31 July 2007

Hello Helio

A few weeks ago, the 7 key on my cell phone stopped working so well. I could dial a 7 but not without REALLY meaning to and making six or eight attempts. It was ok, though - I could still dial numbers easily out of the contacts list and who needs to delete old voicemail messages?

Trouble was suggested when 3 also decided to play hard to get. My work extension has a 3 in it, so I need that 3 key to get into my office voicemail. Still, who am I kidding? I always forget to check my office voicemail anyhow (note to yourself: call my cell if you want something resembling a timely response).

When 6 and 9 joined the party, I got ticked - almost enough to seriously research a good replacement. The 3-in-1 device I've been holding out for the last year finally came out and it just doesn't live up to my hopes. I spent so much time identifying that device that I was just not looking forward to another round of technical reading.

Chris, however, delights in any excuse to spend time at Gizmodo or the tech blogs. So, in the background of my despair, he was industriously working for my cause and I came home one day to find a stack of information on a device I'd never heard of.

Following a minimal amount of my own reading, we went over to the Helio place in the mall and I blog before you today, the proud owner of a Helio Ocean!

After learning the basics and getting all my contacts squared away, the first thing I did was figure out how to add my own .mp3 ringtones and am in the process of assigning signature rings to everyone I know. While this could potentially win me a few cool points, it doesn't as I am so amused by the novelty that I forget to answer the call. If this happens to you, I'm sorry! Leave a message, though...all my number keys work (two sides!) so I can - and will - call you back.

22 July 2007

Forest Friend

Yesterday afternoon, Chris called the house from the front yard where he was mowing. "You'll want to come out here and see this," he said. The boys and I got shoes and headed out to find him standing at the edge of our property, peering at the tiniest rabbit possible. The bunny had thankfully been sitting at the lowest point of the grass drainage run near the road, so it was terribly shocked but unharmed, even though Chris went over its' head with the mower.

There was some discussion about whether or not we could keep it as a pet. While we entertained the notion, Ross made a box for the bunny. He decorated with grass and cedar shavings and put in carrots, tender greens, and water (water dish hadn't made it into the box when I took the picture).

At first, the bunny only crouched in the corner, obviously frightened. All crunched up, he'd have fit inside a tennis ball - really small rabbit! Eventually, though, he started exploring the box. The carrots and clover Ross put in seemed of little interest, so I tried some broccoli and tomato leaves, which went over quite well (obviously - the teethmarks already in the leaves when I picked them are no doubt from this bunny's relations...).

Chris had a valid point that Pixie might have a problem with a rabbit living in the house. After the bunny was used to my hands and would crawl up and down my arms, sniffing, when picked up (instead of huddling into a trembling ball), I took him inside for an introduction. Pixie sniffed the bunny in a bored way, made a singular comment, and then set about pressing her head to my hands, asking to be pet. Clearly, the bunny was only going to be a stress point for her if he interfered with her chances of getting pet!

Pixie did get up a bit of rowdier interest when I let the bunny hop around on the floor briefly but returned to largely ignoring the bunny when I moved it back to the center of the room.

After the kids went to bed, I had the bunny curled up, sleeping, tucked on my lap in a fold of my t-shirt. Pixie asked to come up, an arrangement I figured wouldn't last long...but I was wrong. After Pixie got settled on my lap, the bunny wriggled out of my shirt and settled in next to Pixie, warm and purring. Unbelievable cuteness!

In the end, though, Chris prevailed. Considering Pixie's habits, we can't be sure a mouse-sized bunny would be safe here. So, last night after the kids were asleep, I took the bunny back down where we'd found him. I did tuck him a bit farther into the forest than the drain at the edge but not so far in that he wouldn't be able to find his way out again. We'll surely keep an eye out for tiny nibbles in our garden (although it might be tough to detect tiny nibbles hiding among the mongo nibbles of the other rabbits...).

21 July 2007

Intermediate A

I passed! Despite many clear differences between me and the teenagers otherwise populating the class, I tested well enough in the clinic skills to gain two levels, Basic AA & Intermediate A. I got the clinic patch and the Basic A level stick last year, just for surviving the week. As a returning skater this year, I actually had to show I could do certain skills at the end of the week. The minimal amount of nearly falling over I did while testing was probably canceled out by the downy fresh scent of my hockey sweater, which shocked the instructor (if you've ever been into a skating rink, you'll know that hockey players - even girls - are not known for smelling good).

Chris was very tolerant of my moaning throughout the week (two hours of power skating a day is ouchy) and extremely supportive. Kath, you'll be encouraged to know that I needed a little kick to find the good thing mid-week...Chris filled in with the suggestion that I was the only clinic participant who could recuperate after the session with a nice cold beer, particularly one served by an attentive spouse willing to rub my sore legs. Despite all the pampering, I've asked Chris to try to remember to talk me out of it when I forget all this pain and try to sign up for this clinic again next year. By then, maybe it'll be time to start putting the kids through the torture mill instead of me...

