Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Why is "it's all downhill from here" negative?

So as those who are also on my Facebook may know, I have a new bike.  Technology has come a long way since the purchase of my last bike.  With said new bike I can ride faster and for significantly longer and be less tired at the end.  I can keep up with Chris with no problems; with the old one, this was a challenge.   With said new bike, other cyclists smile and say hi when we pass each other.  With the old one, they'd look aside and pretend they hadn't seen ;)  On flat stretches I'm averaging about 10k/h faster than I used to, hills I admit I'm still super slow, but at least I can make it now ;)

I feel like I wrote a post about the bike search adventure, but can't seem to find it...  hmmmm okay, well if you wish I'd *actually* posted that story, keep reading for the summary.  If not, scroll down a few paragraphs to where today's adventure starts...

So, in summary of the great bike quest: DH (he so earned the title that day ;) and I spent all day driving to every bike shop within a 3-city range (news flash: there are a LOT of them) test driving bikes and talking to sales people, only for me to buy the very first one I tried ;)  Ah well, that's what happens when you're shopping for something you know nothing about.  I certainly don't try out that many horses before buying one!  LOL.  I discovered every bike shop seems to have a group of men that just hang out there.  So random.  At one shop said group of men was highly amused by the fact that I was test driving two completely different bikes.  But well, when you don't know exactly what you want, you may as well try everything *g*

In the end I bought a Diverge from the little bike shop in Waterdown (they have impossible hours, but amazing service if you can get there).  Of all the stores we went to, the sales guy there was by far the best (and in subsequent trips I can say the other staff there are equally impressive).  This was proven even more by the fact that they were first, so I had my greenest questions for them and *really* no idea what to ask or what I should be trying -- esp after they suggested my Google result probably wouldn't be the best fit ;)   I did try said Google result at another store later and, well, they were right.  They asked the right questions, made one suggestion they thought was the correct fit, and left it at that.  And in the end, it was exactly right.

So the Diverge is essentially a road bike that's just a little bit sturdier so can handle the trails.   I liked the feel of it a lot more than the cross bikes, and while I did quite enjoy one of the road bikes, I *really* enjoy trails.  Having been riding it for a few weeks now, I can say it's definitely best on the road, no problem on the rail trail or tightly packed trails, does *not* do sand or big gravel.  It made that very clear to me ;)
And now, for our regularly scheduled program
Today had gorgeous weather and Chris was planning to work on his man cave all day (that unfortunately got rescheduled) so I had decided I'd go for a longer ride today.  I had a flyer of Hamilton bike rides -- about half of which start/finish at the Aldershot GO station so decided I'd pick one of those.  Decided on an "easy" Dundas Valley run, that was 21 km and would need just a little extra to get to our place as it didn't start in Aldershot.  Okay, "easy" seems like an excellent idea, 21km sb no problem.

Right.  So issue one occurred when I realized fairly quickly that the maps lacked some pretty critical information -- like street names.  Some were there but not all.  Okay, np, I have Google.  All good, right?  Yeah no.  That didn't work either. Okay well, I really just want to ride and I know kinda where I want to go, so what does it matter if I can't find the outlined route?
A fairly scenic start to my ride
And I mostly made it to Dudas about how I expected, so that was good.  But then I didn't want to just turn around and come back (future me really wishes I'd been smart enough to do that.  Trip TO Dundas was uphill, reverse trip would've been downhill.  And short.)  Anyways, suffice to say I did *not* in-fact, do that.  I rode around Dundas for a bit, looking at some of the gorgeous old houses, then decided to follow "old Ancaster road" which, I discovered all too soon, meanders its way uphill.  Ugh.  Fail.
About 1/2 way up the hill, this little side route looked so pretty I had to stop and take a pic.
Yes, the photo is why I had to stop ;)

This was where I learned that short breaks can be remarkably revitalizing.  Went from "can barely pedal" to "this is no problem" in about 2 mins.  Sweet.  When I got to the top I realized I was close to where Kerri and I went riding on the rail trail way back when.  Sweet :)  So I rode around for a little bit and eventually found a trail entrance.  Pointed myself back in the general direction of Dundas and away I went.  Bike handles well on the rail trail, so all good.  Passed a bunch of riders (ummm horseback that is) which made me all kinds of miss my ponies and summer hacks but otherwise all good.

