Thursday, September 30, 2010

Why not dwell on the GOOD instead?

My brother and s-i-l both (although my s-i-l is far worse) have a very negative outlook on life and the world in general.

While there’s nothing wrong with seeing that there IS a negative side to both life and the world more generally – it’s not all peaches and cream, after all – it can be really depressing to spend hours hearing the negative spin on everything when there is a positive side as well.

I definitely have a negative streak in me, it seems to run in the family. There is a lot of negative-attitude happening in my family, actually. It seems a common thing for a lot of people I know (family or not) to dwell on the negative. Maybe it’s part of human nature, although part of me wonders if it’s a slightly more modern-day trend?

I don’t have a problem with people (myself included) complaining about the things that bother us about the world. If we didn’t acknowledge the negative, it would be pretty hard to work toward something better. It’s healthy and natural to recognize what could be better about humankind and society.

BUT…

I can hear James’ boss saying this (I still can’t believe he died, but anyway…) – If you’re going to tell me there’s a problem that’s fine, AS LONG AS YOU ARE ALSO GOING TO OFFER A SOLUTION.

Mind you, my s-i-l’s ‘solution’ to the world’s problems is that humans should cease to exist because we’re all worthless and life is pointless and blah blah blah, I’m not entirely sure, given her view of things, why she hasn’t gone ahead and drunk the grape koolaid already.

Yes, there are bad people out there. No, the world isn’t fair to anyone. There’s no way of having all the answers we feel we ‘need’ to be able to cope better with life in general. But why not make the most of it?

I take comments like ‘humans are worthless and the world just needs to end’ not only seriously but to heart. I have always been a bit of an idealist and have hoped that the world could (and can) become a better place if we work toward it. But especially now that I have a child, I am even more inclined to want things to ‘work out’ for the world. I want to protect the earth, I want to have a positive outlook, I want to do my part to make the world a good place at the very least, if not a better one.

It just doesn’t make sense to be such a downer about everything. Why waste your energy on so much negativity? That bad energy gets out into the universe and all it does is perpetuate more bad energy. Life doesn’t have to be such a vicious circle, you don’t have to let it get to you that badly!

Especially with where we’re from and all that we have. It could be SO MUCH WORSE, ultimately we should just be thanking our lucky stars that we have the lives that we do!

I love my brother and I love my s-i-l. But enough is enough! I enjoy their company but at the same time they can be so depressing. If you think life sucks so much, what are you going to do about it? Stop whinging and moaning and be proactive!

I get into slumps sometimes, I’m not going to deny it. I can view things in the harshest light. But when all is said and done, I like to think we are here for a reason, and I don’t see why that reason has to be a bad one.

And I reeeeeally don’t want ANYONE to feel sorry for me because I have a child. My s-i-l seems to pity those who choose to ‘give up their lives’ to be parents. Whereas I don’t see it that way. Having Andrew is the greatest gift on the planet and I have no regrets – even if sometimes it does feel as though ‘my’ life is on hold. I could look at it that way and I suppose get down in the dumps about it. OR I can take the view that I have more often than not, which is that my life isn’t on hold at all, but rather began the moment he came into this world! I see the beauty in things so much more because I’m seeing things through a fresh pair of eyes. His delight becomes mine. I have so much more to live for now and more of a drive to be happy and positive because it’s not just going to affect ME how I feel, but HIM. Why would anyone pity me and this life I chose? I couldn’t be happier.

I just don’t understand some people’s desire to be so depressing. It seems as though a large part of it is for the reaction it causes, but that just seems so sad to me when I really get to thinking about it. Why does it seem so much easier to get NEGATIVE attention than POSITIVE attention????? It seems to be a trend that people seek out attention by doing negative things when there are so many good things they could say or do and it would get them a far better return.

So while at times I may complain and I do find myself wanting to be realistic about things and not always TOTALLY idealistic…which puts a bit of a negative spin on things – I really REALLY want to strive to be more of an upbeat person, because that is the message I want to be putting out there. It’s not all rainbows and blue skies and we’re all faced with many challenges throughout life. But you don’t have to let it get the better of you. The bad stuff does not have to outweigh the good.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A poem I enjoy

By W. H. Davies

Leisure

WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Life's path

In one of my Restorative Justice courses at university, we had to keep a weekly journal. One of the entries was to Write Your Own Obituary.

I struggled with this particular one - at first, although the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I was by it. That’s a really big question to ask: How would you want to be remembered? And, maybe more importantly, what would you want your life to look like? WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH YOUR LIFE, when all is said and done?

That exercise really got me thinking.

Thinking about my life, who I want to be, what I want to accomplish, and what I would hope others would say about me when I’m gone.

I don’t have a huge bucket list. But I’d like to live to be old, so that I’ll have had the chance to live a full and happy life. So I’ll be able to see my child(ren) grow up and become adults and know where life is taking them. So that they will have known me and I can continue to live through them.

Since I was 7 I’ve always been adamant that one day I would be a published author. I feel as though I’ve stifled that part of myself for several years – yes, I journal, but I don’t write-write, not enough, not in the way that I did when I was younger and had more time to just sit and ponder and explore my imagination. Though I realize ‘time’ is no excuse because there is always time to be found, scrounged, somewhere in the day. If you really want something bad enough, you will pursue it, right?

So that’s something I really want to work hard at, because I definitely do want to have something published someday, something beyond the magazine and newspaper articles and Letters to the Editor I’ve had published. Not that those aren’t noteworthy, but I have always longed to see my name on the front cover of a book, to know that each page within it was written by me, to know people will be enjoying a story my mind created. It must be done, and I must do it, so it can be included as one of my life’s accomplishments!

Obviously the most important things are to be healthy and happy and to enjoy my family first and foremost. But I’d also like to get back into the volunteer world and feel like I’m contributing to the rest (or at least, some part) of society more than I am right now. What’s a good way to volunteer when most likely you have to take your toddler with you when you do it, though? Unless it was a once a week thing or a few times a month and on an evening or weekend when James could take care of him…I’ll have to look into that. But I know I’d like to do more for the community in some way than what I am currently doing.

I think ultimately I just want to enjoy my family and hopefully have a few good friends as I grow old. I want to always be willing to try new things and enjoy life and focus on the positives. I don’t feel like I have to be everything to everyone, but I would definitely hope that the small circle of people who really know me would have kind things to say about me when I’m gone. That’s really all I can hope for.

Of course life is complicated and curve balls will be thrown my way I’m sure, but it’s an interesting exercise to consider one’s own obituary. It doesn’t have to be viewed as a morbid thing, and it’s not about me obsessing over death or anything! I actually found it to be a calming experience because I didn’t even think about it as OMG this means I’m going to die! But rather WOW, this is a great way to figure out roughly what path I want to go on and from there I can map out how to get there.

I have some work to do, for sure, to get where I want to be at the end of it all. But I like that I have at least an idea of what I want out of life. I’m happy I’m not someone who has 10,000 wild dreams that must all come to fruition!! I am more than content to live a simple life, as long as it is filled with love and the people who mean the most to me. I also would love to feel like I’ve helped make the world a better place, even if just in some small way.

When you get to thinking about your life that way, isn’t it kind of exciting to think about how you’re going to make it all happen?!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Serenity now

Remember when I was griping in the not so distant past that my m-i-l was discussing ‘with her boys’ the idea of moving out this way?

Well it is sounding like it’s going to be happening sooner than any of us would have thought.

Already she’s had ‘the talk’ with her husband and their house is going on the market. It’s up in the air as to what will happen for sure, but her current plan, from the sounds of things, is to live in Vancouver 7 months of the year, the rest in Halifax.

Anyone gotta gun? Wanna shoot me now??

Seriously, I don’t know if I can take this.

I found this out this morning…Let’s back up to about a week ago.

I asked James if his mom had mentioned when she’s planning to come out here next (something always nagging at the back of my mind, given her discussion of moving here or at the very least spending more time out this way). He casually mentioned that it was ‘just an idea floating around in her head’ but that she was considering coming here for Andrew’s birthday.

ANDREW’S BIRTHDAY! The most important day of the entire year to me.

Remember what happened on/around Andrew’s birthday 2 years ago (as in, the day of his actual birth)??? She made life so intensely stressful for us and caused such major problems – the issues that I quite possibly will never be able to forgive her for.

So excuse me for reacting badly to the idea of her being here for his birthday this year but I’m telling you right now, THIS CAN’T HAPPEN!!!

I am not prepared to be stressed all throughout Christmas and then get to his birthday (also known as New Year’s Eve) and have the potential for disaster because K happens to be in town.

Not to mention the logistics of throwing Andrew his birthday party (and I already have the theme picked out so ‘the party must go on’ as the saying goes!) James’ dad and significant other wouldn’t want to go to the party if his mom was going to be there. James’ brother’s fiancé wouldn’t go because she and K aren’t on speaking terms AT ALL. None of my family would be comfortable around her because none of them like her given how stressed she’s made me for the past 11 years. So basically, what, the only people who would actually maybe want her there would be James and Andrew?! (And honestly, Andrew only because he doesn’t know any better).

Sorry for reacting so harshly but this is the birthday of my little boy. I know how K makes me feel and I don’t want to have to feel uncomfortable on my baby’s special day.

I just feel like she’s constantly trying to push the envelope too far, you know? Does she seriously not realize that if we’re going to build a better relationship SOMEHOW (although I doubt it will ever happen because she continues to prove her true colours) WE HAVE TO TAKE BABY STEPS and baby steps would not include welcoming her with open arms to Andrew’s 2nd birthday party.

Not to mention the timing more generally. Because all our family is on the island, we have a whirlwind trip of going to Victoria to James’ dad’s place for Christmas, then Boxing Day to my parents’ place in Nanaimo, then back over here in time to prepare for Andrew’s birthday, which is also New Year’s Eve, and then blah blah one day and James is back to work. It’s not a good time for a visit that’s going to involve her expectations. I just can’t take it!

