Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Merry Christmas! Almost...

Merry Wednesday-before-Christmas, anyway!

I'm ready. Mike and I opened our presents on Monday during the power outage, even though his last hadn't come yet (it did yesterday, so I let him open the box). The last of Mom and Dad's presents is wrapped and sitting by the Christmas snowman (yes, I will post a picture!). The house is nearly clean, and should be by Thursday, if I have my way. I need to go pick up appropriate picture-hanging nails from Canadian Tire this afternoon to get the family picture wall up on the wall instead of the floor. I need to make up a fish feeding schedule and give it to the neighbours, but that won't take long. I've emailed the local greyhound rescue contact to set up an appointment for after Christmas. My reactions to the supplements seem to be evening out. And I'm so ready to take some time to sit and rest with family and friends.

Is it Friday yet?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Who can resist a face like this?

Image courtesy of

Not this exact face, naturally, but something like it. Well, the answer is, clearly, not us. Stay tuned.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Off. Very, very off.

It's not as bad as yesterday. Yesterday I'd call people and they'd answer the phone, or they'd call me, or walk by and speak, and I know it was English. I do. But for the life of me, I couldn't understand them. At least that hasn't happened today. Yet.

It's probably a combination of stupid work stress and starting the supplements. Actually, it's probably mostly the supplements. I started on Wednesday night, and I'm taking (I'm not exaggerating; I'll take pictures if you like) 19 supplements a day (20 when the one that was out of stock comes) from 10 different pill bottles. Add to that the tart cherry concentrate I'm adding to one bottle of water a day, and the tablespoon of dirt (I swear it's dirt. I know it's not, but that's what it looks, tastes, and feels like) that I need to mix into just over a quarter litre of water and shoot, and chase with another quarter litre, and that's a lot of new stuff that's going into my system. And my system, which is so used to living with what's wrong with it, is waking up and taking notice. And knocking on the door like a nosy neighbour that isn't too impressed with the landscaping you're doing and saying, "Excuse me. Just what is it that you think you're going to accomplish? A decrease in property value? See if you get any enjoyment out of that, you silly person!"

Okay, maybe that's just a little random, and the simile doesn't quite work. Who cares? I'm off, I told you already.

I'll just keep telling myself that if you're going to flush the toxins out of the system and get things that are imbalanced back in balance, you're going to feel like crap. I mean, worse than you already felt. And at some point, you'll start feeling better. At some point, English will actually be English again, and life will be good. Until then, if I look at you blankly when you speak to me, it might be a good idea to repeat yourself. Very slowly. Or type it out and show it to me. I seem to have no problem understanding the written word.

In other news, the four Harry Potter scarves are on their way to new happy homes! I don't know how much my beloved Hufflepuff scarf or the Slytherin scarf went for, but the Ravenclaw and Gryffindor scarves brought in $42 each for the Christmas Bureau! Am I sad to see them go? Not really. Someone will get great enjoyment from them. I've also been asked if maybe I'd be willing to make some on contract after Christmas. I'll have to think about that. I offered the asker that I'd teach her daughter and her friends to make them themselves, 'cause they're so easy. We'll see what happens.

I am down to two knitting projects (Mike's scarf and my afghan), as I also finished the baby blanket! I'll try to rescue all the pictures from the camera this weekend and do a photo update post. And post some pictures of our decorated house. Before Mike takes advantage of my non-understanding-English to get me to say yes to opening presents...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Times, They are A'Changing...

Nearly three months to the day since I filled out the assessment form, yesterday night I finally had the conversation with the holistic nutritionist that I've been wanting to have. This is the conversation that talks about what's going on with me, and what we can do to try to resolve things. And here is what I gleaned from the conversation. Please forgive how disjointed it's going to be, but the conversation was an hour and a half long, and at least the last half hour was after 9 pm, which is when my brain smacks me upside the head and says, "You! No thinky!" So I'm not sure how much of that last half hour I retained or understood. But here we go.

  • My adrenaline system is screwy. My cortisol levels are about 200 nmol outside the recommended range (the doctor didn't want to worry until it was into the thousands, though). Cortisol has this lovely side effect of causing the body to store energy as fat. This is part of the reason I couldn't lose weight last year, no matter what I tried.
  • My digestive system is screwy. I have an underactive stomach, so it's not doing a great job digesting food. This sets up a whole host of other related problems, including protein leakage (which the body doesn't see as protein because it's not broken down into amino acids, and sets the immune system on them, meaning my immune system is doing what my digestive system should be, and not what it should be), liver overload (so toxins aren't completely cleaned out of the system, and this leads to overall pain and inflammation), and candidiasis.
  • My hormones are screwy. I have too much estrogen, which is why I had (before birth control) terrible menstrual symptoms. This is controllable, eventually, without birth control.
  • My thyroid is screwy. I'm exhibiting hypothyroidism, which is usually preceded by a period of hyperthyroidism (everyone remember five years ago when I went from 220 lb to 165 in about six months?).

So what does this mean. What does this all mean, besides I'm continuing my trend of being an interesting subject, someone to write medical journal articles about.

Well, it means the times, they are definitely a'changing. We're doing prep work until January. Why? Because no one is going to be able to do a complete cleanse over Christmas, and it's just not fair to ask them to. So we're going to set the stage, get some stability back into the system, and then January, go full bore. Sugar and alcohol are going to be gone. Wheat for the most part too. And our entire eating philosophy is going to have to change because (and I remember this clearly from last night) she said that we could have starches and vegetables for a meal, or vegetables and protein, but by no means should we be having starches and protein. And what have we been eating, practically every night? Starches and protein. This is going to be a paradigm shift.

But guess what I can have! Guess guess guess guess guess!!! FLATBREADS!!!!!!

I wish I remembered the whole conversation more clearly. I wish I remembered what it was she said about osteopenia, but that was towards the end of the conversation, and I remember just hearing the word osteopenia and commenting on it. It was just too long, and too late at night, and my brain went into information overload even before it started shutting down for the evening. But there'll be documentation coming to me soon, including something about what to take out of my pantry. When I get that, I think I have one of two options: either spend December trying to eat the stuff that doesn't make the cut, or give it away. Does anyone need a pound of sugar with only a little bit of it used?

And Mike's going to be going through this with me, so hopefully that's a good thing. I apologize right now, love, for all the weird stuff I'm going to be making us eat. Hopefully we can find stuff we like just as much as rose sauce, stroganoff, and Uncle Dave's, if those things become on the banned or unmodifiable list...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Christmas, or Is It Really That Close/Far Away?

The last few days, Mike's been asking me if we can open presents yet. I keep telling him that a) I don't have all of his yet, b) he doesn't have all of mine yet, and (perhaps most importantly) c) he hasn't wrapped mine yet! Darling, darling, darling. An essential component in the opening of presents is to actually have something to open. A gift bag to peek into, wrapping paper to tear off (and yes, I do actually tear now. Shocking, I know), and no, the bag from the store doesn't count. Have I blocked all the loopholes? Probably not. He'll find one, like the one in our agreement about winning the lottery (if we win the lottery, he'll go learn how to cook at NAIT. He just... won't cook. Ever. He'll know how, but he doesn't want to accept this amendment to the original agreement, that he'll actually cook...).

This past weekend I bought myself some wool. For those on Ravelry, I'll post what kinds here soon, but it was two skeins that Sheila thought would be good for the Yarn Harlot's Unoriginal Hat, and a skein of sock yarn. Plus needles for the sock yarn. The lady at the store remembered me (it took her a while, but she did eventually remember!), and asked me if the blanket was done. I explained why it wasn't, but that got me thinking that, you know, it'd be nice if my first ever knitting project was done. But no. I cannot touch it, or cast on the hat, or figure out which pair from Favorite Socks I want to try to attempt. No, I have things to finish first. The Slytherin Scarf. Sarah's Baby Blanket. Must... Finish...

Christmas is coming fast, though. Some days, not fast enough, but then I look at the calendar and realize exactly how close it is. And I still have much to do... Like now. Must fly; too many appointments!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Singin' dallah dallah bill, y'all

I'm listening as Mike tries to pick songs for a driving CD for my dad, and I remark internally how my taste in music has changed, yet stayed the same. Perhaps broadened is a better word. Or perhaps the different styles of music have come closer and closer together, so that there isn't so much a difference between rock, pop, country, and any of the others you might choose to mention. Not sure. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to do some research for a song title for him. :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


The last time that Dad was up, one of the first things he said to me was, "Your hair is getting long!" Was it? I hadn't really noticed, but I suppose you don't when you live with it every day. But comparing it now to the "engagement" picture, yeah, it's a ton longer. So today, I'm going to get it cut (and highlighted again). But I don't want it to be too much shorter. To be honest, I like it long, and the longer, the better. I still remember the "afro" years. I mean, it had to be done. My hair was so fried, and really needed a good long time to recover, restabilize, and decide it really did want to be ringlettey, even at a good length, before growing it out. As much as those years were good for my hair, they were horrid for my self-esteem. My boyfriend at the time took one look at my new hairstyle and said he preferred it long (he hadn't yet joined The Brotherhood, and I hold out serious doubts that he ever will). I spent the better part of high school ignoring calls of "Pat! Hey Pat!" and was confused until I found out exactly who/what they were referring to. After that, it was extremely destructive, and to this day, I am appalled by the meanness of children (and yes, I include people in high-school in the "child" category). There were some "fun" moments, like on the band trip in the Bahamas when people amused themselves on a bus ride by seeing if they could lose pens in it, but oh well. When I started Uni, I decided to grow it out, and thought it took several years to reach a good length, and then a few more before I discovered that salon products really are better for my hair and allow it to grow more before frying, I much prefer it this way. I've even learned to wear my hair down all the time.

