Christmas Holidays

I am lucky to have time off between Christmas and New Years. I am not actually back to work until January 5. I have really enjoyed my time off and here is a rundown of what I have been doing and things I am grateful for:

1. Carrots – I have re-discovered carrots. For years we have been buying those little pre-formed carrots thinking they were baby carrots. I have now been disabused of this notion. We were at a friend’s place for dinner for a couple of months ago and there were carrots in the meal. They were the best carrots I have ever tasted. They were not mealy and watery. Instead they were soft and had an incredible flavour. I thought it was a one-off. Then we had carrots with a roast here about 6 weeks ago. I did not make it. And there were carrots…glorious, soft, rich carrots. I had seconds but only carrots. I made a roast last night and bought carrots and they were fantastic. I thought I did not like carrots – I was wrong. There will be many more carrots in 2009!
2. Nuts – I ate about 6 Ferrero Rochers with the hazelnuts in the middle. I loved them. Sadly, my colon did not. I am generally feeling very good these days. Many of the colitis symptoms are gone. However, colitis is still there and my colon has not healed. Six hazel nuts are enough to send me into a flare, which is not as bad as it has been, is still damned painful. The other thing that happens is that my anxiety about being sick gets triggered. My doctor says this is normal. I was really very, very sick just a year ago and I should not be surprised that I would react this way.
3. Comfort movies – with nothing to watch on the PVR I have resorted to watching comfort movies. Thus far I have watched The Hours, Meet the Fockers and Miss Congeniality. I love Sandra Bullock! I have also watched the entire second season of Big Love and half of season 1 of Millennium. I used to love that show!
4. I find crocheting very relaxing. I have not crocheted for years. My mother cajoled me into picking up my hook again and I am so glad she did! It gives me something to do and I can make some pretty awesome pieces! Now, if I can just convince Piper that she does not need to cover me and all my crochet cotton in pug hair life would be great!
5. I am appreciating my partner very much these days. We have had a major incident but we seem to be working through it and I think we will get past it and come out stronger the other side. This one will take a lot of work and a willingness to assume good intentions and forgiveness will also figure prominently. It seems to me that many people throw relationships away when there are difficulties – that is not our style. We work and work hard. We have been together 10 years and we are in it for the long haul.
6. New appliances – We decided to buy new appliances this year instead of Christmas gifts. I will never forgo exchanging gifts with my partner again. All of the fun was gone from Christmas. However, the new appliances ROCK! I never thought appliances could enhance your life but oh my! The new fridge has the freezer on the bottom. I thought I would hate this but it is great. Most of the stuff you use every day is now at eye level and you can find things without being bent over for a long time – this is very important when dealing with chronic pain. The freezer on the bottom has lovely roll out shelves for stuff and a big, deep basket. It is amazing. The new stove has a glass top which I love! It heats up quickly. It is a bit of a pain to keep clean (and seems to be bringing out Deb’s OCD) but it is very nice to cook on. It has the little area called the ‘warming zone’ where you can just keep stuff warm. The oven is self-cleaning. We opted not to get convection as we were not convinced we would use it and we have convection on our toaster oven. The new dishwasher is much larger inside and it has fold down racks and special baskets for knives and large utensils.
7. Old Friends – 2008 has been a year of seeing people I have known for more than 20 years. My friend Lydia and her daughter from Toronto came out to visit when I was really sick. My friend Lynn has moved in while she is looking for work and finding a place to buy here after moving from Ontario. I am also in touch with my best friend, Joe, from Calgary on a regular basis. Old friends are great; they know where you have been and see where you are now. I also don’t have a really good memory for things that happened in the past so my old friends remind me of things I have forgotten.
8. Cauliflower and cheese sauce – I think I make the best cheese sauce ever! We got a new steamer basket with our new pots and we had steamed cauliflower with cheese sauce for Christmas dinner. I have since had an entire meal of just cauliflower and cheese sauce!
9. The dogs – Our dogs are great. There is nothing quite like getting a snuggle with the pug for a long time while watching TV. I kiss her head and rub her ears and she moans and groans and snuggles in a little closer. It is very healing. The human race does not deserve the devotion dogs give to us. Then of course there is the funny stuff. We are often treated to the daily oral sex show where Piper will lay, in the middle of the floor, on her back and wait for some other dog to ‘service’ her. She does not wait long! It is hysterical. We lost our beloved Mabel in 2008 which really sucked but seeing as she came here to die in Feb of 2007 we were lucky to have her as long as we did. Our other seniors are doing well and Molly will be 20 tomorrow – which is very old for any dog and she is showing no signs of slowing down.
10. I am so grateful for my new job! It is exactly where I want to be – an Executive Director of a small not for profit. I am learning so much about leadership and creating a positive and respectful work environment. It is challenging, I am learning new skills and building on existing ones. It is meaningful work which is so important for me. Best of all it is flexible – it allows me the flexibility I need to look after my health.

All things considered 2008 has not been as bad a year as I had initially thought. It started off horrifically for me with a 2-week hospitalization for colitis and several months to recover. I was laid off from my former employer after my job description was re-jigged to such a point that I could not possibly do it. In hindsight, it was a very good thing as it gave me another couple of months to recover and I did land on my feet with a job I wanted and more money.

