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wmtc: this year’s mini garden and a mini pupdate

This year’s garden-ette is completely out of control! In a very good way. Here’s June.

And here’s today.

No idea what I’m going to do with all the zucchini. Neither of us bakes, so zucchini bread and muffins are not an option. Guess I’d better start Googling…

This eggplant is tiny right now, but I suppose soon I’ll need those recipes, too.

Random Diego pic.

And because you’re never too old to be a puppy, Tala recently fell in love with an empty peanut butter jar. No idea why.

. . . → Read More: wmtc: this year’s mini garden and a mini pupdate

wmtc: happy blogiversary to wmtc

This month – July 11, 2014 – I have been blogging for 10 years. Ten years!

I clearly remember telling Allan I was considering beginning a blog about emigrating to Canada. He thought it was a great idea.

July 11, 2004. I was working weekends at my (incredibly easy, wildly overpaid) job at Most Evil Corporate Law Firm. Our applications had been submitted, and we were waiting.

August 30, 2015 will be the 10-year anniversary of our move to Canada, but I felt the 10-year anniversary of wmtc was worth a mention. Thanks for being part of what I (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Back in (and out of) the saddle again!

Hi everybody, just a random update from your friendly Intransigent blogger, to lighten the mood around here. I have a tale of a happy convergence of circumstances.

One day, I’m at the horse rescue and another volunteer invites me to come to a different horse-establishment to meet her horse. Of course I said yes! So we made a date, and I met up with her and her horse, and as we’re fussing over her horse and giving him treats, she asks me, have you ever thought of starting to ride again. I (as cheerfully as (Read more…)

wmtc: sometimes knowing your rights is all it takes: in which we win our landlord battle

We won! And we won so easily, we’re left scratching our heads and asking, “What just happened?”

As you’ll recall, our landlord asked for an illegal rent increase – 10.5% when the legal allowable is 0.8%! – and implied that he would resort to dirty tricks if we didn’t pay.

We did our homework, checked and double-checked that this home does not fall through a serious loophole in Ontario rent laws. We crafted an email with just the right tone – straightforward and firm, but with nothing that could be considered belligerent.

When he received our email, (Read more…)

wmtc: know your rights, rental edition, part two

Just about one year ago today – July 8, 2013, to be exact – our area was hit with a massive flood that swamped homes, cars, highways, trains, and . . . our basement. The basement had been Allan’s office. The office in which he was working to meet a publishing deadline. Stressful? You could say that.

It could have been much worse. We got an insurance settlement, and we moved – not without some hassles, but we did it, moving in to our current rental home in September.

Now, one year later, we mentioned to our current landlord that it’s time (Read more…)

wmtc: wmtc: happy birthday to me

I have been alive and kicking on this planet for 53 years today. I’m pretty damn happy about it.

I’m celebrating my birthday by taking the day from work, reviewing my talk for this weekend’s Marxism conference, getting caught up on some personal business, having a play date with Allan (also ditching work) and the pups, then tonight, having dinner at Kaji, my go-to place for birthday celebrations in recent years.

Then I can celebrate all weekend by engaging in discussion, education, and solidarity: Resisting a System in Crisis: Marxism 2014. This year I’m stewarding a room, and (Read more…)

wmtc: for those who believe meat-eating can be ethical: in praise of beretta farms

I’ve mentioned Beretta Farms in many different posts over the years, but I’ve never specifically blogged about them. With grilling season underway, it’s time to give Beretta a shout-out.

When I learned about the horrors of factory farming, first from reading Michael Pollan, and later through other sources, I knew I needed to change my eating habits. I needed translate my knowledge into action, but I was at a loss for what to do.

In the 1990s, I had eaten a vegetarian (almost vegan) diet for more than two years, but it didn’t work for me, and I gave (Read more…)

wmtc: this year’s garden-ette and sweet dogs in their small backyard

Here are some visuals for this post. This year’s crop, we hope: eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, basil, and thyme.

As you can see, it’s a fraction of the backyard we used to have, and kind of bare. But it does the job! We’re putting a canopy over the patio.

“Wither thou goest…”. Diego is pledged to Tala. Wherever Tala is, the big boy is right beside her.   This goes all the way back to when she was first rehabbing from her spine injury. Three years ago:

And today.

