Monday, December 19, 2011

Holy crap...'s almost a new year.

I don't have to tell you again how I feel about the Christmas season since I've already written about that here.  This year, the Boy is working on Christmas and I'll be working every day but the weekends as well. Since we're not going anywhere, it will be very quiet and peaceful but the downside is, we won't be seeing any family or friends either.

On the upside, we have a dinner reservation for our anniversary booked at Bishop's.  I dare you to click on the link and check out the food.  Maybe I'll just have 3 courses of dessert.

Soon 2012 will be upon us and while I'm not so much about making resolutions, I do find this time of year to be a time of reflection.  I like to think about where the year has taken me and where I hope to be and what I hope to accomplish in the year to come.  I also like to do some de-cluttering and organizing to get myself ready for the new year.

This year, I'm getting started a little earlier.  Life has gotten a little busier since I've been back at work and I've had less time for fun stuff like crafting, blogging, reading.  My blog reader has gotten out of hand and I'm routinely finding myself with a list that has more than a 1000 posts unread.  Yikes.  My first order of business will be to cull the list of blogs I have in my feeder and just keep the ones that really speak to me, that make me laugh or think and that inspire me.

So, my apologies to those who don't make the cut.  It's nothing personal but I really need to start using more of my time for my blog and for the other things I have to work on.  I'm expecting 2012 to be even busier than these last few months of 2011 have been so I think my word for the new year is going to be 'prioritize'.

I may also be taking this blog in a slightly different direction but more on that later.  For now, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season - eat, drink and be merry!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I want to be a cat...

...and spend my days wandering between my food dish, the window and the bed.  Since this is all I feel like I've been doing lately, at least as a cat I would feel that I was being productive.

My current schedule is kicking my blog-posting, crafty, do-something ass.  The hours of my job are just not conducive to any kind of creativity.  Okay, that's not entirely true because I do still have ideas - I just don't have the energy to do anything about them.

Blogtoberfest did get me posting more but I really didn't do as well at it as I had hoped.  I briefly thought that maybe I'd give NaNoWriMo another go but the hysterical laughter that sounded in brain put the kibosh on that.

Added to the fun of my current job is my search for a new, permanent job.  I have a test on Tuesday that is part of that search.  Unfortunately, it involves over an hour of travel on public transport.  Do I really want to be doing that twice a day, 5 days a week?  I don't know.

Plus, there is the possibility of a move in the next few months which would be awesome but the likely hood of that happening is so up in the air, it almost doesn't even bear thought.  And yet...I can't stop thinking about it.

At any rate, life is pretty good at the moment apart from the feeling of standing still.  I need just a little momentum to get me going.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Back in the swing..

...sort of.  Getting used to working full time hours has been difficult.  Worse still, those hours are 12-8 which makes it feel like I only have a couple of hours either side of that to either get ready for work or to de-compress afterwards.  It's not ideal but it's what I need to do to pay the bills.

Being a thirty-something, it feels increasingly...strange?  depressing? embarrassing? to admit that I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up.  I'm slowly developing a better idea of what it is that I want to do but how to make it happen, or what steps I really need to take are still eluding me.

I've always been a little torn between being envious of, and being glad that I'm not, one of those people who has always known what they wanted to be or do.  On the one hand, how great to have such a clear idea of your goal and the path you need to take to achieve it.  On the other hand, how sad to know exactly which fork in the road to take.  Where is the mystery in that?

Lately I've been reading and taking in anything I can get my hands on regarding the subject of finding an answer to the question of what to do with the rest of my life.  Not that I think anyone else can give me the answer but I suppose I'm just looking for clues or some key phrase that is going to set off fireworks in my brain.  The important thing, for me anyway, is that I at least am thinking about it and asking myself questions.  I keep digging to get to the heart of the matter.

For those reasons, I am really looking forward to this and I'm hoping, hoping, hoping that it comes to Vancouver soon:

Finding Joe - Trailer V.7 from pat solomon on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


So, I bid adieu to my retail job on Saturday and started training for a new position with a cable company today.

What is it about training - even if it's similar to a job you've done in the past - that makes your brain turn to goo?  Maybe it's just me but man, training wipes me out.  I think it's a combo of first day nerves and information overload.

I will do my best to be more entertaining by the weekend at the very latest.  While you wait, here's an amusing pub sign from one of my trips to Australia:

Photo by me!

Tee hee!

Monday, October 10, 2011

When it rains, it pours...

The rainy season is well and truly here in Vancouver, B.C.  Those who live here know life is going to damp and grey for about the next seven months.  The cloud cover will feel like it's merely feet above our heads.  There will be plenty of puddles for jumping in and small streams will form down alleyways.  You see, it doesn't just rain here in Vancouver.  It RAINS.   Here are a few tips to surviving monsoon season:

1.  While there may be a few days over winter that will require one to wear a winter coat, generally a person can get away with a good raincoat and some sweaters.  Make sure the raincoat has a good hood with a peak, unless you like be blinded by rain that is falling sideways.  Seriously.   Even if it snows, chances are you can just layer up and you'll be fine.  Unless you're a wimp, which would make you a bad Canadian.

2.  Gumboots, wellingtons, rubber boots - whatever you like to call them, make sure you have a pair.  Or a couple of pairs if you want to go for different looks.  Like I said, there will be puddles a plenty and the gutters will overflow.  Gumboots are your friend.

3.  If you have a really good, hooded raincoat you might not even need an umbrella but they're handy to have.  Fair warning though, if you're going to use an umbrella, be prepared to wield it.  Taking out people's eyes with the tips of umbrella ribs seems to be a competitive sport here in Vancouver.  If you're not cut throat enough to blind strangers, at least know how to defend yourself.  Forget being a nice guy and lowering or raising your umbrella to allow others to pass - that's just inviting an attack.  Instead, hold your umbrella so that you can deflect the potential assailant's umbrella.

4.  If you find yourself caught out with no raincoat and no umbrella, don't assume you will have an easy time keeping dry by sticking to walking under awnings on the city streets.  Just because people have raincoats and umbrellas, doesn't mean they won't try and keep dry under those same awning.  Why they do this is beyond me but I suspect it's because they're assholes.  Again, don't bother being a nice guy and try to share the space.  You'll only find yourself bullied out from under the cover into the rain and all your hair product will have been for naught.  Instead, stand your ground.  Don't move to the side for anyone.  This might mean walking into a few people but hey, all is fair in love and keeping your shirt dry.

