Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Anniversaries and New Beginnings

Today is an anniversary of sorts. One that I would be a complete fraud for not acknowledging.

Three years ago today, I quit smoking. This may not sound like such a big deal, but previous to this, I had tried everything... The Patch, Zyban, The Gum, self-hypnosis, cold turkey... even aromatherapy. I would quit for a few weeks and then work would get busy or I'd go out or indulge in one of my other vices and the damn monkey would be back.

I quit. For good.

On this same day, three years ago, I also quit being completely irresponsible. My drinking, my partying... By day I taught others how to get their shit together while my chest had a hole in it so big that nothing could stop the wind from howling through... no matter how much crap I poured in there. Again, I'd swear off time and again, I'd clean up my act just to blow it the next weekend or the next day off. I'd blame my stressful job, my upbringing, my health, my failed marriage, my failed life. In the end, it was all me.

I accepted limitations, I gave up bad habits, I made promises to the few extra surprise cells in my abdomen. I took on the worst patient I've ever met: Me.

Within two months, I was no longer alone and was able to see my future lay itself out in front of me.

Happy Anniversary, to me... and to my son. The centre of my little universe.


There is something to be said for fresh starts.

As you all know by now, Facebook canned me for "spamming". I have yet to hear from them in anything more than an auto-reply fashion; I've just given up.

Today I started a new account. Come play.

Jen C. McArthur Logan's Facebook profile


Finally, the last tidbit... I have had to completely overhaul The Secret Evil Plan. There are so many changes possible in the next few months... I'll give more details as they unfold.

Much to ponder... much to decide. Rest assured, gentle reader, I am keeping my head down and putting one foot in front of the other.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Balcony Update

Talk to any gardener this year and you're going to get pretty much the same answer: this summer was not the best. With all the rain, you'd think we'd have bumper crops, but you'd be wrong. The lack of sunshine and excess moisture has just delayed growth and made it easier for a lot of blights and pests.

Having said that, I'm not going to feel too bad about this year's results. Many of my plants had to be restarted, which got me even farther behind, but now things seem to be puttering along. All things considered, I think my "from seed" year is a success.

I have to find a sunny moment to capture all the fruits of my labour, but in the meantime here's a taste with some "white fountains lobelia". You will notice that many of them are blue. :)

Butterfwy and Blooms


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

An August Angus Afternoon

I'm trying to catch up on a few things...

This year, the August long weekend found us in Angus. The in-laws have a (surprisingly) busy schedule, so it was nice that they could pencil us in for a visit.

Myrna's Garden is in it's prime... flowers everywhere. The weather was co-operating as well, so I got to take quite a few shots in glorious, glorious sunshine (the only commodity that is more precious than gas this summer). The garden is quite varied, and there were a couple of new flowers that I had never seen before. Yes, I have garden envy. Baaaaaaad!

Goin' My Way?
Goin' My Way?
Gooseneck Loosestrife

There were a few old favourites there as well... the one side of their house is dominated by a wild rosebush that is just lovely. Wild roses are one of my favourites...

This Bud's for You...
This Bud's for ME...

It was a good visit. Quinn had fun running around after his Grandparents and I got to put my feet up and bask in the sun for an hour. Lovely.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Small Comforts

Hi All,

After another day of flaky power and water (and the accompanying discomforts each of these provide), I'm glad to say that I've had more important things to worry about than my banishment from Facebook.

In the last few days, I've been doing some looking around. It seems there are many people out there who have angered the FB gods... and many people that are just as confused as I am.

Here is an interesting article called "13 Reasons Your Facebook Account Will Be Disabled". Some of the comments below are almost as informative.

For the more paranoid of you, here's something you might want to watch as well.

I'm still waiting... but not holding my breath.

Off to the tub...

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I'm a hurtin' unit.

It's been over 5 days now since my last fix. Five looooong, tortuous days.

The first day was the worst... I was irritable, jittery and generally impossible to talk to. The second day was a little better, but day three brought on the twins: despair and black depression. I think I even felt a little nauseous.

At this point I've almost lost hope.

Of course, I'm referring to my Facebook addiction...

