Thursday, December 29, 2016

Mad ninja glue skills

I read once that when you make a mistake you should take immediate steps to correct it...

Last year my friend's Auntie Mayweather lent us her parole (it's a traditional Philipino Christmas decoration, some are more elaborate than others but as far as I have seen they are all beautiful).  It came to us in a large black plastic garbage bag, the string of blue lights were burnt out and the cord was wrapped in masking tape where it had be twisted together with the plug end... but it looked wonderful blinking in the window - after I immediately replaced the masking tape with electricians tape of course.

Some months later while innocuously playing scrabble we heard a large crash outside and then nothing... probably cats, thinking nothing of it until the next morning when I discovered the wreath box I thought I'd so cleverly entombed the parole in on the floor... with a slightly bent and broken parole inside.

My heart sank.

On a number of levels I felt responsible. I shouldn't have put it in the wreath box without modifying (dremeling) it so it fit better, and I should have put some kind of padding in there with it... at very least a towel. *exhales*

 Of course this happened not long before Christmas, when people *cough* Auntie Mayweather *cough cough* would notice it was missing.  The initial look is always the worst, your worst fears manifest themselves and it's broken broken.  The second look, where I took a deep breath and actually looked was much better. I realized that none of the shells were broken, and for the most part things had just popped out of place.

It took a few days of mentally preparing myself to hunker down and start the project of "fixing" it.

The girls joked that we should take a picture and say that I was "making a parole" Martha Stewart style because I'm crafty like that, but I was still too nervous that I wouldn't be able to pull it off and that pre-emptively taking a picture would somehow jinx my chances of completion.

Also, I say "fixing" because it turned into six hours of hunched over tongue biting concentration, composed of vary degrees of holding my breath, sweating, swearing, crossing my fingers, praying and crazy-gluing my fingers together countless times before I had the outer half edge of the parole back into more or less the right shape. Save two points which were under slightly too much strain to crazy glue.

*exhales* This was when I started to feel like it really might be possible to fix it fix it. I took a drink of water, and then began "phase 2".  The purpose of phase 2 was to reinforce everything, and make it fixed forever.  I gathered some tiny clamps and a disposable paint brush and mixed up the small choose your own adventure travel size epoxy.

One of my favorite quotes of my Dad's is that:
"Epoxy is forever"
Another hour or so, a stiff paint brush and four quickly solidifying piles of epoxy later and I had dabbed each of the joints of the outer ring and clamped the two remaining points that the crazy glue couldn't hold.


Now we can talk about me building a parole *weak smile* at this point I was tired and relieved... there was still work to be done, but we had reached the tipping point where I knew it was doable and I was fully confident in my emergency arts and crafts abilities.  With the Ninja's help and her extra set of very patient hands, we hot glued all the lights that had popped off back in place, and found that with a little luck the first blue bulb she touched just needed a little jiggle to settle back in place and the whole string lit up again!

*grins* Now we're golden, not only is it fixed, but it's better than when we got it.

As a final touch I clipped and soldered the power cable with appropriate amounts of shrink tubing in all the right places, and called it a day.  The parole looks awesome in the window, feeling is slowly returning to my fingertips as the crazy glue peels off, and there are only two panels where we got the lights slightly out of order... but you probably wouldn't notice unless I told you muahahahaaa ;)

It is still a mystery why it jumped off the filing cabinets after all that time up there undisturbed, one theory is that it was the ghost of Houdini the bird that escaped his cage (Auntie Mayweather's bird to be precise) - but that's a story for another day... In any case, I feel as though I were able to live true to an old Girl Guide saying of "leave things better than when you found them." 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Work in progress

Remember that the objective of working is the value of what you do -- not the hours put in.  ~Dad

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


I read a book once where angels in a war of cosmic proportions had been knocked into another dimension... each one of them acquired varying degrees of magic in this new place and one that I found particularly fascinating was a master musician, that when he played golden notes materialized out of thin air, floated while the note rang true and then simply faded away.

I think if I had this ability my trumpet notes would come out bronze, some of them would be shiny and some of them would be dull... some of them would have a little too much aluminum, and some a little too much tin, and occasionally they would be something else like iron :p

Monday, December 12, 2016

Overthinking everything

It occurs to me as I sit here looking at my recovering sleeplessly sunken visage at the hairdressers that if I worry any more deeply, people will start to wonder about my shadow of a lobotomy scar that won't turn into Granny's adorable furrow for at lease another 30 years... *sigh* :/

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Nail gunned it!

Ahh the relaxing sound of burbling water right?

Except when it isn't...

