Sunday, February 26, 2006
up up and away
Well, it's time for me to sign off for an undetermined amount of time. I am off to San Antonio, Texas until Friday (lucky me, I get to wake up at 4am to get to the airport for an early morning flight!). I will be taking my laptop with me and we will have internet connection in our rooms, so I am supposing I'll say hi when I get there.

Y'all be good and come back, y'hear?
Yeeha! See ya there!

Friday, February 24, 2006
check your head
Well, the week is over and I am at the tail end of my sinus infection. At one point I was blowing my nose for 10 minutes straight, NO LIE!, in an effort to clear it. I blew, grabbed another Kleenex, blew again, grabbed another Kleenex, etc etc.. My cat started looking at me with great concern as it seemed like it was never going to end. When it did my nose was raw and a bit bloody (yummy imagery, I know!)

Anyway! I am getting ready this weekend for a big ole sales meeting/conference down in Texas next week, and am doing my best to plan my packing so that I do not overpack (as we women are prone to doing). It's tough because I have to wear something warm to the airport, only to not use it for the whole week I'm there. According to the forecast it's gonna be plenty warm in San Antonio. Yeeha!!

Before I leave you, here is a round up of links you might enjoy. I'll try and post again this weekend before I take off for the land of cowboy boots and oil.
Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

- Some of you may be aware of my obsession with the Magic Bullet. It is an ongoing love affair that I hope one day to see fulfilled (perhaps when I get my new apartment). Along with that I have a new obsession for yet another exciting infomercial product called the Sonic Blade. Like the Magic Bullet, I watch the infomercial every time I come across it while flipping channels. I must have them!!!

- How To Be Annoying Online (in case you need help)

- I got the strangest damn spam in my email I have EVER seen in my life. I don't even know what the hell they were trying to sell me, but here was the body of the message:
"carefully beautiful appearance, disappoint light added? hard bought how evening.
gym leader edge? explain tying benefit motor fire. carefully respect is miserable music. find speaking whom turning. not bad filled we? development nothing whom find very next?
he profession whom nothing. drew rich thus make.drew find next parents leader? thus night servants here fire." WTF????????

- Clowns are scary, let's face it. Now you can create your own scary clowns with this Evil Clown Generator.

- Are you a Lord of the Rings fan? If so you might find these "Very Secret Diaries" amusing.

- There is an *awesome* new website out there to help you plan some fun around Israel, called Tel Aviv Guide. Be sure to visit and bookmark it for planning your next trip (or first one!). I only wish I had this when I went!

- Some very cool and abstract peace posters over at Another Poster For Peace.

- my very favourite Calvin and Hobbes can be found here at the Calvin and Hobbes Snow Art Gallery. I laugh outloud every single time.

- I have NO idea what this is but it. is. AWESOME.

- Can you tell the difference between a serial killer (not to be mistaken with a cereal killer) and a programming language inventor? Find out here.

- If you love 80's arcade games than this site is for you. You can thank me later.

- Everything you to need to know in the event of a terror attack. (be warned, this is very tongue-in-cheek, so if you have delicate sensibilities don't bother going on to come come back and bitch at me)

- I bought the best tasting cookies I have ever eaten in my life. And here I bought them coz they were healthy!!! (which we all know usually results in icky tasting food) Sorry my American friends, this is likely only available in Canada, but if you sweet talk me, maybe I'll send you some. I love them so much I wrote them an email to thank them for making me so happy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006
to fly or not to fly

So it was like this: I sat in the Tampa airport last Thursday for 3 hours, then caught my flight to Philadelphia. The time passed easily as I was able to get online using free wi-fi connection and I got a call from my buddy Mulder over in Israel. The flight was a little late taking off so I had to *sprint* to catch the connecting flight back to Toronto. I was dreading catching this particular flight because I knew the weather back home was unsavoury and it was going to be a rough ride through the storm (what an understatement that turned out to be).

Upon boarding the small 50 seat plane I realized my seat was at the back. The VERY back. By the toilet. I sat down and immediately befriended a nice guy who had the seat beside me. We laughed and chatted the whole time and I had warned him at the start that I was a nervous flyer, that the flight down had been horrible and the flight back was going to be through a storm. He was sweetly reassuring and did his best to keep me talking and to keep things light. He would later tell me that he thought I was joking when I started freaking out, right up until my claws dug into his legs. He then realized I wasn't joking. (maybe I should stop using humour to deflect from my level of discomfort or fright?)

