Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Stupid Habit #429

Am I the only one who does this?

I hide things from imaginary thieves, but I am so thorough that I can't find them when I return home again and I need them.

I think I hid my external hard drive because I can't find it anywhere. (Which makes absolutely no sense, because I left my laptop on my desk.)

I say I "think" because I can't actually remember hiding it, which is stupid habit #428.

I could have written down its location at the time, but then I probably would have argued (with my neurotic self) what if the thief finds the piece of paper that says "External Hard Drive is hidden under the middle sofa cushion." I'd end up hiding the paper too and then, well, you know...

My MacBook is completely out of memory and is running slowly if at all.

I have no way to make back-ups or save my files.

Off to kick self and look under the middle sofa cushion.

If there are any thieves reading this, just try someone else's house. I've been looking for an hour with no luck and I live here so good luck to you. And we have an alarm system. Which begs the question, why did I....oh, never mind.

I'm an eejit.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Spring is here when...

I often work at night, well into the wee hours, but come summer I get less work done because I'm too distracted by June bugs the size of pinecones bashing themselves into oblivion on my window. They're so loud I'm constantly flinching and ducking. Not exactly conducive to writing love scenes or dreamy reveries about the south of France.

Still, suicidal June bugs are preferable to the wildlife debauchery that took place last night. My take on it? A raccoon somehow got into the garbage can, a feat which is, in and of itself, a mystery. I'm talking about those big green buggers (the can, not the raccoon) with the hinged lids which are fairly tall and hard to open. I know raccoons got in there because a) the bag inside was torn to shreds and, b) I opened the lid to make a deposit and I discovered a young raccoon inside. I'm not sure who was more surprised but I vote me, since I'm pretty sure she did not pee her pants or run screaming in circles or wring her hands or, for the umpteenth time, mutter to herself "this is not the life I signed up for when I married a dentist."

This is bad enough, but then I'm guessing what happened next is the skunks went all gangsta up in your face with the raccoons and maybe wanted a piece of that stolen pie, even though said "pie" was rancid meat and vegetable peels littering the driveway. And to quote the mighty Oprah, what I know For Sure is that skunks do not take no for an answer. And when you ask a skunk, "is that your final answer?" you'd better be able to run fast and in a zig zag pattern.

The kicker? Last night was hot and humid, so I put a double fan Right In The Bedroom Window to draw the cool evening air directly into our bedroom. It also drew the stench from the West Side Story action happening directly below. I woke up gagging, as the fan sucked and delivered the results of the mother of all food fights right into our sanctuary and smothered us as we slept.

Skunks One. Raccoons Zero. Novel Woman Minus Eleven.

Yes folks, in case there was any doubt, Spring is here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Grimsvotn Volcano in Iceland

Some amazing photographs of the Grimsvotn volcano in Iceland HERE.

I have friends with kids toodling around Europe and Scotland right now. They need to come home soon, preferably by air not sea.

Dear Volcano,

Could you ease up just a little bit please? You are causing quite a stir over the pond and I think that's quite enough, now. You've made your point. Now just settle down or else. Do not make me come over there.

Yours Sincerely,
A Novel Woman

Friday, May 20, 2011

Feck, feck, feckity, feck

Sedona, Arizona was simply mahvelous. Some of these shots were taken at the Airport Mesa, a site of an upflow vortex, which is helpful when one wants to "view life from a higher plane, to develop a more universal perspective, or to send a prayer or affirmation out into the world."

Below are shots of Tlaquepaque (translation: "the best of everything") a recreated Mexican village in Sedona. I "viewed life from a higher plane" when I had a burger and locally brewed beer on a second story balcony overlooking the village and mountains.

My five days in Arizona were perfect. I got a warm welcome from the climate to the people. I finally found a Chipotle's in Scottsdale, a goal of mine since watching the documentary FOOD INC. The people in that area were so friendly that the couple standing ahead of me in line invited me to join them at their table when they found out I was alone! How often does that happen in Montreal? (Answer: Never.)

I had a rental car so while Doug was busy with meetings and workshops I beetled up through the desert and spent a day in Sedona. There's a great vibe in this town, partly the landscape composed of these magnificent red rock mountains, or maybe it's because of the vortexes that can be found in various spots in the mountains. Whatever "it" is, I didn't feel it because I was paranoid my rental car was going to get towed where I'd left it. Next time I'll allow myself more time to relax and feel the vortex properly and not become a swirling mass of nervous energy myself.

And for the first time, my luggage was lost. I think it was determined to stay awhile longer, and ended up in Denver. Perhaps, while idling on the tarmac, it met a nice handbag who convinced my suitcase to stick around because this was true love. After many frustrating pleas via a call centre in India, I convinced it to come home, which it finally did yesterday to great fanfare.

I really do love to travel. Let me rephrase that. I love to be somewhere other than home. The travel part? I could do without that. Our flight was canceled at the gate, we had to run to the baggage, reclaim the bags, run to the counter and rebook, then enter security a second time, and race to our new gate where we went to Scottsdale via Toronto then Dallas then Phoenix where we rented a car. We arrived after midnight instead of the 4 p.m. arrival we'd planned. Forget eating that day. No lunch, no dinner, and no fecking food on board.