18 July 2007

On the Streets of New York

Yesterday, the temp in NYC reached 87° with 93% humidity. Sane people hid someplace air-conditioned. I dragged twenty-seven pounds of demo equipment into Manhattan for an afternoon presentation.

For this fun, I elected to wear a long, short-sleeved dress casual enough to be worn with Birkenstocks and without stockings. Underneath, I wore a half-slip to keep my legs from sticking to the dress.

If the weather wasn't the first sign that my day was not going to be stellar, the baseball game that filled up every parking lot around the stadium - and my train station - was. I had to park in the most remote lot, about a half-mile away from the train platform. Thankfully, I still made the train! By the time I got to the presentation, I was sweat-soaked but a quick stop in the ladies' revealed that I didn't look as bad as I felt - phew! I made it through the demo, answered questions, and packed up for my return trip. As I walked back toward Penn Station, reflecting that the bad parking karma had balanced the good presentation karma, I felt something very odd around my stomach, as if I'd undone a loose belt, and then I tripped. Recovering awkwardly due to all the gear I was lugging, I found myself standing on Sixth Avenue mid-town, in a puddle of my own slip - the elastic of which had given up. Since nothing really fazes New Yorkers, I stepped out of the puddle, whisking the garment off the sidewalk and into one of my bags. If anyone I knew saw my shining moment, they did not say hello and, for that, I am deeply thankful.

17 July 2007

Back to the Past

A DeLorean DMC-12! In my 'hood! Chris discovered it and instantly called me to make sure I'd drive the right way home (he's useful like that). I spent a few minutes chatting with the owner and got his permission to take pictures (which I will treasure forever in my "brush with a star" collection).

After I took the photos, I gazed at the car lovingly and tried to give off "I would take REALLY good care of this car" vibes but it didn't seem as if he was going to spontaneously gift me the car. It seems that this twenty-year obsession will not be fulfilled. *sigh* At least I have the pants.

Alas, discovering the speedometer only goes to 85mph (?!?) was SERIOUSLY distressing. Time travel velocity is eighty-eight miles per hour! All these years, I've had no idea I've been suspending my disbelief THAT much.

16 July 2007

Aje, Polar Friend

The boys have lately been electing to gift Webkinz to each of their friends as birthday gifts. Considerable thought goes in to the selection of the particular animal and, on occasion, several shops must be called to locate the preferred one. In the midst of all this research on behalf of their friends, Ross and Lars have (of course) been planning their own acquisitions. Lars will start his collection with three polar bears, one called Mask (because our street hockey goalie mask is white and so is a polar bear), one called Lars (in honor of Lars, the Little Polar Bear), one called Whitey (should be painfully obvious). Ross had his heart set on the husky dog.

Chris and I determined that if the boys kept their spaces (bedroom, playroom, the lab) neat, without too many reminders, they would earn a Webkinz each. That was the right motivator! It didn't take long for them to figure out we were serious. We got clean (relatively) rooms, they got Webkinz.

On the lucky day, Lars decided to ride his bike down the road to visit a friend. On his own. He told his brother, who warned him off the venture, but Lars blasted ahead and found himself grounded to the house for 24 hours.

Of course, when one is grounded, one does not earn new Webkinz...so it could have been an even better punishment than we'd anticipated. As the pictures indicate, however, it wasn't the end of his world. While we do think that he won't be attempting a bike ride in the road on his own for a while (like until he's 32), both boys enjoyed checking out the husky who, after much deliberation, has been named Aje ("age," with a "j").

Aje turns out to be very brave and endlessly useful. Chewbacca is especially glad of Aje's dedicated training in Wookie transportation. It was also clear from the start (you see the penguin, right?) that Aje is a Polar Friend. This bodes well for Mask - the two will no doubt be fast friends and will weather many adventures together.

14 July 2007

Petting Pixie

In January, after a year of avoiding the boys completely, Pixie finally decided it might be ok to sit in the same room as the kids. Through the end of winter and into spring, she'd perch warily on the floor near an egress path or on the farthest possible chair from the kids but she didn't bolt as soon as they appeared. As spring lazily rolled into summer, Pixie left her winter napping spot (my lap) and took up residence on the windowsill behind me in the den. The windowsill happens to be a very convenient height for Ross, who started wandering in and talking to Pixie whenever she'd sit there. After weeks of such chats, Pixie finally allowed Ross to pet her and now she's starting to talk back to him. Ross still wishes Pixie would sit on his lap. I think it'll be a while before she's willing to consider the idea but, if Ross remains as patient and persistent, I have no doubt Pixie will eventually cave in.

13 July 2007

Orange & Yellow Swaparooni!

