Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Since I never have enough to do around here, I decided to help Andrea out by steam cleaning her carpet before her dad installed her brand new bed from IKEA (thanks to the generosity of grandma--yay grandma!) If only I'd known. Well, even if I'd known there would be mold growing on the actual furniture, the result would have been the same. It would have to go. But I wasn't prepared to toss out not just her bed, which we suspected was the source of unkempt smell (it wasn't, surprisingly) but her dresser as well. So off I go to the store, where I bought three each of three sizes of white rubbermaid drawers and a clear bin with a blue lid for her storage needs. I thought she'd be put off by the results when she came home, but she was delighted. Thank goodness, because I don't know how these things got moldy in the first place and plastic is not conducive to mold growth. It might have been a problem with the manufacturing, actually, since her bookshelves and computer desk were fine, but I'll never be sure.

It wasn't fun to spend the money but it was fun to get the storage stuff from Elvis, an old man that used to be a woman, a woman who used to be a man, Lucille Ball, a housewife in pjs and curlers, and other riff raff at the store.

Nano is starting in just over an hour. I was going to write today, but cleaning up around here took all the spunk out of me. I don't think I even have any spit or vinegar left. It isn't just bone-weariness. All that dust and mold cleanup done over the last two days left me snuffly and with a sore throat. The boy is snuffly too. Andrea, however, is blissfully asleep in her new bed, and I'm sure she's very happy that she doesn't have to sleep on the futon upstairs like she did last night. I'd love to be asleep too. Maybe I can arrange for that.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Time management issues

Kami swipes the key reader and opens the door to her blog. She turns on a light, revealing a warm color on one wall. Somewhere a prism is creating a rainbow. Everything looks too tidy, except for a fine film of dust. The bed hasn't been slept in for days. The newspaper on her nightstand is from last week. Moonlight glows on the diaphanous curtains. It's late night out in the world. She wants to stay, to snuggle in and write about her day, her week, her life. She's exhausted and willing, but there are Things to Do. OryCon 29 is closing in. Nanowrimo will begin in a few days. Mundane things about the house demand attention, like put away the pork roast before bed and don't forget to give the dog her pill. And she has to get to bed, the real one in the world outside her blog, because she has to get up early in the morning and stay up to go to work. Never mind writing, never mind a few minutes working on art or setting up a mat, and unfortunately, never mind getting deep into a blog entry.

She sets down her stuff on the kitchen nook table--thoughts about a coworker that wanted kittens in her life and then crumbles when she gets slapped with real responsibility, the decision to go ahead and Nano "Mayhem," urges to whine about the difficulties of juggling information with other volunteer jugglers who are definitely out of sync with her rhythm. She gets out her portfolio of images from the sleepy garden, glorious sunrises viewed from the deck, animal portraits, and fans them out on the table. For a moment she lingers, thinking maybe she could spare a few moments--and then reality knocks on the door.

Kami sighs and checks her purse, making sure she has the key reader to her blog before she answers the door. Sure enough, she has to go. She turns out the light. It's just moonlight in the room now, turning everything silver-blue. She walks out, the door shuts, and once again the blog becomes a ghost behind her.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Picture Day

We had gorgeous sunshine so I took some pics inside while I could. Top of my list, of course, had to be:
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Dakota is a sad dog today. She misses her family. Maybe a bit of bacon will improve her spirits.

Wizard is comfortable enough with Dakota already that he rubbed up against her for snuggles. She jumped back because she's already been tagged by the vicious Huntress. I have a feeling Wizard and Dakota will become good friends.

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That's a DOG? Bwa ha ha ha ha ha! Good one. What is it really? I'm guessing a giant tribble, which only confirms that the other dogs are Klingons. I knew that all along.

