Suzy Snapper
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
New Challenges
I like to think I'm fairly self-sufficient but lately, I've started to wonder.

My Dad used to do an awful lot of little things around here that I guess I took for granted. I'm not against hard work, but at the same time, he loved to putter around here and fix things for me. Who was I to say no? Besides, it gave me time to do some of the things I'd rather be doing.

But this last month has taught me a thing or two.

One. Leaves do not fall in even piles. My big London Plane tree started with a trickle. Then there were a few more. The next thing I knew the whole tree did a bulimia impression on my backyard. It was two feet high in places.

Two. A leaf mulcher is only as good as the dry uncrumpled leaves you put in front of it. Given that this was my first time behind the tool, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. When I was 15, I ran over some electrical cords with the lawn mower. Some may have teased me that I wasn't supposed to be around power tools, but truth be known, it got me out of a tedious chore for many years. So, this leaf mulcher. I happily fill two bags of mulched leaves before I suddenly realize that what is going in is not coming out. The motor is going strong, but there's a funny smell. I turn it off, just to see a whiff of smoke pouring out the motor casing. This can't be good, can it?

Turns out picking up the dog's little presents to me before mulching is a whole lot easier than having to pick them out of a half mulched, half cooked slimey mess.

The next 4 bags of leaves were removed the old fashioned way. Garden gloves and elbow grease.

Three. When you turn on a light switch, you should expect to see light. My hallway lights are 10 ft above the floor, but I'm a little hesitant on ladders. After seeing my father fall off twice, I'm not too sure I want to try and emulate. But, one must have light. I haul the ladder into the hallway. Up I go to find the sconces have screws. Down again to the tool box, and change the lights. Flip the switch. Nada. No juice. This, of course, happened on the Sunday of a long weekend. I call in a favour to my nephew. I don't like asking for help. I will sit in the dark before I will call in a favour, but given the fact I nearly fell down the stairs twice in the night, it was not a light I could do without. Nephew arrives, in his cocky 22-year old, saviour mode. He looks up and down the wires and can't find the source of the problem. Finally, he makes a call to his boss for ideas. I hear them talking about having to rip down the wall to find the break. I hear myself saying 'You do what you have to. I trust you', with visions of slashed drywall all over my house. Just as he's putting the sconce back in it's place until he has more time to look, he notices the problem. The aluminum wire has come undone. Easy fix.

Four. Pipes. Apparently outside pipes burst when it freezes. I turned off the one in my backyard on the weekend, but completely forgot the one in the front yard. Until last night. And yes, it had frozen. 2 hours, warm cloths, and a hair dryer later, it's unfrozen. I will not be forgetting that lesson.

I also learned that my neighbour, although often commenting that I should always ask him for help, does not take kindly to a knock on his door in the evening. I guess his offer was rhetorical.

Five. Icicles dripping off the eves and down towards my front entrance apparently make the postman nervous. I wasn't offered mail delivery today. If it wasn't -15°C, I'd go deal with that, but they're mostly bills anyway, so another couple days won't hurt.

The next challenge on the list? My pilot light has gone out on my gas fireplace. It's about time I learned something new for my resume.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Snow Again
The snow has more or less stopped falling. I am lucky with only about 14" to show for it, but many people I've talked to are in the 2-3 FOOT range. This is NOT normal for our little mild West Coast.

A friend of mine has been out of power and telephone for nearly 2 days now. It wouldn't be so bad, if she didn't have a 5 month old teething baby in need of formula. They've been making his eats on a Coleman stove but it's expected to hit -20 tonight. It's not going to be much fun for them. We've tried to convince them to go to my brothers tonight, but I'm not sure if they will take us up on it.

If you get past the horrendous roads, it really is beautiful. It took me just over 2 hours to get to work this morning, and it was white knuckle most of the way. However, it was just gorgeous. Trees glistening with fresh snow.

It truly is a work of art. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm a West Coaster through and through. I like my rain. I like mild temperatures. I want it back!

Sunday, November 26, 2006
Snow Day

It started last night. As I finished raking and bagging the last of the leaves, I noticed the odd flake. No big deal.

At 4:30 I left to drive to my brother's. I had to turn around 20 minutes later as the storm hit fullforce. When I couldn't see the car in front of me, I knew it was not a good time to drive on a highway.

This morning, pure beauty. Everywhere you look.

