Monday 30 December 2002

and we're back

Back safe and sound in the soggy UK (but at least it's not cold). We landed on Saturday morning, made our way through the day like zombies at Paul's parents' house, had a lovely post-Christmas dinner last night, and wombled back to Cambridge today. My house is still standing, my plants are still alive and my car's still got all its bits (thanks, Gary!), and we've come back with a lot more bags and suitcases. A rockin' good holiday all round, I'd say.

Piccies and more blogging to come another day when we don't have suitcases to unpack and jet lag plaguing us. Plus we've got to digest all this Christmas food. Blergh.

Thursday 26 December 2002


What could be more Canadian than plowing snow off the driveway on Christmas day? Paul got to use a snowblower for the first time, and as an added bonus, won his way into my Dad's heart by doing the driveway for him.

Not being a material girl, I didn't really have anything specific in mind that I wanted for Christmas. I ended up getting absolutely gorgeous presents from Paul, who had already won his way into my heart long before today. So here's where I get to brag again - not only does he cook, smell good, and like my accent, he's really good at picking out gifts for me. Did I mention that he doesn't think my family is insane and is actually enjoying himself here? *swoon*

Sunday 22 December 2002

...and to all, a good night

Since I cannot bear the thought of sending a Christmas card around with our picture on it without giggling, here's the next best thing - a picture of us on this site (and looking respectable) with a heartfelt holiday message. To all our friends, here and afar, and those we have yet to meet in person: have the happiest of holidays and a corkin' new year! Now get outta here and go buy me lots of nice pressies.

Friday 20 December 2002

postcard from toronto

It's always a laugh riot bringing someone home for the first time, especially when home is on another continent and going there involves meeting a kajillion new people in the span of around three days. Not only am I inflicting strange people on my boyfriend, I am introducing him to my homeland. We were welcomed by wet, grotty English weather when we landed in Toronto, and were slapped around by bitterly cold winds in Montreal. The day after we flew in to Toronto, we attended a family function with 50 people who are vaguely related to me. Even I didn't know who most of them were. Two days later, we got on an incredibly overheated train to Montreal. I promised Paul that everyone in Montreal can indeed speak English, so there was no need to worry about not being able to speak French. So what happens? Every person we encountered in restaurants and shops couldn't speak a word of English. He got to meet all of my Montreal friends in one go at an intimate dinner for 18 (next time, we will definitely meet in smaller groups because I didn't really feel like I got to speak to anyone for more than a few minutes). He's been taken to malls, fast food restaurants, more malls, outlet malls, and up a mountain in the freezing cold. It's rained, sleeted, snowed, and misted on us since we arrived. So there I was, thinking that this must be such a cack way for Paul to spend his Christmas holidays.

But he's enjoyed the shopping and the relative/friends get togethers. He doesn't think my family is insane. He liked Swiss Chalet. Both my parents, on separate ocassions, have told me that they like Paul a lot. So really, it's been a good holiday. A great holiday, in fact - it's nice to be home and to have Paul with me.

Regarding my mutating accent, it's been brought to my attention by...well...everyone that I now apparently have somewhat of an English accent. This is only apparent to non-Brits, though (although Mark, an ex-pat friend living in Montreal, also says he can hear it). We were shopping in Roots in Montreal, and a salesgirl said to Paul that she loved his accent. A few minutes later, I said something to her and she said "Ooooh! I love your accent, too!" Ah, thanks. I swear to you all, I am not trying to acquire an English accent. There is nothing that annoys me more than people with fake British accents (Madonna, can you hear me?), and there's nothing more pretentious than a North American putting effort into saying "to-mah-to" and incorporating random phrases like "jolly good" into conversations for no good reason. So really, I'm not trying to sound English. It just sort of happens sometimes.

Spotted in Toronto: Terry's chocolate orange with raspberry. Ewwwwwwwwwww. Orange Coffee Crisp - I'm intrigued, but I bet it's disgusting.

Saturday 14 December 2002

blogging from abroad

Alive and well in Toronto. Very good flight (little turbulence, plus we got upgraded). Still on UK time as we both woke up at 6am. Can't stop drinking water. Very dehydrated. There are about ten billion new malls here now that weren't here last Xmas. Need to shop. Lots. Parents like Paul (no surprise there). Jet lagged, me. Breakfast time now. Blog later. :)

Wednesday 11 December 2002

all around my...ARSE

Whoever got here by searching for "Lisa's arse", kudos to you. Another Google string to make me giggle.

