Sunday, October 30, 2005

I wonder what these mean, if anything

Last night, I had a terrible night's sleep. OK, not terrible, but it was riddled with dreams about work. For a Saturday night's sleep, that's not exactly pleasant. Even with the extra hour we got because of daylight savings.

Dream sequence #1 - I was supervising a field trip with a class to a big river with one of those giant steam-powered paddle boats and I witnessed someone throwing a young boy with light brown hair over a bridge. I time travelled into the future and was watching as the body was retrieved from the river by a group of people. I was watching, but I knew I wasn't visible to them. Maybe I was a ghost.

Dream sequence #2 - It was a Friday morning, and I was getting ready for work at my Mom and Dad's (weird enough.) I was late, and frantically packed a lunch in one of those three-compartment Ziploc containers with the blue lids. There was potato salad. Then I realized that I had already packed a lunch, and was wasting my time. I rushed out of the house, and went to my first school of the day. But I was totally confused and went to the wrong school. I hadn't written anything in my agenda and didn't know where I had told people I would be, and I had no idea what to do. I was panicking when I woke up and was really hot. Maybe that was because of the fleece sheets.

I'm not sure where the second dream came from, (I don't feel quite that disorganized about work), but the first one comes from Adam telling me last night about some hikers finding a body in New Brunswick and having to take it out of the park with them. Hopefully tonight I will have more tranquil dreams. Perhaps last night's were induced by the giant pile of homemade french fries Annie made for us for supper last night.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Making soap

My dear friend Annie and I made a batch of soap on Sunday afternoon. In case you're not familiar with how the process goes, it's something like this:
- Melt big globs of carefully measured smooth white greasy Crisco and some dingy brown Crisco that has been used to make french fries in a huge canning pot on the stove.
- Very carefully mix very carefully measured lye and water in another container so as to avoid permanent damage from fumes and splashes.
- Wait for the two to come to the same temperature (works better if you have thermometers that work, apparently).
- Very slowly add the lye mix to the grease. Pretend to be concerned about the other person getting splashed.
- Have your best friend stir slowly for two hours. (Just kidding, Annie!)
- Pour into a mould and tuck it in to keep it warm for a few days.
Then you should have perfect soap!
We actually had a great time and so far it looks as though the soap will turn out well. We usually hand-mill the soap, meaning we make a big batch that's unscented and has nothing else added, then we grate it, melt it again, and add the colours, scents, etc. in small batches. We were planning how we're going to package it all for Christmas gifts and such - I can't wait until it's all ready!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Eye-opening blindfolded cane travel

I'm here at the APSEA Centre for the week; it's our yearly in-service for teachers of students who are blind or visually impaired. This afternoon, myself and some other teachers who are relatively new to the field were doing O&M work (Orientation and Mobility) out and about. So off we go; a fine looking bunch. One of the ladies has a self-described "Donny Osmond purple" satin sleepshade (or blindfold; I think sleepshade is supposed to be more politically correct because you're not rendered blind by wearing one), another had a lovely lavendar one, and I was sporting a cream coloured satin number with a giant screen-printed orchid on it. But you know what? It didn't matter.
Being sighted, I have certain preconceptions when working with my students on cane travel skills. One is that they care how they appear to others. When I see that they don't, I assume it's a conscious choice. Realistically, I think that they often don't realize they are meeting up with other people along the sidewalk, mostly because people jump out of the way. And since they aren't receiving the visual information that I am, they don't know when people give them strange looks. When I was walking along the sidewalks and crossing streets, I didn't care if there might be someone wondering why I was wearing an extremely silly looking sleepshade. I was concerned about listening to the instructor and keeping my technique correct so I wouldn't end up walking across an intersection when it wasn't safe to do so, or walking into someone's front step.
Although I'm spending these hours under blindfold, I still have no idea what it is like to be blind. I know proper cane technique and how to instruct students so they can safely travel (I'm still working on the certification) but unless I become blind, I will not understand what it is like to any significant degree.

Friday, October 21, 2005

$ 35.88 later...

