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Journal Entries for December 2006
Devember 1, 2006 - 12:41 AM
The Flu of 2006...

First of all, I apologize for not updating the site in a while here, but I had a valid excuse - I had the flu. And let me start off by saying - it was a doozie! I haven't been that sick in years, in fact - I can't actively remember the last time I felt *that* sick. It started Saturday night, my stomach started to feel a bit off. Not sick, upset, gassy, or bloated - but just [not normal] enough to make you notice it was there. When I woke up Sunday morning to go to work, I was so stuffed up I could barely talk, and my stomach was still making me aware of it's presence. I phoned in sick and went back to bed.

I awoke sometime Sunday evening and still my stomach seemed off. It was now incredibly unrested, and consequently so was I. About 6:30 I went downstairs, grabbed a bucket (which - ironically was already puke green) and began the first of what would end up being eleven hours of vomiting, complimented by sporratic diherrea. I don't think I had a normal pee that whole time - all the fluid came out me arse. After the second or third episode, I began to really feel the weakness that this ordeal had hurled upon me, but sleep seemed to elude me as every time my stomach would complete it's involuntary purge and I'd lay back down on the couch to rest, just before I'd fall asleep that gut feeling entitled I'm gonna vomit wrenched me from slumber and dragged me back to the bathroom to sit upon the porcelan throne, hold between my legs the green bucket of goo and wish I could die (or at least fall asleep and wake up with it over.) There were times when I was literally expunging fluids from the north port and the southern sphincter. Mid-way through the ordeal I stopped and thought to myself, "I suppose this is as close as I'll ever come to finding out how it feels for a girl to pee..."

Finally about 5:30 on Monday morning, the last cycle was complete. So weak by this point I'd been crawling on all fours to and from the bathroom, I think I fell asleep on the floor beside the couch because I couldn't get back up onto it. Several times during the day I woke up to go have some more diherrea, but I had nothing left in the gullet to expell. There was a bit of an internal debate - do I try to drink some water so that instead of dry-heaving I'll at least have some non-offensive substance to pass back to the bucket? Or - if I don't drink anything, will I stop throwing up because there is nothing less? But what if I don't drink anything and then get the dry heaves back again? I'll wish I'd have consumed some water... As it turned out, the water drinking side of the argument won out, and whether or not it made me puke more, it sure made the puking process less painful.

That night and the next morning, the only way I've been able to describe the stomach sensation with any sense of accuracy is that it felt like I'd been kicked in the chest and had the wind knocked out of me. I went to see Dr. Sackman because even though I wasn't throwing up anymore, I still wasn't really feeling much better (and besides that - my kidneys and back hadn't stopped aching since the whole thing started, and now that I wasn't preoccupied with vomiting I was starting to notice this.) He assured me that these symptoms were all par for the flu, but ordered some blood tests just to be sure nothing had happened to my pancreas in the process. I haven't heard back from them for a few days now so I'm guessing all is well. No news is good news. As a result of this whole adventure, I really haven't had much to report - so despite the lack of writing within this time period, you really haven't missed much. Although tonight Bo and I went and saw Jackass II. It was pretty funny but although there was no plot to speak of, I was touched at the part where they're all singing the song about making every day count... I suppose although in their line of movies they may be closer to an unexpected demise than most, the unthinkable can happen to any one of us or anyone we know at any time without any warning. Tell someone you love that you do. You might not ever get another chance.

And now for something completely different...

