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Life changes for everyone concerned

My Mother was transferred to a nursing home today. She had been in hospital for the last 6 weeks after a couple of falls at home. It's been quite a roller coaster ride for both of us - as well as for my Sweetie.


Being an "only"

Back when I was a kid and a teenager, I really enjoyed being an only child. Now that my Mother is frail and well on her way to being infirm, being an only isn't such a good deal.

Renewed efforts I

Some people make lists of resolutions for the new year, but I think I'll make a list of "renewed efforts". What's the difference? I'm not sure other than at the end of 2010 I will not be reviewing how many items on my list I've kept up with.

I really do enjoy blogging, but I've been too caught up lately in Facebook, Twitter and playing Peggle. I'm no saying I'll ever be a "post a day" kind of girl, but I'm hoping to squeeze out at least a couple of posts a month.

Note that the heading is not "art". I thought about calling it "doodling" but I can live with "drawing". Again, this is something I enjoy but because of preoccupations with other, none-creative things, I've not done too much of it lately. It's relaxing and is one of the few activities in which I can truly lose myself. Right now I'm working on colour values - monochromatic abstract drawings as well as some perspective exercises. Hell, I might even post a pic or two of my completed drawings here if I get up enough courage!

Technical writing
Okay, this probably should not be listed here because I've never given up on my efforts to work at one of the best careers in the world. I guess I'm just riding a wave of renewed enthusiasm because I am learning a new concept (the uses and benefits of topic mapping) and because I was recently assigned to a standards working group at my place of employment. 

I am the queen of CLMs

Today there was a 9:00 a.m. meeting at my place of employment. The meeting was to recognize employees' years of service.

Despite the fact that it was in my Outlook calendar and noted in my paper calendar that I always carry with me, I forgot about the meeting. 

In my absence, I was presented with my first year pin.

The Senior Director who was making the presentations (who is not all that friendly to me to begin with) expressed her annoyance at the absence of a few people who had their anniversaries recognized.

Oh shit!! There are some days when I should just stay in bed. 


Grammar error in the mediaRipped from the front page of today's Metro News Toronto edition...

Somebody get these fools an editor - quickly!

Inquiring minds want to know

Just because you can floss your teeth with the wires from your iPod headset (on the subway no less), should you?


This past Saturday was the third anniversary of DP giving me Jordan. I cannot believe that three years have passed so quickly.

I thanked DP all over again, as I have done off and on over the years.

Sometimes when I'm getting the J-Boy all groomed or tacked up, I step back and mentally pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming (although it would be a pretty awesome dream). Both he and I have come a long way since that day. I am definitely a better horsewoman and he is a better (behaved) horse.

I am so grateful for my good fortune. I love and am loved in return; my critters are the best; I have a great  home and I love my job and career. As the song goes, "I guess I'm just a lucky so and so!"


...I'll reserve my opinion.

Last week in the Globe and Mail, there was an article describing a study that links obesity with ADHD. I read it with interest, as I do all information about ADHD that I come across. Being a sufferer of the condition - I was diagnosed a few years ago - I like to be up on all the latest findings.

After a few day's reflection, I'm not sure that I'll be accepting the results of the study until there is some more data with which to corroborate the findings. The article quotes one of the authors (Dr. Lance Levy) of the study : Obese people with ADHD cannot respond to the signals in their brains that tell them when they are hungry and when they are full. Being an ADHD-er and obese I beg to differ. I know that I am not hungry when I'm over-consuming, because I don't feel hungry; however, I over-consume because it satisfies something other than hunger.

Snacking, usually on candy, helps me focus on other things. When I was in high school, whenever I had to get an essay written, or a particularly onerous homework assignment done, I would buy a bag of scotch mints and eat them until I had completed the task. Sometimes I would finish the bag. When I got older and took up smoking, cigarettes took the place of mints. I could smoke a large pack of cigarettes in one evening while studying or writing essays. Through all the years of this behaviour, I never knew why the candy or cigarettes helped me concentrate, I just knew that they did. It was and is the need I have for hyper-stimulation.

Having been an ex-smoker for over a decade, I have gone back to the mints and other hard candy to help  my concentration during work hours and so on. I know it's not the healthiest habit, but until I unlock the secret of this compulsion, I'll have to live with it.  "ADHD is a primary cause of failing to lose weight for tens of thousands of people" says Dr. Levy. Now that statement I'll agree with, but strictly on a personal level. I'll wait and see what further studies show.

