Thursday, November 30, 2006

~ puts on Domestic Goddess hat ~

Goodness - HBC is having an awesome sale on high quality sheet sets. (Thanks Sara, for letting me know!)

You may know that I'm asking for awesome sheets for Christmas. Check out my Christmas list here:

So, I'm looking at these ones:
  • Lifestyle Linens Queen Size Sheet Set by Millano (White)
    400-thread count 100% Egyptian Cotton sheets
    Product No.: 53973251
  • Millano 1000-Thread Count Sheet Set – Queen (White)
    Product No.: 53974739

OK, maybe not the second - that's too much for a set of sheets that will likely get stained in about a month.

Anyway, the dilemma is: do I get the sheets even though they're on my Christmas list and maybe some has already bought them or they want to buy them for me? And maybe they'll be able to get a better colour (is white really practical? I just realized they have a weird design on them - do I really want that?).

I suppose I could always bring them back if I don't open them.

Also, they don't have any double sheet sets - boo! I actually sleep in the double bed now (though that's probably too much information) so should I really be concerned with getting queen sheets?


Monday, November 27, 2006

The gutters are done!

I have a migraine, so I stayed home today. It just so happened that it was also the day that the gutter guy came. So I could explain what I wanted and get his opinion about attic ventilation. And I got to talk to my handy neighbour about our insulation and attic ventilation project that I'm going to start this weekend.

This sick day turned out to be a somewhat productive day.

At least I have some next steps for my attic ventilation dilemma. It will probably wait until the spring.

AND I got to talk to my brother-in-law and found out he works for a company that sells some supplies that I need for my attic insulation project and he's bringing me the stuff on Saturday!

I even managed to do a lot of stuff remotely for work.

And, moving slowly, washed a huge pile of dishes, took out my annuals and replaced them with the mums from Matt's wedding, because it was such a mild day and I needed air anyway.

You know, sometimes, I swear that if you just don't fight life (and that means being sick when you're sick), good things will happen.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I'm just back from Ottawa.

Went with my mom and dad to visit my brother, Will. A bit of a long trip, but we really don't get to see him all that often.

Sadly, I was getting over a migraine and managed to contract another. On the OTHER side of my head. Oi, these things get annoying. Interfere with everything.

We stayed in a Travelodge for the night. Now, Travelodges aren't the nicest hotels, but I really like staying in hotels sometimes. I reveled in the brilliant white, clean smelling towels. The clean tub which I took a long hot bath in. The dark room. The lobby where I could pick up whatever toiletry I'd forgotten. The big bed all to myself.

But mostly the bath.

God, do I miss having a nice hot bath.

Yes, I have a bathtub, but it's kind of gross. The caulking needs to be redone. (The whole bathroom needs to be redone, but that's another story, for another year.)

Actually, that quite set the scene for much of what I talked about on the trip: my house. I made a list of the things I need to do. I stressed a little bit. But I feel better suddenly.

Maybe it's the list.

Maybe it's because when my parents dropped me off, my dad fixed the door threshold and I installed the insulation behind the outlets. Maybe it's because we looked at the ventilation in the attic and thought about how we could increase it and I have some concrete options to consider. Maybe it's because my dad took a look at the plumbing in my basement bathroom and told me we can fix it with his soldering gun or whatever. Or maybe it's the bag of clothing that I sent my mom home with so that she can find a better home for them.

I don't know.
I just like getting things done. It might just be the list that I wrote up that makes me feel better. (Goodness knows why -- it's long enough to scare anyone.)

But I'm pretty confident that it's about the insulation that I put in the outlets and the door threshold.

And my resolve to choose one thing every day this week and just DO it.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My bike is fixed! I took it on my lunch hour to a place around Kensington Market, called "Bikes on Wheels" and they had to replace the whole crank as I'd done some damage... plus they replaced a gear wire or something.