More here on Flickr. . . . → Read More: wmtc: this year’s garden-ette and sweet dogs in their small backyard

wmtc: this year’s garden and diego’s new favourite food

Three years ago, we planted our first-ever garden, really a tiny garden-ette, growing two tomato plants and some daisies. (I had forgotten about the flowers til I saw that older post.)

I really enjoyed growing the vegetables, and was surprised and pleased to learn that it wasn’t very time-consuming, at least not on this level. The following year we again planted tomatoes, but substituted herbs for the flowers. Much more fun! I was so taken with snipping fresh herbs from my garden that I cooked more often.

Last year’s garden was a bust, thanks to the flood and (Read more…)

wmtc: where to stay in giverny and rouen, where to eat in rouen, where not to eat in giverny

I’ve mentioned our wonderful accommodations in Giverny and outside Rouen, but each deserves a post of its own. I’ll review them on TripAdvisor but for Googleability, I’d like to do more.

Giverny: Les Jardins d’Helene

In Giverny, for comfort, convenience, and an absolutely delightful stay at a very reasonable price, you can’t do better than Les Jardins d’Helene. It’s located about a 15-minute walk from Monet’s house and gardens, on one easy, flat road.

The house itself is a beautiful mix of traditional and contemporary design, and clearly a labour of love by a very creative person. Among the treasures (Read more…)

wmtc: rouen and home

We slept wonderfully in our beautiful little cabin, and the following morning we waited to see the other Canadians emerge from breakfast before we ventured out. I was amazed that my mother also didn’t like them: she is so much friendlier and less curmudgeonly than me.

We ran into them briefly, and we both had the distinct impression that they had been waiting to see us before they left. And there’s Elisabeth, wearing a Maple Leaf pin! These people must travel with a bag of Maple Leaf pins to distribute! Yikes.

Breakfast was the usual deliciousness of mini baguettes, croissants, (Read more…)

wmtc: rouen

My plan for Rouen was a bit more complicated than it had to be. I was reasonably certain it would prove well worth it. There are many hotel options in Rouen, but they all left me unimpressed, mostly chain hotels or what sounded like dumps. I thought for the final night of our trip, we should do something special. I booked a room and dinner at a French country home about 25 minutes out of Rouen. My experience staying at French country homes has been very special, and I knew my mother would love it. I prepared her for the (Read more…)

wmtc: giverny to rouen

I have a lot to write tonight, and only two fingers to write with, so I may have to post this in two parts. Yesterday, after we dried off, we rested for the afternoon. I remembered that our host needed payment in cash, so we asked about an ATM… and learned there is none in Giverny. Sandrine, our host, very nicely (and of necessity) offered to drive us into Vernon to use a machine there. On the way there, she asked about our last name. I suspected I knew why, and when she asked, “You are Jewish, no?” I knew (Read more…)

wmtc: giverny, plus tablet and ptsd updates

Keyboard I love my Nexus 7. I hate the Minisuit keyboard, although the problem might be Bluetooth. To blog, I need a keyboard, and I need to use Blogger via the website, as the Android app is too limited. (That seems silly, since Blogger is a Google product.) Using Blogger online with the onscreen keyboard is very inconvenient. I can’t select, can’t easily make links, and can barely see where I’m typing.  I’ve adjusted to the tiny Minisuit keyboard. I dislike typing with two fingers, but I can do it. But I will never adjust to the cursor (Read more…)

wmtc: paris, day four

We had quite a big day today! Most of it was completely wonderful.

I woke up kicking myself that I forgot to take pictures of R and Connie and me. I had the camera with me precisely for that reason and never even thought of it. And by the way, R emailed from the Eurostar. They very nearly didn’t let her on the train, but she did prevail.

Connie and I didn’t set our alarm this morning and slept until 8:40, which is like noon for non-morning people. We had one last breakfast at Au Tramway, but since today is (Read more…)

wmtc: paris, day three

We are back in our cozy room after a long, fun day with R… who I very much hope is now on the train to London! Connie and I went to – you guessed it – Au Tramway for breakfast. We had the lovely petit dejeuner complet, with baguette, butter and jam, croissants, juice, and for me, plenty of coffee. Then we headed out to the Gare du Nord, hours in advance of meeting R’s train, hoping to buy Connie a jacket or sweater.   Somehow my mom left her jacket at home in New Jersey. In fact, when (Read more…)

