Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tulips, Dafodils, Crocus, Oh My!

Amazingly my daughter agreed to help me plant bulbs. In the time she was outside, with her whiny cat, she planted 45 purple tulips and 12 mixed daffodils. Mostly in the back. Hopefully it will naturalize and spread.

I planted 60 crocus, mostly near the front path leading to the balcony, along with 10 dafs. I planted 2 friterella's. Those bulbs smell like skunk, but squirrels HATE them.. Anything squirrels hate has to be good. I also planted 3 blue and 3 white Camassia's. I've never planted those before. Wonder how they will come up.

Near the west wall I planted some 22 black tulips. 10 of them were positioned in a star design with 5 dafs in the same pattern. I wonder how it will come out when they bloom in spring...
I also planted 8 early tulips, called "Quebec". These are shorter smaller tulips, then the traditional ones...

Well all is said and done, between my daughter and I we planted 170 bulbs today. I had planted 157 last Sunday. That was 133 crocus, in a spiral design at the end of the lawn in the tip of the property, 10 variated garlic, 8 allums, and 6 hyacinths all in the flowerbed where the roses are. I am hoping the garlic and allums will be a deterrent for the sawflies.

One it got dark around 4:45, I started to pick all the fallen apples from the tree. I managed to fill 3 plastic grocery bags, which I put to compost. One year I should actually try to make some apple sauce and see how good [or bad] these apples are. I have no idea if it's a crab apple or an actual apple. The other thing is, I have no idea with what tree in the neighborhood this tree is being polinated by....

To bulb or not to bulb....

I wasn't planning on getting up early today to go shopping, but the day turned out that way. At midnight when my youngest came home, on crutches no less, she asked me if I could drive her to work in the morning. Of course that meant drive me to work for 7:45. Thankfully she does not work so far away from home.

Why is it though, that despite her crutches she can manage to go out on Friday night, but needs a lift to work Saturday morning? Things that make mothers go HMMMMMM.

I ended up waking up for the first time at 4am, then at 5:30 and again at 7am. Which is when I finally got up. After driving daughter to work, I cleaned my car windows cause I was getting glare at night. Then again it's never too much to wash my car windows. I'm not one of those people who think about washing my car. So it gets washed once a year - if that. It rains enough in Montreal to keep it acceptable.

I went to Carrefour Laval to shop. Mostly I wanted a pair of black full length winter boots and black jeans. I lucked out, they were having this huge blow-out sale at FX-Lasalle and got some really nice, normally $150 winter boots for $118 all taxes included. Warm sexy boots that are waterproof, saltproof and lined in wool for maximum warmth. I hesitated between that pair and another pair, that was $10 more and looked more like mocassins. It was a tough decision. I took the one with a bit of heel. It's still a relatively flat heal with an anti slippery sole, to handle those days with snow and ice. If I had listened to myself I could have bought half the Mall. I was good. Other then the jeans and boots, everything else I bought was seriously reduced. I also got myself 2 pairs of mittens and 1 pair of gloves. Dunno how I manage to destroy my mittens each year. And I have to wear mittens/gloves from the minute it gets cold in November otherwise the cold completely destroys the skin of my hands.

Now I am hesitating.. Should I go outside and finish planting my bulbs? It's all of 2 C today and cloudy. Dunno if my back can handle it. As well, my eldest offered to help be plant bulbs this week-end. But watch she will have some tournament on one of her games and she will blow me off. But I need to plant the remainder of my bulbs this weekend. Otherwise I'm going to lose them all sadly. I dunno if my back can handle planting some today and tomorrow.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Pakora's anyone?

I attempted to make pakora's today. I dunno why I started mid afternoon having a hankering for pakora's, but I did. This is weird because I really haven't been feeling well all week. I'm fighting something and my back is reminding me that I'm not 20 anymore. Sometimes though when I'm fighting something I find myself constantly starving. Which has been the case this week.

So my pakora's turned out delicious. They feel more like veggies fried in batter, except it's a chick pea batter. I had too much veggies for my batter. The batter should have been thicker and once cooked should be the same color as falafel. However.. the fried pakora wanna be's were pretty damn good. I'm stuffed. I used onions, red and yellow pepper, green hot pepper, cilantro, carrots, parsnips, zucchini, turnip, potatoes and yams. So that's quite a nice selection of veggies, in chick pea batter or not. I can't believe that despite me putting a full teaspoon of cayenne pepper, I did not find the veggies hot at all. Dunno what it is with me, but ever since my trip to Dubai back in February, I can't get enough of hot peppers and hot food.

Speaking of Dubai, I will be back there in 21 days. I'm leaving Montreal the 29th of November and coming back on the 2nd of January. From December 17th to 27th I'll be in Beirut. Though how wise it is to travel to either location? There was a bridge that collapsed today near where my husband is living, at the Dubai marina. And well I don't need to say much about Beirut and relative safety. I should ask my Lebanese coworkers which ones have decided to buy plane tickets for Christmas...

I can't wait to spend time with my husband. We left one another about 5 months ago at the airport in Beirut and it feels like it has been forever...

I really haven't feel much like blogging the past few months, but I made an effort today at the request of my mother-in-law, who is probably one of the few people who actually reads my blog. [Me waves excitedly at Sonia!!!!]

I'm glad October is over though. I find it hard between mom who died on October 11th, [1999] and dad that died on October 5th [2003]. I feel sorry for my youngest daughter who's birthday is October 7th, and who gets a mom in a mood around her birthday.

At least I will be spending my 45th birthday with my sweetie, at least it will be nice I'm sure he's going to spoil me in some way.. I hope I will be alive enough on his birthday. I arrive in Dubai on the 30th.. so I will be there for his entire birthday... It's funny I can remember last year holding secret conversations with his friend in Abu Dhabi about me showing up for his birthday as a surprise. But I could not pull it off last year. I did not have passport. And it took until the 15th to receive it, though it was issued the 11th of December and expires in 2011 [For Samer who likes 11's and 15's... ] This year it won't be a surprise per say since I planned it probably 7 or 8 months ago... but it will be nice.. we will spend our respective birthdays together for the first time. Create new traditions and new bonds. :) Maybe I will be less pissy on my birthday now :P

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bah

I've not had much to say in the past month. In fact sometimes I struggle to write my daily emails to my husband.

I've been spending some of my spare time drawing, and I'm not sure how much I like the results. I mean I've sketched 2 pictures of Samer and neither one look much like him.

This whole distance between my husband and I drives me NUTS. That and the 8 hour time zone... And I shouldn't complain too much since in the winter it's 9 hours difference. Sigh.

Off to draw some more.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Companions for Roses

My rose bushes for the third year are being eaten alive by sawfly larvae. I haven't found a better method then to hand pick the larvae one by one.

I've been looking for companions for my rose bushes to help with the sawfly. I put marigolds along with the rose bushes, but either they didnt' get watered enough while I was gone, or the rabbits like the marigolds, because most are either dead or have few leaves. I've never seen marigolds being destroyed like that. Also I'm realizing I didn't put enough. Will have to stop at a nursery and see if they still have marigolds. I don't care if they are ugly.

I've also put 2 plants of chives one on each end of my 5 rose bushes. I was just reading now that it can take up to 3 years for the chives to be beneficial to the rose bushes. I also get the feeling that I will need to spread the chives.

I was reading that geraniums, nasturtiums, parsley, rue, marigolds, thyme, garlic, chives, and garlic chives, and alliums are all good companions for roses.

This fall I will add alliums to that flowerbed

I wonder if there are companions for lilies. The other pest I'm fighting with [Other then the squirrels and the rabbits] are the lily beetle. Those red fornicating bugs. Those I have to hand pick too. It's amazing the damage they do to the lilies.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Stormy Skies

I dunno if my moods are like the weather these days in Montreal, what weatherperson loves to call unsettled weather. It drives me nuts What the heck is "unsettled weather". Is weather ever settled?

There was severe thunderstorm alerts. They were even afraid of 2cm sized hail and possibly tornadoes. Nothing of the sort happened. Heck in Montreal we just got a little thunder and some rain.

Now I was in a mood today, I could have killed. Very little got me all grumpy. Was it weather related? The storm has passed outsdie, I can see the setting sun.. and suddenly I'm feeling far less grumpy.

Of course my underlying reason to be grumpy is that I miss Samer.. I miss him so much it's like I was missing a limb. But most of the time I pretend everything is good, cause so long as I don't think about it I can get through the day. Get through work, get through the bills, get through the groceries, and the garbage, Alleluiah!

There's so much I want to do and yet all I do is sit and mope and sigh... and look at pictures, remember moments we shared. Just the intimacy... being able to look at each other and know and smile back. Shared laughs, shared moments. It's so hard after spending 3 weeks constantly together to be apart again. But somehow I will get through today like every other day.

