An Alannis Moment


We had a bit of a mishap on the Canada Day weekend, traveling to hang out with the family.

Suffice to say that our twelve-year-old Toyota Echo ended up with damage that the insurance company deemed more expensive to repair than the car was worth.

So, it was time to buy a new car.

After quite a bit of deliberation and some test-driving, we ended up with a Subaru Forester XT, which is a huge step up from the old econobox we were driving up until now, and a real pleasure to drive.

The accident itself ended up being almost, dare I say it, painless, aside from the time involved in reporting the incident. The guys who rear-ended us were very gracious about the whole thing, and the police and insurance people were all very helpful.

It is strange though, where we were when we were hit. We got off the 401 to avoid the crazy traffic and accidents, and ended up being in an accident as a result.

Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?


The Colour of Magic

Shortly after Terry Pratchett died, I read his last Discworld book, the Shepherd’s Crown.  It was a wonderful book, with a beautifully woven story, it made me want to go back and read all the books again.  And so I am, in order (at least the order listed on the Terry Pratchett site itself, though if you’ll search around you’ll find some very pretty charts)

It’s very interesting going back to the first book, the Colour of Magic, after reading his last.  You can really see that he’d developed his craft quite a lot in the intervening time.  It’s still an immensely enjoyable story, but you can see places where things are less polished, and plot elements that don’t quite dovetail together nicely.

I’ve plunged on ahead into the Light Fantastic, and we’ll see how long it takes me to get through the whole set of books.  I’m sure I’ve forgotten a bunch of stories, and there’s probably still one or two books I haven’t even read.  I’m looking forward to revisiting them all again.

Well, it’s Groundhog Day… Again?

So that must mean we’re up here at Gobbler’s Knob!  I’m going to head out in a little bit for the annual viewing, and some sweet vermouth on the rocks with a twist.  But let’s start getting a little caught up on the year.

Back at the end of June/start of July, we headed down to Fayette County, Pennsylvania to a resort where we had a vacation with my family.  My parents wanted to so something fancy for their 50th wedding anniversary, so they booked a couple townhouses at a place for me and my siblings and all our partners, and all the grandkids.

We chose to take a more scenic route, driving through the Allegheny Mountains, and the weather was rainy but it made for some breathtaking views of the mountains and the lakes of Allegheny State Park.  We also stopped at Fallingwater on the way down, and took a tour which was fascinating.

The resort was quite something.  It used to be a hunting lodge that got turned into a resort as, what felt like to us, a vanity project for the daughter of a local tycoon.  Among other things, the resort had two world class golf courses, it’s own private airstrip, a casino, a section of the Berlin wall and the largest private wine collection in the state.  We had a wonderfully relaxing time.  L and I accompanied my niece for a relaxing Western-saddle 5 mile trail ride, and my nephew tried it with L the next day.  We spent afternoons at the pool with a swim-up bar, and did a ropes course that finished in a zip line.

The drive home, we paid a little more attention to the beautiful countryside of Southern Pennsylvania.  Fayette County has a ridiculous amount of history in it.  Had we a bit more time, we would have gone on more tours of the local parks and battlefields.  But we did make the effort to stop one place in particular.


Between Trips


Things have been a little crazy this past year.  I’ll try to get caught up over the next couple of days.  Here’s the summary:

At the end of May/start of June I went to PEI for CANHEIT2014.

Up next, we took a vacation with my family to Fayette County, Pennsylvania, at the start of July.

Then we went to the UK for a couple weeks at the end of July.

Then we went to the beach for a long weekend in August.

Then, things at home sort of got really crazy.

Then, Christmas.

Actually in like a lamb?


Spring has sprung for real, it seems.  Today was sunny and 10º, and it was a very pleasant walk home from work.  At home, currently at least, our windows are open and fresh air is flowing in to our house.  The snowbanks have melted away and are a mere four feet in height now!

We’ve got the windows open and are doing some work about the house.  There are robins about aplenty.

I flew out to Seattle for a weekend to meet L who was there for work.  I got to go at the perfect time apparently, as the cherry blossoms were in bloom on the UDub campus.

New Heights

It’s not often I really get to push myself these days. There’s always plenty to do of course. I’ve been crazy busy as usual. Keeping the fires under control at work, and I’ve got plenty of activities after work, then home for dinner, an hour or two watching Netflix, then off to bed.

Something that I realized about myself relatively recently is that I’ve got a bit of a fear of heights. Considering how much I like climbing, I never expected this. But there’s a couple of climbs at the gym in town where I feel a little exposed, and get a little freaked out. There’s one climb in particular where I get close to finishing, but couldn’t actually complete the route because there was a move that while not particularly difficult, I couldn’t get over my nerves enough to attempt it. At least, not until last week.

I think it’s really important to push myself past my comfort zone. And in this particular case, it had an obvious payoff.

I’m realizing now that I’ve got a situation at work that’s a little similar. I’ve been given a project that will have a big impact in our ability to manage our systems that is highly visible. I can’t just not attempt it like I did with the climbing route. And if I don’t get my head together, it’d be easy to fail. But this is a chance to push myself beyond my comfort zone, and it will have a real payoff if I succeed. I need to keep that in mind.

It IS the most wonderful time of the year

I was walking home yesterday through a late fall snow.  It was crow o’clock, a time, around winter when the crows gather to roost in trees for the night, and the trees are so thick with them, that in the dusk, the silhouettes of the birds make the trees look like the tops are still have all their leaves.

Most sounds were muffled, and everything was shrouded in the falling snow.

It was a quite pleasant walk.


For the record, the photo from the last post is not me participating in Movember.  That was already something like four or five days of growth, slightly trimmed, and I shaved it all off the next day.  Facial hair just doesn’t grow on my face much.  It’s not worth encouraging it.

There was some real snow on the ground this morning, though it’s mostly melted now (almost lunchtime).  There’s still snow falling, but it’s not accumulating anymore.

The week’s been jam packed full.  We spent last weekend preparing for our newest arrival, a Blue Merle Collie, who we agreed to take in after a friend’s father passed away.  She’s an absolute sweetie, though she’s still not adjusting to the presence of a cat very well. (The cats is also suitably miffed at yet another dog invading his space.)

Anyway, here is Iris, looking pretty:


A decent day

tl;dr version:  (Okay, well, the only version)

1. The meeting this morning I was woefully under-prepared for was not an utter disaster.

2. Went to the town hall/civic engagement meeting about the Uptown West neighbourhood, and among other things, our street will not be upgraded to a local collector (at least in the short term)

3. Finally went to Taco Farm.  Yum.