Monday, October 31, 2005

je me souviens

Yesterday, we decided that it was time for Jordan's first trip to Quebec and my journey back to my mother's homeland ;-) The Museum of Civilization is just accross the pont Alexandra bridge in Hull and it's half price on Sundays, so off to Quebec we went...on foot. (I feel like we walked all day, but after the giant montreal smoked meat sandwich I had for lunch, perhaps it was a good thing to be walking all day). Anyway, the sun was out...it was a little windy but not too bad...it was a lovely day for a Quebecois experience.
Even as we crossed the bridge, we started to feel like we wanted a distinct society, like drinking wine and smoking, like separating from the rest of the country and like toasting Lucien Bochard, Gilles Duceppe and Jaques Parizeau .
Instead, we just went to the museum which...is the home of the Canadian Postal Museum!!! Who knew?
It's weird though, it really did feel different. The traffic lights were different, the signs were a little different...it was a little unexpected.

Below are the pictures from the big Quebec trip (that lasted all of 3 hours)...the first is the view from our doorstep. There was no "Bienvenue au Quebec" sign so we had to settle for one of Jordan with the Quebec Flag.

les photos





Friday, October 28, 2005

but i hate j-walkers...

I'm turning into one of those people I hate: A j-walker. I think I've done it almost every day since I got here. People don't wait for the lights here, they just don't. And it's hard not to do it when there are no cars coming and everyone else is crossing...(I'm sorry Mum. I know you taught me better than this, I won't do it when I'm "home" I promise).
The bonus here though is that the drivers are not quite as freaked out about the pedestrian laws as they are in Calgary. In Calgary, cars will stop for a j-walker because they are so afraid of getting the $300 "failing to yeild to a pedestrian" ticket that they will cause a pile-up trying to brake for a pedestrian who does NOT have the right of way. Here, the motorists will speed up and try to take you out even when you as a pedestrian DO have the right of way.
This is how I am justifying my new habit...the motorists just don't care.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

it's a....parade?

Seriously...there was a parade down King Edward this afternoon. Who has a parade on a Thurdsay afternoon you ask? The Chinese...that's who. There were drums, there were signs...No colourguards though.
I'm guessing they were going to parade all the way to the Chinese Embassy because I remember walking by it the other day and I don't think it's that far away. (and when we walked by there were people there protesting the persecution of the Falun Gong). The paraders didn't seem too happy with the Communist Party of China...I guess it's probably much more effective to protest the party here where you aren't going to disappear for speaking out...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

panama...who'd have thunk?

I was so pleasently surprised when we were told that they'd be flying to Panama City (it was pointed out that they meant Panama City PANAMA...as opposed to Florida. Who knew there was a Panama city Florida?). I don't think I was the only one...the teams seemed to be itching to get out of the country as well!
We had canals, baseball, guys named Ricardo...and yet, it was still a little boring. Is it the 4 person team? Is it the kids? Has the show lost it's spunk, it's zsa zsa zsu? I just don't know.

We had the Paolos finishing first becase of the Fast Forward...I know we all wanted the woman to just throw herself off that platform and allow her son to scream like a girl for his mommy...Instead, she was the mature one and allowed her son to step up and face his fear. Still, he screamed like a girl and we loved it. Hmmm...I just noticed that the older son is actually 24. TWENTY FOUR and he's still treating his mother like that? I hope he learns his lesson.

The Weavers did pretty well for themselves. Found some Toucans, Macaws and other birds...They must be really weird or mean "off camera" in the scenes the editors choose not to show us because the other teams seem to truly hate them. Now, they do seem a little odd, but I there must be more to it than we are seeing.

I still love the Bransens. They can't speak spanish worth a damn, but they are still having fun. Hopefully they don't disappoint me and start turning into raging lunatics.

The Linzes are still cracking me up as well. I wonder if they have what it takes to win? I think that she forgets that the camera is on...she seems to say what she's thinking just a little too liberally.

We saw a bit of the killer instinct coming out in the Gaghans this week. As their boat was going the wrong way and the Pepsi machine was blocking the road, you could tell their competitive edge was just bursting to get out. Kudos for not completely losing it in front of the kids.

And the sisters were saved by the non-elimination. And they came in wearing underpants on top of pants on top of underpants...which according to Phil is illegal in Panama. The real question: is it illegal in the game? They are the first to pull off the multiple layers of clothing into the next leg. The rule seems to be "with the clothes on your backs and your passports". We'll see.

