Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream Hello, goodbye

It snowed yesterday: 20 cm. I think we broke the record for the most snow ever on April 6th, which was previously held by 1958.

Here are some of the Spring snowmen which sprung briefly to life yesterday:

Help me! I’m melting!

Zombie Spring Snowman will never die!

By the way, I miss you guys. I never [...] . . . → Read More: Hello, goodbye The edible helium balloon!

I don’t have an actual bucket list, but if I did, inhaling helium would have been on it. I finally got my chance to do it a couple of weeks ago, in the most unlikely of places. An edible helium balloon was served as a dessert course in a fancy restaurant!

I took GC to Atelier for a very special birthday dinner. It’s tucked away in a nondescript house on Rochester near Carling, and from the street it looks like nothing special. There’s no sign, and no hint that it’s even a restaurant. Inside it’s pretty understated too – it’s (Read more…) Favourite Field Trip

Last weekend we drove out to Smith Falls to visit the Parrot Partner bird sanctuary in their groovy new digs. Since our last visit, they’ve become a registered charity and they’ve moved out of Judy’s house, which had been taken over by all the parrots she had rescued. You know how it goes. One parrot turns into two, then five, then seventeen, as people keep bringing you parrots because “you’re so good with them” and you can’t say no. The parrots eventually take over your house, and then they eat it, starting with the moldings and trim, and you end (Read more…) Great Glebe Garage Sale – 2014 Edition

Here are some of the things we got and did at the Great Glebe Garage Sale yesterday:

An authentic persian rug, 4×6, for $25 A pretty leash for Rosie for $1 2 gorgeous light switch plates, painted with birds, 50 cents each 5 books for $5 2 sweatshirts and a t-shirt for $10 (yes I overpaid, but I loved the colours) An antique photo album of cabinet photos, most of which were ordinary but one of which had an antique bicycle, for $15 A laptop case for $5 A scarf for a nickel A stretching lesson for a handful of (Read more…) Someone bought my house

Living Room

So I kind of got busy there for awhile and didn’t write much about what was going on. Among other things, we fixed up my house and put it on the market. By fixed up, I mean painted the inside from head to toe, re-faced the kitchen cabinets, replaced the kitchen floor, refinished the hardwood floors, replaced the toilet and vanity in the bathroom, and fixed damage that the pets had done. And when I say we did all that, I mean we paid other people to do it, which is still a lot of work.

We then (Read more…) Gender Failure: Highly readable, highly recommended

I got an advance copy of Gender Failure, by Ivan E. Coyote and Rae Spoon. It’s not quite available in the stores yet, but it’s coming soon and I urge you to get yourself a copy. It’s an extraordinary book.

I loved the show Gender Failure so I knew before reading it that I’d love the book. The book is just like the show except it’s got a bunch of extra goodies.

Ivan and Rae take turns telling stories about their experiences of being trans throughout their lives. Some of the stories were illuminating, like “How to Be Gay When (Read more…) Nothing that a whack on the head can’t fix

I’ve been crazy busy lately, at work and at home. The move is scheduled for February 1st, so I’ve been packing and decluttering and running stuff over to Value Village and throwing stuff out. (Remember that hair dye sample folder that I grabbed out of a hair stylist’s garbage five years ago and thought I’d make art out of it someday? Tomorrow is garbage day, and it’s on the curb.)

We’ve been meeting with real estate agents and contractors and movers and electricians and blind people (the sighted kind). GC has been learning how to install toilets and light (Read more…) Doubting Thomas

The other morning as I was waking up, someone on CBC was talking about a project called Basically, it’s an online matching service, in which host families in Canada are matched with newcomer families (refugees, new immigrants, foreign students, etc.) for Thanksgiving dinner. It started in Toronto last year, and spread across Canada this year.

Naturally I decided to check it out. You know, just to see. However, when I went to the site, part of it didn’t load. All I could see was this “Get Started” button, so I clicked it. It asked me a few (Read more…) Sad chalk message on the sidewalk

Friday morning I was walking to work along Somerset Street. It was a drizzly morning, so this sidewalk chalk message was probably still fresh yet destined to disappear almost immediately.

As I stopped to take a picture of it, my old friend Mike, who lives on Somerset Street, stepped out of his apartment building. We puzzled over the chalk message together, trying to figure it out. Mike thought he probably meant to write “I am a hobo…”

Whatever it meant, we agreed it was sad.