Anyway, $30 later, my bike rides like new. Doesn't take long to pay off that repair, I guess. But the bike is just pretty crappy anyway. At some point I should really get a comfy bike that fits me with a springy, cushy seat, high handle bars, proper road tires, a pannier for all the crap I lug around, a bell and some reflectors.

For now, however, I will make do with welfare-bike (don't say that out loud near the bike though, I don't want to hurt its feelings -- it was free afterall).

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Reading in Fernie

3 Fernie : Freshies
Originally uploaded by webgoddesscathy.
I was thinking about the concept of reading tonight because it was my first night as a literacy tutor.

My learner is a pretty smart guy. Has a job at Canadian Tire. He finished high school. He wasn't sure if it's supposed to be "Dear Mary" or "Daer Mary". He reads by context -- if there's a difficult word, he looks at the words around it to take a guess at what the long word beginning with "a" might be.

He would probably never spend an afternoon in Fernie, BC, with his familiy, reading in a coffee shop.

They warn us tutors not to get all romantic about what we're doing. We're teaching students fundamentals. Many are learning to read so that they can read to learn. Many students want to go on to a college program or to just pass their driver's test.

I take reading and writing for granted.

Tonight, I felt bad when I realized that I just expect that people would know how to structure a business letter.

My student is probably never going to have a passion for reading or writing like I do. But he may be able to read a damn good story to his child someday. And he may get into the college program of his choice in a couple of years.

And maybe I will have helped one life become better. Maybe I'll even have an impact on his life.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Busy day!

It started out just grand, though... riding along Bloor Street and my entire pedal pops off. Grr. Let me tell you, you cannot ride a bike with only one pedal. So I used my bike like a scooter to get the rest of the way to work. You're not even allowed on the subway with your bike at that time of day, even if you COULD smash yourself into the crowded car in some way.

Anyway, at work, I had two emergency tasks that had to get done, someone who comes up to me with a lame excuse for not doing their blog (seriously, stop with the lame excuses! At some point there is NO excuse) and then my designer unapologetically ditches a meeting with me. Yet another.

Here's another thing I hate: when people ignore me.

I'll give you a hint: if I send you a meeting request, it's because I really need to meet with you. And I will NOT waste your time. Please do not waste mine.

Seriously: unapologetic!?

GRR. By the time he strolled into the office, I had to be off for a lunch meeting, which the designer seemed very surprised to learn. He was 45 minutes late. At least my lunch was very pleasant. Mexican food. Mmm, enchilada with tomatillo sauce!

Back to the office for another quick look at emergency emails and then into another meeting. Productive meeting. On time. YES.

Then another meeting directly after. On time. DOUBLE YES.

Then back to my desk to deal with the final emergency emails and find out that an email newsletter was sent out with significant errors. Unfortunate. But not much I can do about something that's already been sent out.

A few last minute items that needed to be taken care of as a result of my meetings earlier and I'm already late for meeting with Anita at my house. At least I call to warn her and say I'm sorry ahead of time.

When I arrive, she's waiting for me on my deck. Oi, I hate that I made her wait!
I make her dinner, we talk. We eat. We work on her website concept. We talk about her new house and her upcoming wedding.

Very exciting!

And now before dashing off to bed, I must jot a few notes in my blog, do some research on hiring a contractor to take a look at our attic (we have vermiculite insulation that I'm not supposed to "disturb" -- does that mean I can't lay OTHER insulation on top of it?) and make a few changes to my own site as a way of testing features that I want to use on other sites I'm working on.

And then it's time to turn my brain off to do it all over again tomorrow.

Friday, November 17, 2006

My favourite part of my job: working on the MaRS blog.

I love researching new content topics and sending them to just the right blogger. And finding images to help tell someone's story. And finding new guest bloggers. And commenting on the posts I find interesting (inevitably these are ones that have to do with the environment or websites, but every once in a while I can apply some research I've done or info gleaned from an event I attended and I can marvel that I've actually learned a lot here).

