Monday, April 30, 2007

Quick trip away from the city

Alex and I spent a lovely weekend with my family, enjoying the sunny Father Pandosy Mission and Kelsey and Rebecca's birthday bash.

father pandosy well
father pandosy
father pandosy
father pandosy
father pandosyShannon and Alex...squinting in the SUN

birthday girlsthey can tell you how old they are on three hands

alex shannon fiona jessAlex, Shannon, Fiona, and Jess


kaiSmiling Kai

rebecca jared devonRebecca and the stachio boys

jared and devonwho's going to win the mustache bet? who'll shave it off first?

We rounded out the weekend with Sunday dinner at my parents...boy do I wish I lived in K-town sometimes!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Why the bus should also have seatbelts

The bus I was on this morning had a big accident just a few blocks after I got on and sat down. Thank goodness it wasn't too crowded because most people were seated.

The bus clipped the back of a taxi which plowed into a car in the oncoming lane. A few people who were standing lost their balance and a few people fell off their seats, but somehow no one was hurt.

The taxi driver is another story entirely. He was thrown across the car and was in the passenger seat. His head knocked the window out. He was alive and responsive when they took him away, but it took five or six people to get him out and onto the back board. When they opened the passenger door, the inside was totally caved in from the impact of his body.

I think the lady in the other car was in shock, but otherwise okay.

It was scary and there are lots of insensitive people out there. Most people were great, but one guy had his camera phone out and was taking pictures of everything. They stopped all the traffic going both ways and eventually re-routed the buses, but the people in some of the car were super grouchy that they also had to detour. Some of the people who got off the buses were mad they had to walk a few blocks.

Anyway, after seeing the injured cab driver and seeing the people tumble off the seats in the bus, I wonder when we'll see seatbelts in the buses...

I feel lucky today and hope the cab driver and the lady in the other car have speedy recoveries.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Happy birthday Kelsey and Rebecca...see you on Saturday for a big bad birthday bash!

Saying NO!

We all learn how to say NO! at a very early age. Seems to me the rumour is that the terrible twos are all about NO! even when the answer really is yes.

We learn to say NO! when someone tries to touch us in a way we don't like.

We learn to say NO! when a stranger offers us candy.

We learn to say NO! to drugs.

But somewhere along the line, someone forgot to teach most of us to say NO! to things that we don't have the time, inclination, or skills to do. I'm not talking about daily tasks at work or home that aren't enjoyable like the filing or cleaning the bathroom or making the bed or buying the groceries. I'm talking about extra things like volunteer work, babysitting the neighbours' pets, house, and garden when the go on vacation, cancelling all your plans the moment your friend has a huge crisis in her life, something that happens on a bi-weekly basis.

That's not to say that I don't think it's a wonderful thing to volunteer your time and skills, help out neighbours, or be supportive of a friend, but there comes a time when you have to say enough is enough.

I discovered about a year ago that I was three years late in realizing that time had already come and gone. I was in deep. I floundered for a few months because I wasn't sure how to approach the problem and then it hit me. I just had to say NO!

But first I had to figure out what I wanted to still say yes to and what I really need to say NO! to...that meant making a list (and we all know I like lists!).

I figured out that I needed time to look after myself - that included eating properly, which meant shopping properly, sleeping well and long enough, exercising, spending time with family and friends (I've heard laughter is very good for you) and making sure I had time for myself to do things like think, read, write, knit, take insanely large amount of pictures or whatever.

I also wanted to stay involved in Guiding because I liked it - I enjoyed what I was doing, I enjoyed giving my time to an organization that is important to me, and I enjoyed working with the women on the various committees I was on.

Then there was school...I didn't want to stop when I had taken so many of the classes needed to finish my certificate (yeah, it's still not done).

So what to go? First I decided that I could only be out for school or Guiding three times a week at most - one or two was totally ideal. Then I had to make sure to get my 20 minutes a day of is a motivator, so is company, so I joined Stacey's gym. Then there had to be time to sleep, shop for food, cook, eat, do homework, prepare for Guiding stuff, see Alex, visit with my family and friends.

So I made some more rules (rules are kind of like lists).

