I'm back from Cape Breton. I think we spent more time in transit than we did actually in Dominion, but such is the way of things when you're traveling from one rural area to another. Way too tired today to do much, although I did get in some errands and general running around. Better update coming and a few pictures.

In the meantime, have a meme (ganked from [livejournal.com profile] sffan.)
You are 56% hippie.

You're near the middle of the spectrum, but you've got an open mind. Society needs more people like you.

Are you a hippie?
Take More Quizzes

I'm an ex-hippie and not very granola at that.
Since we're taking an early plane from Buffalo to Dallas on Thursday, we're going to spend tomorrow night in Buffalo and just leave from the hotel. Actually we'll be spending tomorrow afternoon in Buffalo, too.

I don't know whether or not to bring my laptop. I want to bring my camera, and it's not one of those compact models; it's going to take up some space in my bag. I'll have to play around and see what I can fit in there. But if you don't hear from me for a while, that'll be the reason.

I'm a terrible packer. I mean I pack well - very efficiently - but I suck at deciding what to bring. I've made my choices, and already I'm unhappy with them. The good news is that I really don't have the much to choose from in the first place :) Imagine my dilemma if I had a small store's worth of clothing to paw through. Eh, it's not like I'll be the focus of paparazzi. As long as I'm covered, it'll work out for everyone. Heh.

OK, gotta finish packing and then get some sleep. Y'all have a wonderful rest of the week, and I'll see you later.
I'm going to Alberta to visit my mei-mei [livejournal.com profile] cajoje. How cool is that? And we're going to Banff! And I'm (apparently) going to get swarmed by horses and ponies when we go to visit her horsie, Duke. And there will be museums and lunch and probably a bar. And a kitchen to paint. And I am so very grateful to her for shagging my boring and dragging ass out of the rut in which it has found itself. Boring, dragging and blue is not the best combo for everyone here to have to live with, either, so it's a win for them, too. (Although I'm fairly certain that the cats will miss me. On the other hand, it means more room for them on the bed and no one shagging them out into the hallway at 11PM, so maybe not.) I feel guilty for leaving, but I'm awfully happy for the chance to see something new. Thank you, Tobes!
Great little vacation capped by a bizarre flight home and the next 20 hours or so spent in the Twilight Zone.

The hotel let us extend our check-out time; we paid for it, not like they did it out of the kindness of their corporate hearts, but it was a help. [livejournal.com profile] sparky77, [livejournal.com profile] puffgirl_two and [livejournal.com profile] sffan hung out with us for a few hours until their plane left in the afternoon, so it was like a little dorm party for a while. I love them all, so it was great to spend the time with them.

I have no idea how this is reading. We are travel-dazed like nobody's buisiness. The flight left Tuesday night at 11:35PM Vegas time and pulled in to Toronto this morning at 6:30 local time. We didn't get a lot of sleep since, oh, Monday night. Very weird day. The flight was booked full, and the plane was little. There were loads of babies. I got hit on the head a couple of times (aisle seat), once by a steward who really clocked me. He apologzied, and I wasn't mad because the plane had no spare room at all, but still . . . ow. I also got conked by passing luggage and narrowly missed having a fallen suitcase hit me when it tipped out of the overhead compartment. Nice save by one of the other passengers. Turbulence was fun, too.

Finally pulled into Toronto, and we were the last ones off the plane because I simply could not deal with the jostling for position that takes place with deboarding. Finally off the plane and through customs, then had to wait for at least an hour for transport home. Well, Dar went home; the driver dropped me off at the hospital for my EEG which went quickly and painlessly. Then I had to hang around fo4r 45 minutes until Mark could give me a ride home. Very cold, very tired, very achey and tippy.

Dar was down for the count by the time I got home. Flying does terrible things to her shunt, so her body just shut down until everything stabilized. Which I believe it was starting to as of a little while ago. Made my apologies to the inside cats, went out and fed and played with the outside cats. Took care of the alpacas, who were happy to see me. That always is a relief to me; I'm out there so infreuently now that I worry they'll start treating me like a stranger.

The big news for me was a phone call from a nurse at the rheumatology and osteology department at St. Mary's Hospital in Kitchener. She'd called a couple times during the time I was in Vegas, and after Mark had passed along the message I actually did try to call her from our hotel room, but I got her voicemail. Anyway we connected today, and I think this could be a positive step. she took a history over the phone, and she asked a lot of good questions and even more importantly she gave me some informed and supportive responses. Apparently Dr. Hanna was inspired enough after my last visit to put me on the rolls in that department. I'll have a cookie swallow coming up soon. (It's a test for my difficulty in swallowing, in case that wasn't obvious.) She said that it normally takes months to get one scheduled, but occasionally a doctor will have a patient who needs more serious follow-up, and that's me. Well, whaddy know, Dr. Hanna :) He came through. So I pretty much have to hang by the phone to follow up when the appointment comes through: it could be with one week's notice, it could be with one day's notice.