...because it's actually pouring out from where the shut-off valve is supposed to be, as well as squirting out of the wall where the guys doing the siding clipped the pipe "that they couldn't see and weren't expecting" with a nail...

To their credit they let me know right away what had happened, and that they were going to turn the water off, run pick up some parts from Home Despot and fix it...

Awesome, no problem! Literally *moments* after I shut the door I had to go to the washroom...

I stuck my head out a few times every hour or so to see how things were going. By late afternoon it sounded like they had shut off the water to practically everything they could find a valve for, just shy of the whole neighborhood... 

There were 4 guys making suggestions, with one of them trying to get a wet/dry vac with a 1.5" diameter hose to suck the water out of 1/4" pipe, clustered around the fifth guy...

I left him to carry on muttering good naturedly about not needing 5 guys and a tenant to help, while trying to solder pipe with cold water slowly burbling out of it...

The silver lining to all of this is that we just might end up with a new shut off valve which I've been wanting to replace anyways... funny how that works!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Booyah! *fist pump*

I'm officially allowed to drive again, without someone who has a full license in the car with me... Yep that's right I passed my California drivers test *proud grin*, look out California!!!

There was only one minor burlap sack moment when the receptionist asked for my 84 digit appointment confirmation number and said that she could not look it up... and that they did not have a list of appointments for the day... and that I couldn't do my driven test without it. Wait, what?!?!


Luckily the automated system sent me an automated confirmation along with the number, it isn't actually 84 digits, but it's all numbers and pretty long, and is hard to write down when you book it over the phone. I know from experience. 

In retrospect it was probably because most of their computer systems were down, and have been for the last day and a half... but just *say* that, and in that case you might as well just take people that say they have an appointment and sort it out later *sigh*

So how did I do?

I got three points off (out of a max of 15)

1 for not over-exaggerating looking behind me when I backed up while he was writing stuff down...

1 for stopping too close to/over the stop line, I don't think I was too far over but he suggested stopping back a little bit.  I disparage this one a little because it seems to be a habit of people around here to stop with more than a car length of space while they check their phones, which doesn't trip the traffic light sensors properly *sigh*

The last one was something to do with driving in my own lane... which I'm pretty sure I know exactly when that happened as we were driving through a small windy back road and I gave the car on the corner a wide berth because I couldn't see if there was someone getting out of it and not paying attention or not... and because that's how we drive in a small town... and because we're just polite like that in Canada ;)

You can take the girl out of the small town, but there are some small town things you can't take outta the girl ;)

Having waited on edge in anticipation for over half an hour despite having an appointment, and experiencing the full gamut of emotions this morning on not quite enough sleep I. am. exhausted. and thankful this is over, and relieved, and a little proud that it wasn't anywhere near as awful as I had feared it might be... almost anti-climactic even, which I am totally okay with *deep exhale*

Also, I'm pretty sure my lucky Superman underpants helped ;)

Friday, September 09, 2016

Day 9 third time lucky?

"Dumbass" may or may not make it, in the process of being transferred to a fresh leaf he freaked out and pooped silk like a squid and tried to swim away. Writhing like he was on fire he managed to get tangled in his own filaments, and needless to say he *might* have fallen and been dropped on his head... a couple times :/ The two that were moved before him were just fine though.

The one that stopped eating is dead :/

We found more eggessess!!! We found 8 on the calmansi, no wait 9 on the calmansi, oh, hold on 10?... nope 12, 12 eggs on the calmansi, which we collected by snipping and putting them in vials of water to keep the leaves alive. And we also found 3 on the Rue, so maybe they really do like Rue!

We are thinking that part of the reason the first batch didn't make it was because the leaves they hatched on were already drying out and dying?

Caterpillar count:

Batch #1 - forget about it.

Batch #2 - Four out of six, for now...

Batch #3a - 12 eggesess!
Batch #3b - 3 eggs on the Rue

Day 8 progress!

12:00 pm

The one we recovered from batch #1 is definitely dead :/

One from the second batch may also be dead... he just seems to have stopped eating and is now quite small compared to the others.

The baby caterpillars have grown to ~2/8 of an inch. Here are their leaf nibbles from yesterday and then their progress to today!

And this... this is "Dumbass"

Caterpillar count:

Batch #1 - We've given up on any remaining survivors from the first batch, by this ppint they should be big enough to spot in the Rue and we've found nothing... they're "missing and presumed dead"

Batch #2 - Four out of six from the second batch with one unhatched.

Day 7 nibbles... and bits

1:00 am

I found one of the first batch still moving!!!!

We then recovered two bodies from the base of the Rue plant... and found 2 possible body parts?

*gasp* they're canniballistic caterpillars!