It wasn’t until that evening, when I was downloading the photo from my phone to (Read more…) It’s complicated

Now that we’re married, GC and I are thinking about moving in together. Like actually formally officially living together. Getting rid of the duplicate toaster and bed and microwave and house, and consolidating ourselves and our animals and our stuff into one house.

It’s complicated, though. First we had to decide which house to live in. I preferred my house and he preferred his house. We finally reached a decision: we’ll sell my house and live in his house for a couple of years and then we’ll buy a house that will be “ours.”

But before we move to (Read more…) My week in signs The Fountain of Youth contains….water?

GC and I marched in the Pride parade last weekend! First time for both of us. I was working there and GC volunteered to pitch in. It was a terrific event for people-watching. The people lining the streets to watch the parade were, I think, more entertaining than your average spectators. We were behind the Bruce House hootenanny float, so heehaw!

After the parade, we worked at an information booth for a few hours. We were giving away flashing red ribbons and key drives in exchange for people sharing their tips about health and happiness.

As you might expect, a (Read more…) GC has been violating the neighbours

GC has been violating the neighbours this week.

Four-Dog Neighbour

Two doors down from me is a woman with four dogs.

For three evenings last week, two dogs barked incessantly in her postage-stamp back yard. On the third evening I went over and talked to the dogs. They settled down, but started crying again when I left. I rang her doorbell but she didn’t answer, so I left a note (with my name and address) in her mailbox. It said “Your dogs have been crying the last few evenings. It’s annoying, but I also feel sorry for them since they (Read more…) The Little Wedding that Grew

GC’s brother Charlie, GC, me, and my sister Deb

GC and I originally planned on having a very small civil ceremony, maybe one step up from eloping. But during our five-month engagement we kept adding little upgrades. Like family, food, booze, cake, flowers, balloons, photographs, a poem, homemade wedding favours, cupcakes, a candle ceremony and media. And, when we were totally caught up in the spirit, we promoted our witnesses (my sister and GC’s brother) to matron of honour and best man. We even added a wedding procession at literally the last minute.

As we careened towards our wedding day, (Read more…) Goodbye, Robin

My dear friend, Watawa Life blogger Robin Kelsey, died on July 2, 2013 at the age of 64. Robin was a photographer, a writer, a biker, an introvert, a lover of cats and a kind and gentle spirit. He was also one of my favourite people in the whole world.

I met Robin in 2006, when he wrote to tell me he was a secret fan of my blog. We visited each other and went out for pho or breakfast once in awhile, but our friendship was mostly online. The Internet is the perfect medium for introverts: we can (Read more…) Fringe Review: Chesterfield

I won 2 tickets from Apt. 613 to see Chesterfield at Fringe Fest, along with a gift certificate for a ZaZaZa pizza! We haven’t eaten the pizza yet, but we did go see Chesterfield and we got front row centre seats in a pleasantly air-conditioned sold-out theatre.

GC and I had absolutely no expectations going into this play, since we hadn’t read anything about it beforehand. It turned out to be a horror spoof, and the chesterfield was not a prop but a significant character in the play. I don’t want to say too much because the element of surprise (Read more…) Favourite weekend of the whole year

Long-time readers will know that the last weekend in May is my favourite weekend of the whole year, because the Great Glebe Garage Sale and the Ottawa Race Weekend both fall on that weekend.

Okay, first of all, congratulations to everybody who ran this weekend! My hairdresser, Bev, ran her very first marathon! We didn’t see her, but we did see our friend May, who ran the half-marathon. And Finola ran too. Congratulations to all of you, and to everybody else who ran too – you’re all freakin’ amazing.

You’ll never guess what I got at the Great Glebe Garage (Read more…) Scandals within scandals!

This has been a crazy week for news in Canada! Scandals within scandals!

Between the scandal about the prime minister’s office covering up Conservative Senator Mike Duffy’s expense scandal, the sanitized Senate audit scandal, and the scandalous video of the Mayor of Toronto smoking crack, I’ve been riveted to my Twitter feed.