I hate how there is always something looming when it comes to K.

I hate the idea of her moving out this way.

I feel like just the thought of it is terrorizing me.

I CAN’T LIVE IN THE SAME CITY AS HER. Scrap that, more like: I WON’T LIVE IN THE SAME CITY AS HER!

Her being here more permanently, I only foresee it causing problems. I really, truly do.

It sucked to get wind of that news this morning especially. I woke up feeling SO happy, and I’m not really a morning person but I was all excited to start the day and was kissing James and enjoying our family time together. I’d had this great dream where James and I got together in this little cabin-y place by the ocean and it was late at night and really stormy and we could look out to the ocean. I was apparently there to talk to him about this girl who wanted to go out with him, and to tell him I was supposed to be marrying some other man. But it was really him who I was in love with, and I told him so, and we were just gazing into each other’s eyes and he told me he loved me too. It was a magical and very romantic moment, and we both knew how right it was for us to be together so we decided we were going to marry each other. So I woke up with this sort of renewed sense of love and happiness from that dream, and then the phone rang, and K was on the other end of the line, and things went downhill from there.

We went to the market and stopped at Red Robin for lunch. Andrew was really fussy while we were out, good at times but a lot of fussiness and blah blah here we are at home having ‘me time’ in shifts because the boy won’t nap.

I hope tomorrow is better than today.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Life in pictures

Here are a few pictures from the past few weeks or so...

A nightly ritual, Andrew with his Yop before nite nites!
Me and the boy just horsing around...
This one just melts my heart...Although as much as I like to think Moorka wanted to be close to her brother, in reality it's that she is a sucker for a good rug to sleep on!!
The shirt says it all =) A gift from his great aunt and uncle's trip to Harrison Hot Springs.
Lounging, watching tv, playing barnyard and eating Cheerios - who says a boy can't multi-task?!
Anxiously awaiting the Yo Gabba Gabba concert!! Lizzie's excited here if you can't tell =) tee hee
Yooooooo Gaaaaaabbaaaaaa Gaaaaaaaaabbaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!
The balloons up by the ceiling that dropped shortly before the intermission (it was a good idea, but too bad there weren't enough balloons for everyone...Andy seemed a little upset that he didn't get one)
The only 'family' shot I was able to get...LOL
Here they are!!! From left to right, there's Muno, Brobee, Plex, DJ Lance Rock, Toodee, and Foofa!
The boys intently watching the show =) (James wearing the 'DJ Lance' glasses they gave us at the door!)
Hanging out during the intermission
Just before Biz Markie appeared for 'Biz's Beat of the Day!'
I love Brobee!!

A loooong wait at the BC Ferries to head over to Nanaimo with my mom...We waited over 3 hours due to a one sailing wait, not fun with a toddler but my mom entertained him a lot in the front seat!
I love Andrew's side profile, I just want to kiss and kiss those cheeks!!
The Maudster, on vacation at Gramma and Grampa's!
Cousin play time!
On our way to the ferry home!
XOXOXO

Not a second to myself...

Some days Andrew naps. I welcome his nap time with arms wide open, obviously. It gives me time to get a few chores done and hopefully either grab a bite to eat or use my computer for a bit.

Lately it seems to be that if he has a nap (usually for about 1 ½ to 2 hours), regardless of what time of day he has it, he doesn’t want to go to bed till 11pm (sometimes midnight or 1am). If he doesn’t nap at all, he usually goes to sleep between 9-10 (generally closer to 9, but not always).

I love nap days because, selfishly, I really do need that bit of time to myself to just sort of ‘be’ if that makes sense. Or if I’m feeling especially tired that day myself due to lack of sleep or whatever, I can try to catch a few zzz’s myself. It’s not often I do that, but there are times when it’s absolutely necessary in order to get through the rest of the day with our insanely energetic little monkey.

But I don’t really enjoy being up with him till midnight or later. Because then James and I get zero time to ourselves or to connect as a couple. And I end up going to bed suuuper late because I need a bit of time to myself to zone out/write/read WHATEVER to feel sane in being an individual and not just a mom…So then of course I’m even more tired in the morning than I could have been if I’d had no ‘me time’ and on and on it goes.

If he doesn’t nap all day, he goes to sleep early (usually) and obviously that’s great because then James and I can watch a show or two, or whatever, or have separate time to ourselves. It’s nice to have that wind-down time at night but not be going to bed super duper late ourselves, since inevitably we don’t get the luxury EVER of a lie-in. James usually gets up with Andrew first, but I only sleep an extra hour maybe, and given I’m generally awake through the night (and the one up late to begin with), he still usually gets a lot more sleep than I do!

The thing is, it’s REALLY hard on me to go 12 hours without literally ONE SECOND to myself, which is what ends up happening if Andrew doesn’t nap at all through the day.

Today James got home from work and I told him it was a no nap day and his response?

‘Oh good!’ (because he just sees the potential for Andrew to nod off early!)

Whereas for me it means I’M GOING MENTAL AND NEED A BREAK!!

Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of fun during the day with the boy. I’m teaching him to do I’m a Little Tea Pot, and he’s sort of getting Peace Out (not really but kinda!) and we sing and dance and cuddle and he gives me kisses without me asking for them. We colour and he tries to help me cook…he helped me make a butter spread for some bread to go with our pasta! Which wasn’t necessarily easy but you have to have major patience and remind yourself constantly that THIS IS FUN FOR HIM, IT’S SOMETHING NEW AND EXCITING, GO WITH IT!! We have an absolute blast a lot of the time and I love him to absolute bits. But my gawd is he exhausting, and when I get to that point of extreme tired but I’m still pulling every last thing out of the hat to entertain him and make him feel loved and happy…and then he proceeds to go on a bully spree and pull my hair, pinch my cheeks so hard I want to cry, laugh at sticking toys right in my eyes, hits and slaps me for fun…well you could say I just start to lose my esteem and I want to run away crying.

That feeling passes and I don’t take it personally when he’s doing that stuff to me because I know he’s just pushing the limits to see how far he can go. He doesn’t understand about hurting people and all of that yet, it’s a normal phase. But seriously…no time whatsoever to collect one’s self takes its toll, and I didn’t ever realize the severity of that till Andrew came along! Or should I say till he became mobile and crazy with energy and the need to explore and bounce himself off the walls and across the room repeatedly all day.

So needless to say I’ve shut myself in the bedroom ever since James finished eating his dinner.

I’m tempted to just stay in here till he comes to get me but…maybe I’ll go spend a few minutes with both my boys till the little tyke is ready to go nite nite!

If he DOES go to bed early, there just might be time to get a couple more things done!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall

I’m high. On Life brand’s version of Nyquil. It could be super powerful stuff, or it could be that I haven’t taken many pills whatsoever in the past few years. Pregnancy and then nursing Andrew for almost 19 months put a damper on my drug-taking ability! LOL Although I will say I am now much more conscious of what I take and when and why. Not that I was popping pills right, left and center before getting preggo, but I would take stuff without giving it a second thought. But whoa, whatever it is, this stuff is stroooong.

I really, really, really, really, REALLY hope this cold doesn’t last much longer. Oh and because I totally suck at return-comments and apologize deeply for that because I often have every intention of commenting back and then it never happens: A shout out to Lojo – I hope you’re feeling better soon, too, girlfriend!! XOXOXO It sucks to be sick.

It sucks enough that today was the FIRST OFFICIAL DAY OF FALL, being sick just rubs salt into the wound.

I can’t believe the summer has come and gone. It’s both sad and annoying how fast it went by.

Here are a few of the highlights I can recall (with my Life brand’s version of Nyquil fog filled brain!)

Actually, not everything that happened was a highlight, but here’s the lo down:

In June:
Andrew got his VERY FIRST haircut!
I contemplated the idea of taking a rowing class sometime later in the summer…
I weaned Andrew (a great thing, though sad to lose that part of our bond)
Tessa (my liver and white Springer Spaniel sister) passed away…I miss her terribly
We took Andrew to the petting zoo at Beacon Hill Park in Victoria, a new annual tradition since we took him last year at the same time. I saw a goat there that was Tessa’s colours and her name was Tessa…which seemed like more than coincidence to me
We started getting out more to the park and playgrounds and outdoors with the boy

In July:
We took Andrew on an early morning (out the door before 7am) walk along the sea wall and had an amazing time at this little beach area, just the three of us
Andrew and I went to the Klahowya Village at Stanley Park and he went on his very first train ride
Andrew had his 18 months immunizations – no more till kindergarten, yay!
We spent lots of time on the island visiting ‘Gramma and Grampa’ so Andy could enjoy all his outside toys in their yard
James and I went on a date to Cardero’s for our 3 year wedding anniversary and LOVED sitting out on the patio
We took Andrew to the zoo in Langley. His VERY FIRST zoo experience!
We went to Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville on the island, another new yearly family tradition (new-old, since my family used to go every year when I lived in Nanaimo)

In August:
We went swimming at the pool nearby
I took level 1 rowing (sweeping) at the Vancouver Rowing Club – and LOVED it!
We went on a blast-of-the-past whirlwind daytrip to our old ‘hood in Burnaby and to Hume Park in New West
James and I went to see Broadway’s version of Disney’s The Lion King at the Queen E
Andrew escaped his crib (landing head first on the floor) 3 times so he got his ‘crib’ converted to ‘toddler bed.’ Now he sleeps…on the couch! =S
We drove out to Lynn Valley to check out North Van ‘hoods
Andrew had his second ever hair cut
My mom and I went to see Michael Buble and Naturally 7 at Rogers Arena (formerly GM Place)
James’ mom was visiting for a lot of it…Some of the month is a blur…

Over all, not too shabby! These are just hints and glimpses, of course a lot of other things happened too. Over all, it was a great summer. We spent tons of time outside, whether it be at the beach, the park, playground, oh I should have mentioned in July and August that I took Andrew to the water park in Stanley Park A LOT. One of my fave activities with him this summer for sure! We did a lot of walking and playing and kicking his soccer ball around at the park. Great fun.

