Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Weekend pictures

Well, I am falling behind on my blog updates... FIL has been staying with us, so we've been pretty busy... But fun anyway :D

The first picture is of me at a tiny little creek during our hike. The colours were very beautiful :) And I love the stones in the water, they were so beautiful. There seemed to be a lot of marble rocks around, and the ones polished by the water were especially pretty! So many colours, and so shiny :P
This is a photo of my friend with her horse. Don't they look cute together? My friend has had this horse for 14 years. You can tell they're good buddies. And he listens to her very well!

And last but not least is photographic proof that I did ride on the horse. It was a lot of fun, and the horse was very well behaved. DH got to ride it too, but the pictures I took didn't turn out as good.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Weekend musings...

So this weekend we went down to a friend's cottage. It's really just a small house in Sutton, a small town in southern Quebec. Very beautiful country side, nice hills for hiking (we did 4 hours on Saturday - lots of fun), many stables (we went to visit my friend's horse), and lots of quaint restaurants in town. I have some pictures coming up :) We're now back at my parent's place, just for a few hours, and then we're going to pick up DH's Dad at the airport. We'll be home late tonight! And then another work week awaits us :)

I've had lots of deep thoughts at the cottage, being surrounded by nature tends to do that to me. No time to jot them down today, maybe sometime during the week I can find some time to post them.

In the meantime, take care!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

100 items

I've seen this on a few other blogs, and thought it may be interesting to see if I can fill 100 tidbits about myself. So here it goes:

1. I was born in Poland
2. Warsaw, the capital to be more precise
3. My parents were geeky physics students
4. I was a result of an unplanned pregnancy :O
5. But that's ok, cause my Mommy loves me anyway ;)
6. I think my Dad does too,
7. But it's hard to tell cause he's still bitter about the divorce :(
8. Yes, my parents split up when I was around 11
9. But first they had another kid
10. My sis M1 :)
11. They both remarried
12. I have a half-sister on my Mother's side
13. She's M2 :)
14. And two half-brothers on my Father's side
15. I don't even know their names
16. And I have never met them
17. They still live in Poland
18. My family left Poland when I was 8
19. And M1 was barely over a year old
20. We went to Algeria
21. I really loved it there
22. Beautiful beaches
23. And mountains, and the desert
24. Very nice people, too
25. M2 was born in Algeria :D
26. When I was 14, we moved again
27. This time to Canada
28. M2 was barely a year old at the time
29. This is reading more like a timeline than a list of facts about me...
30. I guess my control freakish nature is showing :P
31. In Canada, we settled down in Montreal
32. The rest of my family still lives there
33. I live in Ottawa
34. With my DH
35. We've been married 5 years
36. We own a house
37. And a barn (big and blue!)
38. A garage and two cars
39. No kids and no pets
40. Except for the animals that wander over
41. Like deers, rabbits, gophers
42. Sometimes cats and kittens
43. And sometimes snakes too :S
44. I'm a Math and Computer Science grad
45. I work on big software projects
46. And I really do like it
47. Which makes me a big geek :P
48. I work at a big telecomm company
49. Which has it's plusses and minuses...
50. My DH has the same background as me
51. In fact we met while both working at this company
52. But now he's doing something completely different
53. He's an english editor, believe it or not
54. He's nitpicky like me, so that makes him a very good editor :D
55. Wow, all this typing and I'm only 1/2 way through!
56. My DH is a big car nut
57. He knows so much about cars, it's sometimes creepy
58. He can rhyme off all sorts of numbers about a whole slew of classic cars
59. I like cars too
60. But I mostly like driving them
61. I'm really not good at memorizing numbers
62. Song lyrics I can do
63. But numbers just don't stick
64. People think that's funny coming from a math major
65. But I was doing mostly "abstract" math
66. All with letters and no numbers :)
67. That's the kind of math I like
68. Like puzzles
69. Sudoku for example
70. I like nature
71. Which is why we live on the outskirts of the city
72. It's nice at all times of the year
73. But fall and winter are most spectacular
74. We cross-country ski in our backyard :)
75. Three quarters done
76. This is harder than it looks!
77. I like traveling
78. I've visited 4 continents so far
79. At least 12 countries
80. Flying or driving to the destination may be half the fun
81. DH and I have driven across Canada
82. The only province I haven't visited yet is Newfoundland
83. Will have to do that some day
84. That and the Yukon
85. We've seen a bit of the Northwest Territories
86. Phew, this is getting long!
87. This year, I became an aunt
88. DH's brother's wife had twins
89. A boy and a girl :)
90. Haven't seen them yet, hope to in September
91. Hmmm, what else can I say?
92. I love cooking
93. We renovated out kitchen this year, and I love it!
94. My favourite part may be the induction stove
95. Easy to clean: nothing ever burns on it!
96. Are you bored yet?
97. Have I mentioned I love music?
98. And singing - I've been in choirs for 15 years
99. I'm a soprano
100. Which basically means I have a high pitched (some say shrill) voice :)