...when the baking potato that I was going to take to the office for lunch turned out to be filled with insect larvae.

It had a hole in it which I had not noticed until I went to wash it, so I kind of flexed it in my hands to see how deep the hole went and that's when it cracked open and deposited gross dirt-coloured larvae all over the kitchen counter. Being the rational, middle-aged adult that I am, I promptly screamed "Ew! Ew! Ew!" until I could figure out what to do. 

I did get things cleaned up - with multiple sprayings of bleach on the counter. Needless to say I thoroughly examined every single fork full of another potato I took for my lunch before putting it in my mouth!


Books and stuff

Began reading Heave by Christie Ann Conlin yesterday. Years ago my friend Colleen, who founded the book club I belonged to, recommended it to me, but I never got around to borrowing it from the library. Then, just before Christmas, my friend Margaret loaned me the book. Actually, she wouldn't let me leave her house without taking it! I'm glad she was so persistent.

I'm completely engrossed already. Today I almost missed my subway stop going to and coming home from work (for me, the definitive sign of a good book!) Although I like the main character, Serrie - Seraphina -  I've fallen in love with blunt, foul-mouthed Dearie who is "...great at making lists but not so great at putting on her dancing shoes..."

I'm trying to get back into reading for pleasure. Ever since I began tech writing for a living, I've found it difficult to read outside of what I need to for my job. I even paid off my library fines and got myself a new library card (the old one disappeared months ago), so hopefully I'm well on my way! 



Jordan the wonder-horse did a perfect 180 today - too bad it was on the road and it was because he was freaking out over five deer who bounded across the road a little ways in front of us!

For his trouble we turned right back around and walked slowly in the direction from which the deer came. For good measure we stopped frequently and stood very still. Only when he had his head back together was he allowed to turn around and head back home - again at a walk - no matter how badly he wanted to lope - again stopping every so often.

Then, while we were turning into the drive, some other horses started sloshing around in the ice and water in the front field which got him edgy. When they saw Jordan appear, they all took off, which set him off again. He tried bolting across the lawn, but fortunately I had him pulled up by the time he completed his second step onto the grass. Art was on the tractor up by the house, but he pulled over to let us pass.

I pulled Jordan over to where the cars are parked and made him face the tractor. He's usually not afraid of tractors, but Art was hauling one of the sleds. The tractor revved, no problem, but the minute that sled moved, J-Boy jumped sideways and backwards all at once. I am chagrined to say that there was daylight between me and my saddle, but I kept my balance and managed to keep J-Boy from jumping into the basketball net standard.

Once we got all settled again, Elaine told me to go down and lope circles to get the craziness out of him. I did, but in addition to craziness he had a fair amount of attitude too - tossing his head and trying to snatch the reins out of my hands - all the while trying to leave the circle. A martingale took care of the head tossing, but he resorted to bucking to show his displeasure when asked to lope more circles. Poor dude keeps forgetting I'm more stubborn than he is. We ended with a truce - he agreed to behave, and I agreed not to make him lope any more circles.

One tired, sweaty horse was deposited into his box stall after being blanketed and appled. I wonder what next weekend will bring!


Writer's Block: Dream Job

If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
I would be a horse breaker / trainer. Working with horses has got to be better that putting up with humans all day long!

Happy Birthday ruralrob 


Now I can relax...

Thanks to my well-placed horse shoes, I made it to the 6:55 a.m. train to Cobourg this morning. I had been scared to death for most of the week that I wouldn’t get up in time to get to Union Station, but I did – just! I only got three hours sleep because of my fear of not getting up (hearing the alarm is no problem, it’s the getting out of bed that is), and that compounded my difficulty in climbing out of my warm nest.


Why and how I make myself crazy...

I have a 15-minute presentation on User Centred Design (UCD) to give tomorrow to my fellow tech. writers at the office. I've had a month to put it together, but true to nature, I am sitting here - the night before it's due - trying to pull it togther. Since getting home this evening, I spend 1.5 hours playing Scramble on Facebook, and have just spent the last 45 minutes getting caught up on LJ. My presentation now totals four sentences...  Arggghhhh!

Now where was I?

I've been away from blogging for so long, I don't know where to begin. I suppose I'll start where I left off: the new job.

I am nearing the three-month mark, and not only have I survived, I've thrived. Had an unofficial year-end performance review on Friday and both my old and new managers(yes, I'm on my second manager in less than three months)gave me favourable ratings. One thing that I must improve upon is becoming a nine-to-fiver.