Key players have been falling like dominoes. Two Conservative Senators resigned from the Conservative caucus over investigations into their expense claims. The Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff resigned over an improper $90,000 payment to a Senator, and Toronto’s Mayor’s Chief of Staff was fired for apparently telling the (Read more…) Larry O’Brien’s ‘Book Lunch’

This was a present from GC. He took advantage of the special offer on Larry’s publisher’s website:

SHIPPING FEE WAVED (sic) FOR THOSE WISHING TO PICK UP AT THE OTTAWA LUNCH (sic). Wedding, penis, knitting and fine arts

I wrote down all my thoughts about my visit to Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, and it was a big fat mess of contradictions, so I will continue to think on it before posting the second instalment.

In other news, our favourite local quilt shop has offered to host our wedding in their shop. We were thinking of getting married in Dundonald Park, across from the beer store on Somerset Street. My Dad asked me what Plan B was, in case of rain, and I said “Umbrellas.” But a quilting shop might be fun too, and dryer if it rains. What (Read more…) you think? Quilting shop or urban park?

I have GC’s permission to blog about his penis again. He is going to the hospital this morning for a cystoscopy. That’s where they feed a camera through your penis and take pictures of your bladder. GC’s kind of nervous about . . . → Read More: Wedding, penis, knitting and fine arts Something to sing about

I’m still mulling over my visit to Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside – I’ll write Part II of that post once I figure out what I think.

In the meantime…here’s something fun for you to do on May 1st if you happen to be in Ottawa.

Gil’s Hootenanny, an evening of “Songs of Protest, Songs of Hope”: Wednesday May 1st, 7:30 p.m. at the Glebe Community Centre, 175 Third Avenue

This is an annual event in honour of Ottawa activist Gil Levine, who loved folk music sing-alongs.

This year’s Hootenanny features Kristine St-Pierre, Mighty Popo, Three Little Birds, the Shout Sister (Read more…) Maria Dunn, and Terry Tufts. It’s hosted by the Spirit of Rasputin’s Arts Society and is sponsored by CUPE and PSAC National Capital Region.

Tickets are $10 each (kids 16 and under are free) and are available at the Ottawa Folklore Centre or online at . . . → Read More: Something to sing about Duncan meets his match

We have a bird perch in the shower – Simon showers with me, Kazoo showers with GC, and Oboe is versatile. Anyway, yesterday, after Simon and I finished our shower, we saw that Duncan was crouched in the doorway looking profoundly disturbed.

A few weeks ago, a hinge for one of the mirrored panels on the medicine cabinet broke. GC fixed it a couple of days ago and leaned it against a bathroom wall where it was drying before being re-installed. I guess Duncan had never seen himself in a mirror before, so he didn’t recognize himself. All he knew

. . . → Read More: Duncan meets his match Curated Castoffs

We went to a great little event the other night at Patrick Gordon Framing. It was called Curated Castoffs: Art & Decor Edition. It was kind of like a collaborative garage sale where everything’s free.

It works like this: At 7:00 pm everybody shows up with five art + decor items for swapping: prints, paintings, mirrors, frames, wall hangings, fabric, ceramics, pillows, lamps, taxidermy heads, etc. No junk. You pay a cover charge of $8, turn over your items, and spend the next hour or so drinking wine, enjoying the tunes, socializing and checking out what everybody else brought. Then

. . . → Read More: Curated Castoffs Human rights all round

Ever have one of those days when all the good stuff is happening at the same time but you can’t be everywhere at once? Last night was like that for me. I had to decide between going to my writing class, going to Irene’s Pub for the Chopper McKinnon tribute, or going to Parliament Hill to watch politicians vote on whether to extend human rights to transgender people.

I decided on Parliament Hill, and GC came with me. We’ve been to Parliament Hill many times, but this was our first time in the public galleries, watching democracy unfold. We sat

. . . → Read More: Human rights all round First visit to the Nordik Spa

GC and I went to the Nordik Spa up in Chelsea. It’s about a 20-minute drive from downtown Ottawa. Neither of us had ever been there before, or to any spa for that matter.

We went for The Baths, which are a set of indoor saunas and outdoor pools of varying temperatures. The recommended technique is you do a hot treatment, like a sauna, for about 15 minutes, followed by a cold treatment, like a plunge in an icy outdoor pool for 10 seconds, followed by 15 minutes in a relaxation area. The relaxation areas include comfy chairs by a

. . . → Read More: First visit to the Nordik Spa