KathyBou’s Blog

A sampling of things that are going on and around.

Archive for December 2007

Last day 2007

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Happy New Year’s Eve to all.  It’s been a good year for Dan and me and I think the next year promises more interesting events.

My resolution for the new year is to continue the hard work work we did in 2006 2007 and also to work seriously on my foundation in French.  For Noel next year, I’d like to be able to speak and understand more with Dan’s family and friends.

More posts to come in the new year!

Written by Kat

December 31, 2007 at 10:35 pm

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Part 1

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Happy Christmas Eve!

Part one the family visiting tour is nearing completion.  It’s funny how time moves slower AND faster when you are outside of your normal routine.  It’s been a good trip to Florida so far – seeing family, the beach and awesome weather, basketball game in Orlando, seeing more family, and everything else we’ve done (that I can’t think of at the moment).  We even got in trips to Vallarta’s for Mexican and Bahama Breeze for Calypso shrimp pasta.  We stopped into the company office in Tampa on Thursday and visited some friends and saw how some of the projects have been going since we left.

Now we are in Inverness (since Saturday evening), so we aren’t going out here and there like we do in St. Petersburg/Tampa.  Yesterday Dan, Liz and I wrapped presents.  The dogs tried to help, but really just stamped on the paper and got in the way, per usual.  Today we are finishing last minute shopping while the stores are open, Mom’s at work, but I think Amanda, Liz, Dan and I will get some lunch out somewhere.

The boots I ordered for myself in October, that have been sitting in the laundry room here along with the small mountain of Christmas gifts I ordered online, fit great, yay!  They are basic black, come to a couple inches under the knee, from La Canadienne (made in Canada!).  I think they will be warm enough, considering they aren’t snow boots, and they are supposed to be waterproof. 

I also bought a long-sleeved wool undershirt, that turned out thinner than I had hoped, but cuter than I expected.  You never know for sure what you will get when you order online, but I am really happy so far.  I was thrilled with the Colombia fleece jackets – I ordered one for my father and one for Dan and they were an awesome find.  Good colors in person, good quality, and most importantly, good sizing for long arms.  This denim Vera Bradley purse I found on Amazon was perfect for my grandmother, she really liked it too.  We don’t exchange gifts here until tomorrow, then again on the 26th with Dan’s family – I hope the snow is still around!!!

It’s hard to post with so much family here, but I hope everyone out there is having a nice holiday, whatever you are up to today!

Written by Kat

December 24, 2007 at 5:46 pm

Posted in Life, Travel

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Book Review – Slaughterhouse 5

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SlaughterHouse 5
Kurt Vonnegut

“Everything is all right, and everybody has to do exactly what he does.”

So I finished the book a week ago but wanted to give myself some time to further digest it. I’ll start out by saying that this review will not do this book any justice. Not because I didn’t like it, or that I couldn’t try to create a worthy review, I probably could if I did more research and wrote a paper about it. It’s a book that is both pop culture and as deep as you’d like to take it. I think I could read it 5 more times and get a slightly different impression from it.

To briefly summarize, which makes the plot sound more bizarre than it really comes across, the biggest main character, Billy Pilgrim, is an optometrist, WWII soldier, father, student, child who has become unstuck in time. That is, he randomly moves (as does the story along with him) through different points in his life with no idea what moment he will next live/relive. He also gets abducted by aliens and lives in one of their zoos for a time. Sounds strange but it works out surprisingly well. I think the harder thing to deal with in this book is the themes. War, death, the human condition(?!)

I read this book, read 1, since I’ll read it again, with that feeling you have before you pull a bandaid off. You are so afraid the story is going to take you somewhere very sad, or horrible, that you can’t move through it very fast, but you can’t put it down either.

“My God–what have they done to you, lad? This isn’t a man. It’s a broken kite.”

Kurt Vonnegut was he himself in WWII, and he survived the firebombing of Dresden where 135,000 people were killed. The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima killed 71,370 people. While I had heard about Dresden being destroyed in the war, it doesn’t get as much historical attention since (only) conventional bombs were dropped by the Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Force. I’m sure he had things he wanted to “get out” about this time in his life. As usual, the wit is thick; Vonnegut is a master of this.

“At that time, they were teaching that there was absolutely no difference between anybody. They may be teaching that still.”

“All this responsibility at such an early age made her a bitchy flibbertigibbet.”

I highly recommend this novel for everyone to read. I can see more and more, as this is the second novel of his I’ve read, why he is regarded as such a genius.

Written by Kat

December 21, 2007 at 2:28 pm

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Wish I could

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find a reason to need these Undeez. Hehe.

Written by Kat

December 14, 2007 at 10:32 pm

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And then there were 3

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work days left until Christmas holidays!!  I’m feeling pretty good about work and life at the moment.  I’m excited.  Up until just yesterday or today I was still feeling pressure – there was a big deadline for work last Friday, the flying home on our own expense, and the gifts to buy, etc… but everything is on schedule and I’m thrilled to be seeing everyone soon.

Written by Kat

December 13, 2007 at 10:17 am

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Emotional Triggers

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I was on Blogher yesterday, and I had an emotional response to a post. It was a post from a younger woman who had not been home for Christmas in 6 years, how she hoped for this every year, and to be with her boyfriend, and someday a family of her own. Instead she was going to spend the holiday in the city with her friend and go out on the town. And you know, it sounded great, she sounded sad, but compensating for it in fine fashion.

