Monday 28 April 2003

what's in a name

In the plethora of paperwork (say that ten times fast) we've received lately, we have seen an incredible amount of typos and errors in documents put together by so-called "professionals". I don't mean spelling errors, I mean things like getting our post code wrong and most frequently, getting my surname wrong. The most interesting variation of my last name appeared on a fax from the company doing our house survey. Apparently, I am called Lisa MacCloud. Not MacLeod or even McLeod (as one would normally expect), but MacCloud. Although containing some of the same letters as my actual surname (MacDonald), this has got to be the most creative mispelling of my name to date. Kudos to you, Connells!
martha stewart could be lurking behind you with a glue gun

I went to the big craft shop in Northampton this weekend to get bra decorating items. Now there's something you don't do every day. I am not a craft shop kind of gal, so the idea of wandering around an enormous Hobbycraft on a Saturday didn't really appeal. I am telling you, there are craft related things I never knew existed but are damn handy should you ever need to build your own toys and holiday (or bra) decorations. Our team's theme for the Moonwalk is Middle Eastern/belly dancing. I kid you not. The woman heading up our team has recently taken up belly dancing and thought that would a good theme for the walk. I'd be a little more enthusiastic about this if I had a belly that looked more like Nathalie Portman's, rather than Nathalie from the Facts of Life (bless her - wonder what she's up to these days). At any rate, I managed to find loads of decorations, including a length of jangly coins on an elasticised thread. Did you know that there's special glue just for sticking beads, sequins, and jewels to fabric? No, really! Overall, the craft shop wasn't too traumatising, except for the doll parts section. It's a bit unsettling to see row upon row of baby bits in plastic bags, alongside shelves full of plastic eyes.

Along with the running we've been trying to fit in through the week, we've been going for long walks on the weekends. As painful as these walks are the day after, I've really enjoyed wandering around the countryside with Paul. We went on a lovely walk on Easter weekend with Harry the labrador doggie (belonging to Paul's brother and sister in law) around Kent, and went for a 3 1/2 hour trek around the countryside in Northamptonshire yesterday. Apart from the stinging nettle incident (I didn't know what they were and couldn't figure out why they were hurting me - little leafy bastards) and the hayfever, it really was good fun. We'll do one more walk this weekend, then it's my big night on the Friday after. Whee!

Friday 25 April 2003


I haven't done this in ages - it's the Friday Five!

1. What was the last TV show you watched?

ER. I think we're almost caught up now as it was a St. Patrick's Day episode.

2. What was the last thing you complained about and what was the problem?

The conference call I had with a product manager in Florida. We told him months ago that we couldn't do a certain document for this project. The project is now wrapping up and due to ship in two weeks. He now wants the document and couldn't quite figure out why this is a problem. I'd be upset, but the poor kid is 17 and still lives with his mother (or at least that's what I assume).

3. Who was the last person you complimented and what did you say?

Paul complimented himself by typing "I am so great" repeatedly in MSN Messenger. I said, "I'd argue, but it's true."

4. What was the last thing you threw away?

The conference call details.

5. What was the last website (besides this one) that you visited?

Blogger to write this entry. Duh.

Thursday 24 April 2003


Me and Paul's nieces, in a quiet moment at Easter. We look so cute and innocent, eh?

Wednesday 23 April 2003

i'm mellllltiiiiinnnnnggg

To get us in a sunny, tropical mood for our California holiday (we leave 3 weeks today YAY!!), I have been sitting in a sauna on a daily basis. Did I say "sauna"? Sorry, I meant my office. It seems that we're having temperature issues in here, and our room has been plagued with a lack of air circulation since we moved in here last year. A thermometer was placed in this room yesterday to see how hot it's been getting, and for two days running, we've gotten up to a balmy 29C (that's like 85F to my American friends). We've threatened to show up in Speedos and bikinis if this doesn't improve and trust me, it won't be a pretty sight. On the plus side, I'm sure that I'm sweating away the pounds while I work - I'll be supermodel thin in no time. I'll also be dehydrated and quite possibly dead, but I'll look smashing in an evening gown.

Tuesday 22 April 2003

in a post-bunny haze

I swear, I thought it was Monday today. Not that I'm complaining, mind you - it's always nice to be further into the work week than you thought. We had a fantastic weekend in Kent, wherein Paul's nieces still thought I was worth clinging to (carried over from the last visit) and much wine and food was consumed. I think that there is absolutely nothing better than a roast turkey dinner cooked by a Mum (or at least, there is nothing better than anything cooked by my Mom or Paul's). Hoooo yeah.

