Wednesday, December 30, 2009

WAP, part 2

In the second half of the tour, we stopped to feed the rhinos. They got apples, and were surprisingly friendly. I'd almost go as far as to say that they are affectionate.

Unlike the giraffes, we didn't have to be the tree. They'd open up their big mouths, and we'd throw in the apple slices. We were free to pet and touch them as much as we wanted.

After they'd had enough apples, they both moved up to the front of the truck to see the driver, who they apparently were quite fond of. While he pet one through the driver's side window, another one went to the other side. When she didn't immediately get the attention that she wanted, she stuck her nose through the open window and reached in to demand that he pet her.

These guys weren't so friendly; and frankly, I think that they look mean.
The hole herd of them had those freaky looking light-coloured eyes, and vicious looking horns.

Something else that we learned - when horns curve in like that, it's a sign that the animal lives as a part of a herd. This allows them to work closely together without injuring each other with their horns.

This isn't a great picture, but those little spats on their feet are called Follow Me Markings.

When they've got their nose down to the ground, grazing away, it allows them to glance up quickly and see the feet of the herd around them and know which direction to move. Otherwise, they might wander too far from the herd.

Most grazing animals have them in one form or another. The higher the follow me markings on the leg, the higher the grass (or sometimes water) is where they tend to live.

This is Java. He's a clone.

Six years ago, he was cloned from a male that died about 20-some odd years ago. The idea was that his species is down to so few animals that inbreeding is preventing the population from being built back up. They wanted to create him to add a new genetic line to help with this, but Java is infertile.

I'm not sure what I think about cloning. It seemed almost right to me that he is infertile, but I don't object to what they were trying to do. It's a slippery slope, though.

This is Chuck.
He's the dominant male rhino at the WAP.

Our guide told a funny story about Chuck, which shows how non-violent rhinos tend to be. Apparently, he cut through between the dominant giraffe and a female that he was courting. The giraffe got all territorial on him, and lashed out. Chuck turned around and peed on the male giraffe, and that was that. The giraffe gave up and left the area.

For what it's worth, though, we were told over and over that Chuck is a "very healthy male". His sole purpose in life is to find himself a girl and get busy, and we saw him rooting around and marking his territory for the girls a few times. This may be a bit TMI, but it kind of blew my mind: the average male rhino's baby maker is five feet long. Because of that (and the corresponding length of the female's reproductive tract), rhino's can't be artificially inseminated. With that in mind, Chuck has himself an important job to do.

That was the end of the guided photography tour. After that, I didn't do much. My feet were too swollen for me to walk far, so I mostly stayed close to the entrance and photographed birds.

I did manage to get over to see the lions, though, and I passed the elephants on the way.

These elephants were behind two wire fences (so were harder to photograph); but the baby was so cute, I figured it was worth a shot.

This guy was trying to get the keeper's attention.

Then I found the lions.

This guy was chewing on a cardboard box, while sitting on top of an car that had been stripped down and left in the enclosure.

It reminded me of the way that Winter likes to murder wadded up bits of paper, only on a much bigger scale.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Wild Animal Park informational recap

I'm home now, after a crazy trip back yesterday. It was a better trip that I could hope for, but I'm glad to be home again. My elephantiasis has returned, my tummy is sore, and I think I could sleep for a week. Luckily, I planned ahead and booked this week off of work too, so all I have to do is to nap, putter around the house and play with all the pictures I took.

I thought I'd start with The Wild Animal Park pictures, since I learned so much there and would like to retain some what I heard.

Before we start, let me introduce you to our tour guide:
Doesn't he look just like Wentworth Miller?

Very knowledgeable guy. He will forget more than I'll ever know about animals; but unfortunately I couldn't pay attention to everything he said. I'm mostly deaf in one ear, which means that I have to either pay attention when people are talking to me, or I don't retain anything. While Wentworth had very interesting things to say, I was distracted by the animals. For that reason, I don't know the names (species) of most of the animals we saw. I wish there was a list of the WAP resident breeds so I could go back and and figure out who is who.