wmtc: paris, day two

Connie and I were both dead to the world by 9:00 p.m., and when I next opened my eyes, it was 8:30 a.m. Yes! That’s an unheard of amount of sleep for me, and I needed it. We had breakfast in the hotel and were soon back on the Metro. Since we didn’t get the earliest of starts, by the time we got to the Musee D’Orsay, the queue/line/lineup (UK/US/Cda) was very long, snaking around a good eight or ten times. But no bother, we were patient and made our way in. The D’Orsay was Connie’s number (Read more…)

wmtc: paris, day one

Nous somme ici! Connie (my mother) and I got tired of killing time in her apartment and decided to have dinner at the airport. Somehow we managed to stay awake until our 11:30 flight, but my mom was asleep soon after takeoff. I, of course, was up all night, as I can’t sleep sitting up, ever. I find that listening to music helps a lot, although it can be a long night when everyone else is snoring. The flight was perfectly normal and uneventful. I didn’t even have to pay baggage overweight fees as I had been expecting. So based (Read more…)

wmtc: tablet update and off to paris

I’ve had a busy and wonderful couple of days visiting family and friends. Today my mom and I are planning our sightseeing, packing, doing last-minute errands, and generally getting in vacation mode.

What i’m writing on

I’m loving my new Nexus 7 tablet… with reservations, or perhaps just a learning curve.

The tablet itself is terrific. Once I got up to speed with Android functionality and interface, it was obvious why people prefer tablets for most online activities, especially those with no or minimal typing. The Nexus is amazing – speed, portability, ease of use, everything. It is magnitudes better (Read more…)

wmtc: in which I go to paris… with my mother!

From my Flickr page

My mother said, “I want to go to Paris. I want to see Paris one more time while I’m still healthy enough and mobile enough to enjoy it. But…” – here comes the good part – “I have no one to go with.” My mom’s best friend passed away some years ago, and none of her other travel buddies are available anymore. I almost blurted out, “I’ll go with you!” but I thought, better run this by Allan first.

Allan and I have each taken small trips without the other, but never for (Read more…)

wmtc: help me buy a tablet, part 2

Three months have passed since I asked you to help me buy a tablet. Money is tight – thanks to past and upcoming travel! – and I squeezed a few more months out of my dying netbook. But now I am serious about replacing it.

After that last post, I was sure I wanted the ASUS Transformer, the tablet that docks into a keyboard, so it’s both a tablet and a netbook. I love the idea of that, but the price with the keyboard is quite a bit more than I should spend for something that’s a want, not a (Read more…)

wmtc: whither wmtc

I feel so disconnected from this blog, and from writing in general. I hate it. I love having this blog. I love that when I do want to write, and have the energy to do so, and have something to say, I have a place to do it. But writing occupies such a small space in my life now.  I’m finding tremendous satisfaction from my job. Meaningful work from which I can actually earn a living! What a concept. I’ve also gotten very active in my union. The need to protect good jobs and the public sector has never (Read more…)

Terahertz: You can’t get experience if you don’t have a job…

There was a PSA on TV in Canada in the 90s, which looped “you can’t get a job if you don’t have experience… you can’t get experience if you don’t have a job.”

That about sums up what’s been flipping through my head for the past six months living in England.

I’ve sent out countless résumés and applications (Brits are very fond of ignoring your CV in favour of annoying pre-formatted application forms to fill in), from which I’ve managed to land half a dozen interviews. Unfortunately, each has inevitably been followed up with “we went with a candidate (Read more…)

wmtc: help me buy a tablet

I think I’m finally up for buying a tablet.

I bought a little Lenovo IdeaPad netbook for school. I loved it, and I thought if it made it through four years of grad school, I’d consider it a good buy. It did, and it was. By non-tablet standards, it’s light and portable, and I love the keyboard, which is 90% of full-sized.

I never wanted a tablet before. I always saw them as toys. Sleek, good-looking, fun, but non-essential, more for play than work, and lacking the crucial component: the keyboard.

Now my netbook is getting cranky, and nearing the (Read more…)

wmtc: happy new year from wmtc

On January 1, 2013, I was still in library school, and working as a library page. Allan’s book proposal was still sitting on a publisher’s desk. We were living at G’s Court, and had no thought of moving.In 2013, in order of appearance:- Allan got a book contract,- I got a promotion from page to circulation clerk,- I finished my Master’s degree,- We went to Spain (plus London and Paris),- I got my first librarian position, part-time,- I broke my foot,- Our basement, Allan’s office, was destroyed by a sewage flood,- (Read more…)