Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Spring in the city

So, it's obvious to me that spring is here. Not only is it a bit warmer (as in, I put my coat in my bag, just in case it rained, but it was warm enough to just wear a sweater warmer), the flannel sheets have been banished until next fall, flowers are starting to grow. And the Vancouver spring garb has hit the streets!

I was waiting at the bus stop for what felt like an eternity this morning. That bus is never consistent. Either it's there when I get to the stop or I wait fifteen minutes for it...and it's a bus that is supposed to come every 2-3 minutes in the morning. There is an effective way to make the bus come though, and that is to randomly see a friend you haven't seen in a long time. Then the bus will miraculously appear over the crest of the hill to whisk you away before your conversation progresses much past "Hi, how are you? It's been a while." Anyway, the bus is not the point of the story.

The point of the story is what the above friend was wearing, which to me is as much a sign of spring as the buds blooming and the rains retreating. While he refrained from the favoured West Coast footwear of leather sandals and wool socks, he was wearing shorts. I thought it was a little chilly for that, but then I'm always cold. He's a walker and often grows a beard in the winter to protect him from the evil wind that blows across the Burrard Street bridge. While he wasn't in full beard mode, there was definitely more than a few days growth on his face. But what made the outfit the quintessential Vancouver spring outfit was the toque....where else would you see that!

Anyway...spring is here, I got to have a brief conversation with a friend I haven't seen for ages, the sun is out, it's Wednesday so we're half way through the week...it's going to be a good day!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

There's only one explanation: he's a traitor!

According to Alex's theory of team loyalties, you should only ever cheer for the team in the town where you live...even if you're new to town and already have your own "home team."

But today, I caught Alex wearing this:

alex and his shirt
And the logo you can't really see says this:

the rockets
And we don't live in Kelowna....hmmm....

Kelsey and Rebecca will be happy to see their Christmas gift is being put to good use. Alex even wore it out in public!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Sunny Reflections

After moaning and groaning for days about the rain and after the torrential, Noah's Ark flood-like downpour all morning, the sun graced us with its presence around 6:30. And there was blue sky.

reflection and blue sky
And sun. There was sun. And clouds. But nice fluffy white ones, not evil grey wet ones.

and the sun
Oh the sun...

LOVELY...

All-night reading pleasure

Okay, so by now I'm sure it's apparent that I like books...And lately I've been reading books at a ferocious pace. It's a good thing I've rediscovered the library or my book diet would have failed dramatically!

Anyway, last night, for the first time in a very long time, I actually stayed up past 11:00...I even stayed up past midnight...and all because of a book.
suite francaise
I gave my Mom Suite Francaise for Christmas this year and she brought it with her when she was here looking after me one of those times in January or February. She left it for me to read when she went home and I really just picked it up this week. And haven't been able to put it down. Until about 1:15 last night when I read the last page, sighed because there wasn't MORE, and picked up the next book in the pile on the bedside table - Clan of the Cave Bear - also a book I've been trying to read for a while...and I breezed through a few chapters before deciding that even though today was Saturday and I could sleep in, I should really go to sleep.

I anticipate another late night ahead tonight. It's a good thing it's miserable and raining and I don't need to go outside today...I have a book that's demanding my attention.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Main Library

When I was seven my Mom took me to UBC to see the libraries. We saw Main Library and Sedgewick (which no longer exists). It was a sunny day that day, unlike today when we have a rainfall warning, and that was the day I decided this place was where I *NEEDED* to go to university.

That's right, at age seven I'd already decided where to do my post secondary education. I didn't have a clue about high school, heck, I was still in awe of the "Intermediates" (also known as all those cool students at my little elementary school who were in grades four through seven), but I darn well knew where I needed to spend four years learning...something.

I was taken by the huge library, with its stone front and dark entrance hallway. There were more books in that one library than my little brain could fathom. As a student, I even discovered the old children's books hidden deep in the stacks. The basement of the stacks, in the very back, by the window was my favourite studying place. Level 6 was home to the cleanest bathroom on campus, probably because no one could find it. I got lost regularly looking for it and I knew where it was. I spent hours in that library. It was my refuge between classes when Gage Towers seemed too far from Buchanan to walk in the rain (hello, three blocks), it was a quiet place to study and sleep the year I had a room over the boiler room and something was wrong and it emitted a high pitched whine at all hours of the day, and it was a good place to go when I just couldn't get motivated. I loved it!