I couldn't help but be reminded of the life lesson I learned from the time I tried to grow tadpoles in our aquarium in the house. I think I was in grade 4... It was really cool, I was keeping a journal of all the changes and checking them daily, and then the first one finally hatched!!!!

*gasp of awe and wonder*

... and then he ate all the other ones :/

Life lesson? Nature sucks sometimes.

The caterpillars in batch #2 have grown significantly but haven't quite doubled in size yet. We moved them onto their "calmansi condos" so their leaves will last longer.

11:00 am

The one that was moving appears dead dead and doesn't seem to have eaten anything :/

The second batch however are doing nicely and have made sizeable bite marks in their respective leaves.

Caterpillar count:

Batch #1: 0 out of 11 :(

Batch #2: Five out of six still!

Day 6, less... and then more

~11:00 am I heard this disembodied voice float up the stairs...

The Ninja: "Sam?... I think the caterpillars... are all... dead."

me: *eternally optimistic* "maybe they're just sleeping...?" I hollered back down... as I pushed myself away from my desk to teundle down and investigate.

The Ninja: "No... I'm pretty sure they're dead. They're not moving"

We looked and looked and looked, and the ones we could see seemed to be even smaller than they were yesterday, the others well they're missing... We concluded that they could be anywhere in the Rue plant by now though, they're so tiny!

3:00 pm

Our second batch of caterpillars hatched with the exception of one... maybe he just needs to cook a little bit longer.  They were quarantined from the first batch in a container, so we tried adding some Rue leaves. They didn't seem to be the least bit interested, like I don't even think they tried a nibble. They seem to love fresh calmansi and water mist though.  Well, we assume love, but they might be freaking out too.

We're trying to keep them separated so they don't eat each other... or whatever happened to the first batch.

Caterpillar count: 

Batch #1: Maybe two out of 8 in the Rue...

Batch #2: Five out of six in the quarantine container.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Crafty like that!

This is our new "over the toilet shelf". Reactions have ranged from "Awesome!" to "I feel like its going to fall on me when I'm pooping"

You might think we have gotten *slightly* carried away with our air plant masterpiece... But isn't it awesome?!?

I'm half-seriously considering either installing full spectrum lighting on a timer, a window... or doing something creative with mirrors like the Egyptians used to... Once I start seriously researching this project it'll probably end up being something creative with shiny things.

The brackets are from a tiny little shop in a tiny little town up near Pismo... I think Cayucos, and then we just put a pretty border on a chunk of tabletop wood and stained it... twice, because the first set of colours looked awful ;)

We be jammin'

I'm so proud of us *smug grin* we just made our first two batches of jam... and they ALL sealed (including one from each batch that we poked - yep each of us separatly, it was the Ninja's first time, but Mom I still haven't learned and it was an accident! I was just *pointing* at it and it popped I swear!)

Two phone calls to Mom to gird my confidence, random canning supply shopping an oompf and we finally just did it!

It turns out that the Kraft "Certo" brand is "Sure Jell" down here... whatever Kraft, and it now comes in powder or liquid which mixes in sooooo much faster *rolls eyes* We tried both, cooking time is comparable, although we're probably not the best benchmark ;)


The first batch looks prettier, but I think its cause we brought it to a boil at a lower flame, so there was less foam to scrape off... see? So pretty!


The second batch is the weird one, I would blame the liquid certo but we cooked it at a higher temperature and it was foaming up the sides... and even with a little butter it tried to climb out of the pot! We gave up trying to scrape the foam off  because we would have been left with strawberry jello jelly :/ ... 

Also, this happened:

me: *peering into the sterilized lid pot* "Gross what's all this stuff?!? that *definitely* wasn't in here when I started..."

The Ninja: "You put the one with the label in there...?" It wasn't even a full question, like she already knew that's what I'd done :p

Yeap... *sheepish look* I forgot to take the label off of the one lid before sterilizing it... I very carefully made sure we cleaned the one off of the jar before putting them in the oven though... *sigh*

The Ninja almost went diabetic when she saw how much sugar goes into how little jam... but then she tasted it on hot-out-of-the-oven baking powder biscuits ;)


I am loving the sound of jars sealing, it is so satisfying :)

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Day 5 we have babies!!!

So around 3:20 pm there was this one...

And then another one just behind it, and then we literally got to watch one hatch!

First he squeezed his big head out, and then he wiggle wiggle wiggled!

It was so cool!!

By 6:00 pm there were 8 baby caterpillars measuring ~1/8th of an inch!

It's amazing how much bigger they are outside their little eggs... like they get vacuum sealed in there or something and inflate upon opening :p

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Day 1 (Sunday)

No change in the butterfly baby eggs...