The turbulence was, in fact, even worse than I thought it was going to be. I was absolutely green around the gills by the time we landed and I wasn't the only one. I honestly did believe we were going to die thanks to some of the most stomach turning drops I have ever experienced in a plane and the visible ice build up on the wings. When I talked to the pilot while getting off the plane I told him of my sheer terror to which he looked stunned and said that he didn't think it was that bad. He knows not how close he came to dying right then.

To ensure the level of fun continued I then had to drive home in the storm. It was sort of a icy rain, occasionally hail, kind of storm. There was lightning as well, something I can't say I've seen too often this time of year. At one point the storm had kicked it up a notch and I couldn't see much beyond the hood of my car. Myself, as well as all the cars in front of me, slowed to nearly a crawl to try and make it through in one piece. The rain had a way of coming in waves and during one of the 2 second breaks I finally saw where the dividing line was on the road and I came to realize I was on the very wrong side of it and was heading into oncoming traffic.

Is it any wonder that after all that I got a sinus infection the next day? I think not. But ya know what? The strangest thing *did* happen to me while I was in Florida..... I found myself missing Israel again. A lot. I thought I had "gotten it out of my system" but I guess not. I also thought my less than stellar experience with Livnot had completely ruined Israel for me, but I find that old feeling creeping back again. That "I gotta get over there again" feeling. I think it was the warm air, open bars/patios and palm trees..... it made me yearn to be back in the Holy Land again. *sigh* Maybe in 2007 when I get my 3 weeks vacation. And if Mulder is willing to let me sleep on his couch again. lol!

Anyway, for more pics head over to my photoblog.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006
killer cooties
Still sick.
Worse, in fact.
Trying to get better before I fly to Texas next week.
Send your 'get better' mojo my way, if you please.

Sunday, February 19, 2006
Sorry I haven't written, but after a death defying flight home (yes, I sincerely believed we were going to die, thanks to that storm rolling across the north-eastern seaboard) I was rewarded with a sinus infection that has ensured I haven't seen sleep in two days. I am tired and extremely irritable. I'll write a much better post when my mood and/or health has improved.

Oh, and it would seem that two people I know (in "real life") are reading this blog without telling me. Could you please just step up and say hi or email me and let me know. You know who you are and we both know you have been doing it for a while. Yes, I have ways of tracking this sort of thing and I know you use Sympatico, for instance. So please drop me a line so I know you're here. Thanks.

Thursday, February 16, 2006
"American cuisine makes me green" - me
Well, I am typing this on my laptop whilst I wait at the airport to catch my flight. Not surprisingly the weather was quite cold all week until today, when I am leaving. Now it's sunny and warm and we're all walking around in t-shirts. *sigh* Well, I always have Texas to look forward to at the end of the month.

I was going to post some pictures I took but I'm far too lazy to upload them and edit them while sitting in an airport; it will have to wait until tomorrow. For now, let me tell you about my new most favourite food that I found here in the States......

Dippin' Dots.

Tuesday night I was in my hotel room when I watched a whole special on tv about ice cream. It talked about everything from Ben and Jerry's (with my fav being Chunky Monkey, of course) to this new ice cream I had never heard of, Dippin' Dots. Dippin' Dots looks like those little styrofoam balls, but made of ice cream instead. After watching the tv show I was on a quest to locate this fantastic "Ice cream of the Future".

Luckily the co-worker I have been paired with this week was extremely accommodating and took me to a mall that had a Dippin' Dots location. I had me the banana split, which had strawberry dots, banana dots and chocolate dots. It. was. *amazing*. Very very cold to eat for some reason (and I mean, colder than usual ice cream) and had a really cool texture to it. I'm going to guess it's that cold because it has to be kept on dry ice, not your usual freezer in order to maintain it's dottiness. *shrug*

Anyway, that's my big exciting Florida story. I have seen lots of birds, sand and salt water but no gators. Drat. Maybe next time...
The weather back home is supposed to be horrible so I'm not exactly looking forward to the rough ride home. If you don't hear from me again remember that I love you all. hahaha....

Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Valentine's Day in a hotel room in Florida
Well, here I am in Florida. I arrived in Atlanta, Georgia yesterday afternoon after a harrowing flight that had my stomach in my throat nearly the whole time. And I swear to god I nearly lifted out of my seat we dropped so far at one point. In other words, it was a rough ride and I am *not* a good flyer to begin with.

The flight from Atlanta to Tampa was smoother, with me only freaking out at the very end. I attribute it to a bigger plane (the first flight was a 50 seater, the second flight over 300 seats), but I gotta tell ya..... I'm becoming more and more nervous about flying as I get older for some reason. It seemed to happen when I left England to come home last November. And how sad is it that I actually thought to myself "I wish ocB was still doing the airline thing and was on this plane with me, coz she could calm me down". hahahaha..... I love it when I think about bloggers in "real life" terms.

Anyway, as soon as I landed I was scooped up by the district manager for this area and taken on a 3 hour car ride to the other side of Florida. *groan* When we got there I got to my hotel, went out for dinner, came back and crashed into bed early. Today we did a new store setup, drove over 3 hours back and now I am back at another hotel. I plan on chilling out and watching a few episodes of Battlestar Galactica I brought with me.

For those celebrating, have a Happy Valentine's Day. If you're a Star Wars geek you will appreciate these Star Wars Valentine's cards. (speaking of which, I am saddened to hear that Uncle Owen has passed away (he's the one in the postcard below). I love you Uncle Owen!! )

Sunday, February 12, 2006
can you handle the truth?
I can't write much, I am trying to hurry and pack; I leave for Tampa, Florida tomorrow morning. I am in a hurry and trying to pack now because I have been obsessing all day over a conspiracy theory; the Sept 11th conspiracy theory. I was once skeptical but now I am filled with doubt and questions about what happened.

I leave with you two videos to watch if you want to open your eyes and minds to the possibility that we were sold a lie. I would love to see an open and intelligent debate of the ideas and facts presented and I don't want to see right wingers come on here and beating on left wingers without watching the videos (which happened often after the Fahrenheit 9/11 fiasco). Watch it and then you can argue intelligently.

The first video is a really short one and deals only with the Pentagon strike. Try that one for starters.

The second video is *much* more lengthy but offers incredibly compelling ideas and footage never really seen before. I have watched it 3 times now. If you are as compelled by the video as I am check out the website Loose Change. Also, check out 911 Truth Movement.

So go to it, share your thoughts and play fair.

I'll write when I get to Florida. See ya!

Friday, February 10, 2006
what is the colour of happy?
I have been in a fabulous mood all day today. Life is good for me these days and it looks and feels like I am finally getting the pieces of life to fall nicely into place.

I made it home after a long drive back from the States, with a pitstop along the way for work. Four hours of driving and I went straight to my friend's house to watch Survivor.

Today I got to pick up a nice 3-in-1 printer/fax/scanner on my new company's dime to finally print off the reports they have been hassling me for. I didn't exactly go on the cheap side when choosing, but I didn't pick the most expensive either. }:-) I'm a happy kid with a new toy. Yeeha!

Also, I got a chance to break away from a day of paperwork and conference calls to go look at the apartment I had been hoping for. I didn't like the 1 bedroom apartment, as it was only on the second floor and didn't offer much in the way of privacy. I have been living in a ground floor apartment for almost 5 years and I am hoping to be in a situation where I can actually open up my blinds and not worry about who's looking in or walking by.

Luckily there is a 2 bedroom apartment opening up at the same time for a price difference of less than $200. Sweet!!! I took a look at the apartment and I am in love; it's huge and has a nice balcony I can set a barbeque up on in the summer. It has two bedrooms which means I can make one my office since I will be working from home now. And it has a walk-in closet and a separate huge closet for storage. Oh, and it's on the 8th floor, facing south. This place is awesome and it is mine as of April 1st. I am on cloud NINE. I was a grinning babbling fool by the time I left the offices of the apartment building.

So all in all this has been an awesome damn week. Work is good, life is good and the future looks great. I hope y'all have a great weekend. Shabat Shalom!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006
last night in New York state
Let me just say this, and I mean it..... I had the best meal of my LIFE last night. So happy was I, that I told the manager (twice) the waitress (more times than I can count) and I made the waitress tell the chef, just how yummy the meal was. AND I wrote a note on the paper on the table outlining just how deeply happy the food made me. I have never had one meal make me so happy that I became a grinning fool.

