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At Home With Ailsa - October 2004

At Home with Ailsa - My Weekly Update Page! - June '05 - May '05 - April '05 * March '05 * February '05 * January '05 * December '04 * November '04 * October '04 * September '04 * August '04 * July '04 * June '04 * Archived At Home With Ailsa Pages * At Home I * At Home II * At Home III * At Home IV - At Home With Ailsa - Menu

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Happy Hallowe'en, Everybody!! I just added my favorite Hallowe'en Costume and a thing where you can actually Bet on the U.S. Election! (Scroll down a wee bit and you'll soon see it!)

Thursday, October 28th, 2004. Yo, yo! What up with My Home-ies?? Man, Sorry it took me soooo long to get back here -- my new Schedule is bizarre, and it only leaves me a tiny window of time to get on the computer. Annoying. Hard to believe it'll be a whole School Year of this... anyway, I'll have to figure out how I can carve out more time to work on my Site, since I miss writing ... I know that cleaning and driving all over hell's half acre (is it really only a half an acre?? That doesn't seem like nearly enough space to house all the 'hellians' out there... ya'ha,ha!) sounds like a dream life, but in fact it's not as fabulous as it sounds! Ah, well. I'll make the adjustments and see what's left...

So, can you believe it's almost time for the Big American Election?? If you're in the States, please oh please go out and Cast Your Vote... it's such an essential thing to have the Freedom to Choose. (From the girl who didn't have that freedom for sooo many years...) I happen to like John Kerry, because I'm a big believer in Negotiating before Fighting, but that's just me... any way you vote is a good way, right?? The very interesting thing for me is how the whole world is waiting and watching this Election, since all our lives will be affected by the outcome. That's not very common... most countries have their Elections, and the results are known by a few, but there's very little difference in what happens to the country, but not in this Gigantic U.S. Election. So go Vote on Tuesday, November 2nd, if you're in the U.S.!

I'm back! I had to run out yet again...and Dwight is putting in the Glass Railing this afternoon, so I swung by the Drugstore to pick up some Rubber Gloves. The last time I was carrying the huge pieces of glass, I was just a tad nervous, so I was trying to think of what I could wear to stop the glass from slipping through my sweaty little palms (!), and it occurred to me that I could put on my Rubber Gloves and solve the problem. So then Dwight wanted a pair, and I got another pair for our new Employee (relatively new!), Sean, since he's here to help Dwight with the Sheets of Glass, Thank God, since I really felt the Glass was too heavy for me to manage.

Okay, now for the fun part -- did you catch The Bachelor last night? Man, we love that Show! For one, their Houses are spectacular, and I try to get Dwight to focus on the Screen to see the Exterior Front Entry, which I love, and would like in the next house that we build. (Always an ulterior motive for me, eh?? ha,ha!) Luckily, Dwight carefully watches the whole Show so he can see his favorite Girl, Cherresse, as often as possible. We were soooo happy to see the end of 'Crazy Jane', as we came to know her... what a nutcase! Have you ever known anyone like that? I'm pretty sure they come in two types -- Male & Female...and both equally crazy! For a while there it looked like our Good-Looking Byron might have a 'thing' for the crazies, so what a relief to see that he's normal. I saw him on The View, and he was really funny (plus, he liked Joy Behar very much, so that was a good sign...).

I like Cherresse (is that how you spell it??) and Tonya (since she's a Special Ed Teacher, like me, so I'm living vicariously through her!). I want to like Cyndi, except that she uses her name in the Third Person, which ain't never a good sign, if you know what I mean! ha,ha! "Cyndi no like that...", said Cyndi to Byron on their extra special date, only slightly identical to the dates with all the other girls... yuff, yuff. And Mary seems sweet, and certainly pretty, but every time I hear her talk about 'The Fairy Tale Ending', it makes me wince. That's a huge Red Flag when someone says the 'Princess' word, or wants the whole perfect package, which, of course, doesn't exist in reality, and so that presents itself a tiny weenie problem... called Mary, me thinks. But I might be wrong -- maybe she was talking for hours and hours, and that's what it was edited down to -- Reality TV has a fancy knack for doing that! ha,ha!

