Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sign of a Syndrome

This is how I know I'm a detail-oriented person - while sitting at a stoplight, I noticed this sign:

Do you notice anything unusual or odd about it?  I might not have either, except I'm THAT person.  The same person who picks errors out on menus and finds pleasure in finding newspaper mistakes.  Recognizing that this is an annoying and tedious trait, I often keep these things to myself.

If you notice anything odd about the signage here, comment below.  If there are no comments, I will be confirmed of one of two things:  a) no one notices or cares about such things, which is fine or b) no one is reading my blog, which, surprisingly, is also fine.  I have come to accept this in my later years.

Want a hint?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


So, I did a post on dogs, now I figured I should do one on cats.  Yep, it's a slow week.  I could sum it up quite succinctly:  I dislike them.

I've never really been a cat person.

I never really know what to do with them.  You can't roughhouse with them like dogs, they usually don't seem to care about you at all, and they're a little creepy.  However, some cats seem to pick up on my disdain for them and make it their personal mission to sway me.  It usually ends up with me awkwardly petting them and then testing the "They Always Land on All Fours" theory.

Lately, my lack of interest in cats has taken on a new life in my neighbourhood.  Over the last several weeks, there has been a clear infestation of stray cats and they all seem to congregate (and plot?) on my front and back porches.  They no longer are afraid or startled by my clapping my hands or throwing things at them.  They just stare.  Right on through to my soul, daring me to defy them again. 

I feel like a prisoner in my own home.  They sleep on my wicker and cushions, leaving tufts of hair everywhere.  They stealthily creep around my yard, popping out unexpectedly.  They get in the most heinous sounding cat fights I've ever heard.  Probably over who can rule my roost.

You can't see the other two in this picture, but they have taken over.

There are four different cats that I can identify so far.  I have named them after the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.  I have been Googling home remedies for how to deter felines and tonight I have tried spraying lemon juice on my porch and patio furniture.  I am crossing my fingers.  And standing with a broom nearby ready to strike.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dog Days of Summer

I want a dog.

At the beginning of 2013, I vowed to either move permanently to New York City or get a dog.  One is significantly more difficult than the other and since it's already July, I'm thinking that getting a dog is more likely to happen.

I have had a dog all through my childhood.  First, there was Jasper - a mix of some sort who we eventually gave away to friends who had a farm - no really!  That's not code for "put him down". 

Then there was an annoyingly loud beagle, Sam (who we kept for exactly three days) and finally the beloved Tessa - a purebred Australian Shepherd.

Tessa was awesome in every way.  She died in 2008 and I miss having a dog around.  I think I would get another Australian Shepherd - they're such a great breed.  The one thing I'm afraid of is getting a dog with a less-than-ideal temperament.  It's the same fear I would have about a child.  Sure, you can train them really well, but it's a bit of a crap shoot when it comes to their personality.

All signs point to dog ownership.  I have a fenced in yard.  I work from home so would have ample opportunity to train it properly.  My doorbell is broken so it would be nice to have a barking visitor announcement.

However, I am out a lot.  This is slightly worrisome as I don't want anything to cramp my social style.  But, maybe it's time for me to take responsibility for more than myself.  Hmmm.  I ought to give this more thought.

Another thing I need to think about is a suitable name.  A dog's name is so important.  For a while I liked the name Lemon, but then worried that people might think my dog is gimpy or something.  I also find human names really amusing - like Kevin or Mark.  Just imagine yelling, "Here, Mark, come on boy!"  Funny. 

However, the real question is - does a single girl getting a dog look the same as a single girl getting a cat?  Must avoid that at all costs.

Monday, July 8, 2013


I love bacon as much as the next person.  Or perhaps more.  But come on now - this is ridiculous:

I've even heard recently of pot-flavoured bacon.  Shouldn't this be the other way around?


I quite enjoyed the odd creativity of these umbrellas:


It was Tall Ships weekend in Hamilton recently and Bayfront Park and Piers 4 and 8 were bustling.  I decided to spend a particularly lovely Sunday down by the water and even ventured there on my bicycle.  On the road.  Without a helmet - errrr.

I have never biked downtown before, but with the Yes We Cannon initiative as well as my new knowledge of the arm signals, I decided to give it a go.  I got down there in less than 20 minutes with nary a car honking at me.

