Mug Update.

Despite my clever 'Missing' sign and numerous walks around the floor, my mug has not been returned, either to my desk or to the cupboard. However, someone did leave another ivory-colored mug on my desk, with my notice attached to it, assuming...I assume...that it was mine. It was not. Inferior in nearly every capacity to the one I had lost, it also had the added distinction of still having the remainder of someone's coffee in the bottom of it. Seriously.

My boss, realizing my annoyance over office mug theft, actually (very nicely) presented me with a new mug on Friday afternoon. It has some distinguishing markings (some leaves and a few stripes) and looks to be every bit the mug as my previous one.


The tiny coffee room on our floor at the office is barely as big as my walk-in closet. It's big enough for a fridge, a microwave, some cupboards and a sink. Daily offerings include prepackaged coffee packets to be used in a fancy packet-using coffee machine, cookies and biscuits of the Peek Frean variety (with the occasional Oreo or Chips Ahoy!), and about ten varieties of black English tea, for the benefit of my many British or British-schooled coworkers. One sample of the coffee left me in digestive agony for the rest of the day, and not being a huge fan of the teas offered, I brought a stash of herbal and green teas to keep in my desk for those days when I needed something warm. Which, in an office as heavily into air conditioning as this one seems to be, is often necessary.

The first time I went to drink my tea, I realized that I didn't have one of the office essentials - a mug. Luckily, like every single office I have worked in before this one, the cupboards in the coffee closet are stocked with the mugs of employees long since departed from the Firm, and perhaps even from this life. They are often adorned with the logos of radio stations or office supply stores, a grassy marsh with some cattails and a loon (these usually have a gold rim), kittens, or, my personal favorite, a clever one-liner such as "This isn't an office, it's hell with flourescent lighting" or "Second Place is the First Loser". Ah, office humour. Anyways, every single office has at least one cupboard full of these relics from times long since past. I know I've left mugs of my own in at least 4 different offices.

The day I went to drink my first cup of tea at my new desk in my new office, I scrounged around to the back of the cupboard to find the mug I would deem most unlikely to have an owner still working here (and using it). In the back corner, I found my winner - a large black mug with a Vegas hotel logo. I considered the risk, with the locals being pretty big on travel and Vegas being a pretty popular destination, but figured that its placement in the back corner, combined with the apparent dust on the bottom, meant that I was in the clear. I quickly assumed it as "mine" until I could get out and find a mug of my own.

Over the next few weeks, I got quite comfortable with the mug. I'd fill it a few times a day, it kept my tea quite hot, and it had a great handle on it. I was in no rush to go spend $15 on a new one, so I decided to start keeping the mug at my desk when I was done with it, to make sure it didn't go into the mug pool. This was obviously a premature decision.

One morning, I had just refilled with my second cup of steaming hot herbal tea. Most likely a lemon blend. I'd gotten up to grab something off the copier and returned to my desk to find a somewhat irate looking coworker standing there, holding the mug. She asked me where I had found the mug and I told her that it was in the very back corner of the cupboard, that I was new, and had assumed that it didn't belong to anyone. In no uncertain terms, I was informed that it did, in fact, have an owner (her), it was not, in fact, available for anyone to use, and that in the future I was to keep my hands off of her property. As if I could have known. She stormed off with my mug full of tea, dumped it out in the sink (a bit dramatically, I might add), and huffed her way down the hall back to wherever she works. She hasn't spoken to me since. I can see where she was coming from, but it really was an honest mistake. It's not like I stole it off of her desk.

That afternoon, I went to the local kitchen supply store and spent $13.95 on a beautiful tall, ivory colored English ceramic mug. Deliberately wanting to keep it out of the cupboard, I kept it behind my computer (where it was out of plain view) and it has outshone its Vegas counterpart in every imaginable way. So, imagine my disappointment when I reached behind my computer yesterday morning to find it gone. Vanished. I let it go for the day, thinking that perhaps the cleaners may have removed it from my desk, washed it and replaced it in the cupboard but cue this morning...still no sign of my mug. After having a strip torn off of me for showing bad office etiquette and taking a mug not rightfully mine, I decided that I wasn't going to go all Canadian and just let it go. I crafted and posted a 'MISSING' sign in the coffee closet, right on the cupboard, complete with a hand drawn depiction of my mug. I posted it anonymously, asking only that the mug be returned to the cupboard as soon as possible. It was funny, in an ominous kind of way.

Three hours have now gone by and there is still no sign of my mug. I've done the obligatory walk around the floor, checking out the desks, but so far...nothing.

I'm annoyed.

I've got the Farm Boy Blues.

Every once in awhile, I get flashbacks to our life in Canada before we left. More specifically, much-missed friends and family aside, I flash back to the options and choices we had available to us there that are just simply non-existent here. There were options for what to do on a Friday night. There were more than two movies to choose from at the more than two theatres. We could choose to buy groceries at one of seven local grocery stores, all of which were sure to have an excellent selection of fruits and vegetables, all of which would be reasonably fresh.

It's the grocery stores I lament over the most.

In Orleans, soon-to-be-home (again) to the Forgetfuls and arguably the most pleasant part of Ottawa to park a young family (in my humble opinion...which is not at all trying to firm up the Forgetful's decision), our grocery shopping options were, in a word, awesome. We had at least three instances of Loeb, a Superstore that had to be a kilometre long, a brand spankin' new Sobey's (now the owner of my West Coast fave, Thrifty's, I believe), a somewhat mysterious Food Basics and, of course, a Farm Boy. This was the 'burbs, after all.