I made it!!!

It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I've got lots to say, but I found it hard to summarize things into bullet form. But it's certainly an interesting exercise...


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Furry friends

Ok, so for a change of pace, today I am posting a picture of another furry animal. This one was taken at work, just a few minutes ago while I was out taking a walk. Unfortunately the photo quality is not the best, since I snapped it with my PDA (low, low resolution). Still, it gives you an idea of how tame they are, and how much they like munching on the tiny little crabapples in the courtyard. They make a mess around the steps into the buildings, as they like to dig their holes around there. It's interesting to watch them fatten up over the summer. In the spring they actually look emeciated, but by now they seem to have gained all the weight they will need to survive the winter :)

This weekend, we're going to visit a friend's cottage in the Eastern Townships. We'll get to see her horse, and do some hiking, I'm really looking forward to it. I don't get to see that friend very often, even though she lives in Montreal, which is only a few hours away. We went to high school together, and it's really nice to be able to keep in touch. DH still hangs out with friends he had in kindergarten (growing up in a small town sometimes does that to you). But I have travelled so much as a kid (3 continents, 7 languages and 10 schools!), that it was really hard to keep in touch with friends. So it was really nice to finally land in Montreal at 14 and realize that this was going to be a fairly permanent home, and that I may be able to keep in touch with my friends in highschool for a while. I will admit I am not very good at keeping in touch, and I am hoping to maybe one day start using this blog as one of the tools for it. But for now, at least I am very thankful to have some friends that look past my chronic inability to reply to emails in a timely manner and try to get together with me from time to time.

I really should dig deeper into the reasons why I am so bad at keeping in touch with friends and acquaintances. After all, I love getting news from them, and I get so excited to get a phone call or an email from them. I know I am a procrastinator, but I have the feeling there's something else at play here too. I never know what to say, weirdly enough. I am a blabber-mouth in person (everyone knows that), but I guess when I put what I want to say in writing it seems trite and unimportant. I think without the feedback of the face-to-face conversation, I feel lost and unimportant... I think of lots of things to say, but as soon as I write it down, it seems so booring. I suppose this is another reason I have started this blog (subconsciously), so that I can get used to writing general bla-bla stuff (I have no problems with work emails, or emails with some kind of purpose), at first with no audience (noone knows about this blog yet), and eventually, as I get a little bolder with a small audience that may grow to be bigger... We'll see if I ever work up the courage for that :)

Enough rambling for one day...

Take care!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Yardwork and misc musings

It's the weekend (yay!), and yesterday we finally managed to destroy the huge raspberry invasion at the side of the house. After a good four hours of work in the heat, we finally managed to pull out all of the bushes and most of the roots. The bushes were covering an area of about 225 square feet, so it was certainly no small feat. Here's a few pictures of what it looks like now:

After pulling everything out, I raked all the remaining dry old stalks and roots, and the thing looks a little more presentable. I know, it's hard to believe that this picture of devastation is actually a cause for celebration, but trust me, it's better than it was. I can finally start the actual landscaping :)

