Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Postcards...from a new perspective

So, we all know that I have an addiction to a collection of postcards...I think I may have mentioned it a few times before.

Anyway, this is not about my postcards. It's about some other guy's postcards.

This guy buys his souvenir postcards at landmarks around the world, then lines them up with the landmark and takes a self portrait of his hand holding the postcard...kind of cool...not something I'd have the patience to do, but still very cool to see!

Monday, February 26, 2007

First day of school...

Well, that's sort of what it felt like. Today was the official beginning of life returning to normal Chez Shanalex. Life has been progressing to this point for some time now, what with the rejection of the walker and wheelchair, the discarding of the bath bench, and, on Saturday, the return of all equipment from the Red Cross Equipment Loan Program.

Today was the first day back at work. While it was a tad bit overwhelming and there is much to do, well, it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. It almost felt like I hadn't really been gone...I mean, the calendar is stuck on November, so really, it must just be the first week of December, NOT twelve weeks later...

Seriously, can we go back to the first week of December? I like Christmas. I'd like to experience Christmas 2006 NOT in a drug induced stupor...

In any case, life is back to normal. The drugs are long gone which means I've quit scaring Alex by asking him innocent questions like:
  • Why am I sleeping in the guest room?
  • Why does my back/hip hurt?
  • Did I hurt myself?
  • What's going on?
  • Who are you?
  • What are you doing in my room?
  • Where's Alex? I want Alex. I don't know you. I want Alex.
  • Do I know you?
  • Why does it hurt when I try to sit up?
I did ask him each and every one of these questions...true, the drug induced stupor was at its peak at that point, but I unintentionally scared the poor guy a whole lot...he must like me though - he's still living here and I still have his ring ;)

It's been twelve weeks since I took my little tumble and it's been an experience for sure. The way I see it, while it was a not fun accident, I learned a whole lot.

  • I learned not to take things for granted.
  • I learned exactly how far my patience can stretch, but also how far the patience of others will stretch for me.
  • I learned that my body is both stronger and weaker than I thought it was.
  • I learned that as much as I don't like swimming laps, sometimes it's actually an okay way to spend part of an afternoon.
  • I learned that some people really lack manners when it comes to people in wheelchairs and with other obvious (or not so obvious) disabilities and ailments.
  • I (re)learned how wonderful the people around me are. My family (the little one and the extended one), friends and the Guiding community were so generous with their time, food, conversation, assistance, and good wishes. Alex was super supportive and helpful and did all kinds of great things for me.
  • I decided that I need to slow down and enjoy life more, even if that means saying no more often and changing my priorities.
  • I learned that if you can laugh about it, even big, bad problems won't seem quite so horrible.
  • I learned that even though the grocery store is only a block away, a block can be a long way, especially if you buy a jug of milk.
  • I learned to ask for help more often, because even if it is hard to ask, usually people are more than happy to help out.
And that's just some of what I learned...

Today life took on a normal glow and I think I enjoyed it...I got up, showered, got dressed in work pants (NOT sweat pants...yay, I can tolerate a "normal" waistband for short periods of time now), went to work, did work stuff, went swimming, took the bus home, stretched and did back exercises for an eternity, did some more work...except for the rehab type stuff, life really is getting back to normal. And yes, it will be forever recorded that I insinuated that I actually enjoyed going to work...

ahh...the normal life...

Before I get too used to my normal world again, public thanks are also needed.