When I started working on campus, the north wing of the building had been torn down and they were building a modern structure. I mourned the loss of the computer lab with the high ceilings and soaring windows where I spent hours researching on the internet and sending email to my high school friends scattered around North America (this was the dark ages - my personal computer, an unheard of laptop, did not have the ability to browse the internet using a browser with fun stuff like graphics and colour...I only got text).

The new addition is kind of cool. It has a big archive room where everything is stored in boxes and retrieved by robots. It is somewhat mesmerizing to stand outside and look in while the robot does its thing. I will admit, I have not yet set foot inside this lovely building.

Once the north wing had been torn down, the east and south additions were removed and new glass structures are being built. But they kept the main part of Main Library. My beloved stacks might be gone, but the part that first drew me to the university is still there...

When I walked past today, I couldn't believe the progress. And the clock tower was playing music. I've heard it once or twice since I started working on campus, but only once while I was a student. I was trying to write an exam in Buchanan B Block and I couldn't concentrate on my exam because the tower was playing Christmas Carols!

Oh, Main Library....

main library

Emma's baby arrived!

On Sunday morning Emma and Craig welcomed the newest addition to their family, Kaden!

CONGRATULATIONS to all three of you from me and Alex! Kaden sure is a cutie! Can't wait to meet him!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Go Canucks Go!

This has to be the cutest NHL ref ever!

As Alex says, she's better than almost all the NHL refs combined!

I guess it's time to get ready for the playoffs!!!

Monday, March 19, 2007

For Heddy...

who also has no microwave...Well, I guess I can't belong to that club anymore because we finally caved and bought our fancy-schmancy microwave yesterday...

microwave for heddy

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Happy Birthday Fraser

Yesterday was Fraser's birthday, so today we had brunch with Alex's family and then went back to the house for some cake and family time.

fraser and the doors
too loudSeems we're too loud (or maybe too off key) when we sing Happy Birthday!

blowing out the candleblowing out *the* candle

don't take my picture

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Roadtrip to IKEA

We decided the perfect way to spend a dreary, wet Saturday was to pile into the car, go to IKEA, have hot dogs and ice cream for lunch and then buy stuff. So that's what we did today.

ikea haul
We went with a list and I only put two extra things in the buggy...a picture frame to immortalize baby Alice and a coffee butler, something I've been promising Alex I'd buy for weeks. Not bad, not bad at all since IKEA usually lends itself to impulse buying. On our list was a kitchen cart to hold the microwave we're going to purchase tomorrow so that we don't lose any of our scarce and coveted counter space. I don't know if Kelsey stuck to her list, but she got some cool pillows for her new digs.

Check out the twin expressions...not sure if they're "I'm done with IKEA, let's go home" expressions or "Shannon, put that dang camera away" expressions, but they match!

alex is ready to leave IKEA
kelsey is ready to leave IKEA too
PS See the nasty rain hitting the car windows.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Rebirth!!

The world is coming alive again...I LOVE IT!

The plants on campus are turning green and producing flowers...

rebirth on campus
rebirth on campus
And the deck is coming back to life (yeah, yeah, very blurry...partly because I obviously have an unsteady hand and partly because the deck is super slippery right now...scarily so. When is the rain going to go away?!)

This

one day we'll be pinkgeeze I'm a blurry plant...Musta had too much rosehip wine last night!!

looked like this last summer

we love pink
And these

deck flowers
deck flowers
deck flowersI was partying with soon to be pink up there

looked liked this (top to bottom = left to right) last summer.

deck flowers last summer
I can't wait to start planting again! And then the lovely weather will come and then I'll live on my flowery deck...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Always update

Click and you will find the original Wendi Aarons letter that I posted yesterday.

Fading out of the background

That's right, out of the background, not into the background.

This morning I woke up and felt like my life was in focus again. No more living in a blur. I love it!!

It's strange to say, but for the past little while I've really felt detached from my own life. I guess it was mostly because I had to rely so entirely on other people to do pretty much everything and while that has been steadily decreasing since sometime in December, it has taken a while to feel like I'm in charge of my life again. Not that someone else was ever "in charge," but now when I decide I'd like a glass of water, I can get up and get a glass of water. It sounds so simple, but it's amazing what a difference that little bit of independence makes.

Going back to work, even just part time, was a big milestone. I like having a regular routine (if there's anything regular about my routine). I still get weird looks when I get up in the middle of a meeting and start pacing around the room, but I can deal with weird looks better than I can deal with pain! One day soon I hope to graduate from a few hours a day in the office and then the rest at home to full days at the office. I've tried that twice and both time the results were less than desirable...aches and exhaustion...I think I'll wait a bit before I try that again!

