Sunday, December 31, 2006

shuffling into 2007

Even though I've been moving much slower in recent days, 2006 doesn't seem to have received the memo and the last two weeks have just flown past. A new year starts in just a few hours and as usual I've got mixed feelings about it.

This year has had it's fair share of challenges, but I think they were well balanced with some very exciting and very happy times. Alex's Mom is on the mend and my back isn't giving me quite as much grief and right now, those are two very important things in our lives.

I think 2007 will just have to be a good year. My tendencies to be a klutz have been satisfied for a while (a LONG LONG while I hope) and miraculously I'm still intact...my thumb has recovered from when I tried to chop it off and my back improves a little bit every day. I'm telling 2007 right now that this means that 2006 got to have the accidents, so 2007 WILL be accident free! Exciting things are planned for 2007 and while I'm sad to say goodbye to 2006, next year will also be a year of memory making!

Tonight we're celebrating quietly with some board games and family fun (okay, if you've met my family, you might not call it quiet)...I can't wait! The hype of New Years Eve doesn't get me excited, but I love the low key kinds of celebrations. And besides, my New Year starts in September...this New Year just means I need to try to remember to write 2007 on my cheques and we need to hang new calendars in the house!

I hope you all have wonderful New Years celebrations, celebrating the arrival of 2007 in *your* favourite way!

That's all until next year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Project 365

The other day, Laurie wrote a post about Project 365.

It intrigued me.

And I kept thinking about it.

And if you know me, you know I have a (sometimes) annoying habit of wandering around with my camera. ALL THE TIME.

So I have a gazillion pictures on my computer that I don't know what to do with...and I thought, well, maybe this will
a) slow down my picture taking because it will make me busier (because I'm truly not busy enough, ha!)
b) give me something to do with my pictures
c) make me write a little something more everyday (my writing instructor keeps telling me to write often, write more often, and write anything)

I also thought, maybe my desire to create a project 365 blog is a direct result of the recent restriction my ability to move, use the comptuer and general function "normally" (yes, normal is a relative and definitely personal term), so maybe once life goes back to being what it normally is, I'll get bored or get busy or just lose interest. Maybe my camera is sad right now because it has hardly been used since I decided to demostrate why I'm not a gymnast or an acrobat....

So, the sister site to scribbles, scratches and scrawls will debut tomorrow. It is currently "under construction" which means I'm playing with the template and making changes and that means unexpected things might happen, but if they do I'll try to fix them...cause it's fun...or something...visit if you want...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Danish Dinner in k-town

Seven years ago, Kelsey went to Denmark on a Rotary Exchange. The Christmas after Kelsey was in Denmark she started a new tradition at our house. My Mom and Dad were in Denmark in June, so they were able to bring some of the necessities (like candles and napkins...oh, and some of the food) back with them.

So, last night it was finally time for Danish dinner and there were a few excited people around our house! Kelsey also invited a few friends, including Signe, another former Rotary Exchange Student from Denmark who has been living here since October.

Kelsey worked very hard to make all the yummy food. We had bread from Skalleb├Žk, the best bakery in Denmark (it's even drive through!), and herring and meatballs.

Kelsey made brun kartofler (brown potatoes) that we all though were yummy.

making brown potatoesSigne's grandma sent her the recipes and warned they were very hard for a beginner to make. We thought she did a great job!

brown potatoesKelsey demonstrated the steps to drinking akvavit and suggested we chase it with beer.

Step One:

akvavit step oneFill your glass full and SMILE!

Step Two:

akvavit step twoShoot it down.

Step Three:

akvavit step threeSmile 'cause it's soooooooooo yummy!

Judging by the looks on their faces, Alex and James didn't quite agree with Kelsey.

james and alex try akvavitI think this is when someone compared akvavit to turpentine

alex loves akvavitAlex agrees with Kelsey that akvavit must be an acquired taste. Signe told us that you appreciate it more when you live somewhere colder and darker than k-town.