There were giraffes. Lots and lots of giraffes. I am now in love with giraffes.

As soon as we drove into the first enclosure, this guy pegged us as a source for free lunch.
So, we stopped to feed him.

Lesson #1. Be The Tree. Stand still, hold the leaf and let the giraffe take it from you. Giraffes, while generally docile, can get defensive if they feel threatened, and since their head's are their primary weapons in the wild, they get defensive of movement around their faces.

Wentworth showed us how to do it:
And we all took turns feeding the giraffe. It was really neat.

Their fur is kind of prickly, almost like a short haired dog.
Their tongues are rough, like a cat.
They don't have front teeth.
Their spit is really thick to protect them against prickly trees, so even when they wrap their tongues around your hand to take the leaf, you don't come away all slobbery.

I could go on all day about giraffes, but eventually the tour moved on.

And encountered these guys:

See the marks on their faces? Those are called threat masks. Apparently, they're supposed to scare away the lions.

Also notice: baby in middle of circle.
The black one in the back is the male. Males tend to be darker than females. Also, the darker they are, the more dominant they are.

Cool antlers, Dude.

White Tummies are to help them keep cool. If their tummies were dark, the sun reflecting from the ground would be more readily absorbed and make them overheat.

There were lumps of rhino dispersed throughout the park as well.

We'd drive right up to them quite a few times before many of us realized that they weren't big rocks. They blend in well with their surroundings.

To a lion, this guy would blend in, almost as well as the rhino.
Lions are colour blind, and red and green are the same in grey scale colour. The redder an animals is, the greener their environment. Cool, eh?

This one didn't seem to care about blending in. She was just vegging out at the side of the road.

They look like characters from star wars, don't they? Jarjar Binks has nothing on these guys.

This guy lost a horn while scrapping with somebody else in the herd.

It's unfortunate, because it won't grow back. However, in the wild, this might be something of a good thing. Man is a huge threat to these animals, and if he had a set of matching horns, he'd be more likely to end up with his head mounted on somebody's wall. So conservationists/biologists are going in and cutting off some horns of endangered species in the wild, to make them less desirable to man.

This little critter is only two days old.

He/she didn't budge a bit while we were nearby. The herd was about 30 feet away, and completely ignored it. The theory behind that is that he/she is completely helpless for the first few days. If the herd were to pay it lots of attention before he/she can get up and move around, then they would attract predator's attention.

Don't worry, though. Somebody was keeping any eye on us.

This is what he/she will look like when he/she grows up.

This ostrich did a shimka dance for us, and blocked our way out of the enclosure.
She eventually lay down and refused to budge until a keeper came and pushed her out of the way.

Ostriches seem to be the trouble makers at the park. I heard the guides/drivers/keepers warning each other about them a few times.

Four baby giraffe's, all in a row:
Two of the babies curled up so that they rested their head's on their backs to sleep.

This is apparently very rare to see, because mature giraffe's only sleep about 20 minutes per day.

And on that note, I've gone about half way through the WAP tour. I'll finish it up later.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Best day

Today, as the titled suggested, was a fabulous day. I had an amazing time. I totally overdid it. I'm exhausted, semi-comatose and ready to drop.

Today was the Wild Animal Park, where I'd signed up for the photography tour. I was already so tired from the last couple of days that I skipped about half (or more) of the Park; but I did get to go into some of the enclosures (in the back of a truck) via the tour and get up really close to many of the animals. There was also an excellent tour guide, who told us a whole lotta cool things I never knew. It's a neat way to do the zoo experience. Rather than, heh -he's different, you hear all sorts of details that make that animal stand out and mean something. I highly recommend this guided tour, in particular.

I did wander around the front of the park for the hour before and after the tour, but I didn't have the energy to walk far. I took tonnes of pictures, got too much sun, and came away totally in absolute love with Giraffes. When I get around to editing pictures, you'll see why.