With that in mind, have a look at this.

thanks Kathy Down the Road

Monday, May 16, 2011

Not in Kansas anymore

But can you guess where I am?

Little hint:
Bigger hint:
Giant hint:

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Spring has finally arrived

And here is proof. Thanks, Kathy Down The Road.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Kids React to Bin Laden's Death

This is on Twitter and Facebook, but it was so good, I wanted to make sure no one missed it.

These kids are smarter than most of the elected officials I've heard interviewed. Definitely smarter than everyone employed at Fox News. (News should be in quotes. I always do air quotes when I say it out loud.)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Of Noble Blood? Moi?

Looks like it's true, eh.

I knew the name Patchet was French, and that the Patchet/Patchett line originated in Normandy, where the name was spelled Pachet. They left Normandy for England after the Norman Conquest of 1066, and settled mostly in Oxfordshire after Duke William of Normandy granted them land after the Battle of Hastings in thanks for their "distinguished assistance."

They Anglicized the name by adding a middle t, but other spellings evolved including Paget, Pagett, Pagit, Pagitt, Pagget, Paggett and Persnickety. (Okay, I made up the last one, but it's not that far-fetched if you know us.)

Our motto is: Per il suo contrario
Translation: Puerile contrarians rule!

(Okay, I made that up, too. The translation is really "By its reverse" but I think mine is more accurate.)

But the really cool news? I learned that my five times great-grandmother was a Scoville, a descendant of Sir Ralph de Scoville. Sir Ralph.

An actual knight.

The Scoville line came from Escoville, France ("of Escoville" or d'Escoville" which was shortened to Scoville.) Sir Ralph was listed as a landowner in 1205 and a knight in 1215, which means he was born around 1130 - 1150. He is listed in the roll of the king's court in 1194 Trinity Turn Buckinghamshire. From A Survey of the Scovils (or Scovills) in England:

"Hammond Passeewe, one of the three Knights who ought to elect the twelve to make the great assize between Walter de Las Haie and Hammond de Gernum excused his absence by Robert, son of William, pledging his faith against the coming of the Justices to those parts. But a day is given to the Knights who came, to wit: Ralph de Scoville, and William Raviel and Ralph Dairel."


"Ralph de Scoville was one of those manorial lords who joined with the great barons of England in forcing their King John to sign the Magna Carta."
In 1215. If this is true, then it is likely he fought in the Third Crusade under the leadership of Richard the Lionheart and alongside the Knights Templar to "free" Jerusalem.


Scottish historian John Major wrote in 1521 that Robin Hood operated in 1193-4, the time of Richard I.

Many writers have agreed with Major (as well as the novels and movies made about Robin Hood) including Sir Walter Scott. And while Richard wasn't the king mentioned in the early ballads about Robin Hood, he is the one most closely linked with the outlaw along with his brother King John, who followed him. Some Robin Hood stories maintain he even went on the crusades with King Richard.

So my 25 times great-grandfather likely fought in the Crusades with Richard the Lionheart, the Knights Templar, and Robin Hood.

Sure makes history a whole lot interesting.

I'm going to be ticked if my cousin doing the family research tells me she made a mistake and we're not related to Sir Ralph Scoville the knight, but Ralph Scumberbutt the waste disposal expert.

Actually, if I found out we were descended from this guy, that would make total sense:

Monday, May 2, 2011

Why Fie?

I recently spoke to our local guy (a great guy) in charge of installing WiFi service at our cottage.

It opens up a whole new world up in the wild, wild woods and it allows me to work from there. I discovered its joys after he put one in our cottage last year. Now he's going to install another unit in our guest cabin so while the birds are twittering, so too can our guests.

The conversation today went something like this (I'm paraphrasing here):

Him: Okay,, so I'll just attach the unit on the satellite arm.
Me: The what?
Him: You know, the satellite arm.
Me: Are you talking about a satellite dish?
Him: (slightly annoyed) No, the satellite dish is attached to the satellite arm. I'm going to put the Wifi unit on the same arm.
Me: We don't have a satellite arm.
Him: Sure you do (getting more annoyed) because that's where your satellite dish is attached.
Me: But we don't have a satellite dish.
Him: What?
Me: We don't have a satellite dish.
Him: WHAT?
Me: We. Don't. Have. A. Satellite. Dish. Hence, no satellite arm.
Me: We don't really watch TV.
Him: What? No seriously, how do you watch TV?
Me: We don't.
Him: What do you do?
Me: Well, we read a lot. We used to take the kids camping when they were little, and we'd read books to them, and we just kept the tradition going at the cottage. Why, I read the whole Harry Potter series to them and I ---
Him: Well, GEEZ, they're not kids anymore! Give them TV for God's sake!

I could not stop laughing on the phone. Literally. He had to wait for me to catch my breath.

Am I the only one who thinks it's better without TV at the lake?

Hands up those who think I'm nuts.

Hands up those who prefer a good book, or a rousing game of Balderdash, Scrabble, Pictionary, Cranium or Cribbage and a gin and tonic?