5.  As previously mentioned, gutters will overflow.  Don't make the mistake of standing to close to the curb when you see this happening because people will drive through the puddle at speed and you will get drenched.  Bus drivers are particularly bad when it comes to this kind of behaviour.  Just today I saw a girl get splashed from mid torso to feet by a bus driver that didn't even try to avoid the puddle (even thought he had the lane space to do so).

6.  Finally, if you suffer from SAD at all, do yourself a favour and get a good sun lamp, start going to tanning salons or get the hell out of Vancouver.  Clear skies and sunny days are going to be few and far between from now until the spring.

Fear not though, at least this weather means you won't feel the slightest bit of guilt about staying indoors, watching movies and drinking big glasses of red wine to get you warm.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Other people's children...

When I was a kid and I, or one of my siblings, did something that could be considered uncouth, my mother would a) tell us to knock it off and b) ask if we were born in a barn.  Of course, the smart ass in me always figured she should know the answer to that question.

At any rate, the phrase became lodged in my brain and I'm sure that one day I'll be whipping out that gem on my own children.  For now though, I'll settle for directing it at other people.  Case in point - at work last night there was a mother/daughter duo roaming the aisles and when they lost sight of each other they would yell across the store.  The square footage of the store is quite substantial but not so large that you couldn't locate someone within a minute or two by simply (and quietly) walking around.

What the hell, people?  I, and I'm sure the other customers, didn't really feel like listening to these two braying loudly like animals.  My mum's line immediately came to mind and I would have liked to ask both of them (particularly the mother) if they had been born in the out-building of an agricultural property.

Perhaps one day, when I feel like getting fired or quitting, I won't bother to censor myself.  Or I'll hand out cards with this printed on them:

Image Via

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Voyeur in Me...

Since I've already admitted to opening someone else's mail, I may as well tell you that I love looking in other people's windows.

Please don't misunderstand - I don't creep across lawns and peer over windowsills.  I just like to look in windows that have the curtains open and see how other people live.  I especially like to do this at night, and more particularly, at night in the fall or winter.  Okay, I admit - that does sound kind of creepy.

Image via
I should clarify that my intention is not to spy on people.  In fact, I prefer it if no-one is in the room that I'm looking into.  I just like to see how people choose to decorate, I like the architectural details and I like the light.  There is real feeling of warmth and coziness about the light from windows that you see when you're walking at night.

Of course, when it's pissing down rain, as it often does in Vancouver from fall to spring, a body doesn't much feel like wandering around the streets at night.  Luckily for me, I live on the top floor of an apartment building and can peer across the alleyways at other buildings to get my fix.

Image via
That makes me sound a little 'Rear Window' (great film - no wonder I love it) but I don't get into the kind of trouble that Jimmy Stewart did.  My neighbours across the alley way are very obliging and a number of them never close their living room curtains.

Okay, this making me sound like a creepy weirdo but I'm convinced I'm not the only person that does this.  Besides, I never close my living room curtains either, so feel free to take a peek!

I missed a post...

so how about a Cat in a Box?  Only $24.99!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Is it only day 3?

It's day 3 of Blogtoberfest and already I'm struggling.  That's kind of sad, isn't it?  How can I have run out of things to say by the third day??

Truthfully, I kind of knew that I would have a bit of trouble with posting every day.  More to the point, I knew that I would struggle with feeling like I didn't have anything of any relevance to say for 31 days in a row.  Therein lies the challenge and my reason for participating.

As any writer will tell you, it's important just to push on and write.  I know I'm not going to be terribly witty every day but it will be an achievement for me to just write consistently for that stretch of time.  I need to focus on that and not so much on the content, at least not for the purposes of this challenge.

I hope I'll be able to provide you with some entertainment along the way, but I definitely understand if some posts make you want click on to the next blog.  Please come back though - you never know when I might become funny again.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Win a Baby.

No, seriously.  The Ottawa radio station Hot 89.9 recently hosted a competition to win a baby  (Competition now closed, sorry).  Of course, they weren't just going to hand over a fresh newborn human child because that would be weird and I'm pretty sure against the law.

Maybe not the best way to promote the competition...

Despite the promo graphics, the prize on offer was actually $35,000 worth of fertility treatments (or 3 rounds of treatment).  For one lucky couple, or I suppose, single woman, such a prize could very well result in a 'free' baby.

Naturally, there were camps of people on both sides of the fence with this one.  For an example of the difference in opinions, check out this article on  Not surprisingly, a good number of those against the competition were spouting the old chestnut that people with fertility issues often hear:  'just adopt'.

Sigh.  Really?  Do we have to go over this again?  Do not get me wrong - I think adoption is fantastic.  I think it's one of the greatest things someone could do for a child.  However, what people who offer that up as a solution need to understand is this:  adoption is not an easy process.  It can take as much money, time and heartache to adopt a child as it can to go through fertility treatments.  Despite the many children out there that do need loving homes and families, they are human beings and one can't just stop by the 'Baby Shop' and pick one up.  There are regulations, there are laws and there are processes that must be adhered too.  So, before anyone suggests adoption to a friend, family member or stranger - KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT FIRST.  (sorry for the yelling)

Of course people are entitled to their opinions and I for one have no problem discussing the issues.  However, it should be kept in mind that the choice to have (or not have) children is intensely personal.  So, too, are the choices regarding how people go about becoming parents.  All I ask is that people do a little more thinking before speaking (or posting, commenting, etc)

Anyway, back to the competition.  I think it was an awesome thing for Hot 89.9 to do, although I am a little unsure of how I feel about the way it was promoted.  I do also wish that they had played more of an angle of promoting awareness of infertility and a push at the government to provide more funding for treatments.  Of course, not living in Ottawa or being a listener of that particular station, I can't say for certain that they didn't throw a little of that in there.  If anyone knows, please let me know in the comments.

