Introducing Nephew 2.0!

Congratulations to my little sister and her husband on the arrival of their new son Callum!

Clothes: hang 'em high!

We're now cool like the rest of the kids on the block by adding a clothesline to the backyard. Energy savings, here we come! The clothesline stuff came in a kit, which came out cheaper than buying the pulleys, cable, hooks, winch and spacer separately. Then again, the ladder was, what, $149, but we needed one anyway. And it was half-price at Canadian Tire. Seriously, it's a badass ladder!

The side garden: a challenge

For a proper point-by-point explanation of this picture, please click on it. You'll end up at my Flickr site, where notes are overlaid.

Death beneath the arbour

This downed birds' nest and smashed egg was found underneath the arbour in our backyard. Unclear whether it was the wind, a cat, gravity, or some combination thereof, but it's kind of sad!

Night of the June Bugs

Even though it's May 21, this seems to be the night the June Bugs have awakened.

I was just outside (just before 11pm), and they were all over the place, bumping into our siding and ... yuck, bumping into me. There were four of them at the foot of the side door alone.

And there was a poor wayward bumblebee, crawling along the ground, buzzing, looking lost.

As much as I have respect for all the creatures of creation, and don't wish suffering upon any being ... um, these things are just GROSS.

Buying stupid crap is fun

I've read some articles in the PF blogosphere about people who preach frugality, but have gaps in their spending where they buy seemingly stupid things. Some people get a kick out of "outing" these people as frugal frauds.

I saw another post at Get Rich Slowly titled The Lure of SkyMall, about being tempted by the gadgets in the airplane catalogue.

Well, here's a post of mine, and you can read it as confessional or boasting. Me, I don't care.

I bought some crazy crap recently at thinkgeek.com. And I'm not ashamed.

Purchase One was the Annoy-a-tron 2.0. (Pictured here.) It's a credit card-sized circuit board that makes annoying noises at random intervals. It has magnets for hiding. It has a switch to toggle among six sound choices: beep, 12 kHz electronic noise sound, 15kHz, cricket, doorbell, and alternating between all sounds. I set it on 'cricket' last week and annoyed some coworkers. It was fun.

Purchase Two was Tengu, a USB-powered LED face a little smaller than a deck of playing cards. It moves its face in time with speech. I've put Tengu beside the scanner at work, so when the fire department is called out to a false alarm at a school, we can watch a funny face talk along with it. See tengutengutengu.com for more.

Purchase Three was the Beating Heart Stress Relief Pillow. Amanda's been stressed to the max lately, so I thought it'd be a nice gift. The web site says:

... every time you turn it on, an entirely unique heartbeat rhythm is created. In fact, every rhythm itself gradually changes and subtly dances, algorithmically modeling the heartbeat in a deep meditative state. This isn't a pre-recorded rhythm and this isn't a "heartbeat sound." This is a physical heartbeat that realistically changes over time.
Our hearts naturally begin to dance and sync with the hearts of other we hold or hug. This is a phenomenon we have observed for ages. Hugging the Beating Heart a few minutes allows the calm and dreamy beat to relax the body, ease the mind, and cajoles the spirit.
So, there are my recent buys from thinkgeek.com. I think they're pretty cool. And so what if they set me back about $100 US? I don't buy myself a lot of junk any more. Being frugal in other areas allows me to splurge on crap when I feel the need to.
What have you bought lately that people might think you foolish for?

One little victory after another

I'm super-duper sore today after spending most of yesterday downtown at the Blue Nose Marathon.

I ran the 5k for the third year in a row, and killed my previous times!

In 2007, I finished in 38:55.9. Last year, I finished in 41:14.8.

This year, I finished in 37:36.4. That's 3:37.6 faster than last year, and 1:18.6 faster than 2007.

This, despite having done little to no training this year. So, I guess I have more in me than I thought I did! I did work a little bit with the Couch to 5k Podcasts, and that helped me adjust my stride and pacing.

My friend Greg, who recently left the radio station to move back to his home town with his wife and daughter, was running his first marathon ever. And he did a tremendous job! He didn't just finish -- he got a good time! Way to go, Greggy!

And there are other wins around the loop ... my sister and her hubby just sold their first home, bought a new one, and they're having their second baby by the end of the month. Wow!

So ... yeah, life comes and goes in waves, doesn't it? Achieving a steady, stable state of perfection is impossible. Sometimes the best you can do is do all you can to make sure that when the tide comes in, it goes back out again. Or vice versa.

Today was my last day at work, and I'm okay with that

Today marks a weird spot on the calendar for me. It’s one of those landmarks that really doesn’t mean anything, other than to illustrate the...