There are things I wish I could change. I wish I could knit myself this, but I know what it'd look like. I'd either have to tuck all my hair underneath it and look like I have a very oddly-shaped skull, or my hair would stick out horizontally from underneath it and I'd have to wear it to bed because there's no darn way I'd take that off in front of a living soul before I go in the shower the next morning. Even Mike. I'd also like it if it didn't clog the shower drain, wrap itself around the brush on the power head, or basically didn't make me feel so much like a DLH dog or cat when I'm sweeping/vacuuming/looking at the shirts and jackets I wear a lot. I mean, I shed. A lot. You wouldn't think it by how thick my hair still is, but I do. And I wish I didn't look like a complete ditz playing with my hair, because it's so much fun to play with. :) Ringlets FTW.

So today, cut and highlights, complete with hopefully a band and a half of the Slytherin scarf (damnit, it's going to get done...), 'cause highlights take forever. And if I tell her that I'm pretty much going straight home to bed, she might not do it up too much either. I guess I'm not the only one that likes playing with my hair.

Friday, November 16, 2007

What's new?

Once again, I see a dearth of new content in my favourite blogs. Oh, Gill keeps posting things, but more and more I just want to give her a great big hug and forward her job ads that I get via the sport contacts I have up here... And the Yarn Harlot is always posting about something new, and last week was filled with hilarious server issues ("SMACK MY SERVER!" I can totally relate to that!). But I am not sure what's going on with some of my favourite people, and I really should probably be emailing them and letting them know I'm thinking about them rather than posting something in the slim hope of guilting them into a new post.

What's new in St. Albert? I'm still having trouble arranging the sideboard with only one fish-tank, but I'm not so sad anymore. Dad helped us get the doors off of the useless closet, so now we're figuring out what to do with it. Right now there's one bookcase and one CD case in there, but it needs some paint and a piece of wood, so true arranging probably won't happen until over the Christmas break. Speaking of Christmas, I'm finally starting my Christmas shopping! I should really be starting on the cards and letters, but I think starting the shopping first is okay. I will also try to burn through the rest of the Sarah Keels baby blanket this weekend, as I'm on to the decreasing stage! Oh, and I got my Ravelry invitation, which is totally nifty.

Oh, and I am waiting for snow. The middle of November, and we've had barely a skiff thus far, and the biggest one only stuck around for two days. When it comes, I'm sure we'll get hit hard, but until then, I'm just waiting. I kind of miss it, but I'm glad I don't have to wear my winter jacket yet. Mostly because it's old and needs to be replaced... :)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Open the cookie, and...

Whenever you order Chinese takeout, they give you fortune cookies. Well, Mike and I never eat them. But we save them. Or we did, until a little while ago. By that time, we'd amassed so many of them, they were taking up way too much room. So we broke them all open. There was not one double in the 40 fortunes that we should have read over the past year. Here are some of my favourites.

We must always have old memories and young hopes.
Today is a good day for being with a companion.
Next week, your luck color will be green!
Speak less of your plans - you will get more of them done.
Friends long absent are coming back to you.
You have a charming way with words. Write a letter this week.
Seek out the significance of your problem at this time. Try to understand.
A good movie will inspire you to reach for the stars.
You will make many changes before settling satisfactorily.
Take full responsibility for your indulgences.
You tune in intuitively to people and situations immediately and intensely.
You will always live in interesting times.
Your home is a pleasant place from which you will draw happiness.
You will be honored with a prestigious prize or reward.
Tomorrow your creative side will shine forth with exceptional ideas.

And my personal favourite:

Go ahead and be as sexy as you can.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Mike Guest-posts: Today...

Today marks a sad day in our house hold, as we have lost a very close and dear friend to us.


They say that all beta's have a personality, and I think that's totally true. Ducati was really the first thing that belonged to both V and I. I'll always remember him for being the calm one, no matter how much his little cup moved on the way home that little guy was so relaxed. He was with us almost 3 years but we are glad he's not suffering anymore. We'll miss you Ducati, have fun with Ferrari....



Friday, November 09, 2007

No tears

It was an amazing, profound experience. This morning, I got my blood taken without a panic attack.

It even took two tries: one in my right arm, and then a successful one in my left hand, after digging for it just a little bit. But through it all, my heart rate was only slightly elevated, I wasn't reduced to tears or biting hard on my fingers to stay in control, and all I did was avoid the chair and be careful that I didn't smell the alcohol. At the end, I got up, gathered my things, and calmly walked out, patently amazed that no one in the waiting room would be able to tell that even last year, I would have been walking out a complete wreck.

Is it a one-time thing? Is there a switch in my head that went off, saying, "You're 30 now; 25 years of that is enough"? Was it because it was first thing in the morning? I don't know, and I don't particularly care. I'm just glad. I don't think I'll ever be comfortable enough for the chairs, but the nurses said not to even try, then, that it was fine to ask to lay down if that's what helped. But if I can do this without panic, that would be wonderful.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


There have been some changes in the building I work in. The meeting rooms have been upgraded with LCD screens and "new" furniture (used, but surplused from places that are higher on the totem pole that we are). New storage areas have been created. The fitness centre has some new equipment. An LCD panel above the reception area announces the events of the day. The elevators have received a spiffy new coat of paint. There are new industrial-strength electronic air fresheners in all the bathrooms. Who knows what tomorrow has in store?

I look on all of this, however, with a large amount of cynicism. This building is old. What good is an industrial strength air freshener when the toilets don't flush properly? It covers up the smell of remaining waste products, but doesn't solve the underlying problem. Yes, the paint makes the elevators look nice, but doesn't solve the issue of missing floor indicators, open and close buttons that may or may not work, or the obviously original sign telling people how to use the emergency phone. And the upgrades? It might as well be a sixty-year-old woman wearing a Bratz T-shirt. Do we care about LCD panels when we have to wear long-johns to work just to stay warm, inside the building?

But if I had to be perfectly honest, probably the reason for my cynicism is more personal than the fact that I think they should be fixing the plumbing and heating before putting in gadgets.

This past Saturday marked week 52 of my weight goal tracking. Those who maybe have been following the tracking may have noticed that I haven't updated it in a good long while. There is a reason for that. There is nothing to report. My completely attainable goal of 30 pounds in 52 weeks... proved to be completely unattainable. Completely. I don't even need to weigh myself to tell you that. The good look I got of myself in the mirror on Sunday saves me the trouble. There has been no change in my overall mass in 52 weeks.

That's not to say there haven't been changes. Before nearly completely giving up on my gym, I was able to do 45 minutes on the elliptical trainer, and probably could have gone longer. Even when I was fencing, I could barely manage 10 minutes. Pilates, when I was in those classes, really made a difference on how my back felt. I wouldn't say the pain and tension went away completely, but I really felt like it eased a bit as the muscles moved and strengthened. After a year, I think I have a tiny bit more energy. Not a lot, but enough that I notice most days.

But no change in my weight is a hard one to come to grips with. It feels like the changes above are like the LCD panels, the air fresheners, and the new coat of paint. Facade changes. Surface changes. Not fixing the underlying problem. And with my still tenuous self-esteem, naturally I focus on the negative rather than the positive. Sorry, Mike.

There are new changes on the horizon for us. Once Christmas is behind us, Mike and I are planning to take out memberships at the leisure centre in St. Albert and work out together at least once a week. I am also going to try to avail myself of their pilates classes. I have taken courses in nutrition and am in contact with a nutritionist, so changes in the way I eat are taking and will take place. But I know that my sister is right; I need to accept that I am the way I am at this moment, and like it. Love it, in fact. But a year of efforts--some aborted, I will admit, but efforts nonetheless--with no discernible effect make that particularly difficult this week.

Especially when I see the paint every time I step in the elevator.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


I just got a work email from the Edmonton Sport Council, and what leaps out at me? Capital Region Archery Club Programs.

Ooo! thinks my brain.

Wait a second, say my arms.

*sigh* Must find a sport that works for both.

Where have alllllllll the trick-or-treaters gooooooonnnne...

I was singing that in my head last night as I sat reading my book, waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

We live five minutes' walk from an elementary school, and even the local junior high is not far away. How many trick-or-treaters did we have last night? Sixteen. Great. Now I have to eat all the leftover candy!

Granted, there were a couple of cute ones. Like the two year old dressed as a giraffe who was already on her way to the next house by the time I got to the door. And the little four year old who, upon her dad's encouragement to say "Trick or treat," looked up at me and said very clearly, "TREAT!" And the weather was nice, and every single child who came to the door was dressed up in a fairly extensive costume.

But sixteen. Only sixteen.

Note to self: only buy two bags of candy next year.

In other news, Mike and I had a fabulous time in Drumheller. Pics are up at Picasa, and the Reptile World pictures are in a separate album for anyone with snake or lizard issues, but Mike has asked me to let you know that if you skip that album, you're missing pictures of the highlight of his trip: holding a lovely boa constrictor named Brittany. Even I have to admit, she is lovely. I petted her. No, I didn't hold her. For me, the highlight of the trip is less easy to pinpoint. If I had to pick three, they would be the Horse Thief Canyon lookout, playing with the mini-tripod, and having Mike go to bed at the same time as me. I know those are odd things to pick out, but there they are. Now it's back to the grind. Wake me when it's Christmas...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Two photos

The aforementioned baby blanket. :)

And for those who wonder what the inside of a horned melon looks like, wonder no longer...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Handcrafter's Curse

I think it may be something everyone who makes things to give to people goes through. There's a little piece of you, a tiny selfish piece, that wants to keep things. Even if you're making them for someone else. Right now, I'm making a baby blanket for a new addition to a friend's family. It's wonderful, and bright, and I'll take pictures of it tomorrow. And I love it so much that I almost want to keep it.

I guess I'll just have to make another (after the second baby blanket I have to make) for myself. And no, that doesn't mean there's a baby on the horizon for us, it just means that I love the colours too much to not have them be part of my life. :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

In which Mike's and my minds think alike

Monday, Mike and I were IMing about what to have for dinner. "It'll be something with vegetables," I told him. "Or... maybe a stirfry?"