After the tour, I was dropped off near the ferry for Coronado. I was tempted to take a taxi - really didn't have any energy to walk anywhere - but there were no taxis around, and the ferry was there. So, I took it over again. Then I was going to grab a taxi across the island, but couldn't find one. I started walking, thinking that I'd stop at the first bus stop that I encountered; but frankly, I was so tired that I walked right past a couple of them before I saw the bus go by. Oh well, I figured I'd just keep shuffling along.

I stopped at the pasta place again. This time I got fresh spaghetti with spinach, artichoke hearts, tomatoes and all sorts of goodies on it. It was delicious, but I was too tired to do it justice.

I'm back at my hotel now. I leave tomorrow, so I should be getting things organized and ready to go. Instead, I think I'm going to crash. Before I do, though, I'll leave you with this:

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Well, that happened...

I don't know where I heard or read it, but somebody once said that when things go bad, the best thing to do is say 'Well, that happened' and then move on.

An unplanned adventure happened today. I'm going to tell you about it, and then move on. It wasn't terrible, really. Just annoying. And on the positive side, I saw parts of San Diego that I'd never have seen otherwise, I got lots of exercise and I saved money.

Bear with me here, I'll try to explain.

Tomorrow is the photography tour. The tour company was supposed to pick me up, but they told me after the fact that they won't come to Coronado. So then I was going to walk over to catch the ferry into San Diego, but I learned that the ferry doesn't run early enough in the mornings. The lady at the front desk of the hotel suggested that I take the bus, which should give me almost door to door services. Great. I decided today, since I was going to catch the trolley near where the tour starts, that I'd try out the bus. It's a good thing I did.

It turns out that she gave me the wrong name of the bus route. She gave me the right number, just the wrong direction. Buses don't go in circles here, the way they do at home. They start one place, and end somewhere else; and if you're on the bus at the last stop, you have to get off. In a comedy of errors, I got on the wrong right bus this morning. Again, right bus number, but going in the wrong right (different from what the front desk lady told me) direction. I was about 20 minutes into the ride when I heard the driver talking to somebody and realized that I wasn't going where the hotel lady had sent me. I asked him, and he stopped the bus for me to get off.

Except, this was not a good part of town. The sidewalks had homeless people sleeping in cardboard boxes, and I don't think it'd be a stretch to say that nobody within sight had been employed in a good long while. Maybe they're all perfectly nice people, but I felt uncomfortable. I asked the bus driver if it wouldn't just be better for me to carry on, and turn around someplace else, but he seemed quite determined that I get off there. So, I did. Stupidly.

Luckily, there was a trolley station nearby. Even better - this was the trolley line that I wanted. The one going in the direction I had planned to take was about to take off, so I hopped on. Whew.

Got to the outlet mall. Walked around for a couple of hours, but didn't buy anything. I'd planned to do some serious power shopping, but the mood had left me. I didn't really find anything I liked; and when I did, I couldn't find my size, or the prices weren't any better than I could find at home. I did find one purse that I liked (and was a great deal) but a purse is the one thing that I really don't need. Plus, the lineup at the checkout was pretty crazy. I didn't get it.

So, that was that. I decided to leave, and maybe see if I'd have time to check out the Gaslamp district. I caught the trolley back, except I wasn't sure where to get off. All I knew was that I didn't want to get off at the station I'd been this morning. I asked a lady who was sitting across from me, and she had me get off at the wrong %$#% station.

Then I was completely lost. I knew I was in downtown San Diego, but that was about it. I found what I thought was a building that I recognized in the horizon, and started walking towards it. Twenty minutes later, I eventually went into a little shoe store to look around, and I asked the guy there for directions. He couldn't have found his way out of a paper bag.

He told me that I should take a taxi, because I'd have to walk 10 blocks 'that' way, and then walk about 3 miles in another direction. Crap.

So, I left his store and decided that if I have to splurge on a taxi, getting back to Coronado before dark wasn't as important, so I might as well look around first. There seemed to be some interesting stores in the area, so I figured I'd check them out. That's when I looked up and saw Ghirondelli's. TADA! I knew where I was!!! I was in the Gaslamp District.

The Z Gallery store is in Gaslamp District. I LOVE the Z Gallery. (Wish we had it in Canada.) So, I poked around in there for a while. Finding the Z Gallery just about made up for my frustrating day.