Went out for a lovely curry tonight with Chris, Melanie, and a couple of other people. Apparently Chris feels cheated because he thought I was off to Toronto shortly after our dinner our last week - he claims that was my "bon voyage" meal, so what the hell was I still doing in town going out for dinner? As Jack would say, toughen up. You get not one, but two doses of pre-Christmas Lisa. What's to complain about?

I can't believe that I'll be on a plane heading home in two days. I'll let you in on a little secret: I don't like flying. Not one bit. I like being on the ground, I do. To be honest, I don't really mind flying when the plane's behaving; it's the turbulence that makes me nervous. I don't mean that "feels like we're driving along a country road" kind of turbulence, I mean that "things are falling and breaking and the plane is dropping like a rollercoaster" kind of turbulence. I seem to have that every third flight I take, so the odds aren't great for this holiday. I hate turbulence. It serves no purpose in my life, and I don't see the need for it to exist. What has turbulence ever done for us? Bugger all. Ban turbulence, I say - write a letter to your MP and tell them how you feel.

I think it'll be a lot better this time because I'll be with Paul. He's done plenty of flying (has even flown planes himself), and I think I'll feel much safer being with him. Also, it's much nicer to have someone I love to dig my nails into when the turbulence starts, because strangers sitting next to you really don't like that for some reason. Honestly.
where to go, what to do

You know, you're never a tourist in your own town. Very rarely have I done touristy things in whatever city I'm living in, or if I have, I haven't done them in years. I did a bus tour of Cambridge, went around the university, and have visited the town centre many times (and its pubs and restaurants), so I've not done too badly here so far. Montreal and Toronto are another story - I barely did anything other than work, eat, drink, shop, and see films.

So where does one go and what does one see in Toronto and Montreal? Apart from the obvious, I mean. There are only so many times I can look at Brother Andre's heart and go skating in Old Montreal, and buy something horrible from Honest Ed's and wander around the Eaton's Centre in Toronto.
oh dear

Just got this from a Montreal friend of mine, regarding what he may say when he meets Paul:

I will lift his shirt in front of everyone - and say "look he's not so pasty" or I could goose him and when he turns around all I would say is "hello vicar", or I can act like England is a very small place and ask him if he knows "timmy, john, bill, susan, Robbie Williams, Posh Spice" and when he says "Sorry, fraid not" - I can turn to you and say "he is not very social is he".

And this is only one out of nineteen of my friends he'll be meeting that night. Oh dear.

Monday 9 December 2002

'tis the season...

...for office Christmas parties, fa la la la la la la la la. Here's a blurry pic of Paul and I, taken by Matt. There's glitter all over my house now.

For some bizarre reason, no one was out Christmas shopping on Saturday. We went to Toys R Us and Ikea, expected huge angry mobs, and found both shops to be relatively quiet. Weird. A big pfffttt to Marks and Spencer this season for having absolutely no amusingly named sweets for me to purchase. Last year, I was able to buy chocolate pants and Weenie Whips. This year, there's bugga all. Either someone in marketing decided to ban silly names, or I was the only one who purchased these things last year. Severe lack of Harry Potter sweets as well. Feh.

The longer I live here, the harder it is to find uniquely "English" gifts to bring back for people. I've pretty much exhausted the list of typical stuff, and most of the things here are available back home as well. Similarly, it's getting very difficult to find "Canadian things" for people. I've already bought Roots clothing, ice wine, various beaver related items (leave it!), beer, Laura Secord sweets, Fruits and Passion things, books, and rude Quebecois t-shirts for friends here. Any other suggestions for gifts to bring back to the UK that are specifically Canadian?

Friday 6 December 2002


Genevieve Bergeron, 21, was a 2nd year scholarship student in civil engineering.

Helene Colgan, 23, was in her final year of mechanical engineering and planned to take her master's degree.

Nathalie Croteau, 23, was in her final year of mechanical engineering.

Barbara Daigneault, 22, was in her final year of mechanical engineering and held a teaching assistantship.

Anne-Marie Edward, 21, was a first year student in chemical engineering.

Maud Haviernick, 29, was a 2nd year student in engineering materials, a branch of metallurgy, and a graduate in environmental design.

Barbara Maria Klucznik, 31, was a 2nd year engineering student specializing in engineering materials.

Maryse Laganiere, 25, worked in the budget department of the Polytechnique.