"Yeah!" he replied excitedly. "A stirfry!"

We had a package of rice noodles at home specifically for this purpose, and I've had not so great luck with them in the past. They've always been undercooked, more crunchy super al dente than actually properly edible. So I decided to try a new plan of attack. I put them in the pot, added water, brought it to a boil, then simmered them for five minutes. Meanwhile, I made up a vegetable stirfry with sweet and sour sauce and a few appropriate spices. When the noodles were done, I drained them. That should have been my first warning. They sat in the colander looking as solid-yet-piecey as a brain. But I persevered. Into the stirfry they went, with the last of the sweet and sour sauce. And then the stirring. The noodles began to come apart, disintegrate into mush. Hmm... I thought to myself. Maybe I went too far the other direction.

I served it. Something wasn't right. The vegetables tasted fine, but they were surrounded by this blandish, textureless, goo. I remembered then that I hadn't put salt in the water for the noodles. And there was something else. The smell. It was... And yet I bravely marched on, through half a plate. Finally I turned to Mike.

"You know what this smells like?" I asked him.

"What?" he asked, not looking up where he was pushing things around his plate.

"A farm."

He burst out laughing. "I'm so glad you said it and not me!"

Yes, that's right. I'd produced a stirfry that smelled like cow manure.

We picked out as many vegetables as we could, because they actually tasted okay if you could get them out of the mush and the smell, and formed the noodle goo into a little mountain on my plate, where it jiggled when you tapped it. Then we made toast with cheese (cheddar for Mike, brie for me).

Thankfully there was a lot of food left over from the party, or we might have had to resort to the takeout menu again. I haven't had very good luck with stirfries lately. The last two I've produced have been either too salty for human consumption (even Mike!), or smelling like farm byproducts. I think it may be time to reevaluate my cooking skills. Since we've moved to Edmonton, I've managed to serve four relatively inedible meals (luckily not to guests!), and one where I neglected to peel the shrimp (sorry, Dad), whereas in Calgary, I don't remember doing that once. Maybe something about the northern climes has sucked a bit of my already limited cooking skill away. Or maybe I just need to follow more recipes until I get the hang of things...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Posts Owed and Getting Older

I have had two things in the last week and a half that were blog-worthy. Sadly, for the one I keep forgetting about the necessary supporting documentation, and for the other, it happened last night, but I don't think I can post about it until I post about my birthday. So I will talk about my birthday, and then make a new post about what happened last night. :)

I am thirty now. It doesn't feel a whole lot different that 29, but maybe it will soon. After all, it's a whole new decade. This is the decade where I will set the groundwork for my retirement, where I will have children, where I will never have stronger bones than I do right now, and where I will hopefully bring my pain levels down and my energy levels up. This is the decade that I get married, make as big an impact on my piece of the world as I can, and start becoming crotchety instead of hip and cool (if I ever was...).

But before all that happens, we have to have a Harry Potter Party.

Click me for more pictures!

Thank you to everyone who came out and made the party so successful and memorable! Thank you also to those who couldn't be there, but were thinking of us that day. I had a wonderful time, and I couldn't ask for better people to share such a celebration with.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Shhh.... We'we hunting wabbits...

Few of the blogs I frequent have posted new news lately. But then, neither have I. So I figured I'd start the ball rolling, to see some new content! :)

I am three hours away from two well-deserved days off. Huzzah. You can sense the excitement from there, can't you? I mean, really, I am looking forward to them. I'm going to be cooking, cleaning, and knitting, and exploring things like baking pumpkin, making chocolates, and my new Miele vacuum cleaner (thank you, Farmor; I will think of you and how you hated cleaning every time I use my new, fabulous Miele vacuum, because I hate cleaning too. We couldn't have done it without you). I will be running out of yarn for the baby blanket I'm knitting as a gift (990 yards! I only have 225! ARGN!), but finishing the third Harry Potter scarf and starting the fourth and last one for donation. I will be piecing together a half-decent costume, though I haven't made a prefect's badge and probably won't get to it. I will keep bothering Mike about alternately wrapping my birthday present (but since I was there when he bought it, I might give up on this one) and writing my birthday card. I will be arranging for activities for the party, but there probably won't be prizes. And it will be fun to let the fencing world run itself for a couple of days, because they're really stressing me out right now.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Scratch that...

Weekend plans are cancelled. We'll be at home pretending we aren't at home. I doubt that'll be successful, but here's hoping!

A weekend away

We're headed to Saskatchewan on Friday for a weekend of fishing and golf (for Mike) and knitting and party planning (for me). Sixteen hours of driving means a lot of progress on the last two Harry Potter scarves, so maybe, just maybe, they'll all be done for the party! That would be fabulous, but I'm not going to kill myself to do it. At least three of them will be done though. I'm also going to bring Knitting Without Tears and a book by The Yarn Harlot if I can get one out from the library before Friday, as well as Harry Potter 7, for inspiration for Harry Potter activities. I also need to think about prizes for the winners of the activities, so if anyone has any suggestions, let me know! Yes, it will be a lot of driving, but I'm hoping for a relaxing away-weekend just the same.

In other news, I found this essay today, and while I don't have anything so serious as Lupus, it describes something I can't explain very well. The idea of borrowing spoons from tomorrow is something I'm very familiar with. But I need to stop doing it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Random thought

It occurred to me yesterday, my mother's mother and my mother's mother's mother wove.

I'm not sure why this resonates right now. I know that it's something I didn't know about my grandmother until after she died. I know that, upon seeing something that she wove, that it was possible to do that kind of detail in cloth by hand and not by machine.

I don't know. It's just something that's in my head. My grandmother wove.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

End of an era

Today, we reach the end of an era. Today, we're witness to the passing on of the original fun fencing socks.

Aren't they lovely? They were the first fun fencing socks I bought, oh so many years ago. To this day, they are still the most fun fencing socks I've ever found. Just because I don't fence anymore doesn't mean I didn't wear them either. They were a hit when I presided last year, and are among the few thin socks I own that will fit in my good flat shoes, which I'm wearing full-time due to my sprained toe.

But this morning, as I put them on, I heard a noise. It was the noise of old, tired elastic, saying "Goodbye, world, the time has come for us to move on." You're all making that noise in your heads, I know it.


So I am spending one more bittersweet day with my beloved socks, and then I shall bid them farewell. I will never find their like again (and I've been looking for years!).

Friday, September 14, 2007

WTB (Want to Buy)

...More time to knit, and learn new things about knitting.

...More time to sleep, and a hammer to knock me out again when I wake up at 2, 3, 4, and/or 5 am.

...More time to rest and gear my brain down.

...More time to plan my birthday party (FOUR WEEKS! AHHHHHHHHHHH!)

...More time to exercise. Stupid gym hours.

...More time to heal and make the pain go away.

...More time to cook and learn about food.

...More time to forget everything that is stressing me out.

...More time between events in far-off places, so I could maybe actually physically handle going to them all without having to decide between them.

...More time to figure things out.

I'm sensing a theme...

Thursday, September 06, 2007


As I run back and forth between the student's computer, where I am busy doing make-work and posting to my blog, and my laptop, which has just been restored to factory defaults in an effort to get rid of persistent adware nastiness, it occurs to me how dependent we've become on computers. I am doing make-work (granted, it needs to be done, but it's still make-work) until I'm done updating my laptop, reinstalling all the software, sure that the adware is completely gone, and have restored all my files from the external hard drive we just got for the association. This is a written-off day, and possibly two, depending on how long Windows update takes. Soon, I will be knitting in between the make-work, just to pass the time as my primary machine does its Windows updating, software installing, and the like. I can't get to the things I should be doing, but considering that I restarted my machine about seven times in half an hour this morning, and the adware still kept multiplying and couldn't be removed each time without a restart, I suppose it's a better use of my time than fighting with it.

I consider, then, the dependence. I have scrapped a lot of paper in the office over the last year in favour of scanned files. Was I wise to do that? The files take up a heck of a lot less physical room, but have I put the history at risk of being lost for good? On the other hand, paper is just as vulnerable to destruction. And at home. So much of my social life revolves around the computer. Email, instant messaging, websites, WoW... I really should do a back-up of all my files at home as well, for the day that something in my computer explodes (and it probably will). A purge of emails and files is probably in order first, since I'm in that mood, and the closets are done.

I remember being shocked that my uncle, when he was CEO of the family business in Denmark, didn't have a computer on his desk. Yet somehow, he made the paper work. As I sit here twiddling my thumbs, I wonder if he wasn't smarter than the rest of us to not get so dependent on a little machine.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I have sprained my toe


Hmm... That's really all there is to say. Time to do more ice and dig out my taping and strapping book, see if there's anything in there to help. Night!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


There's something cleansing about going through stuff that you haven't looked at in a long, long time. I'm in the process of purging four of the five closets upstairs. I really should purge the fifth one too, but that one has all our clothes in it, and I can't afford a new wardrobe.

Anyway, I'm done purging two of the four, and the linen closet shouldn't be a bad experience. The useless closet is now down to only using the floor and the first shelf, which is wonderful. The guestroom closet is much more organized. What I'm left with is the library closet, the supposed home of all the crafts.

This will be a kind of sad purge, though, because that's where all my cross stitch stuff is. If I can ever cross stitch again, I'm sure as heck not going to be able to do everything in there. So I'll purge to the best of my ability, and only keep that which I would dearly love to do when my body allows.

Now, does anyone know anything about selling on eBay?

Friday, August 17, 2007

In Which Ness Apologizes to Everyone and Everthing Around Her...

...but most of all Mike, because he takes the brunt of it, and I can never say I'm sorry enough for that.