I want to be BlogGoddessCathy. That would be great - just doing the stuff that I love most.

But of course, everyone has parts of their job that they don't like so much. But not everyone has something that they actually LIKE. Something that they'd actually choose to do in their off-time. I'm very lucky.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I have realized that my calendar is getting booked up very very quickly. Next week, for example, I have an event or meeting every single night.

This is a bit crazy.

Scheduling time with me has become tricky.
And I mean, for ME to schedule time with ME is tricky.

Last night, I did enjoy time alone, however. It looks like the last time in a good while, though. But I got to make myself dinner and tea and watch part of The Hour (as you may have guessed from my last post) and then mucked about on my computer, doing research for the next website project on my list. It was very productive and QUIET.

Sadly, I got little-to-no sleep. I went to bed at a normal time, but kept getting woken up by those who don't live in my timezone. And then I had to be in at work early - which didn't matter, because I was awake anyway at that point.

If you know me, you'll know I get grouchy when I'm tired.

So right about now I'm wishing I were at home in my bed. Unconscious.

Instead, I'm working away, not taking lunch, booking my days up with appointments, forcing myself to be cheerful. Getting organized so that I don't feel so hairy in the next couple of weeks.

Time to go eat that chocolate croissant that I stole from that event I went to this morning...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

So I think I have changed my mind about George Stroumboulopoulos.

I think I may see what the big deal is about. And I think I may love him a little.

It's the second time that I've seen The Hour, which, I know, is supposed be for a YOUTH audience, but since I'm still a youth in my mind, I figured I was the perfect demographic.

Today he talked with Wendy Mesley and said something about how he'll never be an anchor on The National. He did one of those "look at me" kind of motions to explain WHY he'd never have the seat.

And I did just that.
And all I could think were good things. He's very expressive, he's casual, his semi-babbling way of speaking in efforts to make good segues to the next topic, he has, admittedly, kind of cool style. And he's cute.

Which has about as much to do with his likeability as a journalist as it did for the up-and-coming Wendy Mesley. But, still, it's true and I've been resistant to admitting it for years while other friends fell prey to the hype.

On the other hand, I don't think I'll ever get to the stage of preferring The Hour over my Daily Planet fix, even though Natasha and Jay just don't cut it on the eye-candy scale.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

So the vote went down last night - I voted, of course. I even stayed late at work to finish my research on my ward's candidates.

I am disappointed to find that Case Ootes won again in my ward.

I didn't vote for him after reading this article about how Case is against bikes.

I can't in good conscience, vote for someone who's so ridiculously short-sited, elitist and anti-environment. I can't believe he won after pulling that crap, trying to take out a bike lane. Diane Alexopolous was so close, I thought she'd won. I'm really sad that she lost by 20 votes. I feel like I should have done more.

I guess this goes to show me that I should have done some research earlier and talked about the issue so as to sway some other voters in her direction (or at least away from Crusty Case). We need a re-vote.

As a happy sidebar, I found another Canadian magazine that I like: Spacing. They're an interesting media outlet. I especially liked their coverage of the election and associated issues.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The happiest time in my life, aside from childhood of course, but I'm talking about relatively recent history, is when I was travelling in Australia.

I've been trying to figure out exactly what made that experience so memorable and why I able to be the person then that I really want to be.

I really do believe that it was because I had time. While some of that time was used going around to various museums and parks and beaches and on various hikes and of course, sampling the best coffee in various cities -- much of what made those times resonate with me was that I was writing about them as they happened.

At every moment I was thinking about how I would describe what I was seeing or doing to the people who read me at home. And I would write whatever I was thinking or feeling. And I thought and felt a lot.

Often, a destination was just an excuse to sit down and write in a very beautiful, inspirational spot. And in fact, every place I went became the perfect writing opportunity. If it wasn't particularly beautiful, I waited and watched until I found the interest or peculiarity of the place.