So tonight I was playing with AIGLX, which is essentially a GL extension for the Xorg 'X' server that linux and many unix-like operating systems rely on for their graphical user interface. I installed Beryl on my Fedora Core 7 machine, and was absolutely blown away. This takes graphical desktop representation to a whole different dimension - literally, a third dimension! On Fedora, we've had multiple desktops for years and I've often spoke of their usefullness and functionality. Not only can they aid in task-orientation but they can also bring a new level of efficiency to multitasking. What Beryl does is it adds a third dimension to the desktop switching mechanism (on top of a WHOLE range of other pieces of eye candy to delite the computer geek and novice user alike) which allows you to see each virtual desktop on the face of a rotating cube. Not only that, but it adds an entire miryad of features to the window manager: Semi-transparant windows, animated window movements, water-like ripple effects on the desktop on things like bell events, dynamic shadows. There's no way you can even begin to grasp what I'm trying to describe without seeing it, so open up Google and look for beryl video. I found a bunch of them right away on youtube that are amazing. I don't care how entrenched you are in whatever OS you like, be it Windows, Mac OS, or some flavour of Linux - you have to admit that is cool. I'm going to see if I can get that little icon dock at the bottom (seen in one of the videos - Mac users will know what I'm talking about) to install on Fedora. So far I couldn't find any posts on the matter except one other guy who was asking how to do it. It's already four in the morning and I'm wide awake I'm so excited about this! hahaha -- You know you're a geek when...

Off to play some more! Goodnight

December 2, 2006 - 8:35 PM
Tonight everyone is over to watch the video Lynne and Peggy brought back from their trip to the Phillipines

Guess what I have in my hand

Ashley and Madison

Madison Coloring

Good times


The Ladies' Couch

Mother and Daughter

December 4, 2006 - 11:16 PM
Underwater glow of LED light

Windmill windmill for the land
Turn forever hand in hand
Take it all it on your stride
It is sticking, falling down...
Love forever love is free
Let's turn forever you and me
Windmill windmill for the land
Is everybody In?

Last week I did an Internet installation for a girl I used to have a huge crush on as a Lightbulb Changer. She worked at one of our suppliers, and so naturally, any time we needed to pick up stock from this supplier - I was first out of the truck and bounding through the doors, only to see Sabrina. When I saw her name on my work order, I knew it sounded familiar but could not place it to a face or a person. Wondering perhaps if this weren't some sort of mind-coagulation, combining a first name (since I had dated a Sabrina before) and a last name (though I didn't know anyone else with that last name) I put off trying to remember until I saw her and could confirm or refute the idea that I might have known her from somewhere. Sure enough, she was one and the same -- and even remembered me! (Although it was I who brought up the subject...) What a small world. It's interesting to see where people end up in life. Today I saw Jason and Tereasa walking their dog Paris from the 7-Eleven. He spotted my work truck and waved as I passed. He looked very natural with his wife-to-be and dog, but it still feels surreal to me - Jason .. Settling down? Starting a family? I'm not sure what to think of that. Particularly since only this morning did Bo and I get up early and start to spar again. You sure get out of shape fast! But I recall as with running and any other sort of cardio activity, you can pick it up again quickly once you get into it. So we had our morning workout and I will say - it was rough! But a necessary evil if I am to be walking beaches in less than three months!

I had an address to disconnect this evening on Pinehill Place. Normally this is a mindless activity, requiring only thought to the address you are looking for and subsequently the four most significant digits of a number necessary to identify the line that services the house in question. This particular address caused me to pause and invoke much more of a mental stimulation. Walking up to this house was not unfamiliar to me, only it had been quite a few years since my feet had left a print on the sidewalk slabs. It used to be on my paper route, two doors down from my good friend Phil and his lovely sister, my then-crush, Jen. Continuing down the complex a few more doors and you arrive at the former residence of Natasha, a girl who held my intrigue for quite some time. It was more or less her house I parked in front of, and the light of my headlights passed through the glass of the windows to reveal that it was vacant. Not a spot of furniture, no drapes in the windows, just an empty, cold, dark shell of a building. How different it felt when she lived there. The last time I talked to Natasha I remember was while I lived at Jason's house, and I called her one sunny afternoon while lying outside in the back yard on the trampoline. We must have talked for an hour - she was going to be a model and seemed to have some very exciting opportunities offered to her. She was the only girl I've ever pushed off my motorcycle! It made me sad to see her house empty, even though I know she hasn't lived there for probably 10 years.