I will miss the heat of the summer, the brightness of the sunshine. The rain seems to have settled its wet self in here on the west coast. I guess it has its own charms – I like grey days in that the blinds can be open throughout the day because there’s no sun beating in…We don’t need A/C because it’s not warm enough for it. But that’s all I can think of. I would take closing the blinds and pumping the A/C to have summer back in a heartbeat!

I decided today to embrace the weather and took Andrew out in his new little gumboots and let him jump and splash around in the puddles. He loved it, and I had fun too, but the novelty of that might wear off quicker than basking in the sunshine making sandcastles!!

As a side note, just to remember this: We had dinner tonight with James’ cousin D and his girlfriend L. I’d only met D once before about 3 years ago so it was nice to see him again and meet L. Very nice people. From the east coast. That usually seems to be telling. I mean, I’m sure there are total a-holes living on the east coast (come to think of it, I can think of one pretty quickly, tee hee – ooh, cheap shot but I couldn’t resist it) but it tends to happen, in my experience, that people who are FROM the east coast tend to be such nice and friendly people. Beyond what people from the west coast tend to be. And I am from the west coast – I can totally admit I am not friendly like an east-coaster! Wish I was, but it’s not in my blood!!

OK these pills are making me loopy. Nite nite!

It'd be nice to get some answers...

I worry about death every single day. Not to the point that it totally gets in the way of much happier thoughts – I certainly am not constantly dwelling on it. But as great as it would be to be as prepared as possible knowing that death could come knocking at any moment, I have to say I think it’s far easier said than done.

How does one really prepare for death, anyway? I’ve tried going through all my things and getting rid of anything I wouldn’t want people to come across. Not that I have much of anything I’m needing to hide, but you know, the odd journal entry here and there about something obscure or embarrassing pictures I might not want anyone to see. That sort of thing. But ultimately, as neat and tidy and organized as I SAY I am, there is a helluva lot more I could do to go through stuff and purge it and feel that much closer to not leaving too much behind as to overwhelm those who have to deal with it all.

Even if I had no possessions whatsoever, I still don’t see how I could really be prepared to die. I’m not even going to get into the thought of losing those around me because I can’t even bare it.

I think it’s because of the chest pain I’ve been experiencing for nearly 6 months now that has got me a little frightful of ‘the end.’ Fortunately it hasn’t been happening every single day the past couple of weeks as it was there for a while, but there are times where I’ll even just feel a slight twinge in the area the pain comes from and it reminds me that SOMETHING IS THERE THAT SHOULDN’T BE. It’s not something I can feel with my hands, but I can sure feel it internally when it decides to flare up. It causes such an intense achy pain that I often have a very difficult time concentrating on anything else while it’s happening. I have to go about doing things and pretend it’s not happening, but it isn’t always easy to do that.

No one knows about this problem other than James and you, whoever is reading this. Well and of course the doctor. I’ve chosen not to tell the rest of my family because at this point I don’t know what I could really tell them. And is there any point to just cause them to worry about something when there’s nothing they can do about it anyway?

I had the blood tests and ECG and the doctor decided based on those things that he didn’t think it was my heart (although it is certainly very close to my heart if not my heart, since that is the area I always feel the pain in). So he gave me a prescription for this gel stuff to put on the area that should cause any inflammation to go away in a short period of time. I used it for almost 2 weeks I think it was, and it had zero effect. If anything, I was starting to experience the pain more frequently (though I’m sure that was purely coincidence). So he told me to stop using the gel but that he’d get me an appointment with a cardiologist, because it would be safest to first rule out that it indeed has anything to do with my heart. If it does have something to do with my heart, I could potentially be in trouble. If it’s not, well we still really need to find out what it is, but perhaps the damage isn’t as great? At this point, no one knows.

And no one continues to know because I HAVE YET TO EVEN HEAR BACK AS TO WHEN I WILL BE SEEING A CARDIOLOGIST.

I waited a little over a month, possibly a month and a half (?) before calling the doctor late last week to inquire about the appointment I’d yet to receive a call about. After being put on hold for a few minutes, the receptionist at the clinic assured me they HAD put a request through (by fax) for me to get an appointment, but they hadn’t heard back from the cardiology department at the hospital. She said she would call them and get back to me.

She got back to me to say that she had tried calling them 3 times but kept getting their answering machine. But she said she’d get back to me by the end of that day, or the next morning at the very latest.

One week ago would have been ‘the next morning at the latest’ but I have yet to hear anything.

It’s very frustrating because I can’t get in to see a cardiologist if I don’t get the referral from my doctor. But there’s so much humming and hawing and waiting, and the waiting game could potentially be fatal! Seriously, who wants to gamble with their heart??

I really like and respect my doctor. There have been a couple of things he’s said to me that have sort of made me waver but I try to remember he, too, is only human. No one could be a ‘perfect’ doctor I don’t think, but I honestly do feel that he’s pretty close. Not that I’ve been going to him for long, but compared to all the other doctors I’ve seen combined, he is by far the best. I do think it would be nice to think he’s following up on things, though, and would perhaps be red-flagged by such things as his specialist referrals not being properly made into appointments. But, then again, I don’t know how the system works. Is it more on the receptionist, since she handles all these things for him? I don’t know who to blame!

Blaming isn’t even going to get me anywhere – if this thing kills me, it won’t much matter ‘whose fault it was’ because it will be too late, won’t it!?

I don’t really expect to die from this. I don’t think anyone really ‘expects’ to die, though, unless they have come to terms with a terminal illness or what have you. I mean, we all expect to die sometime, but not for such a long time that we can put it to the back of our minds. I guess more what I meant was that I can’t come to terms with something I can’t even yet name.

Maybe what I have is ‘nothing’, it’s just hard to believe it’s not something when it can cause such severe agony, and on a regular basis.

So I’m wondering if the next step is to go to the emergency room?? I hate the idea of having to sit there and wait for hours and be taking up a spot in emergency. But the other alternative is to most likely wait months and months, so just continue on feeling this pain more often than not, wondering if one day it’s going to take my life. I feel like going to the ER might be the only way they’ll help me start dealing with this issue. On the other hand, I have little faith they would do a whole lot to help me, since it’s not a pain they would be able to diagnose super easily. It’s a tough one, and I’m not sure where to go from here. I just want someone to actually help me figure out what’s wrong so it can be fixed.

I have Andrew to think about above all else. The idea of dying and leaving him behind and not knowing him for the maximum time possible in life, well I’d say it kills me but I know that’s kind of the opposite of what I’m wanting out of this so…I’ll just leave it at that.

Hopefully this thing clears up on its own miraculously, or SOMETHING. In the meantime, I just pray it’s nothing too severe.

(What would you do if you were me? Would you wait it out and hope for the best, keep calling the doctor hoping they’ll eventually actually call back, or go to the ER?)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Atchoo!

I feel kind of nasty with this stupid cold. It’s totally sunny out and apparently the last day for at least a week where we’ll be graced by the sun’s presence, and I don’t feel well enough to go out. Adding to that is how frustrated I am that out of 4 of Andrew’s swim lessons so far we’ve only been to ONE! The first class. How sad is that. We skipped the second class to be on the island through the week, thinking we’d be going this week so no biggie…but then we got sick. So maddening when we paid close to $60 for the lessons! At least there are still a few weeks left so hopefully we can make up some attendance…

I’m totally plugged, my head is achy, I have a gross cough. I hate feeling like this! Especially when there’s always so much to do. Or just to be able to take Andrew to the park would be a plus.

He’s currently napping on his mattress…but not in his bed, on the living room floor! I was getting desperate for things to entertain him with that wouldn’t involve me having to use TOO much energy. He started to fuss and I said, ‘Do you want to jump on your mattress?’ and he immediately stopped what he was doing and said, ‘Yeah!’ So he did. And then I laid on it trying to fall asleep but couldn’t since he wasn’t cool with that. FINALLY putting his Mighty Machines video on and tickling his back did the trick! He laid down on the mattress and I gave him a few back tickles, then stopped. He rolled over and gave me a face and motioned to his back and I said, ‘Do you want more tickles?’ and he said, ‘Yeah!’ with a cute smile on his face. Who could say no to that?!

So if he won’t sleep in his room, perhaps having his mattress in the living room will keep him sleeping a little longer out this way before making his way into our bed?! We’ll give ‘er a try tonight!

In the meantime, I need to organize some pictures and just veg.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Working on things

My mind is fighting to see through the hazy fog of my cold. Yes, my cold. My 2nd cold in 2 weeks. Hardly seems fair, does it?

But I guess such is life with a toddler. Luckily, and keep your fingers crossed that this doesn’t jinx it, James hasn’t had one yet. Just me and the boy. Which makes sense given that I spend every second with him, with tons of cuddling, and I don’t stop kissing him even when he’s sick. Why would I when he sneezes on me 20 times a day anyway, so what’s the difference right?! TMI, sorry!! But yeah, best James doesn’t get it, not only because I wouldn’t wish a cold on anyone but also because it would kind of suck even worse if we were all sick.

It’s toughest, I think, being the Mom and being sick. Because even though you feel like crap and desperately want to just lie down and sleeeeeeeep and lounge and work at feeling better, you have to still be in Mom mode. Which is none of the above but rather catering to Little One and cooking and cleaning and going out to get groceries and running errands and pretty much no down time.

Andrew finally has gone down for his nap so I should probably be trying to sleep myself rather than writing this, but you know how it goes. I was totally zonked a couple of hours ago and begged the boy to nap with me and he pretended to till I got into bed. Then he was jumping on it, and playing with the alarm clock and yada yada till I got up and gave up on the napping. But I’m happy just to have this bit of time ‘for me.’ I don’t have to worry about dinner because I made it at 1:00! A big pot o’ chilli, which I sampled and it is reeeally tasty. Cut a few slices of bread, grate some cheese to put on the Chilli once it’s in the bowl and DINNER IS SERVED! I love quick and easy meals – seriously it took me probably 5 minutes to get the Chilli going. Ten minutes TOPS. Those are the best meals, once that are quick and easy but also really healthy. You can’t go wrong with that combo!