Stormy weather.....

Friday, June 29, 2007

Back home in Montreal.


So I've entered all my thoughts in this steno pad for the past 3 weeks. About 44 pages worth. Now I must transcribe all of these entries into this blog. Will probably take me a week or two.

Mind you I won't be transcribing everything. For one I was taking notes to remember events, so I can write about them in chronological order, and secondly I kept a dream journal and no one needs to know those.

Some of the entries are very mondane and boring. They will be entered with the correct date so will appear before this one, dating from June 8th to June 28th. The first Entry is called "Flying to Beirut Today"

Thursday, June 28, 2007

More ramblings from the Air Canada flight

3:00PM Montreal time
Half an hour more. I'm so impatient. So fed up of being on a plane. So sad that my sweetie and I had to split up at least until December. Sigh. I managed not to cry somehow, by not thinking about it. I'm so tired. I don't think we managed to sleep more then 2 hours last night.

We got back from Byblos with Sandra and Patil around midnight. Then we had all this paperwork to fill, pack our luggage. He had to burn for me several DVD's. We had to be up at 5AM to catch the cab at 6AM. Beirut airport is always fun. First before entering airport, you get some of your luggage searched. As luck would have it, we got the surly guy. HE was obviously not pleased to have the early morning airport duly. He even opened the file folder from my carry on with all the immigration papers.

Then you line up for a securty check, where all your luggage is passed through the x-ray machines. People taking you to the airpot must leave you there. You cannot get in airport unless you're flying. THen you check in your bags, and go through yet another security check with your carry on. And people worry about security???

Just like yesterday walking in Beirut to set get to this university type bookstore. We had to go through an army checkpoint. Samer was surprised they did not stop us and search my purse and frisk him. I never went anything in Beirut without my passport. And while we went through dozens of chec points, in the 4 days I was there, non gave us any grief. THough it's fun to navigate in parts of Beirut. THe streets are a veritable obstacle course, meant to prevent anyone from going fast. One of the taxi's we took commented about if they could make the obstacle course any tighter. Gotta love the sarcasm.

Neat taxi system. For 1500 leb pounds per person [or $1 USD], you get a 'pooling taxi". If the cab is going your way he picks you up. He picks up to 4 passengers. If you're walking along , each cab that passes you buy that has a free seat will honk to let you know he might be going where you're going.

You get used to the constant honking after a while. Not that I'm not used to it in Montreal, but usually it's because I'm female... :P Beirut is a city that never seems to sleep. Between the honking cabs, the noisy mopeheads, that also beep, honking people, Mosques with loudspeakers, roosters, and local cafes, there always seems to be noise.

Also it seems there are very few single unit homes left. THey all get torn down to make 12 story or so buildings. Despite the buildings taking up every inch of available land and living in close proximity to neighbors, people manage to have vegetation growing along balconies, roofs, and edges of buildings. Saw Laurel and hibiscus trees.

Also what amazed me was just the sheer volume of Lebanese flags everywhere, lining streets as banners, off balconies. Of course pictures of various leaders are displayed on homes, billboards. Most buildings have some kind of shop on the ground floor. Near the gate of the building Samer's family lives in, on one side is a little convenience store, on the other a small coffee shop/casse croute type place. All mom & pop type shops.

Another thing I found surprising were the metal doors in front of the wood door. Mostly to prevent people from barging into your home. Handy during war times. Of course it probably makes it theft proof as well.

I was toured quickly through "downtown" Beirut, which is almost all new buildings made to look like the older buildings that were destroyed during the civil war. What struck me there is that other then army checkpoints, there seemed to be a security guard outside just about every building. The downtown area was very quite, so where the pubs in both areas I was driven around in both Beirut and Byblos. Seems the explosions in the past month has killed business and tourism. People stay home, visit with friends.

Blogging from the Air Canada flight

2:15 PM Montreal Time
As per usual food, on AC flights suck. THere afternoon snack is a pizza pocket. Loaded with white flour and sugar no less. Funny how other companies, including MEA tend to make their veggie meals without tons of sugar or white flour. So I'm setting here feeling totally hungry from the semll of food, knowing I'll be sick if I eat

I'm tired and crabby and I want to be home already. I know there's about an hour before we land and I have to be patient. But after the stress of Charles de Gaulle, I'm feeling pretty annoyed. And the worst part is that I'm going to get thome to an empty house and there won't be food and I won't be able to sleep in the morning since tomorrow is Friday and my cleaning lady will be in bright and early.

Rant from Charles De Gaulle Airport

Paris 1:13PM
I've never seen such hell to get passengers between terminals. I was sardined for over an hour in terminal 2F waiting for a shuttle. Cattle are better kept. People started getting impatient and rude and almost caused a mob scene.


Mental Note: when I travel to Dubai in December, I'm not going to transit via Charles de Gaule. At least the security check in Terminal 3 in Heathrow might be a bitch to get through, but at least there is a longer corridor and people do not mob so much.

THankfully I'm in my place finally, which should be leaving in 5 minutes. Plane seems reasonably full, it might actually leave as planned. I was one of the last 3 passengers onboard they were waiting for before departing.

THank God, I do not faint as easily as I did at 18, and I have a decent control over my claustrophobia. I mean were were squished likie sardines. Worst design I've seen in a long time, like WTF? Charles De Gaulle airport SUCKS! I'm so grateful at the moment to be on a plane. I was starting to think I'd miss it [Breathe girl, breathe]

Ramblings while waiting take off from Beirut Airport

The two days spent in Beirut were so incredibly rushed. Somehow managed to meet 20-30 of my hubby's closest friends and relatives. Friends took me sight-seeing in both Beirut and Byblos. So much in so little time in Beirut. Pity we spent so little time in Beirut. However Sonia suggested we spent a week in Beirut at Christmas. But as it goes with travel to Beirut, I bet it will be a last minute decision. I will book my UAE tickets and if things look good, we will fly to Beirut for Christmas. Will get to see a bit more and who knows things might be less tense by then. [After which all I can hear in my head is an uproar of laughter]

We flew in from Cyprus on Monday and arrived just after midnight. There I got to meet Karim, Samer's "Step-dad". He picked us up at the airport with Samer's mom. Tuesday morning we woke up early. Samer, his mom and sis were supposed to to to some notary's office but it was closed till afternoon. Samer took me to a souvenir shop on Hamra street. Then we ended up at Cafe Prague and had some lunch. Got to eat some falafel. Was quite yummy. Did some more errands. I seem to remember we picked up a hard disk. We also went to a couple of bookstores, one of them "La librarie Orientale", where I bought 2 humourous books on the Lebanese, One caled "Life's like that!" and the 2nd "Live's ... even more like that!". Also picked up "Le Liban, Vue par l'objectif de Munir Nasr". At least I have pictures of all the things I was not able to see.

Side note on Cafe Prague, really unique decor and menu's. Pub at night, hangout place with decent food by day. You know the type of place people go hang out to meet up with friends, or to pretend to work with laptop. Everything from the menu's to the bathrooms was unique, and artsy.

After our errands, we went back home, Sonia was working hard to make sure everything was ready for the party that evening. Around 4PM, Samer, his mom & sister went back to the notary. I was left in appartment with one of his mom's friend, Jumana [I think that's how it's spelt]. Ended up showing her pictures of my kids, and some of my garden on facebook!!!

Does not seem like there is a woman in Samer's life who did not check me out. However, I was told most seemed to think I was fine. Only 1 person at the party seemed to think I was too old for him. Though the party was at 6PM of course no one arrived before 6:30PM. His friend Souad was there first. Then slowly people arrrived. I'm guessing a total of 40 people showed up, though some came early and left just as quickly and some came late. But it was still a lot of people for shy little me to meet. I pretty much stayed in two seats most of the night. Thankfully some of Samer's closest friends were nice enough to try to engage me into convo, like Bshara, Sandra and Patil. Sadly I was too shy to say much, but there is always a next time.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Last day in Cyprus, she can only whine about the heat.

It is so bloody hot again today. Been wearing a wet face cloth on my neck to help no9t make heat rash worse. Dunno if it will work or not. It's about 40 here and will be for the rest of the week. IT's about 33 in Beirut. At least will be somewhat cooler.

Baby and 2 of her kittens have been hanging out for the past ho0ur, resting in a shady spot. Hot for them too.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Ubber cute kittens

It's so cute, 2 of the kittens are sleeping in the house beside the kitchen door next to the vacuum cleaner. Today is probably the warmest day we've experienced here. IT was still incredibly warm when we went walking around 7PM and we only walked to the golf club. Sadly by the time we decided to leave, so were the remaining of the golfers, and there was way too much dust in the air.