My friend Andreana was spending the day at the park preparing for the massive Canada Day celebration and I joined her on her VIP golf cart after lounging by the water and on a blanket with a book.  It was a perfectly blissful day, topped off by joining my parents for lunch on a nearby sailboat.

A great day to be a Hamiltonian.  Plus, by hanging out with Andreana in her VIP golf cart, I got a free soft serve ice cream.

The fireworks on Canada Day were incredible - just when you think they have tapped out all the possible firework creations, they invent another one!  There were at least three fireworks that I had never seen before.  And the greatest thing about Canada Day celebrations is that you get to stand and sing the national anthem.  Outside of grade school, we don't get to do this anymore.  I miss it.  Plus it's heartwarming to see all the punks and seem-to-be hoodlums remove their baseball caps and stand at attention.  Visible patriotism is the best.


I loved walking down James Street North and doing a double-take at this alleyway.  It reminds me of a small Caribbean country or back alley in New Orleans.  I love the effort at making their small area beautiful.


I love a good painting project.  There are few other chores that make such a visible difference and so quickly.  I have been known to paint over everything.  Forget sweeping spiders off the porch, just paint over them.  Forget dusting the stairs, just paint over it.  I helped a friend with her painting project the other day and it was a satisfying job. 

Several neighbours praised us as we worked, which makes me think they have all been hoping those unsightly stairs would be fixed.  Were they the neighbourhood eyesore?  That's saying a lot in our area of town!

"Excuse me...."

Asking someone to watch your computer at Starbucks is a strange exercise.  Naturally, after drinking a venti medium roast coffee, nature will call and it is necessary to choose someone suitable to guard your belongings while you take a bathroom break.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have carefully selected guardians based on the following criteria:

- proximity
- likelihood to steal my stuff
- level of weirdness
- age

Last week I asked an elderly lady to watch my computer and when I came back, I saw that she had fully turned her chair around and was intently staring at it, as if a thief could possibly swoop in and steal it at any moment.  I loved this.  She had made it her sole duty.

Today I asked a middle-aged man to take on the task and only after saying, "Excuse me" about four times did he grunt his acceptance.  When I thanked him upon my return, he ignored me.  Not quite the vigilant good Samaritan I had hoped for. 

I think next time I will put society to the test and not ask anyone.  I'm confident in our collective goodness.  Or take my laptop to the bathroom....

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sign of the Times

The printed word has caught my eye several times in the last week.  Here's a sample:

I love this idea.  A grassroots strategy to get feedback about our neighbourhood.  However, the method by which to relay this information is extremely limited.  The website is abysmal and no one responds to any comments posted.  Instead, we're supposed to comment through Twitter. 

Well, what about those people like me who are only on Twitter to follow and have never posted a single tweet?  I'm a taker, not a giver when it comes to 140 character thoughts.  They don't even have a Twitter account, just simply a hashtag #walkthedelta.

I think I might just print directly on these posters with a Sharpie, where my answer is surely to be thrown away.  Mostly, "I would walk the Delta, but...there are no trees, no green space, no planters.  It's a concrete expanse."  Truthfully, I do walk the Delta and have grown up around here, but it could certainly be visually improved a great deal.  I love this concept, but it needs to be implemented in a more effective way.

Well, this is just awesome.  Some cheeky business owner knows the nature of his profession and that time will indeed tell if his customers come to regret this tattoo.  My money is on yes.

This frustrates me so much.  Both the blatant grammatical error, as well as the massive size of it is so embarrassing.  If you're going to make a mistake, it's best that it's small enough to be overlooked.  You know, like when I make a spelling mistake on this blog, and it is only picked up by two or three readers.  A silver lining, if I've ever seen one. 

The other thought I have whenever I see such insane errors in newspapers or on signage, is that there were surely at least 6-8 people who saw this before it showed up on my doorstep, so why did no one bring up the gaffe?  I understand that it is not the publisher's responsibility, but if I were them, I would have made a quick call to the business, as a courtesy.  Or who is their graphic person?  Did they not notice the error?  It's so unfortunate.

This makes me happy.  In the location that previously housed Tower Pizza in my neighbourhood, I am pleased to learn that this meatball shop will be soon opening.  And free delivery!  Hurray
South Sherman.

