Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

A big Happy Halloween to everyone!

I can't seem to stay awake today. I've absorbed other people's tiredness and now I feel like pulling a George Costanza and sleeping under my desk. Well, not really, but it's a nice thought.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Oh, the horror! The HORROR!

Last night I decided I'd better check on my pumpkins, see how they were doing. Little did I know, for they had turned into Zombie Pumpkins.

As you recall, I stood out in the rain, dedicatedly shopping for pumpkins a couple of weeks ago. Apparently two of them went moldy. The soon-to-be Bon-o-lantern has a bit of mold on the stem, but I hope that's the only place it is present and I can get at it with bleach. At least the pumpkin I had bought for someone else was ok. I bought 3 for myself thinking, well, if one rots, I'll be ok. I didn't expect 2 of the 3 to rot and the 3rd to look like it was starting.

So there I was today, scouring the West side at the last minute for pumpkins. The Pumpkin Patch only had zombies. Sobeys didn't have much left either. I did manage to dig through the pile at the Superstore and found one, and found another at the Co-op. They're smaller, but still look pretty good for carving, other than a short stem. Beggars can't be choosers at this point.

A disappointment, to be sure. These were decent-sized pumpkins with good stems... but were defective at the time I bought them, so it was only a matter of time.

I hope the pumpkin crop is much better next year.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

No! Not again!

Why, Andy? Why?


I'm glad I got to see the 5 of them in concert together while it lasted.

Monday, October 23, 2006

For those who seem to have all the answers

This entry does not refer to the regular readers of this blog.

My current situation with John, being geographically far apart, is difficult. We make do as best we can. It's hard being asked every single day how things are going when you have no news to share. It just serves as even more of a reminder that we are apart, something of which I do not need to be reminded; I am acutely aware of that. I am dealing with a whole range of issues in trying to get him here, including time, thought, emotion, and paperwork.

What is particularly frustrating is the inability of some people to take our relationship seriously. I was on the receiving end of a comment today that went something like this: "It's hard to keep things going when you only get to see each other every 2-3 months." I already feel like hanging a sign around my neck that says "No progress on move," so to have that comment also directed to me almost sent me over the edge today. This person is married, but I am not sure they understand the concept of being engaged. The exact wording of their comment and tone was phrased in such as way as to imply that I am simply "dating" John.

Being engaged means that we are committed to each other, plan to get married, and spend our lives together. It does not include quitting because we only get to see each other every couple of months, sending the ring back because it was "too hard." If we actually did that, it would mean we couldn't commit to one another and shouldn't be getting married in the first place.

To those who ask why I don't just pick up and move to SoCal: You first. You move to another country and let me know how quickly and easily you were able to accomplish it. You sell your house, get out of your car lease, and dispose of a good portion of your assets. Figure out what to do with your RRSPs now that you'll be living in a foreign country. Quit your job and find a new one. Contemplate leaving your friends and family, who you see very often and rely on for support. Go from a very quiet, slow, and relatively inexpensive way of life to a non-stop, crowded, smog-filled lifestyle. Learn how to drive on freeways. Live in less than half the space you used to have, among two people instead of one, and pay the equivalent of two mortgage payments every month for that reduced living space. Yes, there are certain things that would be sacrficed by moving in the other direction as well, but you cannot make a flippant remark about "why don't you just move the other way" as some kind of instant cure to all of our problems.

Why can't people understand that this process takes time? Moving across your own country takes a lot of time, money, organization. Moving to another country is a lot more complicated than that. Canada does not have any immigration provisions for fiancé(e)s, making it all the more difficult for us to "prove" our relationship in order to bring him here. Getting married in order to facilitate the immigration process comes with its own whole set of issues. Moving to another country is not an easy thing to do, from all respects. Complex situations take time and dedication. In the meantime, don't insult me by demeaning the level of my relationship or making it seem like you have all the answers.

The end of an era

The arrival of TV Guide in my mailbox is always anticipated. I read the glossy sections from cover-to-cover, and place it on my coffee table for reference. Mare can always been seen picking it up and reading it when she comes over to visit. It's a staple item in my house.

I've been a subcriber since I moved out from home in 1999, and before that we purchased off the newsstand for years. The print edition has been my right-hand mag for most of my life (which means I may watch too much TV, but let's not throw stones). To this day, my mother will still sometimes call me to ask when a particular show is on.