Anyway…

I’ve been feeling really motivated (or should I say in desperate need) of rearranging things a bit. My age old grump about not being able to move things around much since our place is so small. I did, however, make the executive decision (I already knew James would agree!) to get rid of the A/C unit. Let’s face it, summer is over, so once we hand that back over to the concierge, we will have a little room to play with. OK, I was so keen about having that space that the A/C unit is sitting by the door waiting to get stored in the basement (they must have a huuuge room to store all those units for 3 seasons of the year!) And I’ve already moved the wardrobe/shelf thingy over where it sat by the window. I also brought the bookshelf out of the solarium and put it where the wardrobe thingy was, and it opens things up a little bit. Not really, but I like to imagine that it does! I put all Andrew’s books on two of the lower shelves so he has easier access to all his books. He did go right back to his habit of taking them all off the shelf and having them strewn all over the place, which reminded me why I moved it into the solarium in the first place! BUT he is getting to an age where I can start getting him to stop doing those things (right??!), at least to SOME degree! So I’m going to work on that…

I’m also working on teaching him ‘I’m a Little Teapot’ and I’m showing him how to do a peace sign! I tried every which way yesterday to get him to hold two fingers up for a peace sign but he just couldn’t figure it out. I was like, ‘Andrew, just hold up two fingers!’ so he held up his index finger on both hands! LOL Funny kid. He will get it soon enough though! How cute will it be when he’s telling people to Peace Out?! =D

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sunday on the island

Yesterday while my parents watched Andrew, James and I went and rented a canoe on Long Lake in Nanaimo.

It was so fun to get out on the water! It was also an interesting experience after having learned to row this summer. Being in a canoe is totally different, and I’d only ever been in one once before, almost 10 years ago. Which is sad considering I live on the west coast, I should have had plenty of opportunities to do such things…but I am working at making up for lost time now ;)

I found myself super tense at first and my back is absolutely KILLING me today as a result! Obviously rowing is way more of an intense work out than canoeing is, yet I never felt in any sort of extreme pain after rowing. It’s not because of my paddling though, just the way I was sitting all tense and practically hunched over the front of the canoe thinking I was going to fall into the water. LOL I DID ease up as time went on, and by the end of the hour I was totally into it, it just takes me a little while to warm up to things that are beyond my comfort zone. And being out on the water, while fun and totally exhilarating, isn’t something I do all the time so it takes a little practice and time to get me into the groove!

It was a lot of fun, and afterwards we hit up the nearby Taco Time for old times sake. My family and I used to go from time to time for dinner (seldomly, but once in a while) when I was really, really little…and it was HILARIOUS walking in there all these years later to see the place is EXACTLY THE SAME. I don’t think they’ve done a single update in 20 years! The food was decent though, and it was truthfully just nice to sit down just the two of us for a few and chat about whatever.

Then we went in search of Andy’s Halloween costume. I desperately wanted him to go as Michael Jackson…and I could have made it happen, though it would have been a tad pricey because I could only find the costume in his size at a place online where they charged even more for shipping than for the actual item. I still think he’d be an awesome little MJ, but the reason I changed my tune on the costume idea is because realistically he will not keep a wig on his head. And for a lot of costumes it wouldn’t matter if he kept the wig or hat or what have you on his head…But to be Michael Jackson, it makes sense to have the black hair. If his hair was dark to begin with he could probably pull it off, but Andrew’s hair is so blond that some days it looks white, so…that just wouldn’t do! And no, I am not about to dye his hair for the occasion! LOL

Soooo…..obviously you have to wait till October 31st to find out what he is going as, but his costume has been purchased (online, after all our searching in stores, but that’s OK because the shipping was only HALF the price of the item!!) It is going to be so worth the wait though. This costume is PERFECT for him.

I’m not even that enthused by Halloween as a holiday, but I can’t wait to see how cute Andrew looks in his costume!

There's a party in my tummy, so yummy, so yummy!

I can't help but quote Yo Gabba Gabba (in my title)! I swear, ever since the concert I constantly seem to have one or another YGG song on repeat in my head. It's both fun and annoying!

Anyway...Referred to it by a friend with 4 kids, I checked out the website Weelicious for yummy and healthy meal ideas for kids (that everyone else will love, too!) I’ve gone through just a few pages of the recipes on there and have copied the ones I want to try, and there are so many more on there that I want to check out. Lots of vegetarian stuff, which pleases me!

So tonight I decided to try the Spinach Ricotta Bites and they turned out SUPERB. I enjoyed them, James enjoyed them, and even Andrew said, ‘Mmmm!’ when he took a bite!

You can find the recipe with more info on the website, but here’s the lo down:

Spinach Ricotta Bites (Makes 20 Bites) (for me it made 24!)

2 Tbsp Butter
1 Small Yellow Onion, chopped
1 Garlic Clove, minced
2 Large Eggs, Beaten
1 Cup Ricotta Cheese (low or full fat ricotta will work)
1/2 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
1 10 Oz Pkg Frozen Chopped Spinach, defrosted and drained WELL (I use my hands to squeeze as much liquid out of the spinach as possible)
1/4 Tsp Salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat and cook the onions for 4 minutes until tender.
3. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute then set aside to cool.
4. Whisk eggs in a bowl and stir in ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
5. Once combined, stir in spinach, salt and cooled onion and garlic mixture.
6. Pour the mixture into lightly greased mini muffin cups.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the filling is set and golden on top.
8. Serve.

I don’t normally buy all those different cheeses but I found them all on sale and there’s even enough Ricotta left that it will add a little something extra to another meal in the next couple of days. It’s a really easy recipe, and I guess essentially it’s like eating little bite sized quiches, but they’re so delish. There’s the richness of the cheeses but then you also feel like it’s so healthy getting all that spinach. Definitely will be making them again. I steamed some broccoli and cauliflower and mixed them with some peas with a little butter as a side dish. Carrots would have been best but I didn’t realize we didn’t have any. But these ‘bites’ would go with just about anything, and would be great as a party hors d'œuvre.

Just thought I’d share the inspiration I got from the website and new recipes! Especially with coming into a new season, it will be nice to have a few different meal options to consider.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Men are from mars, so perhaps we should send them back?!

Last night while James and my dad watched a movie (that was totally inappropriate with a toddler in the room, so of course Andrew had to be in the living room with me and my mom) I got to thinking about how much it seems that men can get away with that women simply can’t.

What I’m referring to here is how ‘easy’ it seems to be for James to be zoned out and therefore unable to help with Andrew, yet if I used the same excuses for ‘me time’…well, it just wouldn’t happen. I haven’t had it work to my favour yet, anyway.

Let’s deal with a few issues first. Yes, Andrew is very much attached to his Momma. Apparently when my brother was around his age, he would say, ‘Momma do!’ for practically everything. Andrew doesn’t say ‘do’ yet but if he did, he would be saying Momma do, too. He always says, ‘Mom-mom, Mom-mom!’ for everything.

Which is fine, and perfectly normal I would think. After all, he has been with his Mom-mom since the moment he became more than just a figment of our imaginations. So it only makes sense we would have a level of attachment between us that we don’t have with anyone else. And believe me when I say that my attachment to him is just as strong as his to me! I am so used to all our time together and our cuddles that I start feeling as if I’m going into withdrawal after just a few hours without him! Which is not to say I can’t handle a few hours without him, because I can, I just mean to show how strong our bond is. We do rely on each other quite a bit.

And a large part of that is the normal bond between mother and child. But then I think we also have to acknowledge the part of it that one would refer to as ‘habit.’

We are USED to being together almost 24/7. For example, if he had been put into daycare after a certain period of time, we’d both be used to more time apart. Or if we had more family living close to us who would want to or be able to take him for longer than 2-3 hour stretches of time, we’d be more accustomed to that time apart.

Similarly, if James and I had, from an earlier time, made a pattern of him being with his dad more at night time or having the routine of getting him ready for bed or something along those lines, that’s what we would be used to.

And I am NOT saying James does nothing or isn’t a good father or anything to that effect. James is a great dad and he does a lot not only to help me out but also just for his relationship with Andrew.

But the fact is, when all is said and done, a LOT more falls on me than on him.

Which in some ways is fine, but sometimes it takes its toll, and I don’t think it’s fair to somehow blame me for being frustrated by it.

Yes, James works outside the home full time and supports us financially at this point in time. But I work inside the home not just full time as in 9-6, I am on duty 24 hours a day. I don’t come home after a long day and play with the boy but not really worry about stuff around the house because beyond dealing with Andrew in the evening my time is mine. I spend time with Andrew (and James) but I am also thinking about how I need to get that other load of laundry in to dry before it has to be re-washed, and how I should probably make the shopping list for tomorrow, and the dishwasher needs to be unloaded and the bathtub needs a scrub and oh my god how am I going to get all this done when the boy probably isn’t going to go to sleep till close to midnight?

Lately James has been going to bed often before Andrew does, given Andrew’s night owlish ways. And aside from sometimes getting kicked in the face or rolled onto in the night by Andrew once he’s made his way into our bed, James sleeps right through the night. He’s a fairly sound sleeper. I am a very light sleep, especially since having Andrew and knowing he might need me at any time whatsoever.

I know parts of this are biological. While obviously James loves Andrew and would do anything for him if it came down to it, as the Mom and the one who bore him, I am much more apt to do anything and everything I can to protect baby. So it makes sense that I would sleep lighter to be there for him if he needs me in the night. And since mothers tend to be more nurturing by nature, it makes sense that Andrew would run to me for his morning, afternoon, evening, AND night time cuddle times.

But on the other hand, I do think there is a lot that can be said about patterns as well. And there’s no reason why a child can’t be in more of a pattern of certain things being done by dad.