I just don't understand why they insist on putting the no money rounds in the poor countries. I know that it makes it more difficult for the teams, it's more of a punishment...but I have a problem with rich people asking poor people for money. Hopefully there are plenty o' rich Panamanians and tourists to help them. No begging from the people who are already doing without.

Next week? More Central America? I hope so.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

all the time in the world...

So now that I have all the time and energy in the world to go out with friends and meet them for lunch and make plans...I can't. I don't really have any.
I think I now understand that whole "you don't know what you've got till it's gone" thing. I always thought I was one of those people who lived in the day and really appreciated it all. But alas, I didn't fully appreciate my friends while I was around.
Just so y'all know...I love you and I miss you. If you've got an extra 6 hours and $500, feel free to stop by for lunch.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

my old jeans

I don't know if you folks are familiar with the diet Pepsi commercial that is out right now...the one where the thing he wants that will help him feel young is his old jeans. There is a scene in it where the pants need to come off...and due to their tightness, the only way to get them off is for him to hold onto the headboard while his wife tries to pull them off of him...
I had these jeans when I was younger. I would say I was about 9 or 10...it was a time when tapered jeans were pretty much all you could buy in the stores. I certainly didn't have them because I needed to be cool, I was pre-cool. But they were the taperedest jeans around and I think they were from JC Penny. They had these two bows at the bottom of each leg, at the back. They made them even more tapered I think.
They were really easy to get on. Not so easy to get off. My sister used to have to pull them off me while I hung on to the bunkbeds for dear life.
Every time I see that commercial I have a good laugh about the bow jeans...I'll tell you right now, even though the taper seems to be making a new comeback, I'm willing to be anti-fashion if it means I can take my own pants off...

Friday, October 21, 2005

mmm...cookies

I received some cookies in the mail today. They are fantabulous. Merci Beaucoup a Heather et Mum (even though I know who actually made them...)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

now i love the mailman too!

Sorry Steve, not you, but my mailman DOES have some fun facial hair; a big fat moustache.
Anyway, I got my mystery package in the mail today. I have the bestest sister in the world. THANK YOU HEATHER!
The colours are in a different order than in yours...it was surprising. But now not only do I have that to play with, but it came in bubble wrap. And everybody likes bubble wrap.
Perhaps I'll give it to Jordan to play with though because he is jealous that I had two packages in the mail and he had none. (apparently #2 is supposed to come tomorrow. i'm excited)

the amazing family vacation

As you can guess, I haven't really been as enthusiastic about this season of the Amazing Race as I have in past seasons. Mostly because they've stayed in the US so far. I would probably be "for" the family edition if they were still racing around the world. But so far, just the continental united states...wooohooo. Though according to Phil's scenes from next episode, they finally leave the good ole USA next week. I wonder where they'll go: Mexico or Canada?

That being said, there are always things to love and loathe about episodes. For one, I have to say that I'm enjoying the Pert Plus family (the Bransens...apparently, they were in a shampoo commercial once upon a time). They seem like genuinely nice people who are in it to have fun, but still push it. I mean who else moons another team just for the sheer enjoyment of it? Plus, they cheer everyone else along.

I'm still not a big fan of the Paolo family...but I think that perhaps they are just in that teenaged family dynamic. I don't think they realize how awful they are being to their mother. Now that they've pulled themselves close to the top of the heap, perhaps they will calm down a bit.

The Linzs are fairly fun to watch...I like that the guys love the Bransen girls. That poor sister just has to listen to these guys fawning over the blonde girls. I bet that's what her whole life has been...

The sisters fight like only sisters can. Their voices drive me crazy.

The Weavers are a little weird, but that too makes sense. They are still adjusting to the death of the "head" of their family. Though they tend to get on my nerves a bit, I give them kudos for facing the fear and riding that silly party bike around the track. I kind of wish it HAD been a race car...but no dice.

Mama and Papa Gaghan are tough cookies. I really think that the only reason this team is still in the race is because those two are really good athletes. The kids DO contribute...but there's just no way they'd still be around if they were in the shape that the Paolo parents are in. She is crazy tough and they are setting great examples for their children. I feel bad for the boy though. While the little one couldn't even reach the pedals for the party bike, he was pedalling like mad and then could barely keep up to the rest when they had to run back to the car...he's a little trooper.