I am a ticking bomb right now. The mood swings are harsh and sudden, and it takes little enough to set them off. So here is a post-dated and pre-dated apology to every person and inanimate object that might get in the way of that. I'm sorry. I wish I knew what was going on to make me so volatile right now. You are all wonderful people, animals, and things for putting up with me. I will make a conscious effort not to destroy any of you until this passes. I will try pilates at home. Maybe that will help.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Twenty Words for Snow

I took painkillers at work yesterday (they didn't work, but that's another story). As I did, I told my student that she was witness to a rare event; I didn't take pain killers often. "So the pain is bad?" she asked.

I contemplated that for a second. "You know how the Inuit have twenty different words for snow?" I asked her. "Because there are so many different types of snow to them? Well, to a person with chronic pain, there aren't enough words in the English language to describe the types of pain they have." I went on to describe how the barometric pressure headache that I took the painkillers for wasn't just sitting above my eyes like it normally did, but was wrapping itself around the eye socket and optical nerve. Still couldn't do it justice.

I don't talk much about chronic pain, either here or in person. When someone asks, "How are you?" they generally don't want a litany of complaints every time. And besides, it's all relative. My "Fine" is another person's "Terrible." When I say "Fine," it means the pain is at multi-day bearable levels. But I've been in pain so long I can tell what pain is muscular, hormonal, digestive, nervous, related to the circulatory system, related to the skeletal system, related to barometric pressure, and it's rare now that I get a pain I can't point to the cause for.

Mike said we need to win a million dollars, so we can both take a year or two off of work and just recover. Days like yesterday, and the way today is shaping up, makes me think that's an excellent idea.

In other news, you discover things when you're trying to figure out how to have a Harry Potter birthday party for adults. Things that make you want to cry a little because you want them. Things like this. Hate eBay sometimes...

Thursday, August 02, 2007

I feel sick...

I can barely swallow around my stomach, which has magically transported itself into my throat. I just sent an email. It was an email that I didn't necessarily want to send, but knew that I had to, and knew if I didn't, I'd kick myself later. Why does everything come to a head at once? This is exactly the way it happened last time, except this time, I LOVE my job. L-O-V-E.

Must try to swallow. Maybe nothing will happen. Maybe.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter Party

So I went to pick up my very own copy of Deathly Hallows on Friday night in Red Deer, donning the newly finished Hufflepuff scarf and carrying my wand in its box in my purse just in case. Once I received my wristband saying that I had preordered a copy, I went through the doors, bombarded with soundtrack music that would be the theme for the night. In short order, I'd written a note to J.K. Rowling, been sorted into Hufflepuff (though I had to point the sorting "prefect" in that direction, despite the HUGE black and yellow scarf), amused myself by watching wizard duels, declined to have my tea leaves or tarot read, browsed way too much of Chapters, and got up the courage to try my own hand at dueling just as they ran out of candy and shut the dueling strip down. After that, I decided to wait in line with all the other Harry Potter fans who had preordered, pulling out my sudoku book to keep myself occupied as I waited for the fateful minute. I chatted a bit with the people around me as the conversation suggested itself, directed those without wristbands to the other side of the store, and waited. Then the "prefects" told us we were lined up wrong. Hoping against hope that I wouldn't lose my place as about the hundredth person in line, I waited for them to resolve the issue. They did, pulling the line ahead and through the stacks designated on the Marauders' Map that I never received. And as they did this, the most extraordinary thing happened.

One person in each of the two groups of three in line ahead of me started to fight about who was there first. The antagonist in the rear-most, a group of young women dressed up as either stereotypical witches or Goths with Harry Potter accessories, proclaimed loudly that the group in front had budged. The respondant in the front group claimed his daughter had been there the whole time, and they had joined her. Back and forth, and as the line moved, so too did they jockey for a spot, for a couple of minutes, with voices getting louder and louder, until finally the wife laid a hand on her husband's arm, and pulled him out of it, thereby letting the girls go first.

I was in shock. Between the six of them, it was a matter of five books. We were so close to the front of the line, there was no chance that none of them would get the book. It would have been a matter of ten seconds, maybe 15, between each of them getting their copies. The girl claimed it was the principle of the thing. I honestly believe she might have overlooked the daughter, who was about 16, 5 feet tall, and dressed in mundane clothes that, next to them, would have faded into the background easily. And yet, when I walked out to my car, hugging my very own copy of Deathly Hallows, a car drove past me, and I heard from the open windows, "I don't care what he said, she wasn't there..."

I enjoyed the night. It was fun sharing the store with people who enjoy the books as I do, comparing my scarf and wand with theirs (and I by far had the best scarf and wand). But the incident kind of cast a pall on the end of the evening for me. It was a fight over Harry Potter, a fight that was completely unnecessary. Heat, high emotions, persecution complexes and prejudices might have played a part. But it was so strange, so out of character and not what I expected. As fun as it was, I will forever remember the fight, and not the sorting, wizard duels, or even what I wrote to Rowling.

Now, if you haven't read the book, READ IT!!!!!!!!! Because Rowling does not let us down.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Vacation, Day 3

1. Woke up when Mike came to bed at 2. Spent an hour thinking about the garage, Harry Potter, and WoW, but more often than not, about work. Tried to stop thinking about work various times.
2. Got up at 8 and went straight to the garage after breakfast. Nearly finished painting the part of the walls I couldn't reach before Mike left for work.
3. Spent the next three hours painting the ceiling of the garage. Rediscovered why I hate painting ceilings.
4. Discovered that I didn't have enough primer for a second coat. Contemplated this while painting the ceiling. Decided to do a generous topcoat instead of a second coat of primer, as couldn't face doing the ceiling more than twice, and have to have the painting done by Friday.
5. Finished the ceiling. Too tired to do a happy dance.
6. Did the cut painting around the top and bottom of the garage. Discovered that I much prefer using a paintbrush to a roller any day of the week, even with the climbing up and down the ladder.
7. Surveyed my work. Decided to ask Mike to tie me up until I come to my senses if I ever contemplate doing a project this big in four days ever again.
8. Shower. Gooooooooooooooooood...
9. Talked to Dad. He's coming up two days early. Yay!!! He tells me to reprioritize on getting the house ready.
10. Ate lunch and read some Harry Potter until Mike comes home for lunch.
11. Cut up bananas and ham.
12. Counted the bags of wood pellets in the garage.
13. Finished cleaning the house except for the bathrooms. Have set aside Friday morning for that.
14. Went with Mike to Canadian Tire for paint and bins for the wood pellets.
15. Went out for dinner with Mike's work. Free food. :)
16. Back home to upload photos and post before crashing.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Vacation, Day 2

Vacation, Day 1 Addendum:

10a. Cracked a nail. Barely salvageable. Must attempt to safeguard the rest until the manicure on Friday.
14a. Cleaned the basement. It is now ready for visitors.

The things you forget that you've done late at night...

Vacation, Day 2

1. Woke up at 7:15 to call the government. Only took two tries to get through!
2. Went to Totem and got three 2' x 4' pieces of drywall and some finishing nails.
3. Got some groceries before going home.
4. Cut remaining lengths of moulding for third window and door. Adding the ones to the door will be interesting.
5. Tore out first piece of damaged drywall.
6. Cut new piece of drywall.
7. Fit new piece in place.
8. Forced to admit that I do not have the upper body strength to get screws into the studs behind the drywall. Give up on the drywall part. Must bribe someone else to do it for me. ;)
9. Started the first coat of primer. Broom handle promptly falls out of the roller. Very annoyed. Can only paint as high as I can reach.
10. Skip lunch to finish the first half of the first coat of primer. Must buy new broom handle before tomorrow.
11. Cut paint everything I can reach. Estimate that one coat of paint will take about five litres of paint. Must go buy a bit more at some point.
12. Have a shower. Begin to reconsider the "do everything this week and rest next week" plan, as have trouble standing in the shower. Revise it to continue to do the garage, make the house presentable on Friday morning before chiro, and do any deep cleaning next week.
13. Lay on the bed cursing gravity.
14. Eat a little bit. Call Dad about shelves in the Totem flyer. He tells me to check and see if the broom handle in the house broom unscrews, thereby making it so I don't have to drive somewhere else today!
15. Upload new pictures and post to the weblog. Am considering doing the dishes in a couple hours, and contemplating something simple for dinner, as Mike won't be home until 9. Until then, some rest is in order. :)


Monday, June 25, 2007

Vacation, Day 1

1. Stay in bed a tiny bit longer.
2. Clean Beamer's fish tank.
3. See Mike off to work.
4. Cut rediscovered pieces of moulding to fit around the garage windows.
5. Cut replacement pieces of drywall for the water-damaged corner.
6. Say goodbye to the large pile of stuff to go to the dump.
7. Sweep the garage floor, brush down the walls, get all dusty.
8. Fill in the bigger holes in the walls. Discover more drywall panels to get replaced.
9. Discover that the poly filler doesn't dry very quickly. Retreat to the house, as can't paint the first coat.
10. Bring more moulding up from downstairs for the remaining window and door. Will cut it to size tomorrow.
11. Have a well-deserved shower.
12. Wrap wedding present while Mike eats lunch.
13. Show Mike the garage. Fill another hole.
14. Try to call the government to let them know I've paid them back. Since when is a 1 800 number busy all the time?
15. Nearly finish reading Order of the Phoenix. Still didn't cry when Sirius dies.
16. Get another quote on eavestroughing.
17. Cook dinner and eat it.
18. Rest.

For photos of the garage-type exploits, click here. Another update tomorrow!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Oh Harry, I don't think I'm going to make it

Harry, there are 29 days until your next book comes out, and you've only just been informed what the third task is going to be, and that is with liberal cheating on this book. Alas, I don't think I'm going to make it if I only read you at the gym. Between that and the prep work for the garage project, I've been working and sweating, but not at the gym nor in a place where I can read at the same time.

There are also three more days until my vacation starts, two of which will be spent working. Yes, those three days include the weekend. On the up side, I get to see some of my favourite people, including my brother-in-law, on Sunday.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Dear Farmor

I"ve written too many of these letters this year. Knowing this one was coming and actually having to write it are two different things. Maybe I should have anticipated it. All weekend, black movements out of the corners of my eyes have been startling me, gone when I turn to face them. The enjoyable conversation I had with Mom Sunday morning started with me being sure she was calling me to tell me you had passed. I was just a little early, I suppose.