My supply of mindless fun has dried up and it's left me jonesing. After over a year and a half of persistant use, I've suddenly gone cold turkey. No more Scrabulous, no more poking... no more birthday wishes, no more virtual drinks... no more high fiving my colleagues for a good call or save... nada. No longer can I get a glimpse into others lives via status updates. No more riding a voyeurism high, one line at at time.

As I stated earlier, This was not MY idea, but theirs. I've been labelled a spammer, a low life... Someone to be shunned at all costs. So much so, no one has answered my numerous emails apologising for my errors and begging for forgiveness. The Facebook pushers are a cruel bunch; the've let me get hooked and cut off my supply. I'm not even sure who I should be whoring myself to at this point.

One day at a time, I guess...

Misty Island
Alone in the Fog... oh, how Histrionic...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I Has a Hat!

As many of you know, recently my family and I went camping for a much needed holiday. Since this would mean potential prolonged exposure in the sun, we had to take as many precautions as possible. Although as of late I have been quite pale (that would be The Schedule and not seeing the light of day for a couple of years), generally I tan easily. I can thank my Heinz 57 heritage for that. My husband and son, however... well, they are a little more high maintanence.

Quinn would have fit in nicely in Louis XIV's time as he is the type of fair skinned blonde that is almost blue. Many times I have reassured concerned adults that dark marks here and there are not the result of some misfortune, but are in fact veins. Sean, on the other hand, is... a redhead. These people cannot go out-of-doors without becoming entirely covered in freckles (which, to most is only slightly preferable to being covered in bees) or spontaneously bursting into flame. With Sean we don't need sunscreen, we need an asbestos suit; I feared Quinn would take after his father. While stuffing the aforementioned Ion full with gear, we did not neglect to pack THE umbrella for use on the beach.

Over the last decade, (and especially now that I've made the camping trip pics public), many of you have asked about THE umbrella.... As promised, here is how it came to be with us.

Sean and I were married on Hallowe'en in 1997, quite informally and very spur of the moment. We took a few days off for our honeymoon and went to Niagara Falls... in November. It was either raining or threatening to rain the entire time we were there (and you get wet right by the falls anyway). It wasn't so bad really, as it was still warmish most of the time and I made do with a sweater. Then it got cold. Very cold. There were several moments where I cursed myself for not packing an umbrella... or a rain hat, rubber boots, a giant Glad garbage bag... anything practical at all, really. What I did pack was my suede coat, which was threatening to turn into a giant, black, wet dog-smelling mess. We had been watching tourists walk around all week with these really cheap tacky red and white Canada umbrellas near the falls (and giggling to ourselves). Now, in a fit of desperation and with vague hopes of saving my coat, I considered buying one.

As I looked at the handles sticking out of a can in a gift shop, I shuddered to myself. I hate spending money when I don't have to, especially on cheap junk that I will never use again. I also winced at how we had been making fun of these ugly things our entire stay and now I found myself faced with purchasing one. I chose one with a wooden handle which was slightly more expensive (I think it was a dollar more). My rationale was that the wooden handle made it slightly more dignified and I might stand a chance of using it again, even if it was only at a soggy Canada Day celebration some time in the oh-so-distant-who-do-I-think-I'm-kidding-never future. At least this is what I explained to Sean's raised eyebrow. I hung my head and headed for the cash. We paid for our new umbrella and spent another $4 on two crappy hot chocolates and left the store.

I stood under the awning of the shop and popped open my new prize. My jaw dropped mid-sentence and my eyes bugged out as I looked at what I had just unleashed.

It was a hat.

My umbrella was a hat.

Tourists were giggling at ME! At my HAT!

I was holding a giant ball cap-shaped, red and white, maple leaf emblazoned, honest to goodness patriotic Canadian nightmare that was too tacky to even crawl underneath to die.

"Oh!" I think I managed to squeak out as a guffaw burst out of Sean. Tears were streaming out of his eyes as he struggled to compose himself after seeing the look of abject horror I'm sure was on my face. Brown steaming puddles formed on the lids the $4 crappy hot chocolates and threatened to spill over as he shook with his attempt to control himself. "Do-don't worry," he finally managed to get out "no one is really looking anyway".