Then tonight is one of our favorite nights on TV, since Survivor and The Apprentice are both on, so that's two fun-filled hours when you're not out in the cold! You know what I really like about these Reality TV Shows -- doesn't it make you feel like the week has just flown by when the next Episode of Survivor or The Apprentice rolls around? And then before you know it, it's the Finale? When you live in a cold climate, these things become increasingly more important to you! ha,ha! Here's a place where you can Bet on Survivor -- who ever you think will win! (Oh, and I think they have a Section for The Apprentice, too, and frankly, it wouldn't surprise me if they have a bit on The Bachelor, too, since the Producers keep very close tabs on the Winners..)<>And if you like the Survivor Buffs and think you'd like those with your own Group Logo on them, drop me a line and I'll hook you up with a great Wholesale Price!

You can actually Vote on the U.S. Presidential Election at Intertops, too (the Survivor Link above). Just Click on U.S. Elections on their Menu, and off you go! It's such a close Election, it's impossible to know which way it will go. I'm thinking that Kerry will win by a fairly close Margin, since they've been so effective with getting young people and women out to Vote, so we'll see what happens on Tuesday! One way or another, it's great to Have a Choice!

And Congratulations to all the Red Sox Fans! Wow! What a Series! Curse, schmurse! Now all we need to do is get the Hockey back on track, and we're all set!

Okay, let me see if I have time to get those pictures up for you... be back as soon as I can! (And not a week, this time -- I promise!)

Thanks for Popping in for a wee visit! Tell all yo' friends (really, I don't even care if you don't like them, anymore ... I just want more visitors! ha,ha,ha!) Talk to you soon! Love, Ailsa xxxooo

Isn't this beautiful? We stopped by Lake Louise on our way home from Radium Hot Springs a couple of weekends ago. There's Cara and Aidan in front of Lake Louise, then you can have a good look at Lake Louise Lodge -- it's gorgeous! Normally, I'm not a big fan f the 'Animal Head in the Lobby' trick, but they really managed to pull that one off! Stunning Hotel. Fabulous Jewelry Store, too, which we , of course, stopped into for a few shiny trinkets!

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Here's a wee Link for you to check out Houses while you're waiting for more Pictures!

I have heard that Phoenix has some amazing Architecture, so here's a quick and easy way to check it out!

AZ Phoenix/Mesa Area Scottsdale

HAPPY HALLOWE'EN, EVERYBODY!! Oh, and if you need a quick and easy Hallowe'en Costume (Male or Female -- funny either way!), make yourself up a sign that says 'Freud' on it that you can hang around your neck or tape to your Outfit. Put on a Black Slip (anything lacy will work, and remember to put something underneath! ha,ha,ha!). Voila! Now you're a Freudian Slip! (One of my all-time favorite Costumes ... and yes, it does get a lot of attention!)

Great Freebies! * Cool Stuff for School * Travel * Home Search -- MLS

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Wednesday, October 20th, 2004. Hi, Baby-Cakes! How You Doin'?? Well, it seems like Wednesday might be a good day for writing for me ... things are so hectic around here, these days. I've got a lot to tell you, now that I don't have time every single day to write, so I'll see what I can squeeze in! First of all, have I told you that we have decided to take the House off the Market? Yep. No one wants to move in the Winter, and winter arrived on the Weekend. We don't have a whole lot of Snow, but enough to remind us of what we're in for during the winter months, which last until, let's say, next May! Plus, no one really wants to move from this house. It's so comfy and cozy, but also huuuge, which is a combo we happen to like, and can't match that anywhere else (yes, we looked!).