Where do people go? One day they're your neighbour, the next day they're gone and in all liklihood, you will never see them again. Part of me is curious, part of me longs for a link to the past, part of me knows such a search is futile. You only live today, so make memories now. You can always remember them later. How the mind does wonder though, doesn't it? There are a lot of people I've often wondered about - where they went, what they ended up doing with their lives, whatever became of their plans and dreams... I wonder if anyone out there wonders where I - what I'm doing - what I've done with my plans and dreams. Who knows, with the size of the world being so small and all, perhaps someday I will get an answer or two or even satisfy the same of someone else.

December 5, 2006 - 11:02 PM
'Tis The Season For Multi-Colored Lights

There is nothing like the sparkle of tiny, colored, incandescent lights to put one in the mood for Christmas. As times change, I suppose one could substitute LED for incandescent lights as they are more energy efficient and longer lasting... But I must say, as a former lightbulb changer with four years of day-to-day experience working with lights, as far as asthetics are concerned, you just can't beat the good old fashioned incandescent light bulb for it's warmth and color.

INTERESTING EXPERIENCE OF THE DAY: I was filling up with gas at the Petro Canada on Country Hills BLVD today, washing my windows while the tanks filled when a gas station employee approached me with a clipboard. "Would you like to recieve five dollars absolutely free for signing up to recieve a Petro Canada credit card?" he asked. I dismissed his invitation with a simple no thank-you, but started to think about it afterwards. First thought: Why would Petro Canada pay an employee top dollar in an environment of labour shortage to walk around asking people to sign up for a credit card when they can't even afford to have people come out and pump your gas for you? Hmmm. Second thought: What a sad state we are in when undoubtably there would be some people out there who would happily take the five dollars - not even enough to cover a meal at McDonalds - to open their life up to another slippery slope of debt, high interest, monthly payments, and financial trouble. Why would Petro Canada go to the trouble of having a credit card? Because they are highly profitable for the people who run them. I was at Canadian Tire the other day and they have a Kiosk - literally a computer in a fancy looking booth - that you can go on and sign up for a mortgage through Canadian Tire. Who would have ever imagined the day? "Honey, I'm going to stop by Canadian Tire after work to pick up some paint, a screwdriver, some nails and a mortgage. Do you want anything while I'm out?" Does that not sound absolutely absurd? But money-lending is highly profitable and people have insatiable tastes for things they cannot afford to buy, until *sounds of awe and wonder* enter: Credit! Heck, we even do it at Shaw now! I heard while on hold just this afternoon that you can buy an HD Digital PVR (Personal Video Recorder) now with no money down and no payments until 2008! Sounds tempting, right? Especially since those boxes are NICE! (I'll admit, even I who have no TV would like to have one!) - But think about what exactly it is you are doing: Those PVR's sell for about $750 right now, give or take a few dollars. So suppose you finance that over three years, bringing the monthly payments to a little over $20 / month. (Since we don't actually charge interest, only a one time administrative fee of $25.) Sounds like a good deal, and you can have the box for a whole year without paying a dime for it! But what does this really mean? Today that box is worth $750. A year from now, let's say it will be worth $650. I have no idea how much they depreciate, I'm just going to knock a hundred bucks off the price every year. So a year from now, that box would be worth $650 - but you are paying $750 for it (in $20 increments.) By the end of your first year of payments, that box would probably be worth $550 new, but yours is now two years used, making it worth even less. Still, only two years left of payments on it. The day finally comes, your PVR is paid off. Although now it's only worth $350 but you've actually paid $800 for it! And by this time, a newer, much better one has come out (or perhaps even several models) and you're bored of your old one and crave the features and capacity of a new one. Good thing you've got credit...

I hate credit card companies. I have never had a credit card, and do not intend to ever get one. I'll take out a loan at 7 or even 10% interest. Still a far cry from the 18 - 27% interest charged by most credit cards... I can't believe we've let them get away with interest rates like these! Does that not just make you sick? Offer me five dollars at a gas station to sign up for a quick way to get myself into trouble fast? As I told the fellow, no thank-you!

December 8, 2006 - 7:15 PM
Last night I put up my very first, very own Christmas Tree!