I shouldn't be sad. You were the matriarch of a large family who loved you well. You lived independantly for a very long time, even when you started losing your sight and your mobility. Your age and the changes to your body did not stop you from enjoying life, as you found new ways to make the most of each day. You were 93, and passed away the day before you were to be moved to long-term care. You were ready to move on, even if the rest of us weren't ready for you to go. There should be no sadness, but there is.

It struck me this morning that you gave to my family a gift when you died. We, who were always the last to know if anything was wrong, were the first to know of your passing, simply because of when you chose to leave us. It is a small thing, maybe, but I thank you for it.

I thank you for your good humour, your full-faced smile, your laugh, your leading your children in song and ignoring that they are pretty much all tone-deaf. I thank you for my father, and his siblings, who all grew up in love and have passed that on to their own families. You had the biggest heart of anyone I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I can only strive to be half the person you were.

You are at rest now, but I am still trying not to say goodbye. I have had to say goodbye to all my grandparents this year, and others. There is finality to this kind of goodbye that wears on me, and I am trying to put off this one because of that. You are the last grandparent. With you gone, my mother and father are the oldest generation, and that is a difficult switch to happen in my head. You are also the last grandparent that Mike will never meet. He will never experience your heart or your welcoming or your quiet strength. But I know to hold on to you for my own reasons is just selfish, and I mustn't be that. So rest well, Farmor. I will miss you, but you lived your life well, and the rest is well deserved. Goodbye.

Love, Vanessa

Thursday, June 07, 2007


I'm taking tomorrow off. Maybe I'll have something interesting to post then.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Something to make Mike smile

I must admit, the gear looks pretty cool. And he's really excited about the learn to ride course. I'm excited because it's a learn to ride safely course! Click the picture to see pics of all the gear!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Flatbreads and Fununderwear

I adore flatbreads. A quick snack is cheese and some manner of creamy dressing rolled up in one. Weekend breakfast consists of adding scrambled eggs to my standard snack wrap. I even occasionally spread peanut butter on one for something different. But I have been flatbreadless for over a week now, and not for lack of trying. The stores I've visited are out of my favourite kind and size. I had my weekend breakfast on Saturday on toast, which was much messier and just not the same. I'm trying to eat yoghurt as a snack, but it's just not nearly as satisfying as a few carbs. Hopefully this flatbread drought will end soon... I would hate to get so desperate as to buy the flavoured kinds.

One of my bras that actually fit broke a couple weeks ago; it started ripping at the seam between the strap and the band. So I had to go get a new one, and I did. But I got something else... FUNUNDERWEAR!!! If I wasn't so self-conscious about my weight, I would show it off to the world! It is so fun! It's amazing how much fununderwear affects your outlook. "Heeeheeeheee... I have a secret! And you just wish you could see it!" Ah well... For those who are interested, it's this bra in green. :D

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Rotation of the earth

It's raining in Edmonton, and while the grass I see from out my window is turning OMG green, I am feeling melancholy. Sheila and Nathan are having a wonderful time in France, as reported on their weblogs, and I am thinking longingly of French days and nights. I have avoided updating my weight loss tracking page because there is nothing to report, despite my best efforts and going to the gym between three and five times a week for the last little while. Dad and possibly Mom will be up this weekend, which would be nice except they're coming for a funeral. I have hired a student, but the process of hiring was so stressful that my face broke out, I had terrible dreams that woke me up at night, and I got in a tiff with Mike on Monday. I am losing touch with all my friends in Calgary and elsewhere because I am not a phone person, and I spend so much time emailing and calling people at work, I just don't feel like doing the same thing when I get home. I have been waking up at 5 am. My gym isn't open that early, nor is it open late enough at night for me to go home, do things, rest for a bit, then go to the gym. I have too many chapters of Harry Potter left to read. Mike can't go to the movie theatre. And the lovely rain smell they get in the basement and on the first floor of the building doesn't make it up to the third floor, leaving me with just stale, stagnant air.

There are bright spots. We had a lovely visit with Mike's mom and aunt this past weekend, and they brought me my first ever Easter basket, which has far too much candy for me to ever eat by myself. If you check the Picasa album under /Knitting and /Aquarium, you will see pictures of Mike modeling the completed Gryffindor scarf and the two female bettas we rescued from Walmart for the tank. The wayward rabbit is back home, hopefully not to be let go again, and with the treats I bought him. The barbecue isn't likely to blow up now. I have a wedding shower to go to not this but next weekend. The grass is green.

I feel like time just needs to stop for a little while. I feel like slamming some old iron farming implement that I don't know the name for into the ground and stopping the rotation of the earth for just a little while, so that my mind and body can catch up. I need to rest, and reset the window wells, and take up the flower bed, and flood any incipent wasp nests before Mike can follow through on his threat of a hand-held bug zapper rigged to get anything coming out of the hole under the stairs. I need to forget France right now, at least until I get the first postcard. I need to lose, and keep off, two kilograms, to encourage myself to keep at it. I need to plan at least a couple of dinners without cheese and tomatoes, because Dad will be here. And I need to avoid the puddles as I leave the building today, because I wore non-waterproof shoes.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


One year ago today, very nearly to the hour, I was in a car accident. It wasn't a bad one per se, but bad enough, and I'm still suffering from the whiplash I incurred that morning. I sit here now with my left shoulder aching, my left arm behaving oddly, knowing that it's my right side that's probably tighter and more enflamed, and I wonder how different I would possibly be feeling right now if the accident hadn't occurred, if whomever it was in the minivan that was being ridiculously stupid so that everyone had to check their rearview as they passed knows the effect his/her lack of spatial awareness. I wonder how the other two gentlemen who were involved in the accident are doing. When I picked up my car from the dealership where the repairs were done, I heard that the one (he was the third vehicle, and therefore "at fault") continued to be shaken up, to the point where he was reluctant to drive. I wonder if he has gotten over that. I wonder too about the man in the middle, who got hit from behind, then ran into me. His jostling must have been much worse than mine, and if I am still suffering, what must he be going through? I know it doesn't do to think about what life would be like if events hadn't occurred. Curse my imagination, though.

Speaking of imagination, as I was a Provincials wrapping up the Gryffindor scarf (pictures soon!), someone came up and asked me if I was trying to get the job as "whatever your job is" of the Alberta Quidditch Association. This has completely occupied my imagination ever since. I almost want to write a story about a day in the life of the Executive Director of the Alberta Quodpot and Quidditch Association. Alas, my experience with team sports is extremely limited. But I can imagine... :D

87 days, and I finished Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone yesterday! There are 145 chapters left, and only 53 more days at the gym to read them, assuming I maintain a MTWFSa schedule, and taking out the trip to Nationals and Summer Camp (of course, they usually have a gym of some kind in the hotel, so I may still be able to salvage the TWFSa of Nationals...). That's just shy of 3 chapters per session, and some chapters are LONG... Not sure if I have built up enough stamina t do the elliptical for 40 minutes to an hour. The 30 yesterday was tough enough... If I take out Half-Blood Prince and say I'll read that at Summer Camp, then it's just over two chapters a day. I'll have to consider...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Office furniture!

I've put a little gallery together in our Picasa album of the new office furniture! Oh! I love it! And that is all I will say today.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

New office furniture!

And I forgot my camera at home! :( Ah well, that's okay. Today is going to be a little crazy with getting everything ready to head to Calgary for the weekend. But the gentlemen are here right now, putting it together, and so far, it looks lovely. I can't really concentrate on anything, though I think I'll try to write my notes for speaking at the banquet Saturday. In between ogling my new desk in progress. Can't wait! I'll get pictures next week.

Oh, and oh....

Monday, April 09, 2007


It has been a good weekend, with only a couple almosts. I almost got the house clean (only dusting remains), and I almost finished the Gryffindor scarf (only five more bands!). I am not disturbed, however. By saying almost, that means that most of those things got done, and that in itself is a victory! But things that aren't almosted are a yummy Easter dinner, our taxes (finished and filed!), a book, and me resting a little bit, all of which are faits accompli. I'm sure that's not proper spelling, but I don't really care to look it up right now. :)

There's a new link over to the side to a web photo album I've started. There's not too much there right now, but I'll be adding to it as things come up. I do believe that a tour of the house is in order for those who've never been, so I'll try to get the pictures together this week since the house is (almost) clean.

Mike has decreed that the Hufflepuff scarf is next, so while I likely won't finish it at the tournament this weekend since I have to finish Gryffindor first, I hope for at least half done. I have also decided to take up what I've already knitted on Mike's scarf, and as soon as the Harry Potter scarves are done, restart it on those needles. As it stands now, it's too wide and too loose for my liking, and 200m of yarn only made about a foot and a half of scarf.

I hope your weekends were just as fulfilling!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Happy Easter, everyone

I am taking four days to clean the house, finish the Gryffinddor scarf (hopefully), play WoW with my friends, cook our special turkey dinner, and not read Harry Potter because the gym is closed for four whole days. How about the rest of you?

I am down in Calgary next weekend, where I hope to start (if I haven't already) and likely finish the next Harry Potter scarf, as I am tied to the Calgary West Soccer Centre for over two days straight (and each scarf is only 19 hours of knitting). If anyone is in the area, you're welcome to stop by! I won't have time for any visiting otherwise.

I called the Red Deer Chapters. The gentleman I spoke to was amazingly unhelpful and unenthused, and told me to call back at the end of May to see if they'd be doing an event... grumble.

Best wishes to you and yours for this weekend!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

More miscellany

1. *whine* *sniffle* I have to call the Red Deer Chapters and see if they're having a midnight party on the Friday night. The camp counselors can take care of the kiddies, and I can hop up on caffeine and adrenaline, right? Right?