A short walk outside my door and I was greeted by wintery wildlife scenes whereever I looked.

The last time I saw a pheasant, I was 5. I knew they were around, but they're definitely rare around this area now.

It's definitely a good day to catch up on my inside jobs. And wonder how I'm getting work tomorrow!

Friday, November 24, 2006
Spreadin' The News
In other, more upbeat news, I have booked my East Coast trip. Now that my Dad has improved enough, it was time to start looking forward and a vacation was definitely in order.

Yesterday, I booked my niece and I on a trip for 8 days. We fly into Washington National on March 3 and out of La Guardia on March 11.

We will be staying with friends in Virginia for the first couple of days. I am very much looking forward to catching up with them, as my quick visit in Vegas in Febraury wasn't under the greatest situations. From there, we'll be touring Washington, DC and Annapolis.

A train up to New York and we'll be spending the remainder of the week around Manhattan.

I can't wait. This will be over 2-1/2 years since I've had a proper vacation and it is sorely needed.
When to Take A Risk
I have a hard time with trust. Trusting people, especially men takes a conscious effort and is a very difficult process for me. It makes the thought of a relationship very disconcerting and nerve-wracking.

In my non-blogging life, I like to make friends, and enjoy meeting new people. However, most remain on a very top level of my life and it is rare for someone to get any closer than that.

Part of this comes from past relationship foibles. An ex who told me shortly before our planned wedding (after we'd been together for 10 years, I might add) that he was unfaithful. It turned out to be more than that. The girl had been referring to herself as his girlfriend for 6 months previous.

I spend the next four years with a semi-pro baseball jock. He was serially unfaithful, and never claimed to be anything else. For him, it was liberating to be in an open relationship. For me, it was the evil you know versus the evil you don't. If I knew what he was doing, it wasn't cheating, now was it? What I didn't realize at the time was that it chipped away at my psyche and did even more damage. The relationship ended when I found him with a coworker of mine at a company Christmas party. The funny thing there though is that he is now my best male friend. We have been through so much together, and I will always have strong feelings for him, but I will never respect him.

I then started my spiral into long distance relationships. If they were in a different physical location, I could control things. I could decide when I wanted to talk and when I didn't. When I wanted to see them and still keep my life safe. The man from South Africa with the overbearing mother. The Brummie Austin Powers-meets-Harry Potter guy from England. And of course, NavyBoy, through both his tours of Iraq.

I decided to remain single after that, and did so until about a year ago, when someone reawakened the desire in me to have that male companionship. I'm not talking the physical here, but the emotional closeness that having a partner offers.

In the early summer, I decided to try a few of the dating online services. The response was laughable. While I try not to be judgmental, if by the age of 40, you still have a paper route, there may be some larger issues to deal with. When your Top 3 things you can't live without are 'Sex, my good looks and money', your 'deep as a teasonpoon' philosphy may need a little work.

So when a couple weeks ago, I got an email from a fellow that seemed genuine, it caught my eye. I wrote, intrigued and he wrote back regularly. While I found myself more and more interested, I also found those old familiar feelings of distrust bubbling below the surface. I cautioned him that I was working through this issue, and that for that to help, I needed his openness. He agreed.

This week, suddenly things changed. It went from 1 email a day to 6-8. He started phoning up to 10 times a night. I found out that his 17-year marriage had only recently failed and he was still working through custody issues (with children he had yet to have even mentioned). I was disconcerted to say the least.

I realize everyone has life issues, and I know I certainly have my own, but how do you know when it's right to take a risk? How do you learn to put things aside and trust again?
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
I've seen this on other sites the last couple of days and thought it was something a little fun to do.

40 yrs ago - Not around yet.

35 yrs ago - 2 years old, and beginning to have minor memory imprints that would last a lifetime (crying in my crib, for example). My eldest brother got engaged that year too.

30 yrs ago - Started kindergarten and we took a road trip to Disneyland (my younger two brothers and I, with parents of course). I saw a tarantula in my cousin's front yard, beginning my spiral into arachnaphobia. Back then in Disneyland, they had those skycars that went through the Materhorn to the other side of the park and I can remember my brother getting in trouble for spitting on the people below.

25 yrs ago - Grade 6. My first niece was born. I was an Aunt for the second time. We put in our 'in-the-ground' pool, allowing me to become one of the most visited girls in my class.