I hate to say it, but I was glad that the Schroeders were eliminated. I just don't really like them. Their first reaction to hearing that they had to go to a motor speedway was to make fun of the Weavers because their dad died at a track and they must be freaking out. WHO DOES THAT? (contrast that with the Bransens that seemed to actually feel bad that it would upset the Weavers). That Stassi was right that being in your own backyard is the kiss of death though...bye bye Schroeders.

And yes...next week, they leave the states...hooorrraaaaaay.

(oh yes, and last week, Phil gave an exceptional eyebrow moment...I loved it.)

Monday, October 17, 2005

the joys of downtown livin'

Good times living downtown. I was just walking along, returning my two movies (Criminal: if you can do subtitles, the original version called Nine Queens/Nueve Reinas is much better AND Brown Bunny: don't even bother, it's 90 minutes of boredom that I will never ever get back...)and got to see some fun sights.

First came coca-cola man. Now I had some friends in high school that called coke "nectar of the gods" and perhaps this man felt the same way. He was walking down the street with a briefcase in one hand and the other hand, raised like the "flame hand" of the Statue of Liberty, holding a can of Coca-cola singing "What if god was one of uussssss". I felt a little bad when I started giggling to myself...

The next was a teenaged girl with "I'm so L.A." written in marker on her jeans. I didn't know that writing on your jeans was back. I thought it went out around the same time I threw out my jeans with I "heart" NKOTB on them...
Then of course, because it's downtown Ottawa and the department of defense is here, a Military Policeman walking along normally and then suddenly saluting a female officer that was walking towards him. It certainly took me aback, and it kind of looked like it surprised her as well.

It's fun to see such diversity...

unemployment...

It's boring! There are only so many jobs you can look at and apply for in a day. There are only so many dishes to do...
It's hard to stay motivated and it's only been a week. Technically, I was still being paid until October 12th...so it's not even been a week. Yikes.
I'm wondering how long it will take to get the kind of job I want and I'm wondering what job it will be. I'm not so big on uncertainty, but I'm sure it will all be ok.

Friday, October 14, 2005

the milk...it comes in bags

I remember back in the day...we had these strange jugs. They didn't have lids and they held milk. The blue one was for skim milk, the orange one was for 2%. They held the said milk in bags. These bags of milk were delivered in one larger bag by the milkman. This was in the 1980s.
At some point, we switched from bags to cartons and slowly, the bags disappeared from the stores and so did the milkman. Now, you go to the milk section of a grocery store in Alberta and you see cartons and large 4L plastic jugs. I figured that's what all of Canada was like.
But no...the milk here, it is in bags. It must be part of the retro chic movement or something.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

week long observations...

Well, I've been here a full week now. It has been an interesting one, and a bit of a difficult one as well. But hey, I knew it would be. Here are some of my observations so far:

-J-walkIng seems To be the norm here. You look quite the fool if you actually wait for the light and there aren't carS coming. It's pretty strange. So I'm doing more crossing Against the light than I have ever done in my life.

-What is with the rain???? It is Bumming me Out.

-EverYthing is different. It's weird.

-Still no Jack Layton sightings.

-We don't have cable and get 7 channels. 5 of those channels are in french. I'm glad I'm not hooked on this season of Survivor because none of the channels is Global. We also don't get City TV...and their station is about 5 or so blocks away. Boo.

-Exciting news came yesterday...it made me a bit sad though. Perhaps you can figure that one out yourself.

-There is a 24 hour MacDonalds and a 24 hour grocery store within walking distance. I've only been to the grocery store, not the MacDonalds.

-Looking at the Canadian wine section is a little weird. It's all Ontario wine...I don't know anything about it. The only BC product in sight is Mission Hill.

-Lots of government buildings everywhere...