I've never been particularly punctual at arriving at the office, although with this job I'm being much better than I have been - but now I have to be punctual at leaving too! This is a cultural adjustment I've never had to make before.


The Most of It

He thought he kept the universe alone;
For all the voice in answer he could wake
Was but the mocking echo of his own
From some tree-hidden cliff across the lake.
Some morning from the boulder-broken beach
He would cry out on life, that what it wants
Is not its own love back in copy speech,
But counter-love, original response.
And nothing ever came of what he cried
Unless it was the embodiment that crashed
In the cliff's talus on the other side,
And then in the far-distant water splashed,
But after a time allowed for it to swim,
Instead of proving human when it neared
And someone else additional to him,
As a great buck it powerfully appeared,
Pushing the crumpled water up ahead,
And landed pouring like a waterfall,
And stumbled through the rocks with horny tread,
And forced the underbrush--and that was all.
 I am a great admirer of Leonard Cohen's talent as a poet. In fact, I could post poems of his for all 30 days of National Poetry Month. But I won't.


I heard of a man
who says words so beautifully
that if he only speaks their name
women give themselves to him.

If I am dumb beside your body
while silence blossoms like tumours on our lips
it is because I hear a man climb the stairs
and clear his throat outside our door
I encountered the poetry of Ronna Bloom a few years ago at The Scream in High Park. Although I don't remember which poems she recited there, "Hold" is from the collection she was reading from that year.


The things I cannot hold go into a small black box
are flattened in a book
for others to open.

The dead are on the phone between me and
you is a picture I could not take,

but there's a space reserved for it, in the book.

Okay, I did not come across this poem, or poet in high school. It took me 30-some-odd years on this earth before I even heard of him, via Leonard Cohen. I'm glad I found him because even in translation, his poems are like luscious fruit, the flavours of which are waiting to be rolled over the tongue.

The Guitar

The weeping of the guitar
The goblets of dawn
are smashed.
The weeping of the guitar
to silence it.
to silence it.
It weeps monotonously
as water weeps
as the wind weeps
over snowfields.
to silence it.
It weeps for distant
Hot southern sands
yearning for white camellias.
Weeps arrow without target
evening without morning
and the first dead bird
on the branch.
Oh, guitar!
Heart mortally wounded
by five swords.

Malvern Collegiate is the culprit again. I had to memorize and recite this one in grade nine or ten. Miraculously I still enjoy it (and can still recite it perfectly to this day).

Sonnet 29

When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;

For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
Here is another poem I was introduced to while at Malvern. This one was force-fed to my grade nine English class. I'm fortunate that I still enjoy it despite that fact.

Annabel Lee

It was many and many a year ago,
          In a kingdom by the sea,
    That a maiden there lived whom you may know
          By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
    And this maiden she lived with no other thought
          Than to love and be loved by me.

    I was a child and she was a child,
          In this kingdom by the sea;
    But we loved with a love that was more than love-
          I and my Annabel Lee;
    With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
          Coveted her and me.

    And this was the reason that, long ago,
          In this kingdom by the sea,
    A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
          My beautiful Annabel Lee;
    So that her highborn kinsman came
          And bore her away from me,
    To shut her up in a sepulchre
          In this kingdom by the sea.

    The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
          Went envying her and me-
    Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
          In this kingdom by the sea)
    That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
          Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

    But our love it was stronger by far than the love
          Of those who were older than we-
          Of many far wiser than we-
    And neither the angels in heaven above,
          Nor the demons down under the sea,
    Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
          Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

    For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
          Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
    And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
          Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
    And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
    Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
          In the sepulchre there by the sea,
          In her tomb by the sounding sea.

April is National Poetry Month

Since this month celebrates poetry, I thought I'd take the opportunity to post a favourite poem of mine each day.

To kick things off, here is "Sea Fever" by John Masefield. I read this for the first time in the library of Malvern Collegiate when I was about 14 or 15, and I fell in love with it immediately.  It still gives me a chill.

Sea Fever

I MUST down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,     
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,     
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,     
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.     
I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;     
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,     
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.     
I must down to the seas again to the vagrant gypsy life.     
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,     
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

My final appointment

I had my final appointment with my oncologist / surgeon this morning. She jettisoned me off into the land of cancer-free-ness. 

I am extremely grateful and happy to be able to continue with my "regularly scheduled life"; I am also extremely cognizant of the fact that I am one of the lucky ones to be able to do so. 


Happy Birthday Eddie!