But wait. All was not right in my world yet.

Although I knew where I was, I didn't know how to get where I wanted to be; which was the bus or ferry back to Coronado. A lovely lady at Z Gallery gave me directions, and I realized I had 9 minutes to go 12 blocks. Run, Janice, Run! (But don't forget to zip into Ghirondelli for your free chocolate.)

I ran. I got weird looks from a hot jogger guy with whom I kept pace for about three blocks, then I enjoyed watching him run ahead of me... right until we came to the intersection across from the ferry landing and the light turned red. And I watched the ferry push off and leave without me. If I hadn't stopped for the free Ghirondelli chocolate -which was yummy - I'd have made it.


The ferry only comes/goes once an hour, and I'd have another hour before it returned. And since cute jogger guy had carried on without me, I'd have nothing to do for an hour.

Then I decided to catch the bus that I was supposed to have taken this morning back to Coronado. I knew approximately where that stop was, but not for sure - just that it was about 4 or 5 blocks away. Off I went. After about 4 blocks, I saw the bus! It was driving in my direction. Yippee!

But no, it wasn't meant to be. The bus turned and I began the chase. It'd stop at a light, and I'd almost catch up, and then it'd take off again. I ran after that bus for 3 blocks before it finally stopped. I guess I should have clued in when it stayed stopped while I ran the remaining block to reach it, but the bus was now out of service. Thankfully, the driver took pity on my stricken look and told me where, exactly, I should board the damn bus. I found the stop, waited ten minutes and the bus arrived.

But that wasn't it! Oh, no it wasn't. This is the never ending story, my friends.

Right about the place where the fist driver booted me off this morning, an old creepy looking man got on. Just my luck, he sat beside me. Then he started to talk. And talk. And talk. Normally, I'm not against answering a question or two; but this guy was talking to hear his own voice. Constant natter, it was. At first, he was satisfied with a nod and a smile, but then his questions started getting more pointed and direct. I did something I haven't done in years.

"Je m'excuse, Monsieur, mais je ne parle pas l'anglais." Loud and clear, I pulled out my best Quebecois accent.

That got me weird looks all around, but he shut up for a bit. Then he started nattering at the lady across from him. We'd reached Coronado by then, and he was really annoying me; so I hopped off the next stop and walked the remaining 30 minutes to the hotel.

It's not all bad, though. I decided as I walked that I'd earned pizza for dinner, and I stopped at the place I wrote about last night. It was crazy busy again - clearly this place is popular - but I got my pizza. (For the record, it's as good as I remembered.)

Then, I came back to my room, put on my pj's and settled in. The lady just arrived, turned down my covers for me (which makes me feel like a useless toot, but sure is nice) and left me some cookies and milk to wash down the pizza. I'll not be leaving here again until tomorrow morning.

Whether I take another chance on the transit system, or suck it up and grab a cab to catch up with my tour tomorrow is up for debate. Right now, I'm leaning towards the cab.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Quiet Day

When I was little, I used to wake up at an obnoxious hour on Christmas day. It didn't matter how many times my parents told me to stay in bed until a reasonable time, I'd be awake by 3:30 or 4:00, and in my sister's room looking for somebody to join me so that I could route through my stocking (which Santa used to leave outside my bedroom door) by 5:00. It wouldn't be long before we'd wake up my brother too, and we'd all congregate in my sister's room until my parents finally got up at 6:30.

Apparently, waking up at the butt-crack of dawn on Christmas day is a habit I haven't been able to shake. I was up reading quite late last night, since I knew today would be quiet. Even so, I was awake by 4:00, and up and about by 5:00. And there wasn't even a stocking full of goodies outside my door.

Even so, it was a good day. I walked along the pier this morning, and then went in search of lunch. Not much was open, due to it being Christmas day, so I ended up at a Mexican restaurant.

