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  1. Misc

    Friday, February 27, 2015

    Peter is away this week on a business trip but gets back tonight just in time for the weekend!  I've been busy this week - presented on a panel at Buildex (construction industry conference), went to some passive house sessions & evening events.  Also staying late at work because I don't have time to be leaving my desk to present at and attend conferences, I've got piles of work that need doing. So much work. Am trying not to feel totally overwhelmed by the neverendingness of it.

    Dad sent me my grandparents' cuckoo clock for my birthday. It's been in a cupboard for a long time and wasn't working. I took it to a clock repair place (with several cuckoo clocks on the wall and some amaaaazing grandfather clocks) and the clock guy, Fitz (complete with German accent), said he could fix it for a lot of money.  So it's there, getting fixed. I sure hope I love it, since I'm now heavily financially invested in it's continued existence!  Fitz said he's had a flood of cuckoo clocks over the past year and he realized it's because about 50 years ago was when people flocked to Europe from Canada for vacationing because the Canadian dollar was really high. Everyone bought a cuckoo clock in Germany and a watch in Switzerland and now, 50 years later, they all need repairing.

    It's spring here in Vancouver - came a few weeks early, even for us. Cherry trees are blossoming, magnolia tress are about to burst open (I love magnolia tress).  I post this video because it shows the crazy extremes existing in Canada right now as all of the east coast gets repeatedly hammered by snow and ice.

    On the one hand it is amazing it its extremeness.  On the other hand - this new level of extreme is quite probably the new norm thanks to climate change. I mean, this is weather, not climate, so you can't really say - but all the predictions about climate change are about more extreme and unpredictable weather and that sure is what we're getting.  And while Vancouver is laughing now - we have zero snow on our mountains.... and that is our water source, so if we have our typical dry summer, we're going to have serious water supply problems.


  2. Training

    Monday, February 02, 2015

    I'm taking a course on Passive House design and construction. Which is also teaching me a bit about standard construction (i.e. what not to do). We do horrifying things when building houses in Canada, it's really bad. Horrible for energy efficiency, comfort, and if you want to avoid moisture in your walls. wtf.

    The course is interesting.  Also depressing to realize how far behind we are compared to many European countries. I mean, I knew we were behind, but the extent of our behind-ness is still kind of staggering.

    Project Persuasion is entering the last 1/3 of the story.  It's going to go fast from here on in. I'm having fun with it - some followers on twitter are pretty engaged with Anne (the character), people say nice things, it's good.  It will be nice to regain the brain space and creative time when it's done though. Ready to move on to a new project!

    We are still battling Kitty's tumor.  She's had two electro-chemo treatments and we're waiting to see if that zapped it enough. But tumor cells were detected in her lymph nodes too, so things are more complicated. :(   Not sure what the path forward is.

    Peter started a new job - a short term contract with another start up.

    Things have been busy!

    Here is a random photo from a lovely cafe we discovered while down in Washington.


  3. NYE

    Thursday, January 01, 2015

    Peter and I broke with our new year's eve tradition of staying in. We find NYE events to be over-hyped and over-priced so we usually don't bother. This year, a bunch of people from our dance studio were going to a dinner dance event at a casino way out in the burbs and we decided to join them. It's hard to find opportunities to social dance, so we're trying to take advantage of what there is.

    We got there a bit late and just caught the tail end of the buffet (no line!). We were sitting at a different table than our fellow dance studio people but we met some lovely folks as a result, Particularly Dennis and Glynis, a couple that has been married for 55 years and have led very interesting lives (he was in a parachute regiment in the military back when England had required military service).

    We danced a lot, watched some great dancers (and one very animated couple whose dance style was very.... different). It was fun!  This going out thing might be okay.

    As a side note, the casino was packed, which I find horrifying - to gamble as a way to end/start a year. Also, none of the people in the casino seemed to be having any fun (I always find this to be the case in casinos).  There was a club downstairs that we tried to check out because the DJ advertised was "DJ Hashtag" which is so terrible, we wanted to hear him. No luck though.

    Hope everyone spent their NYE doing something pleasant. Here's hoping for all good things in 2015!

  4. Holidays are Awesome

    Tuesday, December 23, 2014

    I started my holidays on Friday. It's been fabulous.

    I took photos of adorable kittens.

