Sunday, December 31, 2006
It’s New Years Eve and bloggers everywhere are succumbing to the temptation and making resolutions, each with disclaimers stating that they already know they won’t keep them.
I don’t see anything wrong with resolutions. In one way, they confirm you to be a person of optimism, of eternal hope. Change is possible. Whether you do it or not, at least for a moment you felt inspired.
(Enjoy it. There will be enough reality during that inevitable cold snap towards the end of January.)
On the other hand, there is something to be said for action. We’ve accepted the new budget as rote and so resolutions seem moot. This isn’t just a good idea, it’s the new reality.
I’ve never appreciated what I have more than I do now, for some reason. It’s like I’ve been handed a bit of money and a box of stuff, “here. This is what you have to work with.” We are very fortunate to have a lot to work with. If we can’t buy another single thing for 2 ½ years (groceries aside), we still won’t lack for much, even entertainment. I even broke out my old yoga DVD’s this morning. This afternoon, we’re going to play board games with friends.
Who needs a resolution when you’re already living it.
Happy New Year.
Friday, December 29, 2006
Happy (Frugal) New Year
We calculated six months of our spending, saving and more spending. It took us weeks, but finally every number was accounted for; right down to every single little $1.50 charge from using the wrong ATM.
Then, we hit ‘send’ and chewed on our fingernails. This morning, the verdict:
What a beautiful couple you are. Unfortunately, that won’t help to mitigate what you lack in good financial sense (which is considerable).
And, The Budget. This roadmap of colour-coded numbers will be our bible for the foreseeable future.
The news that makes me throw up a little:
- We’ve been spending three times more than we make.
The bad news:
- our variable spending (food, transportation, entertainment, etc.) is cut by a whopping 67%. The first year is going to be very tight.
- What we could easily spend in a weekend is now our entertainment budget for the entire month.
- THERE IS NO BUDGET FOR THE SALON.
The good news:
- If we stick to this, we’ll be completely out of debt in 2 ½ years. Completely. Out. Of. Debt. I can't tell you what it feels like to say that.
It makes Trevor nervous that I talk about our finances on my blog. You’re all mostly friends and family, so I’m less nervous about it*. But yes, I feel the shame, too. We’re meant to be smarter than this.
But as my parents pointed out last night, the strength is in owning up to the problem in the first place. Forget the ego bruising. We have to take pride in the fact that we made the first, most important step.
The debt stops here.
*if he asks me not to post about something, I don't. This is Trevor-Approved (TA).
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Three-Week Countdown to Spaying
I have so much to tell you about Christmas. Hiking the Bruce Trail and momentarily thinking the dog had gone over the falls. Spooking the people of Orangeville with what few may have recognized as It Came Upon A Midnight Clear. A whooooole lotta wine.
But I can’t really think straight right now. I feel like I need a big handful of steel wool to scrub my brain clean.
There are things I wish I didn’t know about pet ownership. Event after event, I'm forced to know these things. I’ve had to educate myself at light speed about diarrhea and earwax and spraying. Ripped dewclaws, torn ears and skunkings. Every month or so, I have to do something to my dog that involves Vaseline and rubber gloves and a whole lot of paper towel.
But tonight was a first and, God willing, a last. We came home from our wonderful Christmas to a kitten in the serious throws of her first heat.
Oh. My. Freaking. Lord.
Boomer was growling like… a cat in heat (there really is no simile for it). She was wrapping herself around anything that looked like it might be male. Kiwi looked like he wanted to commit suicide.
“We gotta do something about this,” Trevor said, extracating Boomer from his face.
I found the solution online. I don’t think you want to know. I’m sure as hell going to pretend I don’t know.
Only know that the following is 100% true:
The cat orgasm that follows this procedure is something the likes of which I have never seen elsewhere. It is a wriggling, leaping, moaning dance of ecstasy that defies any experience of pleasure my mind can even begin to grasp. If humans had orgasms with the intensity of a cat serviced in this way there would be no such thing as war, hunger, capitalism or God.
Now, where did I put that steel wool?
Friday, December 22, 2006
Oh There It Is!
My Christmas spirit has finally arrived, wrapped in a can of Graber olives and two fingers of Laphroaig.