2. And more Harry Potter:

Current progress on the first donation scarf. And yes, the second gold band is one row short. I miscounted somehow... It takes me an hour to do one band (19 bands per scarf), and I do half an hour a day (if I remember to take both my breaks) five days a week, plus more on weekends if I cart it home and have time. Now the question is, once this one is done, which one should I do next? Slytherin? Hufflepuff? Ravenclaw? So many choices! I think Hufflepuff, so I can wear it before donation to the party at the Red Deer Chapters, should I decide to go. I'm actually getting used to the idea of being in Hufflepuff. Badgers rock. But if I were to only get two done, I think it should probably be Gryffindor and Slytherin... What do you think, dear readers?

3. I came across a post at a friend's old blog that I've really been thinking about in relation to, well, a lot of people in my life. I look around. At 18, I wanted to be a journalist. I'm now an executive director in sporting non-profit. How many of us are doing now what we set out to do at the starry-eyed age of 18? And if we are still doing that, is it time to take a step back and say, "Is this truly where I want to be? Is this making me happy?" If the answer is yes, then more power to you! But if no... I think about this especially in light of Jen's current situation. I think about telling her to apply for work in a yarn store, or start an online company importing nifty yarns from North America to England, or some such, because that seems to be something she really enjoys right now. But I also think she really, really enjoys academia, so I don't quite know what to offer her besides quiet support. *sigh*

4. I think I need to consider another timepiece. My wrists are still pretty swollen on a daily basis, so I find I'm taking my watch off pretty much as soon as I get to work. Pocketwatch? Nurse's watch? Cellphone as watch? It's odd... Handwriting seems to hurt my hands, but knitting doesn't if I'm careful about posture.

5. And now, for those who might be interested, and just because I want to put it out there, a measurement comparison. Let me preface this by saying that my friend Barb will be making me a new program for the gym shortly.

9 January23 March
Upper Arm13"12.75"
ABD (?)43.5"43.5"
Body Fat45.245.1
Weight223.8 lb224.2 lb

Monday, March 26, 2007

Adventures in Home Improvement

A trip to Ikea on Saturday made for a fun Sunday morning filled with Home Improvement! There is now a shelf in the laundry room, at good height for us to fold laundry, and mostly intact. There were a couple of mishaps, which led to the front corner of the table getting dinged (anyone in the area have any wood glue?) and the bracket on the left-hand side getting bent. But it's up, stable, and for the most part, well done!

Hard to believe these boxes and this bare wall will soon be Useful!

About an hour later, behold! It sure felt like longer, though...

And about ten minutes after that, with the addition of a hook on the wall for the delicates bags, and tacking up the instructions for a load of laundry. Look at it! It's so wonderful!

Now, what did we learn from this experience, boys and girls? Well...

1. If you think it'll be easier with help, and help is available, if sleeping, WAIT FOR THE HELP! Don't think to yourself, "Aww, he's so sweet, sleeping there. I am Modern Woman; I can do this by myself, though it might be easier to wait until he gets up. But I want to surprise him with my Handyness!" No. If I had waited for help, there might not be a broken corner and a bent bracket.

2. When you are doing Home Improvement, clear the area of all non-essential equipment! If there's a mishap (which there were, a couple), you run the risk of breaking the non-essential equipment. Luckily, it didn't break, but it could have!

3. They may have done everything by hand eons ago, but sometimes, power tools make things easier. Now, I did all the assembly with non-power tools, and my hands still hurt from attaching the legs to the table-top. Ikea kindly gives you little tiny starting holes, but you're putting the screws into it with sheer muscle. And if you're not stripping the screws or the screwdriver, you're putting all your weight into the middle of your palm and turning... three millimetres at a time. Would it have been easier with power tools? Maybe. Too late to say now. But maybe I should have tried it, and saved my already painful hands.

End result? I've already used it to sort and fold laundry, and I love it! I'm a little frustrated that I broke it a little, but live and learn, right? Stay tuned! Adventures in Home Improvement (Phase II) will be coming once the weather gets nice enough to sand and seal wood outside!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Some thinking on fencing

After my meltdown Tuesday night, I've been doing a lot of thinking. One of the things I identified as contributing to my meltdown was missing fencing. I miss the movement, the workout, the mental aspect, the people, and the challenge. It is such a wonderful sport, and quite frankly the perfect sport for me. Starting to wear my breeches/socks/shoes to the gym, and doing footwork as my warmup, maybe wasn't such a good idea, as it brings the fact that fencing is missing from my life in an important way into focus.

This is where I start thinking about my job. I love my job, and I won't be leaving it anytime soon, if I have my way, but there are times, like this past week, where working with the back-end, administrative side of fencing is painful. Because it's not fencing. It's not training, bouting, footwork, or coaching. It's paperwork, grant application, accounting, event planning, and the various other tasks so that other people can do the training, bouting, footwork, and coaching. And I know I'm out of it for health reasons. I do. But there are times like these, where my stress level creeps up and the gym is a stress rather than a stress release, that I resent it. I don't like it, that little petty part of my brain, but it's there. I resent the people who can still fence. The people out there with tendonitis, carpal tunnel, knee problems, whose injuries have not forced them out of the sport yet, and maybe never will. And the people who have no injuries or conditions to speak of, who can just fence without worrying about pain, or injuring themselves more.

I think not presiding this weekend might be a good idea. I just need a couple of days to get perspective, go for a walk, argue with my assigned trainer at the gym again, go for another walk :), maybe do a Video On Demand for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire if it's available, maybe get the shelf bought and put up in the laundry room, and just get away from fencing for a couple of days. I think I can stop with the resentment if I do that, because then I can shore up my fragile centring/openness again following my breakdown, which I haven't had an opportunity to do yet. Then next week, I can love my job without letting it get to me.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


As my first Harry Potter scarf comes together, and I eagerly anticipate the new book and wonder how to justify rereading the whole series with my goal this year of not rereading, I can't help but wonder where I belong in Hogwarts. There are so many Sorting Hat quizzes out there. I thought I would try a few to see how good they were. Click the images if you'd like to try!

My score was 16 Hufflepuff, 15 Ravenclaw, 9 Gryffindor, 6 Slytherin. So I could go into either of the first two.

The Personality Lab sorting hat says that I belong in Hufflepuff!

Said Hufflepuff, "I'll teach the lot, and treat them just the same."

My scores out of 100: Hufflepuff 90, Ravenclaw 88, Gryffindor 68, Slytherin 28

This one thinks I'd be great in both Ravenclaw and Slytherin!

And this one puts me firmly in Ravenclaw (10 Ravenclaw results, 1 Gryffindor).

Heavens. When I make my own scarf, whatever will I do?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Dear Mormor

Dear Mormor,

You've left us now, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, and without the deterioration of health that all too frequently marks the passing of ones your age. That brings the total events in the last ten months for the Christensen side of the family to four funerals (Morfar, Great Uncle Gunnar, Uncle Agner, and now you) and a wedding (Sheila and Nathan). Not as happy a title as the reverse, which we all remember as a good film, but nevertheless a short accounting of the events.

I didn't know you too well. Distance and language make that difficult at times. I knew you well enough to love you, though. You learned English so you could speak to us, even as we struggled with the little we remember of Danish. When we were growing up, your letters to Mom and Dad always included postcards of horses or dogs, stickers, glandsbilder: something small and Danish that we couldn't get in Canada, and could collect and admire (which we did). You were very good to us. We had strict instructions to buy presents with birthday and Christmas money, and though there were times I found it very difficult not to buy something supremely practical, I did take great pleasure in thinking to myself as I walked to the till, "This is what Mormor (and Morfar when he too was with us) has given me for my birthday." After Morfar's death, when you were choosing which things to take to your new apartment and which to give to members of your family, you chose for me an embroidered picture of an angel that your own aunt had made for you when you were a girl. You told Mom that you knew that I would appreciate it, because I loved threadcraft. You were right.

I wish you could have met Mike. There is a part of me that I haven't liked to face that knew, ever since we went to Denmark two years ago, I would never see any of my grandparents again, that they would never meet the man I love, and that this facet of my life, the Danish elders (for lack of a better term), would never be something that he experiences. I put that part in a Pandora's box in a corner of my brain; it was too hard to face on a daily basis. Your passing has unlocked it again, though do not be sorry for that. I am sad, yes, for so many reasons, but just because it is difficult to face doesn't mean that I shouldn't, or can't.

I heard that Ole gave you strict instructions, after Agner's death, that you weren't allowed to die just yet. I suppose you held out for as long as you could. I am glad, though, that you didn't die in pain, in weakness, or in distress. I am glad it was peaceful, and I hope that whatever transition you have now made was also peaceful. Thank you for being part of my life. Good bye.

Love, Vanessa

Friday, March 16, 2007

Wait! Wait!

I lied.

Okay, I didn't lie. I didn't know it existed. But if they come out with a fitted girl's T with this on it, I want it for my birthday, along with a vacuum cleaner. :) *bounce!!!*

All I want for...

Cleaning up the house prior to company on Tuesday, I came to this realization. Over books, music, movies, a dinner out, yarn, toys, clothes, or really anything, what I want for my birthday is a new vacuum cleaner. To top it off, as I walked to pilates yesterday, I walked past the storefront for St. Albert Vacuum, and lo and behold, they had a display of Miele vacuums. *sigh*

Compounding, or perhaps just in addition to, this is a plan for a wall unit for the laundry room. I think I have it figured out. I will build it from the Ikea Antonius system, and it will take up the only drywalled wall in the laundry room. It will give me a place to sort laundry, fold laundry, iron laundry (assuming that I buy an iron and this), store things like extra buttons, sewing thread and scissors, and have built-in drying racks. If we get a tool bench, it will go near the furnace, for there won't be room for it on the drywalled wall, even with only one bank of Antonius. And it shall be good, and not overly expensive.