I have an appointment with a neurologist in just a few hours: 9AM. I should get back to sleep. I've been mostly asleep since about 8PM; I woke up because my gall bladder is getting irksome, so I'm hoping I can tame it enough to get back to sleep again. This is so weird. I haven't done any long distance traveling in many years, and I'd forgotten how easily one loses a sense of being centered in time and place. Everything is kind of floaty still, but I'm hoping that tomorrow will put us all back on track. How cliched is this paragraphy anyway?

Oh, I lost the cord that connects my camera to my laptop for downloading pictures. I'll have to pick up a replacement while I'm out tomorrow. Damn. I think it happened on the plane while I was trying to get my headphones out of a zippered compartment in my luggage. I know I didn't leave them in the hotel room; I'm scrupulous about going over everything. Sigh. It was all so rushed and crowded on board the plane, and I was exhausted, I guess I never noticed it fall out. Damn.

Time to sleep again.

Oh, I had my Swiss Army knife confiscated in Vegas at the airport. When I was getting ready to go through security in Toronto last Saturday it suddenly occurred to me that I might have my little knife on me, so I quickly searched around my purse. Nothing. Went through security without a hassle, so I figured that I must have taken it out at some point back home and just forgotten about it. But going through in Vegas, I get pulled over and told that they're going to go through my purse to track down my "corkscrew." Tuh-duh. So I explained to the young lady what I thought had happened, and she laughed because she couldn't find it, either, even though it showed up on the scan. Finally after just about turning the purse inside out she found it; she said I could mail it to myself, but honestly by that point I was so tired and achey that I just told her to add it to the stash of contraband she had going there at her station. Bye, silly little knife. I had you for close to 30 years, and I lose you as a victim to the War on Terror. Not a bad way to go, little knife. Not a gad way at all.

Gall bladder is not going away. I'm off to see what I can do about killing it. Wish me luck, please
We'll be leaving for the airport in about an hour. Last minute packing and guilt-ridden feeding of animals is in full swing. I'm sure that I'm going to miss them a lot more than they're going to miss me, but they'll make me pay for leaving anyway. Because they're cats, and it's in their charter, not to mention their genetic code.

We'll be pulling into Vegas airport around 10:30PM assuming our flight leaves on time. It's verra windy here, and I'm hoping, as is often the case, it's kind of a local phenomenon. We'll be meeting up with the girls (yes, [Bad username or site: kernelm is an honorary girl) tomorrow at some point for a day of hanging out. I'm not quite sure what that means when <i @ livejournal.com]they say it, but it should be fun.

We'll be leaving Vegas Tuesday night around 10:30PM and arriving in Toronto at around 6:30AM Wednesday morning and oh my God the whole jet lag thing is going to be insane I'm thinking. What's really insane is that we're hiring a limo service to pick us up, and they'll be dropping me off at the hospital in Kitchener on the way back to Dorking so I can make my 11:30AM appointment for an EEG. I wonder just how skewed those results are going to be? Heh.

We're bringing my laptop, but I'm not sure how often we'll be online. For all that Vegas purports to be about a high-rollin' lifestyle, not all hotels have wireless access, and whether wireless or modem, there's a surcharge for each logon. Can you believe that? Holiday freakin' Inn gives you free internet access. Cheapskates.

Anyway, just wanted to check in before we head out. And now I'm off to feed the outdoor kitties and lavish much petting upon their furry heads. Have a great weekend, guys.
The seminar was very informative. Boiled down to its essence we came out with 1) all alpacas are either red or black (even the white ones), and 2) to achieve color correction, breed to a full dark color. Easy, no?

I'm still tired and very achey, so I'll be resorting to numbers as I jump around.

1. My hair is ridiculous. I've grown to dislike the cut, and the dye job went very, very wrong. I have two-tiered hair color: bright red on top and auburn from mid-temple down. If I had the money, I'd go to a salon and have all of the color stripped and then start again. Dar thinks she knows of a way to tone it down and redye it ash brown. We'll see.

2. I finally got to see Niagara Falls. ) Pretty what with the spray and the rainbows, but I was bit underwhelmed. I think I as expecting the Grand Canyon with water - something immense, you know? The horrifying and cramped "amusement" section left the biggest impression; it was without a doubt the tackiest couple of blocks of real estate I have ever seen. And I've been to both Las Vegas and Nogales.