Ok, that's actually a pretty good picture of the tree, but in reality - it's a Charlie Brown tree. I bought it from the Canadian Tire by my store and it was in the [economy] section... But it suits my purposes just fine. I had never really decorated for Christmas before, and as such - had no ornaments or decorations or even Christmas lights to speak of (except the ones around the ceiling of my house which has been up there since last year... oops) - So yesterday evening was a bit of a Christmas Shopping Excursion.

Our street has always been very passe' when it comes to seasonal events. Last Haloween I think we were one of only a handful of houses that even had Haloween handouts handy, and in previous years it seems that ol' Scrouge himself doled out the Christmas lights... So this year I decided to spurge a bit and make the house look pretty.

Ok, so the tree in the yard is a little hurtin'... It's not like a Pine Tree that would be easy to decorate... Actaully, from this angle, don't the lights look a bit like the statue of Liberty? Interesting. I did not plan that...

Those blue LED's are really crisp! I'm not sure what it is about the wavelength but my camera was freaking out when I went to take the picture of them. You can see from the glow in the image, it seems to play with the CCD sensor.

You just can't beat the good old fashioned outdoor 7 watt Christmas bulb when it comes to making a house look like Christmas. Maybe it's just me and the memories I have growing up, but as far as I'm concerned, LED lighting will never replace the ambience of incandescence - particularly at Christmas. Now the power bill, well that's another story! But seriously, anyone (in my extended family) remember all those years we used to have Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa's house in Three Hills, and Grandpa always had the big, outdoor Christmas lights set up around the living room window. Grandam would have fresh Grandma-buns baked and the house would smell so good. I'm pretty sure their tree was decked out in big-bulbs too many years. Looking at those lights makes me feel safe, warm, and happy.

Hmm, I guess we'd better take down the Haloween door poster... It's amazing what you notice only AFTER you take the pictures... That's a bit out of season.

Merry Christmas everyone!

December 11, 2006 - 11:11 PM
Saturday, Pat, Al, Guy and I decided to go to Great Falls, Montana for the day to do some shopping. Al wanted to look at some automotive parts, Pat wanted to buy a digital camera, Guy wanted to buy a digital scanner, and I had my eye out for a GPS navigational system that could accept several (and hopefully many) addresses and provide the most optimal route between them. We set out in a rented car as soon as the dealer was open. What should have been a quick stop at the bank to pull out some American currency turned out to be our first little adventure of the day when the only ABM to dispense American cash in the city ate my Debit card and would not return it. Fortunately, bank staff were inside preparing for the day's activities who were able not only to return my card but to give me a new one (since mine was cracked) - but we were also able to get the cash out and be on our way. Most stores in the US do not have, nor have they ever heard of Debit or Interac. Can you imagine a world without it? You'd think a country like the USA would be all over technology like that. Same thing with memory cards... We were at some electronics retailer looking at digital cameras and I asked one of the sales associates if they carried Trans Flash memory cards. Puzzled and obviously new to the term, I removed the 1.0 GB card from my cell phone to show her and she was astonished at how small (yet large) it was and admitted she had never even heard of such a thing and was quite certain they did not sell anything like it. Go Canada for being ahead of the US in terms of digital media! haha

Once we had our cash, we headed out on the road. But three (well two and one ex) Sylvania employees passing through Claresholm could not turn down the opportunity to partake in that town's infamous export: 7-Eleven chicken kebobs! I'm telling you, if you've never tried one, you haven't tasted chicken on a stick! Just look at the pictures below! You can practically taste the tenderness of their fresh-cooked hand-assembled chicken kebobs!

Crossing the border into the US was not fun. We were pulled into the customs office while officers searched our rental car, inside and out, looking for contraband or signs of alterior motives for entering the country. Half an hour later on our way out one of the customs officers leaned over the counter and said (to Guy) - "You might want to go by your legal name; there is another 'Guy' out there with the same last name as you who you would not want to be mistaken for." Good to know. Your name twin is a criminal. Once inside the United States of America, we stopped to pee at a rest center just inside the border.