And since I wrote last, I've enrolled Aidan into his Kindergarten Program at the Local Public School. So much for Home Schooling! ha,ha! I was enjoying the whole Home School thing, but then we all discovered that what Aidan really needs is lots of Social Interaction, so I called our Daughter's Bus Driver to see if the small children are taken directly to their School, and it turns out that they are. So now I drive Aidan one way, and he takes the Bus with Cara the other. Very cute to see them walk together! And Cara came in to see Aidan's Kindergarten Classroom, yesterday, and now she wants to be a Kindergarten Teacher! Who knows? That's a great job, and it runs in the Family, since I used to be a Kindergarten Teacher way back in the Day! ha,ha!

Now I have this relatively tiny portion of time all to myself, but it's not enough time to really sink my teeth into any solid work, but enough to make me think I ought to use that time wisely... so I'm thinking I might go see if there's a Gym in Town that I could go to All By Myself! That would be fun, and I miss Working Out at a real Gym... but then that would take away from my time at Home, and I bought all that Home Gym Equipment... and if I'm going to set aside some major time to Work Out, anyway, why wouldn't I do that at home, where I can watch Ellen Degeneres while I'm working out?? Must think about that!

I'm running out of time, again! I'll be back in a bit to tell you about our Weekend Trip to Radium Hot Springs in the Canadian Rocky Mountains -- beautiful! I took a million great shots, so I'll make up a whole page with those pictures -- later! I'll get a few on here sometime today, though -- Lake Louise was stunning in the Snow, so I'll maybe put those on first...

Talk to you soon! Love, Ailsa xxxooo

Here's a wee Link for you to check out Houses while I'm getting those Pictures!

AK Anchorage Area Anchorage

Great Freebies! * Cool Stuff for School * Travel (New Funny Bit on here!)

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Wednesday, October 13th, 2004. Yo, yo, yo! What up wit' my Peeps? (Yes, that's you...and you are indeed as cool as you might secretly feel yourself to be! ha,ha,ha!) So October 13th is another of my 'Big Freedom Days' ... are you wondering just how many of them I have? ha,ha! Ah, well. Whenever something happens that I feel frees me up to get on with my Life goes on my 'Freedom Day' List! The thing that happened on October 13th, 1995 was that I finally got a Divorce from my first (rhymes with 'worst'...!) Marriage, so that was a great day. You would never think that one of your best things to get is a divorce, but there you go -- sometimes life throws you a curve ball, right? And then going down to L.A. to make all my own decisions about where I want to be from now on -- that's my next set of 'Big Freedom Days'... now I feel like I'm on a roll! (Some sort of tasty French Roll, I hope! ha,ha!)

One of the guys from Totem just came out with a Delivery of the Glass Panels for the Aluminum Railing System on the Hot Tub Deck-- Thanks, Ian! I can't believe it's taken us soooo long to Order that Glass. We had some sort of hang-up about going out and measuring it, for some reason... We finally took about 5 minutes total to go and measure the Frames for the Glass on Monday, since it was a Holiday and we were on our way into the Hot Tub, so I ran and got a Tape Measure, paper and a pen, and we measured the thing. I have no idea why some relatively small jobs in a Building Project seem to take forever. When you put your mind to them, they're done in an instant (well, A 'Building Instant'!), so we're going to make a concerted effort to get all the little things done around the house that we don't really notice, but that might make an impact on a Buyer for our House.

Now here's what we did on the Weekend that was interesting (as opposed to "dull-as-sin", which does not make for good writing -- even worse for good reading! ha,ha,ha!) ... we went into Calgary (a full 15 minute drive, but still -- now that we'se 'Country Folk', it's a big deal to drive all the way into Town!) to check out some Building Lots and some Showhomes. It was a real eye-opener to see how much a considerably smaller home on a tiny little Lot can cost... about the same as what we're selling this house for ($599,000.).