Now that the focus is back and the background is where it belongs, in the background, I'm ready to get on with stuff. Trips to plan, household items to buy (we're finally getting a microwave!!!!!), people to see...all good!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Open Letter to Mr. James Thatcher

So, a few months ago, much to the chagrin of male readers, I posted a picture of the paper thing that covers the sticky bit of an Always pad. Seems Always had rethought their marketing approach.

So the other day, I arrived at my desk on a dreary (Monday) morning in March, the month I hate most because it contains the dreaded pile of multiplying paperwork known as year end, and in my inbox was a copy of an open letter to Mr. James Thatcher...the brand manager at Procter & Gamble...

I did not write this...someone else did and a million someone elses forwarded it around the world until on Monday, Heddy hit forward and sent it to me. THANK YOU Ms. Wendi Aarons.


AN OPEN LETTER TO MR. JAMES THATCHER,
BRAND MANAGER, PROCTER & GAMBLE.

February 6, 2007

Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your Always maxi pads for over 20 years, and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core™ or Dri-Weave™ absorbency, I'd probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I'd certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can't tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there's a little F-16 in my pants.

Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered from "the curse"? I'm guessing you haven't. Well, my "time of the month" is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I'll be transformed into what my husband likes to call "an inbred hillbilly with knife skills." Isn't the human body amazing?

As brand manager in the feminine-hygiene division, you've no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customers' monthly visits from Aunt Flo. Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it's a tough time for most women. In fact, only last week, my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her boyfriend's testicles into a George Foreman Grill just because he told her he thought Grey's Anatomy was written by drunken chimps. Crazy! The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in capri pants. Which brings me to the reason for my letter.

Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words: "Have a Happy Period."

Are you f&*%ing kidding me?

What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness—actual smiling, laughing happiness—is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you're some kind of sick S&M freak girl, there will never be anything "happy" about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahl├║a and lock yourself in your house just so you don't march down to the local Walgreens armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory. For the love of God, pull your head out, man. If you just have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn't it make more sense to say something that's actually pertinent, like "Put Down the Hammer" or "Vehicular Manslaughter Is Wrong"? Or are you just picking on us?

Sir, please inform your accounting department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flexi-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bullshit. And that's a promise I will keep. Always.

Best,
Wendi Aarons
Austin, TX


Thank goodness for that!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

One year, three hundred and thirty-one posts...

and people are still reading this??!?!?! and I'm still updating this?!!?!?!

It's been a year since I was apparently bored beyond boredom and Heddy decided to introduce me to blogging. This is post 331, so I guess my thought that this might not last was WRONG! That's almost, but not quite one post a day (0.91 to be exact)...not bad considering in those 365 days I spent a night in the hospital, a number of days in k-town, Cobble Hill, and Victoria without a computer, my computer died and was resurrected a number of times, I went to Girl Guide camp, and I was forbidden to use the computer during the early days of my recovery. Or maybe that is bad...maybe I shouldn't be telling the world so much about my life...sorry if my boredom remedy is in turn boring!

I'm not entirely sure why I was so bored. I'm deep into the paper demons I whined about last year again this week...year end is so much fun. Anyway, I think I wasn't bored as in "There's nothing to do, so I'm bored," but more likely I was bored as in "I've been doing the same thing for days on end and there's no end in sight and the elves keep breeding paper overnight and it has totally taken over my life and I'm sick of it. So because I'm sick of it, I must be bored."

So, to combat my boredom (which really means, to give me something to do that wasn't PAPERWORK) and to help me learn some basic html so that when the PAPERWORK went away I could concentrate on building a website for our department, Heddy convinced me to start a blog.

Apparently I can focus on something for longer than two nanoseconds, because here I am a year later, still updating my blog...It's interesting, as I go back and read what I wrote because I discover some things I'd totally forgotten about, some things I wish I could forget about, and some things I never want to forget.

I was never good at keeping a diary as a kid...I'd do well for a few days, or even weeks as I got a bit older, and then I'd get bored and the pages would read fun stuff like:

Monday, April 10, 1989
Today I went to school. It was boring.

Tuesday, April 11, 1989
Today I went to school. I don't like my sisters.

Wednesday, April 12, 1989
Today I went to school. Tonight was Guides. It was fun.

psst...do you think, just maybe, I was in school in 1989???

Thursday, April 13, 1989
Today I went to piano. Mr. Welsh says I'm almost ready for Kiwanis.