According to the station website, they'll be announcing the top 5 finalists tomorrow morning (Monday October 3rd) and listeners will be able to vote for their favourite.  Good luck to all those prospective parents!  If any of the radio stations in B.C. ever feel like giving away the same opportunity (hint, hint), I'd definitely be throwing my hat in the ring.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

It's just like riding a bike...

As you may or may not know, I've recently started working in the land of retail again.  It's only part time, and I only ever work a few hours at a time - 5 max - so it isn't the full drag that a 40 hour week would be.

Now, I can't really say where I work but I can tell you it's a major craft store chain.  Kind of narrows it down for you, doesn't it?

The company itself doesn't really make any difference to the experience - retail is retail whether you're flogging furniture, fish or Fluevogs (speaking of which, if there are any wealthy benefactors reading this, I'll have this pair or, if you're not feeling quite that flush, this pair will do).  All it really boils down to is smile, don't be afraid to talk to people, keep the place tidy and try not to break the till when you're working the register.  Having over a decade of previous retail experience, I can tell you with all honesty, it ain't rocket science.

I also find that there are two constants, no matter kind of store I have worked at.  First, there is no end to weird questions that people will ask you, or requests that they will make.  Example, I had a lady ask me for a silicone based glue.  I led her over to adhesives and pointed out what we had.  She looked at me like I was a bit soft in the head and said 'No, the big tubes that you put in a gun'.  I asked her if she meant  silicone caulking used to seal around tubs and whatnot.  Bing! went the lightbulb over head 'Yes!' she cried.  At that point it was my turn to look at her like she was soft in the head - 'No, you'll probably have to try a hardware store, not a CRAFT STORE'.

Second, there always seems to be one item that people gravitate to and that will always end up misplaced in the most unlikely parts of the store.  This past week it's been ladybug stickers.  Why?  I can't tell you but I've been finding them everywhere except where they're supposed to be hanging.  I'm sure next week it will be something new.  Anyone want to take bets on what it will be?

Ultimately, I have no intention of staying in the job forever.  The moment something better with higher pay comes along, I'll be leaving a me-shaped hole in the wall as I run for the hills.  I think that knowing that is making it a lot easier for me to not take it all too seriously.  I'm not going to lie to you and say that I LOVE going to work but at least I get to look at things that interest me and spend my time talking to people about the projects they're working on.  That aspect is good in that my creativity is being fed.

Of course, the real reason I don't want to work in retail forever is because of the flatulent customers.  Sorry to be gross but it's so true.  You'll be going along happily restocking the floor, you'll turn unsuspecting down an aisle and BAM!  You walk right into a wall of stank.  Other retail plebs know what I'm talking about.  Funnily, it seems to be worse in card stores.  I know because I've worked in one of those, too.  Maybe I should start wearing a tool belt to carry cans of air freshener...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Do or do not. There is no try.

Yoda may not think there is any such thing as 'try' but I certainly do.  I will do my best not to let Yoda down as I participate in Blogtoberfest.

A number of my fellow participants have already gotten started since they live in Australia, New Zealand or other countries that like to live in the future.  Fortunately for me, I still have a day to mentally prepare my first post.

Can I blog every day for an entire month?  If I do, will my posts at the end of the month consist of me just mashing my hand on the keyboard and then hitting 'publish'?  Let's find out!

If you want to participate as well, and get yourself the sweet Blogtoberfest button that you see off to the left, go visit Tinnie Girl!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Johnny Scofflaw...

I did something the other day that may or may not have involved breaking the law*.  At the very least, it probably wasn't all that ethical.  I...opened mail that wasn't addressed to me.

I admit, I'm a little fascinated by the mail that we receive that is addressed to the previous tenant.  Let's call him Bob.  Bob clearly wasn't too concerned about where his mail was ending up because it doesn't appear that he ever filed a change of address with Canada Post.  We've been getting mail for him from day one.  A lot of it is junk, some of it is bills or catalogues.  In my head, I've been recreating Bob's life, based on the information I've gleaned about him from his mail**.  That may seem weird but it's kind of a hobby of mine - there are always background stories about the people I come across whirling around in my head.

Anyway, Bob seems to be a patron of the arts - he gets mail from the Vancouver Art Gallery, from various theatres around town, and other events.  He's had mail from Saab and BMW.  Catalogues from Harry Rosen.  He may be a generous fellow, considering the mail he's gotten from various charities.  He seems like your average city dwelling man.  I had seen Bob once, when The Boy and I were looking at the apartment, and this assessment fits, I think.  His girlfriend/wife was pregnant at the time, so he's a dad now.  They probably moved on to a bigger place, or a house of their own, and are now living a life of domestic bliss.  Or are they?  Has Bob gone astray?

You see, an envelope slid through our mail slot the other day.  It was hand addressed to Bob but had no return address.  It was stamped and franked by the post office, so it wasn't hand delivered.  The sender had gotten his name and address from somewhere.  One would think from Bob himself.

At first glance, it appeared the envelope contained a letter and the writing on the front suggested it was written by an older hand.  I thought, 'How nice.  Bob is getting a hand written letter from his Grandma, or perhaps an elderly aunt'.  Then it struck me as odd that there was no return address.  Who's Grandma doesn't have those pre-printed, address labels that get sent out every Christmas?   If I simply wrote 'Return to Sender' on the envelope and re-mailed it, I knew it would only end up at the dead letter office (Oh, how I'd love to work there!), where it would end up incinerated, or shredded, or folded into origami  animals.  I didn't want to leave the letter to such a fate so I began debating (in my mind) what I should do.  My intentions were good - I would open the letter and see if there was a name that would help me to re-direct the letter back to the writer.

I didn't want to invade the privacy of Bob, or of his Grandma/Aunt, so while I was puzzling out what to do, I examined the envelope.  It's your standard white envelope, and therefore, somewhat see through.  When I pressed it down, I could see some thick, black print.  It didn't look like hand writing.  On closer examination, I could read ' Evangelical Tract Distribution'.  Ah ha!  So not from Bob's Grandma (I hope) but from a church goer, or perhaps one of those people who stand on street corners handing out magazines.  At this point, I no longer cared about invasion of privacy and opened the envelope.  It was re-sealable anyway, so I could still throw it in the mail at some point.