In here I was starting to get tired, so when I got to the train area (trail centre) I stopped to look at a map.  I knew by this point I was in Dundas Valley, so must be reasonably close to Dundas.   Except I was all kinds of turned around and it looked like the trail that should take me out was closed.   So I kept going the way I'd been going and the next road turned the direction that'd take me back sort of home.  All good, except the road was under construction and was *horrible* to ride on; the only time downhill in this whole ride was a negative.   Credit to my awesome bike for surviving that.   Sadly my brand new back light that I literally just installed before heading out, did not.   And while it landed in one piece when it bounced off, it did not stay in once piece when the car behind me ran over it :(    *sigh*

Eventually made it off the road from hell and back to a main street, one I recognized would take me home.  Somehow uphill again?   That just seemed horribly unfair after the previous downhill had been so brutal.  But sobeit.   Rode past the entrance to Dundas Valley  -- definitely would've saved time and effort if I'd gotten there from the trains.  Blah.  Anyways, continued my slow pedal till I eneded up roughly back in Dundas and from there got myself sorted out to get home.
This caught my eye as I was trying to find my way home.
Definitely wasn't on my route in!
I was very tired at this point, and about half way up yet another hill had to stop.  Looking over I realized I was stopped next to a dog park.  Sweet -- one of today's things was to take the dog to the park....   Hmmmm C has a truck, and the dogs...   Maybe all of them could come here and then we could all go home together.  Maybe.  Alas, C had just put something in the oven.  He'd come rescue me, but couldn't come till it was done cooking.

Well I've never been very good at waiting to be rescued, so I climbed back on and continued the pedaling, very happy when I crested the hill to see there was enough of a downhill to get me up the next uphill!  Lol -- little things in life.   And after I made it up that one, I knew where I was and, more importantly, knew the rest was all downhill.

I think we need to reconsider the negative connotations associated with "it's all downhill from here" because at that moment, that knowledge made me just about the happiest person ever.  So I made it home.  My 21km bike ride took 42km -- and this, ladies and gentleman, is what happens when you decide it doesn't really matter where you're going :)

How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?

Fair warning:  It is about 1:30 am and I'm thumb-typing this on my phone.   

It's been an entertaining few days :)

Fri was my birthday, which I firmly believe should always be spent having fun ;).  Chris had to work in the am so I took the dogs for an extra long park adventure which was a fairly perfect start to the day.  Then when he came home we went to Darien Lake.  I really wanted a water park and Wild Water Kingdom is apparently closed.  Fail.  Wonderland is crazy expensive so we figured we'd go try that one.

Yeah.  Incredibly disappointing.  There were a grand total of 7 slides going (discounting the "gentle") ones.  That's not 7 sets, 7 total.  One was by itself so we did it first and it was actually very cool - have never been on anything like it.  An inflatable tube ride where you're basically shot into a funnel till you run out of impulsion and slide back down and up the other side (think snowboard halfpipe) until you eventually run out of power and float out the end.  This would've been all kinds of awesome if not for the 45ish minute wait.

So remaining was a set of four slides that intertwined that all require inflatable tubes, and a set of two that did not.  So we went up to the one that didn't need them.  From the ground it just looked like every other tube slide out there -- you'll be in a dark, enclosed, tube that twists and turns to the bottom.  Nbd.  But the line.  If I'd realized how slowly it was going to go, I'm not sure I would've been dedicated enough to try.  Line was well over an hour - for a 10 second ride.   The only thing that made this ride interesting was the start: you stand up in a tube (think Jetsons) and the floor drops out from under you.  It was an interesting experience. Not actually as intense as I'd expected it might be but definitely different!   Would've done that one again but, hour + wait.

And on that wait we heard the wait for the other set of slides was more than an hour and a half.  Ummm no thanks.  By this point I was so cold I was shaking. 

So yeah - all the way there for two water slides.  Fail.   Got dressed and went to wander around the park.  Chris picked the wooden roller coaster cause it seemed gentle and he knows I don't like roller coasters.  What he didn't know was how much worse the wooden ones are.  I've tested this theory a couple times, but this one was the worst.  

He seemed to find it moderately amusing but me... Not so much.  We wandered a bit to let my stomach settle and Chris wanted to do an upside down one.  This doesn't bother me in the least!  Lol cause well, I never do things the easy way.  But in reality it's the drop I hate and loops don't have the same drop feeling so they don't bother me at all.   So we did one of those that resembled Wonderland's Bat which was so much more civilized than that nightmare wooden monstrosity ;)

Wandered a while longer but didn't find anything particularly appealing -- more than half the rides we're running.   So after a grand total of 4 rides, we went home.  Pretty sad.

We did stop for a fairly amazing dinner on the way though which was very nice :). And may or may not have detoured through the Cheesecake Factory on the way home.  Also very civilized.  I'm pretty glad we don't have those easily accessible ;)

So then woke up stupidly early on Sat and went to ride, but sadly pony was fairly footsore so that didn't work terribly well.  Fail.