Everyone was happy cause the food was sooooo yummy.

kelsey and signeKelsey and Signe

rebecca and jaredRebecca and Jared

alex and dadAlex and Dad

We finished off with ris al amande, special Christmas rice pudding with almonds and cherry sauce...and Signe, the one true Danish person at the table, found the whole almond and got to take home the present.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sit-Down Christmas Dinner for 25

Here are some of those 25....it was a "small" Christmas for us this year with only 25 people. There were only a few people missing from our little-big family and it was only the little-big family, so the numbers were more manageable than some years.

sitdown dinner for 25
But there was lots of yummy food, lots of loud conversation and laughter and generally, lots of fun...a good follow up to a relaxed morning.

mom got a puppyMom got a puppy

rebecca loves the new puppyRebecca loves the new puppy

kelsey and dadKelsey and Dad

shannon's sleepyShannon's sleepy

is that the date tom??Are you trying to tell us something? Is that the date Tom?

cousinsRebecca, Kelsey and Harmony and Devon approves!

more cousinsJanis and Alisha

beautiful cousinsDevon and Rebecca

christmas blackKathy, Paul and Sandra

And Boxing Day yesterday to recover from all the excitement of Christmas and get ready for round two!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

ahhh....quiet....

I love Boxing Day...it's such a calm quiet day all about family and rest and Scrabble and leftovers and relaxing...and NAPS! Lots of naps!

nativity

Monday, December 25, 2006

it's Christmas!!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

familySay cheese...and everyone look at the same photographer!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Amy and Paul's Pictures

A few weeks ago I wrote about Amy and her trip overseas...I've finally located the pictures she and Paul have been taking and added them to my little list over there on the left. Obviously she won't be home for Christmas...I think maybe she's in Thailand right now, so Amy, hope you're having a great Thai Christmas!

Merry Christmas to All...

Well...the countdown has switched from days to hours...

I have finished my shopping (with a lot of help from my sisters, my Mom, Alex's Mom, Alex and the internet). Alex has finished his shopping. We've wrapped our gifts...now I just get to wait...and stay out of the way of everyone else. Me and my walker, we take up an awful lot of space and get in the way without meaning to more often than not.

Alex and I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and send our best wishes for a happy and healthy new year to everyone. We're celebrating many things this Christmas: besides our engagement, we're celebrating both our marvellous families who have been so supportive this year, but especially in the last month. We're celebrating Alex's Mom's recovery and the continued improvement in her health. We're celebrating the wonderful friends we have with whom we have shared some happy times this year and who have shared our joys with us and so generously offered to help us out when things didn't go exactly as we hoped, particularly in the last few weeks. We figure we're pretty lucky to have such great people surrounding us.

May your holidays be warm and cozy with an abundance of love, laughter and good company!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

1 day 'til Christmas

christmas eve sisters

Friday, December 22, 2006

adventures in wheelchair riding

As my timing is always impeccable, I decided it would be a good idea to fall before we'd done any of our Christmas shopping.

On Monday, my Mom had some things to do, so Rebecca volunteered to be my babysitter and we decided to go Christmas shopping.

Which meant going to the mall.

The MALL.

UGH.

In the wheelchair.

Which was an adventure...we stuck to stores with fairly wide aisles as a large number of the smaller shops (mostly cooking stores and clothing stores) have their stuff stored very close together which makes for dangerous wheelchair manoeuvring.

It didn't take us long to figure out that the wheelchair isn't the most convenient way to Christmas shop, but we got pretty much everything done that we needed to do.

And discovered a few things:
  • People who use a wheelchair regularly must have a lot of patience or really thick skin, or both!
  • Some people are very nice and hold doors and help push the wheelchair over pesky door jam things.
  • Some people think I'm in the way and I should be at home, not in the mall where I obviously came just to inconvenience them.
  • Some people stopped to talk to me and wish me a Merry Christmas just because I was in a wheelchair.
  • Some people made eye contact with me, and when I did my best to get out of their way, walked straight into me anyway.
  • People who use a manual powered wheelchair must have pretty powerful arms and shoulders. I don't.
  • Some people are always in a hurry and think a wheelchair will slow them down, so they huff and puff to get past me and then walk directly in front of me, much slower than I was wheeling (a side note on this one: people walking power past other walkers and then slow down too).
  • Some people look at me with total pity and sadness in their eyes. They get a smile and Merry Christmas back from me. And then they don't know what to do. Because a wheelchair=sad and sad people don't smile. I'm not sad...I get frustrated and annoyed sometimes, but I am not sad. I was too lucky and I'm surrounded by too many wonderful people to be sad. Besides, it's Christmas and I LOVE CHRISTMAS!
  • Some people think that people in wheelchairs also have problems with their eyes or ears...but I can see you when you gesture and point and I can hear you when you talk about me. Also, when you speak to me, you don't have to yell...there's nothing wrong with my hearing.
  • I didn't appreciate my own mobility before this, but after my wheelchair experiences, I will always appreciate my mobility, even when it's limited.
  • I didn't appreciate what people in a wheelchair deal with every day from stupid (and not so stupid) people...and I will try harder to be the one to get out of the way of the wheelchair and hold the door and be patient.
We accomplished what we set out to do...and learned a little bit too....

