Category Archives: Random Stuff

Three Fab Things: Roundup – I’ve now been taking work notes with this system for an entire year. Unprecidented! I don’t incorporate any personal notes in this book (I use phone reminders & lists for that), but it’s made it amazingly easy to keep track of the various meetings, events, projects, task lists, etc. that I’m juggling at any one time. The real genius is the index. I can suddenly refer back to everything that once had any importance. This has been key on a few occasions for demonstrating¬†that I am the Ultimate Boss in having my shit together.

Moleskine Tool Belt – I was lamenting at a conference that I really wished I had something to help corral my phone, pen, and cards with my notebook. Not necessarily a zipper case, but something to compensate for the usual lack of pockets in ladies’ trousers. The next day I received an email announcing the toolbelt. Considering I use the Moleskine Evernote Notebook as my bullet journal, this was a no-brainer. I do think it’s too expensive for what it is, but it filled a need so perfectly, I grumbled, but didn’t hesitate at the purchase.

This Soup has no business being as delicious as it is. It’s made of lettuce(!) and can easily be vegan, of all the ridiculous things. We only made it on a lark, to use up the contents of our veg box, assuming we’d immediately bin it and order pizza. Being wrong has never tasted so good.

*Note – this is just random stuff I’ve been meaning to share. This blog is way too neglected and long in the tooth to attract actual advertisers.¬†


Moving house can often lead you to see your possessions in a new light.

Especially when you have packed in a hurry, without making much effort to thin your piles of stuff before beginning. And are then distanced from that stuff for half a year.

Because who the hell brings tea (from the new world, at that) to England?

Us, apparently.

Amber just posted round two of her Tea Stash Challenge, which reminded me how overwhelmed and somewhat incredulous I feel every time I look at the shelf containing all our tea.

Tea Shelf

It doesn’t look too bad, until you unpack it all onto the kitchen counter:

Photo 1

There are multiples of different types of tea, thanks to my old work-desk stash making its way back home, some tea gifts, and impulse purchases of various lemon/ginger-type blends bought on a whim when I’ve felt sick. There are random bags and samples I’ve picked up along the way. There are tins from at least two tea shops that have gone out of business.

The small green tins down the right side are all leftover wedding favours (we gifted tiny tins of mint tea, to tie in with our Moroccan honeymoon) from nearly five (!) years ago, and the large tupperware on the left is Moroccan mint tea, bought on said honeymoon.

Does tea even last that long?

Honourable mentions go to two tins of drinking chocolate, a box of spiced cider sachets, and a couple orphan packs of Starbucks VIA coffee; also on the shelf, but not pictured, since they’re not tea.

Of course, the tea that actually gets used is the box of standard PG Tips, going through a pot or two a day. Runner-up is the loose or bagged Rooibos, for when I’m feeling overcaffeinated.

I would never describe myself as a “tea fiend,” but I clearly have some sort of tea hoarding issue.

It’s obviously time to start introducing some variety into my daily cuppa, or bin the lot and reclaim a shelf.

Are you a tea fiend and/or unintentional hoarder? Do share!

Show me Your Tea Stash at


I never realized how much I look to Thanksgiving as a passage into Autumn. A time to start reconnecting with family & friends after the frantic, flighty summer.

And while it might be Decorative Gourd Season all over the Northern Hemisphere, England doesn’t have Thanksgiving.

Decorative Gourd Season
Photo by Reclamation Revolution on Flickr

We’ve started down the road to amassing a collection of acquaintances, but are still a bit thin in the friends department. Family is 1/3 of a world away.

Thanksgiving this year meant one more hurried, nondescript meal in the midst of unpacking our newly arrived belongings, and homesickness.

I do have so much to be thankful for here. The experiences we’re having, the people we’re meeting. Our things have arrived without damage and without any additional customs duties. Despite our extended family and friends being spread far and wide, our little nuclear unit is all here, healthy and happy.

I told someone online a little while back that our move has been 80% awesome, 12% frustrating, and 8% lonely.

Reading Facebook and twitter updates, seeing statuses and photos about friends and family gathered around tables of turkey, just happened to make me feel that 8% a little more keenly than the rest.

What it’s Like

Quite a few people have been asking what it’s been like to have relocated, and I feel like I don’t have a great answer. Because currently, it doesn’t feel like, well, much of anything.


I feel like I should have a better answer. Something like going to museums, sitting up in late night philosopher’s cafes, punting. Making international friends and having exciting adventures.

But the reality is, I spend my days with an 18-month-old.

If you are not familiar with 18-month-olds, their day looks something like this: wake-eat-rampage-nap-wake-eat-rampage-eat-bath-bed. Most of what I spend my days at is finding places Isaac can run/climb/throw/jump/run without hurting himself, or making other people want to hurt me.

This means that instead of museums, pubs, historic walks and punts, I spend most of my days at playgrounds and children’s centres. Don’t get me wrong, they’re lovely, and I am starting to get to know a few other mums of toddlers, but it isn’t terribly exciting.

I also have the strange feeling of being something like a non-entity. Of course I’ve said my goodbyes to people in Vancouver, but with no colleagues of my own here, and just a few acquaintances, I’m in the bubble of the in-between. Like I’ve left one place, but haven’t really fully arrived in the other.