20 yrs ago - Expo '86. The World came to Vancouver and my brother met Princess Di and The Pope. I met my first true love, who would be in my life for 10 years. That year, I thought my life was exactly as it was supposed to be. I expected fully to be married in the next couple years, as I graduated high school and planned to be a stay-at-home mom.

15 yrs ago - Status quo. Still with the expected 'one'. I became an aunt to my newest niece for the 8th and last time. I was just about to start my 'dream job' working at the police station. It would later prove to be the worst job ever (organizing autopsy photos?) but at that moment, I was thrilled with the prospect.

10 yrs ago - Was busily planning my wedding, when I found out that he had left the relationship long before. His extracurriculars had become less extra, and more intra. This was a hard, difficult time for me but ended up being the best thing that could have happened. I awoke and realized that I wanted different things out of life than I ever could have gotten had I continued on that path. This was also the year that I had major reconstructive surgery on my wrist. I underwent 6 months of intensive therapy to retrain myself on all the normal daily tasks (tying shoes, buttons, etc.). It left me with an 8" scar on my wrist/underarm, no feeling in my little finger and a better understanding of what disabled people face.

5 yrs ago - Found out that I had infertility issues the same time my niece found out she was pregnant with her first baby. Broke up with someone I deeply cared for, but realized we just couldn't make it work. I made a conscious decision to remain single for the rest of my life that year.

2 yrs ago - A chance meeting in Hawaii put me on a path of greater understanding of what military personnel go through and allowed me to meet people who became good friends. Began the journey of a military girlfriend. The chance meeting? Well, I learned that not everyone is as truthful as I try to be in my life, but in that, there was still much to be proud of. This was also the year that my niece had her second baby, a son.

1 yr ago - Working at a contract job and meeting a great group of people, who allowed me to break out of my shell and be a little less introverted. It gave me a big boost of confidence for which I will be forever grateful.

1 month ago - We were at my Dad's bedside as he recovered from a quintuple bypass. Again, a life changing experience that I'm still working through the ramifications of.

Yesterday - Working on the website for my 20th Class Reunion, and bringing up a lot of memories. Most good, though, surprisingly. I am struck by the amount of inspiring life stories of those I graduated with. I also spent yesterday talking to someone special, who I hope to be able to talk about here shortly.

Tomorrow - my niece is coming over with her little ones to work on Christmas decorations and go shopping. I almost told her not to when I realized it meant missing some good TV, but well, that's what we have PVR's for, right?

I'd love to hear some of yours. Leave a note in the comments if you decide to play.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Between the torrential rainstorms we've been hit with, reminding some people of the Typhoon we saw in 1963, and everything else, it has been a hectic week.

Vancouver is still under a boil-water advisory since the storm last Wednesday. Some friends of mine only got power back today. I was fortunate, only losing power briefly on the actual day of the storm.

Molly is improving. It does seem to be painful for her still, but each day is a minor improvement. She can now walk about 10 ft without sitting down. I should be able to wean her off the morphine by the end of the week.

The big news, however, is my Dad. On Sunday night, I drove him and my mom to my brother's house for dinner. The first time he'd been back there since the night of the heart attack. He has been extremely depressed of late, and it was hard to see him go through his recovery when he was clearly so down.

However, when we walked into that house, a light switch was turned on by two little children. Ms Thang fitted him with his very own tiara, and Little Dude put a beaded gold necklace over his head. No amount of support that we've given him came close to being a match for what those little ones did. Without prompting, I might add.

He smiled brighter than I've seen him in years.

Since then, he's been a different person. He's back. In every way.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Please Santa?
Ms. Thang has discovered the beauty of Christmas. Well, at least the commercial side of it. She is under the impression that the Sears Wishbook is her own personal shopping list. We had to explain to her that Santa only has so much room in his sleigh, and that other boys and girls needed presents too.

But when she started asking for her most recent must have, we had our eyebrows raised.

'What would you like for Christmas?', we asked.

She looked up with her big blue eyes and said, 'A family.'

'A family? What do you mean a family? You have one?'

She looked puzzled. 'No,' she said. 'A REAL family. One that's ALL mine. One with a mommy and a daddy and other kids too'

Poor little Matchstick girl.

Turns out this is what she wants:

Thursday, November 16, 2006
Another day, another drama

Molly has decided to have her own little medical emergencies of late.