I found beauty in everything around me.
I was mindful.
And the writing flowed.
It was utterly effortless.

Now I sit down at my computer at the end of a long day at, well, the computer, and I try to think of what engaging, insightful tidbit I can extract out of the melee. And sometimes, I don't even get around to doing that.

You may not have noticed the change, as maybe you've just met me. But I'll bet if you read my archives from March 2003-March 2004 you'll understand. Something happened. Something changed.

Yes, we are always changing. I accept that.
But hopefully, we are changing for the better. And I really am disappointed to think that perhaps I have changed for the worse.

When did I stop writing?

When did I start letting go of the thing that I love so much? It's been my passion since I was a little girl. I'll tell you -- as I know you didn't know me then -- I had volumes of pages written on a variety of imaginative themes. I still have all of the binders filled with all of the handwritten, crossed-out, scrap paper and work books.

Back then, I used my imagination to create an ideal future, packed with intriguing boyfriends and witty dialogue and fantastic outfits. Sometimes I even admitted that I was the main character. Other times, I called them such enviable names as "Kit" and "Brooke".

I even co-wrote adventures with my best teenage friend, Heather. We spent an entire summer writing what we called "Imagines" that involved elaborate scenes of what our lives would be like if we were dating our teen band heartthrobs.

And now?
Now, my furious personal scrawls that generated a monstrous writer's bump have given way to electronic tappings that are saved and filed, tagged by topic, posted to various electronic journals that are shared with the world. Should they want to read them.

Now, I post a smattering of rants about the environment, the pains of home ownership and the whinings of a frustrated woman trying to have a mature relationship without a roadmap.

I suppose my writing (my real writing) stopped when I stopped fulfilling another life mantra: live life with passion. Although which came first, I don't know.

I want to regain the Cathy who lived with passion. I want to start writing again.

Cross-posted from WebGoddessCathy on MySpace.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sometimes, I get upset about things.

I know, I know: shocking.

But seriously, I get so upset about some things that I make myself sick. I worry, I fret, I obsess.

And sometimes, when it seems the worst, I take a step back and ask myself a very important question:

How important is this, really?

And I look at the span of my life until now and all the crappy things that have happened and realize that, no matter how crappy something was when I went through it, I still got through it. Better yet, I haven't thought about that crappy time in years.

And so I realize: nothing is really all that important.

There are even people that you thought were important at the time and they came and went and you life is no worse off for their absence. I mean, come on, when's the last time you thought about that best friend in grade 1? Or that chick who stole the guy you liked in highschool?

It all passes.

And suddenly, I can handle anything.
As I'm sitting here freezing in my new office cubicle, I'm thinking back fondly to last night's meeting with my university friends, Scott and Mike.

I actually had DRINKS with BUDDIES and ate WINGS!
I feel cooler already.

Strange thing, though. Scott has a wife and a home, pets and a baby. Mike has a very significant other with whom he owns a cute house and they live there with her child and were seriously considering having another together.

They both are relatively happy. Even Mike, who is not known for being happy. Ever.

I'll tell ya, if you'd asked me back when we were in university, I would not have guessed that they would be in those lives and I would be in mine. OK, yes, I own a house. And YES, I live with my boyfriend. But marriage and babies and even pets are so far away from where we are right now.

I really do want that life.

Most of my friends already have that life, or are heading quickly for it (not everyone, I know). But even Anita has gotten engaged and owns a house in Brampton now.

I look at pictures of Max, Scott and Kat's baby and I get this pull in my stomach.

I know that obviously it's not the right time yet for me. But I'm impatient.

The economics of climate change

Originally uploaded by chrisevans.
"Climate change is the greatest market failure the world has seen."

Thus says the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, apparently the most comprehensive report on this topic ever published.

Basically, they are confirming what we all know but refuse to face and take responsibility for: the climate is changing ridiculously fast and it's going to have some really horrible consequences.