My song picks for this year, and I simply cannot get enough of them, are:
Papa Noel - Brenda Lee
Gee Whiz It's Christmas - Carla Thomas
Maybe This Christmas - Ron Sexsmith
I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm (STUHR Remix) - Kay Starr
"So You Want To Be A Writer"
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don't do it.
(via The Naked Novelist)
The Big Snit
Oh my gawd, I LOVE this cartoon! So happy to see it again.
The Big Snit
It's Big O time. Remember to do your part.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Seriously Lacking the Spirit Today UPDATED
TREV: Somalia and Ethiopia are at war
WORKING: No way!
TREV: It just never ends
WORKING: Humans are too stupid to survive. I swear to God.
TREV: It's so true
WORKING: I mean it. We can’t help ourselves. As a species, we are not meant to survive.
WORKING: Every newscast has something about global warming now. Dramatic changes.
TREV: The Current was all about how St Moritz has cancelled skiing competitions. Europe has gone from 10 resorts using snowmaking machines to 180 in just a few years.
WORKING: We're completely screwed.
WORKING: These wars? Those issues are archaic. Something larger is happening to us. Something with horrible implications.
WORKING: Merry farking Christmas.
* * *
I couldn't leave it like that. Last Christmas was about family, lots and lots of glorious family (Trev and I lucked out in the family department, on both sides).
This year's theme might be a renewal of hope. New season, new hope. So in that spirit, here are some good news stories that made me feel better:
US Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement
Walmart discovers going green pays off
Warren Buffet gives it all away
The trees are coming back?
Black rhino numbers back up
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
The Editors Regret the Error
TREV: You wrote that Saavik was a Klingon.
WORKING: Oh shyte, she was a Romulan.
WORKING: And half Vulcan. Damn.
WORKING: I'm going to get hate mail.
WORKING: I always thought she had a forehead ridge. Stupid memory!
HIstory of Religion
TNG vs. BSG
WORKING: Don't you think Limey / Boomer is more of a Dee?
WORKING: Yeah, maybe not.
TREV: Do you not like 'Boomer'?
WORKING: Just trying to get a read on her personality.
WORKING: She's currently trying to attack the dog, so right now she's more of a Starbuck. But Boomer's tough, too.
TREV: And a little ironic. I like ironic names
WORKING: Why is ‘Boomer’ ironic?
TREV: She’s slight, petite, sweet. Lacking in BOOM in every way. That's why it works.
TREV: She licked my nose this morning
WORKING: I bet you wish the real Boomer would lick your nose...
WORKING: You don't think people will think we're geeky?
TREV: No I don't think so. Unless we tell people it's from Battlestar Galactica.
WORKING: This is taking me back to when I was 12 and I named my guinea pigs Saavik and Tasha. Then Tasha had Saavik's babies, which is completely impossible because Tasha was from Star Trek: TNG and Saavik first appeared in Star Trek II. And Saavik was a Klingon. Oh, and both were women.
TREV: I'd still like to see them try to pull it off though
TREV: Not your guinea pigs, BTW.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
I do love me some Zefrank. Especially good today.
The New Cat
WORKING: Do you know where the camera is? I have digital pics to take.
TREV: The camera is... on the bookshelf I think.
WORKING: oh yeah.
WORKING: Charlie is on her usual corner of the couch and Limey is in the cat bed, mere inches away. We have finally achieved peace.
TREV: so where's Kiwi?
WORKING: He was sulking in the middle of the kitchen floor. I just put him on the office chair. A place of honour. Until I sit my big ass down on him (he does blend into it).
* * *
You know what kind of guests I like? The kind who show up on your doorstep with sugar cookies, oolong tea, free alarm clocks and animals and then twist your rubber arm to go for all-you-can-eat sushi. Great to see you, K. and J.. We'll miss you. We'll take good care of your little Limey. Safe travels. Love, T. and W.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Re: Verizon Post
TREV: I felt so bad for that guy. I hope those people get shamed. They still won't get it, though.
WORKING: The caller makes it very clear. I actually learned something. The supervisors on the other end are just stunned.
TREV: I've seen people write 2 cents as .02 cents a lot.
TREV: It's like a deep-rooted grammatical mistake, one that's made habitually. There's no way to fix it because they've always looked at it that way. Like saying eXetera, not et cetera, or IR-regardless.