Made French fries from scratch for the first time. They came out reasonably good considering it was my first time and on a gas stove. I wonder if it will be as warm in Beirut the rest of the week? I hope not since it is more humid there then here.

I woulnd't do anything rash

I'm not a happy camper today. I've realized the rash in my neck is a heat rash. And on my hands it's exzema. From the water and the soap. So I have rashes on the various parts of my body and it's not even the same.

I probably haven't had a heat rash since I was a child! My allergies are really bad today. It's going to be 35 in Limassol, meaning 39-40 up here. Thankfully it's not humid.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Walk to the golf went to the dogs.

We walked to the golf tonight and sat the the bench in front of the driving range for an hour enjoying the wind. It's always so peaceful up there. At some point 3 dogs came around. Guessing some golfers let their dogs roam while they play. A white female, some type of retriever, a chocolate brown male, he looked more like a Labrador, and a white male, shorter legs and obviously an ear infection as he kept stopping to shake it and to whine .

When we walked home, we saw them running about on the road, and they decided to follow us to the village. As we approached the first house, a man came running out to shoo the dogs away. In broken English he mentioned that the female had killed a chicken before and he did not want her near his chickens. We said the dogs came from the golf. Once at the Old Mill house, the white dog kept standing in front of the house for a while then she finally ran off.

Tomorrow is our last day of doing nothing in the hills of Cyprus. Monday night, we fly to Beirut.

Post mortem on the tourist day

We ended up talking till around 1AM yesterday. Sadly when I went to bed I could not sleep. First I was too hyper, then he snored! By 2AM the rooster was already at it. Obviously something woke him up, and he kept crowing. If anything I tossed and turned most of the night. I probably fell asleep between 5 and 7AM only. I'm not tired today despite the heat.

I think visiting all those sites yesterday, some which dated back to 2000 BC really recharged my batteries. Especially standing in several pagan worship circles at both the Amathus and the Appollon Yliatis site.

It's like 36 or 37 out today. The wind is actually warmer then the outside temperature. This is the third ant infestation we've had this week. Ants are the same everywhere. Haven't seen any cats today, except the little gray female this morning. This is a first. The long bowl I'm using to feed multiple cats [Often Baby Sr, and her 3 kittens], still has food in it.

This morning the church Bell rang around 7:45AM. WHen I looked out, there was more cars then I'd ever seen parking in our village. I looked out the window and I noticed that there was about 2 dozen people in the courtyard of the 16th century Church, near the crosses on the side. Seems like it was a memorial services. They all scattered around 9:15. Some went to one of the houses in the village, others just left. One of the crosses is always decorated with fresh flowers. I'm guessing this is who the memorial service was for. So despite the age of the small church, it still seems in use. The mutka of this village apparently has the key, and I've seen her show it around some of the neighboring Brits, and their guests. I should have tagged along. I'd like to see the inside of the church. It seems hundreds of years old

Friday, June 22, 2007

Touring the Antiquities

I'm exhausted and a bit burnt from all the sight-seeing. We started our day by visiting the Amathus Archaeological site. It's not far from where we are staying but closer to the waterfront. It boggles the mind how those who lived there so many years ago had running hot water! We think we're so cool with our technology, but we're not.

We then drove along the waterfront to Lady's Mile beach. Some some blokes para-surfing. Like having water ski's and being drawn by a parachute. Then we found the Convent of St Nicolas of the Cats, or "Agios Nikolaos ton gaton". Coming back we drove along the salt lake.

Our next stop was Kolossi Castle, was a medieval castle. Not a particularly big castle compared to what I've seen in other parts of Europe. Then we went to Kourion Archaeological site. There's a small amphitheatre that is still used even today for Shakespeare plays. The view from there was breath-taking.

From there we went to Kourion beach and stopped at a restaurant right on the edge of the water for lunch. After eating, I could not resist walking in the water. Took pictures of the sea and the rolling hills while I was walking in the water.

Then we stopped at the Temple of Appollon Ylatis, another archaeological site. Interestingly enough, most of the sites we visited were on hilltops, from where one could see the Mediterranean sea. It was funny. Both Steve and Samer thought that the Appollon Ylatis was something else. Samer thought it was the Kourion site, and Steve thought it was at the birthplace of Aphrodite. But when I pointed it out along the road, they were both surprised. It was one of the bigger archaeological sites, with nice remains. Loved the circle there. Stood for a few minutes to feel the energies.

Our next stop was "Petra tou Romiou", the birthplace of Aphrodite. Basically a series of 3 large rocks on the waterfront. Steve stopped at a nice Vista point from where we could see the rocks down below, and took a picture of Samer and I with the rock in the background. Then we went down to see the Rocks proper. This particular waterfront is not so much sandy but has tons of 'gallets', round rocks polished from the sea. I could not help myself but had to walk into the water there. Also 5 stones decided that they must come home with me. And I also ended up tying a kleenex on the ribbon tree before leaving there.

We drove to Pafos, to the harbour. Kato Pafos, in the old harbour was another medieval Castle, which we visited. Seemed from the same time frame as the Kolossi castle. Nice view from the top. Perfect lookout to see if enemy is approaching. From there we also visited the Kato Pafos archaeological site. This is a huge site, that includes 4 homes, excavated to show teh ceramic floors. Took lokts of pictures. There was also an amphitheatre, which Steve thought was bigger then the one in Kourion but didnt' seem to be. People were starting to set up for a play, we took pictures of the set too :) We also saw mosaicsm and the ruins of a 13th century castle. We picked up some souvenirs at Kato Pafos for Chris, Michelle and Eliane.

Antiquities, here we come!

Today we are going to do the tourist thing with Steve. We've going to visit all sorts of Antiquities, near both Limassol and Paphos. Looking forward to checking out "The Birth Place of Aphrodite". Good place to bring back a souvenir for my friend Chris.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The purple tree in Kellaki

We walked to Kellaki today around 6PM. We went to the school yard to take photo's with the purple tree that had caught my attention each time we cross the village with Steve. We also walked up to the church "Agios Georgios", which is an ancient church. The view from there is pretty nice. We stopped at the local store to pick up more phone cards for Samer's PDA so we can get our internet fix. We're both such addicts! Of course since we ended up walking past the Taverna 4 times, we got gawked at 4 times!

Cyprus' rolling hills vegetation

It feels so hot already and it's only 10AM. It's sunny, not a cloud in the sky. The kids seem home today so perhaps yesterday was the last day of school.

I'm amazed at all the vegetation there is despite fact that the land seems so dry, and no rain. I mean of all the wild plants I've identified, there's lavender, some yellow sedum, different types of thistles, some wild rose type flowers, and other vegetation I have no names for.

THere's this flowering tree that comes either with white, pale pink or dark pink flowers, that can be found along most of the main roads, that we also saw in a deep crevasse yesterday on our way to Akapnou, in full bloom too. What makes me smile is all the bushy red hibiscus. Mostly they are red, but I've seen pink ones too. Hibiscuses, especially red ones, already remind me of my mom. Brings me a warm fuzzy feeling.

The geraniums are absolutely the biggest I've ever seen. All sorts of shades of reds and pinks. Also various types of palm trees and cactuses seem to both grow wild and people seem to cultivate them too.

In the back near the patio of The Old Mill House is a fig tree, with tons of green figs. Sadly it's too early in the season to be able to sample some fresh local figs. I was so looking forward to eating fresh figs.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Owls, and Cats oh my!

I managed to get a better picture of the Owls tonight. I tried while it was on the edge of the 16th Century church facing the Old Mill House, and I guess the flash annoyed it, so it flew on top of an electrical pole which was closer to me. So I took 2 more pictures, which probably pissed it off more, so it flew away.

Earlier when I noticed the first one on the church, it flew in my direction and I guess my presence in the street distracted it, so it flew into the electrical wires, and barely made it to the top of another electrical pole. What huge wing-span that bird has. Comes out around 8:30-9:00PM just as night falls, and sings all night.

As for the cat count? Baby has 3 kittens, Mommy has 4. That makes 9 cats. Then there's the 2 big male black tabbies, then there's the one male that looks like baby, one male that's all black and white, one that looks calico, so should be female. So easily about 15 cats that roam around this village. And I thought I had too many cats at home!!!!

Where has all the time gone by?

Where is the time flying buy? Only 8 days left of vacation. I could get used to doing nothing! Today we got up pretty late. I could have slept more except for the fact I was asleep by 10:30 last night, and so tired, I forgot to tkae off my contacts! One of those rare times I slept so much. Must have been the heat in Nicosia yesterday.

