Jan 3 2014

the past, the present, the future.

So…here I am at the beginning of 2014.  I haven’t had more than 3 hours of sleep at a time in…I don’t remember how long.  See those eyes?  Those are the eyes of an exhausted mama.  My life has become…a whole lot different in the last year.  From the excitement of getting pregnant, to being pregnant in the heat of the summer (yuck), to going into preterm labor and then dealing with the crappiness of an unexpected c-section, to dealing with a preemie, and major health issues of said preemie…2013 did not really go how I expected it to go.  I’m looking forward to a better year, and maybe by the end of it I’ll have had at least one full night of sleep.  Here’s to big goals! Ha!

Each year I’ve always tried to freshen up my blog a little in one way or another.  If you haven’t noticed, I did a little redesign (which I’m still working on, but it’s hard to get much design time in these days).  As I was sorting through old posts to clean up layouts etc, I found a post from Jan. 2010 (check it out here) and I thought I’d do a little updated version (with some of the questions left out/edited).

10 years ago: I was working night shifts at McDonalds, and was about to hand in my 2 week notice.  I had just gotten a job at Tom Lee Music, where I would meet my future husband and we would go on our first date to a heavy metal concert on Valentines day.  I drove a 1984 Dodge Shadow named Bunbury that stalled every three seconds.  I was obsessed with Douglas Adams “Hitchhikers” series and had just finished the last book.  I listened to Astrid Gilberto like it was my job.

1 year ago: This. And then we bought a couch.  It may or may not have been a “Let’s feel better about ourselves cause our year just started off crappy” purchase.

Yesterday: I spent half the day pulling my hair out trying to feed Lucy.  The other half, I spent pulling my hair out because the latest wordpress update almost ate my website and I had to manually reinstall everything.  Don’t worry, I have a lot of hair to pull out, so I’m not bald.  Yet.

Today: I made too many phone calls to too many doctors and specialists.  We have been trying to figure out why Lucy will *not* eat.  It has been getting worse and worse and we are at our wits end.  Our doctors appointments are piling up. Currently, the list of appointments goes as follows:  Jan 7: Chiro for Lucy (this apparently helps with reflux issues), Jan 9: Cardiology, to find out the status of her heart and to possibly make the final decision about when her surgery will be. Also, follow up meeting with her surgeon from her first surgery (Dr Butterworth!  Best name ever.  Nicest doctor ever too.) Also, meeting with a feeding specialist to discuss solutions to her feeding aversion.  Jan 22nd, paediatrician visit for checkup and updates. Jan 28th, GP follow up to see if the meds for the reflux have been working. Also, meeting with an occupational therapist and speech therapist (which seems strange, but apparently they work on feeding issues with infants?).  Then to end her month off well, a nice big RSV shot in the thigh.  I plan on ending my day with a glass of port. Yes please.

Tomorrow: I will shop for jeans.  You bet.  First time buying jeans postpartum and I’m a little nervous.  Things don’t really fit like they used to.

1 Biggest Joy: (which is also my biggest pain in the arse right now as well) is the little human critter named Lucy that is happily grunting beside me right now.  If I never had to feed her our lives would be bliss.

2 Favourite Toys: The french press.  It will probably always be one of my favourite toys.  It makes my day work properly.  And my iPad…which incidentally is old and probably needs to be replaced because appscrashes if you look at it funny…but it has been the most useful of tools/toys to me.

3 Things I Would Do With $1,000,000: 1: Buy a house so I didn’t have to listen to chihuahuas all day long. 2. Hire a cook.  I’m tired of cooking.  I enjoy it if I’m not sleep deprived and can prepare…but otherwise… 3. Take a nice long vacation.  I think I’m in the mood to go back to Greece.

4 Things I Love Doing: 1. Making the bed…and general house work.  Yes, so sue me– I love keeping my house tidy.  My bed always has to be made.  I even iron my sheets.  2. Snuggling with my puppy.  She is basically the sweetest thing that ever happened to the world.  3. Sleeping.  Enough said.  4. Blogging.  I really hope that I can find some time to be more regular at it. (BONUS: If you read this same post from 4 years ago, I said I loved dreaming that I lived on the Starship Enterprise.  I still love that.  It is still my ultimate goal.)