This was just an unexpected part of Art Crawl on James Street North last week.  A massive protest and parade, overseen and protected by....the police made its way through the gallerinas and hipsters.  It's fairly timely since there was a civilian shooting death a few weeks ago that has not been fully explained, but it was a jarring sight.

Potato Head

It is officially bicycle season.  My trusty $15 garage sale bike continues to be amazing for tooling around, visiting the library, Ottawa Street, local friends and warranting my "Share the Road" bumper sticker.

The other evening I made my poorest bike decision to date.  I had dinner plans with friends a few blocks away and had committed to bringing potatoes.  I made these amazing scalloped potatoes and took them out of the over just as I was about to leave.  I decided to place piping hot potatoes into my bike basket, which was a) too small and b) too easily covered in dripping Gruyere.

It was the most stressful 10 minutes as I cringed at every bump in the road and watched the potatoes lurch out of the pan right before my eyes.  Then, when I arrived at my destination, I couldn't extract them from the basket.  In the end, they still tasted delicious, but not the best use of my brain.

Friday, June 14, 2013


I've also been a person who loves mid-day naps and I've recently learned that there are three types:

1. Planned napping - taking a nap when you know you'll be up later that night

2. Emergency napping - when you just can't keep your eyes open anymore

3. Habitual napping - when you take the same nap each day

I've been a fan of all three, but my favourite is the habitual nap.  Working from home has many benefits, chief among them, the ability to plan a nap into my day.  I get into a little routine that recently has included mashed avocado and Dijon on toast while watching an old Seinfeld or Flight Of The Conchords episode, followed by the most delightful couch nap.

I fear that if I ever leave this job and have to return to the restraints of typical employment, I will be severely disadvantaged.  I will need to negotiate daily naps into my contract.

I've always had the ability to nap almost anywhere:

Once I started looking, it was surprising how many pictures I have of myself sleeping.  Weird.
I will always remember fondly a little "trick" I used to pull when I was really small, around 5 - 8 years old.  When my family would be driving home from somewhere late at night, I would fall asleep and usually awake right when we pulled into the driveway.  But I would keep my eyes closed and pretend to still be asleep so that my Dad would carry me into the house.  I'm sure he was totally on to me, but it was one of my favourite things.

Gala Gal

The Art Gallery of Hamilton annual gala is always one of my favourite events of the year.  I attend the cocktail part through CLiC, the young professional AGH group and then we join the "grown-ups" for the dance portion.  It's always a great opportunity to mingle with the movers and shakers in Hamilton (I'm using that phrase in the event that my friend Kevin reads it), dress up, get hair and make-up done and have a fun night out.

I have attended the last three years.




Inevitably, the night ends up at Embassy, where my gown gets booze spilled on it and my hair falls down as I lose a dance-off with a drag queen.  I like an evening with a bit of variety.  I also look forward to when I am no longer a "young" professional and get to/have to go to the formal dinner portion of the event and bid on auction items that are not a wine tour.


Spring Shots

This is how my spring has shaped up so far.

I'm not sure what I was thinking in purchasing all this fresh produce for one small girl.  Needless to say, most of it didn't make it.  Well, I mean, it made it to the green bin.
I love to see creativity like this (made with a garden hose) and especially when it's downtown.  How can you not be happy when you see this?
Morbid Curiosity
It took me at least ten minutes of intense, yet at-a-distance, staring to determine that this is a bird's head.  Dead head.  Then there was another ten minutes of wondering what had happened to the body.
Illegal Exercise
A friend and I decided to "start doing the Wentworth stairs three times a week! YAY!"  This lasted for exactly two days, and one of these times we veered a little off the beaten track and ended up hopping a train like a hobo.  We were ultimately chastised by a strict neighbour.
Well, isn't that lovely?
We were too late.  This amazing black/bronze hutch unit was sold for a mere $13 dollars!  I couldn't believe it.  I tried everything - offered her scads of money and first born children (not mine, my friend's) but it was not to be.  She was loyal to the original purchaser.  It's probably for the best since I have exactly zero places to put it in my house.  But, still, so beautiful.
There is nothing like balloons to lift spirits and celebrate birthdays, especially on an dreary day.  Balloons are the #2 thing that people can carry down the street that makes me happy.  The #1 thing is a bouquet of flowers being carried by a man.  Beam.