Today we walked to the golf club in Vilka, then to the other village, Akapnou, then back to Klonari. TOok us about one hour for the round trip. THe section between Vilka and Akapnou was mostly all steep downhill. Was hard on the calves, but Samer wished he had a bicycle to go downhill very fast. Of cousre since it's a dirt road, he would have had fun trying to stop and get the curves.

I made pasta for lunch today, and made 2 sauces. One with ground beef for Samer and one with Zucchini & lentils for me. Both also had onions, garlic, green peppers and carrots. Both came out well, though I must take Samer's opnion for the meat based one since I didn't touch it myself. Still get grossed out, especially by uncooked meat.

I thought we had filled out all the immigration forms the other day, we had spent 3 hours doing so, but apparently we forgot to fill out the Quebec specific ones it seems. Ahhhh, more flucking forms! Oh well one must do what one must do!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I talk about the weather because I'm Canadian.

It was more then 40 in Nicosia today. Thankfully, it was mostly dry heat. Was about 29 in Limassol, and about 35-36C in the hills of Klonari. We waited around 6PM to go take a walk to the golf club before heading back. I was amazed how hot it was even by 7PM. Usually where there is a lot of vegetation, it cools faster. It's actually cooler in Limassol with the breeze from the Mediterranean sea then it is in the mountains.

Nicosia, Lebanese Embassy Part Deux & Sightseeing

We went to Nicosia again today. Didn't leave quite as early as yesterday. The Canadian consulate had stamped our marriage certificate. We were in and out in under 5 minutes. It took maybe half an hour at the Lebanese Embassy. She was unhappy with the fact she didn't get the original, but we h ad told her it was with the Canadians. So she stamped the copy. In 15 days, Samer must call the embassy to get a number, which he presents to some Foreign affairs office in Lebanon, and our marriage will be registered with them. But the documentation they wanted. In duplicate.

After we finished with the paperwork, we went sight-seeing in the "old Nicosia". Inside the old Venetian city walls. We walked around, and went up on teh Shakolas building on Ledra street, which boasts a panoramic view of all of Nicosia. From there we can see the Turkish side. We saw the Turkish flag carved into the mountains. What an insult it must be to the Greek Cypriots.

We had lunch at a nice little place on Ledra street. Samer had a spicy folded pizza and I had an eggplant, mozarella, tomato salad. Our guide buddy Steve had an orange juice. We went into a tourist shop, but nothing was appealing. We also went into a Tourist Info center and I picked up a few brochures, makes for nice souvenirs.

Internet hasn't been working on Samer's mobile today either. Annoying really since we are both internet addicts! He could live in the mountains in the middle of nowhere, so long as there was fast internet. :P

Monday, June 18, 2007

It's more fun when you're Lebanese

So we get to Nicosia. First we stopped at the Justice Ministry and they told us because we're Lebanese and Canadian we do not need them stamped by the Justice ministry but by Foreign affairs. So we went to Foreign affairs and we got the original and the 3 copies stamped. That proved to be cheap and painless.

Then we went to the Canadian consulate. They wanted a bank draft for $50 CAD for certifying the paper. I gave them the original. We figured we'd pick it up on our way back after going to the Lebanese embassy. Well the Lebanese embassy wanted all sorts of papers. Including a paper which Samer will have to fill out with my name in Arabic.

ALso need to put a religion for me. So since we didn't have half of these papers, we had to go to Limassol, to get copies made at city hall. Orthodoxia, was there smiling and very helpful. She even made copies of our passports for us free of charge no less.

So tomorrow morning, we're going back to Nicosia to pick up the original from the Canadian consulate, and to deal with the Lebanese embassy. With all our papers with copies in duplicate.

Baby my adopted Cypriot cat is doing so much better. Her eyes are brighter, her fur is shinier. She seems more energetic. In fact she didn't touch the food tonight. She let the kittens eat it mostly. I saw her later in the filed behind the house with several kittens. She seems to be teaching them how to hunt. Good for her!

Nicosia bureaucracy

Today we were up at the crack of dawn, well 6AM and I was awake at 4:30AM when Bob started signing, because we're going to Nicosia. First to the Minister of Justice, then to the Minister of Foreign affairs. After we have to hit both the Canadian consulate and the Lebanese embasy. This will be fun. Supposed to be over 35C in Nicosia today. Weeee!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Rice and Lentils.

I'm exceptionally pleased with the rice & lentils I made today. I'd never cooked with a gas stove before this week. Last time I made rice it was sticky & burnt. Gaz cooks so much faster then my electric cook top. But I figured out how to make perfect rice, not sticky, not burnt. The lentils came out better too. I added carrots, onions & garlic,. Much tastier. I had to laugh. I realized though, the packaging was in Greek, the lentils were Canadian!

We walked all the way to Kellaki today. Took us about an hour each way. Probably a total of 8 or 9 KMs. Funny that the sign next to the Old mill house says "Kellaki 5KM" and the sign in Kellaki says "Klonari 4KM"!

Keep your rooster away from my bedroom

So this morning it seems Bob was in our bedroom. It turned out he was standing right outside our bedroom patio door, saying "Wake up lazyheads", at 7:30AM. We ended up only getting up around 9:30 AM. Probably the latest we stayed in bed so far.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Restlessness settles in

Today we walked around 6PM. We got 2/3 of the way to Kellaki village. Tomorrow we will attempt to make it all the way. My legs hurt from all the up & down hill walking. Went up to 28 today, though it felt warmer.

I'm so not used to doing absolutely nothing that I'm feeling incredibly restless today. I mean I never do nothing. I work, I garden, I do stuff around the house. I watch TV, but doing nothing is a novel concept. Heck I'm generally on the laptop doing something when I do nothing. I attempted to draw the road leading to Akapnou. Not one of my best works.

Friday, June 15, 2007

After the ceremony

It was a cute marriage ceremony, even for a civil union. The whole ceremony lasted about 15 minutes. The text the marriage officer reads is obviously a direct translation from the Greek. Steve took lots of pictures. Of course my fingers had swelled so I had to argue to get the ring on, but I got it on.

We went to the Venetian restaurant on the seashore road between the Amathus and Limassol. They served a vegetarian moussaka that was to die for. I brought the rest home in a doggie bag, to eat later tonight. The owner Tony, was pretty friendly, and they also serve good food for the carnivores in your life.

My hair looked nice with the orchids as a crown and it worked well with the weather, about 34 today. I made two braids and pinned the flowers through the braids on the top of my head.

Wedding day in Limassol

It's the morning of the big day. I woke up at 6, 6:30, then finally got up at 7:15AM. I did want originally to get up at 6 to start on my hair, but rarely, I was too tired. I decided to let Samer sleep in while I ate breakfast.

I opened the door to the kitchen and it didn't take more then 5 minutes for Baby to show up for her breakfast. She ate most of it before the other female cat, I nicknamed "Mommy", came around and pushed her out of hte way. She didn't seem to mind so much and just went on her merry way. She's looking less skinny already, but she was full of sticky plant seeds, which I removed most of while petting her. She's quite affectionate and purrs if I pet her.

There's 5-6 children in this village and the school bus, a white volkswagen mini-van, picks them up around 7:15AM for school. The bus driver, a girl of no more then 20 helps them into the vehicule. They come back home at 1:15PM. Before the heat gets oppressive.

It's the Mediterranean, and people tend to stay in during the hottest hours. Only the crazy tourists go about in the midday sun.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Internet in the hills of Cyprus

Samer figured out how to get the internet going on his PDA today with the memory chip for his pay as you go he got for Cyprus. This permitted us to go on gmail and on facebook. I realized I did not have hair pins to hold the flowers in my hair. My gut told me that Steve would be at the golf today and so we asked him to drop in on us on the way back from golf. We went to the nearest store which is a grocery/pharmacy - a Cash & Carry to find hair pins.

It's amusing, now that I've been making meals for the past 4 days Samer seems to trust my cooking. I guess he was really 'traumatized' by his mom's cooking. It's one of the first times I cook with a gas stove. I like the speed at which things cook compared to my electrical range top I have at home. Today I made pasta with a lentil tomato sauce. I had fried some chopped garlic, onions, green peppers & carrots. Added the lentils and tomato sauce. Turned out pretty good, considering I don't have any of my cooking spices.

I've been afraid that food will be bland since all I have for seasoning is salt & pepper. For lunch we had a tomato, cucumber, onion, carrot and black Olive salad, with lemon and Olive oil as dressing, along with the baby potatoes from last night.

Tonight we walkede about 1 hour. We took another road, which claimed to be 5 km to the village of Akapnou. But I think their signs are wrong. Took us longer to walk to the golf which they claim is 1km away!

