I have a bunch of odds and ends to post this morning.

Our Ontario Health cards arrived yesterday. I have to start looking for a doctor. I know, good luck. I've heard all about the huge shortage of doctors in the GTA, and in all of Ontario. But what can I do, I've got to give it a shot.

We had excellent Indian food in Mississauga last night, thanks to a Chowhound recommendation. Other people's tips are essential to finding good food in the suburbs. The non-chain restaurants are tucked away in strip malls and shopping centres, and outside of our little village of Port Credit, we don't pass anything on foot. Driving by, it all looks the same. But thanks to you guys and Chowhound, I'm learning there's more life out here than first meets the eye.

If you've been around wmtc for a while, you know we don't celebrate this upcoming winter holiday. However, one of the four major holidays of Allan-and-Laura-land is approaching: January 3, anniversary of domestic partnership. In the past, we've usually done a spectacular dinner at one of Manhattan's top restaurants, as much an experience as a meal. Some years we went away for a few days (which, believe it or not, can cost as much as one ultra-high-end dinner). One recent year I recall a martini-lounge crawl. And now we celebrate our continuing partnership in our new land. What to do? The goal is to come up with something truly special, and preferably romantic. Suggestions now being fielded.

Tomorrow I'm meeting a friend in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. We met online many years ago, and then met in person when Allan and I visited Toronto for the first time. We're meeting for dinner, but I'm going to drive up earlier to take a look around. Anything I should know?

I finished the outline for Ancient Civs II (actually World History 500-1450), and now I have to wait for approval before I can start writing. This leaves me with a two or three week window, where - theoretically - I can knock off a big Kids On Wheels assignment. If I can do it, it will save me major deadline stress in the spring - but these things have a way of not working out the way I plan. We'll see.

Speaking of Ancient Civs, here's a little freelance story for you.

A few weeks ago, an editor asked me to do a rush assignment, immediate turnaround, very good money. I did it. I sent an invoice. Two weeks later, editor says, I notice you didn't bill for that rush assignment, make sure you send an invoice soon in order to get in under the next pay period. I say, I sent an invoice to so-and-so. Editor says, Oh, did I forget to tell you? So-and-so doesn't handle that anymore, you need to send it to such-and-such. (Gee, thanks for telling me.)

I re-send invoice. Such-and-such says, good timing, I was about to close out the last batch of cheques.

Three weeks pass.

Yesterday, I receive a cheque! Fairly prompt.

I open envelope. Allan says, Shouldn't that cheque be signed?

Yes, they sent an unsigned cheque.

I email such-and-such. Oh, I'm so sorry. Yes, we need the cheque back. No, we can't issue a new cheque until we receive the unsigned one back.

They're in Paris.

Although the cheque is drawn on US funds, which my Canadian bank will hold for 15 business days. Fifteen. During holiday season.

That's the downside of freelancing. You can't make it work without a financial cushion in the bank, or another steady income on the side.

Plastic on windows is great. Our house was so cold - I mean, inside. Now it's warm and cozy. Hooray for Canadian Tire.

Weather watch: -18 C this morning (about 7 F). Once we're in the single digits Fahrenheit, it's officially cold, as far as I'm concerned. I'm enjoying it.


Ferdzy said...

Yech, that sounds familiar. My partner and I were working contract at the same place at one point. The company (oh, I might as well name it, it was Digital,the computer company) and we were paid once a month. The company was in the process of imploding, which made them hell to deal with. Add to that the fact that we moved, and Canada Post had an employee somewhere who was convinced that our new address didn't exist, and you can just picture the fun and games that ensued.

As for KW, during mid-week, hmm. The Canadian Glass and Clay Museum is small, rather pricey (I think) but very nice. Contemporary stuff, for the most part. It's right across from another small museum, the name of which escapes me. Stack of whiskey barrels out front. Seagrams! No longer making whiskey; now a museum. Perimeter Institute is right near by and I gather is interesting although I have not been. If you like antiques, the Southworks mall in Cambridge has a good (laaaarge selection, affordable stuff mostly) one, also outlet stores.

Marnie said...

Maybe a country retreat? (But sooo pricey ...)

laura k said...

That's actually not that expensive, considering it includes three meals (for two) and a spa treat. We'd have to add in overnight care for Cody - but on the other hand, we would go mid-week, so there wouldn't be a two-night minimum. Hmmm. Interesting...

laura k said...

Ferdzy, thanks for the tips re K-W! I'm sure I'll go up there more than once, so I'll write it all down for this and future trips.

James Redekop said...

And now we celebrate our continuing partnership in our new land. What to do? The goal is to come up with something truly special, and preferably romantic.

Since the thing Lori likes to do most of all in December and January is not go outside, I don't have much in the way of suggestions we've actually tried. But one you might want to consider is a trip to Ottawa. Skating on the Rideau Canal, etc. I've never been there in the winter, but I'm told Ottawa can be beautiful in the snow.

There are some great museums there, as well: the Museum of Civiliazation is a perfect one for history buffs. You may also be interested in the War Museum, which may provide an interesting contrast to similar US museums. I haven't been in it since it moved (or for decades before it moved), but to give you a feel, the new building has windows that spell out "Lest We Forget" in Morse Code. There's also a good, if small, Museum of Natural History, and of course the National Gallery of Canada.