C'est tout pour maintenant...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

i think i understand why my mum hates shopping

Let me start by saying that I now know where the smallest and oldest Zellers in Calgary (and by Calgary, what I mean is Canada) is: 156 Sparks St. Ottawa, Ontario.
I should have known before I walked in...the sign was actually etched out of the stone on the building. No red neon sign here. But I though it would be like most Zellers I've been in before. Not so much. There were no carts in this Zellers. Why? There's no way they'd fit between the aisles. I barely fit between the aisles.
Most of the seasonal stuff was on the main floor, but I was looking for drawer liners, a bathmat and a dish mat thingy, so I had to venture downstairs. No windows, low ceilings, no room. I could barely move through the aisles to find what I needed. And of course there were people everywhere. Why? I do not know. Perhaps they were all hoping that if they hung out on Sparks Street they'd catch a glimpse of Bruce Cockburn and his pretty earrings....
But yes. This is how I imagine shopping was like when my mum started shopping. Horrible.
And they didn't have drawer liners. I was told that the "bigger" Zellers would have them, but this store did not.
But do not fear, we took the bus to Kanata to find a WalMart and found ourselves some drawer liners. (I know, you were worried).

My next item of business? Can I get my Bernard Callebaut dark chocolate bars here in Ottawa...(oh right, and find a job)

Monday, October 10, 2005

free movie

We went to blockbuster and used a giftcard. I love giftcards!!!
Thanks to the Joyleafs who were the givers of said giftcard. It was wonderful not to have to spend MORE money (we'll be doing too much of that in the next month or so). I need to say giftcard just one more time for good measure.

it's....blue...

Well, we're in our place. They wanted us to move in Sunday as opposed to Saturday, but we had to return the truck on Saturday. Because of that, we moved into a dirty apartment. Yuck. We spent a good deal of time cleaning on Saturday, some time cleaning on Sunday and I know what we'll be doing most of today. Fun fun fun.

Other than that, the only complaint is the horrid shade of blue they painted the walls. When Jordan was told the walls were going to be painted, we were both quite happy with that. No one thought to ask them what colour...we figured it would be the same colour that was already in the apartment: white. While not ideal, white would do. Unfortunately, we've got blue. Not nice blue...a watered down "nursery" version of blue. It makes the place feel and seem colder. Seriously people...when painting living spaces, why on earth would you want cool shades??? Unless they are nice cool shades of course.
We are going to price out a browny-taupe colour and ask if we can repaint. I don't think they are going to like us much.

I thought of something nasty a little earlier this morning. I think they have rats here in Ontairo. I've been so spoiled in Alberta. The only rats around are those that are being tortured in scientific and psychologial experiments (much like I had to do in my last year of my degree). There might be random rats around here. Yikes.

Anyway...that's enough rambling about nothing. Happy Thanksgiving to you all (though I imagine most of you had turkey last night...we did).

Friday, October 07, 2005

some things i've noticed so far

-The air is REALLY heavy here. We're closer to sea level, so breathing should be easier, but it doesn't feel that way yet. Perhaps it will soon.

-There is a lot of "Franglais" spoken here...perhaps I don't have to work on my French as much as I thought I would if I can get by with the french/english hybrid.

-The leaves have not yet changed colour. I'll be waiting in anticipitory delight.

-French appears first on the signs.

-Booster juice must not be as popular here because the guy seemed really happy to have our business.

-There is this weird cat house right by the parliament building. It's like a little zoo display but with cats. I wonder what's going on there?

-The department of National defense building is not nearly as impressive looking as the Pentagon. I wonder if Canadian military personnel get a little sheepish when they have to tour american personnel around their HQ.

-I am cautiously optimistic.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

and here starts the ottawa adventure

My flight leaves at 6:20...
I'm both excited and nervous but I know it will all work out.
I have a feeling that this first month will be a tough one, but it can only get better right?
Pray for safe flights, good jobs and general wellness please.

I will miss those of you here, but hey, that's what's great about the internet! We're all still connected.

I will pass on my information once I have it...
Thanks for all your kind words and support.
~K

Monday, October 03, 2005

walkers for knockers

I tried to write a post on this last night but apparently Blogger needed maintenence of some sort.

Anyway, yesterday was the CIBC run for the Cure here in Calgary. For the last 3 years, we've had a team called "Walkers for Knockers". It changes every year, but there are key people have remained the same. It's great to walk for a good cause and to raise money to help people have hope. I love walking the 5 km with those people. It was strange to be doing it knowing that I wouldn't get to do this with these same people again next year. BUT...be on the lookout for Walkers for Knockers EAST next year. We'll out-fundraise the West chapter like you wouldn't believe ;-)

In other news..it's snowing today. WHAAAAAT????

Have a great Monday.