Went home and ran some errands (including picking up my awesome new - excessively large - photo printer.  Thanks hon :). Then hop on the train to go to the Roger's Centre for the Guns N Roses concert.  Surprised?  Yeah, not a line I ever expected to write ;). But I generally like concerts and C was really looking forward to it so why not?

So the people watching was fairly entertaining.  Age range about 10-70, which is fairly impressive all on its own.  I was surprised at how young some were but even discounting the extremes, there was still an impressive variety of people.    Show was supposed to start at 8:30 - and opening act was before than and done by then.  Stadium was still half empty.   GnR took the stage a little after 9:30 and by that point it was packed.

Sitting next to me (and in half of my seat) was an excessively obese man.  Had to wonder what would happen if someone his size had had my ticket.  And while the empathetic part of me realizes he has to be fairly miserable -- or at very least uncomfortable -- the other half of me says if I were that large, I would buy two seats.  It was kinda ridiculous.  Fortunately, the row wasn't packed and C and I were able to move over one seat and get some breathing room.   Unfortunately that put me directly below somebody who clearly had more money than brain cells as he twice managed to soak me with very expensive beer (like hair and shirt dripping).  I thought I'd escaped beer showers by the time I left uni.  It was an experience I could've done without repeating.  He later tried to rectify the situation by dumping water on me instead.  Lovely.

The guys in front were amusingly enthusiastic and I suspect also soaking the people in front of them -- except they knew the people in front of them so somehow not quite so bad ;)   I was also highly amused that throughout the second half of the show they were continually shouting for "Patience" -- of all the titles they could have picked... ;)

The show itself was pretty good.  I was surprise at how little interaction there was either between the band members or between the band and the audience.  But so be it.  It was very high energy, decently long, and good enough video that even swinging from the ceiling, we could still see :).   Axl has had some hard years and was almost sad to watch.  Like the guy who tries to fit into his rebel clothes for his 40th high school reunion.  The two guitarists and the drummer though were awesome to watch, so it balanced out.  And miscellaneous fireworks are always fun.

We left slightly early to catch the train, only to sit for 25 mins while they waited for the concert to let out.  *rolling eyes*. Ah well.   About half way home now, with a train packed full of people who evidently never take the train, but my phone's about to die so I'm off.  Looking forward to bday dinner w my family tomorrow :)


Sent from my iPhone

I'm back! At least in moderation ;)

A little over a year after my last *amazing* jump school on Lexi, I am finally allowed to ride again.  Of course I no longer have a horse, or money to support a new horse, or any degree of fitness...   But that's mere details ;)   Fortunately I do still have some ability to ride, rusty though it may be, and there are generally horses who need to be ridden, so...

I hopped on the cutest little pony ;)   And by cutest little pony I mean GINORMOUS percheron.   Qwyn and Lexi lived together for a while -- and Qwyn made Lexi look small.   Those of you who have seen how Lexi made me look like a child, can imagine the picture I must've made on Qwyn ;)   hahaha  And keep in mind, Zel, at just under 16hh and super compact, was about the right size for me.

It wasn't an exciting ride, nor a dramatic ride.  Qwyn might actually be the calmest horse I've ridden since I was a child.  What it was, was calm and effective.  In about half an hour we had noticeable, quantifiable, improvement.    If you'd asked me what I missed about not riding, there was quite the list...   Sunset  hacks to de-stress after work; jumping that little bit higher; nailing the impossible turn; galloping XC; upgrading -- any level can be exciting if you haven't done it on that horse before; crazy-complex gymnastics; nailing that one perfect stride of self-carriage; the satisfaction that comes from increasing that stride to an entire dressage test; goofing around bareback; hanging out in the field while my horse grazes on clovers; the satisfaction derived from taking a completely filthy horse and turning it into something that could be seen in public; the nicker when you walk in the barn first thing in the morning; and the list goes on...   What I probably wouldn't have thought of and what became very clear today is how happy it made me and how much satisfaction I got from being able to get on a horse and create improvement.  Qwyn is not the most athletic horse, but she is one of the most willing I've sat on.  I teach two of her riders on a regular basis, so I have some idea of her background and the things they struggle with.   It was only a walk-trot ride, but by the end I had significantly more softness and connection than I'd had at the beginning, a better rhythm, and smooth transitions.  As well as a very good idea of what needs work ;)   I was pretty pleased with all that for one ride :)   I could feel she was starting to get tired so we went on a hack at that point.