Dakota is very leery and nervous of the other dogs, especially the puppies who are far too boisterous for her. We're not pushing her. She'll be inside dog and they'll be outside dog and there's no need for them to form a pack. I suspect though that eventually, when the puppies calm down (sometime in three or four years?) she'll actually enjoy time outside with them. For now, we're keeping them separate. Poor Brian wanted to play so bad, and licked her face, and jumped around and ran trying to get her to chase him, basically making an idiot of himself to get her to like him. Her response? Attempt to leave. I put him back in with the sea of unconditional love, where he told the other dogs how awesome she was. Heh.

Irish wolfhound lab mix? Hmm. I haven't had a good close look at an Irish wolfhound face in quite a while. To me her face screams terrier. Any alternate guesses?


So this weekend, because we really don't have enough on our plates, we went to see a woman about a dog.

This all started with an email. Actually, it started with Andrea thinking about adopting a small dog to have as a house pet. So when we got the email, we were primed to be soft-touches.

Dakota is an eleven year old lab/irish wolfhound mix, emphasis on the lab. Her original owner, who trained her very, very well by the way, ended up in a housing situation (namely having no housing to call his own) where he couldn't both crash on the couches of generous friends and keep his two dogs. So Dakota ended up in a no-kill shelter. Along comes a family that takes Dakota home. This sounds like a happy ending, and it was happy for everyone, but then the youngest daughter's eczema started really acting up. They did some tests and ack! she is badly allergic to the dog. Not the snuffling, sneezing kind but the horrible rash kind. And medicating her heavily until she moves out of the house didn't sound like a good option. They'd already torn out all the carpet in the house trying to bring her eczema under control Dakota couldn't stay.

So they searched and searched, and their email was spread far and wide looking for anyone who could take Dakota in. She was posted online with various humane society groups. No nibbles. Two separate sets of friends offered to take her in, but they weren't dog people and probably wouldn't be able to handle dogness in the house. And Dakota is most definitely an inside companion dog, exactly what Andrea was looking for. So when a friend of a friend of this family emailed us, we gave it serious thought. And went to visit. Of course it was all over at that point. Dog in need, dog who is very quiet, obedient, smaller than we expected considering the bloodlines, dog who laid her head in Andrea's lap and gave her the worried help-me look, oh yeah, we were sunk.

That was Saturday, and Sunday they drove Dakota to our place. The sea of unconditional love went ballistic, of course, not in a bad way just waaaay to excited for a lone, older dog who is very shy and retiring. So we took her in the back way, putting off the introductions for now, set up her bed, her food, her water. Andrea took her for a walk around the back and let her sniff the other dogs through the fence. And in the evening, though poor Dakota was in distress and constantly looking for her people, things settled down and Dakota hung out with us while we watched tv. And at night, she got to sleep on Andrea's bed.

Today I think she's trying to figure out where everything is and what's off limits. I'm pretty sure this is the quietest house she's ever been to, one without small children and rush hour traffic and the ambient noise of city that isn't very loud but constant, like white noise on a tv. She's going to be sad, but the family has a relative out here in Washougal and they promised to visit her. They're also happy to dog sit should we go on vacation.

Dakota is another symptom of our madness, I'm sure. We really didn't need another dog. But here she is, and I'm very glad she is. Welcome home, Dakota.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Blog Action Day, plus Poopyhead virus epidemic

I guess someone decided that it was blog action day, and not just any action but green action. (Not greeeeeeeeeen!?) All I can say is that here in the Pac NW it's better than most places in that awareness is high. Apparently on the east coast, things like water efficiency, sustainable flooring and alternative insulation aren't even on the radar. One article I read in "This Old House Magazine" related that one couple hired a contractor purely for his willingness to learn how to work with green and sustainable materials because not a single contractor in their area had actually worked with the stuff. They wanted it because they'd come from California and they'd been educated to value it. Apparently in Florida, there just isn't a market for green buildings, not enough to attract a single contractor anyway. Such is the gist of the article, anyway.