As mentioned on the weekend, she had a problem with her foot that required a few stitches and a minor procedure to cure an abcessed toe.
Cue to Monday night. I was petting her when I felt something on the base of her tail. It was a hard lump and did not at all feel like something normal. I brought her into the light and suffice to say, it was ready to go. It was infected, and what happened is not for gentle words. I'm glad I'm not a squeamish person, and proceeded to tend to her as best I could. The problem was, however, more than I could take care of on my own. I could feel something under the skin.
On Tuesday, she went to daycare which is held at her vet's office. I mentioned it to them and they said they would take a look during the day. She had no outward signs of distress at this point, and I was only being cautious.
When I picked her up Tuesday night, her tail was bent awkwardly. They had shaved the offending area and partially removed a cyst. I thought that she was holding her tail strangely because the sensation of air on what was normally heavily covered in fur was odd to her. As the night wore on, I jokingly told her to lay off the drama. I mean, we've all had bad haircuts from time to time.
Last night, I got home to something that was much much worse. To be honest, I thought she'd had a stroke during the day. Her tail was still in an awkward position, but she seemed to be unable to walk more than a step or two without falling. It broke my heart to see her try to walk, only to collapse and look up at me with big, brown eyes as if to say 'Why is this happening to me?'
I need to mention too, that this dog is not a whiner. She has shown an extraordinary amount of pain tolerance. When she was a pup, she was nearly torn apart by an aggressive dog and her toe left hanging. During the operation, she stocially held her paw out for the vet to sew up. If I hadn't seen that myself, I might have thought the vet was just being kind, but no. I assisted that night, rather than call in a nurse after hours and she was an angel.
The night got progressively worse. I truly thought the worst. She was showing signs of major discomfort and I was at a loss of how to help her. We both slept very little.
This morning, I called the vet as soon as they opened. I took the day from work as a personal day (I may not have a 2 legged kid, but I have a 4 legged one!) and brought her in as soon as I could.
The growth that was there on Sunday was definitely a cyst and Tuesday's procedure had merely angered it, for lack of a technical term. The swelling had mimicked a pinched nerve, and she was experiencing a sciatica-type spasm. This accounted for all her 'stroke' symptoms and her lameness. She had surgery this morning to remove it, relieve the pressure and has been placed on more antibiotics and Tramadol, which by all accounts is a powerful painkiller.
I gave her two when I got home. She was so out of it. If it wasn't so sad, it would have been funny. The best part though was she made the best model out in the leaves. I could pose her any which way I pleased. That never happens with this high spirited dog, so I couldn't help but take a few shots.
She's resting now and her eyes have cleared a bit. She goes back in on Saturday.
Monday, November 13, 2006
The Christmas spirit hit me with a fury yesterday and I finally feel like I can face the holidays. I think it has a lot to do with the feeling that Dad is truly recovering now.

I started making Christmas cards today and have made 35 so far. I'd love to send some of these out to my blogging friends, so if you can let me know your address, I'd appreciate it!

It's been a busy weekend though. On Friday, I came home to a unhappy dog. She was walking - or at least attempting to - on three legs and was unable to put weight on her front paw. The paw was very swollem but no obvious signs of why. By Saturday it was worse, so we took a trip to the vets. She had an abcessed toe, poor thing. So shaving and a few stitches later, she's now recovering.

I also started working on our high school reunion website. Must say I'm pretty happy with it so far, but have yet to hear comments back from anyone. Such is life. I keep telling myself, if I build it, they will come. If you want to take a peak, here it is.

Yesterday, I spent the day over with the kids. We did a little posed shot of what she'd look like if she was looking for Santa. It's for an eventual project I hope to have finished by the holidays and Ms. Thang was quite happy to oblige. Of course, it's not the chimney that we grew up with but she didn't seem to mind. Santa is magic, right?

Friday, November 10, 2006
Tribute to the Fallen Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan

A must watch. We tend to think of our veterans as our elders. They are not. They are our brothers, our sisters, our peers. They are us.
Friday Quiz
Neither American, nor have I visited any of the below areas, but interesting quiz nonetheless. Thanks, Shannon!

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
The Inland North
The South
North Central
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Remembrance Day
Tomorrow is November 11, Remembrance Day. A day to reflect and remember those who served for our country and to which we owe so much.

I think, though, as important as it is to remember those who served, we should also take pause for those that are serving right now. Our news media doesn't do nearly enough to remember the heroes that are being forged this very minute.