I don’t believe in making resolutions at the beginning of the new year. Instead I try to make small adjustments throughout the year when I see that something needs changing. So far, I am planning to reduce my dependence on Starbucks lattes. I have purchased a small coffee pot for work and good coffee. I like my coffee very strong so it is not fair for me to commandeer the work coffee pot. I am sure I will get the odd latte as well.

I hope 2009 is a great year!

This and that….

Well it has been a busy time. I am off work until January 5 and I am so grateful. I needed a break. I was stupid and ate nuts over the holidays and I am now paying…colitis and nuts are a bad combination.

In other news – all of the dogs are doing ok. We think Tucker may have a bladder infection so he is off to the vet tomorrow. They all enjoyed their turkey very much. We got a hormone and antibiotic free turkey from Hopcott’s and it was fabulous! The rest of the dinner was to die for as well. We had cauliflower and cheese sauce, potatoes, and all sorts of other veggies that I ignored.

I am getting a little sick of the pope. Who is he to judge trans and homosexual people when he wears a dress and has other men kiss his hand? He is so completely outdated and the catholic church will lose support because of this kind of bigotry. We need to move towards a society that celebrates diversity rather than one that puts of with condemnations of minority groups.

The weather has also been a little frightful. I cannot remember ever seeing this much snow on the wet coast. We went out on Saturday and there were mountains of snow piled up in the parking lots. I know that for other areas of Canada this is normal but for here it is freaky!

Oh and the freaking neighbour’s dog is making me mental. They leave him outside for 12-14 hours at a time and he barks non-stop at our dogs when they go out. Ours are pretty good they don’t bark back as they know they just get brought in. I do not understand how the hell they can stand to listen to their dog barking his foolish head off for a whole day? What is wrong with people? It is so unfair to our dogs as they can’t be outside for any length of time because he won’t stop barking. The last thing we need is for other neighbours to think it is one of our dogs doing all the barking.

I ask Questions #4

Ok so we are in a winter wonderland hell right now. Here is my question: Why don’t people clean off their vehicles before they go on the highway. Do they think it is cool to have snow flying off of their vehicle while they drive down the highway blinding other people???

I ask questions 1, 2, 3

Snow in Metro Vancouver

Ok, we got some snow and we whine, loud and long, about the snow. There is a reason why we hate snow here and it has nothing to do with the snow but rather the response to it by most municipalities. As we don’t get snow very often most cities do not budget appropriate amounts for snow removal. In fact, one good snow dump will exhaust the snow removal budget. In short – we are all on the rain snow removal plan. What this means is we count on the rain coming and melting the snow away. Very little is done in the way of snow removal which means residents of Metro Vancouver have a much more difficult time when there is snow on the ground for any length of time.

I ask Questions

Today’s question comes as a result of my interaction with the clerk at the restaurant where I ordered pizza from today. She said: “Your order comes to $48.50 minus 10% for picking it up but I won’t know how much to take off until I put it into the computer.” I said: “Ummmm, $4.85?” I then resisted the urge to give her a math lesson. So here is the question: Are they no longer teaching basic arithmetic in school? How does one go through life and not know how to figure out 10% of a number? Ok, I know that is 2 questions but the are related!

OMG – Who would have thought it?

I am listening to “On the Coast” and Stephen Quinn is talking to Simone List from the Better Business Bureau. Surprisingly, (note the sarcasm here) she says that products and services promote themselves as being green but they are not as green as they often claim.

I read a few green blogs. Most are very good. For example, A little Greener Everyday by Robin Shreeves is excellent. She brings a good mix of ideas and reality to her blog. I highly recommend it. The other thing Robin has going on her blog is critical thinking. She does not assume that just because something says it is green or organic that it is necessarily better for the environment.

In fact, some organic products use more fossil fuels and are worse for the environment than conventionally grown stuff. If you have not read it, I highly recommend the Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. He chronicles how some organic growing operations (think the nice organic ‘field greens’ comes to mind) is kept at a constant 36 degrees Fahrenheit from the moment it is picked until it arrives at your grocery store. Now, this product may be organic but it is certainly not green.

The bottom line is that one must question what makes a product or service green and there needs to be a rigorous evaluation made.

I ask Questions

I have decided to start a new feature here called: “I ask Questions.” I have questions, lots of questions. Some of them are rhetorical and some I am just curious about. So if you can help by answering my questions please chime in!

So, without further delay, here is the inagural question in the “I ask Questions” series:

Why is the traffic always bad on Tuesdays? Doesn’t seem to matter what time of day I drive into Vancouver on a Tuesday traffic is always slow. Anyone know why this happens? What is about Tuesdays?

Old Dogs

Never, ever underestimate an old dog. Tucker has found the all you can eat buffet of our house known as the freezer. He has learned to open it and can be found munching on all sorts of  things – lately it was a frozen Angus burger from Costco.

Tucker spent 15 years in a pen – by himself. He is desperate for attention and interaction. He never wants to be away from humans. Tucker is also losing his back end. He is having trouble getting up and occasionally drops poop as he walks. Not good signs. However, we have decided to let Tucker be the boss and do as much living as he can in what time he has left. He can go to the park and run like a puppy and we will manage his pain with appropriate medications. He is having a really good time!