Saturday, May 29, 2010

Last Night In Vancouver

Kevin, Luke, and Mom flew home today. I fly to Ottawa tomorrow morning. Our last day in Vancouver was another rainy one. The only day that hasn't been rainy since we've been here was Thursday ... Hannah's day. How lucky we are that it was the one day with sunshine and clear skies ... well, until late at night anyway.

Tonight, Hannah, Jill and I ordered take-out and watched a few episodes from season I of Gossip Girl for fun. Mia joined us for a while. And now the girls have gone to a friend's musical event and I'm just chillin' in Hannah's cozy apartment. Pretty soon I'll be tucking into bed.

It's been a wonderful trip.
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My Talented Mom

Here's what Mom surprised us with for our anniversary. It's just the centrepiece but one day it will be a whole quilt! WOW! My Mom does the neatest hand embroidery I've ever seen. She's planning on framing our photos with stitchery, too.

I hardly remember looking like those kids in their wedding clothes.
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Friday, May 28, 2010

I Love Vancouver

Here are some of the blooms we saw on our walk a couple of mornings ago. We just walked through the residential area beside our hotel ... between Main street and Commercial Drive, along 10th and 11th. So much beautiful foliage and blooms. And very interesting and creative approaching to gardening and home decor.

Today Mom, Hannah, and I spent some time in the Whole Foods Market. Kevin stayed at the hotel to nap and Luke and Jared took the bus and ferry to Nanaimo to see some friends who play lacrosse with him in Kentucky and to watch them play lacrosse. We girls were on our own. The Whole Foods Market is a fabulous place to shop, eat, learn. They take all the guess work out of healthy shopping. They ONLY stock product that fits their healthy philosophy. I LOVE IT! In the hair care section, for example, they ONLY stock hair products that are sure to be safe. You don't have to read labels to see if the ingredients are safe for you to absorb ... if you can remember them ... and if you can read that tiny print ... and they pay attention to the ingredients that AREN'T listed but that aren't good for you either. What peace of mind! They have the most amazing deli I've ever seen. We had lunch there ... everything so fresh and healthy! They recycle diligently, including composting, and they have an in-store program for providing donations to local non-profits. I want a little loft room right above the store. I sure wish we had something more like this in Saskatoon. I guess Souleio is close but not nearly expansive enough ... not the same thing at all. What's not to love about a grocery store that has a reference desk?! I'm not talking "customer service" desk, as we're more familiar with. This is a peopled desk where you can go for advice on how to prepare healthy ingredients ... all kinds of information about healthy cooking and eating. Fabulous! I would love to be THAT librarian.

After some time there, we went to Finch's to gather Hannah's dishes and leftovers. We did a little shopping on Robson. For dinner we all needed a warm, comforting environment and comfort food. So we walked about 5 blocks from Hannah's place (and our hotel) to Burgoo, which was a perfect choice! I would say that we are all a little "cooked" tonight. I'm SO tired. I won't be awake much longer.

First, though, I have to share a little experience I had on the short subway trip we took from downtown to Broadway. Everytime I'm in Vancouver, something similar to this happens! I love it. Anyway, here's what happened. We get on the subway train and we're standing. I look around and a young man is smiling at me.
Young Man: Is that tweed?
Me: Yes.
Young Man: I can't remember the last time I saw tweed.
Me: It's pretty old ... and a little ratty.
Young Man: Are you from Scotland?
Me: No. I'm from Saskatchewan.
Young Man: Isn't tweed from Scotland?
Me: I'm not sure. I associate it more with England.
Young Man: Somewhere in the UK, I suppose. Are you here on vacation?
Me: We're here for my daughter's convocation.
Young Man: What's a convocation.
Me: Her graduation ceremony from UBC.
Young Man: That's great! What's her degree?
Me: Art History.
Young Man: Has she read "The Creators"? It's about artists from the beginning of time.
Me: I don't know. It sounds like something she'd be interested in.
Young Man: Tell her to read it. The author is _______. It's great.
Me: You seem like a bright young man. What do you do?
Young Man: I'm in grade 10. (Internally, I'm shocked. I thought he must be at least 19). It's pretty boring. It's good for math and science, though. Those are about the only subjects where you actually learn something.
Me: Do you have plans for after high school.
Young Man: Me?! I don't know (as thought the idea has never occurred to him before). I think I'd like to do mountain climbing. I don't know that you can paid to do mountain climbing, though.
Me: Probably not so much. Not unless you're a sherpa.
Young Man: A what?
Me: A sherpa.
Young Man: How do you spell that? (I spell it) What's a "sherpa"? (I explain).
Young Man: Cool. I just think mountain climbing would be like life. You start at the bottom and then make your way up.
Me: Well, you're in a good location if you want to start learning about mountain climbing.
Young Man: Yes, I guess I am.
Me: Here's our stop. It was nice talking with you. Good luck in life!
Young Man: Great to meet you. Have a good trip.
I love Vancouver!