Sure, Andrew might cry and fuss and call out ‘Mom-mom’ for a night, two, maybe even three or four while we adjust to something new. But seriously, just saying that ‘he wants his Momma’ isn’t good enough to me.

He wants his Momma because his Momma is ALWAYS there!

Anyway, I’m just feeling frustrated.

Andrew and I came to Nanaimo with my mom on Tuesday, which means that James had Tues, Wed, and Thurs nights to himself. And arguably part of Friday night, too, because he didn’t get here till late at night and was mentioning that he was watching shows on his computer on the way over.

So, my question to him was: Why were you watching some lame-ass movie last night when I even ASKED YOU to help me with the boy, and why was it supposed to be OK for you to say NO because you wanted to watch the rest of the movie, which went on for another hour after that??

Because I can assure you, I would NEVER get away with that!

And meanwhile, James was talking to me about the various movies he watched on his own on the nights he had to himself.

Did you know I watched a movie on my own when James’ mom was in town because he and Andrew were out with her for long enough for me to do so – and I think it was the first time I’d watched a movie on my own like that without other responsibilities having to take over for at least a year, possibly closer to two??!

I’m not kidding.

So…

Can you understand why I’d be a tad peeved about what happened last night?

We didn’t speak of it much, and James went to bed shortly after the movie anyway (yes, I’m serious, he did! And I was up for another couple of hours with Andrew…)

This morning he makes it sound like he did an absolute ton with Andrew last night but I don’t seem to have the same recollection as him.

But what pisses me off most of all is his reaction to why I was upset with him. He basically said that the difference between us, GET THIS, is that I get more easily frustrated with Andrew and therefore he doesn’t NEED to ask for MY help when he’s got him, whereas I feel the need to get him to help me out.

Ummm….HELLO!

My reaction to that was…OK – how about next Saturday, we pretend it’s one of your work days. Only it’s me going off to work. So I leave the house shortly after 8am, and I come home around 6:00 or maybe let’s make it one of your late days and I come home at 6:45pm. Then, when Andrew is being fussy at about 7:30 at night, you tell me how you’re not the least bit frustrated and in dire need of just a LITTLE BIT of time to yourself. Oh and all you’ll really get is a 10 minute bath and maybe 20 minutes on your computer before it’s back to Dada duties because ‘the boy wants YOU.’

He can pass that off and say blah blah blah because he knows it won’t actually happen. But the truth of the matter is, as fun as it is to play with Andrew and cuddle with him and I LOVE OUR TIME TOGETHER, even moms get tired and need some down time. And I know James knows that, and yes, he DOES give it to me. But it seems like there are such different standards set between what is OK for a mom and what is OK for a dad.

I think the biggest thing here is just how James already had all those nights completely to himself, so why couldn’t he just indulge me with a bit of time last night when I asked him to??

Whatevs. I’m sure there are all sorts of arguments that could be made about this. I don’t feel like arguing my point anymore. I just wish I didn’t get falsely accused of things – especially being so easily frustrated. When I become totally exhausted, yes I may end up a tad short fused. But that’s not my norm, and the majority of the time I’m spending with Andrew is wonderful, quality, happy time. Tiring at times, yes, but I resent this idea that I so desperately need James’ help whereas he doesn’t even need to ask me for help at all?! WTF???? Seriously, that is just rude to say, and TOTALLY FALSE. Perhaps the next time James says, ‘The boy needs his Momma’ I should say no he doesn’t, why are you asking for MY help??!

Everything changes...except for how tired I am!!

Andrew seems to be going to sleep later and later all the time. It doesn’t matter if he has an early afternoon nap, late in the day nap, or no nap at all. He’s been going to bed at close to midnight – sometimes much later – on a regular basis. And it is starting to take its toll on his Momma!

On a happier side note, tonight he started saying, ‘Night, night!’ for the first time!

In fact, he’s been saying new words every day lately.

And there’s this Yo Gabba Gabba song that was on the concert line-up that I taught him tonight. Not that he can sing it, but he does the actions and says, ‘Clap Clap!’ at the end while clapping.

The song goes something like this:

Point to your head, Point to your head
Point to your arms, Point to your arms
Point to your legs, Point to your legs
Point to your feet, Point to your feet
Bee dee dee dee dee dee dee, Clap! Clap!

(Watch this for a video clip!)

It’s so catchy! I couldn’t get that song out of my head tonight so I started singing it to Andrew while he was in the tub. He was enjoying it so much that he stood up in the bath and started doing the movements of the song, pointing to his head, then his arm, then his leg and finally his feet! It was the cutest thing ever, and it only took me singing it twice through for him to get the whole thing down pat!

So when he got out of the tub, even before he got his diaper and jammies on, we had to perform his new act for Dada and Gramma and Grampa! He was quite pleased with himself, and each time I would finish the song he would point at me and say, ‘More!’

Last night he also used a sentence. James argues it’s not an ‘actual’ sentence, but come on, he’s not even 2! My mom and I were eating chips and salsa and he was enjoying some chips with us. He wanted another one so he pointed to the bowl and said, ‘Peese, peese (please, please) Gamma (Gramma – yes, he figured out how to say Gramma a few days ago!) more!’

Sooo clever!

It’s just amazing how all of a sudden he’s using so many more words, and properly. And so often he knows what we’re saying and we only realize he’s taking it all in when he responds and we’re not expecting it! For example, last week my brother said something that would make sense to respond with a yes or no to, and Andrew happened to whip his head around to where my brother was sitting and called out to him, ‘Yeah!’ Yet he’d been busy doing something else and we didn’t even think he was paying attention to the conversation!

It’s reeeeeally time to be careful what we talk about in front of that boy!!!!!

But yeah…the sleep thing…Totally not working for me.

We’re heading home soon and when we do, I really really really really REALLY want to try to get Andrew not only into a better pattern of going to sleep at an earlier hour, but also to get him sleeping IN HIS OWN BED for longer through the night than what he’s in our bed with us.

Otherwise I’m afraid he will end up being an only child because James and I will never have any ‘alone time’ anymore…………..Seriously – how do you find intimate time when your child goes to sleep at midnight, and then you’re too exhausted to think about intimacy, and then he’s in your bed an hour later anyway????!

It’s hard – patterns have a habit of changing so quickly that as soon as you think you’ve got it all figured out, it’s totally different and you have to get used to the new routine.

BUT, then again, probably the main thing I’ve learned over the past close-to-two-years (I CANNOT believe Andrew is almost two!!!) it’s that ‘this to shall change’ and there really is no point sweating the small stuff because eventually it all works itself out anyway.

It can still be challenging while you’re going through it all though! Especially when you’re totally lacking on the sleep thing.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sale was a success

We had a garage sale today. It went pretty well, as far as garage sales go. We made close to $300.

It’s just funny how you’re absolutely SURE of what items will be hot sellers, and then it ends up not going that way AT ALL. We had a garage sale several years ago and there were a lot of items left over from that sale in this sale…Well it turned out that a whole bunch of the stuff that people barely looked at last time were the hot ticket items this time. Most of the furniture items didn’t sell and almost none of the baby items went, which I found strange.

But it went OK and while of course there were a few garage sale whores who just wanted something for nothing, I found people to be a lot friendlier and good about the prices this time than the last time. So that was nice. In fact, a lot of the people were really, really friendly. But then, I guess that makes sense, because if you didn’t want to have to talk to anyone, you probably wouldn’t shop in as ‘intimate’ a setting as someone’s garage!

In the end we were left with still a whole garage full of stuff though, so I called around to Salvation Army and Value Village and found out what they would take. My dad and I were going to load up his truck and take everything to the thrift places, when lo and behold this couple show up with a truck. We said anything they wanted they could take since we were just going to take it to a thrift store otherwise…and they ended up taking ALL OF IT!! Obviously they’ll just turn around and do a sale and make a few bucks off the stuff, and otherwise keep what they want of it. But who cares, right? It saved my dad and I a lot of work because otherwise we’d have had to load up the truck, take it around to various places (one being across town) and unload everything at each place. Instead we just helped load it all into the back of their truck and off they went. Perfect!!

So I’m quite pleased about the whole thing. We kept a few items to try to sell on Craigslist maybe or to keep, but it felt SO GOOD to have purged all those items, even if we got nothing for a lot of it. Out of sight, out of mind, and now there is less clutter.

I drank a LOT of Irish Whiskey in the process of the sale though. In fact, I started drinking special coffees at about 7:45 this morning! And I pretty much was sipping one from then till almost 1pm. Obviously I was drinking slowly, and I’ve eaten and had water since…but even just writing about the whiskey is making me feel a little queasy. I VERY rarely drink alcohol and when I do it’s pretty much never to excess these days. So it has affected me quite a bit…and for a while there I was flying! LOL It really got me through the sale and having to be social with the ‘customers’ and everything. I’m really not all that social that way but I found the drinks really lightened me up and really helped out in that department! LOL

I just wish I didn’t have to feel the after effects of it…blech.

Anyway…Hopefully I can have a little rest. The boy is sleeping now so I should probably do that while I have the chance. And then I’m HOPING my parents can look after Andrew tonight so James and I can have a bit of a date. I haven’t seen him for days and I feel like its been ages since we’ve really had any time together just the two of us.

But right now I think I need sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Treasure boxes and my great, great Aunt Gertrude

Last night we started going through all our ‘treasures’ in my parents’ garage to weed through and get rid of as much ‘junk’ as possible.

We’re down to many, many boxes of junk to get rid of, but in amongst it all were some fine treasures!

We came across one box of stuff that belonged to my great, great Auntie Gertie. I always felt a strong connection to Auntie Gertie. I remember visiting her at her house, I can even smell it when I really think about it. Then we visited her in the old folks home she ended up in. I remember being told she had died (I was 7) and I threw myself into the couch cushions and sobbed and sobbed. It’s the first time I remember truly feeling the pain of losing someone.