Marnie said...

Oh look, there's a special: Silent Night For Two.

>not that expensive, considering it includes three meals

And high tea, which is a pretty nice little meal too.

Unknown said...

I understand that 15 day holding. Yuck!
Those cold days are quite rare for Vancouver, but I understand -18C from Switzerland. I've never really lived in really cold. I went walking once in -25C. I forgot my thermals and froze into pink very quickly. I'm smart enough to know that I just won't go next time without two layers. haha - that's what you get for living in California for most of your life.

ALPF said...

Hey L-Girl
Here's an interesting slug that came on our wire service...


EDs: Will be budgeted writethrus
INDEX: International, Politics
HL:American ambassador tells Martin to stop dragging U.S. into
federal election
By Bruce Cheadle
OTTAWA (CP) - The Bush administration issued a sharp, public
rebuke Tuesday to Prime Minister Paul Martin for dragging the
Canadian-U.S. relationship into the federal election campaign.
Ambassador David Wilkins said Canada risks damaging one of the
world's best relationships by focusing on short-term political gain.
"It may be smart election-year politics to thump your chest and
criticize your friend and your No. 1 trading partner constantly,"
Wilkins said in a speech to the Canadian Club at the historic
Chateau Laurier Hotel, next door to Parliament Hill.
"But it is a slippery slope, and all of us should hope that it
doesn't have a long-term impact on the relationship."
America may be an easy target, said Wilkins, "but the United
States should not be on your ballot."
Wilkins did not name the prime minister directly but it was clear
from the context of the remarks that he was referring to Martin

ALPF said...

and the rest...


. . . ballot."
Martin, who touted a more mature relationship with the United
States as one his priorities when he became prime minister in 2003,
has been talking a hard line against Washington throughout this
autumn's heated election run-up.
The prime minister has been particularly critical of the U.S.
position on softwood lumber duties and failure to ratify the Kyoto
accord on greenhouse gas emissions.
Wilkins, a long-time supporter and confidant of President George
W. Bush, did not mention Martin by name in the speech, but left
absolutely no doubt who he was targeting.
Less than a week after Martin raised hackles in Washington by
specifically naming the United States for lacking a global
conscience on climate change, Wilkins threw the words back at the
prime minister.
He pointed out that America's record is far superior to Canada's
on curbing greenhouse gas emissions
"I would respectfully submit to you that when it comes to a
`global conscience,' the United States is walking the walk," said
the ambassador.
Liberals have denied they are using anti-American rhetoric as
election fodder. But a senior Liberal campaign organizer was clearly
delighted at news coverage last week that suggested Canada's
ambassador in Washington, Frank McKenna, had been called on the
carpet by the Americans over Martin's undiplomatic climate change
Wilkins also mentioned the softwood dispute, noting that the U.S.
Commerce Dept. cut the contentious tariffs on Canadian lumber in
half last week.
He defended the continuing American occupation in Iraq, saying
"freedom is on the march."
And on looming passport requirements for Canada-U.S. travellers,
Wilkins said the two countries can work together to mitigate the
impact but that Canadians have to appreciate the new American
"Bottom line: Canada should understand that 9-11 forever changed
my country," Wilkins said of the September 2001 terrorist attacks.

M@ said...

Hey L,

Another K-Wer here. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure the Seagram's museum is now closed, but the Clay and Glass Gallery is indeed worth a stop if you're in the area. And Southworks is a great place to poke around for antiques.

Another option is the St Jacob's, a Mennonite village just north of Waterloo. If you're into quilts, that's the place to be, and there are a lot of galleries and artisan workshops there too (pottery, glassworkers... I was there last week and there was one guy who was actually making brooms, which I think is very cool).

There is also an interesting market in St Jacob's and one in Kitchener too, although they are only open Saturdays between November and May or so.

Feel free to drop me a line at mattbin (at!) gmail (dot!) com if you need directions anywhere in the area, or if you need recommendations for where to eat lunch or anything like that.

Kyahgirl said...

oooooh, that is so frustrating about your paycheque. You've been dicked around on this one.

so glad you enjoying the cold weather :-)

ALPF said...

This is why Stephen Harper can not and will not win this election...



laura k said...

ALPF: Thanks for the early tips! We were out all day yesterday and I didn't see them til this morning. I could have broken the news!

Marnie: I love high tea. That might do it right there.

M@: Thank you! I'll only be up there for a couple of hours today before meeting my friend for dinner. But I'll definitely be exploring the whole area as time goes on, and I'll take you up on your offer for sure.

James: Ottawa sounds great - several Ottawans who read this blog have said it's a really nice city. And I remember reading (and blogging) about the War Museum when it re-opened. Whether or not it's an anniversary trip, we'll definitely go at some point.

laura k said...

That's actually not that expensive, considering it includes three meals (for two) and a spa treat. We'd have to add in overnight care for Cody - but on the other hand, we would go mid-week, so there wouldn't be a two-night minimum.

DUH! The prices listed are per person. I was imagining the price was for two. Never mind! I agree: it is sooo pricey, and it's out of our range. :)

Beausejour said...

wow -- it took me more than a year down here to stop using 'cheque' for 'check" (and I won't even discuss the 'serviette' vs. 'napkin' fiasco) -- you catch on fast!