The restaurant was Biaggis in Rochester New York, and the meal of choice was a "Savory meat filled ravioli tossed in a brown butter / sage sauce with toasted pine nuts, tomatoes and fresh spinach". For dessert I had the creme brulee, always a favourite of mine. The ravioli was beyond delicious and was the absolute *perfect* portion size; it was enough to fill me up, but not uncomfortably so. I felt satiated without feeling bloated or stuffed. The dessert was the perfect ending to the perfect meal and I was positively brimming with joy. I know I sounded completely silly, but I couldn't stop raving about how good my dinner was and the waitress just laughed and thanked me for making her day (and I in turn thanked her for making mine). I told the manager that his restaurant and crew were amazing and to keep up the good work.


Just reliving it is making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

My joy continued today as I managed to make a pitstop to Wegmans in order to do a little food shopping; my shopping of choice when in the States. As many of you know, I am a connoisseur of cereal and so my main purchase of this trip, no big surprise, was cereal (more boxes than I care to admit to). I mean sure, in Canada we have Lucky Charms but we don't have chocolate Lucky Charms or Berry Lucky Charms!!! One of each please! I also picked up a few food requests from a friend of mine who shares the same love of cereal (and other hard-to-find food items) as I do. I can't wait to cross the border with 6 boxes of cereal in my car, two boxes of cookies and 4 giant bottles of pop. That should make for an interesting conversation with the border guard.

All in all it has been a great week here in New York. My co-workers and training has been fabulous and I am feeling really great about my new job. I am anxious to get as much training under my belt as I can so that I can get ready to start into the really hard work (store set ups) next month.

I also got a call from the people at the apartment complex I am looking to move in with and am told there is an apartment available for me on April 1st, right on schedule. I am going to check it out on Friday to make sure I like it (it's only on the second floor, I was hoping for something higher up) and if it's a go I will begin the process of packing up and moving. Yeeha!!!

Tomorrow I will be with the district manager for this area until about noon and then I am heading back up to Canada (with a pitstop at a store I need to speak with and take photos of). In other words, I will be home in time for Survivor. hahaha.... very important, ya know!
See you all when I get back.

P.S. yes, the snow did eventually come.. in fact, it hasn't much stopped. Why can't I get this snow back home??

Monday, February 06, 2006
reporting from New York
Well, it has certainly been a fun little adventure here in the fine state of New York! My drive down across the border wasn't nearly as bad as the weatherman had all of us believing it would be. When I reached Niagara Falls (NY) I found a ghost town; as I drove down the street there wasn't another car to be seen. The restaurants were also empty. The Superbowl was on and everybody was at home or the bars watching it. The town was so empty it was spooky.

After I checked into my hotel I went across the street to the only restaurant I could find nearby. I made friends with the guy working there, as he was happy just to have a customer (I was only the fourth such customer in 6 hours. he was bored.). We chatted it up and really hit it off, and as it turns out he's Canadian and just crosses the border to work. We swapped emails and wished each other a good night and I went back to my room to crash.

Today I met up with a co-worker/manager and we drove around checking out stores and training me. It was great, I get along well with him (along with my boss, he was the other guy present for my interview). At the end of the day we met up with another co-worker/rep and had dinner. I will be working with her for the next two days so it was nice to meet her first. She and I are staying in the same hotel, and since she stays here often, she sweet talked the front desk and got me a really nice room. I have sexy suite, complete with separate bedroom with a tv, a living room with a tv, and a full kitchen (fridge with ice maker, 2 stove elements, pots, pans, microwave and a sink with a garberator!) with a nice eating table. After I am done here maybe I'll watch some tv on the couch... or chair with ottoman. hahaha... or maybe I'll do my paperwork. :-/ Tomorrow we will be back on the road, but tomorrow night I get to stay in this amazing room again. Sweet!! They even left me some popcorn for the microwave!

Before I go let me express my disgust with the Muslims continued overreation to the Danish cartoon. While I appreciate that they found the cartoon offensive, I do not believe that it warrants riots and burning of consulates and embassies. It seems to me that the Muslims are a pot ready to boil over and this was just the excuse they were looking for to finally pop. And if everybody in the world reacted that way every time they were insulted, imagine what a world we'd be living in! I'm not saying it was right to print the cartoon, but I *am* saying that the reaction that followed wasn't right either. Two wrongs do NOT make a right, folks

But more importantly I find it ridiculous (though not surprising) that the Muslims, in retaliation, printed a cartoon of Anne Frank (Holocaust victim) in bed with Hitler. How the Muslims shifted the blame to Jews when it was a Danish cartoon is beyond me, but it's not the first or last time that they find a way to blame/implicate Jews. *ho hum*

And don't even get me started on Iran. Ucch. I'm too happy basking in the glow of my new job.