After all the yardwork, we took the night off and went to play poker at a friend's house. I don't know why, but a night of playing poker with the boys always puts me in a contemplative mood. I think it's the company - we always end up discussing lots of interesting but also very depressing topics. Lots of things to think about and mull over. Last night (and this morning), I kept thinking how hard it is to reconcile being a reasoned, logical person, and a happy one at the same time. I mean, really, if you think about, statistically, there are more tangible things that are bad, than things that are good with this world. Yes, there are happy and beautiful things around us all the time, but most of the time those things do not appeal to the logical side of us. In fact, if you spend enough time thinking about anything happy or beautiful, through logical reasoning you can probably reduce it to something bad (Beautiful sunset? Too bad we're polluting the earth at such a precipitous rate, a few generations from now they may not be able to appreciate sunsets. Cute kittens at our doorstep? Who's the @^&$*^%*#$^% who abandoned them? etc). I guess somehwat of an answer to this is to appreciate the little things in life and realize that sometimes simply the lack of anything bad is actually a cause for happiness. And not to anticipate the next bad thing that's coming up. Because really, statistically it is coming. Whether it's another war, another epidemic or a personal tragedy, there's no escaping it... Just this week in the news we have war, insurgency, the AIDS conference... Need I say more?

Anyway, believe it or not, I am actually sort of hopeful after this grim deliberation. I have a glimpse of a silver lining, that I need to explore a little further... The work of a geeky "life examiner" is never over...

Thought-provokingly yours,

Friday, August 18, 2006

Life is short

I just got some bad news about a coworker we haven't seen in a week. His Sister-In-Law died in a car accident last week, in the vehicle driven by her husband, with both their kids (8 and 12 yo boys) in the back seat (everyone else survived ok). As if that wasn't tragic enough, the other SIL died of a heart attack this week. Both women were in their late 30's... I just can't imagine how terribly devastating this must be. No word can describe the giant pit in my stomach as I've been thinking about this, and I didn't even know them. It's a pretty close-knit family, so they must all just be beside themselves. I can't even fathom the parents having to deal with losing two daughters in the span of a week! We're all sending positive thoughts and vibes to the family...

A grim reminder to live our lives fully, cause we don't know the day or the hour...


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Just a quick update

I've been meaning to post for a while, but can't seem to get around to actually doing it. Probably because I have no new pictures to post... My friend A (no, not the one whose wedding we went to on the weekend before last) had a baby girl on Monday. Quite exciting, I can't wait to get some more news about it. They now live in Quebec city, so I am hoping to go visit quickly on our next trip down east. I'm not quite sure about the little girl's name or any other specifics, should get them from my Mom tonight (she was supposed to talk to A's mom last night :)).

Aside from that, not much is new. Many people at work have gone on vacation, leaving me to take care of our area, which is pretty cool. Things are pretty slow (MANY people are on vacation), so it's not like I am swamped. But busy enough, trying to catch up on work that's been piling up during the busier months. I am also taking advantage of the lull by helping the new employees in our group, explaining things that they may not have had the chance to work with yet. I really like that part of my job, though it can seem thankless at times. I have the feeling many people don't realize how critical it is to prepare before trying to explain things to someone. Especially someone completely new in the area. We take so much for granted, and if we don't start the explanation with the totally basic assumptions, and skip some steps, we can confuse people much more than help. So I do find it challenging (in a good way) to try to come up with the right level of complexity in my explanations... It's fun, especially when I feel like I have the time to prepare and/or take my time presenting the information.

When it comes to the kittens, they are getting more adventurous every day. They don't always sleep on our decks at night, they seem to do a lot of hunting. They seem to be getting ready to move over to the neighbour's barn, as we're seeing them explore the areas in between our yards. It's good that they're getting ready to move on, but it's making me sad to think that very soon, we won't be seeing them everyday anymore. I got attached to the little furballs :) Though they're still quite wild, and not too crazy about being picked up.

Better get back to work!


Monday, August 14, 2006

Monday, Monday

So the weekend is over. As usual, it went way too fast. I have no new stories about the kittens, though they continue their cute mischief (like toppling over chairs on our deck, and anything else they can find that's free standing...) I may post a few more pictures later.