TREV: Their calculations are fine, but it's their terminology that's the problem. If you mean .002 cents then you have to accept that it's .00002 dollars. He'd be able to explain it if he could write it down in front of them. They just don't get what he's saying.
WORKING: We are getting dumberer.
TREV: I wonder if our reliance on calculators has caused this.
WORKING: Sure. And the fact that "I don't get math" is now an acceptable dismissal of any responsibility to try and understand basic principles.
WORKING: We're lazy.
TREV: And now we've lost the CONCEPT!
TREV: It's hard to explain. I think that with anything, especially math, visualization is at least half of the key to understanding a problem. We're losing the conceptual part of math because we're lazy and just use the calculator. that's why it was always so important in school to show your work. Not because the teacher wanted to prove that you didn't use a calculator but because they wanted to see that you understood the concept of what you were doing.
WORKING: V. good point.
TREV: There was a conversation about what a quarter of an hour meant. Someone thought (insisted, actually) that it was 25 minutes.
WORKING: I bemoan the fact that people at shops these days can't count back change. They must be screwed during power outages.
TREV: I did it once as a kid at a garage sale. I was tallying up how much money I made and it was a phenomenal amount. My friend, skeptical, questioned it. I was counting in units of 60 cents. Like minutes. Every time I got to 60 cents, I assumed I had a dollar. I don't know what I was thinking. And now, counting video time code has totally screwed me up.
WORKING: I once sold a Gretzky rookie card for $1.75.
WORKING: It was meant to be $175.
WORKING: (still a good deal at $175 - this was 16 years ago and the edges on it were a little rough)
TREV: where, when and how the hell did you do that?
WORKING: I was working at my uncle's card store. I wasn't allowed to touch the cards under the glass after that.
WORKING: Luckily the kid's dad brought it back and said, “Er, I think you made a mistake.” Sure enough, I'd mistaken a scratch or a speck of dust for a decimal point.
TREV: Wow, what an honest guy!
WORKING: Wow, what a lucky girl!
Embarassed much, Verizon Wireless? The customer is a great teacher. The Supervisor, not such a great student. Little long, but lots of fun.
Conversations and Links
What happens to your body when you drink coke.
Some of these album covers actually disturbed me.
If you’re into metaphysics, which I am, this site has a lovely little video. Click on "Imagining the Ten Dimensions" in the menu. I was surprised to see the author might actually be from my hometown.
“Damn. My ass is backlit.”
(Wife falls over laughing)
"Well! It just looks funny."
(Note: this wasn't a kinky situation. He was getting into his jammies).
“She’s acting super cute this morning.”
“I know. Look at her!” (Wife snuggles her face into soft doggy fur)
“I wonder if she does that to compensate for the fact that she’s really a filthy creature.”
“Think about it. She’s covered in dirt, her own saliva, other dogs' shit, God knows what else. She has to be cute act or we’d never touch her.” (Wife releases dog)
Saturday, December 16, 2006
We've just adopted a cat. There was begging involved, by someone we love and who is very hard to say no to.
Bag not included. She is a petite little kitty in soft greys and oranges, with a little pink nose and big eyes, which you can't really appreciate here because she's glaring at the dog.
Not sure how that's going to go.
She met the dog on our weekend away, but she hasn't met Kiwi. Kiwi likely has 10 lbs. on her.
Not sure how that's going to go.
Bloody hell, what have we done?
The Administration wishes to apologize for the pajama-wearing, coffee-swilling, fruitcake-eating curmudgeon that appeared on this blog not two hours ago. We try to keep her in the back room.
League in Support of Fruitcake
Dear You (the World):
Okay, look. I have to break my silence. I’ve put up with this oppression for long enough and I can’t live with it anymore. Especially at this time of year.
WHAT THE HELL IS SO BAD ABOUT FRUITCAKE?
I happen to like fruitcake. I could even say I LOVE fruitcake. I have it every year. I’m happy to see it on store shelves, albeit in smaller supplies and varieties these days because of its undeserved reputation.
The darker varieties are less appealing, especially when they have crunchy raisin seeds in them or too many raisins at all. But I quite enjoy lighter varieties, especially my Mother-in-Law’s homemade version and I’m not just saying that to suck up (she’s stuck with me anyway).