P.S. my New York trainer/manager said "all's" today. It's an American thing??

Saturday, February 04, 2006
Working with Americans, PT 2
Well, I have survived my first week on the job and it was a breeze compared to what the next two months hold for me. I will be on the road almost non-stop now until the end of March.

My time spent with my American boss has been fabulous and amusing. I have noticed that he has a bizarre habit of saying "all's" with amazing frequency. I can't tell yet if this is indicative of my boss or folks from Michigan in general (perhaps my readers can help me sort this out). I'll give you a couple of examples of it's use: "All's you gotta do is fill out this form" or "All's you need to know is width and height". I have been mulling this over and trying to decide it's origin; assuming that I have spelled it correctly (all's and not alls) it would suggest that it is a contracted word (isn't, contracted from "is not", for instance) though for the life of me I can't figure out what words were contracted to get that mutant abbreviation. I have even tried to come up with a bad grammar scenario (like when people write/say "should of" when really it's "should've") but I still can't come up with a workable theory. Hey, at least with "eh" we have a very good explanation for it's use.

Anyway, make no mistake, I really like my boss a lot. He's been great to work with and we developed a comfortable rapport. He is back in Michigan now and I won't see him again until Texas at a sales convention at the end of February. Much of Thursday and all of Friday I was working on my own, as will be the case once my training is complete and I am on my own. I will work from home and travel all over Ontario.

Speaking of which, I am heading down to Buffalo, New York, tomorrow afternoon. Lucky for me a big snow storm will be hitting right about the time I am driving through that area. We actually got a taste of it up here in Toronto today which is really annoying when I am fixing to go on a road trip. Where was the snow the past few weeks when we have had nothing but rain (and plenty of it)?? How is it that the *one* time I actually don't want there to be snow, a storm rolls in? Tsk.

What all this means is that I may or may not be blogging until Thursday or Friday when I return from the States. I will be taking my laptop with me and there is a strong possibility the hotel will have an internet connection, but I have no way of knowing for sure until I get there. So don't fret if I disappear for a few days.

Before I go:

- Brokeback To The Future. Brilliant and funny as all hell.

- while he is no William Shatner, David Hasselhoff is definitely a close second with this little gem.

- Muslims are outraged by a cartoon depicting their religion negatively?? Oh cry me a river... what about all those anti-Semitic cartoons that have been floating around for decades?? (many by Arabs, not surprisingly) Ya don't see Jews rioting and burning down embassies, now do you?

- Just what is Scientology all about? Here is an explanation of where it all began, with an alien named Xenu. Yes, seriously. After you read that feel free to check out Wikipedia's page about it for more interesting information. Scarier than any movie out in the theatre, guaranteed! (curious for even more info? plenty can be found here. you may also wish to try Scientology Kills. you STILL want more? try here; that oughtta keep you busy for months) Yes, Scientology even talks about how ignorant Israelis are.

- wondering where the phrase "mad as a wet hen" came from? Find that one and more with The Phrase Finder.

- what in HELL would make someone take a Magic 8 Ball apart??

- is your favourite tv show on the brink of "jumping the shark"? Find out here.

- Ten Second Films. Surely you have 10 seconds to watch one, don't you?? Got the time for a full length feature? Go here for some streamed movie goodness.

- they are funny coz they're true: Movie Cliches.

- I like stuff. You like stuff? Here's some Ubercool stuff.

- I ask you... is there ANYTHING cuter than Baby Animals??? I think not.

- killed by a lava lamp?? yes, it's the Darwin Awards!

Ok, I am outta here.... see you all as soon as I can get back online. Wish me luck driving in the snow and across the border.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006
too.... angry .... to ... speak!!!
I am stewing in seething, blinding anger at the moment, so a post will have to wait until tomorrow. No it's not about the job, the job is great. It's about a friend who owes me money and can't/won't pay it back. Livid is my middle name.

I'll post when I am calm again.