  • If I wasn't enjoying it, it would go. That didn't mean I'd abandon a project in midstream, it meant if I really didn't enjoy that project I wouldn't do it again.
  • If something was already planned for a particular night - even if it was a cup of tea and a good book, nothing else could take priority...unless it was important, like a friend in crisis or needing to celebrate (thankfully, the friend with the weekly crisis isn't mine, but I have a lot of friends who do have a weekly-crisis-friend of their very own). People are very happy to let you have other plans that you made prior to their request.
  • If my three nights of school and Guiding were used up, too bad. Exceptions were occasionally made for things like camp or big weekend events.
  • If an event took a lot of planning, it counted towards one of those nights.
  • If something was booked, it went on the calendar. Alex and I invested in three coloured pens so that at a glance we know if it's a me event, an Alex event, or a both of us event.
  • Biggest rule of all - SAY NO! if you don't have time. Because sometimes I didn't have time; sometimes work was really busy or a big event with lots of planning was coming up or I hadn't had a good night's sleep in weeks or something else needed my time. And that's okay.
The new system worked pretty well. Last fall I was taking two classes, so I only had one "Guiding" night free, so I had to be careful how I used it, but I got everything done that needed to be done.

The biggest thing was practicing saying NO! It's not easy to say and when you say it people will try to talk you out of it, but I stuck with it. It's easier to say every time I say it and I certainly don't answer NO! to every request and question. Then I'd be pretty boring and no one would ever want to talk to me again.

Then the big fall of 2006 happened and forced me to reevaluate again. Saying NO! wasn't a luxury, it was a priority. I had to be more careful about food not because of its nutritional impact on me, but because of its physical impact. I couldn't life a pot full of water to make pasta. Things that were heavy were off the cooking list. For a while, if I was alone, I couldn't cook things in the oven, only on the stove top, because I couldn't bend that way or lift the pan out of the oven. Exercise became a two to three hour a day commitment.

Saying NO! is hard. I said NO! pretty forcefully and resigned from almost every Guiding position I had. I wasn't necessarily ready to give up all of it, but I knew I couldn't do the job the way it should be done. My evenings are free mostly now and it's a forgotten luxury.

And the best part is, now that I've said NO! I can say yes more often to things like helping out at events or unit meetings or being there for that friend with the weekly crisis.

I guess NO! isn't always negative. Too bad they don't teach you that in school and you have to wait to learn it from life.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Blooming Friday!

Wooohoooo...spring is here...look at all the pretty things blooming on campus and it's a beautiful day too. And I saw baby Jack. So I'm happy...and apparently snap happy...but it's here are some pretty flowers.

200407 flowers
200407 flowers
200407 flowers
200407 flowers
200407 flowers
200407 flowers
200407 flowers
200407 flowers

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Just decide already!

Dear Mother Nature,

I think I wrote to you about a week ago, but it's just getting ridiculous now. Decide what you want:


Or sunshine

Or hail (the hail in particular is nuts).

hail on the table
more crazy hail
Please, please, please don't do all three at the same time. On different days would be even better and definitely more helpful.

can't decide
PLEASE. My head will thank you.

Kelsey's Vancouver birthday

Kelsey came to town for the weekend and decided it was an excellent idea to celebrate her birthday a bit early (we had been far too long since we'd gone out anywhere and a birthday is as good an excuse as any!)

kelsey and the camera
Kelsey got camera happy...even though the camera was on some crazy outside setting and a bunch of the pictures turned out red and blurry Adam still managed to run the Sun Run in less than 40 minutes the next day!


not sure about the mars bar
Shannon and Alex aren't sure about the Deep-Fried-Mars- Bar-Heart-Attack-On-A-Plate

deep fried mars bar heart attack on a plateDeep-Fried-Mars-Bar-Rolled-In-Frosted-Flakes-

time to go homeAnd the night ended with this...I think maybe something is eating James' head?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Some things should be taken as signs

Like this picture of 18 month old me...

a sign of what's to come
Guess that's why the camera that's always in my bag (or my hand) shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

Early Rising

It's Saturday.

I don't have to go to work today.

I don't have to be anywhere until 7:00 tonight, but at 7:15, I was wide awake.

And now, pathetically early for a Saturday morning, I'm sitting at the computer...

I know the "experts" say you should get up and go to bed at close to the same time every day, including weekends, but I'd like to sleep in a little bit - even an hour would be nice.

But it is so nice out this morning, so I took the new toy out to the deck for some fresh air. It needed it; it hasn't had any fresh air for a few days.

The sun was shining so nicely and the tree with the mega wasp nest no longer has a mega wasp nest in it. Just pretty white blossoms.

pretty white blossoms
I didn't stay long though. It is a beautiful day and nice and warm, but the deck that's been subjected to insane amounts of rain and snow this winter is still extremely slippery and I'm not entirely steady yet, so I thought it would be best for me and my camera if I took my klutzy self back inside.