Picked up some cat food for my Baby and her babies today. She's this white cat with splotches, that seems to have 3 kittens. She's so incredibly skinny, I've been feeling compelled to feed her. Had been giving her milk the past 2 days but while they like it, I know it's not good for their digestive track. Got her some Whiska's dried cat food, 2 small bags. One of tuna, one of beef. She eats it so fast. Hopefully I will put some weight on her in the 2 weeks i'm here, so she can better fend for herself later.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Otus Scops

I've identified I think the birds that sound like someone raking over cement. It looks like some type of owl like bird. We tried taking pictures, but they are too far away on top of a neighboring church, that even the flash didn't help.

We went for another walk, this time we walked 45 minutes towards Kellaki, which is 5km away. We didnt' see either a car or a person walking. Something did grunt at us while we walked buy, but nothing we could identify. Perhaps a boar? The sky is so full of stars. Of course the only thing I can clearly identify are the dippers.

Sonia called Samer to tell Samer that the explosion in Beirut tonight was no where near their home. However it was near the waterfront between where we went for lunch on Sunday and where we went for a drink with Patil on Sunday night. Spooky. Since we're not listening to news and we don't have internet, we won't know much from the outside world.

First walk to Golf club

We walked to the Vilka golf club. It took us about 45 minutes to get there and come back. THe view is breath taking. Just funny to me to see a golf club in teh middle of nowhere in hte mountains. I didn't put any sunscreen on since it was around 3:30 PM when we left. I might be a touch burnt but it will give me a little more color later.

I'm a suck for a cute cat.

It's a lazy day at the Old Mill House. I was awake around 5AM. Bob the rooster was obnoxious, but despite his constant noise making I slept again. Despite the heat, there's a nice breeze in the mountains. The old mill house stays relatively cool. This morning I had 3 cats hanging around the front door. One seemed so think, I ended up giving her a bowl of milk, which she lapped away in no time. I know. I'm such a suck for a cute cat. The picture is of the thin mother cat, I called "Baby" and one of her kittens, which ended up being "Baby Jr", since she would also respond to my 'Hello Baby".

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The black orchid and tourist shops...

We went around the tourist area and picked up some souvenirs mostly for the women close in our lives and of course for my gay bf. Got him a postcard with a naked guy! After we did that, we took a walk on the waterfront of Limassol. Then we went walking back into the tourist area looking for the Black Orchid flower shop.

Samer remembered a George street.. so we went that way. But apparently it was a George church we should have been looking for. However we walked through the red light district of Limassol it seems. After walking around and not finding place, we called and realized we were in completely wrong area. So we tried walking to the flower shop but gave up at some point, we were both too tired of walking, and took a cab.

We now know the Black Orchid is near the Pizza hut and the Holiday Inn on the road between Amathus and Limassol on the waterfront. The owner, Anthony is pretty nice. He suggested Orchids for my hair, and suggested I go for white rather then pink. Said if was in Pink dress, the flowers should be a different color. He also insisted on making a small bride bouquet, his gift to me. Was made of miniature roses mostly.

Musings

Despite fact Steve told us we were going to have sunny weather for the duration, it's cloudy and it looks like rain clouds. Ive told it occasionally rains in the mountains. The only traffic we see is people on their way to the golf usually mostly middle-aged men, Brits.

It was funny, when we went to the immigration office to extend his Visa for 5 more days, we saw several middle aged men, with much younger women. Samer suggested perhaps the women were the house keepers. But the 10-14cm heels, tight jeans, or short tight skirt they were wearing suggested that they were mail-order brides to me. Most were either asian, Philippina, or Russian.

We mentioned it to Steve and he told me this is pretty common. His comment was something to the effect that Cypriot women were no pic-nic. However he wondered how the Cypriot society would b e affected by this. I find it interesting how when women get emancipated, they tend to look for men who appreciate that them as such. However to a woman from a third world countries the men who we find too old fashioned seem great to them.

Just like I read about in the UAE, the women tend to marry an ex-pat [American, British, French. Germans]. Whereas the men go for the Philipina, and asian women who are generally most submissive.

Paperwork, paperwork, more paperwork.

Incredibly it only took 1 1/2 hours to get through immigration office for Samer to get his Visa extended for another 5 days. His Visa for Cyprus was shorter then the time we were staying. Then it took 30 minutes to apply for a marriage license at the city hall in Limassol. The woman who served us was very efficient, nice and friendly. Seems that her name is Orthodoxia.

By then it was 11:30 and so we stopped at "Cafe Dome" near the city hall in the tourist area in Limassol. He had an English Breakfast, and I had a veggie burger. Sadly they put ketchup on my veggie burger but otherwise the food was good.

Day 1 in Cyprus

I had a dream sequence between 6-7AM. Was of course woken up at 5AM by the rooster, which I nicknamed Bob. Two cats have come to check me out. There's a pair of swallows, dark blue almost black that have been flying together around the old mill house. Looks like there are a couple of nests around the roof of the house. The stars were beautiful last night. I hadn't seen so many stars in years.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Flying to Cyprus

We got up at the crack of dawn [4:00AM] to catch a 7 AM flight from Beirut to Larnaka. It's only a half an hour flight, but of course we had to go through like 7 passport checks, and a bit of a search entering the airport by the Lebanese army.

The flight to Cyprus was quick. Barely go up and then back down. We had this guy Steve pick us up at the Larnaka airport. I'd forgotten that Cyprus was under British rule at some point and that they drive on the left side of the road. I'm grateful we didn't rent a car. It's hard for a dyslexic to change orientation!

Our Villa, The old Mill Hous is in a small village near Limassol, called Klonari. About 20 stone houses. It's in the rolling hills. To me the scenery is new, but Samer tells me the hills feel a lot like the country side in Lebanon. It is quite peaceful, except for a bunch of Brits having a party a few houses down. We've beeing hearing them signing and someone playing guitar for the past 3 hours.

It made me laugh, that they sang "Achy Breaky Heart". Overall the singing is quite pleasant, like a bunch of friends singing around the campfire.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Day 1 in Beirut

I was hoping I would not get same sensation as in Weymontachi, where I just wanted to run away from there as fast as possible. Right now it feels really calm. I've seen dozen's of army check points but that's all I've seen.

Today I got to see a bit of Beirut. Samer took me to his university, to his favorite coffee shop, "The coffee shop", and to a little restaurant on the Corniche near the Roche rock, or "La grotte aux pigeons". We also went back to the waterfront with his friend Patil to Rawda Cafe, which Samer tells me is one of the older cafe's around that area.

So far I've met his mom, Patil, and his old boss, choir director and friend, Leila. I'm always so incredibly shy with people when I first meet them. But I got a warm fuzzy feeling from all three.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

On my way to Beirut

So more then half way through the flight, I realize that I'm sitting in the wrong seat. That in fact if I'd sat in the right seat I would have had more rooms for my legs cause it's the emergency exit. I was in the seat directly behind it. Like usual I was not able to sleep. I pretty much checked the time every half hour. If I slept at all it was no more then 30 minutes.

Got to Heathrow 2 hours late, and of course had to go through security check of terminal 3. I don't get that coming off a plane where you've just gone through security to get on, you must go through security immediately. I mean where do they expect us to pick up stuff. I suppose that it's easier to scan everyone then to figure out what country they were from and how heavy duty they have been checked.

Of course you must only have one bag, not even a purse along with a bag, and you must take off your shoes. Waited 30 minutes in a line-up of probably 500 people along this endless corridor it seems.

While waiting in line, my sighing got the guy next to me talking. Just from the sound of his voice I knew he was Lebanese. He had the same accent as Samer speaking English. He bitched about how coming off a plane, we have to go through security.

Finally get through security at same time as Lebanese guy, and we both end up in the same area looking for the MEA counter, there isn't any. Finally we look for information and they tell us it's gate 27, and the plane is boarding. We run like mad to gate 27, and there they checked us in. Apparently a plane from NYC had landed at same time as mine, and I'm guessing between my plane and his plane about 4o passengers were flying to Beirut with MEA. So at least the plane waited for us before leaving. This was rather fortuitous.

We get on the plane and I have to fill a card to enter Lebanon as a foreigner. That is when it hit me that I had left the address where I was staying in Beirut at home. I stressed on the plane hoping my cell would work in Beirut airport so I can call fiance.

The MEA flight was interesting. It's the most children I've seen on a plane in years. Everyone is so friendly> Everyone and their mother talks to you. THere is a certain joy de vivre. Of course I surmised that a lot of Lebanese were coming home to visit. I was one of hte few non-Lebanese on the plane.

Just as we were about the land in Beirut, when I saw the outline of the coast and the buildings, this incredible urge to cry hit me. It wasn't because I'd finally made it to Lebanon after this dreadful week. It wasn't because I was reuniting with my fiance after 3 months apart. It's the first time I go anywhere that I get such intense emotions.