5 Things I am looking forward to this year: 1. Lucy’s heart surgery.  Is it strange that I am looking forward to that?  It used to be so scary and daunting.  Now I understand that it is vital for her to thrive. 2. Walks in the park with my pug and baby.  I hope to do this often. 3. Going to Harrison in spring.  Every year the BCMB conference sends the pastors and spouses on a retreat there and all I can think about lately is sitting in the hot springs.  Yes please. 4. The 52 Project.  I really am excited to see how it grows. 5.  Perhaps…getting a full nights rest sometime near the end of the year when/if Lucy will sleep through the night.  I am the worst person when I haven’t slept.  No sleep makes me so miserable.

Well there you go.  Maybe I’ll do this again next year to see what has changed.  Happy New Year, folks!


Jan 11 2012

2011: The Year of the Thrifter.

(above–entire outfit: coat, dress, cardigan and shoes are all second hand)

Well, ladies and (er, gentlemen?) I have finally gotten around to writing some thoughts about the last year. And it’s only 11 days after New Years! I’m doing well. Heh.

This post is something I’ve been mulling over and planning for a while now.

This post is about thrifting.

You see, last year at this time I made a resolution of sorts. (I’ve never been one to make resolutions really, but it just so happened that I made this choice at the beginning of the year.)
I decided that I was going to buy all that I possibly could–second hand. If we were in need of a blender (which we were), we looked in the thrift store first (which we did–and we found a great one). If I needed fabric for a project (you can bet that happened more than once) I looked in the thrift store first. If I was in the mood for a new dress–you guessed it–thrift store. Now, I’ve never really been weirded out by thrift stores (RABBIT TRAIL: Often times I see people shopping for costumes at the thrift store. Presumably they would never set foot in one otherwise. Then they see something they like and exclaim “Oh! That’s really cute! …er…for being in the thrift store” and then they throw it back on the rack like it’s someone’s dirty laundry.) When I was a teen I frequented thrift stores and found many of my (still favourite) items there (*ahem* a beautiful red, fur trimmed swing coat from the 50′s for $7) However, it never occurred to me that I could look there *first*–and find what I was looking for. Thrifting was more of a hobby thing…like “Hey, let’s go to the thrift store and see if we can find something interesting”

But it turned into a lifestyle thing.

Let me tell you the top 5 reasons I go to the thrift stores for anything/everything:

1. COST.
Well duh. We’re on a tight budget. Thrift stores are cheap. Pure and simple.

When we were working down in South America, there was a market every week called the “American Market”. Locals would buy giant bales of clothing (that no one in America presumably wanted) for cheap, set up tents alongside the road and sell the items. When I heard about this, I wondered “What kind of clothes could these possibly be?” Well, the obvious…you know…last seasons Abercrombie or American Eagle hoodies, jeans that looked like they had been worn once or twice…”out of style” stuff. Um…yeah.
It really got me thinking about how disposable our clothing has become. It’s completely normal for someone to buy a number of items, wear them a couple times during the season, and then send them off to the thrift shop. It’s so easy to be drawn in by the giant window displays we see at the mall and think “I want to look just like that mannequin. But I can’t with what I already have. Must. Acquire. More. Stuff.”
Then when you think about all that, you think “Holy cow–every year we make more and more clothes…we harvest more and more cotton…concoct more and more polyester…” Pow. All that energy and waste going towards cheap disposable clothing items that we buy for $39.95, wear once and throw away. Yuck. I think I’d rather buy recycled clothes, thanks.

My favourite thrift shop in town is 100% volunteers, and all their profits go towards numerous places in the world helping people in need. I like that. If I can buy that blender and have the money go towards someone who needs food…hey, it’s a win win.

Do you realize that crazy interesting/exciting things I’ve found at thrift stores? My Melitta Coffee set, for one. Or my incredible mid-century modern solid walnut bedroom set (for $290) Most of the time I will go to the thrift store with a list in my mind of things we are currently in need of. (It can be easy to get carried away at the thrift store if you don’t have a list)
But sometimes, random things just catch my eye. I’ve got a really sweet impressionist style oil painting by a Vancouver artist for $6. The frame alone was worth more than that. Thrifting is most definitely interesting.

I put a lot of thought into what I wear (surprise!) I’ve always been a vintage/retro lover for as long as I can remember…unfortunately that’s not always what’s trendy for mainstream shops. I can remember being so frustrated sometimes, because I wanted to be classy and unique…but that can be difficult (*ahem* impossible) if you shop in mainstream stores.
I’ve noticed that since buying my clothes at thrift stores, I have become infinitely more happy with my wardrobe. It feels a lot more age appropriate, as well as unique to me. Dressing retro has never been easier. (Hah..because most of it comes from the 50′s-80′s anyway!) And because I’m not influenced by mannequin displays (thrift store mannequins are put together by 80 year old ladies. Um, no thanks, sweater sets and power suits) I can browse the product and grab things simply by a gut reacting of “I like!” rather than “Uh, I want to look like the mannequin.” I try not to think about fitting in to a current trend. I just wear what I like.
My home decor has also benefited enormously from the thrift shops. I feel like my own artwork – paintings, or photographs – don’t look so out of place with non-ikea furniture/decor.

