Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Five

I'm stealing this Friday post from the webring RevGalBlogPals, because it gives me an opportunity to get all my venting about Christmas out of the way in one post, and then all I can talk about is happy holiday things from now on!

So the RevGals ask:

Please tell us your least favorite/most annoying seasonal....
1) dessert/cookie/family food
I don't like shortbread. THERE. I said it. THIS GIRL DOES NOT LIKE SHORTBREAD. I've never confessed that to anyone before... feels much better.

2) beverage (seasonal beer, eggnog w/ way too much egg and not enough nog, etc...)
I'm ok with egg-nog, but only in very small quantities.

3) tradition (church, family, other)
I'm going to have to agree with cheesehead on this one, and shake my fist at White Elephant gift exchanges. The last thing I need in my life (and my tiny house) right now, is another piece of ugly holiday crap. I like gift exchanges that involve nice things though... like wine.

4) decoration
Never been big on loose tinsel, but mostly because one always finds it in the litter box about a week later. Ew.

5) gift (received or given) One time, I got a starfish. A dead one. It smelled funny, but the girl who gave it to me thought it was really neat. It smelled bad.

BONUS: SONG/CD that makes you want to tell the elves where to stick it.
When I am Queen of the World, any person who wishes to write a choral re-arrangement of a classic Christmas carol, or a medley of Christmas carols, will have to have it approved first by moi. The implementation of this rule will be officially marked by the explosion of all recordings of "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth."

And another thing, WH and I were standing the supermarket the other day and noticed an advent calendar of sorts. Except it had Spiderman on it. And was counting down from December 1st until New Year's. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


As tagged by Crimson Rambler, here are my mugs!

1) At work, I have a mug that says UTAH on the side of it and has a three-dimensional prospector hugging the side of the cup. It's hideous, but a real conversation piece!

2) Also at work, I have a plain blue mug that says MUGS on the side of it. The MUGS mug was a promotional item for a first year experience program run at Colourful U.

3) At home, we have a set of four dark brown mugs with different simple patterns on them; all a very beautiful gift from an Italian friend of my brother.

4)One of my favourite mugs at home is a china mug covered in all of Da Vinci's sketches of cats, a gift from the Maternal Unit.

5)We have a variety of miscellaneous mugs - a couple with other cats on them, a couple with flower on them, a couple with flowers AND cats on them...

6)A wonderful pottery mug given to WH by Paternal Unit and his wife, with a very gumpy and sour face sculpted on to it.

7) And finally, two proper china teacups, both once belonging to my grandmother. One passed down via Maternal Unit, and the other, the very first gift my grandmother received as a teacher, a wedding gift to me from one of her friends.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Playing Blog Catch-Up

Seems like there is lots to blog about today...

WH and I hung our Christmas lights yesterday. The scene must have been absolutely hilarious to anyone watching from across the street. I would first like to announce with great pride that WH and I didn't exchange one cross word with each other the entire afternoon, which was especially impressive at the moment when I, being helpful, pulled on the end of the extension cord... which resulted in all the lights falling off the roof and into the front yard. WH had just come down from the ladder, where he was risking life and limb to get the lights strung across the highest eave. "That sucks," he said. I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe, a state in which he immediately joined me. Anyway, we did manage to get them hung, eventually, two strings of blue lights across the front of our house... very pretty. WH installed a new porch light as soon as we were done, and put in a blue light bulb. The whole effect is beautiful... very "Winter Wonderland." Lights are up just in time, with 10 cm of snow coming down last night. Our goal is to do something a tiny bit more extensive every year with the lights... last year we just did a window, this year the eaves... next year, one of those giant inflatable snow globes!

At church last night, we celebrated St. Arnold, Patron Saint of Brewers, with our annual beer-tasting festival. We've been holding this event for about 5 years and it's always great fun. My job is to do all the research and make a presentation on the beer that we're serving. Last night was beer from England and Scotland, and despite competing with the Grey Cup (Canada's Super Bowl), we had a good turnout. Beer = Good.