Yesterday, we went to the movies to watch "Superman returns". I think the movie had a fair amount of potential, the acting seemed ok to me, but in the end it turned out pretty melodramatic, the emotionally manipulating scenes went on for way too long, and by the end everyone was really tired of the long swooping shots. I was pleasantly surprised, though, at the good job that Brandon Routh did as Superman. At first glance, he seemed way too young to be able to play the role of a guy who's been around for a while, and gone through a lot of thinking and exploration during his trip to Krypton and back. But in the end, he pulled it off. I think his deep voice helps create the illusion that he is a little older. I also liked the little kid in the movie (I think his name is TristanLake Leabu), though he didn't have much of a role. Other than that, though, the film was mostly disappointing. Which explains the almost-empty theater :)

Aside from the movie and visiting with friends, we also got a fair bit of yardwork done. I am trying to clear out the raspberry patch on the right side of the house, and it's turning out to be a pretty big job. Those roots just go everywhere! I am hoping to get this side cleaned up this year, so I can put in a path, and maybe some creeping vines as ground cover... But the first step is to cut out the bushes and pull out the roots. I figure there's around 10 man-hours of clearing left to do.

So as promised, here are a few more pictures of the kittens from the weekend:

Oh, and I've also put the kittens into the kittenwar website. Doing pretty well, if I may say so myself.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

It's the weekend again...

Yay, it's Saturday. More time to spend with the kittens, as well as with our human friends. We went to visit C&K today (the couple we travelled to China with, see the link on the side bar). The little girls are getting bigger, and seem to be learning new stuff constantly. They will be crawling and walking in no time... And they are still soooo cute!!! Unfortunately, I forgot to bring the camera, so I have no pictures... But you can always see the latest pictures at

Instead, I have a couple of kitten pictures for you :)

Kittens on the porch...

Kitten stuck in a tree...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Silly kittens

Another update on the kittens: got home tonight, and we kept hearing insistent meowling.... Couldn't find the boy cat, so we started worrying. The girl cat was sitting perched on top of a post on our back deck, not able to get down. We helped her down, but the meowling didn't stop. We kept looking and looking, and finally located our missing kitty: on top of the roof! Yes the little kitten somehow jumped onto the roof, but couldn't get down... Surprisingly, the moma-cat didn't seem too concerned about this. The poor kitten's heart was beating so hard when I finally grabbed him... Silly kitten!!!

Eeeek! Another tail tale...

Ok, so remember my earlier story about finding a mouse tail on our front porch? Well, this morning on my way to work I noticed a squirrel tail on our back walkway. Just a squirrel tail. At first I was wondering where the squirrel without a tail went ("oh-oh, I lost my tail"), but then I remembered the cat family. I am now convinced that cats can eat squirrels... No wonder the kittens are getting chubbier every day, mama-cat is certainly taking good care of them. Tonight I will have to dispose of the tail, and maybe to a quick sweep of the surroundings to look for any other remnants that may be lingering around...

Never let anyone tell you that cats are gentle creatures. They are ferocious! Even the mama-cat who up until a few weeks ago was an indoor cat!


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Hot off the presses

I just got amazing news!!! A friend of mine who has spent the last 4 years in legal battles to get the adoption of her niece recognized in Canada, finally got all the paperwork, and she can now officially bring her daughter over. This is such phenomenal news! They have all been waiting for this for so long, and have worked so hard for it. My friend also has a brand new baby boy (a little over 4 months old), so the family is growing in leaps and bounds this year. I am so happy for them, I feel like I can't sit still, which makes it pretty hard to get any work accomplished :) But maybe I can channel all that extra energy into my softball game this afternoon.

Anyway, just a quick update. Felt like I needed to share this. Even if I suspect noone will actually read it. At least I have virtually shared it :D

Back to work...

Frog visit

Last night was pretty busy, as we had to catch up on yardwork. Cutting grass and trimming shrubs (amazing how fast things can grow at times) kept us busy most of the evening. And after that I had to make some food for the week (yummy lasagna), and then the cleanup... By the time we sat down to relax it was around 10pm... We look out the window, and what do we see?

Yes, a green frog landed on the side of one of our windows, and decided to spend the evening there. It wasn't deterred by the many flashes from my camera, or the noise we were making. It seemed to enjoy the smooth window side as a resting place (how can it get any purchase on that?). Here's more of a closeup shot:

I also managed to add a picture of the barn to my profile, and updated the blog appearance too. Maybe one of these weekends I'll have enough time to personalize the whole thing a little.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Long weekend adventures

Well, we had a very packed long weekend. My Mother-in-law came to visit us with her beau, with a visit that was way overdue. We've been living in this house for five years, ever since our wedding, and she'd never even set foot in it. So it was nice to be able to show off our house and yard, and the kittens.