Big, big thank yous need to go to (sort of in order of how things happened):
  • Alex, who called 911 and stayed with me until he dropped me off at work this morning, who got up at all hours of the night to help me use the bathroom or take more painkillers, who was there when I needed him (and when I thought I didn't need him, but really I did) to do everything and anything.
  • Our landlady K. who sat with me while Alex talked to the dispatcher and brought the paramedics to the basement.
  • The five paramedics, who managed to keep me calm even though I was in excruciating pain, move me without making it hurt too much, and somehow get me up the narrow stairs and around the tight little landing without too much jarring or bumping (although the morphine might have something to do with that).
  • My aunt, who met us at the hospital, and stayed all night, sharing meal breaks with Alex and being my spokesperson when I was too tired and too drugged to fight for myself anymore.
  • Al, the nurse who drew my blood without me feeling it and the next morning very gently removed the IV.
  • The doctor who finally figured out what was wrong with me.
  • The physiotherapist who showed me how to stand and walk and climb stairs.
  • My aunt (the same one) who came back to the hospital after three hours sleep and my uncle who took the day off work so they could take me home and get us some groceries and pick up all the Red Cross equipment.
  • My boss, coworkers, and HR representative who pitched in to look after my job for three months and made sure my time off and the transition back to work were as painless as possible.
  • My Mom, who spent weeks with us, cooking, cleaning, comforting, grocery shopping, and making me walk.
  • My Mom and Dad who got me home to k-town early for Christmas and kept me longer, got up with me in the middle of the night for more pain killers, made sure I got my afternoon naps, worried about me, and took very good care of me, even when I was being a pain-in-the-butt, grumpy patient.
  • Kelsey who spent a week with us, making lots of food for the freezer, vacuuming and doing endless sinks of dishes.
  • Rebecca who took me shopping in the wheelchair, made vroom vroom noises, and was a fairly tolerant babysitter.
  • Heather and D, Fiona, Tony D, Stacey, Sunita, Mike, Kelly, and Jack, Amy and Ellery, Ann, Debra, Julia, Chandra, Michelle, Sarah Brown, Rita, Lizzie, Kristine, Heather, Megan and Hans, Theana, Paula, and the many other friends who stopped by to say hi, brought books and movies, called to see how I was doing, sent emails, flowers, cards, and care packages, and generally took good care of me.
  • Andrea, who decided that it was time I had a family doctor is this city and made it her mission to find me one...a big thank you for that!
  • My aunt, uncle, and cousins who babysat me one weekend when Alex went away and I still needed fairly constant care.
  • Liz, the homecare physio, who helped me regain my balance and my confidence.
  • Gail, the physio down the road, who got me into the pool and moving again.
  • My "big" family, who called to see how I was, made sure my Christmas presents were things I could use, and made me laugh a lot (I needed that!).
  • Alex's family who checked up on me regularly.
  • Any number of people who stopped to hold doors, open doors, wait an eternity for me to cross the road, or help me out in some little was a big deal for me!

And of course, I'm sure I'm missing someone...I apologize if you're reading and I've missed you - thank you too!

So...thank you everyone...I hope that's all about my back for a long, long time (it's not that interesting, really!).

okay, now I'm going off to my "normal" life...

(hope I didn't jinx it!)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The 70th birthday party

Alex's Mom turned 70 this week and yesterday was her big birthday party. The house was filled with people, the table was almost breaking from the weight of the food, and there were so many flowers, Joan could probably start a greenhouse!

joan and her cakeYummy carrot cake!

auntie shannon and trey
Trey, my soon-to-be nephew was there and has apparently decided that soon-to-be aunt is good enough and I've been permanently renamed Auntie Shannon.

trey and grandmaTrey and his grandma

The afternoon was a lot of fun. It was a bit overwhelming meeting ALL those people I didn't know. I guess that must be what it's like for Alex to meet my (tiny) family...they all know who you are, but you might not know who they are...and there's always a test at the end!

Last weekend we went over to celebrate a little early with her as we weren't able to visit on her birthday.

joan's new butterfly scarfA pretty new scarf...

over the moon chocolatesand what birthday wouldn't be complete without Over the Moon Chocolates?

mmmm...chocolatemmmm...yummy chocolates!!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Happy World Thinking Day....

Yup, it's here again...the only day of the year that I think...yeah, that's it...

Anyway, hope you Guiding and Scouting people have a wonderful Thinking Day - I'll be thinking of ya!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Whoa...negative grouch...

Yes, that's me I'm referring to.