Despite the constant barrage of eco-friendliness around here, however, at work I still see people ask for a plastic bag for something they could easily stick in their pocket or purse. Examples I had just in the last week:
A pack of gum (she got a dirty look from the person in line behind her but missed it)
Two small packages of cat toys (already in plastic)
A vacuum cleaner belt (which was already in its own bag too)
Two rolls of lifesavers
A lipstick and a small bottle of soap
A bottle of pop (the single serving size)
A single DVD

Then there's the bag for the bagged or luggable items. People want bags for diapers and/or adult protection undergarments despite the fact that they have a handle on them. Also, they want bags for pillows even if they have a plastic cover on them, outdoor rugs and doormats, wine boxes, the 12 packs of pop (the kind with handles,) large bomb-proof packaged toys (the kind where you require power tools to get into,) appliances, camping stuff (you really want a bag for your foldable chair in a bag? Okaaay ...) bedding in plastic carrying cases with a handle, and so forth. Many of these require our gigantic plastic bags of doom to contain. These giant bags have no handles--you end up looking like Santa Claus. BTW, if you want a free plastic bag for something else just ask. I don't have to put an item in it to give it to you, and I try to make that clear. Let's not do the ridiculous packing of the auto floor mats into a 30 gallon bag. I understand that some of these things, like the wine and the undergarments, are something you might want to hide from other customers, but on the other hand, you've just lugged them around in your shopping cart, and now all you have to do is get it to your car.

I remember these because they fill me with little Kami outrage, or at minimum, little Kami eye roll impulses. Of course, being a model employee (but a model of what?) I smile and say thank you for coming in. On the reverse side, I've had people carry an armload of stuff and say they don't need a bag. I also have regular customers who come in either with their own paper or plastic bags or a permanent canvas bag. Yay them!

On to poopyheadedness.

There must be a poopyhead virus going around. This particular strain is making people obstinant with folks that they should be nice to. In a writer's workshop I'm running I set out in the guidelines (okay, they're not laws, I freely admit that--and the workshop is being held at a pirate-themed event) that writers need to include a 500 word or less synopsis with their novel portion. Everyone understood this, except Her. Her didn't submit a synopsis, and I didn't catch it until I started organizing the sessions. So I emailed her. Where is thine synopsis? Her response (paraphrased)? I don't see why I have to submit a synopsis. What are they used for?

I assume she doesn't treat editors that she submits to in this manner, or if she does, she'll never get published. Reading and conforming to submission guidelines is part of the test that publishers and editors use to determine poopyheadedness. If you appear to follow their guidelines in good faith (or at least have your ms in industry standard format) that is a signal to them that you have spent time researching, formatting and making things in all ways easy for them, and that therefore you are unlikely to be a poopyhead to work with. No matter how brilliant your writing is, it's unlikely that a publisher will put up with poopyheadedness in today's market. There's always another writer around the corner, just as promising, who is not a poopyhead.

Even if she felt like she didn't have to follow the submission guidelines because she knows more than me, which I guess is fine (who am I after all? Well, I know a lot of the pro writers and an editor or two and I do talk to them, but never mind that she couldn't guess that) there's the fact that she can safely assume that everyone else has a synopsis and that the pros who are reviewing her work will be expecting a synopsis. When they don't get one, what will be her answer? Um, I forgot? I didn't know? Or I didn't think it was worth my time? The excuse I like best is, I wasn't interested in your opinion on my synopsis.

Also had a request to be grouped with a particular writer, and when I said I couldn't guarantee placement with anyone and promptly went on vacation, the same person asked my good friend who graciously served as stand-in for me the same question. As if we wouldn't talk. Ha! Another writer asked to be in a one-on-one. Sometimes I wish I didn't have to be all nice and PR-y to these people. Out of my workshop, so there! And if you're one of these people and reading this, I hope you're blushing with embarrassment. You should. Grow up a little. You shouldn't expect special treatment. The "I paid good money" argument doesn't fly. So did everyone else, and btw $5 for a workshop with luminaries like Ursula LeGuin is not good money, it's a token fee to barely cover expenses for the workshop.