We do venture a bit further afield on weekends when Neil and I can tag-team wrangling Isaac (though so far, mostly to do things like buy a car, or go to IKEA), but the Monday-to-Friday day-to-day makes for pretty unadventurous tales.

Hopefully once we’re settled into our new place (moving in this weekend!) we’ll have more time on weekends for more story-worthy adventures.

And if you have any tips for managing to do more interesting things with busy, energetic toddlers, I’m all ears!


Fun kid thing of late:

At some point, Neil started reacting to Isaac’s more… impressive… diapers by exclaiming “Wow!” in the midst of changing him.

I’m not sure when it really caught on, but now, Isaac exclaims “Wow!” every time his pants come off.

Kid, I wish you a life where someone always says “Wow!” whenever you drop trou.

All Smiles

The Curse of the Roll-up

I have been tempting the fates with my Timmy’s purchases, since it’s the most convenient coffee stop on the way to work. BUT NO MORE! Not until the damn Roll-Up contest is done.

So far I haven’t won anything in this year’s campaign. But the other day, Neil’s cup won a donut.

And look what happened:


We were running around with the dog in the park near home, and Neil made a sudden about-face without looking, and ran his face directly into a basketball hoop stand. He split open his eyebrow, and we spent the last hours of Easter Sunday hanging out in the emergency room, where he became the proud owner of four stitches in his eyebrow.

I hadn’t said anything about the donut, thinking maybe the curse didn’t apply to him, but clearly there is some crazy roll-up voodoo shit going on with those cups.

Splendid Thing: Timehop

What were you doing a year ago? Thanks to Timehop, if you asked me, I could probably tell you.

Timehop isn’t particularly complicated. It’s a simple little web service you hook up to your social accounts, and every day it emails you a log of the things you posted a year ago on that date.

And I’m so pleasantly surprised at how lovely it’s been to receive!

See, I signed up for Timehop in late January, so I’ve been receiving a little daily chronicle of things I’ve posted through Isaac’s first year.

I can see it being just as neat to look back on your life a year ago after any milestone: getting married, moving to a new place, starting a new job, having a kid (obviously), etc.

Because you’ve come a long way, baby!

Not All Right

One of my favourite bloggers, Laurie, recently wrote about being first, rather than being right.

Her post reminded me that I get so caught up in trying to say the right thing, or trying to say something the right way, that I often miss saying anything at all.

(Yes, this is totally one of those mea culpa re: delinquent blogging kindof entries.)

So! I am going to try something new! When I have an idea for a post, I’m just going to write it. And publish it. And try not to hate it for being poorly written or overly trite or unintentionally grammatically imperfect. Let’s see how that goes, yes?

Because I miss conversing with all y’all. How are you doing anyhow? Have I told you lately that your hair looks great? Because it totally does.

Faith, Hope and Charity

Apparently this guy REALLY doesn’t want to get some of our work emails. And yet can’t find the unsubscribe button:



[redacted], LUTCF
[redacted] and Associates
317-[XXX-XXXX] fax
Faith, Hope and Charity.

Yah, read that last line of his signature again.

I’d love to actually publish this idiot’s name and business info, but I don’t think that would be particularly charitable.

Brown Note

Few things delight me as much as when an employee makes an effort to give a little extra when I’m dealing with a company. Something small and unexpected. Even if it’s company policy, these little extras are so rare. Which makes it even nicer when they happen.

We ordered some baby furniture online, and the company we ordered from uses UPS as their delivery service. It took a couple shipments for everything to arrive, and the delivery guy (it’s been the same guy the past few weeks) left a little something extra with today’s delivery:


It’s just a UPS calendar. It’s actually kindof ugly. And we have calendars. But he wrote a little note – for BABY, Welcome to the world!

How sweet is that?

The dude noticed what we were getting (flat-packed in plain boxes for the most part) and reached out to do a little something nice.

How can you not love that?

I didn’t choose UPS for shipping – the decision was made for me in this case. But I’ll definitely look at them as an option next time I send a package.

(aside: which UPS marketing genius decided to abandon “what can brown do for you” to the bland “we <3 logistics”? If it’s working, leave it alone!)

Common Thread

Side view of my spine, jaw and face.

My sister-in-law had an unfortunate accident over new year’s. Thankfully, she’s going to be fine, but it was a bit scary for a few days there.

As I was reflecting on the frailty of life and health (as we do when things like this happen to our loved ones) it occurred to me that I have no fewer than three people in my life who have broken their necks (while I was far, far away having nothing to do with the accidents, just to be clear).

According to their injuries, all of them should be dead or paralyzed, but they managed to land on the single-digit side of the statistics, and aren’t either.

This leads me to believe I am quite possibly incredibly bad luck, or incredibly good luck to have as a friend or family member.

Regardless – be careful out there!

Best Spam Ever

From: Miss Freya [mailto:[random.address]]
Sent: Monday, December 06, 2010 10:53 PM
To: Jennifer Watkiss
Subject: Dear Internet User


You have just received a Taliban virus. Since we are not so technologicaly advanced in Afghanistan, this is a MANUAL virus. Please delete all the files on your hard disk yourself and send this mail to everyone you know.

Thank you very much for helping us.

Thanks & Regard’s

Miss Freya


I really did just receive this. Plain text, no links, attachments. So ridiculously silly it made my morning.