Don't get me wrong -- it was a beautiful house, but we would be looking at going from an Acreage with a 5400 square foot home to a Lot that is 52' Wide and 120' Long with a 2300 square foot home. Not so sure that's a Good Plan. And that particular House overlooked (is that a word?? That sounded right when I said it, but when you look at it, it don't look so good -- like I might have skipped me a few Grades -- like Grades Two through Twelve! ha,ha,ha!) a very pretty Pond. Here's the thing about the old 'Location, Location, Location' Rule for Real Estate -- you have to be very careful where you buy your home if you have a plan of any sort to sell it in the Future, and you want to make a Profit. Most houses go up in Value no matter what, but if you buy in at a really high Initial Price, you might not have much 'Wiggle Room' for a Profit, and that ain't good for us. It would be fine for someone who wanted to live in the same house for the rest of their lives, but that's so far outside of my realm that it's not realistic for us.

Then we went to another Area not that far from the first place (we like the South End of Calgary, since we do the vast majority of our work at this end of the City), and checked out the Building Lots on the Ridge overlooking a River and the Mountains. Now, these were incredible Lots, and very pretty. Definitely the Value would go waaaay up on anything you had Built in this Neighborhood. I wanted to see if there were any Lots you could buy and either Build Yourself (a 'B.Y.O.B.' Lot -- Bring Your Own Builder) or bring in a Builder not typically in the Area. Sometimes those Lots come open at the beginning of a Major Development when there are many Lots available. These Lots had all been taken up with the Standard Builders (who are very good, by the way), and the house we liked would have ended up being around $900,000., would be at least 2000 square feet smaller than this house, and the Taxes would be insane.

The Building Lots, themselves, ranged from the $120,000.'s to over $300K, so I said to Dwight, "Hey, are we craaazy? We could buy a lot of Land for that kind of coin out in the Country, AND have a fabulous Mountain View." Luckily, he agreed, and then I mentioned that I was going to re-configure this House ('cause remember that I drew it the first time around... then just had it Professionally drawn up into Blueprints), and then maybe we'll just Build again in the country. (I'll tell you, it's great to be back home and all settled with my Life, since it was impossible to make any Plans of any substance when I wasn't clear on where I wanted to be... now I know and we're going full steam ahead -- now how many times can you squeeze the phrase 'full steam ahead' into your modern-day conversation?? ha,ha,ha!)

Of course, if we go ahead and 'Build it Ourselves' (the reason for this whole Website!!), we'll save Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars, and still end up with a much bigger home. Hmmm. So this morning I got out some Graph Paper and started to redesign this house. I already knew what I want the next house to look like -- move the bedrooms from the South End of the House up and over the new Garage, which would be a 5-Car Garage. That would make the house a One & a Half Storey Home, cut down on the amount of Cement for the Lower Walk-Out Level, make the house a bit smaller, but keep the integrity of the Living Room and Kitchen, which I would have a hard time parting with, since they are gorgeous and huuuge (Yippee!)-- and it would be 'Open to Below, which is a lovely Feature in any Home!. We would still have enormous Bedrooms for everybody, since all of the Show Homes we looked at on the Weekend had teenie tiny Bedrooms for the Children, and I don't like that. They have waaay more stuff than we do, and they need some space. So I'm back to the 'Drawing Board', so-to-speak, and loving it! YaaHoo, I'm Baaack!!

And then, things got even better and I got a letter in my email from Home Depot, and I was accepted into their Affiliate Program, so I am thrilled about that! WooHoo! So now you can buy all your Building and Construction Materials through My Site (!!), have them delivered straight to your House, and not even have to bother with trying to stuff it all into your car... or Van or Truck...! And they have a fabulous Selection of Home Decorating and Seasonal Stuff, so click in to see what they have, then tell all yo' friends to go through me, too! It's the Same Great Price for you, but they give me a little 'somethin', somethin', and that keeps me going! Then I can build yet another home! ha,ha,ha!

Thanks for swinging in for a wee visit! And thanks for your lovely letters welcoming me back -- it's great to be back! (And a special 'Hello' to Theresa and Jenise -- thanks for your extra support!)