3 days 'til Christmas

christmas wreath

Thursday, December 21, 2006

home for a rest

and it's snowing!! YAY snow!

I'll have to enjoy it from inside this winter, no making snowmen in my pjs on Christmas morning this year.

My Mom, who had so kindly come to Vancouver to make life easier for both me and Alex, packed up my stuff and my walker and bundled me off to the airport a week earlier than planned. We had all discussed what the next move in the heal-Shannon's-back adventure would be and decided it would be easier for everyone to move me to k-town with my family.

This way Alex doesn't have to organize for more time off work or for friends and family to babysit me while he worked. My Mom doesn't have to worry that maybe one day Alex would go to work and for whatever reason the day's sitter wouldn't make it on time. And we have been able spread the babysitting, night time pill giving and other business out among the various members of my family which has given my Mom a bit of a break during the day and completely relieved Alex of his night time duties. Me, well, my main concern is that my back starts healing so that I can start doing things on my own again.

Improvement has been slow, but steady. I still need the walker to get around most of the time and the wheelchair to get around for long periods of time or where there are lots of people and a risk of being accidentally bumped or jostled. Without going into too much detail, I am now able to use the bathroom alone and have begun the process of mastering the special seat for the shower. Everything happens at a much slower pace than I'm used to but we're all noticing things are getting quicker.

The first day I was home from the hospital, it took Alex two hours to get me from the bed, to the bathroom and then dressed and settled into the chair that was my constant companion in Vancouver. The day I left Vancouver, I still needed assistance, but it only took us twenty minutes. Progress! The set up here is slightly different and I've hit one of the fabled healing plateaus where not much visible progress is happening, but I know I'm healing. The biggest clue is that I've been able to sleep through the night a few times!

Friday is the next doctor's appointment - he will reassess my progress and maybe give a narrower idea of when I might be able to return to work. Right now it's six weeks to six months from the time of the injury. We're getting close to three weeks since the fall, so maybe I'm half way there?

The super-duper pain killers have had a bit of a numbing effect on my brain, although I'm down to half the dose that I was taking when I first came home from the hospital. I have acquired a few new quirks...like I needed any more of those! I have be caught wandering around the house with Post-It notes stuck to my shirt...usually with an address or phone number on them. Because of the walker, it's hard to carry things from place to place, so I'd make trips to the computer for addresses (I think this is the first time ever I've sent ALL of my Christmas cards BEFORE Christmas) and the phone book for phone numbers and then back to my trusty chair to address an envelope or make a phone call. Sometimes, and I'm blaming the super-duper pain killers, I'd forget about the notes and wander around for the better part of the day wearing them.

My lovely sister has nicknamed me Granny-Shanny, I think due to my slipper wearing and chair sitting with a walker in front of me, wrapped in a blanket, prune juice beside me, knitting while watching game shows....even I feel like I'm 80+ years old. I *love* the new diet I'm on until I'm done the super-duper pain killers and their somewhat unpleasant side effects (like babbling on and on and on and bad short term memory and forgetting things and babbling on and on and on...ooops...I already said that).

I can't believe how fortunate I am - partly for not doing more damage to myself but mostly for all the wonderful people who came to visit, offered to spend time with me, made us food and generally were wonderful in their support! The last few weeks would have been brutal without all of them!

Now that I've rambled, rambled, rambled...well, that's all...

oh, and it's still snowing!

4 days 'til Christmas

christmas cheerToday is also the longest night (or shortest day) of the year...welcome winter solstice. And on long nights, hot drinks are oh-so-important.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Friday, December 15, 2006

10 days 'til Christmas

look at our snowmanyup, we are in our pjs, building a snowman on Christmas morning...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

On the mend, a mention from Hans and a visit from Jack

Apologies for not sending email and for the mass post, but...

