Home for a rest.

For the past 5 days, I have been drinking lattés (with the occasional London Fog), walking on the beach, running along Dallas, test-driving the new camera and pretty much enjoying every minute of unemployment. It's seriously great. Why did I never do this before? Oh right...because watching the money (literally) drain out of our account today with a mortgage payment made me want to vomit. That's why. Unemployment sucks for the wallet, but it is great for the soul.

I've managed to squeeze in a lot, without feeling too rushed around, like I normally feel during a typical trip home. This is partly because very few people knew I was here, and partly because I just didn't want that kind of trip. After all, I was just here in July...there isn't a lot to catch up on between then and now. Except the whole moving process, and really...no one cares about that. I dug up a few unemployed friends, but mostly just hung out at the homestead, reacquainting myself with the cat, eating healthy food, visiting with my ladies and occasional man-friend...good times.

This time next week, I'll be on another island, in an entirely different ocean, with an entirely different life. What a weird feeling.

Fall in Ottawa.

A small tribute to this beautiful city, which I have been lucky enough to call home for just over five years. It is never prettier than at this time of year, with all of the fall colors. I took these photos from LUNLF's deck, approximately 4 minutes after my new camera finally arrived.

So Prepared.

A couple of times each year, the glass tower which houses LUNLF decides to test its tenants with a fire drill. I think we're timed, and then probably scolded by our local fire hall for a lack of speed. We always know about these drills ahead of time, because they send an e-mail out earlier in the week, alerting everyone to the fact that they will need to pretend that the building is on fire at this particular time, on this particular day. It's usually a PDF, complete with little graphics, some arrows and always includes the exact time. This is handy because it's common knowledge that as soon as that fire alert starts, the elevators stop and you are forced to take the stairs down to the ground floor. This is also when the millions paid in rent for the penthouse, while totally worth it on the average day, just do not cut it. Especially not when you are wearing heels. However, if you choose to remain behind and are not wheelchair-bound or pregnant (they await "help"), you apparently get "reported". A chilling thought, indeed.

Usually, I am smart enough to catch the elevator down before the actual drill begins, saving myself a very slow descent from the clouds, amongst irritated looking people trying to simultaneously walk down steep stairs whilst keeping up-to-the-minute on their BlackBerries. Walking down stairs slowly is a lot harder than walking down stairs quickly. I can go grab my latté to keep me warm while I wait with my co-workers outdoors for the signal that it is "safe" to return to the office. Today, I was a little slow, totally missed my window of opportunity with the elevators, and was corralled into that stairwell. What a very not awesome way to start the day.

Besides our scheduled fire drills, occasionally, the signals go off randomly in the middle of the day. The response to the fire signals, in this office at least (so I'm going to generalize for all law firms everywhere) is hilarious. No one stops what they are doing. Most get up to shut the doors to their offices to drown out the noise (actually a smart move, in the case of a real fire), some end their phone calls because of the annoyance, but most just truck on, pretty much immune to any threat of real danger. It rarely crosses my mind that there actually could be something wrong. This may be because 99% of the time, after the signal has droned on for 10-15 minutes or so, we get an announcement from a bored-sounding security guard confirming that "the situation has been investigated and there appears to be no fire." Shocking. They usually leave out the part about us being annoyed for half an hour because of burnt toast in the food court. And then there was that one time that we ignored the signals for ages, walked down the stairs to go get coffee, and found the lobby filled with smoke. Apparently, a car had caught fire (?) on one of the 12 or so levels of parking garage below the buidling and there actually was a threat to the building. However, no one was alerted, no bored-sounding security guard told us to get the $%#& out, so no one moved.

Brilliant. Obviously, we were all awaiting our e-mail notification of what to expect, and what time to evacuate, complete with graphics and arrows, if possible. We like things that are pretty and visually stimulating.

We are so prepared.

Limbo is Over!

So, my return to blogging has been slightly lacklustre. This is mostly because I had anticipated this exciting whirlwind of a time where we're packing and leaving, getting settled into a new place, new jobs, etc., when in reality it has been more like WE'RE GOING! Oh...wait...just kidding. Oh, what's that? We're going to be here for another week or two? Wait...another MONTH? You know that we're homeless, right? And Kurt quit his job mid-September? Oh. OK. A one to FOUR week delay? Awesome.

This has, for the record, been so NOT awesome. But yesterday, with the replaying of a single voicemail from my new office, the winds changed.