There is a petition out right now to honour the remaining heroes of WWI. We have 3 remaining veterans - aged between 105 and 106, who lobbyists would like to see a state funeral for. To give them the honour they truly deserve. If you'd like to read about it and add your name, please go here.

A post in honour of Remembrance/Veteran's Day that I thought particularly poignant is here. Please take a second and read it. The young man he speaks of here is such a strong soul and such a hero. It's so important to remember our young veterans as well as our older ones.

It is raining torrentially here again. My commute was nearly double the usual. I really don't understand how people get so flustered by raindrops. We live in a rainforest, for cripes sake! There were no was just simply slow drivers seemingly intimidated by water.

Today is my friend's daughter's funeral. I chose in the end not to go. I sent a card and a donation to her foundation instead. They had asked everyone to wear pink to her service today, but I decided even though I wasn't going, to wear pink anyhow.

Also, today is the funeral for the person who had my job previously to me. He was just 36 and passed away Monday suddenly. I never knew the man, but he was spoken highly of here and of course, I have seen much of his legacy in this office that I now occupy. He left a wife and 6 year old daughter. Very sad.

In happier news, I bought tickets to Christina Aguilera for next March. I was fortunate to get Row 14 and am thrilled. I have been a fan of hers since the beginning. Her voice is, in my opinion, absolutely phenomenal. Even during her less than chaste phase, I always said it was just part of her growing up. That she would eventually get through that and come through as a major talent.

Locally, the news of Denise Richards having a hissy fit at our casino is causing quite a stir. When she threw the photographers' laptop off the balcony, she hit an 81 and a 90 year old lady. While they were not hurt seriously, I still have to wonder why there has been no public apology from the actress. Knowing my parents were pretty much in that exact spot the day before brings it home. Although my Mom's take is that the women that got hit probably won a bigger jackpot than they would have on any slot machine.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
One Month
As I was going along my day this morning, it suddenly struck me. It's one month today.

One month since my Dad's (and ours) life changed. One month since I held his hand on the side of the road as he tried to breathe, but went a colour I cannot describe. It was grey, but purple at the same time. I have told my family I never want to speak of what happened that night again, and for the most part, I don't but this is my space to decompress. Writing allows me that.

Since that night, I can't hear a siren without feeling my entire body clench. It's not a conscious reaction. It just happens. I am told that will go with time.

I still close my eyes at night and see the look of terror in my Mom's eyes as she sat in the driver's seat. When my Dad first felt the deepening heavyness enter his chest and he knew he had to pull over, he instructed my Mom to take him to the nearest hospital. He was very agitated, and made her get in the driver's seat while he walked around the other side of the car, clutching his chest the entire time. Thankfully, my Mom called me instead as she knew I wasn't far behind. Only 30 seconds as the cell phone would show.

I couldn't watch that night. When they took my Dad out of the car, he had to be physically lifted by several paramedics as the car was parked on the edge of a deep ditch and it was too dangerous to try to remove him by stretcher. I kept my focus on my Mom, who in the panic, was unable to breathe. That's when I called another paramedic over and asked him to also take care of her.

That left my Aunt in the backseat. As I've mentioned before, my Aunt has dementia. It is extremely frustrating and while I do understand she can't help herself, I have difficulty coping with it. She becomes extremely irritating with a high whiney voice, and often tries to make things about her. It's part of the disorder, and I understand that, but it was the last thing I could deal with. I checked to make sure she was physically ok, but I must admit I had difficulty consoling her when I was so focussed on my Dad.

After the ambulance left carrying my parents, I sat on the side of the road. I am somewhat embarassed to admit I was physically ill at that moment. The firemen were fantastic as they stayed with us, keeping the road blocked until my brother could arrive. He drove my parents car to the hospital, my older niece drove my Aunt and my younger niece drove me. I know I can be strong in crisis situations, and over the past month, have been proud of that fact. But at that particular moment, I was not strong at all.

Moving forward from that night to the next few sleepless days as he waited in the critical care unit, I went through many emotions. I barely slept. I barely ate. I felt that we would lose him at any moment.