We landed and I noticed army dudes in the Airport. But they seemed more docile then the ones I saw in San Francisco in 1991. I was expecting the military presence. I get to the customs officer and thankfully after telilng him all I knew is that I was staying in Beirut, and that in the excitement of getting married in the next few days I'd left the address at home. He finally said he'd let me through 'this time' without the address.

A friend who I mentioned this, says, you always say "I'm staying at the Plaza hotel". Apparently every city in the world has a plaza hotel :P

My luggage was easy to spot and as I crossed customs I ran into my Lebanese companion of earlier one more time and then found my fiance and his mom waiting for me at the airport arrivals.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Flying to Beirut Today

Already that I hate flying, for starters I found out that while my flights were confirmed, Travelocity had not reserved my vegetarian meals. It didn't help any that I was so busy getting my government issues, notarized, government stamped documents, that I only called to confirm my flight today.

The plane was late arriving from Toronto due to thunderstorms and so it left at least 30 minutes late. And just to make life interesting, as I sat in the plane I realized that there was lightning outside. Prediction is that we will arrive at least 15 minutes late at Heathrow, which if nothing else will keep my 3 hour stop-over shorter.

The plane appeared full, not surprising, more people travel in June then when I had last traveled in February. I was a mixture of bored, stressed and exhausted today. Oh and the first smell that hit me boarding the plane was the smell of urine. Such a delightful aroma. Thankfully in the back of the plane the smell is much better then in the business class.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Down the hall, to your left, just past the ATM

All I can say is AHHHHHHHHHHHHH

I really dislike bureaucracy. Why do I need to get government issued papers, first notarized and then stamped by the government as authentic? What a crazy world we live in.

So today I made a trip to Ottawa to "Fort Pearson". I had been warned that I'd take a wrong turn and end up in Hull. Well I did end up in Hull twice. From 2 different ways. Finally I ended parking under 111 Sussex Drive, which cost me $2 for an hour, cheaper then downtown Montreal where it's $5 for half an hour. People in the 111 Sussex Drive building were most helpful. I was mentioning to my daughter we had to figure out which way to go and this woman just offered point us in the right direction.

I mean it takes less then 5 minutes to get the papers stamped. But it took 2 1/2 hours to get there. We finally leave the 111 Sussex Drive and in an effort to avoid landing in Hull again, ended up in the free parking of the building where to get papers stamped. Life's little ironies.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Crazy.. toys in the attic,....

It's just crazy.

Of course because I decided months ago, that I was going to go for the gusto and chose Lebanon to meet my fiance, for a plethora of reasons, including having opportunity to meet his mom, and friends, that things were going to get tense just a few weeks before my departure. Of course it has to be this way for maximum effect.

*Sigh* A smart person would have probably chosen Cyprus for everything initially. But no. I had to live dangerously. I had to go against what a logical person would have chosen. Lebanon had been on my list of places to visit on day, when things looked calm. Then I figured how better then to visit with someone who has lived there most of his life. I swear it made sense at the time.

Dunno why my gut is still not freaked out. The thought of flying to Lebanon is still not freaking me out. Though I'm disappointed cause I know I will not be able to move freely. However something is encouraging me to keep going. Dunno if I should listen to this voice anymore.

Just too many decisions to make. I figure flying stresses me to the max.. Can it be worse? And yet what if I was to feel like I did when I visited Weymontachi.. Just did not want to be there after sundown. I won't be able to leave. I'll have to put up with that sensation for the duration.

Time to go watch some mind-numbing TV.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

We're melting

I like summer in Montreal. Of course like all Montrealers I do complain that it gets hot at times. But one is not a Montrealer unless one complains it's too hot in summer, and too cold in winter. Never completely happy.

It's been a weird spring. It's gone hot/cold/hot/cold. It was around freezing a few weeks ago, and yesterday we hit a record of 30C for this day in May. Previous heat record was 28.5 many years ago.

Which leads me to something else. The AC unit at work that covers our area has never been strong enough for the ever increasing equipment. I have inventoried and given to my boss the wattage of all the equipment already last summer. Had a student do it. Inventory every single monitor, flat panel and PC. Check out the power consumption for each, to find out how much heat each item is generating. Plus an inventory of people so that they could buy a unit that would cover our needs. We've been promised a new unit now for several years.

Well the heat issue came back this spring every time it got warmer outside, it was anywhere between 27-30C in my area. The past couple of days I've had sweat running down my body it's been so warm. Turns out that the owner had never signed for a new unit. IF I understood correctedly he was supposed to buy a new unit to cover entire building. Now they finally signed off a few weeks ago a new unit to cover only our area. Since it's been a sauna, for the past I dunno how many years now. The heat issue keeps coming back. Well the new unit has a 10 week delivery time. So not until 3rd week of June. THey did work to redirect air from the Gym to my area... and put it DIRECTLY ABOVE my desk.

SO the past few days, now I still get 27-28 at my desk, but with cold air on my head and shoulders. So I get cold shivers now. The maintenance woman, promised me she'd move the diffusor above my head to a few feet away. I hope that helps.

The irony is.. the AC unit broke down yesterday. IT's only working at 50% It was 30 outside, and just as warm inside. They had to bring large industrial fans. THankfully I had vacuumed the dust bunnies around the cables I have near my work benches a few days ago. Cause all fans do is move around the dust. Which means I have to take asthma meds to avoid coughing all night.

The sad part is... I cook at work and then go home and freeze. I mean if it's too warm in winter, and I only heat my home to 22.. and I spent the entire day aroudn 28... I'm going to be cold even with 2 sweaters at home at night.

I suffered from so much hot flashes in pre-menopause because of the heat issues. I was fine under 24 but it was 28-30 at work, and at the time I lived in a townhouse where the thermostat was broken. I could either have heat on or off. So I used to have to open windows all winter so it wouldn't be 30. And I wondered why I kept having hto flashes!!!! Thankfully I've passed that. I don't get hot flashes anymore. or rarely. But I still cook easily.

And I'm going to spend most of June in Cyprus and Lebanon, where the temperature is about like July in Montreal, but with less rain. I have quite the collection of sundresses, short skirts and skorts for warm weather. And with all the walking I've been doing hte past week, in the sun, I'm getting a bit of a tan base, so I won't burn so easily. I haven't been using sunblock becuase I'm not out long enough to burn. They've been saying now that we should get at least 30 minutes of sun without sunblock per day, to get the good part of the sun. So long as I am not out long enough to burn, I don't put any on. I tend to prefer going out in the sun past 4 pm, and I rarely burn at that time of the day.

Both times we went to the beach while I was in Dubai, we got there around 4ish. Did not put sun block we stayed about 2 hours and both times I was just about to start burning, I felt my skin was tightening, but no burn. Was just perfect. I never try to tan, though by the end of a Montreal summer, my feet are usually tanned. I remember one summer, I was 15 or 16 and spent the entire summer working on my tan. It wasn't bad until mid august and then it rained 3 weeks straight. When school started I was white as a ghost and people asked me if I went out of the house at all. No one believed I actually ahd a tan 3 weeks earlier. Was last time I tried tanning. I take pride in being vampire white. Besides now I'm mid 40's, and my skin is still nice. Whereas women my age who tan all the time by now have leathery skin and look twice as old.

Heck my last bf was half-mohawk. If he went out in the sun, he'd get very dark. He didn't go in the sun much, but just driving his car, his arms would be a deep brown. He'd always joke about me being his 'pale-skinned' gf. I think it's perfect to be so pale. Goes well with the red hair I like to have and the freckles I do get in the sun.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Multiply like rabbits

I've been seeing wild bunnies around for a few years, but I've been finding it strange that they come around during the afternoon. Rabbits are notoriously nocturnal. I noticed today that there isn't just one or two rabbits, but there's at least 3 and they all look more or less the same.

Sigh. I like rabbits. If I start a vegetable garden I'm not only going to have to deal with the squirrels but with the bunnies.. and obviously there's no predators dealing with the rabbits. At this rate, in a few years we will be over run by bunnies. But they are so incredibly cute....

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Dragonfly Totem

I was reading about the Dragonfly totem this morning, as one of my tattoo's is the dragonfly:

The power of Dragonfly lies in its ability to see around things by looking from different angles. Using its ability to transform colors and lights by reflecting and refracting them, Dragonfly shows us that life, like light, can bend, shift, and adapt in various ways, making life's appearance never be what it appears to be. Dragonfly's magic shows us to see through life's illusions and find our true vision. It calls us to transform within our lives and reminds us to feel deeply so we will have the compassion necessary to help ourselves and others.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Interesting Biases

Was talking to Debbie about the waterheater woman, and she pointed out that I sound really young. Reminded me of an incident when I lived on Woodhaven circle.