*yells* But we're gonna have MOOOOORE!

Yesterday: +11
Today: +6
Current egg count: 17!

The Ninja saw this slightly smaller Momma butterfly depositing more little bundles of nom-nom-nom on the calmansi tree...
 ...and we learned *whispers* that sometimes they EAT each other!!! *gasp* (Its like a canniballistic protein shake *shudders*) Sooooo they've been separated at least until after they hatch into bird droppings - which is what they're gonna look like if they're the kind we think they are... 

Yep, all kinds of beautiful caterpillars and we're hatching the ones that look like bird poo... *mock sigh* 

Luckily they're not endangered though,  so we can practice on these ones before we try helping with the monarch migration ;)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Zomg we're gonna have butterfly babies!!!

I was absolutely mesmerized by this butterfly today, he was flitting around and around the calmansi tree... I was enthralled, witnessing the gentle gracefullness with which he moved that until relatively recently science and engineering had deemed impossible.

I was so excited, wondering if he was thirsty and looking for water... or maybe a bite to eat until I showed The Ninja and she said "Is it laying eggs on my calmansi?!?"

Sure enough upon closer inspection we found little egg nodules... Ruh roh...

A moderate amount of Googling later and we discovered that they hatch within 3 to 5 days... 3 to 5 days?!?!?! We hatched a plan to save the calmansi from voracious caterpillars, and headed to the nursery to pick up something more appropriate for them to munch on.

We went in thinking we needed milkweed but the lady at the nursery was so awesome, and knew from the picture we showed her of the eggs that it was a citrus tree, and then guessed before I even showed her my pictures that it was a giant brown swallowtail not a monarch and that we needed Rue!

We stopped only long enough to grab a soda before hurrying home, and here are the butterfly eggs in their new home!

At least I hope they're butterfly babies... 

Oh well even if they aren't... they're in a mesh cage, outside ;) In any case, I'll keep you posted! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

No need to be rude, just use your words

It continues to boggle my mind that some people think that they are somehow in a bigger rush than everyone else...

We were buying shoes last night, and standing in line when a new teller opened up and the lady behind me dashed over...


I actually said something. I usually don't, but come on!

Thankfully the teller handled it really well and basically said these people were here first, I'm just going to ring them up and put her stuff aside in a matter of fact kind of way.

The thing that kills me, is that I've been in line before and had people behind me say "Excuse me I'm in a bit of a hurry <for whatever reason like needing to pick up kids>, could I possibly go ahead of you?"... and usually the answer is pretty much always yes. 

I can appreciate being in a hurry, but there's no need to be rude about it.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Stargazing from the roof... like they do in the movies!

It's probably been more than a year since we upgraded out ladder to this nifty folding/rearranging one (the one he demos at the end in the background), with the intention of watching fireworks from the roof of the garage. Being able to climb up to the garage roof in relative safety to watch the Perseids was totally worth the extra cost... No short ladders on small, stable objects... like *ahem* tables for us anymore! #safetyfirst

We saw a combined total of 8 meteors before my inner kid's excitement wore off enough that my inner grown up started to glaze over and beg sleep, already dreading this morning's alarm...

I still feel like a little kid lying on the ground looking all around the sky hoping that I wont be blinking when the next one streaks by... crossing my fingers that I'll be looking in the right spot so I'll see the entire burst of energy however brief it may be.

This morning I'm still pretty stoked that we saw any meteors this close to all the city lights, and I'm in awe at how pretty and magical falling rocks can be. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Like a boss!

So I left her unsupervised for *five* minutes while I went to get the key to unlock the rack from the hitch, and this is what happened...

She didn't actually hit anything, didn't even kiss anything or give it a love tap... but it is so perfectly nestled in there that mere millimeters in either direction would have munched something :p

You may not be casino lucky, but you've got good "carma" ;)

Friday, July 15, 2016

It's the little things

Having been a programmer in a past life, I fully and truly appreciate the sentiment of this error message.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

See what is there... not what you expect to be there

Look at things as though you've never seen them before... and you may find you never truly have.

Granny gave this to me forever ago, but this is the first time I've noticed the shadow it casts on the curtain despite being sunny every day since...

Friday, June 17, 2016

Anything can happen if you let it...

The Ninja is conducting for the Youth theatre group's rendition of Mary Poppins, and she'd been hinting at how cool it would be to have the Mary Poppins bird from the end of her umbrella as the handle for her baton...

We looked at decorative birds at Home Depot, but none of them were a good size or shape... and there was still the problem of getting the baton stick into the head and making the two fit together nicely... and not *look* decapitated...