When he was booked for the emergency bypass the following Monday, I knew it was extremely serious. The quickness of the surgery date was unheard of. A good friend of mine's father is going through similar issues and is highly critical, yet he was booked out 6 weeks! I knew that they had moved some mountains to get the date so quickly for my Dad. Instead of making me feel better though, it scared me even more. During that time, I was riding a tightrope of emotions. The gregarious cheerleader by day in front of my mom and the rest of the family, but once alone in my house, a complete mess. It was exhausting.

The day he had the surgery, we went into see him right after he came out of the operating room. He was cold to the touch. His colour was good, but he was not there. As we stood there with the sounds of the respirator and other life support keeping him alive, I heard a voice. I haven't mentioned this to anyone because it is so unbelievable. My Aunt Phyl - my Dad's sister said very clearly 'He's not going anywhere yet. He's got a long time to go.' That raspy, cigarette-soaked voice that I missed so much was as clear in my ear as it was right before she passed away in 2002. So clear in fact that I turned suddenly to look to where it came from, and startled my mother. I told her I was just looking around, but a peace filled me. I knew then that he would pull through.

Fast forward a month, and I am proud to report that he not only left the house yesterday for a much needed haircut, but also felt the strength to stop by the casino on the way home. My Dad loves the casino and it was a large milestone for him to know himself that he will be ok.

Thanks for everything this past month. It has been so full of extremes. Highs and lows. Friends I didn't realize I had, and friends that maybe weren't really there for me to begin with. It has been a bit of a tree-shaking, priority-organizing time. Sometime the world has to change to help you know what is truly important.
Something Lighter
1. FIRST NAME? Susan
2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? No, but my middle name Jo Anne is after my Aunt
3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? On the weekend, after hearing that an old friend of mine lost her 5-year old daughter to cancer.
4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Sometimes, but I have to be in the right frame of mind or it's very messy.
5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE LUNCH MEAT? procuitto (I hope I spelled that right!)
6. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? Nope. But I have enough nieces and nephews to keep me very busy.
8. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Yes. One here, but also a private one as well.
9. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? Yes. Although I usually reserve it to those who appreciate it.
11. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Can't see it happening. The height thing is a little too much for me.
12. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? No. Which accounts for some well worn heels in my runners.
13. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Physically, not at all, but emotionally, I think I have that covered.
14. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ICE CREAM FLAVOUR? Caramel. There is also a Haagen-Daz bar that's almond-chocolate covered with caramel inside that's to die for!
15. SHOE SIZE? 8
16. RED OR PINK? A little of both, but I prefer red.
18. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My cousin, Lani. She was my kindred spirit and as close to a sister as I've ever known. She's been gone 9 years, but I keep her close to me and miss her every day.
20. WHAT COLOUR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? No pants. I'm at work in a brindle-coloured skirt and top. Cute tan shoes though...they're 9-west, Mary-Janes that I got from EBay a few months ago.
21. WHAT IS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? A hotdog from 7-11 last night. Ech!
22. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? One of my colleagues negotiating with a vendor in the next room.
24. FAVOURITE SMELL? Fresh bread or cookies.
27. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I'd like to think so, but then again, I'm my own worst critic.
28. FAVOURITE DRINK? Coke or Almond Chai Latte
29. FAVOURITE SPORT? Hockey or Lacrosse
30. HAIR COLOUR? Caramel with copper highlights
31. EYE COLOUR? Hazel
32. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Can't as they cause me migraines
33. FAVOURITE FOOD? Fresh sushi, or seared ahi tuna
35. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? The Motorcycle Diaries. A fantastic movie that made me buy a book on the life of Che Guevara
37. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer, definititely - although Fall has it's perks.
38. HUGS OR KISSES? Can't remember.
39. FAVOURITE DESSERT? White chocolate bread pudding with brandy sauce
40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? "A Blade of Grass" - the story of a white woman and a black woman's friendship during Apartheid and war. It's kept me up to midnight the last two nights!
41. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? A vendor's website
42. FAVOURITE SOUNDS? Baby giggles
44. THE FURTHEST YOU'VE BEEN FROM HOME? South Africa or Australia. Both were pretty far!
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
White Rabbit
I had no idea that it wasn't a common little superstition that I mentioned the other day. My Mom started me on it as a little girl, just as she was taught as well. The theory is, at least in my family, that if you say 'White Rabbits!' three times as the first words you speak on the morning of the first of the month, the month will be full of good luck. It sounds easy, but it's not. Most times, I find myself talking to the dog before I remember what day it is.