Some other Miscellaneousness from last week:
-WH's Convocation day was wonderful - beautiful ceremony, good and meaningful speeches, and a nice lunch with parents and supervisor before hand.
-Symphonic choir had their Fall concert that evening, which made for a VERY long day, but the concert went really really well. Always tough to get a choir up and motivated for a mid-week concert, but we seemed to be successful this time!
-We had a restful weekend. It was necessary, and lovely.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Every afternoon, the sun shines in through the windows of my office onto my back. It is lovely, but it makes me want to close my door and lie down on the floor like the cats, with my feet up in the air and the sun toasting my tummy. And my eyes closed... that part is important.

Weekend Wrap-Up

A busy but satisfying weekend is now behind us!

We held a party on Saturday evening to celebrate WH's graduation from the DMus program at Colourful U, and the event was highly successful! Just the right number of people, lots of nice food (including gourmet cupcakes... yum) and drink, a touching toast from WH's supervisor, and the presentation of his doctoral hood from his parents. They also brought with them from home two of WH's original compositions, written at approximately the age of 7: one a re-write of Oh Canada, and the other a charming ditty entitled "Shhh, my Dad is Sleeping: He is a Snorer." Much hilarity, I assure you!

Dress rehearsal tonight for Symphonic Choir's fall concert on Thursday evening, with about a third of the program conducted by WH. The concert is choir and brass and organ, and should be good fun, though I'm concerned that tonight's rehearsal will be a bit chaotic. We have a guest youth choir who come and go during the program, and there's considerable choreography that goes along with getting them in and out of the choir loft , and a semi-chorus (featuring both WH and me) in and out of the choir loft and the placement of the brass, etc. etc. And as always, I feel as though the choir could have used at least one more rehearsal before the dress, but it always seems to work out just fine!

Thursday is the big day of the week, with the actual convocation ceremony in the afternoon and the concert in the evening. This is a fortuitous opportunity for WH's parents to see him conduct, which they don't get to do very often.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Non-Lethal Force

A few thoughts on the use of tasers:

-There are no easy answers.

-The decision to use any kind of force against a person should be carefully made, whether that force is intended to be lethal or non-lethal. The decision to cause a person the kind of pain a blast from a taser brings should not be an easy one, nor should it be hastily made.

-Too many people are dying after receiving taser shocks to keep referring to use of the weapon as non-lethal force, whether or not there were other factors that contributed to the deaths of those people. And speaking of those other factors, police need to find another way to deal with people with who are in the state of delerium described in the article. Do police forces have doctors on call?

-The story that is making news this week about the man who died in the Vancouver airport is a tragedy of epic proportions. That nobody appears to have made an attempt to communicate with the man in a language he knew, that he died in pain, confused, distressed, tired, and alone is heart-breaking.

-The incident in Vancouver, and the incident in the airport in Arizona cause me to wonder if there isn't something wrong with the way that the air travel industry supports passengers in distress.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Shock of all Shocks

REALLY?!?! Alex Rodriguez is back negotiating with the Yankees!? I am SHOCKED, I tell you. ABSOLUTELY SHOCKED! This is just the most shocking thing!! Who could have seen this coming?? It's JUST SO SHOCKING.

Oh wait, no, no it isn't.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Today feels bogged down in little frustrations. And of course, as soon as one or two frustrations make themselves apparent, I start looking for other ones, just to try and improve the efficiences of my frustration.

WH took me to the Dr. this morning to have my blood (and other things) tested in the hopes that whatever it is that is making my hands and feet feel like they're asleep all the time would make itself apparent. While we wait for test results (should appear before tomorrow), I am increasingly frustrated by the symptoms. They're not painful, exactly, but just uncomfortable enough to be impossible to ignore.

A colleague at Colourful U, responsible for a job search for which I applied and was not short-listed, was kind enough to speak to me on the subject last night, and tell me that though I was "long listed," I was lacking HR experience. This fact is not news to me. It's a fact that has been commented upon by my supervisors in my own department. It's a fact they have talked about rectifying when they take my (currently) contract position and make it permanent. They have been talking about doing THAT since April. Though I love my job, today these facts are frustrating.

And other little things that come and that I blow out of proportion. Ne'er mind; the day is almost done and we're in for the evening, with the possible exception of doing some frame shopping. So it's ok.