KFC in the States has a lot of items (and buying procedures) lacking in Canadian KFC's. For one, there is a buffet. You can order as much or as little chicken as you want and pay a flat fee. They also have delicious mashed potatoes. And who can resist KFC gravy? Mmmmm

We searched a number of stores in Great Falls trying to find the exhaust system Al was after. One such store we stopped in was called Silent Knight. Does it look like the knight is wearing a thong? Knight in shining armour - meet Knight in skimpy underwear!

Ok, I know I take *strange* pictures, but the water tower in Great Falls looks IDENTICAL to the one in Lethbridge! (Only it is now a restaurant.)

I finally saw a truck that caught my eye, and when I did - I thought to myself, "I could see myself driving that thing..." It was beautiful. And I am no car / truck person. But this truck definitely sparked a chord of lust within me. $17,900 US for a used '03 Chevy Z71 - two tone Blue.

Here's another thing you don't see (yet) in Canada: White Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. They'd better clear the northern border soon, because they are delicious. I had to take some pictures.

Another commodity they have in every corner store is beer. And not only that, but CHEAP beer! I don't know if you can read the signs there, but for 6 Kokanee 12oz bottles, a mere $4.99 is required. And there is no tax! Five bucks for 6 bottles of Kokanee! At a GAS STATION! Some restaurants in Canada will charge over $5.00 for ONE bottle of Kokanee! At that rate, we are 6 times more expensive, and we even make the stuff here!

Crossing the border on the way back was just as much an adventure as going down there. We were pulled in a second time, had to wait while our vehicle was searched, asked a bunch of questions, filled out some forms. Al asked if he could go to the bathroom. If you are ever crossing the Canada / US border, do NOT ask to go to the bathroom. Wait until you are through and stop at the rest station up the road. He had to be SEARCHED before he could go pee. The lady donned her gloves and checked him head to toe. I suppose they are making sure you aren't going in there to flush drugs or other illegal substances before getting caught, but wow. It's become a LOT harder to cross the border. And I even had my passport! Oh well, all in the name of security I guess.

By the time we got through with Customs, it was 1:00 in the morning. After driving back to Calgary, it wound up being 4:30 before I was home, and at that point - having to work at 7 - a strong debate exists as to whether or not it is even worth it trying to go to sleep for an hour. Needless to say, yesterday was rough and I can't say I'm fully caught up just yet either. Today was another long, long day. But I got through it and a long day makes this bed I'm lying in feel ever so much more comfortable. It was worth it to get out of the city, province, and country for a day and especially to see Pat, Al and Guy again. Al even gave me a hug when we were leaving. I miss working with them. It's always nice to get together again. They are like family to me.

Speaking of family, I stopped by my parents' house tonight and took the puppy for a walk. He still pulls me most of the way as we go throughout our route. I can't believe how agile and active he still is, despite his age. I'm sure he'll live to be 18 years old. Mom says to me sometimes I don't know how you can stand to let him lick your face like that... There will come a day when I will long to have puppy kisses, so knowing this, the logical thing to do is to enjoy it now while he is still here rather than wish you had when he's not. There's a lesson there that goes far beyond wet nosed dog kisses. I'm also sorry to say that from the symptoms he described, it sounds like my dad has caught the same flu that I had a week or two ago. He's in the initial stages with the uneasy stomach, and if it is the same bug that I had, the next stage is horrendous vomiting accompanied by water-poo. Just in time for Christmas.

In other news, at work now every unit based installer is required to get their vehicles inspected under the criteria of an out of province inspection. I looked over the checklist that they use, and there is no way my work van will pass it. I know of MANY things wrong with it, some minor, some massive, that will be quite costly to fix. So costly in fact, that I have started contemplating the possibility of replacing it with a much newer vehicle. After all, unlike buying a car simply to cruise around in and / or pick up chicks, my work van is my bread and butter. Plus I'm in it sometimes 12 - 14 hours a day, so having a nicer work space is certainly advantageous. I'm still going to get the inspection done on the old van to see just exactly what needs doing and possibly how much that would cost, so then we will have actual numbers to compare. I just wish this hadn't been dumped on us three weeks before Christmas. Like I don't have enough other expenses right now!

