A Change Would Do You Good

Well 2013 brought with it a lot of changes and a few firsts…

  1. One kid moved out, the other… remains *side eyes*
  2. Blackberry out, iPhone in and never looked back. I am now an iDrone.
  3. I went from being an unemployed bum to an employed bum (hey working doesn’t mean I have to be energetic outside of work hours right?) It’s for a great company too, so booyah!
  4. I grew back my commuter legs, all those years of mostly transit softened me, but a couple of weeks out with the crazy Vancouver drivers and I was back baby!
  5. I started the year with low energy, forgetfulness, all wobbly, numb and twitchy to mostly normal thanks to B12 megadosing (seriously folks GET YOUR B12 checked.)
  6. This here girl graduated from her first post-secondary program ever. I feel all edumacated.
  7. Tom and I went from being, well frankly, lazy couch potatoes to regular walkers just about every day we have off.
  8. We went on a couple of spontaneous trips, and by spontaneous I mean not planned for months which is kind of different for us.  Even better, each trip we had awesome weather! Grabbing the gusto people!
  9. We got to see Tom’s family, and I  finally met Sue who’d I only met through electronic means up until that point. I added another State to my States I’ve visited list to boot.
  10. I became a convertible driver, though I’ve yet to put the top down cos…brrrr.
  11. I stopped drinking diet coke and thought I’d miss it, but I don’t. Water, coffee and the odd glass of wine are pretty much all I’ll imbibe now.
  12. I won a camera for my photography (a first!), and I got another (mirrorless!) one for an early birthday present. My name is Belinda, and I am a camera addict.
  13. I voluntarily went on a ferris wheel-ish type thing (enclosed mind you)
  14. We got off the ferry and into the towns on Bainbridge Island and Bremerton. At least now the mystery is gone.
  15. I read an owners manual. Gasp!
  16. SouthLAnd ended despite our best efforts and begging. Waaaa!
  17. We mainlined the entire series of Homicide: Life on the Street and OH MY GOD how did I not watch that when it was on the air? At least with The Wire I had the excuse of no HBO.
  18. I found out I need to get my eyes drilled and it’s happening in like 8 days *whine whine*

There are more I’m sure, but my aging brain can only bring back so many memories for this post.

So to you, my loyal reader (I know hardly anyone ever reads this thing) I wish a  Hap-hap-happy New Year!

I leave you with, as is tradition… our year in pictures.

Posted in Famdamily, Me Moi Mich | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Chasing Cars

I’d been eyeing the Fiat 500C for a while now, ever since I realized that it is a cabrio that A) I could afford and B) IT’S A CABRIO!

I’ve wanted a convertible all my life, well all my car loving life anyway. I realize it isn’t a full-on convertible, more like a convertible-lite, but it allows for way more open-air enjoyment than a moon-roof can offer.

So, while Freddy still has enough life left in him to be useful and the desire to have a newer car for my long daily commute, we decided it was time to pass Freddy on to Chris and start the process of finding me a car.  Chris’ car is a 2001 and while not driven far or that often really, it is reaching end of life and I worry about his safety. Freddy is a bit of a step up from his car, but I think he’s a tad bit nervous about driving a different car and a wee bit melancholy letting his very first car go. I get that, I get attached to my cars too and I will admit I feel a little guilty now that Freddy who has been garaged his whole life is now spending his time parked on the street in the elements. Is it silly? Sure, but I tend to anthropomorphize my cars and certain other inanimate objects.

When I started looking around, I was really leaning towards a colour called espresso, which looked nice on the website, but I’d never seen it close up. I looked online to see which local dealership had  one in that colour so I could have a look, and found one at the Maple Ridge Fiat dealership. It didn’t have a price listed so I called and got THE most patronizing salesman I’ve ever spoken to, and that is saying something. He half listened to me, kept asking me to repeat what I had JUST said while he was doing whatever he was doing to look up the car in question (I gave him the inventory number), but even worse, he kept calling me “Hun.” Listen jerk-face would you talk that way to a guy? I ain’t no Hun.

So I blew him off and decided to try another dealership, I saw that the Columbia Fiat had what I was looking for and we took a drive out that way. As I wandered the lot and saw the espresso coloured 500 (it is a nice colour) we were approached by a very nice salesman named Tim, I explained that I was looking but seriously looking and what my absolute max price was going to be, taxes in. He said he wouldn’t be able to get me in a “Lounge” version of a 500C in the range I was talking, but if I was willing to bend on colour and a few features, it was doable. He found me a cabrio and we took a spin around the block. I told him of my experience with the other salesman and he was pretty stunned.