Well I had this emotional trigger to this and I was thinking “WHY?!?!” This woman sounded like she had the financial, mental and emotional strength to see her family, why was she not making it happen? And not for one or two years, but for six straight years?!

So I discussed this with Dan, and he said, well it’s a blog, people like to expound about their life, that’s what a blogs usually about, and why was I surprised?

And he’s right.

I thought about it more, and I think the reason I have this trigger (and it’s a new one for me), is that in the last four years I’ve had 3 significant people in my life die. Four years ago, my grandfather, two years ago, my other grandfather (with whom I lived with one year while I was in college), then this year my Mother’s second husband, stepfather. These were all great men, who brought the world (at least my world) wisdom and strength, and they have left big holes in my family – as
all loved ones who die tend to do. I think this irrational response I had (I really don’t care what people do on Christmas
as long as they are happy) is because I know that these people I’ve lost will never get the chance to make an appearance for Christmas again.

And I’m sure I’ll miss a Christmas here or there, due to other trips, or work, or finances, or my own family, or just because I want to, and I need to accept that this is okay behavior too.

Written by Kat

December 12, 2007 at 12:11 pm

Posted in Life

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Engadget and google reader

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are ruining my boyfriend’s life. Or so he says. hehe.

Since I’ve been introduced into the blog thing, we both have set up subscriptions to various blogs with the Google reader. It’s easy to organize and keeps you up-to-date, what more could you want? He likes basketball stuff, I like books; we both have the subscriptions to engadget and a few other tech blogs. Anyone who visits Engadget knows they post 6-10 times an hour (maybe an exaggeration, maybe not). Every now and then when we are both playing on our respective laptops I hear him moan, he can’t keep with all these posts. I can’t help but giggle.

Written by Kat

December 11, 2007 at 9:40 pm

Posted in Life, Tech

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Book Review – The Thief Lord

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The Thief Lord
Cornelia Funke

This is my first read by this author, and I can see why she’s quite famous for writing for children. It’s a story of two brothers who have run away after the death of their mother because their aunt only wants to adopt one of them. They go to Venice, Italy, a place their mother loved. Once there, they meet some others and the story progresses. The Thief Lord does well in creating a mood, and a feeling for the city of Venice. I’ve wanted to visit and I’d like to go there even more now. I read part of an interview yesterday where Funke said that Venice, the city itself, could be considered the main character of this novel. I can understand why, the characteristics of the city are integrated into most scenes of the book. All of the characters are likable though, while all being very different. Funke also said that she spent some time doing social working, which I’m sure helped quite a bit for this work. I would say that I never escaped into this book, but that’s okay. It is a story, and it’s a good one. I think children would really love this tale, and if I had children, this would be a great pick.

Written by Kat

December 9, 2007 at 4:52 pm

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Sunday morning rambling

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A picture taken in Quebec a few years ago. Winter can be so beautiful.

I did my hair this morning, even though I had no where to be. The blond is okay. Anyway, it is brighter, I kinda like it. My favorite will always be red, but blond has a nice hollywood feeling. Red with blond seems beyond the salon stylists here (and beyond my budget right now too!). Here’s an older picture of the red and blond how I like it.

I’m going to switch to a Christmas stylesheet, a couple of weeks of red and green, or snowflakes, sounds nice, especially since we have no decorations in our apartment here.

I’m about done with the whole shopping thing, it wasn’t so bad really. Just a few things left to decide. I think the worst part is the pressure we put on ourselves to find a perfect gift. Or in some cases, you wait too long, and you are just trying to find any form of a suitable gift. I’ve been in both places. Ideally, I try to give a feeling of being a kid on Christmas to the people in my life – a surprise or something they really would want. It’s about finding something you know will give them a little thrill. A guy from work laughed at my face when I tried to explain this one to him at lunch. He doesn’t think this is really possible I guess. He is from Montreal too, and is buying bottles of gluehwein and boot glasses to go along as a mass group gift to his family. A different approach but it sounds nice to me. My families aren’t much for drinking, either side, which is funny since my grandmother spent her life owning a bar (probably a good thing!) So this idea would flop for me, but it sounds cozy and nice, these little boot-shaped glasses are fun.

The holidays are celebrated a little different here. Germany is one of the original advent celebrators, with the markets and the chocolate calendars used to countdown to Christmas. Here, Dec. 6 is St. Nicholas delivery day, he leaves fruit and chocolates in the shoes (stockings) of good little girls and boys. Usually it is left on the doorstep (no reindeer or chimney requirements involved). Then Christmas eve and day are more religious, but gifts are still exchanged then.

Written by Kat

December 9, 2007 at 10:01 am

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I miss Lisa

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my hair dresser in Montreal. Sigh. Besides being very cool with her French accent and wearing club clothes to work in arctic temperatures, she does awesome things with my hair. And she’s really nice. I went back to the salon here today (feeling far far away from Lisa) – I thought my hair was too drab which a bad sign considering it’s only been two weeks since getting it done. So the lady lightened it, but I fear too much. It’s blonde blonde now. The language barrier doesn’t help, I tried to find the look I was going for in a magazine to show them, but I couldn’t find anything that really matched. Sigh.

Hair is just hair I know. But still. I bought some yummy smelling salon quality shampoo and conditioner. I like to mix the expensive stuff with the ordinary stuff so that I don’t spend too much, but still have a petite splurge shower here and there.

Written by Kat

December 8, 2007 at 6:50 pm

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