I was also very impressed out hacking -- I remember when I started having her in lessons, she had a strong routing habit; I figured for sure she'd be a bit of a nightmare to hack through shoulder-high grass.  But clearly she's had some good hacking training because she was a complete lady out there.   So of course I dismounted before we got back and let her graze a bit in the yummy clovers ;)

And now I very much want to do it again with feeling ;)   Although since a fun bouncy little TB project is not in the budget any time soon, I think it'll be a case of improving my student's horses where they want help and catch riding from time to time.  But it's still way better than "thou shalt not ride".   And what a gorgeous day to start with.  Huge thanks to Kelly for lending me her lovely mare for my first ride in over a year!

We have now been officially welcomed

So it turns out the Welcome Wagon is an actual thing.  Who knew?   hahaha I definitely thought it was a phrase left-over from a fictional Leave-it-to-Beaver-ish time.  But no, I was out in the yard with the dogs and Chris came back with the oddest look on his face: "ummm the lady from the Welcome Wagon is here..."

Really?   Yup, really.  But unlike what I jokingly referred to as the welcome wagon (that'd be our awesome neighbour who brought us cookies ;) this one did not come with baked goods.  She came with a basket of flyers for local businesses, some discounts (free pizza!  Woohoo!), and some moderately useful items (bike trail map for one).

This particular ad amused me more than any;
Alas our lotto ticket failed :(
What also amused me was that it was clear that while she's lived here forever, she's not particularly happy with the changes in the neighbourhood after the last few years ('they turned all our shops into condos').   Nor did she seem particularly interested in being there; she was very pleasant, certainly knowledgeable and helpful, just didn't seem terribly enthused about her spiel -- maybe because she no longer believes in said neighbourhood? ;)   I don't know, just was somehow the opposite of what I would've envisioned as a welcome wagon had I thought such things actually existed.

So apparently it's a Canadian thing, and available across the country -- you can sign yourself up or, as we discovered, be randomly signed up ;)   Their website suggests they do other things too (new baby, retirement, etc) but I don't know anybody who's experienced it.  Wikipedia says it was a US thing first (by two years), but they don't do home visits anymore.  So there is your educational moment of the evening.  You're welcome.

Spanish, Marriage, Sasha, and Killerboots -- might be one of my more eclectic posts

I've been using Duolingo in an attempt to learn some Spanish (for which "hola", "por favor", "gracias", and "cerveza" was the sum total of my vocabulary before starting).  And for the most part, I quite like it.  I'd like a little more (read any) explanation sometimes (esp for tense changes) but it is really helpful and I'm finding things are coming easier to me.  All good.  But did it ever present me with a HUGE demotivator the other day.   You see, I was on like an 84 day streak.  Pretty happy about that.  And any day that I hadn't done my practice, it'll remind me at 8:00 pm that I should go practice.  And to avoid breaking my streak, I did.   But then the other day, I noticed it said 4-day streak.  Wtf???    So I went to look, and it turns out on Monday I did half the practice.  But then never went back and did the other half.  So I guess since I had technically signed it, it didn't send the reminder :(  And so it no longer counted as a streak.   Motivation gone.  Yesterday was the first day since starting that I didn't sign in at all.  

Monday's little half-circle did me in.  So unimpressed.
And yes, I realize the silly little tracker shouldn't be the only motivation to study, but really...  When I'm not just killing time on the train and it's unlikely I'll be anywhere where I need the language as a life skill any time soon, those little things help.  I also think they really should consider fit-bit-like badges.   They start out well with being able to purchase things with coins earned through practice (that's how my owl got his really cool suit ;) but the things you can buy are super-limited and after a week or two of practice you'll have earned everything there is to earn.   Doesn't seem to be much of anything after that.  Very interesting to me the impact that has though; I've read some of the studies on adult learning, but never really believed how strong a motivator (or de-motivator) it could be.  Sheesh.

In other news...
Yup.  As of next weekend, my parents will have reached 40 years together!  14,610 days. 350,640 hours. 21,038,400 minutes.  3 children. Countless moments. Together. Congratulations :)