Have a fantastic day   peregrinus236 , and an even better year!

I want, I want, I want

Every time I open her posts - which usually have images of her latest creations, I silently say to myself "I want one of her pieces of art". Well, now I'm saying it out loud: I'm saving up my pennies, because I want one of  meadowood  's pieces of art!!

Bye-bye Song Bird

I was crushed this past weekend when I read that Song Bird Music closed, and I felt guilty because I didn't even know until I saw the article.
Although I'd not been there in years ( I suppose there were too many customers like me), I always remembered that's where DP took me to buy my beautiful, red, Ibanez Strat-knock-off. It was also a place I always planned on returning to, once I bought all of the horse-related stuff I need.

One of the reasons cited for the store's closure was the availability of used musical instruments via the Internet. Well, that may be true, but I loved the fact that you could go into Song Bird and touch and feel and try out those used instruments before you bought them. That sure beats discovering that what you purchased on the 'net isn't exactly "as advertised".

A Moleskine Laptop

This photo made me giggle. I found it at:  http://www.leftloft.com/portfolio/lavori/moleskine/images/19.jpg

Drawing of a laptop in a Moleskine notebook

In other news, I hope one day to have a life and to actually find the time to post more entries here...

Feeling old

Feeling old at the moment. I wrenched my knee last night while getting into bed and as a result, it's been throbbing all day. 

Crikey - I'm not even 50 yet!

Luck is where you look for it

Today, on my way back to the office from my appointment with The Twinkster, I found $10.00 laying in the slush in the bus bay. 

My habit of looking down or studying the ground in front of me is often commented on, but this is not the first time I have spied lost cash because of it.

LJ sold to SUP

 Just got a fright by reading that LJ was sold to SUP yesterday. My initial thoughts are pessimistic, but I'll try and develop a "wait and see" attitude about the whole thing and not fly off the handle.

Cats and tech writing

Finally, a book that deals with two of my favourite interests: cats and technical communication.   The Cat Owners' Manual looks to be not only informative, but fun to read too!


 I was bad and bought myself something extravagent - a Moleskine notebook/sketch book. Did I need one? No, most definitely not. I have more paper and sketchbooks than a casual doodler needs, but I was totally seduced by the smooth, almost toothless texture of the paper. I succumbed.

Things noticed on the way to work

  •  Book being read on the subway: Obedience, the key to our problems. Now that could be taken two ways - being obedient is the key to our problems, or is it lack of obedience? And obedience to who?
  • The recorded voice for the stop announcements on TTC buses bears an eerie similarity to that of the cyborg in The Terminator when it is impersonating Sarah Connor's mother in a voicemail.
  • Despite the fact there is a moratorium on political advertising 24 hours before an election, a woman, supposedly representing The Green Party was handing out fliers at Runnymede station.

Happy birthday...

To my friend, and musical partner (of yester-year) in crime, David!

I hope you're having a great day!

A vacation from our vacation

We're back briefly in TO after being in Nanookville since the evening of 3 August. 

Tomorrow we are attending and presenting to an Ontario Municipal Board hearing regarding a condo development that is going up very near our house. Now, I know that we're not going to change the board's mind by our impact statements (there are six of us speaking on individual topics), but we have to let our voices be heard before the developer puts the damn thing up. Call it a final act of defiance.

While in Nanookville, I have been hiding out and socializing as little as possible. The only people I've seen on a regular basis are the folks at the barn where I keep my horse, Jordan. I've been seeing those folks every day! 

When I get as exhausted as I was prior to this vacation, I feel too fragile and fatigued to interact with other people; even those that I love dearly. I need to take a break from the human race to get my strength back. Oh, we had three people over one afternoon, and I did go to Tanya and Brian's Jack and Jill on Saturday night at her parents' place, but other than that it's just been DP and I.

I've been away from reading LJ too because we've only got dial-up in Nanookville, and the phone line we use to "dial-up" is also our phone line. So no time to linger over other people's posts. I've been making do with Facebook. Alas.

But enough of my rambling. I've got to rework my impact statement for tomorrow's hearing, as well as work on a document that I've put off until the very last moment (which is due tomorrow).

Happy Birthday...


I hope you have a great day Meirion!

Happy Feet Birthday

Birthday hugs will have to wait until I see you -- but here's a couple of virtual ones - ((You))

Had my first XML dream last night. I was reviewing lines and lines of code. It was wonderful!



Been dreaming weird dreams about kahluagal lately. I wonder what that means?



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