Friday, September 30, 2011

WooWoo WooWoo

Last night as I was doing my last bit of puttering before bed, struggling to keep my eyes open, I had the TV on. I wasn't watching it, but I was vaguely aware that there was some police drama playing out on the screen. All of a sudden there was a whole lot of siren noise. I walked out of the kitchen and sure enough, it was time for eighty-seven million police cars to go racing off to some crime scene. Whatever. I almost turned the TV off, but I didn't.

I resumed puttering.

And I noticed more sirens. And thought our (non-existent) surround sound was working pretty well since it sounded like the sirens were in our living room.

And then I heard the emergency vehicle horn honk. Five or six times.


So, I pulled up the blinds, stepped onto the deck and was greeted by a plume of smoke and fire bells coming from the building next door and four fire trucks, all with lights blazing and sirens screaming, parked on the street.

It didn't look good. As in, I was worried the other building in our complex was going to catch fire. Which would likely mean we'd have to evacuate as well.

About then I realized that the noise was right outside J's window and I'd never be able to hear her because the sirens were so loud. Sure enough, she was wide awake and whispering, "Mommy, what's that noise? I'm scared." She wouldn't leave her room, so we opened her blinds and she got to see the firetrucks. She was so excited (we're in an emergency vehicle worshipping faze). Thankfully the fire was much smaller than it appeared - just a dumpster - but it took two hours to get it all cleaned up and the lights and sirens turned off so I could get my kid to bed.

I pretty much collapsed into bed

J was so excited that she got up at 5:45 to tell Alex all about it...

It's been a long day...I'm hoping the WooWoos stay away tonight!

And since it's the last day of September and I'm not sure where the month went, but I do know that I feel like I haven't managed to get a lot done at work, at home, on the blog or in life in general, here's to a productive October!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Let's start at the very beginning

of the week, that is...I think I'm back...we'll see. I thought I'd start with getting our kitchen back in order (okay, truthfully, the kitchen wasn't really ever out of order, but I certainly wasn't using it...much)

We have a busy week ahead of us, but I think I'll be able to swing meals heathly meals without too much stress (meals I made ages ago and froze are coming in handy!).

Monday: Macaroni and Cheese

Tuesday: Tacos (freezer food!)

Wednesday Shrimp Linguine - OH YUM. It's one of my 50 recipes for the 101 challenge, but I haven't blogged about it yet (I'm a bit behind...I did cook in August, really...)

Thursday: Quesadillas

Friday: Channa Masala (more freezer food)

Saturday: Salmon and Green Rice (from the Rebar Cookbook)

Sunday: Mom's Meatloaf

I'm linking this post to I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Slow down...

I seem to have slowed down...completely...

I will be back eventually (and I'm fine. Really. No more scary headaches. The all-clear is still an all-clear)

Maybe I'll be back this weekend...maybe I said when I popped in to say hello at the beginning of the month, I have a list...It's grown a little bit. I also have a list for this weekend - it's long. It might allow for some blogging time. It should allow me to cross at least one more thing off the 101 in 1001 list...I sure like lists.

Okay. Since it's Friday and I also have a list at work, I should get back to crossing things off that list so that I can have fun crossing things off the other two lists this weekend...

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

China - Cows


Postcard from Yanjuan from China.

Description: Nanshan grazing land

Russia - Smolensk


Postcard from Prottanya from Russia

Description: Makhovaya Tower

Iran - Ameri Residence


Postcard from ali from Iran

Poland - Toruń


Postcard from jagacicha from Poland

Description: Mikołaj Kopernik (Nicolaus Copernicus) at the city hall, city skyline seen from the left side of the Vistula River, the historic tram in the market [translation via Google]

USA - La Belle et La Bête


Postcard from MiaMono from the California.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Back in the swing of things...

I've mentioned this before, but for me, the new year starts in September.

This year, I'm happily leaving summer and all the chaos that came with it behind me. Some years, while I happily welcome fall, I do sadly say goodbye to summer at the same time, but this year, summer can just get lost.