If it's next weekend, why mention now?  Well their surprise party was last night and it went really well :) It was, in fact, a surprise and they seemed really happy with it.  Planning it was entertaining and started ages ago (have to get in people's calendars early!)   The first concern was the day after I started sending invites, when my inbox was full of emails that read "Bev and Al's 40th" and Mum walked in and was looking at the screen over my shoulder.   I couldn't even scroll cause they took up the whole screen!   hahahha quick distraction and window switch and good to go.  I was definitely worried I'd blown it from the beginning though.   Then there was a later concern when Dad told me he was going to Rouyn-Noranda that weekend.  Ummm but no...   Just waited and watched that one though as it seemed a good chance it'd fall through.   It did.  Phew ;)   And THEN, guess which weekend the surgeon's secretary originally suggested for my eye surgery.  "It's the first date he has available in May..."  "How about late April?"  "Oh sure, we can do the 29th."  Sold.    
This photo captured everyone except Jamie and Barb.
Jamie, because he was the photographer.
And Barb, because Jamie was the photographer ;)
On the day of everybody was there on time.  Chris and Melissa provided giant balloons -- they couldn't get any "40th" balloons, so got creative :)   It was kinda awesome.  I wish I'd thought to get a photo, you can kinda get the idea from the shot Jamie took :).  Linda and Jamie got my parents there on the premise of other friends had cancelled plans and they already had the reservation.   I had a quick chat with the hostess to arrange that "Holmes, party of 4" be brought to our room ;)   And all was good.  She thankfully ignored Dad's suggestion that "this booth by the window" would be just fine ;)  And before he could argue too much, Mum had realized what was going on.  The look on her face still makes me smile :)  So other than a lack of mint, it went really well.   Mum and Dad seemed super happy.  Thanks to all who came :)

Completely unrelated -- I am finally teaching Sasha to walk on a leash.  As a barn puppy all I cared about was getting her obedient and responsive off-leash.  Sadly, that's not terribly useful where we are now.  But man is she ever a super-smart puppy.  It's fun to see her brain work.  Using the very simple, if slow, method of any time she pulls we stop.  In order to go anywhere she has to make the leash loose.  And we're getting longer and longer distances before she hits the end of the leash now (honestly, it was like 2 steps when we started this game on Fri.  By sat we were up to about half a block.  Which doesn't sound like much, but it's pretty extreme improvement; especially as she hasn't been to the park to burn off steam since Friday).

Back to work tomorrow.  I'm still not managing to be fully functional for an entire day yet, so slightly concerned about this idea.   Doctor's note says off till end of May, so thinking I may go the safe route and start with half days.  Wish me luck!

And just because it made me laugh -- this was the after photo from a dog groomer I'm thinking about taking Sasha to.   The name is just so perfect.  Enjoy!

I've gotten so good at sleeping I can do it with my eyes closed!

I writing this post sitting at my desk in my home office.  Normally, this would not be a noteworthy statement, but as some of you may know, my life is rarely normal ;)

So we moved recently.  Step one was to rid ourselves of the horrifying pink that coated all the walls.

Why women live longer than men...
I would like it noted that the impressive horrificness that was that shade of pink is not done justice by my iphone camera.  Anyways, once that was accomplished (injury free, I might add ;) we could start unpacking and organizing and other such normal moving things.  Our bedroom was the first room I focused on, with my office being a close second.  But I didn't actually have a desk, so it was less effective than it could be.  We do live all of five minutes from Ikea (who we've also learned has an amazing return policy -- but that's another story).

Pre-desk.  My office-mate is horrible about hogging both the chair and the printer.
However, before I could get to that, I had to have more eye surgery.  I was more anxious about this one than I had been the others.  A combination of factors: the last surgery was the first that actually resulted in permanent vision lost for me; a rather brutal reality check.  And dealing with the fact that the prognosis was not terribly promising.  Suffice to say I was *very* relieved when I woke up to discover that it had gone well, there were no new holes in my retina, and most importantly, I did not have to hold any particular position for any length of time.  There is no way I can convey the relief I felt at that.  My shoulder still hurts from the last time.   In fact, there were very few restrictions beyond take it easy and don't do anything excessive.  Ummm, right.   AND, I was feeling well.  Woohoo!

So Mum, knowing me better than the doctor, set more definite rules: "Pick one, one-hour job each day and make it take five hours."   No using the recovery week to be productive.  Seems reasonable -- I really don't want to go through this again.   But what I didn't realize was that my body would not agree.  One hour would be way too much to ask *sigh*.

Surgery day is all pretty much a blur.  I was staying at my parents cause Chris had to work, so Mum was taking me for a follow up appointment.   I was feeling fine, able to eat dinner, and Chris came over for a while that evening.  All good.   Follow up appointment was slightly scary in that when the surgeon took the eye patch off I couldn't see anything.  Not even light and shadows.  But after a few minutes I could see (at least from the bottom half of my eye) when he waved his hand in front of me.  To put in perspective, said hand was close enough I could feel the air move on my face.  Interestingly, repeating the process now, I can almost see as much with my eye closed as I could see with it open that day.  (Try it, close your eyes gently in a bright room and move your hand around in front of your face -- the light and shadows move.  That's how much vision I had on day 1.)