I thought the virus must be making the rounds in just the workshop, but yesterday I had a woman come in with her completed application. I inspected it and found that one of the job description packets was missing. There are two, and when I (and presumably everyone in the lobby) hand the applications out we let folks know that they need to be read, signed and returned with the application. (There is a small group of people who think we hand out those packets for their own records, which sort of makes sense but if you spend thirty seconds thinking about it you'd realize there's no reason for you to have something like that for your own records when you haven't even been hired yet.)

"Did you get both packets?" I asked, holding up the one for sales clerk.
"Well one is missing. Here, I'll get you an extra copy and you can sign it."
I've just turned aside when she says, "Do I have to have it in there?"
"Yes," I say, opening and disemboweling another application, removing the cashier packet and setting it on the counter. "They're not as likely to accept your application without it."
"But I don't know anything about cashiering." This is not mere protest--she has an edge to her voice that says I don't want to cashier.
I resist the urge to tell her goodbye, but that's not my job. I then resist the urge to go into sarcasm mode and say 'there's this thing called training ... Instead I nicely say, trying not to grit my teeth, "Well, they train you to do the job. Everyone starts out as a cashier here." Even the people who hate it. Yes, poopyhead woman, even you shall be forced to cashier even if you don't want to cashier, assuming you want a job.
She whips open the packet and signs it, giving me a dirty look.

Is she not applying for a job here? Does she not know that I got someone a quicker interview by letting our assistant manager know that the applicant who just handed this to me was dressed very nicely and was very friendly? If she doesn't recognize that we all have to work together and the only folks who have any say as to what duties they'll perform on a given day worked hard for that right, and they still have to have to do things they'd rather not do, she's not going to be a, ahem, good fit for the team, to put it in bureau-speak. So I hand over the application to the asst. manager when she's left and said, "she was very resistant to filling out the cashier packet and was pretty snippy." He didn't round file it right there, but he made the mental note.

Poopyhead virus. I've been around enough people with it, I might catch it, so I'll be sure to take extra vitamin C and get plenty of rest on my day off.

Happy Blog Action Day!

Boy, that sounded dumb. If it takes off I guess I'll just have to learn to appreciate the sincerity and proaction of the green movement.

But couldn't they have come up with a better name?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Oh how we've forgotten

I got a little rant in my email box today from a chiropractor. This chiropractic office does good work, has high quality care, and I'm on their list not because I'm a patient but because periodically they help raise money for our local humane society. Our shelter is horribly outdated (a cement block structure built in the 60's more as housing for doomed animals rather than an adoption center) and far too small (do you think the population of Vancouver has increased since the 60's? Yep!) and they need a lot of money to develop a facility that will serve primarily as an adoption center. Hopefully they'll stop being seen as a place of death and more of a place of hope and mercy.


So I got this thing in my email and it ticked me off, as most alarmist mailings do. I'm going to comment (rant back) on some of it.

Quote: Did you know that the flu shot could contain anything from aluminum, formaldehyde, dangerous microorganisms, thimerosal (mercury), ethylene glycol, and other toxic adjuvants? In addition to these substances, the flu vaccine is prepared from the fluids of chicken embryos inoculated with the specific type (s) of influenza virus that supposedly protects against the strains federal health officials believe are most likely to be prevalent during the flu season. The effectiveness in preventing influenza often ranges from 30-40%. Not very encouraging considering the potential health dangers you may be opening yourself up to down the road from the toxic agents in the vaccine.