    And a hedgehog (wearing a cowboy hat).

    Some of the kittens may also have been forced to wear the cowboy hat.

    I'm very pleased with how the photos turned out - especially considering the photo shoot took place in a dark basement.

    I've started weaving on my borrowed table loom. My first time using variegated yarn and I'm enjoying it, watching the colour change as I go (through no effort of mine).

    Peter and I have been spending a lot of time playing puzzle-solving games on his ipad (The Room, now Lost Forever). Very addicting.

    Tomorrow is the big day in Peter's family so we'll be out in the burbs. Looking forward to amazing homemade perogies!

    I hope everyone else is having fun and getting some time off to relax.
    Weaving with variegated yarn

    borrowed table loom

    fun colour changes

  5. Recipe for Dissatisfaction

    Saturday, December 06, 2014

    Here is a great recipe for being dissatisfied with what you have (even though you have lots):

    1. Decide you want a loom so you can weave again.

    2. Lust after a small floor loom, but realize that that isn't going to fly in your tiny apartment (tried already) so look for a table loom.

    3. Get frustrated with how expensive table looms are relative to floor looms.

    4. Start looking at apartment listings and daydreaming of having a light-filled space for a small floor loom. (I fantasize about living in 800sqft. Looked at a listing for 1000sqft and actually gave a wistful sigh at the thought.)

    5. Get really depressed at the real estate market in Vancouver. (To be fair, it's partly my own fault for insisting we live within walking distance of the ocean, mass transit, and my dance studio.)

    6. Look at very high end apartment listings ($10,000/month+) and wonder "who are these people?". Decide you want to start a revolution to turn over these penthouses to people who will put them to better use. (1 penthouse could easily be a crafting studio for 10-15 people, am I right?) Oh look, this one is only $9000/month, what a bargain! And they allow cats, how nice of them.

    7. Get down about the fact that so many people are struggling and crammed into tiny (and growing ever tinier) units while a tiny portion of the population has such a degree of excess wealth that they can waste $10k or $20k a MONTH on space they may not even use very much. And even if they did live there - you do not need 4.5 baths for a 4 bedroom unit! You just don't. Stop it. You're wasting resources. Also - if I'm paying $9700/month - you're really going to tell me I can't have a cat? Really?

    8. Go a borrow a table loom from a very kind friend, eat some cookies and try to calm down.


  6. Check in

    Sunday, November 30, 2014

    Look, two posts in one month!  Amazing, isn't it?

    Needless to say, I'm still adapting to this full time work + trying to have a life thing. It's a struggle.

    But many good things are happening.

    Game nights with lovely friends are happening semi-regularly, which is awesome - part of my need-to-spend-more-time-with-friends plan that I concocted while in Poland.

    We went to our dance studio holiday dinner dance event at a country club and it was tons of fun. I am rocking the salsa lately (especially when led by a professional instructor).

    Friday was a costume party at our dance studio - Casino Royale was the theme so Peter put on his tux and I put on this floor length velvet dress with thigh-high slit that I found in a thrift store over a year ago (and had to buy because it fit so well and was so dramatic).  It was perfect for this James Bond theme party. Another very fun night. Hilariously the thigh-high split is a bit higher now due to some overly-large waltz steps.  Will have to repair that before the next fancy party.

    My Persuasion project is still playing out over on  Wentworth has arrived on the scene so things are tense.  I'm having some fun interactions on Twitter (as Anne with her readers).  Getting about 100 hits per day on the blog, which isn't bad. I hope people are enjoying it!

    My desire to weave has returned. I sold my small floor loom a while ago because I just didn't use it enough to warrant the amount of space it took up in our tiny apartment. (I fantasize about having an apartment big enough for all the indoor hobbies I want to dabble in.) I was idly looking on craigslist thinking I might find a small rigid heddle loom - something much more compact than a floor loom that would still let me do a project. Instead I accidentally found someone selling a table loom with stand for about 1/6 of retail price (for a pretty new loom). It's such a steal I'm struggling to resist buying it - I don't think it's the right loom for me right now, but it's such a bargain!  Instead I've asked to borrow a friend's table loom so I can do a project over the holidays and get this weaving itch
    out of my system for another year!