December 16, 2006 - 11:11 AM
Last image of these lights

Do you remember these Christmas lights? I say remember as though I were speaking past-tense. That is because sometime between the hours of 8:00 PM on Thursday night and 9:30 AM on Friday morning, someone or some people came up to our house and removed - not broke, but removed about 20 Christmas light bulbs from the front of the house. I couldn't believe it. Who steals Christmas bulbs? Walk the extra couple of blocks to Wal-Mart and buy a couple. You can get a string, bulbs included, for $5.00!

Last night was the blue collar Shaw Christmas Party. Last year it was at Woody's, but this year they moved the venue to Bootleggers. Needless to say, I ran into Syrena there. I'm sure it's been at least a year since I saw her, but there was no doubt in my mind she'd be singing Karaoke at some point in the night. Sure enough, she was one of the first souls to sing...

You learn a lot at company Christmas parties... I was at a table with three other guys, some of whom I've worked with or did training with. One of the routers came over and talked with us for a while which was very interesting. Whenever you have a crappy run, now we know who to frown upon... hahaha Actually she was quite sympathetic to our complaints and assured us that the issues we raised were not new and were being dealt with. On another note, it's also always amusing to see your bosses get drunk. One of the supervisors had been there since noon!

December 16, 2006 - 10:10 PM
A bit of a followup on my earlier article, this time with pictures.

Christmas lights before...


I found the remains of one of our stolen Christmas light bulbs on the road, broken, which leads me to believe that they were not taken to light up the house of one of our neighbours, but instead were removed with ill intent. Small light bulbs make a sharp popping sound when the glass bulb has been compromised. I suspect they were taken by young hooligans to throw at vehicles, houses, other kids, etc. If I ever catch whoever stole my lights, they just might be pooping Christmas bulbs for a few days...

Every once in a while as I am doing an installation in a customer's house, I will see something that is in fact, a fire hazard. Sometimes it is more severe than others, as in one example where I found that a customer had leaned a plastic (thing) up against the flu vent of her furnace. At the very least, it might have melted, but at the worst - it could have caught fire and burned her entire appartment, not to mention the adjacent appartments as well. Last week I came across a classic example of inexperienced tradesmanship: It is a well known fact that you are not supposed to paint smoke detectors for one of two reasons: Either A: The paint will clog the vent holes that allow smoke to enter the alarm, inhibiting it's ability to provide adequate warning of danger, and B: Some paint fumes will decieve the sensor mechanism into giving false alarms. See if you can spot the mistake in this next picture:

Allright, so that is not a smoke detector but rather a heat sensor -- but the principle is the same. It should not have been painted, let alone stippled! It's practically camoflaged!

I have to say I sure don't mind this mild weather we've been having. The thermometer was hanging smack dab in the middle of the freezing point, or for the optimists - the melting point. Sure beats the -30 days...

Bo and I were looking through some of our old yearbooks tonight and Maddy was trying to spot us amongst our fellow classmates from a time when we were much younger and funnier-looking. In one particular picture, there was myself, David Huntrods, Peter Trieu, Luke Henry and Bo; Maddy was able to pick out Bo, Luke, Peter, (she didn't know who Huntrods was) but she could not find me. I guess with more hair, and no beard I would look significantly different - but she could not pick me out! It was pretty funny.

We went to Village Square tonight and it was pretty much empty. Maddy is learning to bump a volleyball so we played that for a while. Some other kids came over and we had a pretty big circle of people vollying. She can also dive for treasure pretty good. I dropped my bracelet several times for her and she dove to the bottom, swam around an found it every time. After swimming, we made some milkshakes - a delicious end to another great Saturday.

Oh ya, and the other day my Cutlery Basket for my new dishwasher arrived from EBay. I was quite excited. Now I can FINALLY wash all types of dishes in my dishwasher! Horray!