I deleted what I just wrote, because, wow, who needs to read that...someone obviously isn't having a great day and definitely was focusing on the bad things...good things must have happened to me today. A wise woman once told me that when someone tells her they had a bad day, she figures either everyone they ever loved has died, their house burnt down, they lost their job, they were diagnosed with a terminal illness, their car was towed etc etc etc all in the same day...OR...they just look at one or two bad events or moments and that makes the ENTIRE day bad. Days can be stressful or difficult, but she figured it must be really hard to have an entirely bad'm going to look at the grumpy, bad moments as just moments and look for some good moments in today (which is still not over yet because it's just after 3:00!)
  • Finding a long, unopened email from Louise in my inbox that somehow I missed when it arrived on Sunday (and I missed it again on Monday and Tuesday...must be blind)...oh well, email from friends are great!
  • Hearing the mail come clunking through the mail slot and finding a letter from Kristine
  • Getting my T4 (yes, this is a good thing...) and my RRSP receipts...taxes here I come!
  • Touching all the pretty wool* in the very expensive wool* shop where I will never be able to shop because I don't have a platinum credit card and a third mortgage on my house, because that's the kind of $$ it takes to shop there. But you can touch the wool* for free.
  • The sun's out...
  • The curtains are half done...two down, two to go.
  • Five days of no work and then back to the grind!!! Well, part time and partly from home to start, but it's a good start!
  • MMMM....lunch....salad and tuna and pita and cheese...mmmm....
There we go, lots of good stuff happened today...maybe I'm not so miserable!

*By wool, I really mean yarn because not all of it was wool, but that's okay.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Wondering, wonderment, wonders?

Like most people, I know there are Seven Wonders of the Ancient a lot of those same people, I can only name two of those wonders (note to self: pathetic! goal: memorize all seven wonders of the world before returning to work) without looking them up: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon and The Giza Pyramids.

Anyway, browsing the Globe and Mail today, I noticed that they had a slide show about the Seven "New" Wonders of the World...and interestingly, Giza is one of them.

Who knows what will come of Bernard Weber's little project, but of the 21 finalists, I would love to visit each and every one of them, I've heard of most of them and I've even already been to the Sydney Opera House.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Happy Birthday Twins...

But not the usual twins I write about. The twins who had a party last night are my Dad's cousins, Raymond and Richard, and they're a bit older than "my" twins.

the 'other' twins
A bunch of us descended on Christopher's place in False Creek to drink wine, inhale Indian food and eat delicious, if funny looking birthday cake...

denture cake
Ray is a dentist and there were a number of denture jokes to go along with this birthday party...not just the Pac Man cakes with dentures, but at least one card came complete with a denture grin (and without even knowing about the Pac Man cakes!)

The party was also a chance to give the happy travellers a send off. My world traveller parents, Ray and his wife and four other couples left wintry Vancouver today for two weeks in the jungles and on the beaches of Belize.

We also got to met the newest addition to the Trail Zinio family tree, Cash.

shannon and cash
He didn't look this stunned all night...just sometimes...but can you blame him, there were a lot of noisy (Italian) people around!

cash alex and shannonCash, Alex and Shannon

And Cash really liked his itty bitty toque - even though it was nice and warm inside.

cash, alyssa and the itty bitty toqueCash and his Mom, Alyssa

There was a bit of a return to childhood late in the evening when Andrea and Alyssa played airplane with some cake...

What a fun evening! Alex managed to survive yet another "attack" by the family and seemed to enjoy himself in the process.

Friday, February 16, 2007

New furniture

Last weekend, my aunt and uncle brought us a "new" piece of furniture. We thought it would be a great place to hide the wool I've been stashing (a.k.a. stash) in a variety of places in the house.

pretty stash on display
Doesn't the wool look just so pretty sitting there in the rather large cubby hole?

I thought so...but then I discovered two things...
  1. I have more wool than I thought
  2. The cubby is really really deep, so the wool behind the wool at the front is impossible to see and hard to get at...which means I'll forget it's there and just keep adding to the stash... to fix this problem? Well, there are two huge drawers and what do you know, the yarn fit in them so well...the large hanks actually stand up in them and I can see pretty much everything...

wool in drawers
I also found I had a bunch of bits of yarn leftover from projects, so I rolled all of them and they live in the knitting basket. Rolling yarn takes FOREVER...thank goodness for DVDs!

leftover rolled yarn
My current projects (of which there are only four this week) and needles and things live in the knitting bag...

knitting bag
Except for this project, which will be a wedding present for Christy and Rob, but it's too big for the knitting bag, so it's got a corner and bag of its own.

christy ad rob's wedding gift
The other knitting basket, which has a lid and doubles as a side table has knitting books, finished projects that don't have a home yet, and UFOs in it (that is, UnFinished Objects) that might one day come out to be finished.