Well what feels like four days ago "it would be really super cool" turned into my next "emergency arts and crafts" project, and I dove head first into a previously unexplored medium!

There were so many open questions when I started like "Will it melt... Or explode?!? Is it even possible?!?", that I felt like Han Solo responding "I never ask that question 'till after I've done it!"

I went through a few beak iterations that were too big, but good practice. Then settled in to getting the rest of it fleshed out.

I started to get a little nervous the closer I got baking it, and did some emergency Googling and a test bake to make sure the white wouldn't scorch (thanks for decreasing my perceived optimistic liklihood of success Google). Despite my new found fears though it went well! I got some good tips, although there was one in particular I should have followed and didn't... Supporting said project in a bowl of baking soda... I thought it would be okay, but it cracked a little where I'm guessing that the handle inside melted and bent a bit. Remembering other notes that said it didn't harden up until it had cooled though, I busted out a rubber band and strangled his little neck back together as far as it would go whilst cooling it.

The end result? *Practically* perfect ;) But I must say that I am nonetheless satisfied with my efforts, and more than happy with the astounded reaction I received upon presenting it -mere hours before the first upbeat- to its proud new owner, working wonders of her own in the orchestra pit below the stage.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

If I was five again, I would camp in the livingroom!

Ha! My Mom said when I grew up that I could do whatever I wanted... I later discovered the "catch" was that a whole new set of rules apply, like not being able to burn off cake every night for dinner *le sigh*

But I don't *have* to be five to camp in the living room... although granted at some point my roommate's tolerance for a tent in the living room will diminish to zero... (see, this is one of those new rules) but until then... 

*yells* Whooohoo!!!! Camping in the living room!!!!! *grins*

I'm seriously questioning the intelligence of owning a tent larger than a space indoors to put it up in... nevermind, it fits in the livingroom is now the livingroom! While it is nice to be able to stand up in it, it's gonna be a bear to dry it out or do any kind of maintenance.

...and whilst undergoing the tedium and sticky fingers of seam sealing it, I know in the depth of my wet innards that the hours spent here will be well worth even the briefest of time keeping my outer bits dry and warm during a rainstorm... *ahem* however unlikely that may be in California

Friday, June 10, 2016

Check out my new rack!!!

My new bike rack arrived Wednesday catalyzing the expenditure of a weeks worth of pent up excited energy and anticipation!

I spent a good chunk of the evening installing it, and overall am impressed!

My only disappointment is in the cable locks, I know they're only supposed to be a deterrent... but it just seems like they did such a good job of making them integrated and easy to use, that the implementation of the actual lock bit falls short of my expectations.  It just doesn't feel that secure to me, like maybe if I reefed on it the right way it would just pop open :/

That aside, I love the rack so far! It feels super secure in the hitch, and my bike feels super secure in the rack and when I try to wiggle either the whole car moves rather than jiggling... which makes me happy :)

Adventures in healthcare

So I finally got set up so I can set an appointment to get my healthcare checkups and had to go through the standard questions.  Some of these I routinely struggle with on paper, but of course it was more comical trying to answer them out loud with an audience.

Assistant: Marital Status?

Me: Uh... What are the options?

Her: Married, Single, Divorced... *I glazed over* for some other options that definitely didn't apply...

Me: Siiiingle?

The other assistant laughed and said "You don't sound too sure about that!". I retorted that it was process of elimination and that answer was the closest ;)

Her: Race?

Me: White.

Surprised she looked up quickly, and I conceded... Well I'm not Black, I'm not Hispanic, I'm not Latino or any of the other minority groups, and it's probably under Caucasian... *restraining an eyeroll*

Unfortunately I forgot my friend's awesomest answer to this question: "Race? I am part of the HUMAN Race"

Her: Ethnicity?

Me: *looking truly confused* Canadian?

*laughter erupted and ensued*

Come on, how is that even a valid question anymore?!?! Seriously, I'm part British, Czech, and who knows what else coming out of the middle European countries that are all super close together and invaded each other frequently... and most of the people I know are of unknown mixed ethnicity for similar reasons. 

Even when you think you know, there's that person in the family that traces the tree back and goes "Hey did you guys know, we're part Scandinavian? Apparently four generations ago this guy got stranded when he was hired to invade and they couldn't pay the raiding party, so a bunch of them settled down and took local wives"

Hopefully with the advances that are being made in healthcare they'll figure out a better way to group people together rather than relying what we think we are.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Seesig shortcut number one

Last night we had a traditional? fried pork Filipino dish called Seesig... which we'd picked up most of the ingredients from a local Mexican supermarket when Trav asked:

Auntie, how do you cook the meat for this?