This month though, I decided it was worth really trying to remember as October is a month of bad luck I'd rather not repeat.

I did a little research and there's a longer explanation of the superstition here.

My Dad is slowly improving, but the most difficult part is the emotion of it all. It is hard for him to accept the changes he's facing and he is often frustrated and angry. We just try to support him as best possible and like I said to him last night, we need to focus on improvements on a weekly basis rather than a daily basis.

My Mom fell on Sunday and hurt her ankle bad enough that she's needing a cane to get around. I tried to talk her into going to the hospital to have it x-rayed but she has refused so far. She doesn't want to leave Dad long enough to do that, and I think too, she's afraid of having to go to the hospital in general. She's managing slowly, and that's good, I guess.

I heard a terrible thing on the weekend that has made me feel very down. A girl I went to highschool with lost her daughter to brain cancer on Halloween. Her little girl was just 5! I read her blog over the weekend, and while I won't link it here out of respect for her privacy, it made me deeply sad to hear how much hope they had been holding out for her right until the end. On the day before her passing, they spoke of taking her to a neighbouring town on a holiday as soon as she got a little stronger. Once she started to slip though, she went very quickly. I can't fathom what it must have been for them to go through. Her mother was always such a warm and friendly person, and while I haven't kept in contact with her and haven't even seen her in a decade, my heart breaks for them. I have been asked to go to the services on Friday but have yet to make up my mind there. As I haven't kept in touch, I don't know that I have a place there and don't want to intrude. I will, however, be sending a card and a letter.

Other than that, it's been busy again with planning for the high school reunion, and general duties I'd been neglecting for the past few weeks. Things do feel, however, that they're looking up. I don't know exactly why, but they do and I'm going to go with that.
Friday, November 03, 2006
November begins
I am still drawn to the idea of NaNoWriMo. It's not going to happen this year for me, but doing it last year was a great acheivement for me. It proved that, when I put my mind to it, I can write. One of my biggest failures is thinking things through too much. I keep telling myself that 'one day I will write that book...' and then using a myriad of excuses like wanting to learn more about writing itself.

So to those of you taking up the NaNo challenge this month, I salute you. I will be writing as well, but just not monitoring my word counts to the same degree.

Halloween unfortunately didn't work out as well as I'd hoped. Here in Vancouver, we have atrocious traffic at the best of times. And lately, this has not been the best of times. There is one bridge being worked on in preparation for the Olympics 2010, which means at least 1/3 of commuters are forced to find alternate routes. My route, in particular, apparently.

I left work early on the 31st as I needed to drop my car off to be fixed from the car accident. I should have been at the collision repair shop by 4:30 but with choking, bottlenecked traffic, I didn't arrive until 5:15. By the time, I had it sorted out, was taken to the rental car depot and got home, it was 7pm. Imagine what should have been a 1 hour commute was over 3. I was not a happy camper. I tried to hand out a few candies but my head was pounding and I'd missed the bulk of the young ones, so I grinched. I went in, turned off the lights and crashed on the couch. Oh, and ate chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Not entirely happy with the events but such is life. November will be much better.

I remembered to say 'White Rabbit!' when I woke up the next morning. Ingrained from my mother since childhood, it's one superstition I do try to follow. I rarely remember though. The first words uttered on the morning of the 1st of the's hard to remember when you first wake up. So having remembered this month, let's hope it will be better.

I've been able to read a couple of books this week and have thoroughly enjoyed both of them. 'Water for Elephants' by Sarah Gruen. If you haven't read this one, PLEASE make it your next read. It is engrossing, involving and thoroughly enchanting. The story of a depression-era circus and it's characters. I have about 50 pages left and I am pretty sure I know how it ends but so far, it has been so engaging it's all I can do not to read it at work!

'For One More Day' by Mitch Albom. I think I'll leave this to a post on it's own, but again, a very good and QUICK read. I read it in one evening. Especially heartwarming considering the last month. Everyone wants that one more day with a passed loved one, don't they?

I also read 'Time Traveller's Wife' last month. Mostly during the times waiting the hospital. Again, another book that should be read if you have the chance. Although I must admit I did get a little mixed up with the continuity, but that could have been my mood at the time. An incredible love story.

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer trapped in a corporate buyer's body. Steel shopping by day, and freeflowing prose by night. One day I hope to have the nights become my days, but am intimidated by the sheer amount of people who share my dream. So I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.
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