Feeling good so Mum and I went to Fran's for breakfast before going home.  I was going to play with the dogs for a bit while they ran some errands.  They weren't gone long, but by the time they got back I felt so sick.  Nauseous, with a pounding headache.  So not fun.   Mum took me home and I curled up into bed.  For hours.   Got up, feeling slightly better, late afternoon.  Stayed awake long enough to go grab some dinner and come back -- all in, less than 2h.  And went back to bed.  I'm pretty sure I slept all the next day.  Basically woke up, got dressed, had something to eat, and went back to bed.  Would wake up for a little bit mid afternoon, then have another nap.  Then I'd be good for a couple hours that evening.  And out all night.

Monday -- having now slept for essentially 3 days, I had a little more energy when I woke up.   So I decided I needed to get my desk (remember the desk?).  Because, of course, I'd be working from home the next week so really -- this could be Monday's one hour job.   Yeah, I can still hear that mocking bastard Hindsight laughing.

Lesson 1 -- I am *not* okay with driving with the air bubble in my eye.  Not even the five minutes to Ikea.  I did it, and I was smart enough when I got there to find drive-through parking (turns out Ikea is all kinds of empty at random times in the day), but it's not something I want to repeat any time soon.  Now I knew what desk I wanted so was just a matter of going and getting it.  No weight restrictions, so should be fine.  Right.  Except my body didn't seem to get that memo at all.   With some creative solutioning I managed to get the boxes (yes two, why would I get a desk that all came in one piece) onto the cart, checked out, and got everything loaded into the car with only minor assistance from a lovely couple passing by.   Got home, got the light box upstairs, decided there was no way I could move the other one, so opened it to take the pieces out.  Nope -- turns out it was all one piece *sigh*.  Executive decision that that could wait till Chris got home from work to help me.  Went back in to decide what to do with the rest of my hour.

Sleep.  Sleep was what to do with the rest of the hour.  And the next several as well.  Woke up long enough to a (potentially earned) lecture and help with the other box, find some food, and back to sleep.  Sadly, not even exaggerating.

Tuesday the fence guys were coming to fence off the 15' of yard that's not fenced so our dogs could come home :)   I was still drugged enough that I managed to sleep through much of their building.  And when I wasn't asleep I was doing literally nothing.   Like sit on the couch and stare into space.  Actually quite disturbing, esp as I wasn't bored with this situation.  The thought of moving or even turning on the tv was just entirely too much.   But the puppies came home Tues night!  Woohoo!  Chris and I went for dinner with my parents and I played with the dogs for a bit before bed.

I'm actually really happy with how this turned out
By Wednesday I was starting to be able to be up for a couple hours in the morning, sleep most of the afternoon, and up a reasonable amount of time in the evening.  All of this time was spent with the dogs -- nothing productive happened.

They were okay with nap time too :)
So on Thursday the time came to build my desk.   I have built more than my fair share of Ikea furniture so I wasn't too concerned about this.  The first challenge was the lack of depth perception.  Now for those who have never experienced it, it's very odd.  For me at least, it's not as though the world is suddenly 2D.  Everything looks normal -- you can see what's near and what's far for the most part.  But when you reach for something it's never quite where it should be.  Now, I haven't had any depth perception since the last surgery, so you'd think I'd be used to it.  And indeed my brain had sorted that out -- I was comfortable driving and shy of somebody expecting me to catch something, I had acclimatized and could function.  But yeah, whatever's different this time had undone that.  And made it way worse.  So why does this matter for furniture?   Well -- just try putting the screwdriver head into the slit in the screw when it's not where your brain is telling you it is.   Hammering was done in the most tentative of manner.  Everything that should've taken one try took at least three.  It was not a fun game.   

And eventually I hit one I couldn't solve.  For the life of me didn't get why one piece didn't work.  Decided future Lauren could deal with that and went and...  You guessed it.  Had a nap.  A long one.  Chris figured out in about 30 seconds later that I had put the piece in backwards -- label's might've been nice ;)   Admittedly I'd already figured that'd be the next thing to try, but was not up to getting said pieces out to reverse them.

Suffice to say by Friday I had a functional desk ;)   The job that should've taken an hour, took me five days.  I still wasn't up to being awake all day, but was at least down to one nap a day.  Still stunned at how much this last one knocked me out.   It is now the next Friday, but we had Mother's Day in there and then this week I started back at work (working from home, using said desk).   Monday I way overdid it *sigh*  And spent the rest of the week paying for it.  By Thursday I was pretty useless -- wicked headache and nausea again.   Did one meeting that was really important and skipped all the others, mostly curled in a ball.  Feeling better today, but again only worked about an hour.  At least made it through today without a nap.  As this is the first day of that, I'm not holding my breath for an entirely successful first week back at work, but we shall see.   I'm lucky that they're super supportive -- that helps.   And doctor's note technically says to start back May 30, which seems a little excessive, but helps me not feel guilty if I have to leave early a couple days.