Shock and Awe!

After dinner at Chambar, we made our way about 3 blocks to Finch's, where Hannah has worked for the past 5 years. It's a very quaint, popular little cafe. Hannah arranged to have it for the evening so we could have a champagne and dessert party there after dinner.

She told us she was making some desserts but we insisted she NOT spend her time baking for her own graduation party and that she should let us know where we could pick up some tasty treats for the occasion. She ignored us and made almost ALL of these amazing desserts! In her skimpy little oven! Don't they look fabulous?!! They were! The macarons were SO good! I can't wait to try making them myself.

Chocolate macarons (because she knew I'd been obsessing over them), Polish cheese cake (with vodka soaked raisins and poppy seeds), lime syrup glazed cupcakes, creme brulee, coconut macaroons (made by Hannah's friend, Jill), rhubarb jellied compote ... very good with the cheese cake. Hannah is such a good cook!

And then she announced that this was not, in fact, her graduation party. It was our 25th wedding anniversary party! WHO KNEW?!! So we had a party with family, music, drinks, sweets, a charming environment, and a great group of Hannah's friends, many of whom helped her put this little soiree together. It was so lovely and Kevin and I were ... are ... so touched!

I was especially glad that Susan (Dani's Mom) was able to stop by for a while. We've been wanting to get together with her for a long time. She's been so good to Hannah all these years she's lived in Vancouver and has been very supportive to me, too, while I've been going through this cancer business. Even though her oldest daughter and her boyfriend had only just arrived from Australia, the three of them stopped by and it meant a lot to us.

Thanks Hannah and everyone else who helped her with this. It was sweet! VERY sweet!

Kevin stayed to help Hannah and her friends clean up after the party and then Hannah and all of her friends took Kevin dancing! When in Vancouver Kevin always ends up at some happenin' club with Hannah and bunches of her friends. He loves it! Me? I'm usually too whipped by the time the club scene gets underway. One of these days, though ... one of these days.


Dinner at Chambar

What a fabulous dining experience! Hannah made dinner reservations for all of us at Chambar and it was awesome. I want to go back soon. There were some amazing cocktails on the menu that I wasn't able to try.

Hannah, Don and Syl, Mom, Norman and Ruth, Kevin, Luke, Ben (a beloved long-time friend of Hannah's) and me.

This is the pork dish I had. So yummy! The presentation for everything was great and it all tasted wonderful! The wine specialist was a scream! He obviously knows his stuff and has more than excellent guest management skills. Very charming.

The best cocktail I had was a "blue fig". It was roasted figs steeped in gin and then frozen. I expected it to be a "chunky" cocktail, but it wasn't. It looked more like a martini ... clear and in a martini glass ... with a side of Danish Blue Cheese! How cool is that?!! Some people might think that sounds gross, but it was VERY delicious - just a light hint of sweetness! I want another.

Here is the bracelet we got Hannah for her graduation gift. It's made by Arielle de Pinto, an artisan from Montreal who crochets gold chain. We got it at One of a Few, a lovely little boutique in the Gastown area of Vancouver. It is SO sparkly. Uncle Norman and Aunt Ruth gave Hannah a collection of lovely gifts ... a pretty fan ... a purse ... and this teapot that Aunt Ruth made. Hannah drinks about 10 cups of tea each day and she needed a good, substantial teapot.

Hannah was a little overwhelmed with all the attention and doting. She deserves it.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

We Have A Graduate!

A Bachelor of Arts Degree - Major Fine Arts (Art History) Minor English, Emphasis Literature.


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Jared - Shockingly Adventurous!

I couldn't even look at Jared eating this raw shrimp. He didn't eat the whole head but he did eat an eye or two. Ewwwwww ...

For the record, I'm not so into sushi, seafood, kelp, raw fish, cooked fish for that matter ... anything fishy. ICK!! Coming from my land-locked sense of food, I'm especially grossed out by things like this. Grossed out but full of admiration for such a sense of adventure.

Hannah and Kevin are just as adventurous. Luke and I ... not so much.
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Dinner at a Cool Sushi Place

Sushi-lovers and those who are not-so-much into sushi all had a good time and a good meal tonight at this Sushi place called Kingyo. I think that's what it's called. Everything is very artful and intimate.

And here we all are. Don and Sylvia, Jared and Luke, Betty and Heather, Kevin and Hannah.

Jared isn't family per se, but he's family by association. He's staying in Vancouver with his older brother for the summer and working at an oceanside restaurant. It was great to have him with us for a night out.