Inside there were three small pamphlets.  One was titled 'Are You Ready to Meet God?' and intended for anyone who is a newb to religion, another was titled 'The King is Coming' (bold font included) that talks about, you guessed it, the eagerly anticipated second Earth tour by the rock star himself, JC.  The third pamphlet was titled 'Blood You Can Depend On' complete with cover graphics of a blood bank donor bag.  It was within this pamphlet that things got interesting.  Maybe I was wrong about Bob.  Maybe he isn't such a nice guy.

This particular pamphlet was about sin, sacrifice and how the blood of Christ can wash one's soul clean.  It's the usual stuff.  However, one paragraph was singled out with a pen mark around it (in the same ink and wobbly hand as the address on the envelope).  It read as follows:

             But, thank God, there is a way to erase guilt and escape the wrath to come
             in the cleansing blood of Jesus.  His blood type is available and suitable for 
             all sinners.  One only needs to repent of his sin and come to Jesus for salvation
             now.  "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3), are Christ's
             words to the sinner.  "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: 
             though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be
             red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isiah 1:18).

The underlining was not part of the printing but was done, again, by the person who addressed the letter.  It suggested to me that the person who sent this was sending a very particular message to Bob.  '...though your sins be as scarlet...'  Bob.  What did you do, Bob??  Whatever it was, it must have been weighing on him enough that the felt the need to seek guidance...or forgiveness.

Or did he?  Surely, if he had been having a conversation about what ever it was that he did, or that he felt he had done, the person he was talking to could have given him the pamphlets then.  At the very least they could have directed him to some passages in the bible (King James version, just so we're clear.)

Maybe Bob was caught in flagrante delicto by some nosey do-gooder.  If so, how did they get his address?  More importantly, how did they get the address that he hasn't lived at in over a year?  Is Bob handing out this address to people he doesn't really want to hear from, and yet can't refuse to give the information to them?

My next thought was that maybe this mail was never intended for Bob.  Maybe it was meant for me.  Perhaps, there is an all knowing, all seeing presence*** who guided this particular missive into my hands, knowing that my innate nosiness would lead me to open the envelope.  Perhaps I was being admonished for opening other people's mail.  If that's the case then all I can say to God, Buddha or the Invisible Space Pickle (whichever of them was responsible) is this:

                     Curiousity killed the cat but satisfaction brought him back.

Moral of the story:  Maybe I really know nothing about Bob and never will.  Maybe I shouldn't be opening mail not addressed to me.  However, it's curiousity about the world and the people in it that feeds my imagination.  If not for that, I wouldn't have a blog post for you today and you wouldn't have a slightly better (and scarier?) insight into how the mind of The Happy Ranter works.  Sometimes, you just  gotta break the rules.

*I've always heard 'it's a federal offence to open someone else's mail' but finding a law that clearly states that was pretty hard to come by.  The closest I could find was that it is illegal to take mail from other people's mailboxes, homes, the post office, etc with the intention of using the information found within to commit fraud or identity theft, etc.  It becomes a little more shady when the mail is addressed to your home but to the previous tenant.

** I'd like to point out that I always mark his mail 'Return to Sender' or 'Moved' and mail it for re-delivery.  Well, except this one time.  So maybe not 'always' but definitely 'usually'.

*** I'm an atheist.  I don't actually believe this.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Check-out Line Etiquette 101

I'm a firm believer that people should be given the same consideration in check-out lines as they are when using an ATM.  Most people these days pay with their debit card, and no-one wants some stranger hanging over your shoulder, watching you enter your PIN.  Even if a person is paying with cash, I think it's really rude to crowd someone while they're trying to complete their retail therapy.  So, here's my rant about check-out line etiquette and why I should be allowed to stomp on the feet of strangers.

*All of these examples happened to me yesterday in the space of about an hour.  I was beginning to suspect a conspiracy.*

Maybe I should have this printed on a shirt.
Image Via.

Invasion of personal space:  I was at a drug store buying some things for The Boy when I sensed, or rather smelled, the presence of someone behind me.  I barely had to turn my head to see the woman who had sidled up because she was only about 2 cms away from touching me.  I only glanced at her with my peripheral vision for a second but that slight turning of my head was enough for me to get a face full of the alcoholic fumes and cigarette breath that were pouring out of her as she slurred into her cell phone.  It was 10:15 in the morning.  Clearly, she was a class act.

Even though the lush was practically perched on my shoulder, I didn't really worry too much about her being able to see me entering my PIN because I was pretty sure that a) she was seeing double and b) she wouldn't remember it and, in fact, probably wouldn't even remember how she got to the drug store.  What bothered me the most was that I really didn't want to be able to smell her breakfast of Jim Beam, Cheerios and a Marlboro.  Surely, at the very least, she could remember to take others into consideration and swig some mouth wash before she ventures forth in search of nicotine.  Minty fresh for the general public and an extra hit of alcohol for her - win/win!

Moral of the story - if you're gross, or even if you're lovely, don't get all up in my business at the check-out.  Don't get all up in anybody's business.  Mind your own damn business and allow for personal space!

Any excuse to add a LOLCat.
Image Via.

Pretending you don't see me:  I carried on with my shopping adventure and went looking for a shirt at my local Winners.  I found a shirt, waited patiently in line for the next cashier, and then proceeded forward when it was my turn.  I noticed that the cashier acknowledged the presence of the next person in line, who must have waved or made eyes at her.  Keep in mind, the cashier merely nodded - she didn't make any 'come hither' motions.  Besides which, I was quite clearly making a purchase and she was serving me.

Within seconds of the cashier's fatal error of politeness, the woman who had been behind me in line was suddenly at my side, telling the cashier that she would like to make a return.  At this point the cashier was still ringing my purchase through.  I turned and stared at the woman who didn't even acknowledge my presence and I wondered if I had mistakenly put on my cloak of invisibility that morning.  The cashier simultaneously asked the woman politely to wait her turn while shooing her away dismissively with her hand.  I liked her a lot in that instant.  The woman, sounding as surprised as if I had suddenly jumped out from behind a tree yelling 'Boo!', said 'Oh!' and returned to the line.

Moral of the story:  Just because you choose not to believe that I'm standing in front of you, doesn't mean I'm not there.  Pull your head out of your ass, you self-centred twat.