Anyway, after that little ride I fell in love, it wasn’t an espresso car, in fact it was a white car with a red roof, one I had looked at before and it WAS on my consideration list for colours. We pulled back up in front of the dealership and he asked me if I was interested and if so they’d work with me to get me into that car for the price I was looking to pay. The best thing about that dealership is that they get the same commission for each sale so don’t try to push you into something that costs more.

One we made the deal I was handed a mallet, which he explained was to hit the big gong inside the dealership, something they do every time a sale is made. I felt a wee bit sheepish, but I gave it a good bash and yeah, it was pretty loud. The dealership burst into applause and we moved on. We went into the finance office and signed the papers and arranged for pick-up on the following Monday. I could have taken him home that night, but we had plans and didn’t want to sit there for longer waiting for insurance etc.

As we were leaving we saw the car, or what we all assumed was the car and I was going to take a picture of it. Tim offered to take a picture of Tom and I by the car, in fact encouraged us both to get IN it but we both just stood by it. This woman was hovering by the car and wouldn’t get out of the frame which we thought was weird until Tom noticed there was a purse inside the car and I noticed that the mirrors were silver, not body coloured like the car I just drove. We walked back to Tom’s car laughing our heads off while Tim who just caught on that it was in fact SOMEONE ELSE’S CAR was having a good laugh as well. It would have been hysterical if we’d tried to get into the car!

We mentioned it when we returned to pick him up on the Monday, Tim said “what are the chances that almost the exact same car was parked in the exact spot they leave the car after it’s been prepped!?” (and where I had dropped it off after the test-drive!) Once all the paper-work was done, I drove my new little baby home (in the pouring rain mind you.) It felt weird driving a different car, it is definitely more responsive in the steering than Freddy is and I feel so, I dunno “high up” in my seat. It took about a week to get used to him, but he truly feels like my little guy now. Not much of a trunk to speak of, the hood Tom calls “the flap” which resembles a larger-sized tic-tac dispenser, but he’s great on gas, quite zippy and so much fun to drive. He even makes the commutes more fun.

Meet Nate.

*edited to add: Pic of Nate pre-winter tires with his fancier shoes on

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Winterized Nate:

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Freddy? I still love you, so much in fact I kept you in the family. Forgive me for the rain. Love, yo mamma.

Posted in Here in my car, Nate | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Doctor My Eyes

I can’t remember if in the many years of writing in this here blog, if I ever mentioned how grossed-out I am about eyeballs. I mean I can’t touch em (my own included), I can’t stand to look at eyeball surgery on the TV, real or fake and I cannot, CANNOT, listen to people when they talk about their lasik eye treatment.

When my eye doctor told me that I was developing early onset cataracts, I was horrified cos that means eye surgery while you’re awake. They’d assured me though, that it was still a long ways off, so that made me feel a bit better. Still, they’ve been keeping a closer “eye” on me the last few years because they noticed that I had an odd shape in the back of my eye that could indicate future glaucoma. I took a field test each year, I sailed through the eye puff test. Well more like my results did, I still leap back in the seat like I’ve been shot until they manage a good one. Regardless, no glaucoma and I’d go away for another year.

This year my Optometrist  asked me if I’d ever had a baseline glaucoma test, I didn’t know what it was, so that was her answer. She referred me for a full work-up by an Ophthalmologist which I then promptly forgot about because they take a while to call you. Appointments were finally booked for field test, an OCT (optical coherence tomography) so they can look at the retina in optical “slices” and then finally an appointment with the man himself.

The first couple of appointments were in and out, easy-peasy the last one was looooooooooooong, partly because he was running late from being on rounds or something and partly because I’d already been warned it could be 1-2 hours long. There was some more pre-tests done with some eye squishing (aaaack) after numbing drops were put in something was poked against my eye. I didn’t feel it or anything but I could SEE it and the distortion that comes when someone pokes at your eye. *Shudder*

When I finally met with the doc he asked a few questions then launched into the results, saying that he was very glad that I’d been referred to him, then he proceeded to show me the pictures of my eye and the narrow angles I have, more so one than the other. He said it would continue to get worse until a possible acute angle glaucoma attack.  On the positive side, my pressure is still good, no looming attack as yet, but still, that is the road I was heading down.  He said he recommended surgery as soon as possible (not urgent, just necessary) for something like a laser irodotomy, where they laser holes in the tops of your retinas to allow for proper drainage of the eye fluid, prevent a build-up and pressure and you know, possible sudden blindness.  EW. holes.