December 22, 2006 - 9:50 AM
Three days till Christmas... Wow. Gotta go do some Christmas shopping! haha The webcam is offline for now. Too much temptation to streak.

December 24, 2006 - 4:36 PM
M E R R Y  
C H R I S T M A S !

I had to work today, but fortunately they only gave me one afternoon call and two 'any time' calls - the rest were all jam packed into the 8-10 AM slot. Fortunately, with today being Sunday AND Christmas Eve, nobody cared if I was late arriving. But now that work is out of the way, it's time to turn the thinker towards things that take time to consider. Time, for that matter, puts distance to relevance. What was once very real, very tangible, very here and now - given time - often tends to lose it's potency. How does the birth of Jesus several thousand years ago remain relevant today?

I find as I ponder these things and have done so over the past couple of days, that I am struggling to find relevance in it all. Whether I go to church or not, whether I believe I can make a difference in this life or not, whether or not I spend time talkin to God each day - I still have bills at the end of the month, my job still frustrates me, I get hungry throughout the day and have to eat... I enjoy helping people and I miss the community I had when I went to church regurlarly - I miss playing on the worship band. For that matter, my birds get more use out my drum set than I do! To them, it's a gigantic perch! But what does it all mean? I believe in God enough not to give it up but not enough to really do anything about it. I'm as warm as Luke, whoever he was. (Lukewarm...) Maybe this Christmas He will rekindle a dwindling fire within me.

Have some honesty with your Egg Nog

December 25, 2006 - 1:00 AM

December 29, 2006 - 2:22 AM
Sparkling New Spa Water

Bright Water Today I changed the water in our hot tub. I can't really say that it was dirty, but there comes a point where you just need to replace the water. Despite the bright sun shining down on me throughout the process, it was quite a chilly operation - particularly the part where I had to climb into the tub where now-near freezing pools of water met my toes as I wiped the inner surfaces of the tub down and cleaned the bits and grits out of the lower water intakes. I even noticed layers of ice forming where thin layers of water sat on flat surfaces. But in the end, it was definitely worth it as we climbed in tonight for the new water Christening and could clearly see every toe at the bottom of the spa. With the temperature outside today hovering about -5 degrees Celcius, the tub started out at 37 degrees Farenheit at 3:30 this afternoon when I turned the pump and heater back on, and by 11:30 it was 102 degrees, a rise of 75 degrees Farenheit in exactly 8 hours. For those who care to do the math, that works out to 9.375 degrees per hour. Nothing like that crystal clear fresh new water though... Wow.

New Water

Here is a picture I took a few days ago (actually, on the 26th) of a Shaw van someone had decked out in Christmas lights. Not a bad idea, especially when you have to work around the holidays. A trivial matter nowadays with inverters being so accessible and affordable. Speaking of affordable, today Bo bought me a four-pack of 512 MB SD cards for $40! That's 2 gigs in SD cards for fourty dollars! Fa la la la lahhh... !!

Christmas Shaw Van

And now, the better Christmas pictures from the extended family get-together of 2006 at Myra and Ron's house:

The winner of the most sentimentally significant present this year goes to Uncle Jim who recieved the old Elliott sign that, since as long as I can remember and undoubtably much longer, has swung from the lamp post at what used to be Grandma and Grandpa's house in Three Hills. I know it's been years since either of them lived there, but in my mind it will always be theirs. When I was little I remember running around the big pine tree in the front yard, and even running around the lamp post. Now, many years later, that tree has grown out so far it touches the lamp post and it would be nearly impossible, if not painful to now try to run between the tree and the post. The end of an era I suppose, but I'm glad Uncle Jim got the sign. Weathered and beat up as it is, it's a piece of our family's history.

Grandma and Grandpa's Light Post

What Christmas memory page would be complete without a shot of our very own Reigndog. He's such a cute puppy...

Tonight I went to Barb & Ed's house for supper and had to get a picture of Ed out front of his well-decorated house. The last couple of years we've seemed to get the snow after Christmas, and doesn't snow always make things more Christmassy?
Merry Christmas Everyone!

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