Even if you're the leader of a nation, you're not line-jumping ahead of me.
Image Via.

Bullying in the check-out line:  This one mostly applies to grocery stores, or any store that has conveyor belts at the cash registers.  My second to last stop of the day was at a grocery store.  I picked up one item and headed for the express line (people who try to take full trolleys through the express lines also really piss me off but that's a story for another rant).  There were two people in front of me, both with items on the conveyor belt, so I stood at reasonable distance from the man in front of me and waited my turn.

 As the line moved forward, the man ahead of me placed one of those separation bars behind his items and I placed mine on the conveyor belt.  Queue the jerk behind me who appeared and began to breathe down my neck.  He placed his basket on the shelf below the conveyor belt and began picking things up out of it.  There were still two people ahead of me at this point so I was positioned at the end of  the belt.  I don't like grocery store bullies and I suddenly felt like irritating this man as much as I possibly could.

The people ahead of me moved forward and now there was only one other shopper ahead.  That meant there was plenty of room on the conveyor belt.  The man behind had now started making impatient huffing and puffing noises and was piling his items precariously at the end of the conveyor belt.  I started to reach for the separation bar and to move forward, but I made sure that I was moving at glacial speed.

Eventually, the only item on the conveyor belt was my one, small pack of yoghurt

Moral of the story:  Cashiers can only help one person at a time so there is really no point in trying to make people move faster.  Don't try and rush me at the grocery store.  The more you try and  push me forward, the slower I will move.

So, darlings, remember to play nice when you're out shopping.  If people won't play nice with you, feel free to mess with them.  It's kind of fun!

Monday, September 12, 2011

I'll Try It. I Might Like It...

I don't usually participate in posts like this but I'm willing to try something new.  My buddy CC does this every Monday and I always enjoy her answers because she's just so entertaining.  Plus, it's always fun to learn new things about old friends.  For me, this is a bit of a cop out post because there was something I was going to rant about but I was hesitating.  It's kind of a bummer subject and you know, I've had a good day and don't want to bring myself down.  So, without further ado, here is:

FMM: All About Me
1. What are your talents? I'm pretty crafty and a little bit arty.  I'll give most types of craft a go, except maybe anything made with cat hair.  At the moment I'm a little bit obsessed with quilting and I seem to come by the skill naturally.
2. What is your best habit? I brush my teeth at least twice a day.
3. If you had to be stuck with someone in an elevator for 8 hours, who would you want it to be? Assuming I get to resurrect people from the dead, I'd say Edward Gorey.  I like to think we'd spend our time covering the walls of the elevator in creepy doodles and making up silly rhymes together.
4. Share one odd fact about you that we’d never know to ask. When I count to five using my hands (doesn't matter which one) I use my  thumb, index, middle, pinkie, and then ring finger.
5. What’s your latest project (work, home, whatever you care to share?) Building up my Etsy store and working at being a better, more consistent blogger.  It's an ongoing effort.
6. If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?  I'd like to lose some weight, which is something that I could change if I weren't so damned lazy, so I guess that doesn't count.  Other than that, honestly, I don't think I'd change anything.  Once upon a time, the list would have been long but I've learnt to accept  that this is my skin, this is who I am.  If I changed the shape of my nose, would I still  look like me?  I don't really want to risk it.  (Okay, maybe my hair.  I might change that.)
7. What do you do in your spare time? Read, craft, ponder, hunt down new blogs to follow.
8. What is your biggest pet peeve? Gigantic, non-folding strollers on buses.  And ridiculous over-sized flower headbands on babies.  I can't decide which bothers me more.
9. Why do you blog? I've always liked to write, and I enjoy the sense of community, particularly among craft/art bloggers.  I also find it therapeutic and who doesn't like free therapy?
10. Are you tidy or messy? I guess that depends on one's definitions of tidy and messy.  Let's just say I like the 'lived in' look.
11. What’s the last song that played on your iPod? Winter is All Over You - First Aid Kit
12. Do you cook?  If so, what’s for dinner tonight? I am an occasional cook but mostly I leave it up to the expertise of my (former chef) husband.  I do make a mean stir fry and pad thai, though.
13. Do you like sports?  If so, list your teams. I like hockey and I like Aussie Rules.  'My' teams are the Calgary Flames because I was born in Calgary.  If Victoria had an NHL team, I'd probably support them too because I love Victoria.  I currently live in Vancouver but the Canucks will never be my team because I consider myself to only be passing through.  As for Aussie Rules, the Melbourne Demons are my team, no matter how far down the ladder they are. Go, D's!
14. How often do you read and/or watch the news? We don't have cable anymore so I rarely watch the news unless I hear about something that I want to see footage of.  In that case, I find it online.  A couple of times a week I'll check out a few news pages but I find most of it to be either drivel, or too angry/sad making.
15. Did you stick to your new Year’s resolution this year?  If so, elaborate. I'd have to go back and check the archives.  I don't think I made resolutions per se, but goals I wanted to meet.  Again, I'll have to check to see if I've been successful!
16. What are you looking forward to most in the remainder of 2011? I don't have any big plans for the remainder of the year.  I want to keep working at the personal projects I have on the go and I'm looking forward to continuing to do so.
17. Shoes, sunglasses or handbags?  I used to have a BIG shoe fetish but that's faded a bit.  I still look at shoes everywhere I go but these days I prefer bare feet (not that I walk the city streets with bare feet!  Eewww.)  I only ever buy cheap sunglasses because it's inevitable that I will break them, or I'll lose the tiny screws that hold the arms on.  I do love a good handbag and have a couple that I rotate.  I'd like to start making my own so that I have full control over material, colour and style.
18. How do you feel about sleeping on satin sheets?  I've never had satin sheets.  Cotton is the only way to go.
19. Do you sing in the shower? I do if my husband isn't home.  No need to traumatize him.
20.Describe yourself in one word. Curious.
If you want to participate in Friend Makin' Monday, go here to find the deets.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


 As you know from my last post (lo, those many moons ago) I was gearing up for yet another poke at my lady bits.  That happened near the end of July and all went well.  I woke up from the anaesthetic (which is always a relief) and was fully recovered a day or so later.  I had a follow up appointment with the doc recently and I was given the all clear, meaning nothing untoward going on 'down there' and that the polyps that were removed and sent for testing were cancer-free.