Friday, April 14, 1989
Today I had to take the bus to school. YUCK. Fiona is spending the night.

Saturday, April 15, 1989
I don't like Fiona. She's mean.

Sunday, April 16, 1989
Today I did my science homework and we had roast beef for dinner.

Monday, April 17, 1989
Fiona ignored me today.

Tuesday, April 18, 1989
Today I went to school. It was boring. I'm going to spend Saturday night at Fiona's.

And the three sentence diary entries would continue for a few weeks and then there'd be nothing. Not that the entries tell anyone much...why didn't I like Fiona? What did she do that was mean? What did I do to deserve the silent treatment (and I'm CERTAIN I deserved it!)? What made us decide to be friends again on Tuesday?

For the record, these diary entries are fake. The real diaries are in the basement and the basement is a scary place. Also for the record, Fiona and I often hated each other after we had a sleepover, but it was most often forgotten within days if not hours. Something to do with not enough sleep usually...Sometimes we'd hate each other and fight all day on Saturday and then ask our completely baffled parents if the sleepoveree could spend the night for a second night...go figure! But we must have done something right, because after all those years and all those sleepovers, we're still friends...

Anyway, I have managed to be more consistent with my "diary keeping" since I start the blog...I don't necessarily write every day, but I do a fairly good job of writing often!

On my blog you can learn all kinds of things about me:
Okay, that's all...I could be here for a long time and you don't want that!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Heddy and Happy Time Change

happy birthday heddy
Look it's her birthday...so she gets to wear the Princess for the Day crown...Happy Brithday Heddy from me and Alex. We hope you're having a nice weekend far, far away from the city! Enjoy your birthday!!

PS Don't forget to move you clocks ahead one hour...I love HATE don't really like "spring ahead." I want that hour of sleep back!!!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Farewell Lee's

On Tuesday night there were lots and lots of sirens on the streets outside our house. Talking to people from work there were also lots of sirens near their homes that night...well, Alex came home from work last night to say that the building that was home to Lee's Candies burned to the ground.

I go past it every day and didn't notice yesterday, but today it's definitely gone and the safety fence is covered in messages from well wishers.

Hopefully this isn't the end of a Vancouver institution...

last box of leesOur Christmas treat (courtesy of my boss), Lee's style

Spring? Spring is here...I think...

I hope...

The last few days it has felt like spring and smelled like spring, but of course today I woke up to lots of rain again. But rain in Vancouver is not a sign of any particular season, just the seasons in general...

It's strange to feel like spring is coming. The days are chilly, but have a warmth to them...not like in the fall when the days are chilly and have a chill to them. But, my poor brain thinks it should be almost winter, so it's a little confused. I don't remember having this much trouble adjusting to missed seasons when I went to Australia and New Zealand or when I came home from there...I would have though the adjustment would have been easier because I could see winter out the window...

Oh well, I'm just happy spring is coming! I love that I don't need a jacket all the time, that there are green bits poking up from the planters on the deck, and that deck weather isn't really all that far away!! YAHOOO!!! Spring means summer isn't far away!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Belize bound?

My parents just came back from two weeks in Belize with a short side trip to Guatemala...no postcards yet, they seem to be lost in the mail abyss...or maybe the new security measures in the transfer point country have delayed it...

They left humid, warm Belize (a nice 96F when they left) and arrived in a Vancouver that woke up to snow a few times this week and was hanging around the freezing mark...talk about a shock to the system.

Yesterday Rebecca got up bright and early to catch the 7:00 ferry from Vancouver Island and met us at Griffins in the Hotel Vancouver for brunch.

breakfast at griffins
This has become a bit of a tradition - before my Mom and Dad jump on the plane to be world travellers they have a meal with family and on the way back to reality they have another meal with (sometimes different members of the) family...I like it...It's a nice send off and it's a great way to hear all the highlights of their trips...

Good thing they don't go away very often, weekend brunch could be dangerous more often!!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Mr. Moon, Mr. Moon, you're out too soon!

the sun is still in the sky...

We had it all today, snow, hail, sleet, and SUN! It was freezing cold when I went for my walk today, but the sun was out, which was a nice change. I walked down towards the beach (where of course it was colder) and the view of the North Shore was spectacular.

snowy mountains
I arrived just before sunset and the colours were so nice...there's something about winter light.

sunset
sunset
And the moon...the not quite, but almost, full moon was out, shining down on us long before sunset...

mr moon
There are some benefits to this enforced exercise program!!!