The idea of eye surgery does not thrill me, in fact it scares the crap out of me, but I will suck it up. What is the alternative?

Oh yeah he also said to avoid getting my eyes dilated before surgery either because it could cause an attack. Eep I just had that done not that long ago! The literature said that the iris could be sucked into the canal! SUCKED!!?!?!?!?!

So anyway, three days before my birthday is my surgery. I’m going to be a complete baby about this, even when most regular surgeries don’t bother me a bit.

Oh yeah, and the cataract surgery? Not so far away after all. Another preventative treatment is to remove the lenses to avoid them getting thicker and pushing the iris out even further. But that’s at least another 5 years away.

To paraphrase Indian Jones…Eyeballs; why did it have to be eyeballs?!

 

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My Favourite Place

Last month, Tom and I decided once again to take a fairly last-minute trip to Cannon Beach. I’ve been working a contract job with no official holiday time, but they were super understanding and flexible with me taking a couple of days and tacking them on the Thanksgiving long-weekend.

So with the time officially booked off,  off we went. We have never been to Oregon in October, the latest we’ve been there has been the labour day weekend. We were fine with whatever Mother Nature would throw at us weather-wise. We know the beauty of a coastal storm and we were more than willing to see what one of them looked like later in the calendar.

Good old Mom had other ideas though, she threw us a sunshine party. Each and every day but for a few hours here and there, it was sunny and mild. In some cases we’re talking WARM, like walking on the beach in shirt-sleeves warm. There have been summer days we weren’t able to do that. On one of the days even TOM was in shirt-sleeves, and HE is Mr. Frosty!

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We’d come prepared with rain boots and heavy jackets, but spent most of the time it was cooler dressed in fleece, except maybe around sunset when it turned a bit colder.

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We met new doggy friends…

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That guy and his friend were hysterical. They were running around madly, so much so that they’d run blindly into your legs at top speed. Tom learned to open them slightly and they’d shoot straight on through.

Then there was this Corgi:

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He was so enamoured with Tom he wrapped himself around his legs, literally.

We walked the beach from end to another, but not all at the same time. We took pictures of places we’ve taken plenty of pictures before, but we don’t care.

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Because they’re all memories.

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We ate at our favourite places…

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Like the Lumberyard with their awesome chili-mac.

And found the strangest looking fish washed up on the beach.

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We saw plenty of puppy parents, wishing we were among them.

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And saw a different sunset each night, but this one from the first night was my favourite

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We start to miss the place, even before we leave it.

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And once again we find ourselves counting the days until we can go back.

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Bop Boppin’ Bumble Bees Buzzin’

There are times I need to remind myself to close my purse. You know, when I’m walking though a crowd or when it’s pouring rain. Most of the time though, I walk with the zip gaping open for ease of access.

Every morning I park my car in a nearby park lot and walk to work. It isn’t far, maybe 3-5 minutes depending on parking-spot and pace, but it’s a lovely walk. I just prefer the meandering one when traffic is good vs. the trot on some of the traffic nightmares of late.

This particular morning; however, I had plenty of time. I had wandered along, taking pictures of the beautiful morning sun shining over the boats in the nearby harbour. When I got to my desk I performed my daily routine of pulling out my glasses cases and rooting around at the bottom of my bag for my lip balm. As I was rooting I saw some movement in my bag. At first I thought I was seeing things, because as I moved items around I saw nothing, that is, until I suddenly saw a bug march out from underneath my change purse. At this point, I still hadn’t identified the bug as it had moved so quickly and I had far too many “things” in my purse, so I started to haul some of them out.

THEN and only then, did I realize it was a bee! I had a bee in my purse!

Freaking out, I upended the remaining contents of my bag on the floor right in front of me, scattering my bits and bobs (luckily nothing embarrassing, as I was already taking care of that by flinging my possessions all over while squealing over the bee). When the bag was empty I placed it on my desk and smashed it with my fist over and over before cautiously opening it to see if the creature was dead. It wasn’t there.

I started to desperately check the piles to stuff to see if it had joined the contents of my purse on the floor, but nope, no dice.

I eyed my empty purse trepidatiously and cautiously opened the bag to take another look. I turned it and shook it, then carefully peeked in the various pockets. Lo-and-behold, there it was, in the tiniest pocket, the one where my lip balm should be, but never is.