What's with the practical? A vacuum, a laundry room system, and my ears do perk when I hear tell of someone with friends who work at Home Depot that might be able to get us a discount on patio furniture. And with the snow creeping back to reveal the ground around the house, I begin to think of what can be done outside. And I bought a home organization book on our trip to Costco (it was my treat; Mike's was two big bags of Dino-Sours).

But then again, I was perusing the Bargain Finder Mike brought home over breakfast this morning, and was reading all the ads for pet cats... That's not practical. Though the flame point kitten did sound adorable.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Things change starting tomorrow!

I have one all-important task when I get home today, and that is to pack my gym bag for tomorrow. Things are changing! No, not a new program (just got a new one, thankfully), but I'm changing everything from the waist down! Except underwear...

I've decided to start wearing fencing socks, breeches, and shoes to the gym, in addition to the fencing T-shirt I usually wear. Yes, I'm fully aware this will garner more than one strange look from anyone working out at the same time. But I think this is a step I need to take to be successful at this.

First, I'm used to sweating in those clothes. That's huge. Second, I enjoy wearing those clothes. Mostly, I enjoyed them because I got to fence, but in the absence of being able to do that, the clothes will hopefully prove to be a good reminder of exactly why I'm doing this thing that, let's face it, I hate. Third, they go all the way down. The friction burns I got on my inner thighs that one day really put an impetus on making this clothing change... Fourth, and final, I have to wear in my fencing shoes for the day I actually fence again!

Will this work? No idea. I'm not entirely happy with this gym. I question whether or not the trainers could actually deal with an athlete, but I've never been pleased with any of the trainers who have tried to design programs for me in the past. The two-week cycle of progress checks hasn't materialized, and I'm not sure if it's my responsibility or theirs to ask for it. I don't really care. I measure my progress by my weekly weigh-in and the way my pants feel, and both are still about the same. But I've paid for the year, so I will continue to go. The equipment is fine and the location is perfect. If need's be, I will cycle through their standard programs until I finally convince them to tailor one for me, or alternately, my membership runs out.

Edmonton is doing a fair interpretation of spring. It was raining this morning, and I expect the residual ice on the driveway to have disappeared by the time I make it home. And, of course, they've shut off the air system in the building due to the continued roof repair (!), so it's stuffy and hot in the building. Ah... spring.

In other news, Team Alberta Fencing got FOUR MEDALS yesterday at the Canada Winter Games! Two gold (Team MF, Team WE), one silver (Team WS), one bronze (Team MS)! They've already far exceeded my expectations for them! I'm so proud. :) All the indvidual events and two more team events are left. Go Alberta go!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I bought the March edition of Canadian House and Home. It whispered promises to me each time I passed it in line at the grocery store. "Buy me!" it said. "Look, I'm the Smart Storage issue! I have stylish solutions for conquering clutter! I will teach you to tame bookshelves, cupboards, desktops, and more! It says so on my cover!" I grew hope. Would it do that? Would I be able to stop the spread of papers and other things from the right side of the kitchen island/counter? Would I be able to make more room in my horribly inefficient kitchen cupboards? Would I be able to continue what my father started in the storage/laundry room, and maybe move it on to the computer room and games room? Would I be able to figure out a new and possibly good system for my increasingly hard to manage library?

Why do I listen to inanimate objects?

There are some solutions, but they only really work if you have the same style of house as shown in the pictures. It shows you neat little baskets to put on shelves in your laundry room, but not shelves for your laundry room. It shows you some efficient use-of-space cupboards, but not how to make more efficient your existing cupboards without renovation. And the bookcases? Wrap unattractive books in kraft paper for a uniform look. Hang or rest pictures in front of your books to hide clutter; put a picture of food in front of your cookbooks, or of flowers in front of your gardening books. Oh, and group your like knicknacks together for the greatest impact. These people don't own books! I was looking for bookshelf organization ideas, not how to make my library look more uniform or how to display my knicknacks to the greatest effect! I have five bookcases of books. Is this strange?

I was also hoping the promised "Chic Home Offices that Work" would give me some ideas on how to redesign the work office, but alas. It was more about art and making it seem less like an office and more like an office/playroom/lounge than actual efficient office space solutions.

Back to the drawing board... Anyone recommend a good book of ideas for smart storage, taming bookshelves, and overall organizing?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Third Eye Open

Since I had my third eye reopened nearly a week ago, I have felt much calmer and more centred. I will not put into words here exactly what my herbologist and I talked about and what happened in his room there, because every time I retell the story, it just sounds more and more strange. But I can talk about the effects. The physical is still there (my arms still hurt, my back is still tight, though my wonderful MT actually made progress during my massage yesterday), but it's much more bearable than it was. I received a letter at work yesterday that might have upset me considerably had I received it the week before. As it stands, though, I have found myself laughing, albeit humourlessly, about it from time to time, and prefer instead to concentrate on the thank you note I also received yesterday.

Maybe I don't believe in it. I mean, auras, third eyes, universal energy and connection... It sounds kind of hinky, to pirate a pretty good word. But I think, on some level at least, I do believe it. The effects of this kind of spiritual awakening and tuning has had on me over the years are not to be discounted, even if they are invisible.

So I will try to remain centred. When a situation comes that threatens the balance I have just started to regain, I will close my eyes and think, as Sheila suggested, "Third eye open. Third eye open. Happy scarf, happy scarf, happy scarf." I know the balance is precarious right now. I feel that, though I can't describe what it feels like or how I know. I also feel the energy in me again. I just have to keep myself open to it, and not allow myself to close off as I did before. I am in this plane, but it must not own me. I need to stay open to the others, or I will go crazy, as I was well on my way to doing.

Third eye open.

Stay open.

P.S. I must share this levity, though: Nathan, upon hearing about my problems with my third eye, said, "Shouldn't you see an optometrist for that?" Heehee...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Why didn't I do this sooner?

First of all, I would like to thank my mother for teaching me to do my taxes by hand. That's right, on paper, with a calculator and scrap. If not for doing my taxes this way for quite some time, I wouldn't have quite the understanding of actually doing my taxes that I do today.

In addition, I would like to thank the makers of QuickTax. I mean, really, really thank them. This being the first year that Mike and I are commonlaw, and not from January either, I admit that I approached taxes with some trepidation. I mean, spousal amounts and transfers, and so on and so forth. Last year, I had to readd my taxes four times before I got the same answer twice in a row. What would this year be like? But no; I bought software. And oh heavens... It does ALL THE ADDING FOR YOU! As long as you doublecheck that the right numbers are in there, it does it all! And it'll even do any transfering and stuff between our tax returns, if needed! And it tells you if you should buy RRSPs, and how much! Now all I need are some more tax slips from a few places, a brainstorm as to where some of the slips I already have go, and our taxes are done. DONE! With no frustration or heartache when the numbers just don't add up again!

In other news, the new garage door opener is lovely, and we didn't have to install it. :) Also, Dad says the washing machine is fine (there is actually no seal there...), and now I have to stockpile another list of small jobs for him to do the next time he comes up, if he's so inclined. We had a nice visit with Mom and Dad last weekend, and I will be down in Calgary for the next two (Mike comes with on the second one). I'm actually into the first gold band on the first donation Harry Potter scarf, and my WoW characters are 66 (priest), 64 (rogue), and 18 (shaman). I have a new workout program at the gym which seems to be going better. Now, if only my arms would stop hurting, and my back would loosen up so I could actually breathe easier, life would be just wonderful!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Valentine's Day terminology

Since last week, Mike and I have been quietly planning a Valentine's Day. Mike had the day off, you see, so we actually could! But we ran into a problem over dinner last night about terminology, and I'm going to put it to you to help us resolve it. First, let me describe the evening.

We left the house at 4:30 to be in good time for 5:00 reservations at Ric's Grill in downtown St. Albert, as Mike had heard they had excellent steak. There, we were quickly seated, and our wonderful waiter Rob came over to take our drink orders, and informed us that the chef's soup was Cajun shrimp, and the chef's potatoes were parmesan and dill. We perused the menu, seeing many wonderful looking things, but finally decided on a crab dip for an appetizer, then starter caesar salads for both, and then Mike ordered a 6 oz. sirloin broil (medium rare) with wine and herb fried mushrooms and chef's potatoes, while I ordered handmade chicken cordon bleu with seasonal vegetables and chef's potatoes. Rob came back soon after with half a fresh baguette for us to snack on while waiting. Oh, divine. The crab dip was also exceedingly wonderful, and the caesars had flaked rather than ground parmesan on top. The main courses were fabulous. Mike couldn't get over the tenderness of the meat (he kept poking it with his fork just to see it yield), and my chicken was divine. Alas, neither of us could finish our meals, though Mike did see the end of his steak there in the restaurant, and we had the remainder packaged up to enjoy for lunch in the morning. I received an I.O.U. on my idea of going to Build-A-Bear to make a bear, which I've always wanted to do, until we are in Calgary first weekend in March. The store in Edmonton is in W.E.M., and going there makes Mike nauseous. Not the best way to follow up a wonderful steak dinner (though I admit, I was a little disappointed). Following this, we didn't go home right away, except a brief stop so Mike could pick up his wallet, which he'd forgotten. No, we went to Wal-mart, where Mike bought shoes and attempted to buy me the CD I'd been talking about at dinner (not released yet), and I bought Quick-Tax so I can start doing our taxes. At this point, we went home, and I attempted not to fall into a lovely food coma too quickly.

The problem of terminology is this: was this a date, or just going out? I believe that this was our fifth 'date' (I may be wrong on the number, though not by much... :) ). Mike, on the other hand, doesn't believe that we can date anymore, because we've been engaged for over a year. On the contrary, he believes the evening constituted 'going out,' which is something people who aren't dating anymore (i.e. those who don't really need to feel each other out and learn more about each other) do.

I still think it was a date. What about you?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Uh oh...