This photo of Mom and me is for you, Cheryl. More than just the top of my head. I had a hat on earlier but I only really wear one now because often my head is too cold. If my head is warm enough, I don't wear a hat but since my hair is still so thin (you can see my scalp through it most of the time), I always have a hat on hand.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Direct From Vancouver

It's so beautiful and lush here with lots of blooms! Rhododendrons everywhere! Very pretty.

We got here in time for dinner (that would be supper to most of my family, just to be clear) at a lovely little French restaurant. And here we are walking to the Gelato place for a bit of dessert. There were so many interesting flavours. I wanted to taste Avocado, Black Sesame, Pear and Cheese ... so many unusual flavours. I stuck with Wild Cherry. It was a toss up between that and Chocolate Pistachio.

My kids are almost NEVER cooperative when I bring out the camera. I try.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Heading West to More Rain

We're packed ... the house sitter has all the instructions ... the garbage is taken out ... the plants watered ...

In a couple of hours we'll be winging our way to Vancouver for Hannah's convocation! YIPPEE!! I'm so excited. The ceremony is on Thursday at 1:30 and then we'll have a family dinner (Kevin's parents, Mom, Uncle Norm and Aunt Ruth, Luke, Kevin and I and possibly a few others) at a swanky restaurant and then to Finches for a dessert and champagne evening. I can't wait!

I'll bet there will be lots more happening in the garden by the time I get back.


Monday, May 24, 2010


It's very hard for me to accept that my joints, muscles, tendons, and bones are back to being no better off than they were before I had my dental fiasco. Before I went off the Tamoxifen and all the supplements and vitamins I was taking. No improvement. Not any more. It's so hard to accept going backwards like that and so quickly, too. It can only have been the morphine or the antibiotics that gave me that heavenly relief and joint freedom. I'm guessing it was the morphine. I makes me want more morphine, that's for sure. But that's probably not wise, right? Isn't that stuff supposed to be addictive?

So, it's back to struggling to get out of chairs, the Frankenstein walk for a while before I can get wound up ... general aches and pains ... stiffness. My left shoulder hurts more, too. It was bad enough a couple of nights ago that I couldn't get comfortable in bed. I decided to try my Wobenzym N in the night and the difference was amazing! It works so quickly, too. I don't know how it does what it does but it does give a lot of pain relief. I took it last night, too, for nighttime relief. It doesn't seem to improve my feet, legs or hips but it makes a world of difference to my shoulders.

I read today about a woman who, after having pain in her hips, was diagnosed as having early onset arthritis caused by her chemotherapy. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and with another lump in 2006 and is now counting down to her 5 year mark - the designated survival time we all wait and hope for. She didn't say if she was on Tamoxifen or Aromatase Inhibitors and I wonder if those drugs were considered in her diagnosis. It makes me wonder if my issues could be permanent. It makes me wonder if the chemotherapy was more of a factor than I realize. The trouble started almost immediately after I started the Arimidex and Arimidex is notorious for this side effect but ... could there be even more to it? Maybe time will tell. Maybe it won't. It's a drag, I tell you.

Just like our deck (as pictured above), my body seems to be falling apart. We can replace the deck, though. Speaking of the deck, it really needs replacing. We got some estimates but it's going to be quite costly so today Kevin did an ambitious repair job that should hold it together for at least another year. It's not pretty but it will hold for a little while longer.

Our Virginia Creeper is starting to fill in nicely! YEAH! It's best to cover up our really awful garage as quickly as possible. It's not being replaced anytime soon either.

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Where, Oh Where Were Our Cedar Waxwings?!

This is what we get when the Cedar Waxwings don't come through town! Typically these berries are all gone from our trees before the snow is gone but both last year and this year the Cedar Waxwings haven't come. And this is the mess we end up with.

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Finally. Flowers. Sunshine!

Here are our first flowers! So pretty! The clematis is just about to burst out in blooms.

We were invited to Rex and Erin's cabin this weekend but couldn't get away. We had too much to do and today we finally had a day where Kevin could do some yard work. I needed to pack. Luke needed to coach lacrosse this weekend and mow lawn at his grandparent's place. I do look forward to a weekend at a cabin. One of these weekends.

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Cupcakes by Chantelle

We were more than happy to test Chantelle's latest cupcake recipe. She's been working on a moister cupcake and I think she's nailed it. They were so yummy ... moist, flavourful, and not crumby. And pretty, too. Bonus.