It was afternoon, and both of my daughters had just fallen asleep for the afternoon nap. It was a warm day out, so I had the front door open, and the screen door was locked, so air could come into the house.

Some young traveling salesman rings the doorbell. I wasn't expecting anyone and had forgotten I'd left only the screen door, so, the moron rings like 10 times in a row. Of course by then you can hear two crying babies. [maybe they were 2 and 4 respectively]

SO I go to the door pretty pissed, and the first thing he says to me is "Are your parents home?" I answered that if he wants my parents he's in the wrong part of town, that they live in RDP [30km away]. He tells me to stop jerking him around that he wants to talk to one of my parents. At this point I lose it. I tell him this is my house and the crying he's hearing are my two daughters that he woke up with his obnoxious ringing, that if someone isn't answering the door, perhaps they don't want to answer the door or they have sleeping toddlers.

So at this point he starts getting argumentative. I should be flattered that he thought I was so young and he starts on his sales pitch. I told him he'd better get off my property.

That was one of three times, since I've moved out of my parents home at 21, where someone assumed I was too young to be a parent, too young to own a home, too young to be living by myself. And the thing is.. they think you should be flattered that you get treated like a 16 year old.

Sorry if I was able to vote and drink legally at 18, I'm old enough to buy appliances like a stove and a fridge [SHould have seen how many stores my ex hubby and I had to walk to at 23/24 to be able to buy appliances before someone would talk to us], to have children, to take care of my children and to own a home. I should be capable of making decisions about my future like any other adult.

It still gets to me that at 40 + years old some people still talk down to you like you're a little kid who woulnd't know how to deal with their own life. I've owned this house by myself for the past 7 years. I'm SO F***ING fed up of people telling me to 'consult your husband'.

I mean like I explained to my older neighbor a few days ago, I'm mechanically inclined. I've always been mechanically inclined. I used to help my grandpa fix things starting at age 3-4. I could better anticipate the tools he needed then his kids or any one else he worked with other then my grandma. I'm also a reasonably good problem solver. I tend to like men who are artists who might not have a mechanical bone in their body.

Dr. Phil yesterday was about 'girly men' and how some had wives who had issues with being 'The man of the house". I have no issues with playing the role I'm good at. I don't expect my male partners to 'be the man'. I expect them to be a partner. To be someone with who we split up tasks according to interest & capabilities, not according to gender.

I used to get so upset when my youngest, who is a tom boy, would come home and tell me that some boy told her "girls don't play with such and such thing", and I used to ask her "Do you like playing with toy X", then say "Mommy gives you permission to play with toy x". TO make her realize that she was allowed being herself, even if that meant she was not a stereotypical little girl. She loved to play with cars and construction games, and not with dolls. And for those who might think she's not maternal, it's actually quite the contrary. My youngest is a natural with children. Always has been from like 3 or 4. She would help out with the younger children at her babysitters. She's worked in day camps, She works as a lifeguard and swimming instructor now. She loves working with children. My eldest daughter who loved playing with dolls, is much like me and has no maternal bone in her body. Doesn't like small children. Doesn't know how to approach them or what to do with them. But like me I'm sure she'll make a fine mother if she wants to be one. We're not maternal, but we use common sense instead to make sure child has what he/she needs. We don't care for other people's kids much. [Though with age I'm finding that is changing for me. I get all gaga over children under 5 now.... can't wait to be a grandma]

Off my soapbox again...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Things that make you go Hmmm....

I didn't know that I had to be married or that I had to discuss buying a water heater with my husband. Things one learns as one ages!!!

I called Gaz metro-plus yesterday morning to enquire about getting service for my hot water heater. Just by my flooding description it was obvious to everyone the unit needed replacement. To it's credit, the unit lasted 18 years.

Now when the lady called me back about replacing my hot water heater, there were several options. I could buy or rent a hot water heater, and I could get a 40 or 50 Gallon. Well I have people who love their long hot showers.. I decided to go with the bigger one and after checking out price for rent and total price for new unit, including installation and taking away the old broken one, I decided to go for the 50 Gallon tank. So the lady says "Don't you want some time to think about it? " and I'm thinking.. what's there to think about. I have a defective water heater leaking in my furnace room, you gave me options I made a choice. Then she says "Don't you want to discuss it with your husband?" I didn't know that I had to be married to own a house, never mind, *gasp* be able to take a huge decision like whether or not I chose the 40 or 50 Gallon. Like wow. I raised 2 kids to adulthood, but I'm too stupid to buy myself a water heater. Like.. how condescending. Makes you wonder if people think before they talk.

I've had a few males I've talked to about my water heater woes suggest that it would have been so much cheaper if I'd gone to Canadian tire and picked up one.. Well I just did my homework. The comparable gas heater is $700.+taxes is about $800, and it's still a smaller one by 9 gallons. Then I have to lug it home, and it woulnd't fit in my car. It weights around 200lbs. Then I have to lug it downstairs into the basement. I also have to lug out the old one. As it happens the shutoff valve, had broken when I closed it sunday night due to corrosion over the years. There was also lots of corrosion on the copper pipes connecting the water heater to the rest of the water in the house. I woulnd't have been able to change those myself, never mind connecting the gas element to the new hot water tank. Plumber was here 2 hours to install it. So that would have been another $200 just for installation, plus parts that were changed. No, the amount I paid for having the hot water tank installed the same day it broke, the old one was taken away, the valve was changed and the connecting pipes were replaced, was well worth the $1100 I paid. Why didn't I go for an electric one? Well because I've tried both. The gas one heats up the water much faster. When there's 3 women in a house wanting showers roughly at same time, this is a real bonus.

This is probably the first time in my life someone bitched because I was decisive. Usually people complain that I take to long to make up my mind. That I'm wishy washy.

Off my soapbox with my rant.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The water gods absolutely hate me

So it was just a little bit past midnight. CSI Miami had just started. The "Caruso one-liner'" tonight was "Here we go" followed by the who screaming.

I had just been thinking about an old photo from when I was in University and decided to go scan it. Well I walked into the basement and low and behold there is water... My hotwater tank seemed to have sprung a leak. The fact that those who installed my furnace blocked partial access to the drain didn't help. Water was covering the floor of most of the basemetn at least 1-3cm. Got my eldest downstairs to give me a hand. She was pushing water with a giant squeegee towards the fold room where the sump pump is so it would drain there, and I was pushing it back into the drain in the furnace room, once I freed the drain from the border blocking it. I also picked up 2 buckets full by towels and sponge mop. I'm tired. I'm crabby.

This was around 12:11am... Officially on Monday.. What a way to start a Monday.. .It's close to 3am and I'm still not sleeping. I'm hoping that the valve I closed is right and it's going to keep the water from leaking into the furnace room. I'll deal with the water damage tomorrow.

Monday, April 30, 2007

It's officially a monday

I walked down the stairs this morning, and on the main landing, right in front of the front door was wood chips galore. I had planted some tiger lilies yesterday and they came in a bag of wood chips. Normally I can leave a bag of wood chips in another bag near the entrance and nothing happens to it. But I'd bet Sam's whiny cat, thought "Hmmm something to play with".

There was a trail of wood chips up and down both the stairs to upstairs and to downstairs. THere were wood chips through the dining room on the carpet, and in the main entrance... So I here I was with the mini vacuum picking up wood chips before 8am.

I HATE VACUUMS. I hate the noise and the dust they make. UGH.

It's repeat sunday....

"An accident is not an accident at all..."

said as he puts on [or takes off, take your pick] sunglasses......

Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Montreal Gazette & National Post DUMPED

Some asshole carrier, named JOHN AMOFA that lives on BASSWOOD in PIERREFONDS, has been dumping his left over Gazettes and National Post on St Regis, between Sunnybrooke and the 40 highway onramp for at least the past 6 months now.

We, myself and another 50 or so Matrox employees, including my friend Debbie, spent close to 2 hours yesterday picking up all the garbage on the company property, which is up and down St Regis. About 70% of it was newspapers, the rest was mostly styrofoam cups and car parts....

You wouldn't know it this morning because the DUMBASS carrier dumped his left over papers on the side of the road again. With the wind it goes flying. Of cousre when it lands in the middle of the road and it rains, it makes papier mache road and that's hard to stop on.

This guy has BAD BAD Karma stamped on his head. We found his carrier papers/address and phone number. It's a pity we didn't go dump all 50 large bags of garbage we found on his doorsteps.

Matrox has complained to CamWest several times, to no avail. What do they care, it's not an eyesore on their property.....

Monday, April 23, 2007

Another Monday night.

Tonight's Caruso moment brought to you by the letter D, I and V and the number 0

Welcome to divorce of the ...
Future....

YEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH....

Caruso one-liner.

Tonights Caruso moment was brought to you by the letters T & D and the number 5

Looks like...
Something ...
Caught ...
Her...

YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAh

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Poor wittle Leroy Jenkins is all lonely.

I awoke at 6 am again, and the wind has finally died down. It's still dark and stormy outside. Was surprising yesterday late afternoon that there was a bit of sun out. Was short lived and the storm starting pounding again.

Poor Debbie still has not been able to leave NJ. I'm hoping today is the day. Otherwise I will have to bring some cat food over, she's been gone so long she's all out of cat food. That and Leroy is lonely. Especially Leroy. Ragnar and Leo weren't so desperately missing human contact. In fact Leroy is a lot like Lynx [My daughter's whiny cat], a chip off the old block so to speak. They seem to constantly crave human attention. Cant wait to see Debbie's flooding in NJ pictures. :)

I wish I could close my eyes and it would be June already. I miss my sweetie so much, and I won't be seeing him until June. *SIGH*

Though I was reminded by one of my employees that at least I have email, MSN chat, and web cams. When he spent 4 years away from his now wife, he only had the phone and snail-mail. As he was mentioning just yesterday, by the time he'd get mail, the news was 2-3 weeks old. At least I can communicate with my sweetie daily, and it's not costing us an arm and a leg in phone bills. Although I like hearing my sweetie's voice on the phone, I would feel incredibly guilty if we talked often, just because of how steep phone bills get. That and well we seem to get awkward half of the time we do talk on phone. These long quiet moments....

My sweetie has a deep voice and a really cool accent when he talks English. Sends shivers up and down my spine if I focus on it. Which gets distracting and then I get all quiet. It's ironic that the few times we tried voice chat, we had little success and we don't bother. Voice chat has always been flaky. Remember how much Ben and I tried when he first moved to the US. He had me install dozens of different software and none quite did it. I know my daughter has been using Ventrillo to chat with her Lineage II gaming friends, and it seems to work for her. Hell some nights I can hear her yapping with her peeps so loud I make wise-ass comments back.

The other night I hear her exclaim "SHUT UP!!!!" Although I hadn't said a thing or made noise in an hour or two I replied "Sorry I'll try to be more quiet". Had both of us giggling.

ACK they are playing the White Stripes on the radio this morning, but thankfully it's not the "Seven Nation Army" [Going to wichita] song. BLEAH.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday night, time for...

Yep, you guessed it.... the Caruso one-liner for tonight is "Neither will his killer".

It's still stormy out. It's still super windy, I can hear the squealing of the gizmo on my roof.

Another Nor'Easter Pounds the Eastern Coast


Wow this is the 2nd Nor'Easter in less then a week. This one is supposed to be a doozie. Poor Debbie. She's in NJ visiting family, including a very sick sister and every time she's tried leaving the past week there's been bad weather. Like higher forces want her to stay put.

She tried leaving today but there was severe flooding on the highway she ended up having to turn back and go back to her sisters. She will attempt leaving again tomorrow.

We can get up to 80km windows.. and it's going to be around 0 tonight, with up to 20 cm of snow. Gotta love the weather for April :P

Love the comment on CTV tonight "I guess the one-city, one snow-plow isn't working tonight"

What a rush. I went for a small car ride, to go check out how Debbie's cats are doing :P Yeah I'm a little nuts. That and I get a rush from driving around in snow storm. Besides I still have my snow tires.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Another Nor'Easter

Gotta love a good snow storm in April. I mean it has snowed on and off all of last week, but not this intense snow... Love a good nor'easter. We got 12 cm of extra wet snow, though looking out part of it has already melted. Apparently this is a record for this date.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Gardening in the cold.

If it went above 0C today it's surprising. I mean for the past week, every other time I look outside it's snowing, and yet there's not much trace of it. Today it was sunny a bit. I got brave, I got dressed warmly and put into my lawn about 80 crocus bulbs. I dunno how many are going to survive, and I'm sure it will take a few years before I see any kind of results. However at least in the soil they have half a chance. Sitting in a bag in my garage, the bulbs would have had no options. I can tell I spent a good hour planting bulbs, as I have pain in my fingers.

I planted bulbs in two sittings. In between my eldest and I went to Loblaws to get groceries. We must have been hungry, spent a fortune there. When I got home, I made curried Eggplant, mashed potatoes, stir fried bean sprouts with sesame seeds and snow peas and some bow tie pasta. Had a bowl of curried eggplant with bow tie pasta and it was awesome. That curried eggplant recipe is a keeper. Probably the first recipe I ever use hot peppers in. Never thought I'd ever cook with hot peppers.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Gardener's porn

I'm sitting on my bed at the moment with eleven seed & plant catalogs. I'm pretty sure I'm getting most of the seed catalogs available from Canadian distributors. My favorite is Vesseys, in PEI. Dunno something about their catalog and the plants they offer incite me to purchase more plants then I intend to. More plants then my current flower beds can fit. I've got all these little tags sticking out of the pages of plants I want to get and I have 11 tags on that catalog. Will have to sit down and go through it again and be more reasonable. It's not the cost. It's where am I going to plant all of it, and who will water it? :P It doesn't help that they send catalogs 4/6 times a year. They have bulbs, tubers, roots, seeds, roses, flowering bushes, trees, berry bushes and all sorts of vegetables.

Then next is the McFayden catalog, that I can't resist. Though I lost the pottentilla Monach Velvet last year, I would still like to have one. But their catalog doesn't seem to have it again. They have roots, bulbs, tubers, flowering bushes and even berry bushes. Got a kiwi vine from them 2 years ago. I wonder if it will finally start to flower and produce fruit this year?

I'm also looking through my OSC seeds, William Dam Seeds, and stokes seeds catalogs, to find cool annuals for spots in my garden I just like throwing seeds and see what happens. Sometimes it works well, sometimes I get a bare stretch of land, depends on my dedication and choice of seed.

I'm also browsing at my Richters herbs. What I love about it, is that they offer herbs and medicinal plants. I'd say half or 2/3 of my garden is either edible as food, or used medicinally. Somehow I feel more connected to mother earth if I grow and cherish plants I also use to heal myself or keep myself healthy.

There's my botanus catalog, they offer more plants that you buy as bulbs, tubers or roots. And of course roses... I have a few roses and I'm not doing so well with them. Have to find a suitable way to not have them eaten by worms that is also environmentally friendly. I mean I have found a way to deal with the red bugs that eat my lilies and friterella. I hand pick em and crush them in the driveway. THe worms, I have to prevent them from completely eating my roses. Don't get it. When the roses were in the back where there is no sun, they did not get eaten by worms. Might be proximity to apple tree. Have to find plants that worms don't like and plant between rose bushes.

Besides I already bought a bag of 15 begonias and a bag of 12 Tiger lilies at Costco for bargain basement prices. Still want to plant about 100 crocus I didnt' get around to plant last fall. Want to scatter them in my lawn, under and around trees. They usually bloom before I cut the lawn in spring, Would be sweet. Might do it in the next few days if it could warm up. It's -2 today. A little too cold for gardening.

Yes.. seed catalogs are the gardener's porn.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Stupid government sponsored ads

In it's infinite wisdom "Service Canada" now has stupid ads. Like the process to get a social insurance number is a well kept secret, that we need ads that play nightly for weeks on television. Our tax dollars at work. Gotta love it.

Also love the rain-freezing rain-snow combination of precipitation that was falling today.

Mush alert!

This isn't really a blog entry. This is me being totally mushy. I have my moments, which I try to hide. :)

Anyways I just wanted to tell my sweetie, that

A day without you is like a day without sunshine
I can get through it, but it takes a lot more out of me.

I love you sweetie

Monday, April 02, 2007

Rock Cress in bloom


My Arabis or rock cress is in bloom. I did not realize it bloomed this soon after the snow disappears. It's a tiny little pinkish white flower, not too showy on the right side, a strand alone. But in a few years, the entire plant will disappear in tons of those tiny little blooms.

Another great moment on CSI miami.....

"You know what they say Frank? Speed kills...." Caruso says, after finding out his dead body was just at a speed dating event.

Dunno if I will sleep through CSI miami tonight.. but that is the 1 liner for this episode. Enjoy :)

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Random Vista's

I took my daughter around Ile Bizard tonight so she could take photo's for her photography class. As she put it, Ile Bizard is at least good for a few old barns and that makes a great subject.

I parked the car on side of road a few times and went out with her to take pictures too . On the right is the Riviere des Prairies, notice the moon and it's reflection, facing Ste Genevieve. The other is the reflection of trees in a pond near the side of the main road on Ile Bizard.