So!  My freshly spackled and smoothed uterus is all ready for a new tenant.  No takers yet but the rent is reasonable and I'm sure I'll find someone willing to sign a nine month lease any time now.  Failing that, I'll be jumping aboard the IUI train.  Tickets aren't cheap and there are no guarantees I'll make it to my destination but I may as well try it before I decide to fly the friendly skies on IVF Air.*

The bigger reason for a portion of my bloggy absence is the trip I took to Australia.  It was kind of a last minute decision and it happened thanks to the incredible generosity of my sister.  (*waves* Thanks, sis!) She's been on my case to come out for a visit, and since it was my Mum's 70th birthday this year, and since I have two adorable nieces there, and since I also have other lovely family members there, I decided to give in to her pleading and grace them all with my presence.

In truth, I only went for the Devonshire Tea at Miss Marple's.
It had been almost two years since my last visit, when I went out for the birth of my first niece, Miss A.  Kids have a funny way of growing up over time, so I figured I should stop in for a progress report.  I'd post a picture so you could see how adorable she is, but I'm not really keen on displaying pictures of children that aren't mine on blogs with open access.  You'll just have to take my word for it - she's cute as a button (even her almost-two 'tude is cute).

Since my last visit my other niece was born and she and her mum went through the joy that is immigrating to Australia.  They were successful (yay!) and my brother is a much happier man having his girls with him.  Miss E is only a few months younger than Miss A and the two of them together is cute overload.  At present Miss E is still speaking Chinese (yes, I know!  It's either Mandarin or Cantonese.  I don't know which because I don't speak it!).  Tiny children speaking foreign languages?  Adorable.  Also adorable is the serious look Miss E gets on her face that is all my brother.

My sister and I decided to surprise Mum with my visit so everyone was sworn to secrecy.  There were a few moments where the cat was almost set loose from the bag, but it all came good in the end.  I hid behind a newspaper at the McDonald's my Mum frequents for her coffee (one of the rare places a person can get a drip coffee in Australia.  Seriously need to open a Timmie's in Melbourne!).  When she and my sister sat down at the table next to me, I lowered the paper and casually asked if they'd like to join me.  I had to ask twice because Mum didn't recognize me at first (probably because my face is a little, um, rounder these days) but once it twigged there was hugging and tears.  As a bonus, they were already planning on going to a craft and quilt fair that morning, so I got to hang out with my sister, surprise my Mum and go look at fabrics and quilts.  Nice.

The rest of my time was spent going to Gymbaroo, numerous parks, ordering vast quantities of babycinos and decaf soy lattes, playing games with my youngest brother, building block towers, washing dishes, and general basking in the happiness of being amidst my family.  It came to an end sooner than I would have liked, as it always does.  I really think airports need to pump nitrous oxide into the departure lounges - saying goodbye is too damn sad.

Before I spiral into tears thinking about that, I'd like to advise all of you, lovely readers, that I have a new system in place that will hopefully ensure my posts are a more regular event.  Now, you may be thinking 'Pffft.  Heard that one before.' but 'tis true!  Thanks to the efforts of Jess over at Epheriell (lovely gal who makes lovely things - check it out) who complied a collection of links for lists/organizational freebies, I now have a system for jotting down ideas and planning out posts.  Of course I could have been using a pad of paper, or post it notes, all this time but these are PRETTY.  Pretty shiny things make it easier for me to focus.

So, come back soon, or better yet, follow me or add me to your reader feed.  There will be new things!  Funny things!  Ranty things!  Odd, you-think-I-might-be-on-something things!  For reals.

*It's a lot more fun to talk about my struggles to procreate if I describe them in terms of property rentals and modes of transportation.  Got any ideas for funny/strange euphemisms I can use to talk about my lady parts?  The best suggestion might get a prize!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Work in Progress...

I need a transporter to get me here.
Well, I got as far as changing the background wallpaper for my blog.  That's progress, right?  Anyway, I haven't been lolling about on the couch and being a complete slacker but to see what I've been doing with my time, you'll have to click over to my craft blog.

As for my little experiment of trying to be a calmer, more positive person, I'm not really sure how to measure a change in myself and my attitude.  I guess I could ask The Boy but I'm afraid he might say I'm worse than ever.

I haven't busted out the yoga dvd's yet, so no progress there.  As for meditating, I've tried some traditional techniques which work well enough and I do enjoy it but I have been pretty sporadic with it.  Maybe I need to write up a schedule for myself.  See?  I really did need that day planner.

Having said that, I have been spending a lot of time in front of my sewing machine and for me, that has proven to be a kind of meditation in itself.  When I'm sewing many little strips of fabric together and the machine is making it's whirring noise, I can kind of remove my brain from the action and let my mind wander.  This has had a calming effect on me, so that's a bonus.  I can't spend 24 hours of every day sewing though, I really need to try and be more consistent with regular old meditation.

I've recently just found some podcasts to listen to regarding infertility and dealing with everything that goes along with that.  You'd think I'd know almost everything there is to know about being infertile and getting through the day.  I haven't learned anything that is really new to me but it's good to be reminded of some things every now and then.  The only downside is that listening to podcasts is basically the same as listening to talk radio and that makes me feel like I'm about 100.  

On the baby making front, I have my procedure coming up soon.  I'm not really looking forward to it, not because I'm afraid of hospitals or being put under, but because in my mind it's kind of become a turning point.  Once I have that done, The Boy and I will be getting much closer to going ahead with IUI .  These days IUI is extremely common and I know plenty of women who have had great success with it.  Objectively, I think IUI is a wonder (as is IVF) and I think it's great that such things are available.

The stumbling block for me, and I know that this is something I will need to get over, is that I don't want to do it.  I don't want to have to do it to become pregnant.  I'm a stubborn person and if I can't do something my way, I don't want to do it all.  That's not going to get me pregnant though so I have to work on letting go of those feelings.  It's hard to change your ways after 30 plus years though.

Hence, the hippy-dippy, meditation, yoga.  Maybe I need to get some birkenstocks, patchouli and a couple of peasant skirts.   Or maybe I just need a frontal lobotomy.                                                                  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Just a Thought...