For those of you concerned about Virgil's well-being - the e-mail I sent to Adam after getting back from the vet:

Hi love,

35.88 for the vet; she looked up delphiniums in her book and checked Virgil over for the more serious symptoms (bloating and wobbly back legs) and he seems fine; she figures he probably just ate a small amount and is getting it out of his system. So she sent some kitty gravol to give to him 1/2 hour before eating some bland food she gave us, and some acid reflux stuff to make sure he can keep his food down. His heart and everything are fine, as is his bladder. He weighs 12 pounds, and was very well behaved. :) Hope you're having a good day at work,


Thursday, October 20, 2005


I should precurse what I'm about to write by saying that I really love our cat, Virgil, very much. He is a great companion, he's very funny, and he has some good tricks in his repertoire. That said, he is also the most disgusting and revolting creature I have ever met.

The other day, I was puttering around in the garden, enjoying myself immensely. I decided to bring some of the beauty indoors, and cut some delphiniums and chinese lanterns to brighten up the house. Not having recently brushed up on my list of plants which are toxic if eaten by unintelligent pets, I was unaware that if ingested (which they were) they would cause dear kitty a great deal of gastrointestinal distress (which occurred.) This resulted in multiple messes on the floors throughout the main level of our house, which I then had to clean up and disinfect. Hardly makes for a pleasant evening.

I would be more concerned about Virgil if he showed any signs of remorse, or even illness. But he has been behaving completely normally, other than the unusual expectorant (?) bodily functions.

I have removed the offending flora from the house, and hopefully the gluttonous cat will have no lasting side effects from his experience. Good grief.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Many medieval masterpieces

The moment you've all been waiting for - the pictures from Matt and Annie's medieval wedding reception! One of October 3rd's entries has all of the written details, and the story in pictures can be found on Adam's website. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The eyes have it

My right eye. It is truly amazing how much information we receive from that small part of our body, representing such a miniscule percentage of our body as a whole. Again, I'm posting this to get a new picture in my profile, not just because I think my eyes are so great. Although they are, as far as doing their job...

"Aww. The bounce has gone from his bungee."

Adam, Annie and I went to see "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" last night at our very humble local theatre. They have recently done some renovations to the building, and have relocated the sign which announces all of the movies from high above the masses down to eye and body level. This might make sense if there was some sort of cover over the sign, but since there isn't, "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" became something like "The Exercise of Limey Sore". A new theatre is being built as I type, so hopefully they will re-think the sign height.
The movie was great, mostly because everything is so darn cute!
There is a short film before the movie, which was hilariously funny and also painfully cute: "Attached before the Wallace and Gromit film is a short film featuring the Penguins from 2005's MADAGASCAR. "A Christmas Caper" is stock full of laughs, and while some of the references seem to require knowledge of Madagascar (a film I did not see), the piece is an enjoyable 10 minutes." I agree entirely. Watch for the penguins to drink Mr T's Old Timey Nog. :)
Although I really enjoyed the film, I think I liked "A Close Shave" better. But perhaps that's only because I've watched it several times. Maybe after I've seen this one five or six times I'll prefer it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Allow me to introduce you to LadyComp, my best friend for the past 3 years and 5 months. It is a birth control device which doubles as a pleasant sounding (and cool looking) alarm clock. It is 99.3% accurate, completely natural, and it is perfect for me! By taking your waking temperature (sticking the thermometer under your tongue) every morning for 30 seconds, LadyComp's computer knows when you're fertile and when you're not. Each morning, you're told if it's a red day (no sex if you're looking to avoid a baby), a yellow day (proceed with caution - I know a very cute baby who arrived because of yellow-day sex) or a green day (go ahead without any other protection because you're infertile!) It's much more reliable than traditional charting, and couldn't be easier to use. What's also very cool about it is that if you are interested in becoming a parent, you can just switch things up and know that red days are when you're most likely to conceive. There's even flashing red for ovulation. There is also a product called BabyComp which is specifically designed for people who want to conceive. (As far as I can tell, they took LadyComp and added a few lights.) And they now have something called a Pearly, which is a mini LadyComp that runs on a battery (great if you're travelling a lot). LadyComp does come with a battery pack, but the battery pack is not recommended for long-term use. Good for camping, though. I can't say enough good things about it! I don't have to take the Pill (I have many issues with the Pill) so my cycles are natural rather than synthetic ones, and it's just amazing to know what's going on with my body.


