Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Back from The Land of Awesome Sunsets

Hello, Possums! Miss me?
That piece of beauty at the top of this post is a close-up of the honest-to-goodness sun, just as it was setting one night last week over a small lake we simply call Highway Beach, alongside Highway 11 (the Trans-Canada Highway), 40 km south of Cochrane, Ontario. I took the pic with -- get ready for it -- my brand new DIGITAL CAMERA! Yeah, Milky, I got the S3 as you recommended. More on that some other time.

Ma, t and others in Shaniaville: Sorry I didn't get to see you while I was up there. The time absolutely flew! I did spend a good amount of time with Dad and StepMama, and with Little Bro Dan. In fact, here's a pic that my dad took, with my old camera:

Doesn't my favourite Paramedic look great in uniform? Pardon my semi-gush, but I'm constantly amazed at what a great young man he is.

Awright, move along, nothing else to see here. I'll pollute the dubya-dubya-dubya in the days to come with more crapola and photos. In the meantime: DREW CAREY??? WTF? Are they gonna change the name of the show to "What Price Is It Anyway?"?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Where I'll be

For the next couple weeks, about you'll find on this blog is this:

I'm not really going fishing, it's just not something I do, but you get the picture.

I intend to spend most of my time at the cottage, regardless of the weather. My dad tells me, however, that the forecast is for hotter, dryer weather. I would never place a bet on a weather forecast, but that is a hopeful sign.

And on evenings when the sky is clear enough, I'll see something like this:

...or this:

Believe it or not, those are two different sunsets at the same place. I call the sunset the fingerprint on the end of the day, because as breathtakingly beautiful as it can be, no two are exactly the same. If luck is with me, I'll also get to see the Northern Lights. There's nothing like standing on the dock, watching the colourful whips dancing across the sky, crackling, to make you realize that in the whole scheme of things, you're extremely small and insignificant. It's such a relaxing, peaceful feeling.

So keep the place warm for me. I'll catch up with everyone next month. Once my shift at work is finished tomorrow at about 6:30pm, I'll be on vacation, heading north on Monday, back to Ottawa on the 31st, and back to work August 1st.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

My latest project

I have a desk that my parents bought me when I lived in North Bay in 1986. They got it, unfinished, at Consumers Distributing (Remember that place? I wish it had worked without the constant "Sorry, it's out of stock. Can you pick another item?" and was still around).

Anyway, I finally got around to finishing it, 21 years after the fact. Here's what it looked like:

And here's what it looks like after four coats of all-in-one stain and varnish, followed by a final coat of clear varathane:

...and where I'll keep it in my apartment, until I think of somewhere else that it might work:

Not bad, eh? Is there any end to my talents? My Grade 9 woodworking teacher, Mr. Romaniuk, would probably give me a C for it, because there are a few spots where the stuff ran a bit. But we didn't get to finish our coffee tables or salad bowls, because he was also a phys. ed. teacher and was away so often, coaching this team or that team. We were his only woodworking class. But I digress.

My next project will be the annual interior cleaning of my car. Yeah, I know, it sounds gross, but I live in an apartment, and it ain't easy to clean it. So every summer, I put one afternoon at the cottage aside to scrub that baby clean. Other than dust and the occasional spill of coffee from the cupholder, it doesn't get that grossly dirty. For one thing, I don't smoke...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What're you reading?

Six more sleeps until this cat starts his summer vacation, and there's a spot waiting for me on the deck at the cottage, to catch up on some reading. Any suggestions? I generally like mysteries, Stephen King and some celebrity biographies.

Right now, I'm reading The Black Ice, a cop novel by Michael Connelly, who was recommended to me by a co-worker last year. His stuff is reminiscent of John Grisham's. I think I've read everything Grisham has written.

I already have two books lined up: Stephen King's latest, called Lisey's Story; and the Hemingway classic, The Sun Also Rises. If I don't finish whatever reading material I bring with me, that's okay. I do most of my non-vacation reading on the bus back and forth to work.