    It snowed in Vancouver Friday night and has been below zero ever since. Like -5C.  I'm dying every time I go outside, it's pathetic. I can't handle the cold. Not sure how I lived through Ottawa and Wisconsin winters for so many years, but this really shows that I can't ever move to any other part of Canada again. I wouldn't survive a full winter.  I'm pretty sure I don't have to leave the apartment today - fingers crossed.

  7. Kitty Update

    Monday, November 10, 2014

    You may recall previous posts about Kitty's health. She has been dealing with a mast cell tumor on her eyelid for a while. She actually ended up having surgery while we were away (let's pause here and think about what a hero our cat sitter, Marlena, was for going through that for us).  Sadly the surgery did not get clean margins and the tumor is growing again. It's benign but it's growing and gets ulcerated and will continue to do so unless something is done. Surgery is not really an option this time (unlikely to get all of the tumor and would almost certainly mean the loss of the eye).

    So, we went on a road trip with Kitty to Washington (state, not DC) to see a specialist about radiation treatment. For our cat. Yes we did. Don't judge. 

    We're currently working to shrink the tumor with steroids* and are hopeful Kitty will soon be a suitable candidate for strontium probe treatment which is a very quick procedure (and cheaper than surgery) and hopefully will nuke this tumor for good with minimal side effects.  Her tumor was judged to be slightly too deep at the consultation - so we're close.

    We'll be back in the US in a week or two to see if the tumor is small enough to make her a good candidate for this treatment. Fingers crossed. The alternative treatment is very long and very complex and very expensive.

    *This was also done prior to surgery and our cat sitter had to take Kitty to the vet for shots repeatedly which is a big giant hassle of scheduling & travel. This time the specialist gave us eye drops which are a cakewalk to administer.  So - um, always ask if there is an eye drop option.

  8. Alive

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    I have emerged from the pit of flu-i-ness!  I went to work on Monday morning and sat at my desk for half an hour before I realized I was supposed to be at a workshop I had signed up for months ago (on Community Based Social Marketing).  Whoops!  So I ran back downtown (lying: took a train) and made it there only sort-of embarrassingly late.  Today I remembered to go directly to day 2 of the workshop and showed up on time; much better.

    I'm pretty tired at the end of a day. And I cough enough to be annoying to the people around me, but I'm not sick and there is no need to fear me.  I wish I had a shirt that said that, actually.

    I also posted the first video over on Project Persuasion - I assume you've all seen it - yeah?  It's a collaboration with a friend of mine who gamely said yes when I asked if she would learn some piano pieces for me and let me take up hours of her life filming her playing.  :)   There may be more of this in the future....


  9. Flu

    Friday, October 17, 2014

    I've been out with the flu for a week now. Which is the longest amount of sick time I've ever had to use.  I'm thankful that I have sick time to take, and that my work schedule at the moment means the world doesn't end due to my absence, but man do I feel guilty taking sick days!  When I'm feverish, sure, okay. When I can't get out of bed, yeah, that's okay. But when I'm quasi-functional? Guilt.  Yesterday was the first day I felt better instead of worse, and today is continuing that trend, so yay, but also: guilt!  I don't want to get my co-workers sick though (or drive them insane with my coughing), so I'm staying home today too, to be safe (with approval of my boss).

    Peter has been working late so that combined with me unable to do much of anything means our apartment is an incredible disaster. I keep hoping magic elves will show up in the night to clean everything but my scary coughing fits probably keep them away.

    The annoying part about being sick is that it's all this time at home wasted. You're too unwell or foggy headed to do anything at all aside from cuddle cats and watch movies. All these things I want to be doing that I'm not doing; so frustrating.  Well, I'm just happy that I can swallow without agony again - what a joy that is!

  10. Nothing to See Here

    Friday, October 03, 2014

    Soooooo. I'm maintaining a fictional blog over here, along with twitter and tumblr accounts to try and get people to read said blog. Working on some video project for the blog. Plus a full time job. Plus dance. Also working to design adorable cat cards to sell to raise funds for shelters. And cat cuddling.  So, no time for this blog at the moment.  I expect this will change around March of 2015.

    Recap of the past month. Peter and I went to Nova Scotia/New Brunswick to visit my family. My sister and I were in the same place as our parents for the first time in.... 10 years?  We've been badly out of sync with our visits over the past decade. So that was nice. We went to a Moosehead's hockey game. We lay on the biggest hammock in Canada. We visited a distillery in an old backsmith's shop in Lunenburg. Met up with a good friend for lunch in Mahone Bay. Hung out at Dad's cottage. It was good times.  I'm very slowly adding photos of the trip here (don't really have time for editing photos).