On Saturday we went to the wedding of A&P. I've known A since high school, so it was really nice to be there and witness such a happy occasion, even though I had never met her fiancee. You know how sometimes you go to a wedding and you have your doubts about how long the union will last (sadly I've been right on that more often than not)? I didn't have that feeling at all, I think they're in it for the long haul. They seem to fit together very well, and that's always nice to see! Doesn't she look radiant in the picture?

On Sunday we went over to visit some of DH's friends. They live in the boonies like us, but in a big mansion that they built this year. We had a nice dinner and some good conversation, and I spent a big chunk of my time playing with their almost 5yo daughter. She is such a ball of energy, it's sometimes hard to keep up... But I really enjoy spending time with her and watching her grow and learn. She's pretty girly at times (loves pink and princess dresses and sparkles), but she also has a pretty inquisitive mind, loves to question everything, and I think she'll turn out to be a pretty independent young woman. I hope she will still like to spend some of her time with me then :)

On Monday we trekked to the War museum. Kind of a sobering place to go, especially at this time of unrest (has there really ever been any time of rest when it comes to intetnational relations?). I was the only one who'd been to the museum previously, and even then I didn't get bored in the 4.5 hours we spent there. I have never really been into history, and even less into war history, but there's certainly enough stuff there to keep the attention of neophytes like me. Lots of hands on stuff, good for the kids (and my inner child). Needless to say, though, we were pretty wiped at the end of the day...

So that's it :) We had a pretty nice weekend. It was really nice to see the MIL and her friend, and meet up with friends, and eat out... And the work week is a short one, so next weekend is coming up fast! I hope we'll get some rest then :)


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

More kitten news

More kitten pictures for you :) But also some not-quite-so-cute details about our furry friends. Last night, Mama-cat must have caught a mouse for the wee ones, because I found a mouse tail, and a few blood splatters on our front porch. I didn't take any pictures of the tail, didn't think that would really interest anyone :)

In other news, the cut that I inflicted on my thumb last Friday while attempting to cut down our lilacs is almost healed. This is pretty impressive since it was a prety big gash (hubby though I would need stitches). Over the last few days I have been able to see the skin grow back to cover the open cut. It's pretty freaky. I am guessing having the cat-family around has kicked my immune system into high gear. I remember as a kid if I got some scratches from a cat, they would heal within a day or two, much faster than regular scratches (but they would get all red and swelled up first, which I suppose is related to the quick healing). I think the cut was around 4mm wide, and it's pretty much closed up now, so the skin grew back at a rate of around .5mm a day. Pretty neat, really. Again, I have no pictures of that, cause who wants to see it, really :)

On Saturday we're going to a wedding in Montreal. One of my high-school friends is getting married. I can't wait! I'm sure we're gonna have a blast...


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

And then they were 5

The latest addition to our household is a family of felines. Some (expletive deleted) apparently didn't want their young cat anymore once she had some kittens, so they left the whole family by the side of the road. Mama-cat apparently thought our deck was a wonderful spot to setup camp, and she moved in with her two kittens. I can't believe people would do this to their cats and kittens, but apparently it's not such an uncommon thing to see :(

As far as we can tell, there's one girl and one boy kitten. They are so cute!!! Unfortunately, I am pretty allergic to cats (after a few minutes of playing with them, I am itching from head to toes!), and we're not really ready for such a big committment, so we cannot keep the family. At first we thought we would have to call the Humane Society, which really sucks because they're really inundated with homeless cats, and can't place all of them :( But our neighbours have suggested that they'd like to keep the cats, and their barn is warm in the winter, since they pretty much have a menagerie in there (horses, goats, dog etc). They started feeding Mom-cat (she spends most of her time around their yard already), and they think she will bring the kittens with her once they are old enough. For now, though, they are still hanging around our deck. And acting all cute :))

The kittens have a shoe fettish:

And they love climbing walls :)

How can you resist this face?

"Can I stay a while?"

We're now trying to minimize our contact with the cat-family, to encourage them to move on to the neighbours yard (and barn), but the kittens are so darn hard to resist. Even the Mama-cat is very very cute, and so friendly!