See you soon! Love & Luck (It's a Good Combo Platter! ha,ha!), Ailsa!

Great Freebies! * Cool Stuff for School * Travel (New Funny Bit on here!)

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Friday, October 8th, 2004. Hey, Honey! I'm finally back Home! Wit' my Home-ies! Oh, and I missed you, and judging from the letters (Thank you!), I think you missed me, too! That's good -- that means we were meant for one another, right?? ha,ha! So were you wondering what was going on? Yeah, me too. Here's the low-down -- for years and years I had desperately (and I mean desperately...) wanted to return to Los Angeles and pick my old life where I had left off 13 years ago. I wasn't able to make the choice all by myself about whether I wanted to live and work there, before (if you're a long-time Reader, you'll know I had a big stooopid Court Battle...), so all these years I had been carrying around this tremendous need to make the decision for myself where I wanted and needed to live. And that's why I went to L.A. for the week -- all by myself.

The Thursday before I left for Los Angeles, I was going to cancel the whole trip, but I'd already paid for it, so I thought I might as well go through with it, and I'm glad I did. What an eye-opener. You know what happens when you live in your Memory? You remember things the way you wanted them to be, or thought they were, rather than the reality. Since I was there all by myself, I wasn't able to just go out for Dinner with My Family -- you can't really go out all by yourself at night in the City -- not as a Visitor, anyway, when you can't for the life of you remember which Street you're on! (Me!!)

So here's the reality -- or one part of it... the only times I actually went out for Dinner was when I went with people I met at the Hotel, who were also travelling alone and didn't have a clue what to do about their Dinner. Not with Friends, who are great, by the way, but everyone is sooooo busy down there -- they're available for Breakfast and Lunch, but not in the Evening. And I was only there for a week. Maybe because it's such an enormous City, geographically, you think, "Well, I'm home, Thank God, and there's no way I'm heading out to The Valley, now..." Okay, that was me thinking that, but that's because I had just left the Valley, and when I got back to the Hotel and turned the TV on, the Street I had been specifically looking for that day was on the News with some major Hold Up or Lock Down or whatever it is that they call it -- but whatever it's called, it ain't good... Of course, Calgary was looking better and better with every passing minute!

I did go down to the School District, to see aobut getting a Teaching Position with them, but they have a massive amount of Paperwork that needed to go through, and get this -- you have to pay for all sorts of things in the Process. Hmmmmm. I've never actually PAID for a Job, before, and you know what they say about Teachers -- they ain't rich! Puhleeease. I was lucky enough to be in a position where I just found it irritating (and wrong), but the vast majority of Teachers who are actively looking for aThen I picked up some Real Estate Guides and Rental job don't have extra money to see if they can even be accepted for a Position, so I wasn't pleased by that. Also, when I went to the Schools to see about an actual job, it turned out that the Schools didn't have any Positions available. And I'd been told to get down there right away to secure a Position by the end of the week that I was there. Right. Very annoyink. And another reason I don't think L.A. is the right place for me, anymore -- perhaps far into the future, but definitely not now.

And there is this new thing in the States (I think it's Nation-wide) called 'No Child Left Behind'. Sounds fancy, no? Here's the thing about Politically charged phrases -- they sound lovely when Politicians talk about them, but the actual implementation of some of the Policies is a nightmare for the Staff of the School Systems. Apparently, as part of this new 'No Child Left Behind' (as opposed to the old 'We're not sure how many kids have been left behind, but I think it might be close to 50% in some sectors'...) program, I would have to take a Computer Course to prove Competency on the Computer -- I told the I have a very large and successful Website, but that's no proof of competency, now, is it? You have a Box to check off, and that can only happen at the completion of said Course. Which is to be paid for by the Employee, by the way. Another Fee for Poor Teachers. Wonder how many good teachers switch Fields? I'd like to see some Stats on that.