She lowered her voice and confided "First, I let the Mexican man cook it for me..."

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Women and cardinal directions...

Don't ask me North, South, left, right!!!!


So you're okay with East, West, up, down?!?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I had a dream the other night...

I was hiking up an old logging road, it was dirty, and dusty and extremely rutted... and it was steeper than it should have been.

Semi-regularly there were plastic silver pins in the road with the NHL stamp on the top, almost like survey markers... I recognized them but couldn't quite place them...

For some reason I had a large backpack, despite which I was making good time and marveled at how effortlessly I threw my bag up a particularly steep section and jumped up after it passing a "runner" who was red, panting and practically crawling up.

Just beyond that there was another steep section, and as I climbed up I saw a lady pushing a cart on her way down and realized that it was the Stanley's cup. I respectfully stepped out of her way, watching in awe as she descended to my level.

She was *the* Cup bearer. She was the one in charge of the Cup while each player took it wherever they wanted for a day.

I asked if I could take a selfie with it, realizing in a panic that I didn't have my phone on me.  She smiled gracefully and assured me that she could take a picture of me with it on her phone, and that she could send it to me.

Somehow I ended up hiking down the mountain with the small group, some hockey player Gonzales that I'd never heard of who for whatever reason was still in a navy blue and burgundy uniform *skeptical look* and was the player of the day. I got to hang out with him and some of his closest friends as they told me about all the other places they'd taken the cup in their 24 hours with it.

It was amazing, it sounded like they'd had a blast and it was incredible to be able to share the evening with them. I woke up feeling as excited as if I'd seen the cup in person ;)

Friday, May 13, 2016

Flux always makes me think of flux capacitor

I've been working on a project whereby a light will come on when someone has left the garage door open (even just a little bit), and that light will be visible from both down and upstairs... of course as we discovered last night, that only works if someone is home to see it *sheepish grin*

Of course there is a pipe for the hot water tank pretty much in the exact spot I wanted to drill through the garage wall, so I ended up having to feed the wires through a vent... which meant I was soldering things in awkward places, like at the top of the ladder.  (which isn't nearly as bad as trying to start a chainsaw at the top of a ladder *coughs* Daaaad!)

Anyways, while I was up at the top of the ladder applying flux from the lid to the wires I was going to solder, the bottom of the container containing the majority of the flux fell *gasp* bounced a couple times and then wedged itself ever so neatly between the leg of the ladder and the hot water tank. Sideways.  Sideways as in it was mostly the edge I was looking at, with a little bit of the bottom.

Now flux is a little gooey, kind of like the consistency of crystallized honey... so when it wedged itself suspended above the floor I'm pretty sure I literally held my breath for a few seconds... I realized that there wasn't any on the floor yet, so it was either slowly dripping, or starting to drip and that time was of the essence! Sloooooowly as not to upset it's precarious balance I crept down the ladder... and managed to extricated it, flip it, and tap-tap-tap it all back in! *exhales*

Afterwards I did find some errant flux strands that must've flown out during it's decent, but I managed to save most of it!

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Did you know that...

Apparently in America they've never heard of pencil crayons, they're called "coloured pencils"... sorry *ahem* "colored" (we don't use the Queen's English down here)... sometimes I'm not sure who's English we use...

I guess it makes about as much sense though... *shrugs*

Monday, April 11, 2016

Easter fun :)

Our rendition of "Kiss me" by Sixpence none the richer...

Friday, March 25, 2016

One more drop in the Ocean

Yesterday the ocean kicked my ass... and I cried a little, both in it, aaaaaaand again when I got out...

I just got so frustrated... hell I'm still frustrated!

Like confidence crushing frustrated like "maybe I just can't do this..." and "maybe I should just give up and go in" and "maybe I really didn't use to pick things up naturally, maybe that was just everyone being nice" *sigh* Pairing all that with my natural stubbornness I probably stayed out longer than absolutely necessary before I decided that I really was tired nay exhausted, and that the possibility of getting up  (remote as it had been when I started) was quickly diminishing to a big fat ZERO.

For something that I've done before, and enjoyed up in Tofino... It sure sucks not being able to get up when I can see other people getting up down here, and then on top of that getting stuck in the wave crush zone on the way out so that by the time a nice wave comes in again you're too tired to get up...

Or it flips you over, and rips your board out of your hands... and tugs on your board leash...

Or sucks you under and tumbles you a little bit just for fun... and tugs on your board leash again...

Or it chucks you off face first and forcibly rinses your brain out through your nostrils...

Or gets you all excited like you might actually do it this time, and then just rolls on by...