Image Found here.
I'm thinking about changing the direction of this blog a little bit.  Nothing drastic, but maybe a change of layout and perhaps a different vibe to the writing.  For fans of my rants, fear not, I will still be ranting on occasion.  Let's face it, there is and always will be plenty of things and people in this world that piss me off.

While venting and ranting are vital to my well-being and sanity, I'm going to be trying something a little different.  In an effort to increase my chances of pregnancy, I'm going to try being a little hippy-dippy, 'everything's cool, man'.  Will it work?  I don't know.  So far the usual ways of trying to get knocked up, and the medical interventions I have tried haven't really worked so well.  Granted, there are still treatments left to try but we won't be pursuing those for at least another couple of months.  In the meantime, I may as well try to calm my body from top to toe and see what happens.  I'm talking yoga, meditation, contemplating my navel - you know, hippy-dippy.

What does that mean for this blog?  I'll sort of be figuring that out as I go along but I think it's going to include sharing my thoughts on books I've been reading, how I'm going with yoga and meditation, and whatever else I'll be doing to improve my outlook.

I mentioned before that I have another blog devoted to crafty/arty things and I'm going to really put some effort into building that up.  I've also recently signed up for an Etsy store and will be posting more about that on the Pro-Craft-inate blog as it gets going.

So, what do you all think?  Will you be abandoning ship?  Do you think I've lost my mind?  It's okay if you do - I'm kind of wondering that myself.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

That Time Again...

Sunday marked the first day of the 5th annual Canadian Infertility Awareness Week (May 15th to 22nd).  If you click the link, you'll be taken to the IAAC website and from there can find a list of events happening across the country.  You may remember that last year, my good friend CC and I were the Victoria Fertility banner bearers in the Victoria Day parade.  VF isn't in the parade this year as far as I know but they were having their annual picnic at Beaver Lake park last Sunday.  Hopefully they didn't get completely rained out.

This evening here in Vancouver, the clinic that I go to is hosting a seminar on fertility, treatments and alternative medicine.  I had a look at what they'll be covering and I doubt I'll be going as there doesn't appear to be any new-to-me information.  However, if you're new to this world and are interested in finding out more about your options, it's being held at the Jewish Community Centre - 950 W. 41st Ave in the Gallery Room.  Along with doctors from the clinic there will be other speakers discussing acupuncture, nutrition, yoga and meditation.

Myself, I 'celebrated' the first day of CIAW with a negative home pregnancy test.  Joy!  If you're wondering why I would do such a terrible thing to myself, it was doctor's orders.  Since I'm taking progesterone, I'm supposed to test at the end of 10 days of taking the supplement to determine if I should continue or not.  Sunday's answer was 'or not'.  Monday I was feeling depressed and homicidal.  Today I'm  just feeling worn out, but that could be the heinous cramps.

I recently had my appointment with the doc who will be performing the pre-polyp re-section.  He seemed like a straight-up, honest kind of man and now that I'm on his patient list, I hope I will be able to continue to have him as my OB/GYN.  I asked him if he thought the polyps would interfere with my ability to become pregnant and he said he didn't know.  No bullshit, no dicking around - just that he didn't know.  I appreciate that kind of honesty.

So, now I wait for the surgery date.  We're going to hold off on doing Clomid/IUI until after that has been done.  I'm not going to lie to you - I'd much rather be celebrating CIAW with a baby or a pregnancy.  That hasn't happened though and I need to move on.  Hopefully, The Boy and I won't be greeting next year's CIAW empty handed.  One can dream, right?

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Hits Just Keep on Coming...

As if fighting the morons of the world isn't enough (see previous post re: PETA), sometimes Infertiles also have to fight the government.

I was talking with my sister (who lives in Melbourne, Australia) about IVF and other fun topics.  She mentioned to me that in order for IVF patients in the state of Victoria to proceed with treatment, they have to undergo a police check.  As in, a check for a CRIMINAL RECORD.  I was absolutely outraged when she told me this.

I poked around on the good ol' internet and found the following article.  Go ahead and have a read:

Regardless of whether or not a person is undergoing IVF, has other fertility issues, has 10 kids or has no desire to be a parent we should all be appalled that any government would pass this kind of legislation.

I'm sure in the history of IVF there have been some resultant parents who have been less than stellar but I would hazard a guess that instances like that are few and very far between.  I find it very hard to imagine that someone who would put themselves through the stress, the physical discomfort and financial impact of IVF, would have anything less than love, and the desire to care for the baby they've worked so hard for.

This kind of legislation serves no other purpose than to degrade those who have to suffer from it.  It does nothing more than add to an already stressful situation.  Who are the idiots that think these things up??

I also wonder, why stop there?  Why not go the whole nine yards into Big Brother-dom and do criminal record checks on anyone contemplating becoming a parent, whether 'naturally' or using ART?  Why single out people who are choosing IVF?  Doesn't that scream of discrimination?

What I'd really like to know is this:  why waste police resources on such foolishness when there are children already in the world being abused?  When there are babies being born to drug addicted mothers or alcoholic fathers?

As someone who could very well have to consider IVF before the year comes to an end, it saddens and enrages me that anyone would have to go through additional, unnecessary stress when making that choice.  I find it disturbing that a group of what I hope is reasonably intelligent people, could make the decision to pass that legislation.

I'm curious to know what other people think of this.  Feel free to comment!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Back to the Rant...