Why yes, Virginia, I did know that. Much as I dislike the toxic chemicals, how else are we going to formulate these vaccines? The flu vaccine is not alone in this composition, but I'm not going to avoid vaccinnating my children against, for example, chicken pox. This 'innocent' childhood disease nearly killed my sister. It didn't harm me much, but we both have repercussions to look forward to later in life, incredibly painful repercussions from the pox migrating and flaring up, herpes-like, in the nervous system. Shall we try to make a kinder, friendlier vaccine without formaldehyde and mercury? Go for it. Take your time putting together something with chamomile and rum. Oh wait, not rum. That's toxic too. Anyway, please do but until then I'll take the vaccine that we have.

How is the human body supposed to build immunity by being exposed to neurotoxic poisons like mercury, formaldehyde, and DNA from animals?
Actually, it builds its immunity from a crippled or killed virus (hmm, how do we kill or cripple it? Let me guess ...) which the immune system can tackle and 'learn' to destroy. The immune system is remarkable but unfortunately limited. Your immune response--some of which we can feel via fever, sneezing, coughing, etc.--can damage you (through too high of a fever, coughing that breaks ribs or damages the lungs and so forth or through an immune response that attacks your own tissues) even more than the buggy that's bugging you. The way the white blood cells work for their part of immune response (because they don't work alone, they're just a small piece) relies on them identifying and then eating the enemy. But much like orcs, white blood cells aren't too bright and it takes a while for them to figure out something is bad. By then the bug may have overwhelmed you or your own immune response has wiped you down to nothing. I assume as licensed medical types that chiropractors know this, and yet they ask this dumb question. For a vaccine we require: a virus, a means to kill or cripple it so that it won't infect you, and a medium to transport it so that the virus isn't so broken down that it no longer exists in a recognizable form. Most viruses are very fragile and require something vaguely alive and meat-like to keep from breaking down. Hence, the animal parts.

Quote: Mercury is the second most toxic material on the planet. The first is radioactive plutonium. To make thimerosal, they start with elemental mercury. Then, they hop it up 1,000 times by converting it to ethyl mercury. Then, they add aluminum to the vaccine that has a synergistic effect with the mercury, causing it to be 10,000 more toxic than elemental mercury. Mercury is used to sterilize the flu vaccine.

Yay! I would much rather have a sterile vaccine than a non-sterile one. Shall we use something else? I guess we can, and we should explore that, but let's make sure that A. it's effective so I don't get injected with a virus that might kill me and B. it doesn't effect our bodies even worse than the mercury. The trick, too, is that if you use something *less* toxic than you have to either have more of it (which will probably bump it up to the same toxicity and we'll get a bigger shot, yay) or the virus has to be particularly sensitive to the toxin. Let's hope we're not particularly sensitive to the toxin too. And here's the kicker--the virus has to be crippled or killed *but not destroyed*. It must be preserved. Hmm, could this be why they use formadehyde? Genius!

Quote: Consider this insanity; they tell us that it's unsafe to touch, breathe or swallow the mercury from a broken thermometer yet it's perfectly acceptable to inject the same poison directly into your body through the flu shot or other vaccines. In fact, you can't even find mercury based thermometers on the market anymore. Don't worry ˆ Big Pharma knows what's best for you!

Goodness, do they know how much mercury there used to be in a thermometer vs. the microscopic quantity there is in a vaccine? But, it's bad, so while we're at it, let's stop eating fish. Why? Because all the fish on the market today has mercury in it and farm-raised fish, especially ocean-raised, have the highest quantities of mercury. Guess what? Everything you put in your body has toxins in it. Some of them you can control, some you can't. The tiny dose of mercury, formaldehyde and so forth you get in a single vaccine isn't going to measure up to a lifetime of eating fish, and let's not mention smokers. Smokers need not pay any attention to all this nonsense. Because--

Quote: Now let's look at formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is classified as a toxic, colorless, water-soluble gas having a suffocating odor. It's used predominantly in embalming fluid and vaccines as a disinfectant and preservative. There are no long-term safety studies that vaccine manufacturers can draw from to validate the effectiveness of the flu shot. Those that take the shot are the safety studies and only 10% of the side effects associated with vaccines are ever reported to federal agencies. In fact, a simple search on the Internet will lead you to literally thousands of websites and stories that report on vaccine injuries, including the flu shot. What you find will not put you at ease if you've bought into this myth.