So fire away with any suggestions.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

My James Taylor concert story

On Ma Horton's blog today (macoffeeshoppe.blogspot.com), I mentioned how I wish I could sing just well enough to be a back-up singer for someone like Garth and Tricia or James Taylor.

That reminded me of the James Taylor concert I went to.

The year: 1996. The place: the Ottawa Civic Centre. I was still living in Timmins, and Little Bro Dan and I had come to Ottawa for our annual visit with my sister, brother-in-law and their kids. Dano was 13 and had never been to a concert (Hey! He grew up in Timmins, okay?), so we got tickets to James Taylor for him, my sister and me.

We were just nicely in our seats. The concert hadn't started yet. Three hefty women came along, looking for their seats in the row in front of us. When they realized they should be in our row, one stepped over the back of the seats, but the other two were wearing tight denim skirts, so they walked around. Dan was sitting next to the aisle, so we stood up to let the women in. One of them stopped in front of Dano, just long enough to shake her boobs in his face. Dano turns to me with eyes as big as frisbees, and exclaims "I LIKE concerts!"

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Help! I need my support group... and a kick in the ass

I was doing so well on the diet and exercise regimen, but have fallen out of it the past couple months. My diabetes is under control, but I think I've probably put back on most of the weight I lost. I've only been to the gym a couple times since I moved to the new place, and find it so easy to decide not to go.

I know that if I get back into the routine of at least two or three times a week, I'll get back on track. I want to do that between now and when my holidays start on the 16th, so that I'll miss it while I'm lazing around the cottage, etc.

So please, kick away.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

"Money makes the world go 'round..."

Crap! Now that stupid song from "Cabaret" is going through my hollow head. Up near my list of the crappiest movies of all time. Don't get me started.

Anyhoo, today I was out shopping and stopped at Canadian Tire to get a new electric kettle. I boiled the old one dry last night. I've done that before. I've also turned a stove element on under a couple of them. My aunt, who lives in Florida, says you can't buy electric kettles in the States. So when she needs a new one, someone in Canada has to send one to her.

Anyway, I had $4.35 of Canadian Tire money in my glove compartment, which covered the tax and then some. And this is what I really like about Canadian Tire money: even when you use it to help pay for whatever you're buying, you get some back! Today, it was 20 cents.

Canadian Tire money is another advantage to living in Canada, and not the Excited States. Also ketchup chips and dill pickle chips. My niece is working as a camp nurse at a camp in Michigan for the summer, and her supervising nurse, who is American, loves ketchup chips, so my sister's sending her some.

I know that Shania Twain says ketchup chips are a treat she enjoys when she's in Canada. There's also a chocolate bar that she can't get anywhere else. Crunchie, maybe? Whoever's better at Shania trivia than I am can confirm that.

One more money thing: Also while I was out, I brought all my accumlated change (pennies, mostly, but dimes and nickels, too) to the Coinstar machine at Loblaws. I got $13.63 back, even after the service charge of 9.8 cents per dollar. The machine spits out anything that's not American, Canadian or a real coin. I had a parking token mixed in with the chicken feed, not sure where I got it. Maybe it was in some change sometime and a cashier mistook it for a penny or dime. The machine also wouldn't accept one lonely 2004 Canadian penny. I put it through four or five times, and it kept getting spit out. WTF?

Coinstar sures beat the crap out of counting and rolling.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Doh! I mean Doe... a Deer... a female Deer!

I knew that my new place, situated where it is, would give me an opportunity to spot some wildlife. I've already seen a lot of birds, most notably a red-winged blackbird. Even if I didn't see the birds, they leave proof of their presence all over my car.
I just happened to look out the window at about four o'clock this afternoon, and there was this beauty:

My neighbour had told me about spotting her in the early morning, but at 4pm? When I went out onto the balcony to take a few photos, he was also on his balcony watching her. He figures she probably came across the highway (actually, the Blackburn Bypass) at night some time, and is now spooked by it during the day. Of course, we joked about putting her on the barbecue. I have eaten barbecued venison. It's delicious.
Anyway, it's times like these that I wish I had a better camera, with a longer lens. I'll have to invest in one before my trip to Dubai in December.