I'll tell ya -- two weeks passes really fast when you're sleeping 12-18 hours / day ;)   But here's hoping in the end I'll be able to see stuff.  And now, it's time to sleep.  Night!

Happy Mother's Day to my closest friend :)

To the woman who climbed mountains with me...
Happy Mother's Day!!!

To my all-round amazing mom, for whom my vocabulary is insufficient to express what she means to me.   Let's just consider shall we, this past year.  She's supported me through not one, not two, but four eye surgeries -- rearranging her schedule to take me to appointments or play chauffeur when I couldn't drive, helping run errands, and generally doing anything she could to make the experience slightly less miserable.  Now keep in mind, I've been an adult for quite some time now, and am a married one at that, so this is all stuff she could easily have stepped back from.  But no, because she is the incredible person she is, anything I needed, or anything that would help, she was there for me.

Then there was her and my Dad's joint awesomeness of letting their adult daughter live with them, and one step above that, always making me feel welcome there.  That made a frustrating situation significantly more bearable.

And then, not only did they let me live with them, but when we were trying to sell our house and move, they took both Sasha AND Tucker -- for months!  And took amazing care of them even after we moved while we got the new house puppy ready :)

Then there was the move itself, when they came out in the ice storm to help us relocate from Paris to Burlington.

Yup, I won the parent lottery for sure.  And my bond with my mum is extra special.  I love the days we manage to align schedules and commute home together -- it's those little day to day things that mean so much to me.  You know, to the job she helped me get the interview for ;)

Love you Mum!

That moment when you realize it's Friday...

So usually after I get off the train, my walk commute to work is short, under construction, and completely boring.  Today, however, I wasn't going to work but rather up to St. Mike's.  And it was cold, which meant an indoor walk instead.  This provided more entertainment than I had anticipated.

First was the alarms going off in Union Station.  I assumed they were first level fire alarms that were to be ignored like most first level fire alarms.  Which was all good till I heard a seemingly harmless announcement that lead to all the security guards booking it.  Even the info dude was on his walkie talkie and left his station.   Alas I had insufficient time to play lost tourist so I just left the building and whatever was going on is a story I shall never know.

So because I didn't wander down to the old section (where the alarms were) I was forced to go outside to cross the street.  Horror of horrors - it's cold out there!  That one block was just long enough to confirm it should be an indoor walk today.  However it was also long enough to walk past the best sight.  A well dressed older man, envision movie style grandfather mafia, smoking a cigar, leaning on the golden lion statue.  I really wish I'd stopped to ask if I could take his photo :).

Sadly, I did not, and instead ducked indoors to the sounds of a polka band playing in the subway.  It was way too early for that!  Although really, I'm not convinced there is a good time for polka.

Decided I wanted breakfast and just kept walking till I found a breakfast place w a moderate line instead of a huge one.  Have also decided mini muffins are awesome!  Cheap and just the right size :).  And pina colada flavoured ones are just fun.

So eventually made it where I was going and was deemed healthy enough for surgery.  Ummm woohoo?   And then back to work.  But as I have a few very important meetings this aft, I had to dress like a grown up.   Not wearing casual clothes on Friday makes it feel like it's not Friday, which then makes the realization that it is, in fact, Friday, fairly wonderful :)

Happy Weekend!

When the wall paper really doesn't want to come down

Pro tip of the day - when removing wall paper, try using fabric softener before resorting to scoring it.  I was definitely losing the battle with the wall paper (not the paste, the actual paper) and the paint store lady suggested mixing fabric softener with the hot water.   I didn't have much faith, but it worked brilliantly!   I am pleased to announce we are now wallpaper free.  In a related note - I need to buy more fabric softener ;)

It's been officially two weeks now and have to say it's kinda nice being able to live with my husband :).  Novel concept eh?   I am finding the commute brutal - more so coming home than going in.  But I expect I'll acclimatize soon enough.    We're in, and while there's obviously still a ton to do, I'm pleased with how quickly we're getting stuff done.  I am looking forward to the after pictures ;)

On my way now to the pre-surgery test.  As in am I healthy enough for surgery.  Now in my case there sb no issue, but I do wonder what happens if you fail.  It's not as though said surgery is elective.  Or what if it's even more critical - your appendix burst, but I'm sorry you're not healthy enough for surgery.   Anyways - so be it.   My odds for the next surgery being a success aren't as high as I'd like, so cross your fingers for me!