I feel kind of bad saying this - especially around here - but I'm not a fan of Mexican food. With all the beans and rice and tortillas, there's too many carbs and not enough vegetables. I guess it's not bad, just heavy and bland. I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as, say, the chicken & fruit salad sandwich that I had last night for dinner. It was on freshly baked bread, and was absolutely delicious. (Which, really, why haven't chicken and fruit salads been mixed together more? Is that not an obvious mix? It should be done a lot more.)

After lunch I went back to the room and had a nap. Then I wandered over to the Hotel Del Coronado, which was crazy busy with tourists. Last year, I spend most of Christmas day wandering around the beach behind the Del and was the only one there. This year it was packed with people. There were so many people that I didn't last very long, and am thinking that I might go back early tomorrow morning to beat the crowds and try to get some pictures.

Dinner, sadly, was not pizza tonight. Last year I had pizza for Christmas dinner. I had wandered around, looking for something open, and this little pizza shop was all I could find. It had maybe 15 tables, all full. Every seat in the place was taken, and people were standing around between the tables, eating and drinking on foot. It was so full that there was barely anyplace to stand. I pushed myself to the back and ordered a pizza, and was promptly deemed to be the last customer that they'd serve (and I'd have to take my pizza to go). As I waited for it to be cooked, they must have turned away 30 more people; and as I walked back to the hotel, people kept asking me where I'd gotten it. Maybe it was the limited availability, but I remember that pizza to be one of the best I've ever had. I had actually planned to have it again for dinner tonight, but sadly they were closed.

Instead, tonight I had Subway for dinner. Which is actually pretty appropriate. I probably eat lunch at Subway 4 days a week (or more). It's not as exciting. It doesn't come with a story, but it's reliable and somewhat healthy.

Some pictures that I took:

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Day at the zoo

I was going to spend the morning at the zoo today... spent the whole day, instead. I took 350+ pictures. (Actually, I took a whole lot more than that, but lost some... I'll bore you about that later.)

I haven't got photo editing software, my netbook has a pretty bad screen glare, and I'm too lazy to get out of bed and move to the desk where there is proper lighting. So, these are pretty much straight out of the camera shots. I'll fiddle with the rest at home.

I love zebras.

Koala...possibly the cuddliest looking animal around
This guy was born three weeks ago.
His mama gave birth while standing up.
So, he was welcomed to the world by being dropped on his head.

This orangutan was pretty playful:

This guy looked like he had a pretty high opinion of himself. The sunlight seemed to agree.

That's all for now. I walked for 9 hours straight today, and I'm beat.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


These trip blog entries might end up pretty boring to others, but I like to write things down while I'm travelling, so I can remember the little things. (More than just 'I went to San Diego'.) Another thing that I like to do while I travel is to eat. I'll probably be writing about a fair bit of food, with any luck.

Tonight was going to be a quiet night that turned out great. I found a restaurant that makes homemade pasta, and decided to try it out. They were so busy that the only seat that I could get was a the bar. At the time, I was the only one there. I didn't have my book, or anything to do other than stare at the bartender. I'm not usually a fan of eating alone, so was considering asking for my order to go. Right about then, a family came in and wanted to be seated. There weren't any tables, and of course I'd picked the one seat that meant that they couldn't all sit together. I offered to move (which seemed to surprise them) and shifted down a few stools. Just as I settled in, another family came in and I was in the way again. So I moved again, and ended up sitting between the two families.

On one side was an older man who had grown up in Coronado. He was sweet, but the rest of his family seemed to ignore him. (or, maybe he ignored them). On the other side was a family of a lady, her husband and their daughters. She'd grown up in San Diego, moved away for most of her adult life and then they'd just moved back. Her husband, a sailor, is from New Zealand, where they lived for a while before his job moved them to Spain. We all ended up having a great chat, talking about everything between the differences between the various countries, to the benefits for their young girls to be so well traveled, to Coronado, the local library and dogs.

Keeping in mind that I'm generally painfully uncomfortable in groups of people (even people I know), I had a really good time. Totally not what I expected. The food only made it better. The spinach tortellini in tomato cream sauce was really good. I'd go back there in a heartbeat. Actually, when I commented on both families being local, they told me that that restaurant is a bit of a local secret. The locals love it, and don't really advertise to the tourists about it, lest it get too crowded and they can't get in. I guess I should be thankful that they were so welcoming to me.