So now, our new furniture is set up and arranged and organized and our living room feels more like a living room than it ever did! (the UFO basket is in the front part of the picture)

living room with new furniture

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Pictorial Tribute to today

'Cause really, it doesn't matter if you're in a relationship or not, today is all about the goodies...

red and white

Monday, February 12, 2007

Divided loyalties

pacific coliseum
Well, not really, but apparently I should have been facing a greater dilemma than I was last night.

Alex and I got tickets to see the Vancouver Giants lose to play the Kelowna Rockets. Being from Kelowna, I feel like I should be cheering for the Rockets, but Alex insists that you *always* cheer for the team from the town where you're living. I know there are a lot of Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Montréal fans out there who live in Vancouver and certainly do NOT cheer for the Vancouver I don't feel bad cheering for the Rockets.

Alex claims that if we ever move to Kelowna, he will immediate switch sisters aim to hold him to that - they bought him a Rockets toque and t-shirt for Christmas. If we ever do make it to Kelowna, I will have to present him with his VERY OWN Rockets Jersey!

Anyway, Vancouver slaughtered Kelowna 7-0 last night...Kelowna was super slow, but when I talked to my Mom (Rocket's seasons tickets holder) later she said Kelowna had played three games in three nights - Friday and Sunday on the road. That's a lot of bus riding the past few days...

giants and rockets
We had fun. Alex was happy his Giants won AND because they scored more than six goals, we got coupons for free appetizers at White Spot...And the really fast hockey players, well they skated right off this page and landed over there!


Last week I read a Catherine Cookson novel. I had never read a Catherine Cookson novel before, but one of my visitors came by with a book for me...It was a quick read, as in less than a day, but it served its purpose and distracted me. Today I checked the BCC News' Magazine Monitor's 10 things we didn't know last week and discovered that number one was:

Catherine Cookson novels have been borrowed from UK libraries 25 million times in the last 10 years.

That's a lot...but I did a bit of looking and discovered all kinds of things about Dame Cookson...25 million times seems like a huge number (well it is a huge number), but she wrote over 100 books in less than 50 years...Pretty prolific! Maybe it's time to visit the library again!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Doing the Saturday night thing

Life is getting back to normal! We actually left the house and not to get groceries, go to the physio or go swimming...we left the house twice yesterday! I got to go to my class in the morning while lucky Alex visited the dentist.

But last night we had a real Saturday night...

We went for sushi at the place where they know us and knew we hadn't been to see them for a long almost three months. That's a long time to go without sushi...I know, cause I haven't had any since we were there last and it was certainly back in November.

Then, because boys have big appetites and a certain gentleman named Alex knows I love ice cream, we went to DQ...

THIS IS NOT AN ADVERTISMENT...I just like pictures of ice cream.

blizzardyummy blizzards (check out the reflection in the windown in the upper right corner...see below for more about that)

We also went there because until the same guy named Alex does something about our lack of cable, our wonderful new TV is only good for watching movies, not that I'm complaining about that...

Anyway, our DQ has a TV.

tv at dq
And they show Canucks games.

And the Canucks won? Wow, we should go to DQ more often...

Friday, February 09, 2007

Smells like chlorine

That is, I smell like chlorine.

I went to the pool for my 10 minutes of swimming and 20 minutes of hot tubbing this afternoon. In 10 minutes I managed to swim four whole lengths...sigh...I used to swim much faster; I used to get to swim in the moderate lane.

But my pathetic 600m/hour swimming rate was faster than at least one person in the slow lane. I actually passed her. So I wasn't the *slowest* person in the pool.

After 10 minutes in the pool I was pooped, so I hobbled off to the hot tub. I only managed 10's so warm in there. I think next time I might start with 10 minutes in the hot tub, then swim for 10 minutes, then have 10 more minutes in the hot tub.

After my little swim, I stopped by my office to say hello and catch a ride home with a colleague.

And now it's the weekend...not that days of the week mean anything to me anymore, but it's still the weekend which means Alex will be home for two days!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

And now for the hardest part so far

For the last two-plus months, my Mom (or Kelsey or my Mom, Dad, Kelsey and Rebecca) has been around to help me and Alex with all the things that have come up because of my injury. For most of the last month, my Mom has been here during the week, usually going home on weekends when Alex doesn't have to work and can help me out. She has been a great help and I don't know how we would have coped without her!