I'm excited about this fall...things are changing at work and it means some interesting and challenging projects are heading my way. I've been given the all-clear as far as my health goes. J has started at her new daycare and we're all very excited about that (she turned three which means she's a big girl now and gets to go to daycare with the 3-5 year olds instead of the toddlers).

My house has suffered this summer...I am really looking forward to getting organized (again) [why is it that when you think you've got everything under control, life goes sideways and all the organizing vanishes into thin air?]

Welcome fall! I'm very glad to see you! Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Food, Glorious Food

After a week of no plan and a couple of weeks with half-hearted plans, I'm so happy to have my menu ready to go this week...

We're back into the fall swing of things and even though no one at our house is currently in school, things definitely all started again last week. We're trying to make things that work as leftovers. I need to be out of the house at 6:30 tonight and Thursday, so that means that both those dinners need to be leftover meals (or super fast meals). With a change in hours for me and J, Alex is going to be taking on more of the cooking and we're trying to keep dinner simple...

Monday: Cashew chicken sans cashews but with celery (leftovers)

Tuesday: Chili (leftovers)

Wednesday: Channa Masala

Thursday: Channa Masala (or other leftovers)

Friday: Dinner out with Alex and J

Saturday: Tex-Mex Chicken and Beans

Sunday: BBQ with friends at their house

More fall menu ideas over at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In an instant, it all changed

Tuesday, September 11, 2001 was a beautiful day in London, much like the beautiful day we're having today in Vancouver. When I got up that morning, I never, ever would have thought the day would end with such sadness.

I was off work that day and had gone into London with a friend who was getting ready to leave London, go on a trip through Europe and then head home to Mexico. I don't remember much of the morning, but sometime after lunch, around 1:30 or 2:00, we were in a tacky gift shop on the Strand. And over the chatter of the tourists in the shop, I heard something about a plane hitting the Empire State building.

And that was it. I didn't think much of it, in my mind it was a small, personal aircraft that must have made some kind of navigational error. The person reading the news was pretty calm and matter of fact and moved on to the next news story. Sad, but what do you do, right?

Not long after that we decided it was time to move on to our next destination - I'm not sure what it was, we never made it there. When we stepped out onto the street, something was wrong. It was quiet. Very quiet. It's never quiet like that on the Strand. And there was a lady on her cell phone in the middle of the street, sobbing. And a man next to her, who obviously knew her, but not well, awkwardly patting her on the shoulder.

As we walked through the streets, we could feel the mood thickening and the city getting quieter, but we didn't know why. I had forgotten the news report and didn't make that connection until later.

We decided that we were just going to go home. We didn't like the way London felt and we had tickets to the theatre that night, so we thought we'd go home, drop our purchases off, get changed, have dinner and come back.

The underground was eerily quiet. Everyone was very subdued. Every once in a while we'd see someone who had obviously been crying.

When we got back to Pax Lodge, it was a little crazy. We were hosting a seminar and there were American participants who were trying to connect with their relatives. We still weren't sure what was going on. Everyone crowded around the tv, but the news hadn't become huge yet...most stations were showing regular programming. The internet was nothing like it is today and in the entire building there were two computers (maybe four?) that were connected to the internet...nothing would load because the demand around the world was exceeding most sites' bandwidth allowance.

Eventually the UK caught on and all five stations that we got switched to newscasts. And it was devastating. There was huge concern about where terrorists might strike next. There was talk of shutting down the underground. The City was evacuated. All of our international guests and staff just wanted to go home. Of course, we knew that wasn't going to be possible.

Edna and I weren't sure if we should go to the show that night. We were scared that we'd get there and then the underground would shut down and we would have to walk all the way home. We waffled for hours about going and finally our boss told us just to go. That's what we needed to do, keep living and not let the terrorists scare us into staying home, even if we were terrified. She even offered to drive into London to get us if the underground did get shut down.