    In other news, I finally learned how to bead crochet.  This particular craft defeated me previously, but not this time. I stayed up late one Friday night watching movies until I conquered it. This has been on my to-do list for years.

    Oh - and Peter and I went to see Stromae in concert at a small venue in Vancouver. This guy plays stadiums in Europe! He was amazing, the show was just fantastic, such great energy. I think every french-speaking person in the Lower Mainland was there. Here's the low-down on who this guy is.

    Finally - please think non-tumour-y thoughts for Kitty. We have a vet appointment tomorrow because her eye looks weird and we suspect some left-over tumour cells have decided to start growing... which would mean more surgery. We're hoping it's something else with an easier explanation.


  11. Travel

    Saturday, September 20, 2014

    I am in the Moncton airport. It is so small that there is no official way to make a connecting flight - they assume when you arrive that you are staying so the only exit is to baggage claim.  we had to knock on a door to get let into the gate area.  Not a lot of connections made here. We are flying on points so our route is rather longer than normal - we head to Toronto next.

    The Halifax-Moncton flight was in a tiny prop plane and we were in the front so we had a great view into the cockpit for the flight, that was fun. The woman guiding everyone to their seats and storing cabin bags took off her coat once everyone was seated and she had pulled up the stairs/door - and turned into the co-pilot.

    Our trip to the east coast was crazy short and very busy. But it was good to see everyone, however briefly. Still, nothing is like home and so we are looking forward to being back in vancouver.

  12. Web Entertainment

    Monday, August 25, 2014

    I assume everyone is making sure to check out my Persuasion adaptation, Half Hope every day, yes?  You can subscribe via email to get the posts in your inbox if you prefer. So far my site visit stats are not.... awesome.

    One of the things that inspired me to re-write a Jane Austen novel was the webseries The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.  Since that series ended I've found several other webseries adaptations of classic stories - and I'm going to share my faves.

    The format is usually easy-to-digest short episodes of 3-5 min each. Perfect for procrastination breaks! Because the distribution platform is (usually) youtube, it makes it possible for smaller, independent productions to find an audience (that isn't to say it's easy, just doable compared to getting a studio to pick up your show).  The other interesting aspect of web-series is the potential for transmedia elements - the idea that characters from the show can have twitter or tumblr or pinterest accounts, for example. So you can just watch the videos or you can delve deeper into the show and see twitter conversations between characters, or get a sense of the character's mood based on tumblr posts, possibly even interact with characters.

    Some of my faves:
    Lizzie Bennet Diaries - a modernization of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice done in the form of a vlog (video blog). Very well done. With amazing chemistry between Lizzie and Darcy.  It's interesting to note how the use of a vlog as a medium inherently changes the character - here we have Lizzie as a person who posts videos of personal conversations on the internet. The Lizzie I picture from P&P wouldn't do that, but if you can make that adjustment, you'll get on fine.  I followed the character twitter accounts while I was watching this show roll out and I got really obsessive about it - those little extra bits of character development were awesome.  They had a big fan following - mounted a successful crowd-funding campaign to produce DVDs, and have just released a book (Lizzie's actual diary). 

    The Autobiography of Jane Eyre - by a team in Vancouver. A modernization of the Bronte novel. This is a tough storyline to update and I think they did a good job. Some wonderful characters, creative vlogs.

    The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy - I heard about this one and originally passed on it because I wasn't really interested in a Peter Pan story. Then I somehow watched episode one and fell in love with the characters and proceeded to watch the rest of season 1.  It's so charming and lovely. I love it to bits. They are currently crowd funding to try to do season 2 (and 3); I've donated - I hope they make it!

    Frankenstein, MD - an update of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Only 4 episodes in and I'm enjoying it. The main character is Victoria instead of Victor and she's great. If I recall this book correctly, it gets quite dark - I'm curious to see if they actually go there. I also love that they're using this show and it's transmedia elements (tumblr, twitter, blog) to talk about real science stuff.

    A nice list of the many indie webseries adaptations can be found here (there is a Green Gables one underway, I think).