Start of trip

It's amazing that I travel. I do enjoy myself when I get there, but I get annoyed easily and I worry so much about the money when working up to it. Getting there can be a problem, and this trip is no exception. Yesterday was all about the money. Last night was the annoyance.

I was really hoping that I could cancel the bus ticket (eat the $50 non-refundable deposit) and drive to the airport. However, the snow got worse as the day went on, and I ended up taking the bus. I was feeling pretty bitter about the extra expense until we turned onto the highway. However, not 2 minutes into the drive, we passed a car on it's roof, both doors wide open and apparently abandoned. I decided then that it was probably worth it the expense. Then, when the 1 hour bus ride took 3 hours, I was glad I wasn't driving.

When I got to the hotel and was checking in, the front desk phone rang. The guy who was helping me picked up, and then really surprised me by handing me the phone.

Who would phone me in Calgary? Well, apparently, my dad would. He may be way down in New Mexico, but he keeps tabs of things via the Internet. He knew how bad the weather was in Alberta yesterday. I'd emailed him that morning, and told him I was taking the bus; but apparently he was worried that the cheapskate in me would overrule the chicken poop. He wanted to hear from me that I'd made it OK. The front desk guy tells me that he'd phoned "really quite a lot". I apologized for my over-protective father. I guess that's what happens if you wait until you're 25 before you stop calling him Daddy.

The hotel was OK. Not great, but I have been spoiled by the hotels that I've stayed with through work, and through my San Diego trips. The annoyance came in that they were piping Christmas music into the hallways, and I could hear it clearly in my room. I'm all for being festive, but last night at 2:00am, I'd rather have been asleep.

Also, because I'm an idiot, I darn near froze to death. First, I'm a germophobe, so the top cover/quilt/blanket got the two-finger pull off the bed and spent the night on the floor. Then, the room was cold. It was so freezing, that I wondered if I was getting sick. I ended up getting up multiple times. First I checked out the Air conditioner in case it was a heater/cooler thingamabob, but it only cooled. Then I checked to make sure it wasn't running, which it was not. Then I grabbed the extra blanket from the closet, carefully folded it so that it was covered by the sheet and my face wouldn't accidentally come into contact. And then I eventually got up and put yesterday's clothes on over top of my pj's. Even so, I spent most of the night so cold that my teeth were chattering. Not to worry, though, because I eventually figured it out. When I woke up this morning (at a refreshing 5:30am - because I'm on vacation) I immediately sat up and stared straight ahead at the thermostat on the wall.

Which, by the way, declared that the room was 15C.

Good news, though. I made it to San Diego, where the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing and all my travel trepidations are gone. I had a late lunch of fresh greens, grilled chicken, pecans, Gorgonzola cheese and tomatoes - Yum. After last night, I'm contemplating a nap in my much nicer hotel room; but I don't think I will. I think I'm going to map out a walking route, and then get out and explore a bit more instead

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mother Nature doesn't like me.

We're in the middle of another snow storm, and the RCMP are enforcing a no-tow policy on the highways. What that basically means is that the highways are so bad, they figure that everybody's going to end up in the ditch. More specifically, they don't want tow trucks out there, getting in the way of the few people that manage to stay on the roads; so they're banning them from the highways. The RCMP have declared that you're on your own if you take the chance; and if you end up in the ditch then you sit there for 6-8 hours before anybody comes to help.

Great.... Makes you want to go on a road trip, doesn't it?

I'm supposed to leave for Calgary tomorrow, to start off my vacation.

Chances are that the roads might get better by tomorrow, but they might not (probably not). And the longer I wait, the more chance that bus tickets will be sold out. So, I booked my non-refundable bus tickets to/from Calgary. This is no cheap detour. By the time I add up the cost of the bus tickets, the taxis to and from the bus stations, the hotel because my returning flight comes in too late to catch a bus that night, and the pet sitter for the extra night, Mother Nature has cost me $350.