We went to Kelly and Chantelle's for dinner last night. So nice. And then we saw their photos from their recent trip to the States where the went for the sole purpose of doing a "Frank Lloyd Wright" tour. Kelly, in particular, is a huge fan. They visited about 50 buildings designed by Frank. Amazing! Very interesting, too.
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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Overdue Hair Diary

I missed a week. Or two. I can't remember. It's all a bit of a blur.

More than visually, what tells me my hair is getting longer is that it takes more than running a wet washcloth over it to get it wet, it doesn't dry immediately (how annoying ... haha), and during the last few warmer days (and nights), I haven't needed to wear my sleeping cap.

It's pretty curly. It was before, though, and was always curlier the shorter it was, so it makes sense that it's especially curly now. I can still see scalp through it. I can't wait until that's a thing of the past. And I'm still more than eager to grow bangs and cover up some of the expansive forehead! The grey, I'll worry about later, too.
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Feeling Reclusive

With the unusual amount of activity last week, I really feel the need for some down time. I slept yesterday until 11:30! I can't believe I slept that late. And I would probably have slept even longer if the phone hadn't rung (I'm glad it did). I was very tired when I answered the phone and was then so surprised to see the time!

Yesterday was a day off work. Good thing. My big adventure was a little shopping with my boy. We had promised him new sunglasses for his birthday and so shopping we went. He's a quick shopper so it didn't take long. While we were in the vicinity, we stopped at The Body Shop to buy the body butter I like (it travels well). There's a "scratch and save" kind of thing going on at The Body Shop right now and I got really lucky and scratched one of only a few 50% off deals. So I bought a few body butters and Luke bought a couple of "guy things", too. It felt like a lucky day!

Today felt a little more "normal", except for my joints and my left arm aching. That is so disappointing. It really must have been the morphine and/or antibiotics that gave me that wonderful relief. Kevin suggested I try those two leftover morphine pills and see if they make a difference. I might do that. I keep looking at them ... thinking about them.

Luke spent the day coaching lacrosse in the rain. I would have gone to watch a game or two if the weather had been better. As it was, I stayed holed up in the house doing laundry, baking cookies, watching movies and, of course, making yoyo's! This photo is of my yoyo stash. It takes up a big chunk of our dining room table now. This is 220 of the little suckers. I made 14 while watching Avatar. It was a long movie so about 10 per movie is a reasonable gauge, I think.

Kathy stopped by today. She's so refreshing. She's back from Costa Rica, has packed and moved out of her last year's place and is moving into her new place on Sunday and Monday. Just in time to leave on Wednesday for New York where she'll board the cruise ship where she'll work for the summer. She dropped off some interesting beer and some REAL tabasco sauce from Ricardo. How thoughtful of him! When Ricardo was here we had some interesting conversations about the kinds of food they commonly eat in Costa Rica. He loses weight when he's on the ship and gains weight when he gets home ... to his Mama's cooking! She makes great rice and beans. Now, I might have this backwards ... I can't quite remember which was which ... but Ricardo told me that where he's from they eat "rice and beans". In more urban centres, they eat "rice WITH beans". The difference is subtle but, apparently, significant. Interesting! He also said that to add a little bit of "heat" to a dish, they will put one super-dooper hot chili pepper in whole while the dish is cooking, being very careful not to break it open, which would render the dish inedible. I'm going to try that sometime. In fact, I'm quite interested in looking up some recipes that would be traditional in Costa Rica and trying them. Anyway, it was very nice to see Kathy!

Happy Birthday yesterday, Lynn!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

You win some. You lose some.

Aren't these pretty tulips?! We had to go over to Don and Syl's to enjoy them. I hope they didn't get hailed on today.

Yesterday was a long conference day, which isn't to say it was bad. The speakers at the conference were excellent! I learned some things and finished the day feeling very good about being involved with co-operatives. Let me tell you, the people involved with co-operatives are not at all like law firm lawyers! NOT AT ALL! That's a very good thing.

Last night I became a lump on the sofa before falling into a dead sleep. I didn't quilt. I didn't read. I sat in front of the tv. I'm not the only one who was cooked. I think everyone from our office and from the Dief Centre were cooked, too. I slept late today and worked this afternoon.

I'm sad to report that my lower limbs are slowly getting worse again. After a week or two of freedom, the stiffness and aching are creeping back. This makes me think that perhaps it was the morphine that gave me relief. I'm definitely NOT going back on morphine ... though I did kind of like it. Hopefully my limbs don't go all the way back to the way they were. This isn't too bad but certainly not as great as it was for a short while. Maybe it will get better again while I'm off the Tamoxifen. I hope so.
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My Dedicated Husband

Kevin has worn this "think pink" wrist band since August 8 of last year. He hasn't taken it off. Not once. As you can see, it's hardly even pink anymore, it's so faded! He's been so dedicated and I'm so grateful.
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