I'm pretty sure the Ocean was toying with me yesterday, and I'm pretty sure I have salt water in my brain... because I definitely have sand in my ears.

On a lighter note, the sunset was gorgeous... as was the bronzed lifeguard that ran up the pier and jumped off to assist a kite boarder that had managed to get himself tangled up...

Friday, March 04, 2016

A time for every matter under heaven

We all have families we are born into, and some of us are lucky enough to have families that have embraced us and welcomed us into their hearts and their lives.

Tonight the second half of my family is one less. 

Aunt Heather, the one who warned me "Whatever you do, don't tell Don you're a treeplanter"

And welcomed me to the family with "Would you like something to drink? The glasses are over there and you know where the fridge is.  You made your first mistake when you called me Aunt Heather, family serve themselves around here."

And I couldn't have been happier with that, I would much rather blend in and help out where I can than be waited on and be part of the stress of having company over.

I will forever hold her in the highest regard for her ability and aptitude in organizing a kitchen and quickly whipping up meals for any size party. I once witnessed her out-laws show up unannounced 10 minutes to noon in full force. By the time they had pulled around the corner, she was upstairs running through a shower and had me boiling eggs and chopping celery... within 15 minutes we had egg salad sandwiches, some kind of chicken and other odds and ends of just-in-case food laid out in what looked like a well planned lunch. I am still in awe of that to this day, even more so after having planned parties with less people, made shopping lists specifically for the event and still wound up with items missing.

She always had room for one or two more at the table, and we would plan our road trips to coincide with meals at her house. Even on her "bad days" her cooking was something to aspire to, one of my favorites on a particularly bad day was "Mount Vesuvius cake".

My favorite meal never to be duplicated involved putting dinner on, asking Uncle Daddy Herb to stir, driving a friend home, getting the car stuck after singing the praises of just how easy it was to get my chains on, then backing out of a really long driveway in about a foot of snow with said chains on, only to return home and find that the hockey game had gone into overtime and the chicken having not been stirred at all had perfectly caramelized.

She was a force to be reckoned with, a fountain of candid advice, and brutally honest. But she had a heart big enough to match the best breasts to cry on, and an enveloping hug that could close out the world and make everything okay.

I sure could use a hug from her today.

I'm sure going to miss her.

Wicked awesome!

My best friend just took me to see Wicked (the musical) and it was ah.Mazing!

I love love love LOVED IT!

I had heard from a few people that it was good, and if I ever got the chance to go see it, and that I would probably really like it... but none of that prepared me for experiencing it in person, from the edge of the balcony! *grins*

I was in awe of the entire backstory, and how they fit all the pieces together and picked up and wove in all the threads. It is basically the pre-story to Wizard of Oz, and fills in the experiences and circumstances that made the wicked witch wicked, but also brings to light the beginnings of the cowardly lion, the scarecrow and the tin man.

One casualty of the night, was that I lost a whole lot of respect and sympathy for the tin man... but my heart went out to the scare crow, the good witch and the wicked witch.  And it struck a chord with me that despite everything else going on, the friendship between best friends is stronger than love.  The idea that once that bond of true friendship has been forged, there's nothing tearing it apart.

The entire evening was magical *happy sigh* and while I loved the whole new best friends popular scene, my favorite songs were "Defying Gravity" and "For Good".

Couldn't resist, my new favorite hoodie... *squeeeee*

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Apple watch me! Watch me!

This year I got an Apple watch, and thus began the comparison against my beloved FitBitch...

I don't know anyone else with one yet, so the interaction with friends bit is unfulfilled and will have to wait. 

The cool factor for me is being able to measure my own heart rate, and see what is normal for me.  Currently my range is anywhere from 46 bpm while sleeping up to 120 bmp while running around which is pretty cool!

Similarly to the FitBitch, floors climbed seemed to not work as I would expect... which softened the blow I had initially given the Fitbit over the same matter... until I recently read that the altimeter portion is contained within the paired iPhone and not the watch.  Given how many things they had to cram into the watch I understand why it isn't in there, but it left me feeling like it was inaccurate.

The charge time on the watch is about a day and a bit, which makes it relatively ineffective for capturing sleep habits and heart rate. I've found that if I do wear it overnight, I end up charging it during an awkward time the next day and subsequently forgetting to put it back on, or not wearing it when I'm actually doing something.  Not that big of a deal unless you're getting credit for your workouts somewhere else.

I had thought that the watch was going to help eliminate lugging around as much tech during workouts, however due to the altimeter and gps functionality residing in the iPhone it actually increases the amount of gear you've got.  Of course it gives you the added functionality of heart rate monitoring, which at the moment you would have to strap on a heart rate monitor to get any other way... so it's not that bad, and at least is more comfortable than trying to keep a heartrate monitor in place.

