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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm watching the tv listings channel right now, trying to find out when Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (or as I like to call it, Law and Order: Super Hot Mariska Hargitay) is on tonight and this diet pill ad keeps playing at the top of the screen... apparently you take a dose before bed and you lose a ridiculous amount of weight in weeks. I think that's hilarious. I wonder how many people have run out to Wal-mart to buy it and then were disappointed when they didn't lose 10 lbs in a week.

Julie is out with one of the gay boys downstairs at a charity event for children. She's his straight date for the evening. :) I saw a bit of the event on the evening news and it looked pretty fun so she is probably having a really good time. I'm really glad for that, she deserves to have a nice night out.

I had dinner at my parents' place this evening and while I was there, my mom showed me these really cool balls that she got online for the dog. They're really hard rubber and if you press really hard in a certain spot, they light up really bright. Now when they take Maxwell for a walk in the evening, they can still take a ball for him to run after and fetch. What a neat idea... totally great for this time of year when it's dark at 5 pm. :)

Time for SVU... I see Clea DuVall is on it. I've never seen her look this good. :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Because I'm bored...

Well, since I have time to waste before bed, I thought I'd copy over the Christmas Meme that Stacey had on her blog...

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I used to be all about the wrapping paper, but now I mostly use gift bags. When Christmas is over, my family collects all the gift bags and stores them until the next year when we can use them again. We do that with the boxes for clothes. We're still using some that have 'Eatons' and 'Woodward's' printed on 'em. ;)

2. Real tree or Artificial? My family always had an artificial tree but for the past two years, they've gotten a real one. As for the tree Julie and I have, it's a two ft high artificial tree with little white lights that I bought from Canadian Tire last year for $5.00.

3. When do you put up the tree? Normally sometime in early to mid December, but this year, I decided I wanted the tree out about a week ago. We marked the night by watching a Christmas movie (that Chevy Chase one... um... Christmas Vacation or something...)

4. When do you take the tree down? Around the first week of January.

5. Do you like eggnog? No, I've never understood why people enjoy it so much.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Lego.

7. Hardest person to buy for? My grandfather.

8. Easiest person to buy for? Either one of my sisters.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? I don't but my parents used to. I think it was lost in a move one year though...

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail of course!

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? The first thing that comes to mind is the electric shaver my great-grandmother gave me when I was six years old. I didn't even know what it was. My mom took it away from me and hid it in my parents' bathroom. My mom told me a few years later that my great-grandmother was kind of... um... not all there sometimes. The other gift that comes to mind is a long sleeved denim shirt with little barn yard animals embroidered around the metal snap buttons down the front and a bard yard fence embroidered around the collar. I think I was about 12 years old when I received that from an aunt. That shirt never left my closet until the day it made it's way into a bag of clothes sent to Goodwill.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? That Chevy Chase one we watched and A Christmas Story.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? When I find something perfect for someone. This year, I brought home a bottle of mackintosh and maple wine from Ontario for my grandparents. It's really sweet and is good for sipping or for drizzling over desserts. They love sipping brandy and liquors around Christmas so I think they'll really like it.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I hadn't until the year before last. My co-worker gave me a bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream which I absolutely cannot stand. I wrapped it up and gave it to my grandmother. :)

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Aside from Christmas dinner... the little oranges that are easy to peel that only seem to come out around this time of year.

16. Lights on the tree? Oh yes. I love having all the other lights off and just sitting with the Christmas tree lights softly lighting the room.

17. Favorite Christmas song? All I Want For Christmas Is You sung by Mariah Carey (love that album)

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Travel. I've loved the Christmases spent away from home (three of them with Jen and Wendi and one with Sandra and her family waaaaaaaay back in '98.)

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Yep.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? I looked over at our tree to see what's on top and... I can't believe I didn't notice this before now, but Julie has attached a little cow to the top of the tree. LOL...

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Crowded stores. It's frustrating to go in for something non-Christmasy and have to wait five hours in line.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I like all sorts of mis-matched ornaments. Right now all we have are cute little tiny Pillsbury dough boys holding random things (obviously a gift from work... can't get away from the freakin' dough boy) so we're hoping to find some other little ornaments at the dollar store this week.