They have recommendations that we need to undertake NOW:

  1. Carbon pricing, through taxation, emissions trading or regulation, so that people are faced with the full social costs of their actions.
  2. Technology policy, to drive the development and deployment at scale of a range of low-carbon and high-efficiency products
  3. remove barriers to energy efficiency, and to inform, educate and persuade individuals about what they can do to respond to climate change

I really have to ask if people are THAT dumb.

We have known for a long time that this is a problem. Al Gore got on the war path and some people started to say, "Well, I guess maybe I should think about it."

In the end, I suspect the problem is this:

"The most vulnerable -- the poorest countries and populations -- will suffer earliest and most, even though they have contributed least to the causes..."

Sadly, I think the reason that we (and I mean North America and most of the people that I know) are not really doing anything or for that matter, all that concerned, is that we believe that this really won't affect us.

We are protected by our affluence.
And perhaps we are.

But perhaps not so for our children.
"All countries will be affected."

Perhaps we have the luxury of kidding ourselves, temporarily. But it will catch up with us if we don't do our part.

While that doesn't mean freezing our asses off in winter, it may mean NOT freezing our asses off in summer. I mean, seriously, there are no barriers to energy efficiency for us, unless they are our own refusals to spend an extra couple of bucks on the more efficient light or appliance.

And we are informed, educated individuals about what we can do to respond to climate change. Think about it -- your are, aren't you?

Apparently, we just need to be spoon-fed. We need change to be made SO easy that we don't even realize we're making a change that means a sustainable future.

We need to add our own item to this list if anything is going to happen: elect a governing body that puts this issue FIRST. And write to those governing bodies to let them know what you care about so that they don't lose steam once they get into office.

If we, as the market and the electoral body, make it important, it will become economically and politically viable for the entrepreneurs and politicians to make a go of it.

OK, I need to go take a cold shower.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

i want to ride my bicycle

Tonight I rode my bike home through the fog.

Stopped at the Food Basics to pick up some cheap groceries and rode up the ridiculously steep hill on Jones as I made my way home with several pounds of frozen chicken on my back.

Apparently, cyclists are the happiest commuters - at least, according to a Stats Can study. Many of us feel that it's the best part of our day.

And am I one of these happy cyclists?

I certainly do prefer the bike to wrestling amongst the rude people in public transportation. What I don't like is the traffic that doesn't know how to deal with cyclists. I don't like the stress. And I don't like the cold.

But sometimes, every so often, when I'm riding around, I find a quiet street that smells of autumn leaves and I slow down to enjoy it and it really is the best part of my day.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I'm so excited about Christmas, that I'm working on my Christmas wish list.

Don't know if you remember me complaining about the lack of good wish-list-making tools. Well, I think the one on MSN Live is pretty good. So, check out my MSN Live space: and click on Wish List.

This is where I'll be keeping my updated wish list this Christmas season.


I'm a web nerd. This is what web nerds DO. They use the web for seemingly silly reasons. I personally call it "useful" although I'm sure Alex calls his PVR useful too.
Tonight, after work, on my way to get my bike from the bike room, I found myself singing Christmas carols.

OH, but I am EXCITED already!

I think it's that I'm organizing the MaRS Christmas party. It totally puts me in the mood...

I was also looking at holiday recipes at my parents' house on the weekend. I love going there - I get away from the stress of my house, catch up on my magazine reading, get fed, have warm, comforting cats sit on me, demanding to be petted, and drink warm decaf beverages.

Really, what could be better? Aside from Christmas of course?

This time, I had brought home a bunch of clothes that I wanted to give away because I never wear them. And then I had a brainwave: Mom and I could alter the clothes to make them cool again! So we made my that's-so-2000 bell-bottom jeans into straight legs. And PRESTO! I have hot new jeans! We also tailored a velvet jacket that was way too boxy to be flattering. Mom made darts in all the right places and I wore it at work today and felt very cool.

YAY for new refurbished clothes!