These are from our local Home Hardware store, and for 12.97 (plus tax, of course) I can avoid sending dryer sheets to the landfill after every load of laundry. In the box, there are two kind of tubular cloths that you toss in the dryer with your clothes, and they eliminate static (and made my towels nice and soft when I used them last night.) Here's the best part - they last for over 500 loads of laundry! At 5 loads a week, that means that they'll last for two years, which also makes them very economical. How neat is that?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Have a look at some photos from the medieval feast wedding reception my husband photographed for some close friends.
Here is another photo.

Love is all around

My Thanksgiving weekend was fabulous. I'm all warm and full-feeling about the whole thing. Spending time with people I really care about does that to me and I love it. For the rest of the week I can just bask in it. So maybe this post won't be the best written or most interesting to anyone else, but I'm so content I just have to get it out.

On Friday night, Adam and I took the ferry from Digby to Saint John and stayed with Adam's parents. The crossing was fine, except I apparently left my memory somewhere in last week. I had my weekly assignment for one of my courses due on Sunday night. Last Thursday night during class, I was going to ask if we could have a couple of extra days to work on them because of the holiday. At the end of class, our prof said "So, does anyone have any questions?" Someone asked a question. After the answer, I was going to ask when the prof said "Oh, and I'd really like to thank you all for being so good about getting your assignments in on time. It really makes things easier for me." How could I have asked for extra time after that? So, I planned on completing my assignment on the ferry, using my laptop. Friday around supper time, I packed in a blur (remembering both my pyjamas and toothbrush, my most often forgotten items) and tossed in my binder containing my assignment questions. To be a keener, I also packed another textbook which I thought I might be able to draw some information from in my responses. Perhaps I should have read the questions before leaving. When I sat down to begin working, I realized first that I had left my binder in the car on the lower deck of the ship. I scooted back down (which you're not supposed to do) and almost got locked down there as the guy mopped the steps right ahead of me as I ascended, binder in hand. I sit down with my binder and laptop, look at the questions, and realize that the actual question for assignment 4b is located in my textbook. Oh wait, not the one I brought. The one I left at home. OK... so I'll do the other ones. Oh, wait. I need internet access for 4a. I guess that one can wait. Oh... for 4c I need an answer to 4b. So I ended up e-mailing my prof on Saturday night and asking for an extension. Which she graciously granted. Packing never was my forte.

We arrived safely in SJ around midnight, and Saturday morning, we left for Fredericton and John and Connie's wedding. We also picked up pictures from the medieval backyard wedding reception the week before. They're awesome! Adam's in the process of posting them on his site; I'll put up a link when he's done. Again, Adam took the pictures, which we should have back sometime. Connie (the bride) was lovely, and the whole wedding was a sort of Thanksgiving feast-y party. Pumpkins, leaves, and fall colours were everywhere. It was glorious. And wet! It poured rain all weekend. We got to see quite a few people we hadn't in a long time, and it was just splendid to visit and catch up with them.

After the wedding festivities, we left in the very wet darkness for Yoho lake, where our dear friends the Woollins live. We spent the night with them, and I got to meet, hold, and cuddle with Maeve (see picture in earlier post). She is the most beautiful and wonderful-smelling baby around. And she's demonstrating some excellent visual behaviours, which is really neat to look for in a newborn. We had a great time and lots of laughs with Jen and Rich (I don't think Maeve gets the jokes yet. And she slept most of the time.) We had a super game of Carcassone which we all adore. On Sunday, after leaving the beautiful quietness of Yoho lake (I'm more convinced than ever that I want to live on a lake) we went back to Saint John and had an excellent Thanksgiving dinner with the fam. It was delicious, to put it mildly.

It is so nice to celebrate a holiday of thankfulness with people you're thankful for. I am so blessed!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


I was thinking about the whole Frenchy's thing and why I enjoy it so much. For starters, it's cheap. For the amount you could spend on one sweater at a "real" store, you can get a season's worth of clothes. They're already broken in, and every now and then you find some new things that have never been worn. It's also really satisfying to purchase a brand name item, such as the Baby Gap bib I bought for Maeve. Not because I can boast that the item "is Gap" but because I kind of see it as a kick in the pants for sweatshop-inclined companies. I (or someone I am fond of) am wearing their clothes, which are very well-made and lovely, but only Frenchy's received my monetary support. I don't wear clothes with brand names emblazoned on them because I am not a billboard. But knowing that you have the goods without monetarily supporting the company is definitely satisfying. Then I think "Well, isn't it still promoting the company just by wearing the clothes?" I'm not sure how to eloquently respond to that, but I don't see it that way.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Just so you know...