Farm Boy, for those of you unfortunate enough to not have one within a 10K radius, sells what every other grocery store sells around their perimeters...meaning, produce, deli, baked goods, meat, fish and dairy, with the occasional jar of salad dressing or fancy canned vegetables. For those of you in Victoria, think Market on Yates, without the ego. We'd go there occasionally, spend (what we thought at the time) a fortune on fresh fruits and veggies, and then head to Superstore or Sobey's for the cereal, etc. It was a tad more expensive than some other stores, but their produce was always excellent and neatly arranged. I like it when the eggplants are symmetrical. Anyways, I never really realized just how great it was. I did remember being annoyed by the creepy singing doll (who I presume is the "Farm Boy") and the hoards of people crowding the produce if we happened to stop by on a Saturday afternoon, but really...we could have planned better and avoided the crowds.

To say that our grocery options on the island are limited is a gross understatement. We have two grocery stores near our house. One is marginally better than the other, but neither is great. One displays its entire line of produce on a single wooden shelf, the apples mingling with the onions, and the potatoes next to packets of dried fish. Yes, fish. In the "produce section".

It's a little disheartening.

As I stood in line preparing to pay $6.00 for a sub-par eggplant, I took a moment to miss what we left behind and thought, just for a split second, that I even miss that gorilla swinging over the bananas, and that creepy doll singing about how nothing rhymes with oranges.

I'm going to go buy an apple in the summer, just for fun. I'm looking forward to getting change from my loonie AND having it not taste like sawdust. Awesome!

Unsolicited Product Endorsement: SIGG Bottles.

If you know me well, you know that I'm never very far from a source of water. I inhale the stuff...anywhere between 2 and 3 litres throughout the day. Consequently, I have tried a number of water-carrying options for work and weekends.

Since the 90's, I have been a devout Nalgene kind of girl. I have had many of their bottles, dating back to the days when I worked outdoors for the YM-YWCA and needed something that I could carry easily in my backpack, toss into a kayak, or hang off my rock-climbing harness. Nalgene fit the bill and I have always had a few of them kicking around.

The water here is safe to drink, but since it's collected rainwater, it has a distinctive taste that I can only describe as "pond". It tastes like a frog. So, we stocked up on Brita filters and that takes care of it, though you still have to consume it quickly because if it sits around and reaches room temperature, that pond taste and smell seem to return. Unpleasant. I recently started looking around for an alternative to my polycarbonate Nalgenes and found SIGG bottles. I've now had mine for about a week and I'm hooked. And hydrated. The pond smell is a distant memory and my water stays much colder for longer. Plus, since it's not plastic, that nagging voice in the back of my head warning me about plastic leaching into my water is gone. No more worries.

I highly recommend them. I know that Klean Kanteens are pretty popular right now too for all of the same reasons, but we can't get those here. The SIGG is prettier too. Because that's what's really important.


...and, in case you are interested, it was totally worth it to go for the jugular. I'm much happier. You can't see me, but I'm snappin' a Z right now.

Playing Hostess.

I have been a very delinquent blogger over the past week because we've been enjoying the company of our very first house guest. Clay arrived last Friday and is staying for a week - his first real vacation in over four years. We were pretty excited for him to get here. He's the first of our wedding party (or our friends from home) that we've celebrated our engagement with, and the island rolled out the red carpet for him with amazing weather all weekend. Our own red carpet was pretty lacklustre...he's pretty much the most easygoing houseguest imaginable and just kind of blended in. We're already a little bit sad that he'll be leaving, and he's not even gone yet.

Last weekend, we decided to take him out for our first real night out on the island. We've had a few nights here and there, none of them late, none of them messy. Last Saturday was both very late and very messy, and ended with me stealing someone's hat (I didn't hear about this until last night, when Kurt found it in the back of the car), drinking far more than my lame alcohol tolerance will allow (in reality, about 7 drinks...haha), and spending nearly all of Sunday feeling like absolute ass. For me, there is nothing worse than a bad hangover. Along with the incredible illness is the incredible guilt of missing out on a day of amazing weather because I couldn't stop throwing up. Sad. Even sadder was the fact that the boys were totally fine and spent the afternoon on the beach, swimming and roasting themselves on the pink sand.

Anyways, he's having an awesome time, despite the fact that we made him walk 6 km on a broken toe (I swear, I didn't know), and the fact that he witnessed some violence the other day, when we watched some adorable teenagers break a couple of glass bottles over the head of another teenager, slicing his head open and leaving him missing a few chunks of his face. Awesome! Talk about an awkward silence. Apparently all the violence here is gang related, but for such a small place, it seems pretty hardcore. Whatever happened to wedgies?

I hate teenagers, by the way. I'm a bit embarassed about having been one. The ones here seem particularly loathesome.

We watched an awesome movie last night. If you haven't seen Juno, I highly recommend it. It was nominated for some awards, so I figured it would probably be OK, but we were all surprised by just how much we did enjoy it. Though, I won't be running out to buy the was a little too Napoleon Dynamite for me. Speaking of, I have gone too long without a dose of ND...time for a viewing, I think. I have a coworker who looks just like LaFawnda. For reals. She even has the same fingernails.

So...that's what we've been up to. Clay is already looking into booking a return trip during the four-day weekend in July (I heart national holidays), so I guess the island has made a good impression. It's hard not to though, when you have pink sand and turquoise water and appear to be sunny all the time. I'd almost forgotten just how incredibly beautiful it is's nice to have a reason to appreciate all of that beauty through a new set of eyes.