I think we are definitely getting a dog. We have to because we have a name picked out already. We stocked up on some books and read through loads of info about training, care, and everything else we need to know about having a Lab. One of the great things about being an immigrant girl is that I own nothing irreplaceable that little puppies might chew. I purged my apartment of all my worldly possessions before I moved here (in two big ass garage sales), and now live in a fully furnished flat with my few belongings. So, if the puppy is going to chew anything, it'll probably belong to Paul. We are likely going to go with crate training, so the pup will stay in his crate for a couple of hours until we can get home from work, and hopefully that will reduce the risk of finding teeth marks on every surface of the house. I think things will work out well - we already have dogsitters (Paul's parents have already volunteered for when we go away on holidays) and we are able to work from home when necessary or at least get home from work in around 10 minutes. I am beyond thrilled about the idea of getting a dog. I promise not to dress it up in silly outfits or refer to myself as its "Mummy". I also promise not to make stupid noises at it when I'm in Tesco. I can't promise that I won't post a bazillion pictures of him on this site, though.

Thursday 17 April 2003

it's raining chocolate

To the person who left a big pile of chocolate Eastery things in our office kitchen today: I hate you. Don't you know that I have no willpower? Gaaaaaah.

So we've got the car packed full of birthday presents for the nieces and other assorted goodies for the weekend. It's beautiful and sunny oustide, it's the day before a four day weekend, and as you can well imagine, I have absolutely no motivation to get any work done today. I feel like I've got the attention span of a cocker spaniel: "What's going on outside? Oooh sunny! Must get work done. Hey look, a bird! Okay, really must get work done. Wowie, that new building across the way sure is shiney! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" I suppose the 30 lbs. of chocolate and sugar coursing through my system probably isn't helping. Which reminds me, I need to go to the kitchen to Yes, that's it. Water.

Before I leave you all for the beautiful scenery and splendour of Kent for the long weekend, I will pass along this bit of wisdom. To all mothers of small children: you know when you lean over to your kid when it's sitting in its stroller and you make odd noises, facial expressions, and gesticulations in public places? You are not being cute and funny; people will think that you're clinically insane. I saw a woman do this at Tesco the other day - she suddenly stopped in the middle of the cheese and fresh pasta aisle and jumped in front of her kid (I'm sure scaring the bejeezus out of it), and went "Googoogoogoogoogoogoooooo! Boooboobooboobooboobooo!" while bobbing up and down like those plastic water drinking birds. This went on for at least five minutes. I know that it doesn't take much to entertain kids, but for goodness sake, don't traumatise the poor thing.

And on that note, have a fantastico long weekend, everyone. Eat lots of chocolate and what you don't eat, give to me.

Monday 14 April 2003

i have no willpower, you know

Paul was on a course all last week in London, at which they taught him stuff about C# (the programming language, not the musical note) and fed him daily. He got lunch and a plethora of snack-sized chocolate bars every single day. This meant that he came home with handfuls of little Kit Kats all week. A pile of them sat on my table as I stared at them fretfully. I ate one and left the rest behind. Not bad, I thought. So today we came back here after spending the weekend in Northampton to the pile of Kit Kats. Paul ate a few and I actually shooed the rest of them out of my house. I think the conversation went something like "Take them! TAKE THEM!!" as I pushed them in Paul's direction. Hurrah, they made it out of my house with only one casualty. A few minutes ago, I went into my purse to get something and what did I find? One lone snack-sized Kit Kat. I could go with the theory that it fell in there purely by accident, but I'm pretty sure that it landed there as a result of my boyfriend being diabolically evil. Yeah, I ate it. And I'd do it again.

Reasons why anyone involved in the house purchasing system is evil #759: The mortgage company has had our paperwork in their grubby little hands for three weeks. Two weeks after receiving our application, they decided that they needed 6 months worth of Paul's bank statements. We were not amused. One week later, they decided that they wanted the originals. Our mortgage advisor (and good friend, the lovely Debbie) had faxed the statements to Satan's Building Society, and it took them the whole bloody week to tell us that a) they couldn't read 3 out of 19 of the pages, and b) they want the originals plus a reference from my landlord attesting that I do actually pay my rent. Why didn't they ask for the landlord reference three weeks ago? I'll tell you why: because they are the spawns of Satan. So today we sent the bank statements over by recorded post, gave them my letting agent's phone number, and swore a lot. Now we wait. Again. To top it all, we got some documents in the post from our solicitors today with - I kid you not - my name spelled wrong. Now I have to ring them and tell them that MacDonald is spelled Mac not Mc, just like it said in all the correspondence we've sent them so far. Holy macaroni.

Breathe...and relax...and breathe...and relax...

Dammit, I'm out of chocolate.

Thursday 10 April 2003

your questions answered

Another month, another vast list of search strings leading to this site. Not wanting to disappoint the Googlers, here are some answers to your queries.

"how get tipsy from eating pasta": 1) Eat pasta. 2) Drink a bottle of wine. 3) Repeat.

"how heavy is the cn tower": Very. No, really!

"how much do passports cost to go to paris": If you need to purchase a passport, you may be embarking in something slightly illegal. I'm not a solicitor, but I'm pretty sure you don't buy passports to go to other countries unless you've done something very naughty.

"how will smoking hurt to open business": I suppose it won't, unless you're opening up a pharmacy or centre for the asthmatic.