Work permit status = approved. We're officially moving. And our excitement, which had been reduced to a few tiny shreds and replaced with a fear of perhaps having to stay here...with no stuff (sold) and no house, is growing again at an exponential rate. This may, in part, be because Ottawa is getting cold...fast. Minus one has already registered on the thermometer, which means that minus 40 isn't far behind.

I gave my notice to LUNLF approximately 11 weeks ago, and though they've been amazing about letting me stay on and continue in my old position for almost a full month after the departure date I gave them in my notice letter, it's seriously time for me to stop working. I need to let go. No more free paper clips, no more catered lunches, no more fun co-workers, no more working for the two most amazing bosses you could ever ask for. Why am I leaving again? Oh...right...pink sand and eighty degrees in October. This Friday will be my official last day as a LUNLF employee.

So, I'll have about a week to kill between my last day at LUNLF and our scheduled departure date of October 29th, and since I'm in the mood for a little granola, I'm going to spend it at home. I fly out on Saturday and I'll be there for a week, reminding my cat of who his true mother is, enjoying a week without heels and work clothes, eating Noodle Box and drinking Moka House coffee, and pretty much just relaxing. My selection of unemployed/casual labour friends is pretty limited in Victoria, so I'm expecting it to be a pretty quiet week. Kurt's going to stay behind and say his final farewells to his hometown, as I'm doing the same in mine.

It's all finally coming together...THANK GOD. I'm not sure we can take much more of this limbo business. However, I did locate my hair dryer on the weekend, which has marginally improved my general happiness about the situation.

Pet Peeve #6783: A Story.

Clothes that are manufactured to look old, used and torn.


A few years ago...or, now that I think about it, more like 7 or 8 years ago, Victoria's favorite shopping centre, Mayfair Mall (also known as "high school reunion with only the people you don't want to reunion with"), acquired a couple of stores which provided a certain level of excitement for Victoria's teens. At the time, I was one of them. A new store in the mall was a fairly big deal, especially if it was one that you had only ever seen advertisements for in your latest issue of Seventeen magazine. When you are stuck with a sad selection comprised of Mariposa, Le Château, the Levi's store, and Club Monaco (which perpetually sells only white, black and grey clothing), a little variety was worth the drive.

On a side note, if someone can please explain how Le Château went from being the store I would pick up a synthetic $15.00 shirt on a Thursday afternoon (specifically so that it could get spilled on at the bar that evening) to a store with prices on par with Jacob and RW, despite no visible improvement in their overall quality, please let me know.

I remember driving out to Mayfair in my car with Alayna, babysitting money saved and ready to be spent. Focused mainly on the t-shirt, hoodie and jean crowd (and therefore perfect for us), it lived up to all of our expectations and both of us left with empty wallets and a much-coveted reuseable shopping bag, which is great when you want everyone else to know where you have been. When you're 18 and live in Victoria, this is very important.

Over the next few years, I frequented this store often. The quality seemed good, the clothes were super comfortable and the prices, while higher than Mariposa, etc., were manageable. However, at some point circa 2001, a certain irritating trend began that I not only refuse to participate in, but will never understand.

Again, Alayna was my shopping buddy. With a 36 inch inseam, her choices in jean manufacturers were somewhat limited, but this store fit the bill, so off we went on a random afternooon. We clearly hadn't been in quite awhile, because we certainly weren't prepared for what we saw. Mannequins, draped in the usual jeans and t-shirt combos, looked as though they had come into contact with a rabid cat, wielding a sanding block and a pair of scissors. Threads were hanging off of the edges, the jeans were full of holes and purposeful scuff marks, the collars of the shirts were frayed...it was a mess. And it didn't stop there. All through the store, amid the now-limited selection of intact clothing was the start of the trend of clothing manufactured to look old, used, stained and torn. And I don't mean the standard cute vintage t-shirt (with necklines and sleeves intact)...I mean the jeans with a hole in the knee that someone not only took the time to create, but also the time to patch up again.

Now, I do consider myself to be somewhat of a snob when it comes to certain things. I uphold certain standards. One of those standards is that when I spend upwards of $50 on an article of clothing, I would rather create the holes myself. And I don't expect to see one for years. When you buy a t-shirt with the neckline already frayed and full of loose threads, can you really be surprised when it falls apart in the washing machine after only one wear? No. You can not. Because that is what aged clothing does - even if the aging happened approximately 30 seconds after the shirt was sewn together in the first place.