So why do people hate it with such passion?
Here’s what I think (like you could be spared from what I think. This is my blog): It’s about word of mouth. It’s a cliché to hate fruitcake now. Every media personality is safe with a joke about the recycled fruitcake (safe and boring).
Second, it’s about the fruit. Fruit used to be a huge treat, especially in the winter. Now it’s a chore. And finding it in a cake makes eating cake feel like work.
Plus, we’ve gotten boring. Yeah, I said we! We are all addicted to processed sugar. Food dyes and machine-punched shapes create enough variety for our now boring palates, so long as it tastes like sugar. If you had a real chocolate bar, say a nice 70% cacao, there’s a chance you wouldn’t like it because it doesn’t taste like pure sugar (I sure don't). Sugar is what makes up the average bar. You can go ahead and feed a Kit-Kat to your dog – they’ll probably just catch a buzz. (DISCLAIMER: Do not feed any sort of chocolate bar to your dog, you moron. I'm just saying you probably don't have to freak out quite as much if 'poopser' breaks into your secret stash. I'm not a vet).
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know fruitcake is probably a whole lot of sugar and that’s probably why I like it. And the fruit is crystallized in sugar and blah-ditty-blah-blah. Shut up. I just like fruitcake and it adds a distinct flavour to Christmas that I hope doesn't die out.
Which is why as soon as this sucker’s posted, I’m off to find me one. You can't have any. Oh fine, but I get the piece with the most cherries.
Friday, December 15, 2006
WORKING: Do you ever have "stupid finger" days? Where it scrolls and clicks on things you didn't want to scroll and click on? Over and over again?
TREV: quite often
WORKING: A spider just crawled into the printer. It was sitting on the track the ink carriage runs across. So I hit ‘print’….
WORKING: Somehow, I think that's going to bite me in the ass.
TREV: how is that going to bite you in the ass?
WORKING: Dead spider karma.
TREV: no no no. You silly girl. What happens is that when you kill a spider, it RAINS.
WORKING: But I think he survived because there are no guts on my printout.
TREV: ok, I gotta go get some lunch.
WORKING: You know, it looks like it is going to rain. But the spider just crawled up the wall, so it's clearly not my fault.
Friday, Don't Be Like That!
Trev and I had that uncomfortable encounter in the kitchen this morning. The one where clock on the coffeemaker reads 8:27AM and we’re still in our pajamas, late for work, but we’re arguing. The one where we are trying to have a conversation! over the tortuous howling of Kiwi-the-cat, who NEEDS TO GO OUTSIDE RIGHT NOW.
It’s December 15th(in case you didn’t know). Christmas is essentially a week’s worth of business days away. Our gifts are not ready to go and they still have to travel across three provinces! (I say in high-pitched tones to emphasize the intensity of the situation). Our grand ideas have deteriorated into piles of niggling details that we just can’t seem to pull together.
“Take the day off.”
“I can’t take the day off!”
“You could work tomorrow.”
“I have changes that need to be delivered TODAY.”
“Oh. Well, going to that party tonight is off. Well! What are we supposed to do? We can’t leave it another day.”
Uh oh, Trev, now really late for work, just asked where the iron was. It took me a moment to remember I took it to set weeks ago. And never brought it home. The brand new iron.
Charlie is clearly feeling the tension:
(Trev to Charlie, “Why do you hate Bush so much? Don’t be so partisan.”)
*Note: I have it on good authority that some Americans find this doggy toy disrespectful. I won't pretend that I understand taking politics so seriously, but assure you I mean no disrespect. It was a gift, the dog likes its hardheaded texture and they haven’t had time to make Stephen Harper dolls, which I’d happily let her demolish. By the time they do make one, he could be out of office. Ah, minority governments!
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Very Cool: Jerome Murat
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Well, At Least It's In the Black
Okay. So, um, yeah. In preparation for a financial makeover by an expert, Trev and I are tallying our assets and our liabilities. It’s the first time in our 2-month marriage that we’ve put the numbers side-by-side on paper. It’s kind of like modeling your oldest pair of undies, the ones with the holes and threadbare patches in all the wrong places, the elastic gone in one leg.