If I wasn't headed for beaches and California sunshine, I might be temped to be bitter.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

An idea

It doesn't happen that often, but sometimes I come up with ideas that are a stroke of brilliance, if I do say so myself. I came up with one of those ideas this month, when I thought to I wrap (larger) Christmas presents in pillow cases.

For $5, you can get a pair of 600 count cotton pillow cases from the clearance section of home/linen stores. (I went to Homesense, but I suspect that you could hit just about any clearance section.) Then, for another $2.50, you buy a roll of wired ribbon - one roll is enough for 5 or 6 gifts - and make a big bow at the top of each case to close it up and make it pretty.

It's earth friendly, cheaper than going the paper bag route, and reusable. And, it's not "I'll shove this down in the basement and hope I have another use" reusable. Who doesn't want 600 count pillow cases? Heck, I suspect that the pillow cases may be a bigger hit than some of the gifts inside of them.

For my nephews I used one per gift - my sister will collect them to use afterwards. For adults, I put the second pillow case inside with the gift, so that they end up with the set.

Is that not genius?!?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I've got freakishly long legs. I've got a 34" inseam, which really only sounds good to people who don't.

I can't get pants long enough in stores, and have to special order them from the States. (Why didn't I listen to my mom when she told me to learn to sew?!?) Somewhere along the way, somebody decided that freakishly long-legged people should have a choice between bank-breaking prices or crap quality. I generally lean towards the bank-breaking prices; but that means that I don't have many pants.

I've got a few pairs of work pants, 1 set of jeans, and a pair of sweatpants. And, horror of horror - the hospital just declared that we could wear jeans on Fridays. This is a problem for me, because my jeans were just retired. I've been asked never to wear them in public. Ever again.

They're in good condition (no tears or fraying) but the zipper is a little gravity challenged. It comes open a lot. I solved this for quite a while by wearing long shirts, but my sister tells me I shouldn't do this anymore.

I recently wore them to a little hole-in-the wall town, where my nephews were participating in a speed skating competition. I figured that I'd be wearing my (somewhat long) winter coat the whole time, so it wouldn't matter if my zipper was open.

It turns out that it mattered. I flashed a guy.

My sister and I ran out to grab a healthier lunch than we could get at the arena, and we went into a bookstore/cafe. While my sister ordered lunch, I ever so subtly meandered to the back of the store (where I thought I was alone) and slowly undid my coat as I walked. I had my head down, so I didn't realize I had an audience when I lifted up my long shirt up - right up there, good and high, as in level with the bottom of my bra if I'm lucky - and yanked up the zipper. I then looked up to find a little reading nook, where this guy on the couch had a smile so big it lit up the room. I turned bright red, took off like a bandit and, once my sister caught up, had a really good laugh at my own expense.

And that, folks, is why I've recently put in an order for some new pants. I've decided to go wild and get a new pair of work pants, as well as a couple pairs of jeans.

Monday, December 14, 2009


I put my tree up. It wasn't really out of a desire to to decorate, or an overwhelming festive feeling... it was the better choice between that or cleaning the house.

Now that it's up, it does feel a little more festive in my little corner of the world.

I'm going on my trip. I am feeling better than I was last week. Also - and this is really important - it was minus 40 outside this morning. -40 (which is the same, in both Celsius or Fahrenheit) is freaking cold out. These are the sorts of times when you hear "It's cold out, eh?" hundreds of times, or various versions thereof - add your choice of curse word darned near anywhere in that phrase and I probably heard it today .

I need to get out of dodge. I need to be on a beach, and feel the sand between my toes. I want to wear a tshirt and not have 8 layers on top. Yes, it's supposed to warm up quite a bit before the end of the week; but quite frankly, Alberta, I'm a little bitter. I think we need some time apart.

And so, I booked myself into the photography tour that I've been oogling. This is something that I've been wanting to do for years. That's not to say that I'm some sort of great photographer, or that I'll have frame worthy photos when I'm done. I usually use the default point and shoot setting on my camera, and I don't own photoshop. But darnit, I'm going to treat myself; and it's going to be fun.

And warm.