Maryse Leclair, 23, was a 4th year student in engineering materials.

Anne-Marie Lemay, 27, was a 4th year student in mechanical engineering.

Sonia Pelletier, 28, was to graduate the next day in mechanical engineering. She was awarded a degree posthumously.

Michele Richard, 21, was a 2nd year student in engineering materials.

Annie St-Arneault, 23, was a mechanical engineering student.

Annie Turcotte, 21, was a first year student in engineering materials.


For what it's worth, I am wearing a white ribbon today.

To learn more, read this article from the CBC.

Thursday 5 December 2002

convergys sucks

It really does (and I am so proud that "convergys sucks" is still the number one search string that leads to this site). Convergys announced today that it will make 950 employees redundant worldwide. 19 of those employees will be people from my old office in Cambridge, and I'm guessing around the same amount from the office next door to Citrix in Cambourne. I don't want anyone to lose their job (not even my pointy-haired ex-boss), but I especially do not want to see any of my mates join the unemployment line. According to their web site, Convergys are "finalizing a restructuring plan that will streamline its operations and cost structure while strengthening its prospects for long term growth". Now how utterly wanky is that?

A few of us went out for drinks and noodles last night for a pre-Xmas get together before we fly to Toronto. A good time was had by all, especially those who were drinking several assorted cocktails (the sight of a bunch of guys drinking creamy/coconutty/chocolatey beverages is really amusing). A big huge congratulations to Micky and Susan, who are expecting their first sprog in June. Way to impregnate your wife, Micky! For some reason, Chris was very insistant that Jack should get Heather pregnant and Paul and I should get married. That probably had a lot to do with the cocktails and some sort of vicarious living through others syndrome. Bless.

It's our office Christmas dinner shindig tomorrow night, and although I couldn't find a suitable frock that didn't make me look like a circus tent, I did manage to find half an outfit I could match with a skirt I bought for New Year's last year (and didn't wear 'cos I didn't go out). No one in Test is going (except for Paul, I think), which kind of sucks. I like the test guys the bestest. :( Piccies to follow if a) I remember to bring my camera and b) I get around to downloading them off my camera.
the theory of gifts

I have two philosophies about gift-related occasions: never buy stuff for yourself close to any gift-receiving dates, and never buy your partner kitchen or laundry related paraphernalia until you've been together for at least a year (or unless your partner specifically requests any such items). Don't buy your partner a laundry basket. Ever.

Stay tuned for more of my handy holiday tips. Coming up next, ways to politely turn down offers of fruitcake such as "Thanks, but I've just had my lower intestines removed and cannot digest gluten".

Tuesday 3 December 2002

tick tock, christmas countdown clock

I have 9 more days to get my pressie shopping done here before we get on a plane bound for Toronto. Everyone's going to end up with a lovely gift from Heathrow if I don't get my arse in gear. "Wow - a magazine, a carton of cigarettes, and a bottle of vodka. How lovely." Actually, there are some really nice shops in Heathrow terminal 4 like Harrods and Hamleys, and the usual stuff like WH Smith and the Body Shop. Oh yes, and the Tie Rack. There's one in every airport worldwide.

I really cannot wait to go home. It's been almost a year and I miss everyone big time.

If my left menu looks wonky, I think there's something amiss with Blogger. It was down earlier today and now it looks like it's not formatting my page properly. Ah well, you get what you pay for.

And now for some totally random thoughts:

  • I am so thrilled that a search for the term "dogpoo sandwiches" leads to this site. Truly.

  • Regardless of the fact that I've been living here long enough to know better, I still find myself: saying monetary amounts in dollars, walking towards the wrong side of the car sometimes (i.e. to the left if I'm driving and right if I'm a passenger), forgetting that you need to flip the switch down to turn the light on, forgetting that you've got to turn the flipping socket on if some twonk has shut it off in the office kitchen, if I'm not sure what something's called here I immediately think of the word in French (like that's gonna help someone here understand me better), and I still need to resist the urge to say "merci" whenever I leave a shop, pub, restaurant, bus, or any other place in public.

  • Paul's Dad says things like "cookie" and "tom-ay-to" to me. It's because he has a lot of family in America and he switches to "North American" mode when I'm around. I think it's fabulous and it makes me smile.

  • Terry's chocolate orange crunchball. It's the regular Terry's chocolate orange but it has bits of honeycomb (like the centre of a Crunchy bar) in it. I want one.