In order to not dedicate an entire blog entry to whining today, I'll end with some pieces of thankfulness:
-Parents in Law are coming in to town this weekend for a party, for WH's convocation from the Doctor of Music program, for a Symphonic Choir concert in which WH is conducting, for good conversation, and good times!
-There is a bottle of champagne at home that I think we might consume tonight.
-It has been a fair to medium day in terms of productivity, and if that doesn't seem like such a big deal, think how productive YOU would be if both your feet and one hand were asleep for most of the day. ;)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Musical Weekend

It's been a busy weekend for music!

Chamber Choir, conducted by Wonderful Husband, had their first concert of the year on Saturday night. The music was all connected by themes of water and the sea, including "They that go down to the sea in ships," by Herbert Sumsion, two settings of "Like as the hart desireth the waterbrooks (Palestrina and Howells) and a wonderful memorial piece for the victims of the Estonia ferry disaster by Jaarko Mantjarvi, called "Canticum Calamitatis Maritimae." It was a very powerful concert to sing, and the music peaked at exactly the right time. I am so proud of the success that WH has found with this choir; I have learned so much from him about music and the art of successful performance.

On Sunday afternoon, WH sang in a men's choir concert at our local concert hall, so I went and sat in the audience with a very dear friend of mine. It was a fun concert, and the choir sounded great. We took dear friend out for coffee afterwards and then came home and cooked a nice cheese fondu to celebrate the various musical successes of the weekend.

In honour of Canadian Remembrance Day, I'm off work today. It's nice to have the day to get some housework done and rest. We're back in rehearsal for Chamber Choir tonight in preparation for singing the Vivaldi "Gloria" in early December.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Ten Random Things

I have been tagged for ten random things by Crimson Rambler, so here we go!

1. I've never met a Melbac I didn't love.

2. I'm learning to accept the fact that I will never really be a diligent scrapbooker. And that's ok.

3. As I get older I am learning to love the finer things - cooking great food, eating great food, drinking nice wine, staying in nice hotels, etc.

4. As I get older I am learning to love the simple things - reading the newspaper, napping on the couch, petting the cats, working in the garden, etc.

5. They say there are two kinds of people: those who love to sleep and those who are resentful that sleeping takes up a portion of their busy days. I am the former. Sleeping is lovely.

6. I'm afraid of mice.

7. My toes are almost always cold.

8. I suffered a lung collapse about 4 years ago and as a result, had the top portion of my left lung removed surgically. Like many other kinds of injury, the lung hurts when the weather gets cold.

9. I think that this video is hilarious:

10. I have precented an Evensong service at Beverley Minster in Beverley, England.

In my turn, I tag From the Podium.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Trip Wrap-Up

Today was a real gift. After attending the conference closing session this morning, I took a lovely walk downtown (the first real fresh air since the conference started) and shopped the main district. I looked in all the stores we don't have in Canada, I tried all the testers in the bath stuff store until I smelled like VanillaOrangeCherryBlossomPumkinSpice (yum). I tried on a ridiculous quantity of clothing and found two great pairs of pants, four tops and two pairs of shoes. All of it on sale! And then I had some of the best sushi I have EVER had. I have a motto about travelling: wherever you go, make sure you have one fantastic meal. Because even if the rest of the trip is gross, at least you can remember the one fantastic meal. The sushi was that meal for me.

The conference has been good - lots of really nice people, some very interesting session topics and some great speakers. Definitely a positive experience, and I'm looking forward to next year. That being said, I'm really tired of schmoozing; it's time to go home.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The View from my Hotel Room

SIGH. This city is surrounded by mountains, and this is the view from my hotel window... three floors up, no less! I can reach out and touch the wall from my "balcony."

Away from Home

Well, made it safely to Big City, USA yesterday in what turned out to be an exceptionally easy travel day. Found my hotel without a problem, found dinner without a problem, found the shopping district without a problem... and slept for 11 hours last night, which was lovely.

Through the powers of the internet, I'm able to keep quite good contact with WH while I'm here, which makes it seem like I'm not so far away. It also means that I can post a blog entry or two, when I can find a minute.

The conference doesn't really start until later this afternoon... I'll wander down and find the registration table at some point today, and maybe take another walk through downtown. Then we have a new members reception, an opening plenary and an opening reception. Then in to the full swing of things tomorrow!

I'm the only representative, that I know of, from Colourful U. here this week. This will challenge me to be outgoing, and introduce myself to people, and network... ... ... none of these are things I do naturally, or all that well, but I'll give it my best!