It's OK to use words like "look" and "see" when you're talking with someone who is visually impaired or blind. It's the way we speak naturally, and it's not generally something that people will take offense to.

No, I do not know sign language. People who are visually impaired might have a hard time with that. I do know braille, though.

Visual impairment or blindness isn't a black and white sort of thing. Most people who fit into the category have some usable vision. The kind of vision they have depends totally on the particular case. People using white canes may very well have some vision - the cane is to let others know that someone has a visual impairment, as well as to provide feedback about the environment.

People can not harm their vision by using it. Of course, using it to stare at the sun will be detrimental, but general use is not going to do damage.

People without a visual impairment can not know what it's like to be blind by wearing a blindfold for ten minutes, an hour, or even a day.

Dree-e-e-e-eam, dream dream dream

I think dreams are fascinating, and I wrote one I had last night down this morning so I wouldn't forget it. It was so vivid!

I had just purchased myself a Perkins Brailler, and the bonus gift was an armchair specifically designed for people who are blind! It was a modest sort of recliner in off-white which had a brailled remote control in the arm. My friend Alison had an older brother with red hair who was blind, and because I didn't need the armchair and didn't want to carry it around with me for my students, I took it over to their house on a beautiful fall day. Her brother was sitting in the garage in his very old, broken and ratty braille recliner, and he leapt up to give me a hug when I told him that I had a new chair for him to recline in while he relaxed in the garage. Then their mom came out on the porch (which had yellow mums on the railings) drying her hands on a dish towel, and I told her about my delivery. She also gave me a big hug and was thrilled. The garage smelled like metal and gas. It was comforting.

Maybe what I do does make a difference.

Wonderful weekend

No pictures yet; my fabulous husband was the photographer at our fantastic friends' wedding reception. The event was held in their backyard near the ocean on the most stunning early October day imaginable. The theme was medieval, so mostly everyone dressed up for the occasion. There was a pig roast for the meal, dancing lessons on the lawn, and a pretty decent band. There were torches all around the tables, candles everywhere, including about 160 in Mason jars strung up around the perimeter of the lawn. After dark, it was incredible. And fireworks, too! Defnitely my favourite wedding reception so far (including my own, although that was fun as well). I'll definitely get some pictures up when we get them back. And the best part was that some great friends of ours came from Saint John (New Brunswick) for the weekend. We had a spendiferous time with them, discussing Orthodoxy and life in general. We went over to Matt and Annie's (bride and groom) for breakfast on Sunday morning and had one of the greasiest and most delicious breakfasts ever, complete with maple bacon and some awful smoked sausages. Then we went to a beautiful beach for a nice long walk, and on Sunday afternoon Matt and Annie opened their gifts. The whole event was so nice. I'm just basking in it now. Annie, Charlotte and I went to Frenchy's and I found a cute little Old Navy sleeper and a Baby Gap bib for Maeve (50 cents each), a beautiful scarf for a friend's Christmas gift (1.50) a brand new Old Navy bright red hat and scarf set (still have the tags on) and a few books (Sophie's World, Emily Post's Etiquette (gag gift). I also found a very cool pink blouse for me and a shirt for Adam.

Back to the pig roast... I'm not a vegetarian, but after that meal I can definitely understand the reasoning some people have. This giant pig was brought out on a large wooden spine board kind of thing, and it still had the head and skin on. I'm not sure what we were expecting, but it was quite disturbing. The skin was all leathery and crispy - the chef poked into it with his knife, kind of peeled it off the back, and then started scraping the fat off of the meat with the back of the knife. When he started, he was brusquely saying to his assistant "Get me gloves" because the fat was all spewy. This was all right in front of Matt, Annie and I (I was the maid of honour). They weren't really expecting it either. And the pig didn't even have an apple in its mouth, so its bottom jaw gaped floppingly open with its eyes shrivelled up and its ears poofed up like balloons. But it tasted amazing and there was a really great date sauce the chef had made to go with it that was really delicious. Look on the bright side, I guess.