only be a matter of time. We just didn't think it would be this soon. I'm glad I was able to see him at the hospital a couple of times over the past few weeks.

This now leaves me with only one grandparent. Thankfully after the low heart rate issues, Gug has been doing relatively well. I want to make sure I get back over to see him this weekend.

Friday, June 02, 2006

How convenient!

Where Does Your Inner Californian Belong?

Orange County

You're rich, pretty, and living a charmed life. (Or you seriously wish you were.)
From Disneyland to Laguna Beach, you're all about living the California dream life.
Just make sure to marry rich - so you don't have to work for it!