We have entered every transaction of the last six months into a form that spits out category totals with alarming efficiency and we have learned the following:
- We spent more on the wedding than we thought.
- Our ‘restaurant’ category is atrociously high.
- We spend more on clothes than we thought we did, and still complain that we have nothing to wear (okay, I do). Which means we are crap shoppers (okay, I am).
- My ‘stuff’ column on my credit card was all iTunes and Audible purchases. So, so, so many of them.
And finally, the grand total. After pounding keys and pulling levers, the Magic Number Cruncher spit the out the number:
Trevor and I are worth a whopping $1,033.86.
WORKING: I shredded an entire recycling bag full of paper. Then I realized someone's home upstairs.
WORKING: Probably shouldn't do that before 8:30 AM.
WORKING: BTW, Cerebral Palsy Foundation is picking up bags of clothes on the 21st. I said we'd have something ready for them. My intention is to get a few closets cleaned right out.
WORKING: My thoughts are, if we haven't worn it or used it in 2 years, it goes.
TREV: I had to shame my bus driver this morning.
TREV: I rang the bell to get off at St. Lawrence Market, He then sped past the next 2 stops. So I walked along the bus up to him and said (a little loudly) "Are you not fond of the last 2 stops?" He looked down, saw the light and said "Oh, sorry. I didn't hear it". There were only 5 people on the bus. How could He not hear?
WORKING: Maybe he was thinking about that warm, delicious scone he was going to buy at Union Station.
TREV: ha! Probably.
TREV: At least he realized he was in the wrong. Gave himself a smirk. Some guys act like "Whatever".
WORKING: As though it's your fault for taking the bus in the first place.
TREV: Like I should be grateful to get off at all
* * *
TREV: (that's my new word. I'm going all '40's)
WORKING: That’s in the groove. (Very good). But don’t be all hincty about it.
TREV: do you mean hincky?
WORKING: It says 'hincty' on the site I'm reading.
WORKING: You obviously don't got your boots on.
TREV: swell, mack. Real swell
WORKING: You just think you're all Fifth Avenue 'cuz you're togged to the bricks.
TREV: knock off the balloon juice you cellar smeller. I gotta crack down.
WORKING: Nice one!
. . .
WORKING: Hey! I’m not a drunk! Yet.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I’m a bit nauseous. It could be a bug. Or, it could been that big mug of tea halved with condensed milk followed immediately by cottage cheese halved with Frank's Red Hot sauce.
There might have been curdling.
However, the nausea only lasted a few minutes. I swear I have a stomach that could strip a car.
We had a great weekend. I mean, there was Trev’s Grandpa’s wine in copious amounts. There was eggnog and two kinds of pie and chocolates and really good pasta salad and roasted ham and perogies! There was music and conversation and Tarot card reading and pictures and homemade presents.
There were two sweet little cats running circles around Charlie and she loved it. Naturally, she started farting because when we’re around Trev’s sister and her fiancé, that’s what Charlie does. Not a pwftt! from her for months and then a whole weekend of it. It’s like she saves up just for them.
This week is a bit of madness because our families live so far away (or we live so far away. We're the ones who did the moving, after all). So this is the week of frantic shopping and wrapping and mailing. By next week it’ll all be too late anyway, so there’ll be time for ye ol' Christmas Steam Whistle and ye ol' Christmas olives (best I've ever had in my life).
I must find real perogies for Christmas Eve. Somewhere in Toronto there must be Saskatchewan-style perogies and maybe even cabbage rolls. I’m excited for the hunt.
Whoa, gotta go. The concoction in my tummy has made, er, 'effective progress'. Oh, and there appears to be a fistfight starting on the street between the contractors working on the neighbour's house. Oh, a lady just shamed them for screaming on the street. They've moved it to the back yard, just over our fence! I must away!
Monday, December 11, 2006
Happy Monday! Via Newt's Muse, who I've just discovered.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
We’re off on an overnight road trip to share some much needed Christmas cheer with some truly excellent people. I’m even related to them, now!