I am now able to sit for short periods of time at the computer and thought the best use of that time would be to tell you all what's been happening for the last week or so.

The short version of the story is this:

Last Monday I slipped on the stairs going into our basement. I fell down only two or three, but I fell hard enough to do some damage.

I ended up with a fracture of the left transverse process of the L4 vertebra...Which in my non-technical terms is a fracture of one of my vertebrae, but not the vertebra part, the little wing bit that hangs off the side of the vertebra.

This injury has, unfortunately, made me pretty much housebound. I am currently navigating the house with a walker and I have all kinds of fancy equipment from the Red Cross Equipment Loan Program. This program is one we're now going to support annually. How lucky we are to have access to programs like this!

And just in case I wasn't aware of the wonderful community I am part of, this injury really reminded me of that. Alex was home when I fell because it was our first day of holidays. He got K, our landlady, who sat with me and helped me support myself while we waited for the two crews of paramedics. My wonderful aunt, Tiki, came to the hospital and kept Alex and me company, kept us both calm and harassed the nurses whenever I needed more pain control.

I fell in such a way that I was supporting all my weight on one arm, so K's assistance was invaluable. I was in such an awkward position that they needed five paramedics, a clam shell, and a heck of a lot of morphine to get me up the stairs and out of the house. It also took two ambulances to transport me to the hospital, but that's another story!

The doctors, x-ray technicians and physiotherapist at the hospital were super. It took a long time to figure out what was wrong, but after eliminating hip, femur and pelvis problems, they found the fracture.

After a long night and only a few hours sleep, Alex and Tiki came back to the hospital, with my uncle, Brian, who took the morning off work to get me settled. They brought me home and left Alex to help me into some clean clothes (I had none at the hospital...they're all chopped up and in the rag bag!) while they visited the Red Cross and got us some food.

My Mom arrived on Wednesday afternoon to help us for a few hours before going to a workshop. She came back on Saturday and is here for the week. We have decided that I will go home to K-town a week early with her so that Alex doesn't have to worry about me.

I cannot believe the tremendous support we have received from our families, my colleagues at work, the Human Resources Department at work, the marvellous women I know through Guiding and our other friends.

The prognosis is good. I am mobile right now, but very slow and require a lot of assistance. The doctor is going to reassess me every two weeks, but she felt that I should be feeling much better in the next two to four weeks and hopefully will be back at work within six weeks.

We've started getting visitors (my Dad is coming today!) and that is the best medicine so far. Visitors have kept me from going nuts...

This lovely little boy brought his Mommy and Daddy over to see us on Sunday. We had a great visit and I was feeling well enough I was actually able to hold him (we all got to hold him, doesn't my Mom look happy!)

jack and shannonJack and Shannon

colleen and jackColleen and Jack

jack and alexJack and Alex

He's wearing the toque I made a few weeks ago...



jack and his new toqueLook at the cute toque (and the even cuter baby)!

Since my accident I've become a toque making factory! Oh, and the surprise knitting from that same post is this:



punk's christmas 2005 presentRebecca's Christmas present from 2005!

One last thing...Hans asked how I find things to write about almost daily...I don't know...some days I don't have anything to write about, so I don't, some days there's lots...I noticed my posts were more frequent during the summer and while I was taking a writing class...mostly because we were encouraged to write as often as possible about anything and everything...so all of you have become subject to my ramblings!

Thank you everyone for the the wonderful, warm wishes you sent after our engagement and for the support we've had in the last week. I don't know what we would have done without each and every one of you! If you're in Vancouver and you're not busy, come visit!!! I like visitors!

I won't be able to post very often as I can't sit for very long and the office is a difficult room to get into at the moment...I'll be thinking of you and I'll be back eventually! I can do fun stuff like write letters, so I might get "old fashioned" on you for a while!

13 days 'til Christmas

christmas cards

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Thank You!

We just wanted to thank everyone for all of their good thoughts and warm wishes. We're very excited and we'll take your advice and use the words fiance and fiancee!

The countown to Christmas will continue, but Shannon will be taking a short break.

To contact either of us, email lordbrat@gmail.com

18 days 'til Christmas

decorations