I was thinking today that it had been awhile since I'd had anything to really rant about.  Things have been looking good - I'm much more at peace with my infertility, I've actually come across some lovely people and places in Vancouver, and hey, the sun has been shining.  I thought to myself, 'Self, is this the end of the Happy Ranter?'  And then I saw this, pulled directly from the PETA website:

It's a two-fer: Get your animal companion fixed, and get yourself fixed too! Human overpopulation is crowding out animal life on the planet, and dog and cat overpopulation is creating a euthanasia crisis that is a crying shame. Disappearing wilderness, vanishing water resources, and pollution is the price that future generations will pay for more human births, while losing their lives is the price that millions of homeless dogs and cats pay when guardians neglect to "fix" their companion animals.
Every year in the U.S., an estimated 6 to 8 million lost, abandoned, or unwanted dogs and cats enter animal shelters. The best way to combat the companion-animal overpopulation crisis is to have your cat or dog neutered. And with a global population of almost 7 billion humans, more of our species could use a (voluntary) snip too.
Now, one lucky man can be reproduction-free, free of charge, just like his pooch or feline friend. During National Infertility Awareness Week (April 24 to 30), PETA will give one free vasectomy to a man who has recently had his companion cat or dog neutered. Don't worry boys—you'll still be able to enjoy sex. But your neutered dog will be less likely to face the health and behavioral problems that unneutered dogs experience.
That's right folks, PETA wants to help celebrate National Infertility Awareness Week (USA) by offering a free vasectomy.  Oh, and that little word I've highlighted in red?  Prior to a slew of emails, phone calls and Facebook postings expressing outrage, that originally read 'In honour of'.  I'm not sure what the publicists for PETA were smoking when they came up with this, but they should all be ashamed of themselves.  
Let me clarify that I don't see anything wrong with the campaign per se.  Medical treatments and surgeries can be prohibitively expensive in the United States and this might provide an opportunity to someone who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford it.  What I do have an issue with is that they would have the audacity to run this campaign at the same time as NIAW.  That they would claim it was 'in honour of' NIAW is unbelievably insensitive and disrespectful to anyone dealing with infertility.

I also find it laughable that their 'solution' to helping to curb overpopulation (of the human variety) is to offer ONE vasectomy.  Why not ten?  Or a hundred?  Why not just start with every man who works for PETA?
What I'd really like to know is this:  Did the people who came up with this idea consider for one second that amongst their own ranks, and PETA members, there might be people suffering quietly through infertility of their own?  I know if I worked for PETA, I wouldn't be working there any longer.  
There has been a huge outpouring of anger from the infertility community and many requests for PETA to take down this campaign, at the very least for the week of NIAW.  It has also been requested - demanded - that they remove any association in the campaign with NIAW.  So far they haven't done that.  From some accounts I've read, they've been rude and dismissive and suggested to people that they 'just adopt'.  Because haven't you heard?  Babies are as easy to come by as puppies and kittens!
Unfortunately, I doubt that PETA will do anything more than what they have done - that little, insignificant, change of wording.  Why?  PETA, while they do some good work, also tend to be extremists.  Crazy doesn't often listen to requests from the sane.  Plus, I'm sure they're enjoying the controversy because they are predictably lame that way.
So, if you're good and pissed off now, please click the button below to sign the petition or, you can visit PETA on their Facebook page or website and tell them what you think.   I'd provide links but that might make me sick to have a direct line from my blog.    

Petitions by|Start a Petition »

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Uterus on T.V!

Clearly I should never say in any post that I'm going to finish a story the next day...because I probably won't.  Most likely, I'll leave you hanging for days at a time.  But, you love me for my quirky charm, no?

So, let's carry on with the tale of my hysteroscopy.  I have had one before but it was done with my D&C last year and I was knocked out for that.  The one done most recently was performed at the clinic, I was wide awake and the Boy and I got to watch it all on the monitor.  Good thing I don't have a squeamish husband!  This procedure is even less fun than an ultrasound.  In fact, an u/s is a day at the beach compared to a hysteroscopy.  Here's why - instead of a wand pressing up against my cervix, a hysteroscope is inserted through the cervix.  Basically, it's a long thin tube (like a 'swizzle stick!' said the Dr. doing the procedure) with a tiny camera that magnifies all that it sees.  
On the (full colour!) monitor, I got to watch all of this happening.  None of it was surprising to me because when you've been trying to get knocked up as long as I have, believe me, you've checked out pictures of a million female reproductive organs.  It is kind of nifty to see your own though.  Really!  Try it.  The good news was that the passages to/from both of my ovaries were nice and clear.  The less than stellar news was that some slight ripples could be seen on part of the uterine wall.  These 'ripples' are apparently the beginnings of polyps.  

The doc who did the procedure said that these ripples could be easily taken care of during another hysteroscopy with a tool she described as being 'like a spatula!'.  I'm not sure what was up with her descriptions of things but she was very enthusiastic.  Anyway, I would have to be admitted to the hospital and knocked out for such a thing.  After my short follow up conversation with Dr. K about it, it was decided that I would be referred to a doctor that can do that.  Not sure when that will be happening, but given hospital waiting lists, it will probably be a few months.

On the upside, Dr. K said that the ripples are low enough that she doesn't think they'd interfere with implantation.  Also, since they aren't fully formed polyps, they're not blocking anything important like my cervix or aforementioned tube openings.  So, the Boy and I can carry on with TTC and I can give the progesterone a shot.

There is some frustration for me with the whole thing.  A) The doc who did the hysteroscopy, upon seeing the ripples, said 'I guess that's what Dr. H was talking about in his notes'.  Now, that was news to me because Dr. H, after performing the D&C and hysteroscopy last time, told me that everything looked 'normal'.  I'm sure his reason for not saying anything to me was because he didn't think what he saw was something that would interfere with my TTC and perhaps the ripples were smaller then.  Still, I would have liked to have known that he did see something.

B) Dr. K called me back the same day that I'd had the hysteroscopy.  I appreciate the follow up, but she had done 9 egg retrievals that day (we know because the nurse told us) and was clearly not fully focused on our conversation.  I would have preferred to wait a bit to hear from her, when she was less busy and had all of my information in front of her.  I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt though and for now, I'm going on the assumption that she's just not great on the phone.

Mostly though, the frustration comes from:

C) This whole business of trying to get pregnant is really just a series of fortunate (or unfortunate) events.  The medical profession seems to know HOW a baby is made but not WHY.  What I mean is, you can have two perfectly healthy women, with bodies that are able to provide the same welcoming environment for an embryo, yet one will get pregnant and one won't.  For the most part, reproductive medicine appears to be made up of educated guesses.  There are numerous tests that can be done, and that helps to give some direction to the course of action that can be taken but it all really comes down to the luck of the draw.

For myself, what I believe I need to do is to accept that knowledge, work on getting myself as healthy as I can be, work on being as happy as I can be, and hope for the best.  It's become a lot easier for me to do that recently and I'm working on perpetuating that feeling.