Meanwhile, comfort books. I have certain books I always reach for when I’m down, even though I’ve read them a million times. The Adrian Mole series. Bloom County, or Calvin and Hobbes or For Better or For Worse comics. Anne of Green Gables, Jane Austen, the Amelia Peabody mysteries. Jasper Fforde and Harry Potter. I almost deleted some of those for being way too sappy or typical to admit to, but screw it. Comfort books aren't chosen intellectually.
What are your comfort books?
Friday, December 08, 2006
Astro-Weenie Christmas Tree
Charles Phoenix's Astro-Weenie Christmas Tree
I'm in love with this.
Anxiety and Carols
Anonymous mentioned General Anxiety Disorder in the comments and offered a link to Wikipedia, which has this to say:
(I pause here to turn down the radio, as a local artist is absolutely torturing ‘Good King Wenceslas’. The audience is applauding enthusiastically anyway. Christmas is about cheer, afterall).
GAD sufferers often worry excessively over things such as their job, their finances, and the health of themselves and their family.
Yup, that sounds about right.
GAD sufferers can also worry over more minor matters such as deadlines for appointments, keeping the house clean, and whether or not their workspace is properly organized.
Er, is worrying that the house is a disgusting mess the same thing?
A few things help with the worrying. One, watching documentaries like this and realizing I don’t have problems. Not really.
Second, just take one small step, one small action. Then another small action. Forget tomorrow, forget big strategies, just do one small thing now. That has always worked for me. ‘Course, my head jumps about ten steps ahead and I’m worrying about “how are we ever going to do this? What if we don’t? What about this, this and that?” That’s the part I’m going to work on controlling today.
My expectations for debt reduction are very high and I unleashed my anxiety on Trevor last night. I have impeccable timing – I waited until we were in bed and his eyelids were almost completely closed. As usual.
One thing that came out of our conversation was that we won’t be buying Christmas gifts for each other this year. No, it’s not about creating a feeling of scarcity. Not at all. It’s just that we already have a lot of stuff. Movies we never watch, books that haven’t been read, cameras and Tarot cards that don’t get used. What we need is an interruption of spending and a little more appreciation and creativity.
My mind is already forging ahead towards anxiety. Little actions. I'm going to pull two tarot cards. I'm going to do the dishes. I’m going to pull out the Christmas tree.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Hoping for Some Lightning
outward circumstances will only change
when the internal circumstances do.
-- Advice Rcv'd 12/5/06
Yup, I’ve walked to the end of the springboard peeking over the Fool's Cliff and hollered out, “I need a little help, here! Anyone?”
Luckily, a mentor from the past appeared and threw me a climbing rope and a couple carabiners. I’m still kind of navel-gazing, but there is a soft glimmer of hope. So soft I can’t even really see it, but I have faith that it’s there.
I don’t think I suffer from depression. It’s more of a consistent guilt and pressure about what I’m doing, not doing. Plus the weight of my physical health ('weight', get it? Ha! Urgh). Yesterday I walked for well over an hour with the dogs and then held our second dance party in a row (the dogs are improving, much less barking). So, things must be on the upswing.
In other news, I think our French teacher had a crisis last night. He argued vehemently over the terminology for lightning vs. lightning bolt vs. thunder. He accused us of questioning him when he’d been “speaking French since age zero” and grew up with lightning storms on the plains of Angola (or mountains of Uganda. I still kind of suck at French).
I wasn’t intending to push him, it’s just that he kept saying that lightning was lightning and lightning was also thunder, which didn’t jive with my Larousse French-English Pocket Edition. I said someone was wrong. He said it was Larousse. “I admit when I’m wrong, and I’m not wrong.”
He finally pulled out a massive dictionary and read the definitions to us (en Francais), which confirmed our suspicions that lightning, lightning bolt and thunder are also separate concepts in the French language. “There you go,” he concluded emphatically, “lighting is thunder.”
On the subway ride home, the 40-something Investment Banker (who is going to retire next year to spend his time with his toddler) suggested that the poor guy had clearly realized he was wrong, that he’d been wrong about the lightning-thunder phenomenon his whole life, and that one does not like to have this sort of epiphany in front of a dozen cheeky adult students, most of whom work for the government.*
*They intimidate me, too. I feel like I need to get a real job. See paragraph three'ish.
Revelations tarot deck by Zach Wong
outward circumstances will only change
when the internal circumstances do.
-- Advice Rcv'd 12/5/06