Formaldehyde is also in cigarettes. How long do those take to do you in? Seems to me that the exposure to small quantity of formaldehyde in a vaccine pales to a single night spent in a bar, but honestly, I haven't run the numbers. Even so, I myself who hung out with smokers and doesn't mind standing downwind from a smoker am not concerned about exposure to this particular chemical in miniscule doses anymore than I'm concerned about arsenic in bottled water. (What? you say? Heh. And yet I don't see people falling over from drinking Aquafina. Hmm.)

What will also not put you at ease are the deaths from flu. The most vulnerable are the elderly and young children. You have to weigh the risks for yourself. No one has to get the flu shot. If you're a strong, healthy chiropractor you can spout on about how you're never going to get a flu shot, and good for you. You're not vulnerable. You can live a happy, comfortable life with the vaccines you received as a child under your parent's care (*cough* hypocrite!) and not have to worry about a significant threat to your existance. (BTW, Mr. Chiropractor, you better damned well be taking periodic shots for hepatitis because otherwise I don't want you touching me!) But wait, what about the people who are threatened by the flu? I had the flu two years ago. My daughter actually asked my mother at one point if I was going to die. No, of course not, but I was very, very weak. It was the sickest I've been since college when I had the flu and could not stand on my own--I crawled to the bathroom. This time I was bedridden for two weeks and I couldn't do anything significant beyond walking to the bathroom and dressing myself for a month. But I survived. I didn't *need* the flu shot and didn't *need* to expose myself to those chemicals.

Hence the list from hospitals around the nation: If you are immune compromised, if you have a young child in day care, if you are elderly or a health care worker (who can not only get the flu but, while knocked down, get something else in the process from the hospital) then for pity's sake get protection. The flu is not conquered. Antibiotics don't do anything for the viral forms, and let's not get into anti-viral medications if you're paranoid about putting toxic stuff into your body. A single vaccine vs. how many weeks of medication?

Quote: If the public were fully informed and aware of all the ingredients that went into the flu shot, there would be a mass exodus away from it.

That would be a bad thing. If you knew you would be exposed to a deadly disease and the doctor said that the only preventative they had was only 40% effective at best, would you blithely say "Nah, I'll take my chances. Thanks!" Would it matter if the disease killed only rarely these days? What if we called it cancer? We have a high success rate of defeating some forms of cancer, so if it was one of those, would you pass on the vaccine? What if we called the disease herpes--that doesn't kill at all. Would you take a vaccine that was only 40% effective at best?

Some people claim that vaccines may cause autism. The jury is still out (though most are convinced it does not) but still, even if it does, it boils down to this. Honestly weigh the risks. This disease vs. that. This problem vs. another. Life is risk. Once you accept that you can make a rational decision that is inclusive of all options and can place those options in proprotion to what is most important to you.

Just don't forget about the fish, and try to remember what a real risk is vs. a phantom one, lest we forget what flu epidemics do to a society.

Great, now I've just created a downturn in the fish market. (Calling my stock broker...)

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Traveling and two great INK meetings (one open one at Starbucks and one just for us) have filled me with all kinds of ideas. I don't know where to start.