The Swaparooni continues! This time, the colors were Orange & Yellow. My swap buddy was from Ottawa but I didn't send her coal.

What I gave:
Fabulous things I got (notes on what's what in my Flickr):

Up next, brown & blue!

12 July 2007

Things That Make Me Feel Good

1. Skating hockey clinic after more than a month of considering getting up before 9:00am "exercise." (Ok, so "feeling good" would not accurately describe my feeling for the first twenty minutes of the clinic. Or the first thirty. But I lived to the end! And I voluntarily stayed on the ice half an hour after the posted end of session! That has to count for something...)

2. Wearing an awesome new dress (pink & green madras plaid sheath, bought on impressive sale at Brooks Brothers outlet).

3. Finding out that a late-evening call I thought was from an annoying engineer turned out to be a message from a friend I havn't spoken with in about eight years! We filled the better part of an hour tonight chatting and I'm hoping we really will manage to get together before our kids (kids! OMG, they let him have kids, too!) graduate high school.

4. Knowing I do not need an alarm clock in the morning. God is really in the details.


They're both camped out on the floor, in front of the fan - it's SO humid! Can you tell we make Lars wear a really long bathing suit?

If you knew they'd lost their rights to the fan, you'll be happy to know they've earned it back (for now...). If you didn't know, look for the full story coming soon on a new blog I'll be writing for, Worst. Mama. Ever.

11 July 2007

Ding Dong the Table's Gone

Our dining room table needed a little help. A bargain at only $25, it wobbled and creaked if you looked at it (let's not even talk about when you put something upon it). Left alone, supporting nothing, it would groan and snap, working a gap between the two halves all on its' own.

When company came, we'd throw a tablecloth
over and hope no one's utensil would sink into the crack. The kids had to take turns writing at their homework as the wobbling caused by two people writing at once seemed more than the poor table could bear and produced some seriously awful handwriting (trust me - this is a house where horrible handwriting is well-known).

A few weeks ago, I was indulging in a browse through my notebook of "someday" clippings and found the picture of my dream table. Sighing over someday, I wandered to the company website to look at even more pictures of my future table and gasped - IT WAS ON SALE. You might already know that I swoon over Pottery Barn furniture on sale - especially when it's a reduced price on a piece I want. It will therefore come as little surprise that I spent the money I'd saved for my upcoming hockey dues on our new table, which arrived today!

As soon as I'd placed the order, I donated the old table (and a bunch of other stuff we've been meaning to get rid of...like the crib) to my hockey team for a fundraising garage sale. If the sale went well, maybe I won't have so much saving to make up for my dues. Either way, we now have PLENTY of very sturdy, gorgeous table space. Come over for dinner!

I Rock, and So Do You

Lady Epiphany and Colleen have each nominated me for a Rockin' Girl Blogger award! This award is a chance for female bloggers to send up a random, "You rock!" to other girl-bloggers they admire. Maybe she makes you laugh. Maybe she makes you think. Maybe you like looking at her artwork, even though she hasn't painted anything in eighty-three months and the dog may have eaten all of her good brushes by now. Maybe you love her so much (and never have time to call) that you watch her blog daily to keep up, even though she doesn't write for weeks, sometimes. Maybe her Olive Cheese Bread is to-die-for. Maybe you've known of her for most of your life but have only just met her (and she really is as wonderful as they've said!). Maybe hers is such a story of hope that you can't stop reading...you just KNOW things will come out right for her and you want to read about the happiness when it comes. Plus, she makes you laugh. Whatever keeps you coming back, there are Girl Bloggers out there who command your attention and this award is your chance to say so. Here, then, are my Rockin' Girl Blogger nominations:

Painting Chef

Zube Girl


The Pioneer Woman Cooks!

Oh My Stinkin Heck

Slouching Mom

Joy in Chaos

Rock on, ladies!

10 July 2007

Splish Splash

Annual wading pool, purchased on sale at Canadian Tire: $9.95 CDN.

Popsicles to distract children from the pool while we try to find the air pump: $2.89 USD.

Watching RPSGT husband inflate pool with CPAP in the middle of our dining room? Priceless.

09 July 2007

Might As Well Face It, I'm Addicted to...

87%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?
If you've been wondering where I've been the last couple of weeks, you might be questioning my actual blog addiction, despite my above average quiz result. In my defense, my mom aptly noted that I even post from airports! What she didn't know was that I'd forgotten to bring the power adapter and was avidly ignoring warnings about data loss and other horrors in order to get the post about my sister up. Data loss is nothing in the face of a timely blog post - especially when I've been so delinquent! Never fear, I'm home now and we're skipping air conditioning in favor of using our power on the computers. We might be sweaty but we have xBox and plenty of actual Canadian beer. If you're torn about coming over, stay home. If you're already in the car, you surely know where we keep the beer.

05 July 2007


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