So there you have it folks. Thrift stores are cool. Go support your local shop and fall in love with buying someone else’s old “garbage”.

PS: I also buy Vintage for more special items like a dress for an occasion, or my lovely fur-trimmed coat in the picture above. If you are interested in Vintage but don’t know where to start–I’m your gal. Give me a shout and I’ll direct you to–or heck, I’ll even take you to some of my favourite shops around.
PPS: No, I don’t buy socks and underwear from the thrift store.
PPPS: I do, however still buy the same cut of jeans from the Gap that I have for the last 100 years. If I ever see them in the thrift store though, you can bet they’d come home with me.


Jan 3 2012

sparkly mountains and snow covered trees

Dave and I have come to the conclusion that winter vacations in snowy mountain retreats are the ultimate.
In short–Banff is so stunningly beautiful I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to visit it.
I don’t know if I could adequately put in words how lovely of a time we had up there. So I will show you pictures instead.
(Above + below are views from the terrace of Banff Springs Hotel, where in summer time you can have a meal)

We spent time at Lake Louise on New Years Eve – and even went on a sleigh ride around the lake!  It was so charming.

(Later that evening Dave and I had planned out being out in town.  But when it came right down to it, all the places we wanted to be had a cover charge…and it was too cold to loiter on the streets till midnight.  So…we bought a bottle of wine and spent New Years in our hotel room…watching a Mythbusters marathon.  Huzzah!)

(it was SO cold that day)

New Years Day was relaxed. We went for a drive intending on visiting a Ghost Town, but the road was closed from snow. So we kept going down some other back roads and discovered some beautiful locations where no one else was around.

 Lake Minewanka



Two Jack Lake–Totally frozen over.



(These boots are older than me.  They have lived through winters in Northern BC.  They are better than my new winter boots that I got only last year.  My mom is not getting these boots back.)

The roads were not as treacherous as I thought they would be.  The only time we were delayed was going into Banff (they closed the road between Revelstoke + Golden–we had to wait in Revelstoke for 3 hours while they cleaned up the accident)

While the roads were not as treacherous as I thought they would be, it was still too dangerous to just stop wherever to take pictures.  And many of the viewpoints have not been cleared of the snow so there was no way to get to them.  Therefore…all the following images were taken while I hung out of the window of our car.  That’s safe, right?


Nov 3 2011

impressions of a vacation.

We’ve done it.
Booked our vacation for 2011.
It only took us the entire year to decide…
And of course, it will be at the very end of the year.
I haven’t had a real non-work related trip for some time now, so as you can imagine, I’m fairly stoked. We decided to go to Banff over New Years. The original thing that drew us to Banff was the Banff Springs Hotel, but after looking at their prices (minimum $400 a night, up to $1400! Phew!) we decided that we’d go the cheaper route at a different hotel (and then loiter in the Banff Springs Hotel lobby when we could)
I’ve never been on a wintery vacation such as this. We have a cabin up north by 100 Mile House that for years and years I tried to convince my family to spend Christmas up there, but to no avail. In my mind, wintery vacations are lovely and perfect and cozy and all those things you think of when you imagine the perfect winter.
I seem to have this problem, however, of setting myself up for failure with vacations. I imagine everything happening just as it should. No traffic on the way. The hotel rocks. The weather is perfect. Everything is reasonably priced. The food is amazing. In a sense, I’ve already experienced the vacation in my mind before I’ve even arrived at the location. When any one of those things don’t happen…well…
Perhaps, however, I should take a different approach to vacationing.

Perhaps I should imagine everything going wrong. Arriving late at night, barely finding the hotel (and when we do, there’s no parking). The bed will be too small, and it will be uncomfortable (hmm…so far, this sounds like our San Francisco experience). The weather will be unseasonably awful, and when we try to escape from the weather–everything will be closed. We will prepare to spend way too much on food. And it could taste really bad. We will have not packed things we need.
And so in this case if I imagine all these things as true, I can prepare for the worst. I’ll think – “Hmm, spending time stuck in the hotel room playing board games isn’t so bad.” Then if anything in the aforementioned list fails to happen I’ll be exceedingly happy.
Yay for vacations!

1 comment

Dec 31 2010

day 109: to the new year!