Then he/she(?) hops out onto my desk and then proceeds to walk UNDER it. I’m still squealing (thank goodness the entire office wasn’t in yet because seriously…way to make an impression right?) I lift my foot and quickly as a Ninja I knocked that sucker onto the floor and then stamped on it, over and over and over. Then I checked.

Nope, still not dead.

Really?!!?!

A bit more stamping and finally, the poor little bee that was in the wrong purse at the wrong time shuffled off this mortal coil.

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Rest in “pieces” little bee; I’m sorry, but it was you or me.

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Highway Shoes

On a good day, my commute to work is about 45 minutes, the way home an hour plus involving two bridges, a highway and a number of city streets. On an average day, especially now school is back in session, I can easily add another half hour to that each way. As I sit in traffic inching my way through the backups, I can’t help but realize that my average days commute would have me halfway to Cannon Beach.

Anyway, while I’m sitting there with nothing to do but grind my teeth and wait for the bumper of the car in front of me to move a little further away so I can take my foot off the brake for 3.2 seconds, I find myself looking around at the flotsam scattered by the side of the highway. Along with the bits of retread rubber and the odd hubcap, there are always lots of shoes.Over the summer the number of shoes have grown. Shoes from both sexes. shoes from all ages. Shoes of all kinds, from lace-up to sandals. Always just the one.

I got to wondering how did they get there? Did someone lose some cargo? Did a small child toss a loose shoe through an open car window? Was someone sitting in the passenger seat with their feet on the dash/window sill and catch their flip-flop on the door frame? (I will cop to doing that once myself.) Each shoe has a story behind it, from the sad to the mundane.

I suppose a highway isn’t exactly a place one would stop to retrieve a lost shoe, I doubt even Carrie Bradshaw would want to take her life into her hands for one of her precious Manolos. So the sad, lonely shoes lay out there…rain or shine, night and day, waiting for their next unfortunate neighbour to come flying out of a passing vehicle and land beside them.

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Tomorrow Comes Today

It seems every other post lately begins with me exclaiming about how long it has been since I last wrote in here. Soooo consider that part over and done with.

I have to say though, I’ve found myself spending less and less time staring at my laptop screen these days. Work plus an hour plus commute each way and all I’m capable after post-work chores and  dinner is staring slack-jawed at the TV while it squawks at me until I’m tired enough to go to bed. I also know that my energy level is still not where it used to be and when my brain starts to make a buzzing sound after work it just wants to be entertained.

As my brain needed entertainment in the television off-season, we’ve been spending a lot of time watching our DVD set of Homicide Life on the Street. That is a series that missed  my radar back when it was on the tube, but ever since I got into The Wire and started reading the book that inspired the Homicide series (Homicide a Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon) I just had to get the set. Much to my happiness it turned out to be a damn good show. Hooked me right from episode one which doesn’t always happen with me, though typically I try not to judge a show by one episode unless it is glaringly bad. We’ve just finished the last episode and there is still the wrap-up TV movie yet to watch. I’m feeling a little melancholy it is almost over as I’ve come to be fond of those characters, but it will join the rotation of shows we re-watch at some point in the future. Not the same as they won’t be new to me anymore, but re-watching always adds another layer of subtleties we may have missed the first go around.  Have to say though, I highly recommend it to anyone who may be on the fence about watching it.

There was a little excitement going on in the Kitsilano hood I work around, a movie called Tomorrowland was filming scenes at the Planetarium (AKA the HR McMillan Space Centre.) I was momentarily excited when I realized that it was a George Clooney movie, but then I read these scenes would be his character as a boy so the excitement waned. I stalked the location as they were setting things up and took a few pictures of the props that were yet to be put in place and hoped to take more on my lunch hours, but they banned photography once they started filming, Boo hiss! I’m guessing as they rented the location they had every right to do that if anyone was standing on the property, if you shot from the street you wouldn’t have had much of a view anyway. I heard that Hugh Laurie was on set though I never did see him myself. It was rare they were filming when I was able to head over to that area and eventually I just gave up. Ah well.

We grow our crabs big here ;) #vancouver #crabzilla #HRMacMillanSpaceCentre #explorebc

To accommodate their filming they removed the poor old crab from the fountain. A sign said he was on vacation, though vacation meant sitting behind yellow tape in the corner of the parking lot. They replaced it temporarily with these metal homages to dandelion fluff sculptures.

#Tomorrowland #movieset Some spiky ball things in the fountain where the crab usually resides  #yvr

I saw poor old crabby was back in his old spot once again this morning, bet he’s got some laundry to do.

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