As we walked along the cobblestones it became very obvious that he was wrong. People weren't just looking, they were staring. Children were pointing. I was mortified. I took a couple more steps, drank some more of my crappy hot chocolate, lit up a smoke and tried to convince myself I no longer cared. I did such a good job of convincing myself that I actually started to skip at one point and stare back. We headed back to the hotel and hit the bar. Then I truly no longer cared.

THE Umbrella, 1997
[Scanned from bad LoMo... had to take it to B&W.]
Suffice to say, I was in "no longer care" mode.

THE Umbrella has lived with us with what was at first a begrudging truce and is now a sense of acceptance. There have been rainy mornings where for one heart-stopping minute I've thought that I'd need to take it to work, but I have always found an alternative and left it in the closet. It's true calling, it seems, is as a beach/sun umbrella. Perhaps it is the ready availability of alcohol or perhaps the general bonhomie at these things, I'm not sure, but thus far it has lived out its life going from one family picnic or outing to another.

That's how THE umbrella came to be and how it ended up at MacGregor Point. It is almost eleven years later and the damn thing is still going strong.

I Has a Hat!
I has an hat!As you can see, it's natural to hold it and want to scream.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Inaugural Ramblings

First of all, gentle reader, welcome to my new home.

I have moved my musings to Blogger for quite a few reasons, the least of which is my current misunderstanding with Facebook. I'll get into that a bit later... I'm hoping tho', that by keeping my blogs here and by archiving my photos at Flickr, I'll save some archiving time and energy that could be spent elsewhere.

I've been at MSN Spaces since December 2004 and to be honest, I'm more than due for a change. To be fair, they have kept up with the times for the most part, adding features here and there... but I can't access it from work (I do have break time, folks...) and I'm updating it with my photography as well as updating Flickr every time I upload new pix. Then there is changing links and updates on entries and ugh! Too much! I'm trying to simplify my life these days, so from now on, blogs will be here, photographs will be on my Flickr profile.


Now for my little Facebook problem...

When I joined Facebook, I had my blog entries syndicated through the RSS feed to my Notes; that way any of my interested friends could keep up to date with what I was on about at any given time. With the new format, I guess there have been some security updates... specifically scripts (I'm assuming...) that check for usage of features. Since the RSS from Spaces was wonky at best (remember all the double photo album entries that really didn't work?) I guess it did not like updating from my blog and triggered some alarm somewhere that got me warned and blocked from making notes for 24 hours for my so called spamming activities. Once I got unblocked, I tried to rectify the situation... and promptly got my profile disabled. Now, when I try to log on, I get this:

"Your account has been disabled by an administrator. If you have any questions or concerns, you can visit our FAQ page here."

Of course, when you click on "Why?", you get this:

"Facebook enforces limits on the site in order to prevent certain actions that can be considered abusive. Your account has been disabled for persistent and rapid use of a certain feature. Unfortunately, for security reasons, we will not be able to further explain these limits."


"Facebook has limits in place to prevent abuse of our features and to protect users from potential spam."


"Unfortunately, Facebook cannot provide any specifics on the rate limits that we enforce. Please know, however, that the speed at which you are acting and the sheer number of actions you have made are both taken into account."

Er, yeah...

So, by updating my blog with their defective softwear, I now have to plead to them via email to the "appeals" department to reinstate my account. All because I tripped some security feature protecting all of you from my Mommy ramblings and pretty flowers; a security feature that they cannot tell me about, nor can they tell me how not to activate it in the future. I really had to hunt for the contact email as well... not fun.

The sad part about all of this is that there are many friends that I only communicate with on Facebook... friends that I have lost touch with over time and just found and re-connected with again. I'm hoping a few of them will catch up with me again...


In any event, here I am. It's going to be a while before I get used to my new space here... please be patient as I move the furniture around and try to hang a few pictures. Rest assured, gentle reader, the door is still always open, the light is always on... and PsychoJenic is always in.

Sunset Silhouette
Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow.--Mary Anne Radmacher

Peace, Love and Lipgloss,