3. I may have a contract job with my former employer. It's looking pretty good, in fact. They've been dicking around building this new software for about four years now, and the new company owners have said enough is enough. They have a July 1 deadline to get it up and running, so my old boss has been authorized to hire 3 or 4 contractors. We talked on Friday, and he's up for it. If not that position, they're also hiring QA contractors. I think one way or another I'll have a job there for a couple of months.

4. I also got a call back from that deafblind independent living place. I have to call them tomorrow. I doubt I'll get that one because of my work visa situation, but I could be in place to be hired as a casual employee come September when my full visa kicks in.

5. We stayed at the Skank Motel on Friday night. The area we where the seminar was being held is small town western NY, so there wasn't much happening with the motels. We drove around literally for hours and saw only two motels, and the one we ended up with was the better one (according to the locals), which kind of blew our minds. It had to be 60 years old at least, paper thin walls whitewashed except for the two-inch border of dirt along the bottom and the holes along the corners. Dar turned the TV on and up popped the porn channel. Free porn! Not nearly as exciting as you might think. We were, "Give me a break. Where's the Home & Garden channel?" No such luck. Porn, yes; HG, no. No clock, alarm or otherwise. Two little lamps with dim bulbs. Filthy bathroom floor. Running toilet. The door was so sticky that you had to shove it open and closed. The guys in the room next to us took easily 20 minutes to unload their van, apparently carrying one piece in a time. Open the van door, slam the van door, open the room door, slam the room door. Repeat until Lee is ready to kill you.

The bed was like rock. There were two wafer-thin pillows and no extra blankets. We slept with our clothes on and on top of the covers. I took a sleeping pill and conked out, but Dar awoke in the middle of the night because the cats were scratching to get into the room. Except, as she suddenly realized, the cats were 500 miles away and what the hell was scratching at the door! Aiiiiiieeeee!

It was a wonderful night.

6. There was one Dunkin' Donuts in town. They made some of the worst coffee I've ever had. I was heartbroken. Dunkin' Donuts, y'all! I'm sure it was just that franchise, but it's not like I get to drink DD every day.

7. I've attempted to make a hanging hay feeder for the alpacas by cutting holes in one of those lightweight mesh clothes hampers and filling it with hay. Scared the crap out of them. Heh. The crias finally started coming around to smell it and such, but they never did get that they could eat the hay that's in it. I hung it out of the way in the barn in an area that they don't need to get into (i.e., not the poo area, not where the water bucket is), and I'll see what it looks like in the morning.

And now I go to dig out my resume. BSG finale tonight! Rome finale tonight! I guess I should also stock up some kleenex while I'm at it.
Well, they snuck this one in on us. Nearly all air travelers entering the U.S. will be required to show passports beginning Jan. 23, including returning Americans and people from Canada and other nations in the Western Hemisphere.

I don't think it's going to be that a big a deal for Canadians flying into the US since most of you guys already have passports. But it could cause complications for a US citizen who wants to fly to Canada and then fly back into the States. The good news, such as it is, is that getting a US passport is fairly straightforward and takes only about six weeks. At least it was like that when I got my first passport back in the mid-80s.

Anyway, thought you might like to know. Oh, and everyone will need passports for land entry starting in Jan. '08. My fellow Americans - beat the rush and get your passport now *g*
I finally made it. Eleven hours, rain, fog, rain and fog, construction, accidents (none mine), and a serious case of night blindness later - I'm home. And damn happy to be here. I can't believe I have my stuff here at last. Well, it's still all in the trailer, but you know what I mean. Tomorrow, the grand unpacking. Dar said it will be like Christmas since I've forgotten what all is in those boxes and bags, and she's right. I'm all kinds of excited. Or I would be if I weren't so tired :)

My visits were short but oh so sweet. [livejournal.com profile] zosh is a goddess. I'm very serious. [livejournal.com profile] caerwynx, I hope that you're feeling better by now. It was wonderful to see you guys again no matter how short the time we had. [livejournal.com profile] thatkellygirl? No problem; I figured it was something like that. (How's that for cryptic. Heh.)

Me for bed. It's good to be home.
Good morning, guys. It's a whirlwind of finishing packing, feeding and cleaning up after the alpacas and then on the road to the States.

Three things:

1) [livejournal.com profile] sparky77, you have a crazy wonderful time at the Colbert Report! Don't scare the man, OK? Hopefully the show will be on Youtube or the Comedy Central web site so I can search for you in the audience. Although I'm guessing that you'll be front row center and laughing and cheering wildly :)

2) Because of the schedule for this trip, I - yes, I - am going to miss Nathan's appearance on Lost. It's another sign of the Apocalypse, clearly. If someone can download it for me, I would love you forever.