But not before taking a picture of the "smoke"

smokin' fence
and the pretty purple flowers on the weeds that will soon be removed from my planters.

purple weed flowers
Now I'm just waiting for Alex to get up so we can go for a walk and enjoy the sun before the rain (inevitably) comes back.

beautiful buds

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dear Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,

Thank you for the 22C weather on Friday. I have a itsy bitsy teensy tiny request though. Could you please stop your waffling and decide on a season, please.

On Monday I went for a walk in my neighbourhood and it was very pleasant. I didn't need a coat, just wore my poofy vest (aside: Heddy has a matching one in black in case you're interested!). It was a little brisk, but very nice just the same.

Yesterday I sat at my desk and marvelled at the gentle breeze and sunshine coming my open window. Your gentle breeze increased enough when I was in my boss's office to get rid of the terrible smell in there.

But today. Today it's cold and nasty. My hands hurt they were so cold when I got to my office. I don't have mittens in my pocket any longer because it has been NICE and WARM for a few days.

Please Mother Nature, decide if you want it to be summer or winter. I'd take either, as long as it was fairly consistent. I'd be even happier if you'd decide on spring since I'm tired of hats and bulky coats and mittens, but I'm not quite ready for summer wear.

I'm sure you're busy with other stuff, like big bad weather systems on the East Coast, but I would be eternally grateful if you could make it so that we have only one season in a given week (more sun and less rain would be nice too, but this is rainy Vancouver).

Thanks Mother Nature.

That's all.

PS Sorry everyone if I just jinxed the weather even more...

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Runny Babbits

Today's the day the strange egg-laying bunny comes and deposits chocolate and jelly beans and such around the house. I know Easter has a much deeper meaning than that too...

We were invited to Alex's brother's for dinner. And were totally shocked to see how high gas prices are.

gas prices
Trey was just a little excited about the egg the Easter Bunny left at our house by mistake.

trey and his easter egg
And the drive home was dark, rainy, and took a long time. Seems a lot of people went out for Easter dinner!


Saturday, April 07, 2007

My new toy

I finally picked up the camera I've been thinking about buying since Christmas. I love it already. It does really great stuff, like has a super zoom and a 3200 ISO! OOOOoooh...makes me happy.

Silly me, the first picture I took was not of Alex (it probably should have been) but of this lovely flower on our front porch.

G7's first picture
Look what the ISO can do! (A400 on the left, G7 on the right)

super isoLook what the zoom can do! (A400 on top, G7 below)

super zoom
I was standing in the same spot for both ISO pictures and all four zoom pictures. I LOVE MY NEW CAMERA.

And look, I didn't forget about Alex!

i didn't forget alex

Peer Pressure...

and I punk and Heddy and Sunita and Kelsey (who never spent time on line until she found facebook).

Thursday, April 05, 2007

No, don't go away yet...

Sunita moved to Florida a few months ago to do some post doctoral work, but she's back in Vancouver for a few days and we all went out for dinner last night. And we all agreed it felt like she'd never left. Stacey and I were plotting ways to keep her here, but I guess we just have to wait out her two year contract and hope she decides to come back to Vancouver when she's done.

Or maybe we'll just have to go to Florida to see her...ooooh...I see a trip coming.

Hey Alex, wanna go to Florida?

Besides Girl Guide meetings, I mostly notice that Sunita isn't here when I got to the pool. When I started at UBC, Sunita and I used to go to lunch regularly, but she also got me to go swimming with her at lunch. Now when I go swimming, I feel like something is missing.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The precariousness of life

Life is precious. It's also a delicate balance. Sometimes things happen that remind us of how fleeting life is.

So I'm going to try to make a bigger effort to tell people how important they are to me and how glad I am to have them in my life and thank them when they do nice things or unexpected things or just everyday things and not get upset or frustrated before I really think about whether it is worth and usually it's not because it won't matter tomorrow or next week or in a year and besides, because it could all be gone, just like that. And then what.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Clan of the Cave Bear...

I finished it. A year after I started it, I actually finished. And that's because after I got past the first two chapters I was hooked.

My grandma has been hounding me for years and almost two thirds of my read the books, but I resisted.

If you know much about me, I'm gonna resist when you insist I need to read it, eat it, try it, whatever...cause I'm stubborn beyond stubborn.

But eventually I give in. And I gave in to this book. And now I'm on book two...hang on, wasn't I going to re-read Harry Potter? I guess those books can stay on the shelf for now....