Auntie Gertie was a bit rough around the edges, from what everyone tells me. She lost her twins when they were just a few months old due to illness and I don’t think she was ever the same after that, of course I don’t actually know what she was like before that either. But she apparently smiled little and was often quite gruff. Which I find hard to believe because whenever I was around, she was all smiles. We had a connection, and I wonder if she just thought I was a cute kid and that’s why she was happy around me, or if she felt the connection we had, too.

About 10 years ago, maybe less, I had a dream where she was sitting with me in my parents’ living room, telling me she was doing well and that so was my great grandmother. In fact, it seemed as though my Gram had asked her to come see me so as to let me know all was well. Which is strange, given that it was years since either of them died (my Gram, who I was quite close to, died when I was 16).

I took it as a sign of our connection. I know to some that will sound wishy-washy. But I truly believe in the power of energy and the spirits that continue on after a person leaves their body. I’m not religious AT ALL but energy and spirits are out there!

Anyway…so we’re going through these boxes last night and we came across one that had a lot of silverware and other kitchen-y items that belonged to Auntie Gertie. In the box was a tin, and in the tin there were some ivory containers (not cool nowadays, but back in the day that’s what people had) and some pieces of jewellery. Even a prescription bottle and nasal sprayer! But what captivated my attention was a deck of playing cards.

It wasn’t just any old deck of cards, these were Tarot reading cards. But because they were so old, probably used (I’m going to totally guess here) in the 30s or 40s or 50s, they were just on a classic deck of cards but with stickers on them with such things printed on them as ‘Someone is watching over you’ (I don’t have the cards with me right now so I can’t say all what is on them, but I will later).

I felt this surge of energy as soon as I picked up the cards and leafed through them. Again, totally ridiculous sounding, right? I tend not to believe in that sort of thing. But I know what I felt! And it reminded me of the connection I’ve always felt to my great, great Auntie Gertie.

My mom said I could keep the cards, so I’m going to. I have books on Tarot reading at home (and really intricate Tarot cards in comparison to these ones, although I am definitely more drawn to the older ones given their rich history – you can tell they were well used) so I am going to once and for all learn how to do readings so I can use her cards.

It’s fun going through old stuff in the garage every few years. We hadn’t gone through this particular box…ever I don’t think, as even my mom was totally surprised by the stuff we found. I just love reminiscing on old memories, and it feels special to also inherit the memories (or at least the things that were held onto) by generations passed.

It’s so interesting, too, to see what kinds of things were held onto. Honestly, nowadays, I just can’t imagine ‘holding onto’ things like cutlery. And of course there were a couple of cookbooks in there, and some knitting needles. Very stereotypical ‘woman’ things! Maybe that’s another reason why I was so taken by the Tarot cards that were in there. It showed that there was an interest with Auntie Gertie that didn’t just lie in the traditional realm of what a woman did back then. I enjoyed finding out about something she liked to do as a hobby, beyond the everyday mundane tasks that had to be taken care of.

It got me thinking about what would be left behind for us today – what would my great, great niece or nephew come across in a box of my ‘treasures?’ We have SO MUCH STUFF these days that I just don’t know what it would end up coming down to.

This has definitely got me thinking…

Saturday, September 11, 2010

There's a party in my city!

Today was the YO GABBA GABBA LIVE concert!

Andrew’s FIRST EVER concert.

I have been excited about this event for months, ever since I found out they were coming to town and snapped up the tickets.

It was at the Queen Elizabeth theatre and we were in ROW 9, and had 3 seats right at the end of the row, so it really couldn’t have been better. Of course, Andrew didn’t sit in his own seat (it’s RIDICULOUS that a child under 2 has to pay $50 for a seat they don’t even use, but whatevs). He was content on one of our laps the whole time. It worked perfectly for the people behind us because their kids were old enough to need their own seats so with us not taking up one, they had a good view around us. Anyway, it was all in all SO MUCH FUN.

We got Andy a cute blue t-shirt with all the characters on it and a little stuffed animal keychain thing of Plex, the magic robot, which is the one he pointed at that he wanted. He kept saying, ‘Toy, Toy!’ as I was picking out the shirt so…we had to get him some little thing =P

I was worried the show wouldn’t hold his attention (there was one kid in particular around his age who was very squirmy through a lot of the show). But it turned out to be the total opposite for our boy. Andrew loved every minute of it! He was entranced by it. There was so much for him to be taking in, and he wasn’t missing a beat.

He had a serious look on his face, not a lot of smiling, but that’s because he was so focused on taking it all in. Though he did smile and wave when Muno walked past him after the intermission to go back to the stage. James held him up and Muno actually patted his head, it was SO CUTE!!

They pulled out all the stops, sang all my (Andrew’s I mean…Haha!) favourite songs, including the name game, there’s a party in my tummy, peek-a-boo, the goodbye song, and so many others. They had little streamer things flying around during the opening, big bubble blower machines going, and just before the intermission a few hundred balloons came flying down from this net near the ceiling. It was awesome!

DJ Lance Rock was JUST how he is on TV and all the characters were so cute. I love Brobee best of all, he just makes me smile! It was seriously such a fun afternoon and I loved singing along to the songs and watching Andrew enjoying it. At intermission they all left the stage and Andrew pointed and said, ‘More, MORE!!’ so obviously he was enjoying himself. He said the same thing again at the end of the show and seemed a bit upset that we had to leave.

I honestly can’t say enough how fun it was!

Afterwards we went to White Spot for lunch and then home. Now we’re getting ready to throw my mom a little birthday party (it’s her b-day tomorrow). The boy fell asleep almost instantly when we got home, so he’ll be nice and rested up to partay this evening!

What an amazing day! Now I am reeeeally geared up for The Wiggles concert next month, because I’m confident he’ll be mesmerized by them too!

I still can’t believe we saw YO GABBA GABBA in person! You probably can’t believe I’m THIS excited about it, but it’s one of my favourite (um, again, ANDREW’S – Haha!) shows on Treehouse, what can I say?!

Listening and dancing to music iiis A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!!!!

Boggle for babies (and other stories!)

Andrew is really on the brink of talking in sentences. It’s both amazing and frightening!

He understands A LOT – way more than we even know. But he tends to not string words together too often yet. He’s definitely getting there though.

He’s obsessed – and I mean OBSESSED with his grampa (my dad). My dad’s a great guy, and wonderful grampa, so don’t get me wrong in saying this – but none of us quite gets the obsession! I mean, OK, we get it, Grampa’s cool! But seriously, this kid believes that Grampa can work more magic than Santa himself. He sees a fire truck on TV and yells out PAPA, PAPA (he can’t say Grampa yet, so Papa it is). An airplane? Yup, Grampa again. Cause obviously he flies planes. He does EVERYTHING, didn’t you know? He drives trucks and diggers and he stands permanently on the other side of our front door because Andrew is forever pointing at the door saying, ‘Papa!’ He says Grampa is ‘cayyy’ (his word for crazy) with a big grin on his face, and talks about the ‘key’ that Grampa uses to help get Andrew in the ‘car’ – the car! CAR CAR CAR!!!

When we’re flipping through photo albums, one picture of Grampa and we’re stuck on that page for ages. I side-track him with other photos till he remembers that GRAMPA IS ON THAT OTHER PAGE, SO LET’S GO BACK TO THAT ONE. ‘Peese peese!’ (Please, please!)

‘TA!’ (Thank you!)

I still like that I’ve got him saying MOMMA when I ask who his best friend is.

Grampa thinks it’s funny that Andrew answers BEER when asked what his favourite drink is!

Andrew can say lots of words but is also associating them more now. For example, you can ask him what colour Wiggle Jeff is, and he will say PURPLE. Or what colour is the sky? And he knows it’s blue. He loves to point up and say UP and down and say DOWN.

Or he’ll go into the bathroom and point at the tub and say ‘shaw’ (meaning shower) and then ‘Dada!’ because he associates it with Dada taking his shower in the morning (whereas Andy and I both prefer a bath! Oh, and he'll say BATH when he wants one!) Today he started his ‘d-ent, d-ent’ (meaning don’t do it!) where he shakes a finger at whatever person or object that in his mind has somehow done him wrong. It’s because he also associates the shower with trying to peek in while his Dada is in there, and inevitably getting hit by water from the shower, which he hates having happen but continues to do regardless!

The Wiggles do this thing where they say We Are THE WIGGLES and when saying THE WIGGLES they point their index fingers and wiggle their hands in the air. Tonight I asked Andrew if he could do THE FLAP (one of their dances) and he started flapping, then he started doing their wiggly index fingers move when I said something else about them and I thought it was SO CUTE AND CLEVER that he had picked up on that!

There is so much more of course, so many words he’s saying and things he’s doing that show he completely understands the words he’s saying. And sometimes he uses them in really interesting and clever ways. I need to start recording it all as soon as it happens because I forget as the day goes on but I want so badly to remember all these little things!

Oh, his ‘thing’ right now is ALWAYS having boo boos. Not really, but saying he does because then he knows he’ll get attention. He’ll purposely smack his head or hand or foot against something and say BOO BOO in a tone like, oooh, poor me, please kiss it better I’m so sad. Or he’ll even bite his own arm and then come up to me pointing at the bite marks, BOO BOO! BOO BOO! This afternoon I was paying attention to him but not quite quickly enough for his liking so just as I started to talk to him he was staring to say BOO BOO but it came out as BO and then he realized I was indeed paying him the attention he was wanting so he stopped bothering to finish saying it. LOL

A fun new thing we’re doing is a little game where I say TOE (then wiggle one of his toes), LEG (touch one or both of his legs) and then pause and say BEEELLLLLYYYY! and tickle his belly! I try to do the BELLY part at random times so he’s not sure when it will happen and the surprise causes him to laugh like crazy. Then he’ll start anticipating it and start laughing before I’ve even said that part. It’s funny because then he gets into it and doesn’t want me to stop, so as soon as I’ve said BELLY and tickled him, he says TOE! and holds his foot up for me to start it again.