This morning, on the bus, I noticed a guy in front of me dressed very nicely and carrying a shoulder bag made by a very expensive jeans label. However, as nicely dressed as he was, it looked as though he had dropped his bag into a mulching machine. Not only were holes created all over the bag, but they were patched (from behind) with a different type of material and then purposely frayed around the edges. The bag even had a little "menu" on it (supposed to look like an old stamp?), listing all of the "features" of the bag. These "features" included "holes and patches" and "staining". Awesome. $200.00 well spent.

I am all for comfortable clothing. Sometimes, the aging process does create clothing that is softer and feels as though you've owned it forever. I don't have a problem with that - in fact, I think it can be great. I just think that the rips, tears, stains and loose threads are a rip-off. For one thing, you can do this yourself, if you really want to. A pair of scissors, a couple of random pieces of upholstery for patching and a sanding block should work nicely, and for the staining, try tea. For another, clothes that are old to begin with have a much, much shorter lifespan, even though you have spent just as much money on them.

I know, I know. Ignore the trend. Buy clothes that are actually new. Get over it. Doesn't mean that I can't be annoyed by it anyway...especially since it seems to be the trend that doesn't die.
I just think it's lame.

Belated Birthday Poem.

Yesterday, October 8th, was a very special day.
Unfortunately, my inner poet did not come out to play.
And so, I'm back in action, and I hope that no feelings were hurt.
Because yesterday was the birthday of my one and only, Kurt.

Which birthday, you ask? Well, that's not for me to say.
I can say that he's decades away from requiring a toupée.
But, though his spring chicken years are over, and he's feeling quite mature,
He looks no older than 28...of this, I am quite sure.

Great qualities are abundant in this fine young man.
Over an SUV he always prefers an enviro-friendly sedan.
He knows a lot about computers, about cars and about life.
He's patient and gives good advice - he'll have a very lucky wife.

(Hopefully, he will also keep me on the side.)

Even though he was allergic, he grew to love my cat.
He's very, very funny and looks great in a hat.
When I'm feeling lazy, he'll come pick me up from work.
Even though sometimes I can be quite a jerk.

(But not often, obviously.)

In short, to sum up, he's a very special guy.
To his hometown he will soon be saying goodbye.
But for now, even though yesterday was his special day,
I'd like to say to him (again), HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Love, Kris.


What a bust.

Camera bag: purchased, arrived, awesome.
Camera lens: purchased, arrived, unpacked, all settled into lens compartment of camera bag.
Camera lens filters: purchased, arriving today.
Camera: Supplier backed out, money refunded, dammit dammit dammit. WTF.

It was only the most awkward eBay transaction ever. I'm pretty annoyed, because now my time is really running out and I have all the supplies...just no D40X to USE said supplies with and take glorious photos of fall leaves. Not even turkey dinner could cheer me up on Sunday.

Je suis trés bummed.

Thank you, struggling American dollar.

I have been obsessing about the purchase of a new digital camera for about a year now. And when I say "obsessing", I actually mean "compulsively searching the internet, reading reviews, creating fake shopping carts in various online stores" obsessing. Last weekend, the obsession ended. I logged onto eBay on Saturday morning, set for my normal list of search filters, watching prices and narrowing in on the perfect buy when I noticed the following phenomenon:

C $497.50.

Pardon? Sold.

In my relatively short life (comparatively to...people who are a lot older than me, perhaps), I can't remember the last time I saw this happen. And believe me, I took advantage. Now, I am all about buying Canadian, but when the difference is as huge as it is and until I am very, very rich, I can't pass up this kind of deal. In the span of about 20 minutes, I had purchased the camera body AND a lens. Even with the shipping and calculated duty costs, the already lower prices in the States meant that my camera, $780 for the body only in Canada, ended up costing me hundreds of dollars less than I had originally budgeted for. And by budgeted, I of course mean "thought about money in my mind and came up with a number". Brilliant.

My choice? A Nikon D40X, with an 18-135 zoom lens, which looks like this, with a different lens:

I had originally planned on purchasing the extremely popular Canon Digital Rebel XTi. Cute, sleek, comes in silver, capable of taking some amazing shots. But then I went to a local fantastic specialty photography store and changed my mind. The D40X and the XTi are very, very similar, but besides the fact that the particular salesperson I had seemed to be in a Nikon cult, I was wooed by other factors, like the menus and the way the Nikon felt in my hands. I also have a very good Nikon-using friend whose photos sell Nikon (and parenthood) very, very well. Anyways, while I'm pretty positive that either of the two cameras on the block would have been fantastic, I'm happy with my choice.

The downside? It's taking a freaking lifetime to ship out of New York. Sitting here...fingers crossed...HURRY UP. I have dead fall leaves and cute babies to photograph.