"who sang it's raining men": Chris Walsh, on a bike rack, 2001.

Wednesday 9 April 2003

faith is restored

Chris G. suggested that I send a note round to our office in Chalfont about sponsoring me, and what a fabulous idea that was! Here I was, being polite in a Canadian kind of way (I thought it would seem obnoxious and pushy to send a note to the other office as I don't know many people there), when I should have been a little more forward. I am very pleased to say that two fantastic women (whom I have never met) have not only sponsored me, but they have sent notes of encouragement. My spirits are lifted today - it just took a couple of people to say, "What a cool thing you're doing. Good luck!" (And of course many thanks to those of you who have done that - I'm definitely not saying no one's been positive so far.)

Oooh, and my manager Vel has donated �50 today as well. Woowoowoo!
now seating the pity party, table for one

I admit, I was feeling a bit disillusioned, disappointed, and downright pouty yesterday. Everything was put right by a hug and sympathy from Paul, and the fact that What Not to Wear was on and it made me giggle. What can I say, I'm a simple gal.

In other news, Paul spent ages trying to rid my computer of an evil little program. While browsing the Internet, something called Hotbar installed itself on my machine. Yes, how lovely, I know. I kept getting popups every few minutes, and software like PopupKiller couldn't stop it. Hotbar also installed this thing called Free Scratch and Win, which ended up being a complete bugga to remove. Although listed in the Add/Remove Programs dialogue (as something called nCase), it also installs a randomly-named exe file in your Windows/System32 folder. After digging through all my files and registry, Paul noticed this file (it's not got an icon, which makes it look rather suspicious), deleted it, and now all is well. I'm more than just a little annoyed that Norton didn't stop this file from downloading, and that there is even software like this about.

Tuesday 8 April 2003

ah, that would be the sound of crickets

I'm a bit disappointed. I sent a message around my office today, asking people to sponsor me for the half marathon I'm doing in May. Now, I'm not going to bitch and moan that no one sponsored me because I did get a few responses (10 people in total so far, although 3 are from our other office in Chalfont), but I think I expected more enthusiasm from everyone. It's bad enough that people take the piss out of me when they see me running (I've been training at lunchtimes a few times a week since January), but I thought more people would be keen to sponsor me. I think the team that did a one mile fun run last year had quite a good response, so maybe that's why I thought I'd get the same. Jack (bless his little cotton cycling shorts) posted a message to the Convergys gang on my behalf, and no one has responded.

Forget about whether or not I'm miss popular at this office or my old office - maybe I'm being a Pollyanna, but I thought loads of people would be happy to shell out a couple of quid for breast cancer research. I couldn't have made it easier; people can either donate directly online or just send me a note saying how much they want to donate (i.e. they don't have to leave their desks and fill out the sponsorship form or give me any money). God help me if our kids ever have to sell chocolate bars or Girl Guide cookies. Cambridge offices ain't gonna fork over the cash (although to be honest, I hate it when people peddle stuff on their kid's behalf at the office). I sent notes around to people back home and friends here, and I'm not really expecting donations - but don't get me wrong 'cos they would be nice. ;) I did think that I'd have much more luck asking around my office and Convergys, though. That's what's disappointing.

So, a mega huge thank you to those of you who used PayPal to send me a donation (you can now donate directly to the charity online - see the link above). Considering two of you who donated have never even met me in person, you will surely get all sorts of good karma back for this. Super doopa thanks to those 10 from Citrix. Some of you are expecting lots of pictures of chicks in bras in return for your sponsorship, but I can't really fault you for that. Sincerely, you have my heartfelt thanks.

I think perhaps this has just been a bit of a crap day. When I went out running at lunch, I was mauled by some guy's overenthusiastic Labrador and builders catcalled me (why do they always do that and why does this seem to be an international phenomenon?). This isn't one of those "oh so this is why I've been putting myself through muscular hell and blisters for four months" days. Feh.

Friday 4 April 2003


Hey look everyone, it's one of my lame web pages from 1998! Click here to be transported back to the time when my site was incredibly useless and contained no interesting information whatsoever. Erm...not like it's chock full o' intellectual goodness now, but anyway. Enjoy!

(Thanks to Chris Gissing for reminding me of this URL.)

Wednesday 2 April 2003

i'm pretty sure we're all speaking english

While watching "What Not to Wear" (a delightfully bitchy programme in which a pair of women bully a selected victim into throwing away all her old clothes, then send her on a �2,000 shopping spree whilst barking out "PUT THAT HIDEOUS DRESS BACK ON THE RACK" periodically), Paul and I experienced a bit of a language barrier. I said to him, "Is this the episode with the woman who's a jock?". The following conversation ensued:


"No, a jock. Sporty."

"What? A Scottish Spice Girl?"

[laughter due to thinking that Paul is deliberately pulling my leg] "A jock! Sporty! A person who plays sports!"

[confused/my girlfriend is completely insane look appears on Paul's face]

Apparently, the term "jock" isn't used in the same context here. I learn something new every day.