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? My grandmother's cabbage rolls.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Four lovely days off and time to spend with my wonderful girlfriend and our family. Although this is technically our second Christmas together, this will be the first one we'll be spending in the same country. :)

First day on the job for Jules

According to Julie, her first day at her new job went well. She says she's super busy and there is a lot to remember but she likes it. She has her own office with a nice view of city centre and really nice co-workers who checked up on her and made sure she was settling in okay on her first day. :)

The weather today was pretty mild, which seems very strange for the 24th of November. It's snowed once or twice in the past couple of weeks but nothing that lasted more than a day. I'm really enjoying the fact that we haven't had enough snow to have the downtown snow plows out. In this city, the snow is only plowed from the busiest streets and most bus routes. Living downtown, that means every damn street near us gets plowed between 1 and 5 am whenever there is any kind of remotely substantial snowfall. It never fails to wake us up - if it's not the building-rattling scraping of the road, it's the frickin' back-up warning alarm that they have... "Beeeeeeep....beeeeeeeeeep.....beeeeeeeep....beeeeeeeep....beeeeeeep...." FUCK OFF!!!!! THERE IS NO ONE OUTSIDE TO GET RUN OVER!!!! They are all trying to SLEEP for the love of God!!! And because we live on a super busy through way through downtown, it gets plowed simultaneously by three plows, so it feels like there's an earthquake happening and then they start to back up to get the tiny bit of snow they missed the first 40 times they went by and... well, you get the picture. I'm totally glad that hasn't started yet. :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Keifer Sutherland looks pretty good these days... and other ramblings

I'm currently watching some show about really special children. Right now they're telling the story of this 13 year old blind teenager who is autistic and a musical genius. He can hear a song played once or sung once and parrot it back perfectly. Amazing...

Anyway, I wanted to post about how wonderful my girlfriend is. I worked from 6 - 4 today (I haven't had two days off in a row in three months...sigh...) and when I walked in the door this evening, Julie had a candlelight dinner waiting for me. Steak and baby potatoes, steamed broccoli and grilled mushrooms. Mmmmm.... I'll have to tell my mom that we did well by her groceries. :) Very romantic and sweet and totally unexpected.

This damn rash or hives or whatever from that damn cream is still the same... annoying as hell. I sure hope it goes away soon because eventually I do want to wear normal clothes (i.e. my Victoria Secret bras, collared shirts) again.

Julie is chillin' on the couch watching the tv listings channel. In fact, she just announced, "Y'know... sometimes I just like to watch this channel." Okay... whatever makes her happy, I guess. :) I think I'll leave her to watch the tv listings... oh wait, she's decided on 24 now (hence the title of this entry... he really is looking better than he did back in the early 90's)... and I'm going to head to bed. I can't wait until I can enjoy an actual weekend to rest. Unfortunately, that won't be until around Dec 21st. Damn busy season...

I need to catch up on all the blogs I haunt. I miss all the cute kid stories and such. :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Generosity of others

Sorry there haven't been any updates in the past couple of weeks. Both of us have been depressed and stressed out. Julie never received pay for the last four weeks she worked at her job. She's in the process of filing an official complaint with the Employment Standards of Alberta because of that.

In better news, she has been hired as an executive assistant to the Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association. She'll be super busy but I think she'll do awesome at it. It doesn't pay as much as her old job (about a $9,000 pay cut) because it's non-profit, but she'll be in a lower tax bracket, so she could possibly end up bringing home close to what she used to!

To help us cover December's rent, Julie's parents surprised us with an incredible gift of $450. We are so grateful - that plus all the overtime I've been working to make up the rest will get us squeaking by with just enough for the time being. My mother also surprised the hell out of us by showing up the other night with three bags of groceries and a pack of paper towels and a pack of toilet paper (the big ones from Costco). We had tears in our eyes, we were so happy. All Julie could manage was to stand in the middle of the kitchen and just stare in awe as I unpacked the groceries.

"Look Julie... cheese!"
"Oh my god... we haven't had cheese in..."
"Yeah, I can't remember the last time either."

"Look Julie... chicken breasts!"
"Oh my god..."

"Look Julie... vegetables! Holy cow, I don't remember the last time we had fresh vegetables!"

And the same dialogue happened for the oranges, the bread, the tuna, the juice, the crackers...

Needless to say, we've been living off of Kraft Dinner (Safeway had a 'buy one case, get one free' sale a few weeks back) and soup for the past... oh, I don't know, two months? And now we have a cupboard and fridge full of healthy stuff that we haven't had the luxury of buying. I have to say, for being poor at the moment, I don't think I've ever felt so rich.