We went to the theatre and Oxford Street was almost empty. There was two minutes of silence at the beginning of the show and the theatre pretty much stayed quiet throughout the show. The show was great, but the collective sadness of the audience was so heavy. I have no idea how the actors managed to put on such a great performance.

My tv, which pretty much lived in a cabinet, came out of storage and for the next few days there was almost always someone in my room, even when I wasn't there, watching the coverage. I don't think I've ever cried so many tears. I don't think I've ever been so homesick either. Not that being home would have made the reality of it any less, but being home would at least give me the comfort of knowing my family was okay. I figured the world was ending.

The world didn't end.

My parents flew, very safely, to London a few weeks later to visit me and do some travelling. I flew to Finland and flew back to London with two pairs of scissors in my carry-on luggage and no one stopped me. I figured an armed guard would be waiting to arrest me when the plane touched down at Heathrow. Edna didn't get to go on her trip through Europe. Her mom was so concerned she asked her to come home right away.

Things changed. People seem to be more cautious. I need a passport to cross the 49th parallel. I can't carry a water bottle with me on the plane anymore. Thousands of people lost loved ones on September 11. Thousands more have lost loved ones in the years since in London, Iraq and Afghanistan and in other terrorist attacks. But the world has carried on.

This morning when I got up, my thoughts immediately went back to that day ten years ago. I hugged J a little tighter than usual. Then I turned the tv on and saw that the three year old from Sparwood had been returned to his family. And I hugged her again. She looked at me like I was crazy. Then she saw the tears glistening in my eyes and she gently patted my shoulder and told me "It will be okay, Mommy. I love you."

And I think she's right.

It will be okay. The world didn't end. It changed.

Friday, September 09, 2011

My brain is normal

Hello interwebs, did you miss me??

We were away with no internet/cell phone/crackberry access for a whole five days. And before that we were kid-free for a whole five days. And since then we've been doing the oh-so-lovely gradual entry thing for the next level of daycare (for five days...what is it about five days?). I had a great list of posts that I was going to schedule over the past two weeks, but, well, none of them got written (some were partly complete) and then, well, I couldn't be bothered.

So, in the next few weeks, expect a recap of the family get together back in August, the excitement of turning three, some restaurants I visited for the first time and some more recipes I tried, a wedding with canoes and life in general.

I don't know about you, but we're looking forward to life returning to normal. It's time for a new year to start because for me (and Heddy) the new year starts in September.

Whatever. Life will return to normal one day. I know. I've said that before. And there is no such thing as normal.

Unless of course we're talking about my brain.

Today marked the end of the parade of doctors and anxiety of tests. I have had an entire lab's worth of tests done in the last five weeks, including (but not limited to) a non-contrast CT scan, a contrast CT scan (which makes you feel like you've peed your pants, even though you haven't), enough blood work to regenerate all my blood at least once over (okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but there was lots of blood), a lumbar puncture, an abdominal ultrasound, a cardiac ultrasound and a stroke-protocol MRI.

Guess what, everything is normal! {I'm doing a happy dance}

The spot that set this ball rolling is still there. It's 4 mm in diameter and all of the tests around it are inconclusive. I might have had a small stroke. It might have been in a vein, not an artery. If it happened at all, it was a long time ago. If it happened at all, it might have been when J was born. I might not have had a stroke and that spot may have been there since I was born. So really, who knows. All of my arteries are clear and show no signs of previous blockage or signs that they might decided they want to be blocked in the future.

The amazing and wonderful thing is that I've been cleared to do anything and everything that I was doing before or that I might want to do in the future. You know, stuff like parachuting (ACK, afraid of heights and falling quickly), Ironman (that's my sister's job) and back country camping for six weeks with no cell service.

The frustrating thing is that because there is nothing "wrong" with me, they weren't able to give me any advice on how to prevent a similar painful event from happening again.

But I'm happy to take the frustrating since it came with a generous side of "you're fine."

Thanks everyone for your emails, messages and phone calls checking up on me the last few weeks...I really appreciate them!