After a hellish hour-long drive to work, I just have time to put down my bags when the phone rings.

"Alberta Fencing Association, Vanessa speaking."

"Hi honey!"

"Hey! What's up?"

"Did you have trouble with the garage door this morning?"

"Yes... Why?"

"Well, it won't open."


"It won't open."

"But I had trouble getting it closed."

"Well, now it won't open."

Add that to the water leaking from the washing machine (probably just a seal, but still), and I am frustrated with mechanical objects. Mike managed to manually open and close the door, and I have a call in to a local company that has emergency door service. Probably means a new opener. *sigh* Stay tuned...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Apartment Girl's post about her blog anniversary got me to thinking about mine as well. In just shy of another two months, my blog will turn three years old.

It's interesting to go back three years. In my first month of blogging, I reported on my fencing performance leading up to and at the Calgary Open, philosophized on spring and prairie dog suicides, and expounded my new appreciation for classical music. I blithely predicted that the following year I would be able to beat Jackie Geller (this past weekend, I saw her get within one point of Brita Goldie, who reigns as the Junior Epee champion in this province, and generally across the country. Brita was injured, but still... Even if I had kept competing, I sincerely doubt I could beat Jackie easily). In the last four weeks, I have reported on my fish tank, knitting, World of Warcraft, and in relatively vague and circular and unclear ways, my current bout with "depression" (don't know what else to call it).

Posts that stand out as I skim back over the last three years:

16 April 2004
12 July 2004
6 December 2004
26 June 2005
8 October 2005
29 October 2005
8 February 2006
15 June 2006
14 July 2006
21 September 2006
17 October 2006
20 October 2006

If you are so inclined, you can read back to these dates using the month links to the right.

I was also recently reminded that I turn 30 this year. Thirty. Three-Zero. I was asked what kind of big plans I had. I stared at the asker, still trying to comprehend that I was turning thirty this year. It may yet sink in. Stay tuned for any big plans.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Oh, bountiful joy!

Okay, so the day didn't start out too great, but now!!!!

The HP yarn came!!!!

And the new Harry Potter book has a release date!!!!

And it's the last day of summer camp, so I'm in Olds... :P Oh well!!!!

Signing off with smiles.

Oops, and knitting

Driving to work, thinking about all the things I need to do today, trying to remember if I did indeed leave my keys on my desk, and trying to figure out how to leave a little early so I can go to the gym and still have time to tidy up the house when I have a 2 pm meeting, I turned right and trundled on down the road. I was shaken out of my thoughts when I saw a bright flash of light in my rearview mirror. I looked up, and saw a minivan parked at the side of the road.



It's a school zone.

>>insert bad word<<

The nice lady at the photo radar desk for the St. Albert RCMP said that I couldn't have only been going 40 (even though that's what my speedometer said), because it takes a minimum of 43 kph to activate the camera. She also said that if I go to court when I receive the ticket, I may be able to get payment options, or the fine reduced (apparently, new tires can put your speedometer out by 3-4 kph, and I do have newer tires on the car). But if I was only going 43 kph, the fine is only $89. I can budget for that. It was bound to happen sooner or later, I suppose. And I suppose I'm lucky in that I never go more than about 40 kph down that road anyway, because it's so stupidly put together. But still, that was my oops for the day (week, month...).

In happier news, this is the final project update post, and then I suppose I'll have to get to work on some of those projects so they warrant another update at some point! On to the knitting!

Mike's scarf. It doesn't look like much, but it's knitted in the round, and when it's not curling up at the bottom, it's about five inches long. The wool is so wonderful to work with. Sometimes I stop and press it to my face for a minute. I can't believe it doesn't itch!

The first Harry Potter scarf for donating next Christmas. I have ordered all the light coloured yarns directly from the manufacturer, but they haven't come yet, so there really isn't much pressure to get the first round of the dark colour done. In case you can't tell, I've started with Gryffindor.

And finally, looking more Rasta then skullcap now, is the blanket! I am into the second ball of yarn in the sage colour, with only a few more rounds to go until I get to the dark green.

So we come to the end of this week's updates. I'm looking forward to a good weekend, breaking in the fondue pot (as long as I remember to go get fuel today), and good company. See you next week!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

World of Warcraft

I say very little about WoW in this blog. Perhaps that's an oversight. So forgive the very long post as I explain...

Hi, my name is Vanessa, and I play World of Warcraft.

waits for the inevitable chorus of "Hi Vanessa!"

I suppose I shouldn't feel so alone in this. After all, over 8 million other people worldwide also play WoW. But the strange part, I guess, is that I play. Me, who couldn't even play Super Mario Bros. on the old Nintendo, and who had trouble with the duck shooting game. Whose computer game experience was limited to Solitaire and Monkey Island, and something 2-d with ducks that you had to rescue. I am now classified as a "gamer."

This of course begs the question, how on earth did I start? Well, that actually has a simple answer. Mike plays. And early in our relationship, in an effort to share things we liked, I made a dwarf rogue on his account. The first time the toon was jumped by two hostile mobs, I freaked out. I did a lot of dying on that first toon, but I got her to level 20 or so, and it taught me a lot about the game, and gave me more confidence. Then when I was done my critical theory class in April 2005, Mike bought me my own copy of the game, so we could play together. And play together we did, for a very long time.

So why do I keep playing? Well, there are a few reasons. First is Mike. Even though we aren't on characters that can run together anymore, he winds down from his day in front of his computer, rather than the TV, or a book, or a project. If I wasn't in the same room with him as he does this, we'd spend little time in each other's company on a daily basis. But beyond that, I now enjoy the game on its own merits. I have been known to log on when Mike is sleeping or isn't home. It is complex, and each server has its own community. More than that, I have friends there, good friends, and I enjoy spending time with them. The game itself is challenging, with many facets to explore and discover. Each different toon has its strengths and weaknesses, and learning to work with and around those is interesting.

With the release of the first expansion pack for the game, which Mike of course went to pick up in a special midnight opening of the local gaming store, I find that my time in-game is being drawn in many directions. There was an increase in the level cap for toons, so my level 60 characters cry out to be leveled to 70, so as to better spend time with those of my friends that have already made that leap. But there are also new characters that whisper in my ears. So I suppose it's time to introduce most of my readers to my virtual faces. Some of you only know me by the virtual faces, but for those that don't, here is a brief summary of who I might be spending most of my evenings as.

When Mike bought me my own copy, we made two characters on a completely new server. His was a human warrior. Mine was Sparq, a human priest. She is currently level 62, and in process of replacing hard-earned epic (extremely good quality) gear with greens (good, but not outstanding gear). She's starting to have a Carmen San Diego thing going on (hopefully I can replace the shoulders soon; they're throwing the look off!). The best part about that hat is that once an hour, it produces virtual alcohol. :) Priests in the game are healers first and foremost, so leveling her is proving a mite challenging, since I refuse to respec her to Shadow to make leveling easier. Generally, I run around with another priest friend. Between the two of us, we manage to keep each other alive, and do what we need to do to level.

Sparq is what is called a main. Main characters are those you spend most of your time on, and who you are known by, no matter what character you log on to (e.g. I log on as the rogue, who you will meet below, and everyone in the guild says, "Hi Sparq!"). And with the label of main comes the expectation that she will be your first to reach maximum level. So she's muttering in my ear about getting another level soon, pretty please...

All the following characters are alts, but this one is perhaps my main alt. Her name is Falconne, and she started out as my way of reliving those first few days I played the game. She is a dwarf rogue. Rogues are damage dealers, and can stealth, pickpocket, pick locks, make poisons, and have decent survivability in that things die pretty fast... She is also my money-maker. Things in game cost gold (divided down into silver and copper as well). Because of her damage and survivability, and with two gathering professions, she is able to make money relatively easily, whereas the priest can't so well. Falconne is now Level 61, and is sitting with over 500 gold. This, however, is inadequate, as some of the things I want to purchase in game cost anywhere from 500 to 5000 gold. So she is also whispering in my ear, telling me that if I want that pretty gryphon mount when I get Sparq to 70, I need to do more money making... And that might just get her another level too...

Since the release of the expansion on 16 January, Mike has been spending his time almost exclusively working on a new character on a different server. Because I try to spend some virtual time with him as well, I too created a new character. This is Skadie, and she is a blood elf hunter. Hunters get to tame pets, and I decided to tame a dragon type thing, whom I just love. He breathes fire! He flys! And I have a passive small pet that matches him! Skadie is currently Level 20, but Mike and our other friends are coming up on 40, which leaves me fairly far behind. Still, there is a level cap, so they can't outdistance me forever! Skadie also whispers in my ears, telling me that there are new places to explore, and that hunters get really cool skills at higher levels... Besides, Mike is on this server...

Forgive me if I keep the names of these next two alts to myself. You see, somehow over the course, I ended up in a leadership position in-game. And while I do find it rewarding, sometimes I just want to hide. And when I do, I log on to one of these toons. Above, you see my Level 9 draenei paladin, and below, my level 9 draenei shaman. These are both new characters. The paladin I am generally playing with the priest friend I mentioned earlier. We had decided to create new characters, and without communicating with each other in any way, we both made paladins! We laughed for a very long time. The shaman I made a little while ago, for the simple reason of taking the new jewelcrafting profession. You see, I don't understand the profession at all, so I thought if I had a toon with it, it might start to make more sense. I find the draenei very relaxing. They are characterized as noble and almost pacifistic, being made to become warriors by outside forces. Their starting area and city are lovely, and I just did one of the coolest quests EVER on the shaman. And with two level 60s and a multitude of inactive alts, that's saying something. So they tug on my sleeve as well, asking me to discover more, and play them, because their philosophies are so much a match to the inner peace I'm trying to regain.

These are my virtual bodies and faces, and the voices I am confronted with when I sit down across from Mike and double-click that big W icon. Unfortunately, he's no help when trying to decide which one to listen to. :)

Blogger template 'Blackorwhite' by 2008