He also knows that he is UHN (one) and that soon he'll be TWO! He knows that two comes after one, and if we're counting his toys I say ONE and then he follows with TWO. We are getting there with three, just about there!

He loves my earrings (I've finally got him not tugging them because I love to wear dangly earrings, so he's being gentle with them if I let him hold them sometimes). I say, 'Do you want to get your ears pierced?' and he'll say YEEEEAAAAH! And I'll say, 'OK, how old are you?' 'UHN!' And I'll say, 'Ooooh, well you have to be FIVE to get your ears pierced!' (I was 5 when I got mine done...and NO I AM NOT GETTING HIS EARS PIERCED EVER, JUST A SIDE NOTE, lol!!)

I love seeing the way his mind works, or at least catching glimpses into his thought processes. As difficult as some things are about this stage (more fights for independence in the form of not wanting to be in a stroller, the bullying issues we’re still facing), I am finding this particular age to be really fun and interesting and there are a lot of little things I’m noticing getting easier (such as his ability to have a cup of something without AS MUCH fear he’ll spill it everywhere. Which is not to say spills down happen and won’t happen a ton in the future, but he can do a lot more for himself that I was forever doing for him before, so it’s good!!)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

A country's distance

The m-i-l is back on the other side of the country. It hasn’t really sunk in yet that the 3 weeks is over. It really went better than expected, but it still feels really good to have that buffer zone of practically all of Canada in between us!!!

Andrew and I still have colds but he’s in good spirits and I am too, surprisingly. Ha! I thought I was going to have a really rough day today because I couldn’t have slept more than 2 hours last night (every time I lay down I cough and do that annoying waking-up-sputtering-and-coughing thing that often happens with a cold). But I’ve done surprisingly well. The wee cheekies (aka our fluffball kitties!) were in need of their essentials (food and litter, what else is there?!) and we needed a few things from the store…so I enticed Andrew to ‘help Momma’ run errands with the promise of going to feed the ducks and geese at Lost Lagoon afterwards. He was quite excited. We still have a fair bit of the duck and goose food pellets so we’ll have to go a few more times this month – it will start getting too cold to be out there soon enough.

Andy actually WAS a pretty good boy during the errand-running. We even made a quick stop at the liquor store to pick up some Scotch for his Dada as a treat! He kept saying ‘Ta’ (which actually means thank you but he also says it when he wants you to give him something) to the clerk, as if he was just going to pass the bottle of scotch to him. LOL Maybe in just over 17 years, Andy-boy!!

I made a point of handing Andrew the bag of food for the ducks on our way to Lost Lagoon, so he was in charge of it till we got there. It helped keep his eyes on the prize of what we were up to, I think, so he wasn’t fussy about being confined to his stroller. I told him that we were going to feed the ducks because he was SUCH A GOOD BOY to help his Momma get the shopping done, and that when he’s a good and helpful boy, he gets to do fun activities like feed the ducks. He shouted out YEAH! to that, like, Amen Sista (or Motha, as the case may be!) It was pretty cute. I want to reinforce as much as possible that if he’s a good boy we can have more fun together. Anything to keep him from grumping too much, especially during a grocery shop. There’s nothing worse!

We got home, had some lunch, Andrew had a bath, we played, watched The Wiggles, read books, and finally after many nursery rhymes and tickles, the boy is ACTUALLY HAVING AN AFTERNOON NAP. What are the chances?! Not great around here, at least not lately. So I’m counting my lucky stars to have this break time. I wish I could nap with him because I need sleep more than anything, but if I lay down I cough, so what’s the point? He seems to be having the same issue, but so far he keeps going back to sleep, so we’ll see how long it lasts.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

fido schmido

I’m writing this not because I want to think about fido for another SECOND but because I want to warn others so they don’t feel screwed over like I do.

So about a month and a bit ago, I decided to get a new phone. My old Sony Ericcson, which I loved, was just seeming really old (I’d had it for almost 2 years), the screen on the front was a bit cracked, and I had my eye on those kinds of phones that flip for better text-ability. I hardly use my cell at all for actual talking, I’m pretty much all about texting with it.

I’d got a text saying that because my plan was up soon (not till January but apparently that’s ‘soon’), they had a special offer for me due to my loyalty. I should have known that I’d leave the place feeling screwed over, given that when I mentioned the text to the guy at the fido store, he just sort of shook his head like he knew nothing about it.

The thing is, I knew I wanted a new phone. And I also had Andrew with me, and even though James was there too, he was in his mood of MOMMA OR NOBODY so I just kind of wanted to pick something out and get the hell out of there.

The guy I dealt with was an absolute moron and I felt really antsy while I was there. You know, I think THE GUT tells us more than what we give it credit for. I should have just stopped right there and waited till a better time (and a different sales associate).

But I went with a new Samsung something-or-other and was told I had to sign up for a 2 year plan (extending my current plan as of January when it’s up, for another 2 years) in order to get that phone. Which I was fine with because ultimately switching from company to company isn’t my bag and so far I’d been really happy with fido so I didn’t think anything of signing my life away for another 2 years.

Until I thought about it later and was like, hey wait a minute! I have 75 fido dollars saved up! Shouldn’t I have been able to upgrade my phone without being locked in to another 2 years?!

But I left for Nanaimo a day or two later for the week and then life happened and here I am all these weeks later still feeling screwed over but never having had the chance to do anything about it.

I got an email several weeks AFTER I had renewed my contract that said if I renewed my contract before September 12th, they had a great special offer for me. So I figured I pretty much had till Sept 12th to ‘really’ deal with it.

In my defence, I’ve tried calling at least 3 times already but the wait times were always ridiculous. At least 15 minutes, the voice prompt would tell me. I often don’t have much time at all, because Andrew is really terrible about me being on the phone. So I’d have to use his nap time to call…and lately, he really hasn’t been napping much at all. Or by the time he does, I am in no mood to deal with a cell phone company representative.

But finally today I thought I’d better do it because time is a ticking and truthfully I’ve been feeling totally annoyed by fido every time I’ve looked at my ‘new’ phone lately because of my bad experience with them.

And then I read the fine print in the email they sent me about the special offer (which got up my nose a bit considering they sent it AFTER I’d renewed my contract, WHICH THEY SHOULD HAVE KNOWN…but anyway…)

It said that if I chose not to renew my contact, I could upgrade my phone with my fido dollars and then MY PLAN WOULD JUST BE MONTH-TO-MONTH. So right now I could have the phone I do, I’d have probably only had to put maybe $50 towards it plus my fido dollars that are just sitting there AND I would not be locked into another 2 years.

Am I angry to only find this out today?? Why, yes, yes I am!!!!!

So I called and just discussed my issues with all that went on (after a THIRTY MINUTE wait and I had to have my ear to the phone that whole time because for some reason when I tried just putting it on speaker phone, their elevator music cut in and out so badly that I was constantly wondering if someone was actually answering my call).

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Anyway, the guy was surprised that the sales rep hadn’t told me any details about anything. Well the sales rep was the biggest idiot ever. For instance, before I left he told me that someone would call in a week to do a survey about his performance and basically I HAD to say excellent for everything or they’d ‘get really mad at him.’ Okkkkaaaaaay. THAT’S PROFESSIONAL!

Anyway, there was basically ‘nothing’ this guy today could do for me, other than offer me a feature for free for one month!! What he was offering me was 100 free (talking) minutes. And I said I appreciated that he wanted to offer something, but I really don’t use my phone enough to warrant an extra 100 minutes…he begged to differ and checked my last bill and then was like ooooh, yeeeah…you don’t really talk on the phone much. LOL I probably don’t even use one third of the minutes I pay for on my plan.

I now have call display and voice mail for one month. I told him I was apprehensive about it because it took 30 mins to get through today and I have to call back in a month to cancel the ‘free’ service…and I’d rather not bother if it’s going to take that long. He assured me this is not normal and that its only been the past few weeks that they’ve had higher than normal caller volume…so we’ll see if he’s right about that. I’m not paying an extra $8-$10 a month for this feature so now I have to call back again in a few weeks.

Sigh.

It’s more trouble than it’s worth and I really don’t feel any better toward the company than I did before I called him.

So I guess the moral of the story is, do your research on your own before you just blindly trust a sales rep, even if it is JUST for a cell phone, which shouldn’t have to take so much pre-planning if you ask me.

(@*#t@!#@&()&^%*(^#!*()!

Lizzie’s annoyed.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Seatbelts save lives

I don’t understand why people STILL don’t get the importance of WEARING A SEATBELT in a moving vehicle. Why are people not wearing them???

A very close friend of my s-i-l-to-be was killed in an accident, at the age of 25, just 2 days ago. And then I read about the accident that couple from North Vancouver was in, where the husband swerved at the last second so as to save his wife and unborn baby and was killed on scene.

The thing is, these people weren’t wearing seatbelts. WHY WEREN’T THEY WEARING SEATBELTS??

Of course, there is no way of knowing if seatbelts for sure would have saved their lives. It of course depends on the severity of the accident and the force of impact. But so many lives are saved just from clipping the belt into its little holder. One click and you’re good to go.

It’s so tragic when lives are taken, especially young lives, and the lives of those who have yet to meet their first born child. Such horribly horrific events that should never have taken place.

Not to mention the STUPIDITY behind these incidents…Obviously not wearing your seatbelt isn’t the smartest move but neither is driving with someone who’s intoxicated, or, in the case of the couple from North Van – the stupidity of the driver of the OTHER vehicle, which caused the whole thing, who was REMOVING HER SWEATSHIRT WHILE DRIVING, HAVING THE PASSENGER TAKE THE WHEEL FOR HER TO DO SO.

Pull your damn car over or put the AC on or open the goddam window or just deal with being a little too warm for a while. ‘Don’t remove articles of clothing while driving’ should NOT have to be part of the driving test, people. Come on now.

Some things in life cannot be avoided, and you never know who’s going to be on the road or what’s going to happen. But if you wear your seatbelt, at least you are doing what you can to prevent unnecessary injury or death.