Still playing with duolingo (need something to do on the train!) but I'm at the point now where I'm finding it insufficient as a primary learning tool.  Suspect it'd be a great support to something else, but on its own, no.  I find I have random questions and it doesn't offer solutions.   Found a FB group that answered the only one I cared enough to actually ask, but I think it's time to actually open the book I bought weeks ago *g*.  Oh come on, you had to know I'd buy one.   Alternately may take an actual course - but not doing that till after surgery.

Off for now!

PS - have to say, new ap I found for writing on my phone is way better!  No way to get around thumb typing, but other than that, all good now :).  Cut and paste into Blogger and done.

Midnight Musings

My husband is snoring and my mind is spinning.  There's not too much I can do about the first issue, but writing generally helps calm the hamster, so here goes :)

Consider yourself forewarned - I  downloaded a blogger ap and am thumb typing this on my phone; I guarantee nothing.

I haven't quite figured out why it's exponentially more difficult to move two people than one, but it most definitely is.  I had tentatively booked the week off work, fully planning to actually work both Thursday and Friday.  Yeah.  That's not happening.

However, we are in the Burlington house.  Woohoo!  We did the final walk through of the Paris house this afternoon; the new buyer gets it tomorrow.      It's been a busy week, but overall all good.  I'm typing this lying on the couch in front of our fireplace -- all kinds of civilized.  

So the day we got the house had an ice storm. Who's surprised by this?  I thought not; you're not new here.
One day I will move during nice weather;
Today is not that day.
What it did highlight for me though was how very unfit I am compared to when I had the school *sigh*.  This move was way more exhausting than that one, with significantly less effort required.  Booo.  Next surgery end of April so having a hard time getting motivated for fitness now that it'll have to end in a month, but after that...  Game on :)

Anyways - have spent the last few days unpacking, organizing, and problem solving.  Which, except for the first step, is pretty much just like going to work ;)

I feel like I actually moved into Ikea though.  Have been spending entirely too much time there and at Walmart.  Here's hoping the next house we're in a financial position not to need to visit either ;)

The kitchen is a fraction the size of our last one -- you know, proportionate to the size of the house ;).  This has made for some interesting unpacking challenges, but fortunately we do have a number of cabinets and I managed to find home for everything.  Well, everything except the food!  I suggested to Chris that we needed somewhere to put groceries before we bought them and through his kijiji powers, we had an armoire by dinner time.  And thanks to Walmart combined with my extensive assembling-cheap-furniture skills, we had shelves and a workable pantry the next day.  That made a huge difference to the usability of the house.

We also bought an oven.  Why?  Well because the house didn't come with one.  So random.  It's here now and actually got used today.  How civilized!   We've also ordered new counter tops because Chris is already missing his granite.  He really did lose a stunning kitchen in the move.   Exciting though -- I get an instant hot water faucet with the new counters.  Woohoo!   Okay, apologies to those who've been reading the blog since it's inception as the definition of "exciting" may have deteriorated somewhat.  Or at very least changes from day to day ;).   Still saving for our trip to Africa -- that'll redefine the word again for the better :)

Let's see, what else...  I discovered today that our official translation of our marriage license (complete with stamps!) is insufficient; I have to get an Ontario translator to translate it.  Can you hear my eyes roll?  Even *my* Spanish (we're talking approximately a month of Duolingo here) is almost sufficient to read it.  Sheesh.  So that was a good waste of a morning.  I will remain with the ambiguousness of two last names for a while yet it seems.  Will likely try again in that 'allowed off the couch but not at work' recovery period after surgery.

Said surgery has a 60% chance of success -- with success being loosely defined as me not needing any more surgery *sigh*.  No commitment or even suggestion as to what, if any, vision I might have at the end of this.  But fingers crossed.  If the other 40% comes to play, it'll mean at least one more cycle of surgery :(

So I'm more awake now than I was when I started typing, but at least the hamster has chilled out a bit.  I feel like switching to some mindlessness on my Kobo for a bit might do the trick.   Tomorrow is all about sitting on hold w various agencies - gas, hydro, town, etc.   Not really how childhood me envisioned adult me spending vacation time but such is reality right?   Hey maybe when I can't sleep tomorrow night I'll actually write a flash :). Ummm don't hold your breath on that one ;-P 

Okay off now.  For real this time.   Sweet dreams.

*edited to add: so the ap selected the wrong photo from my phone, but it worked equally well.  Uploading was a PITA though so methinks I'll go back to the old fashioned way of typing at least for a while...*