3) If you're a US citizen, and you think that you're just going to pass on voting in the mid-term elections on Tuesday, then please go here and see the entry marked Freedom (It's either at the top of damn near it) for an exceptional political fanvid; it will whet your blunted purpose, I promise you. The guy/woman deserves an award.

That's it. Y'all have fun. I won't have computer access, so I'm looking forward to catching up with your zany selves at the end of next week.

I'm going to miss my wife like crazy. And my kitties.
I went to the clinic today to get a referral to an ophthamologist because of the floaters and blurry spot in my right eye. The doctor took it seriously enough to not only schedule an appointment for me (which, being Canada, could take weeks if not months) but also to have me come back to see him on Friday when he's working with a colleague who, while not a licensed opththamologist, recently took some advanced courses on it. If he finds anything suspicious, they'll bump me up to the top of the line. He's worried about my having a detached retina which, if true, could mean I'd lose the sight in my right eye. Yikes. It could just be a torn retina; in that case they can do some procedure or other to stop it from actually detaching. Even without the specialized training, he did confirm that I have "quite a large floater" in there, plus some other smaller ones. And ok, I'm twelve. Because "quite a large floater" just makes me giggle. Bathroom humor, it never grows old.

So what worries me most? That I won't be able to make it to MA to pick up my stuff. I'm not kidding. Something always gets in the way. I've also booked all my hotel rooms through Travelocity, and they don't take kindly to cancellations - as in penalties if I'm lucky, and no chance for a refund if I'm not. (They charge your credit card as soon as you book with them. Just in case you didn't know that.) See? That's what I get for being optimistic. I hate making concrete plans for just that reason.

Anyway, I'll have a better idea of what's going on by this Friday. With any luck this will turn out to be nothing. Even if it's something, I'm hoping to still make it down there. And if worse comes to worse - I get to wear an eye patch. I've always wanted a parrot, you know.
My renewed work visa came through last Tuesday or Wednesday (a memory is a terrible thing to lose, kiddles); after I did my Dance of Squee I zoomed out to Kitchener and renewed my provinical health insurance and Canadian version of social security (known in these here parts as the SIN card.) Then I began the arduous task of figuring out how the hell I was going to get my stuff out of storage in MA and back up here. U-Haul trucks are the most obvious solution because they're everywhere and you can drive them one-way. However, they're also deathtraps on wheels. Ontario is moving to close them down in this province after an investigation turned up not one truck that could pass the provincial safety inspection. That was all I needed to put the kabosh on that one. Well, that and my past dealings with U-Haul; you know, where you reserve a moving truck - with money down - and show up to find no fucking truck. Yeah, I'm one of millions who had that happen.

In any case, I continue my search for some truck rental place that will let me pick up in MA and drop off in Ontario. No, no, no. Then I start working the numbers for just renting a truck in MA or locally in ON and doing a round-trip; the cheapest I could get away with was $1,300. No, no, no, no, NO.

I'd thought I'd come up with the perfect solution last month when I had a trailer hitch installed on the Jeep: I'd rent a big trailer for a one-way trip and that'd be that. Until I started doing some research and came across all the scary stories of trailers going wonky and dragging the cars across lanes of highway or pushing them into stopped cars and whatnot. Now some of that was no doubt driver's error, but still . . . I finally decided to cut my losses and simply rent a small trailer and leave some of my big furniture behind. That works for me. I've been asking around if anyone wants the stuff, and I'll do another post later with some pictures. If anyone would like to take it away, just show up in Acton on Wednesday morning and it's all yours. If not, I plan to donate it to the Household Goods Recycling Ministry where the stuff will go to good use as well.

That being decided, I called the Acton U-Haul to reserve my little one-way trailer. No problem, I'm assured. I tell the guy straight out that I've been stiffed by U-Haul before, and he assures me again that there will definitely be a trailer for me on Wed. Just maybe not in Acton. I may have to drive 30-40 minutes to get to where it is. ::sigh:: What.Ever. So Tuesday I'll be spending part of the day tracking down the freakin' trailer so I can get an early start on Wednesday.

Oh, a question for you younguns, please. And don't laugh at me too much, OK? On all the cop shows on TV I keep hearing about these "cheap prepaid cell phones" that perps use and throw away. Anyone know if those nefarious phones really exist? I mean no plan, no sign up, buy a phone with some time on it and throw it away when it's done? Because my cell won't work in the States, and I'd like to have a working phone on me. OK, commence with the giggling :)

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