Oh, I forgot to mention, the gay boys downstairs slipped a card with a $50 Swiss Chalet gift card under the door. Wow... the generosity of friends and family while in a crisis so amazing. I get teary-eyed just thinking about this past week and the help we've received. It's definitely pulled us out of our depression, that's for sure. We can and will survive this speed bump in our lives. December will be ridiculously tight and nobody is getting any Christmas presents from us, but we'll get by. : ) It's so powerful to go through something so hard and come out okay on the other side. I shouldn't say that quite yet because goodness knows something horrible could happen, but I'll chance it anyway. ; )

In other news, I'm finally getting used to wearing contact lenses. I do miss wearing glasses though... too bad mine got stepped on by accident (they fell from the coffee table...) and the frame bent too much. I looked for a few months to see if I could find some frames that would sit okay on my crooked nose (by the way, yesterday marked a year since I was hit in the face by the puck at a hockey game! *shudder*) but I was unsuccessful. Perhaps one month/year I'll find a good pair... in the meantime, I can wear the contacts and avoid red, strained eyes and monster headaches. : )

And lastly, I'm almost afraid to mention this as it seems that all I do is talk about what ails me, but for some reason all of sudden the anti-inflammatory cream the doctor prescribed me to put on my shoulder has caused me to break out in a rash. I've been using the cream for nearly a month now and have had no issues until today. Now, right where it was rubbed on, I have all these small red bumps that are itchy and annoying. I put some aloe vera on it and took an allergy pill and hopefully that will reduce it and/or make it go away. I guess I won't be using that cream anymore!!

That's it for tonight... oh wait, I'll mention that I made Julie pull out our little Christmas tree and watch Christmas Vacation the other night. Heh... I just felt in the mood for Christmas... who cares if it's over a month away. : )

Monday, November 3, 2008

Another Update

Julie has had a few interviews in the past couple of weeks and two really good ones coming up this week. One is for a position at the provincial museum and the other is a position at the Canadian mental health board (or something like that). She's been preparing for days - I read her notes and points she made and after the first page I was ready to hire her for something.

My shoulder pain has lessened somewhat - it still hurts like hell to sit at the computer and type but it's not unbearable. I am sleeping better at night although I still cannot sleep on either side. It's hard falling asleep on my back but I'm getting used to it. My doctor gave me some topical anti-inflammatory cream to put on it which helps a little although it's really freakin' messy and impossible to not get all over my shirt because it doesn't really rub in. Oh well... some relief is worth doing more laundry, I suppose.

I had an appointment with a plastic surgeon this afternoon about this pain in my left index finger that I've had for the past 17 years. It was originally thought to be nerve damage because whenever something brushes against the nail bed and surrounding area I have unbelievably acute pain that usually causes my entire hand to go numb for a few minutes. I've been to a neurologist, several doctors and now finally a plastic surgeon has diagnosed a glomus tumor as the cause. I was so damn happy, I nearly cried. FINALLY I know what's causing it and more importantly, I know it can be fixed. I'll go in for surgery and they'll remove the tumor and hopefully get it all (sometimes they can't get it all and in 10-15 years the pain comes back). The surgeon said that it will be instant relief and that my nail will grow in normally. I honestly cannot even imagine the relief at this point - to be able to actually use my finger for simple things again. As it is, I hold my index finger away when I tie my shoes or button up clothing or open anything or grab anything. My second finger has taken over the job of my index finger so it'll be very strange to be able to use it after nearly twenty years. Wow.

Julie needed a hair cut and since we're living very frugally right now, I cut it. She asked me to do it and although I told her I've never cut hair before, she insisted. Well, I tried doing what I've seen my hairdresser do to me and it seems to have turned out semi-alright. With utility scissors no less. She hasn't really 'done' her hair yet so I can't tell if it's a disaster or not. She just let it dry naturally and it looks okay. She's happy with it, so I guess that's all that matters. :)

I am soooooo obsessed with Law and Order SVU these days. Well... more specifically Detective Olivia Benson and Assistant District Attorney Casey Novak. I've spent many an evening propped up with pillows on the couch with my laptop on my lap reading fic about them. There's not a whole hell of a lot considering people seem to like the Olivia/Alex pairing more (the ADA before Casey), but it's enough to feed the addiction. I was crushed when the actress who played Casey left the show after last season... the new ADA is alright but not nearly as amusing as Casey was. :(

Okay, enough typing for one day...

Today I'm grateful for:

* A diagnosis FINALLY!!!!
* My girlfriend... *cough* excuse me, common-law partner (she keeps reminding me of that)
* My family
* My job
* Fan Fiction - God bless the Internet