This morning she packed up and went home...this time for good. Minutes before she left she was doing one final load of laundry, one final sinkful of dishes, and some scrubbing. Now I have to do the cooking on my own, a task that is still a bit more difficult that I'd like it to be because I am not quite at the point where I can get dishes in and out of the oven. Alex will be doing the grocery shopping until I can actually lift the bags...I am great at filling the cart up though!

It's scary to think I'm alone (if you're in the area, stop by for tea...I'll be here and I love having visitors) really for the first time since I fell...and somehow that's scarier to me that the initial injury was...

But the hardest part is going out and about on my own. Twice this week I've walked over to the physiotherapist on my own, but I haven't ventured far from my own neighbourhood. Tomorrow I will be braving the bus to go to the pool for some swimming on my own...all scary stuff...the other hard thing (apart from now being alone all day when I'm used to having people around all the time) is getting out for walks...enter the timer, the ever useful timer...when the timer rings, it means it's time to wander around the block...but as hard as all this is, it does mean that I'm getting better, and I'm so happy about that!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Chesterfields, sofas and couches

I wish I had one of the above....well, we do have one. We have a tiny little couch, but my Mom and I went window shopping on Granville Street today, and we saw lots of nice couches. Couches that were big and fluffy or not so fluffy, but still big and comfy. Couches made out of corduroy, leather, suede, microfibre and other stuff. Couches that you could stretch out on...nice couches.

I think one day soon it will be time to invest in a real, full-sized couch!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Today we bid two more pieces of equipment farewell...

Gone is the bath bench, providing I am able to take a shower unassisted tomorrow...which I sure hope I can do...I miss taking a shower (don't worry, I don't stink, that's what the silly bath bench is for!)

And the cane is being phased out. It is only to be used if absolutely necessary to avoid jostling in crowds, like on the bus.

And I get to go swimming. Okay, so it's only for ten minutes at a time right now, but it's a start. And the swimming pool has a hot tub and I'm supposed to use that for about twenty minutes each time I swim. And I can go to the gym, but only if I stick to the track and stick to walking. No machines, no weights. And I can lift the water jug and milk jug but not much else. Finally, I fell like we're making some progress. I know I was making progress before, but this feels more real somehow.

Soon, very soon, I hope I shall be also returning to my job and my office near the ocean and real life. My Mom has very kindly returned for four more days of taking care of me, vacuuming and other stuff, but after Friday, that's it. She's got to go back to her life. So, Alex and I will be devising a new schedule for food and walks and grocery shopping and cooking.

And I'm sure you loyal readers will be very glad when I STOP TALKING ABOUT MY BACK...unfortunately there's not much else in my life right now...

Although, Alex was away this weekend, so I had to go get "babysat" by my aunt and uncle. I had an adventure navigating public transit on my own and then we played a great card/board game called the Settlers of Catan (click on Catan on the left) that night. It's all about strategy and somehow, on my first attempt at the game, I managed to beat my uncle who had announced at dinner that he was going to kick everyone's butt! Definitely something to invest in when it's time to buy our next game!

Okay, so I guess I can still talk about something that's not my back!!!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

On Broadway...

I got to see people today...yes, my Mom and Alex both count as people, very important people, but I got to visit with other people today. And I got to spend a lot of time on Broadway.

First I went to the doctor to see about my x-ray...Let's just say I'm extremely frustrated with doctors, radiologists and health care right now and leave it at that. I will likely be going back to the doctor tomorrow to see about my x-ray...

Then I got to go for lunch with a co-worker and she surprised me by bringing another colleague of ours with was great to catch up with the ladies and get out and about.

Then we went to the post office...I like the post office, especially when it means I'm sending people stuff that will make them smile. I sent three parcels today, so hopefully some people will be smiling in a few days (side note: it cost the same amount to send a little parcel to Kelowna as it did to England...and they weighed the same amount....somehow I feel like there's something wrong with that!)

Then we watched the last of the movies and took it back to Rogers. On the way, we ran in to Fifer's brother Dunk-the-Hunk...random meetings with Dunk-the-Hunk seem to occur on Broadway...

Yay trying to get life back to normal...I think I might have overdone it slightly, so I'm taking my sore back to bed with a hot water bottle now...