In the garden for as long as I can, I guess, since the opportunity to garden will certainly go away. It'll never be like the Buchart Gardens around here, but I can live with country splendor. In the meantime, though, this time of year our wildflowers look intensely shabby. Everything is browning and going to seed. That's what it's supposed to do, but ... And I look at it and it feels like if I just took a pressure hose to it, the brown would come off and my shining, beautiful garden would be revealed from under the muck. But that's just an illusion. There is no muck. There is only this, the natural course of annuals and herbaceous perennials. Underneath the six foot tall mass of withering plant matter there is an evergreen and some deciduous shrubs. They're babies now, but as the years grow them up for us, they'll fill that large bed and I won't put in the wildflowers anymore, at least not there. The idea that I took from the Buchart Gardens was to keep at those weeds. Yes, they're constant and yes, it's a losing battle (I loved the little sign they had for sale that said The Weeds are Winning and the picture of a dandylion going to see on it) but if I never give up, never surrender then eventually the garden will settle in to a point where there will be shade. And where there is shade, there is victory. I already have a few areas where the plant mass over the ground is heavy enough that weeds have no chance to develop underneath. Must keep going ... The other idea I got from the gardens is the concept of patience. Seeing so many mature shrubs and trees there reminded me that I have many, many of those same specimens, but they're only 4 feet high at most. It takes surprisingly little time before they mature, especially when you're busy--

Writing. My second set of ideas came from chit chatting for hours with my writing pals and my beloved, handsome husband. Now I'm all conflicted, of course. I'd been all decided to blue screen Mayhem, my very first novel ever, for my Nano project, but then along came the idea of writing a novel about writing a novel. I realize this is not a novel (heh) idea, but there's something compelling about the subject and I can't seem to let go of it. I don't know.

And then there's the painting. I've been painting steadily, but also I've been better about letting projects rest for long enough so that they can develop better both in my head and on the page. While we were in Victoria one of the more compelling things I got to stare at was a collection of First People's ritual masks. It's unfortunate that you can't take pictures of them, but they're burned into my memory. Normally one viewing isn't enough (and now, thanks to S&C I have a gorgeous sketch book/journal that is just the right size for taking into places like royal museums so in the future I don't have to rely on memory) and this is no different, but this happens to be the second trip to the museum within two years, and so I have a better shot at actually realizing in paint what I experienced. In the end, though, I'm not attempting to accurately portray the masks. What I'm aiming at is what they inspired me to imagine, and conveying how they made me feel. They're mysterious, intriguing, frightening, humerous, beautiful, wild and graceful and primitive all at once. Gotta paint that. I just gotta.

So I'm full of ideas. Now I just have to make them flesh.

Piece of cake.

Monday, October 01, 2007

It's easier in Canada

Blogging on an up-to-date computer is easier. Yay!
Shopping is easier here, mainly because I don't have to stock up.
Housekeeping is easier in Canada. We can do all our laundry in four loads.
Going to the museum is easier. It's right down the street. For that matter, a lot of things are in walking distance.
Doing business is easier in Canada. Everyone is super helpful. Sometimes I feel bad when they can't help me. They keep apologizing. Even strangers that I ask directions of on the street. Especially bicycle dude who just moved here six months ago. Guy--one sorry is enough for being too new to know where Old Vic Fish and Chips might be.
Window shopping is easier in Canada. I'm not that tempted to get anything (carrying stuff home doesn't have much appeal) so we just wander in and out of places. Except used book stores. They get our business almost every time.
There's a bunch of stuff that's not easier in Canada, but I'm having a great time despite these things. I sure do miss my gneh gneh gneh (spoken with grippy hand motions) also known as Wizard, though. He has such a nice face. And my poopy loopies, aka the sea of unconditional love. Heck, all the beasts. They're being well taken care of, so I don't worry much (as little as is maternally possible) but I could stand for some couch time with the Wiz in my lap and Brian bounding about the living room.

Fair weather and great food and wonderful gardens (not having gotten to Buchart Gardens yet) and walks along the bay, hikes in ancient forests, First Peoples art, the poignancy of the Titanic exhibit, seeing bits of the pomp associated with the swearing in of a new lieutenant governor (complete with artillary and parades,) horse-drawn carriages, poutine--lots of memories. I'll go into detail with the best ones when I get home. I'll be forty years old officially, although I think that if I turn forty here in Canada, it doesn't count in the U.S. and I should still be 39. I'll let all y'all know how that part works out.