Overall they've done a good job, but it still has a ways to go in terms of being more than a glorified heartrate monitor for me. 

Yes it brings some of the functionality of my phone conveniently out of my pocket, but I wasn't someone who was really that bothered by taking my phone out of my pocket to do things in the first place.  For me, that's like people who complain about webpages being too long... and that everything should fit on the screen. Quite frankly I'd rather scroll than have to click through 10 different pages of screen sized content if it doesn't really make any sense to split it up in the first place. Scrolling is not that difficult. Get over it.


Late last year I got a FitBit, affectionately referred to as a FitBitch by my friends...

Initially I was excited about my fitbit, because I figured it was going to change my life!

Correction: Nooooo, it will not change your life.  You still have to do that for yourself.

It does provide some valuable feedback though, and I found it makes me more aware of what I'm doing (or not doing) and how much I'm eating and snacking.  In that regard, it has improved my health/wellness to some extent.

I like the sleep tracking feature, but it falls into the category of personal interest at the moment. I haven't really figured out a way to act on the info it's providing other than to note that I should probably start going to bed earlier.

I am disappointed in the number of floors climbed, it seems to be way off pretty consistently.  I'm also disappointed in the distance reported from the sense that there's no training or calibration step.  It would be easy enough when you get your fitbitch to link it up with your phone, turn on gps, and walk a given distance and use that info to calibrate how long your normal walking strides are... this info could also be updated any time you log a walk or run by matching up the time stamps.

Community is where the fitbitch makes up for its previous pitfalls though, it wasn't until I had added my brother and his wife that I rediscovered my competitive nature and logged a ridonkulous number of steps in a single weekend.

Also battery life of the Fitbit Charge rocks, although the icon that displays after the app has synced with the device doesn't seem to have any bearing whatsoever on actual battery levels.  I do find though that since it stays charged longer, I'm more likely to be wearing it and keeping better track of things.

Although it comes and goes in waves, I think I'm more consistently logging exercise hours which ultimately is what's going to balance out my junk food intake so all in all? I love it and I can't wait to see further improvements.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Oh California :p

As I pack for our camping trip this weekend I can't help but laugh at the  range of clothing I'm bringing... from my bathing suit through my toque and down vest... 

Surprise! Spring has sprung!!!!

At some point in the last... oooh say a day over three weeks ago, I'd posted something about it being winter... and ten seconds later spring is bursting at the seams like a small child unable to contain their enthusiasm.

I don't think I ever posted it, but I took a picture when I was living in Cupertino of *all* the trees on the block next to our office in full bloom at the same time. I had  an introspective post, along the lines of fully understanding the term "sickly sweet" on a deeper level than I had thought possible.

But I think I've topped that level, as these latest blossoms have a scent reminiscent of the ones in Cupertino... only it sticks to the back of your throat, and is one part pretty and one part pretty disgusting :p

To top it all off I'm hacking like a 70 year old smoker who started at the age of 12. 

Thanks Spring, welcome back... No we didn't have time to miss you here in California. Some things haven't even stopped blooming so we can prune them!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

I've had better mornings... I've also had worse

*stormcloud scowl*

The dog just puked on the carpet.

I haven't even finished my coffee yet.

I don't know why it always has to be on the carpet, or why she's a double puker... puke, move a little bit and puke again... or why I don't notice that she's puking soon enough to get something under it.

All I know is that it's not a good way to start the day... it probably isn't for her either though, poor puppy dog

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Winter in California

Random note

I don't know how often this happens for the rest of the general population of flyers, but I consistently get at least one "Z" (Zed) in my airline confirmation codes down here. Its like there's a secret flag on my name because I'm Canadian. Despite being down here for more than a year now, my conversation at the check-in desk still goes something like this:

Airline agent: "May I have your confirmation code please?"

me: "K. L. M. X. Y. Zed..."

Airline agent: *looking slightly concerned* "I'm sorry could you repeat that? KLMXY...?"

me: "Sorry, K. L. M. X. Y. *Zee*"

Airline agent: *relieved* "Ah yes, there it is"

I'm not sure what letter they type in when I say Zed, it's not like it sounds like anything else... but shockingly enough it never seems to bring up my reservation.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Shelf of holding

No crazy stories, nothing exceptional in any way... I just have a shelf of holding for my soap, razors and toilet paper now.

Although I did balance it on top of the garbage can so I could screw it in by myself, everything went according to plan for once :p

*happy sigh*