Last Wednesday, I noticed I had still not received next week's issue. Usually it arrives Monday or Tuesday, or later if it is post-long weekend. A bell went off in my head that this is usually the time of year when my subscription runs out, but I hadn't remembered seeing a renewal notice. It was highly likely that I let the renewal get buried on my desk, so I flipped through the papers to find it... not there. I grabbed the last issue I had and looked at the date. Yes, it had indeed expired with that issue. I wondered what happened to my renewal notice, and the fact that I am a "preferred subscriber" meant I should have been auto-renewed, so I decided to give them a call.

I reached the call centre and the agent told me they "were having trouble with the renewal notices the past 2-3 months" but that I could renew by phone, so I went ahead. My next issue will be the one dated Nov. 11. I'll have to purchase the few weeks in between, but no big deal.

The next day, I received an email from John. He remembered our conversation from the previous day and had forwarded me a news item that said TV Guide [Canada] is ending its print publication next month. I was shocked, but after the news sank in, I wasn't surprised. I guess the writing has been on the wall for some time now, and it does make sense that a print edition is unable to keep up with the frequently changing schedules of the networks.

TV Guide has made a few changes over the years; some good, some bad. I didn't mind when it physcially expanded into a larger format, though some say that spelled its death. It was just a larger size, the listings were the same, and that is the most important part of the magazine. The change made about a year ago was one that almost caused me to cancel my subscription. They decided to combine the Ontario and Atlantic Canada editions into one issue, and list everything exclusively in Eastern time zones. Way to piss off anyone in the Atlantic time zone... the whole point of buying it was to have listings in our own zone. I was just about to write my complaint letter when they made some concessions and put the times in "10am/11amAT" format. I wasn't crazy about it, but at least I didn't have to add an hour every time I read the listings. This combination of regions also meant that I received information on plenty of channels only received in Ontario, and those were the stations that took precedence on the grid. It became cluttered with information that was useless to me, but the good still outweighed the bad. I will miss not having the magazine sitting on my coffee table.

What I discovered later was that TV Guide also announced that it will become a web edition. I found that quite interesting. They actually tried that route a few years back, but suspended the service for some unknown reason. I used their website very often, and was actually starting to consider using it instead of my print issue when they decided to cancel the online edition. I will be interested to see how they design it, how user-friendly it will be, and how region-specific it can get.

In a world of competition, it may indeed have a tough time competing. There are plenty of online listings services out there, even those that cater to the combination of my city and TV provider to give my exact channel lineup. At minimum, they will have to provide that same functionality. Where I think they can find their niche is to focus on items specific to Canada. For instance, did you know that Anne Heche's love interest on Men In Trees (Jack) is an actor originally from Dartmouth, NS? If the new online site can keep me informed of TV schedules as well as provide that Canadian aspect, I'll gladly switch to an online version. I wish them luck.

But please, no more articles written by Ben Mulroney.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Look at me, watching Canadian TV

I've never been much of one for watching any Canadian TV shows. Most have just not held a big appeal to me and always seem to have that hokey Canadian low-budget haze. The allure of the American networks has always been too strong to really have me consider watching an episode of Beachcombers or The Littlest Hobo.

While flipping through the fall preview of [Canadian] TV Guide this year, being encouraged by the reviewers to give a couple of Canadian shows a chance, I took the plunge. Both could be called chick shows, but conveniently I am female, which is likely why they appeal to me.

The first is a new show on CBC called Rumours. Based on the original Radio Canada French-Canadian show, its two main leads are co-editors of a women's magazine. The catch? One of the editors is a male sports journalist, only working there for the money. The writing for his character is quite funny. I've watched the first 3 episodes so far and I'm enjoying it. Me, watching the CBC for entertainment other than Just For Laughs! Imagine!

The second show I've picked up this fall is called The Smart Woman Survival Guide. I caught a mini-marathon of this show a few weeks ago and I love it. This show is definitely aimed at a female audience (it's on the W Network, duh!). It is a smart and funny show that is sort of an homage to Pop-up Video with its tips appearing on-screen. Not a show you can watch in the background or do something else at the same time -- you might miss a tip. The show has already been picked up for a second season.

I hope both of these shows can gain/maintain an audience. It's nice to see some different, high quality content for women on the Canadian airwaves. Let's hope it continues to develop into lots of other good shows.

Stop humming the Littlest Hobo theme song. I can hear you.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


I ran across a new product in the grocery store and decided to give it a try.