Then I picked up the Real Estate Guides and Rental Property Magazines to see what I could buy. Turns out, I could maybe get a yucky little Condo about 4 hours away... no, no. It would only be about a two hour commute into work... ugh. That's crazy. But I'll never complain about the 7 minute drive into Okotoks, the little Town closest to us, again! Or the 15 minute commute into Calgary! That seemed like a long drive, before! ha,ha! Now I see the light... it just took a good hard look at Reality for me to see it. And to Rent anything that would remotely work for us, the Rent was between $2300 & $3,000. a Month. Man, you'd get a castle for that up here in Calgary. I'd rather have a gorgeous house up here with some snow than great weather and a hole in the wall down there. It's just the way I is... ha,ha,ha!

Did I mention before that I had a little idea to Buy Land down in L.A. and build a house down there? ya-ha,ha! Nope. That wouldn't be happenin' ... for one, there isn't any Land to Buy, and what might be available is soooo far outside the City that you would be better off just to buy the Lot and some sort of Winnebago since you wouldn't have any money left to build anything, and you'd be spending the vast majority of your time commuting back and forth to work, anyway. Hmmm. Sounds delightful. And you get to be alone all the time, too! WooHoo! Oh, wait -- that's not appealing! What was I thinking?? So I got a big ol' dose of Reality, and couldn't wait to get back here to Calgary. Whatever problems Dwight and I had before are greatly diminished, now, since compared to what I would be dealing with on a day-to-day basis down there, it ain't nuthin' we can't work on! So that was very good to know. Saved us both a big pile o' money -- not enough to buy anything great down there, but more than enough to buy all sorts of Land up here!

So our New Plan is to Sell this House, buy up a nice piece of Land in Calgary (with any luck, a Water Front Lot or a Nice Big Lot with a Mountain View and Green Space behind it...), and either Build on our own or Hire a Builder we already know that we both like. We've already chosen a potential Style -- it's a Two-Storey Victorian, and we would have an Attached Triple Car Garage with a Bonus Room over the Garage... you can see we've given it some thought! And then next year we would go ahead and purchase a Condo for Cara to live in when she's ready to move out, so we don't have to worry about where she's living, or whether she can afford it. Down in L.A., getting an Apartment for Cara would be a total 'no-go'. I'd need yet another million for that! ha,ha!

Now you're all caught up with what's been happening with me. I can't tell you how much relief I feel, now that I've been able to make the decision about where I am going to live, and how I am going to live, all by myself -- no Courts involved at all. When you are told what to do, it's not the same as making the choice on your own -- no matter how great the life is, so I absolutely had to see for myself which life would be better for me and everyone else. Dwight is, of course, relieved as well, since that was hanging over all our heads for too many years, and I needed to resolve it. Dwight has made Reservations at a really lovely Restaurant for our Anniversary, which is coming up soon, and we're going all by orselves. We're going to make some big changes in our Relationship, and one of them is to spend more time just the two of us, which I think will be good.

Man, I didn't even have time to mention The Apprentice! But I did think it was good to see Pamela go -- I didn't like her, then I did like her, but in the end, she would be very difficult to work with in a large Company, so she gots to go! As do I!

So I'll see you soon! I'm not so sure about the Daily Update, anymore -- a bit too time-consuming without enough compensation, if you know what I mean! So I'll write a couple of times a week, I'm thinking, or whenever the urge to write is overwhelming! ha,ha!

Happy Thanksgiving to All My Canadian Readers! It's Good to Be Back!
Love & Luck, Ailsa!

You know I love Home Remedies! Check this out -- all sorts of things for 'whatever ails ya'!

I love this Ad for Spongebob Squarepants Screensavers because on of my very favorite Spongebob scenes is where Spongebob is secretly watching a Show of Jellyfish like it's a porn movie, when Gary the Snail comes in the room and Spongebob yelps at getting caught watching 'something bad' and quickly changes the channel so Gary can't see it ... Hilarious!

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