Just a friendly reminder. I know I will be teaching Andrew from a VERY early age to buckle up OR ELSE.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Cold season already?

Well, Andrew officially has his first cold of the season. Even though technically it’s still summer, somehow it feels as though fall is upon us. Where did the summer months go?

The day before yesterday, Andrew kept pointing at his throat saying, ‘Boo boo.’ We asked if he had a sore throat and he would say, ‘Yeah.’ Then late last night he woke up completely stuffed up, coughing, and even felt slightly feverish. Poor little guy.

He’s had some Tylenol and sneezed out a big wet snot ball (sorry, TMI!!) and after he ate breakfast he threw up.

He’s definitely more subdued than usual, not racing around but content to lay on the couch, cozy in a fresh pair of pj’s, watching The Wiggles, and his new favourite dvd – Mighty Machines. He’s not letting it get him down though, he’s in good spirits.

Still, I can’t help it, I feel bad for him and wish I could have the cold for him. I hate to see my boy going through this, even if it is ‘just a cold.’

I hope it doesn’t last long and that neither James or I end up with it. We’re taking Andrew to his first concert (Yo Gabba Gabba) next weekend and we’ve been looking forward to it (OK, I have been looking forward to it!!) for months, it would suck for any one of us to be sick during it. So fingers crossed it’s just a little bug and he’ll be fine in no time at all!

A good date makes all the difference

A week ago tonight, to celebrate my completion of level 1 rowing, James and I went on a date.

It was absolutely HORRIBLE.

And tonight we went on a date that was absolutely FANTASTIC.

(As a side note, in relation to my previous post about m-i-l issues, we got to go on our date tonight because James persuaded his mom to look after Andrew with b-i-l at our place and she agreed…I’m not going to get into all of that though – that’s not what this post is about).

OK…so I want to discuss the two totally different experiences.

Last Sunday we decided to hit up Ciao Bella on Denman Street. We’d been twice before and while the food was good both times, I remember not being super impressed with the atmosphere or the service. We decided to give it one last chance. We were in the mood for pasta and it seemed like a good choice given it’s close to our place and we didn’t want to experiment with a new place.

Now I’m kind of wishing we had.

We were seated on the patio, although they put us at a table right beside the door when there were better seats a little ways away from it. So we ended up moving, which was fine. The heat lamp was SO HOT though, and part way through our meal I heard a woman at a table nearby ask if it was possible to turn it down or off, and the waitress said No, which I found a little strange, but whatever. So we were out on the patio but it was stifling hot as if we were sitting inside by a fireplace. I think it would have been much cooler if we’d just sat inside, but who could have known.

Things went awry when I went to order something I ate there before, only this time to be told it was not vegetarian. I’m not even going to mention what is in this sauce because it made me want to start sobbing on the spot (and I’m not joking, it really did make me feel awful). I would have left the restaurant right then and there without eating a thing and that would have been fine by me. Thinking back, that’s probably what we should have done.

But he assured me that their Fettuccine Alfredo IS vegetarian so I ordered that. And James ordered some seafood pasta, the pescatarian that he is.

We ordered our drinks at the same time that we ordered the meal. I can’t remember what James got but I ordered a Cosmopolitan. I was actually planning on just having water but after being frazzled by the non-veggie thing I felt alcohol was in order.

Well the drinks were on the table within 30 seconds of ordering them. And I think it should take longer to mix a Cosmo, wouldn’t you think? I should have known when the waiter actually APOLOGIZED for how it looked, saying something about the juice they use and that it might not look great but it would have all the right flavours.

Well I have had my share of Cosmopolitans and certainly they are different from place to place. But this one contained zero alcohol and tasted basically like watered down grapefruit juice with a bit of sugar. It was disgusting. But whatevs, I wasn’t going to make a scene about it.

At the same time that the drinks arrived, bread was brought to our table. There was oil and balsamic vinegar on the table for us to use for dipping. So I put some on the side plate and JUST broke a little piece of bread off to dip when OUR MEALS ARRIVED.

I kid you not, this is NOT an exaggeration – it took less than 5 minutes from the time we ordered everything to have it all on the table. You can’t boil pasta in under 5 minutes, so you tell me how fresh our food was?! I am actually going to hazard to guess that it was three minutes tops when our food arrived from the time we ordered it. TOPS.

I was totally put off. The pasta tasted good, but that’s not the point. I felt like I was at an Italian version of McDonalds. Only the food came a little faster than Mickey D’s. I wasn’t there to be hurried out. I wanted to be out having a nice date with my husband without watching the time.

I just wasn’t having a good time and that was evident. I did try to make the most of it, but by the time the bill came I just sort of felt like crying. I didn’t, obviously, but I was just blah from the whole experience, and angry that it cost us $50 to have such a lousy time. I mean, sure I enjoyed James’ company, but I could have done that for far less money and we probably could have had a better experience at Subway. And I once had a fly fly right out of my sandwich from Subway (seriously) so that’s saying something!

Anyway, I was feeling disheartened because our last two dates before this were kind of similar. An Indian restaurant that was boiling hot with horrible service and ugly atmosphere, decent food but not worth the experience of being there to eat it. And Thai place where they seemed to be out of more than what they had and very slow service.

It upsets me each time this happens not just because we’re wasting money on a somewhat lame experience but because we really don’t usually get to go out very often just the two of us, so when we do I really have high hopes that it will be a great time.

Well, tonight we got our great time.

And we got it at Earls of all places!

I say ‘of all places’ because truthfully I tend to think of Earls as quite trendy and not really all that unique. Cookie-cutter servers usually and overpriced food. BUT we had a $50 gift certificate that my uncle gave us last Christmas so we thought we might as well use it once and for all. And as it turns out, it actually wasn't as overpriced as I'd thought - it was comparable to all the other restaurants of its calibre.

And I seriously can’t wait to go back there, it was such a great experience!

I was feeling frazzled from the m-i-l so you could argue that I had the same sort of problem as I did at the other place re: the food issue. On both dates there was something hanging over my head a little. But this experience was so good that I was able to leave my issues at the door and just enjoy myself, since there was nothing else bad happening to cause me to dwell on things. Which is a sign of a really good restaurant experience, if you ask me.

We wanted to sit outside, and were told to pick anywhere we wanted on the patio. We were far enough from the heat lamps so they weren’t too hot (although, I should add that without us saying anything we were told that if we got too hot they could easily turn the heat lamp off for us) and we got a bit of a breeze coming from Robson Street down below. It was glorious. They even had blankets on the chairs if we needed them (which we didn’t, but I thought it was a really nice touch!)

Our waitress wasn’t cookie-cutter-ish and was super friendly and knowledgeable about the menu (and accommodating vegetarians, since it’s not the most veg-friendly menu). We ordered drinks first – some sort of Rah Rah Raspberry something or other cocktail and a Wild Orchid martini (which I drank and it was DELISH – I would definitely have it again). We ordered an appy to start – a spinach and artichoke feta cheese dip with crispy flatbread and it was to die for. SOOOOO GOOD. I could eat more of it right now.

When we were finished with that we ordered our main courses, James got the chicken tacos with mushrooms instead of chicken, and I had a vegetarian kung pao. It’s so important for vegetarians to ALWAYS ask to make sure something is pure veggie because I was surprised to learn that the kung pao has bok choy in it that they usually SOAK IN CHICKEN STOCK before adding to the dish. Which of course they didn’t do for mine, but wow, stuff you just don’t think about. But the waitress knew all of this and was so good about all of it.

We sat and sipped our drinks and chatted and then, a totally appropriate amount of time later, our meals arrived.

And they were fantastic. I couldn’t try James’ tacos because they had avocado in them and avocado wants to kill me every time I eat it so I don’t anymore. But they must have been good because he said minus the avocado, we should try making them at home. And my kung pao seriously hit the spot. I was worried because it said ‘ginger soy sauce’ and I HATE ginger with a passion, but it was subtle and tasted so yummy. I could also eat more of it now (and I had leftovers I could have eaten, but a homeless guy asked for the take-away box as we were walking home so I gave it to him. How could I have enjoyed eating the rest later thinking that I left a guy starving on the street so I could have a snack when we’ve got tons of food in our fridge and cupboards?!)

The food was SO GOOD that we didn’t stop there. Well, first with the drinks – James ordered a classic martini with a lemon twist, and I got a B52 coffee. James mentioned I had my eye on the S’Mores dessert but I told the waitress I needed to coast for a bit. She came back a totally appropriate time later and asked if I was ready for it yet, which I was, and it came to the table about 10 minutes later. And it was so so so so so so good.

The server checked on us just the right amount of times. The food was all SO TASTY. The drinks were good. The atmosphere great. And we enjoyed their choice in music. There really was nothing about the date that was bad.

I’m surprised I loved it so much but I did!

And I am so relieved after our negative experience, most especially at Ciao Bella, but at the other places I briefly mentioned as well.

I’d love to be able to support the more independent restaurants, but I’ve come to realize that while of course there are exceptions, there are certain standards that these chain restaurants like Earls have set. I like having a fairly good idea what my experience at a particular place is going to be like. Sure, things could go awry even at Earls. It depends on the server we get, my mood at the time, possibly even the weather could make it or break it. But I do think they in general have a particular standard that they set out to meet and they tend to do a good job at it. These other restaurants could learn a thing or two from that.

I am just so tired of going out and spending money on an experience that isn’t all there. Tonight we got really lucky, since $50 of our experience was paid for with the gift card, but even if it hadn’t been, it seriously would have been worth every penny.

I thought I was already pretty choosy about where we go on our dates, but from now on I’m going to be extra cautious in making a decision to go somewhere and spend money. And if I get a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach from the moment we sit down, that’s when I know we have to boot it out the door and go someplace where it feels right to be there. Why bother going out otherwise?

I’m so glad James and I had our night out tonight. We had great conversations and lots of laughs. It’s a night out I won’t soon forget!


blogger template by lovebird