I couldn't decide between the Brown Sugar & Cinnamon or Honey Oat flavors, so I decided to go with both. I found both flavors to be quite tasty. I don't know if they are WW-friendly, but they do have healthier ingredients than the other snack foods I eat.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Neck much better

Feels almost normal tonight.

Eye is getting better, but seemed a little blurry today. Will need to monitor it.

I've been feeling like I have either been fighting off a cold for the past month, or have developed an allergy. I've never had a [known] allergy before. I don't care to start now, despite it being a common occurrence to develop an allergy around this point of life.

I've been on a mission again lately. Both Sobeys and Superstore seemed to stop carrying my favorite grape juice crystals, the stuff I always have in my fridge and drink all the time. I was in the West Superstore on Saturday and happened to be near the product manager. Good timing. I stopped to ask him why it was no longer being carried, and he suggested I call back on Monday or Tuesday and he'd be able to give me an answer. I called back this afternoon and he said it was just a change in product number. He had found the new number for the grape crystals, and submitted an order for them while I was on the phone so he wouldn't forget. I had previously requested the item be re-stocked at two different Sobeys stores, but the Superstore is the first to give me a clear answer and solution. Hurray for the Superstore!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Look, Ma!

No cavities!

I had a successful trip to the dentist today, after a very unlucky streak of having to go back for fillings. While I like the people there, I'm glad not to have to go back for another 6 months. :)

On the down side, I awoke this morning barely able to move my neck. The heat from the shower helped this morning, but I am still not able to turn it without pain. I've been dubbed "Mrs. Roboto" today at work.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Pain in the neck

No, not an expression, but a reality. I have a pain in my neck, one which does not seem to want to go away today. This pain occurs where my shoulder meets my neck, and feels like I have pinched a nerve. It seems to start when I sit up in bed, or sit up on the couch. Since nothing is pressing against my shoulder or neck, I'm not sure how to avoid this from happening... other than to not sit up with a pillow at my back. Not exactly the option I was looking for.

I also seem to have done something to my eye. Thankfully, Creepy Red Eye has not made a return (though it would be fitting for Halloween). This time seems to be an allergic reaction of some sort. While I was on the phone with John on Friday night, I rubbed my eyelid. There must have been something on my hand that my eye didn't like, and it decided to get red and swell. When I woke up on Saturday morning, I had a puffy eyelid. Very odd. Tonight it is still red, but the swelling seems to be dissipating. Hope to be better soon.

I started the woodstove for the first time of the season today. I forgot how much I missed the warmth and comfort of it. Despite my dislike for the falling temperature, I do enjoy fall. The colors, the smells, the feeling of anticipation. It's a comfortable time for me, and I'm glad it's here. It's a time where I haven't yet grown tired of making sure I'm home to keep the fire going, or being weighed down from the winter clothing. That will come soon enough. For now, I will enjoy the season.

I haven't been blogging much, as you've likely noticed, if you're still checking this site now & then. I have a few reasons for that: John and I have no progress regarding his move, work has kept me very busy, and I just didn't feel like I had anything new to say. Not that writing about my sore neck is that much of an improvement, but at least I'm writing something.

Every day for me lately has consisted of wishing for some kind of progress on John's situation, getting angry at the lack of movement, and struggling with what I can do on my end to hurry things up. The months drag on and we still have no progress, the immigration process looks very daunting for an unmarried couple, and we seem to be very much stalled when it comes to the work side of things. I continue to pray for some answers, good or bad, so at least we can have some progress. It just seems like time keeps ticking away and I feel like we're walking up the down escalator. When do we catch a break?

Work has been really busy, but I hope now that my weeks of working every night are over, maybe I can go back to coming home at a regular time again. Now I just need to work on not having popcorn for supper at least once a week.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

How much I love Halloween

can be evidenced by the fact that I stood out in the pouring rain today, shopping for pumpkins. Had to, before all the good ones were gone. Got thoroughly drenched, but I managed to find some decent ones. Slim pickings, though.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Pumpkin Carving Party

October is here, and the countdown begins for Halloween! I will likely decorate the house this weekend, since I have the extra day off for Thanksgiving. May also take a look at the pumpkin crop this weekend and see if there are some good ones available yet.

My tenative idea for the Pumpkin Carving Party this year is to hold it on Sunday Oct 29, around 3 or 4pm, depending on the number of people expressing interest. Since this is the first day of Standard Time, the sun will set shortly after 6pm. This should give us plenty of time to light the carved pumpkins and still get home at a decent time for school/work the next day.

Is this a good or bad time for you? Does this conflict with anyone's schedule?