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  1. 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.

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  2. 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 halfhope.blogspot.com.  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.
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  3. 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.
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  4. 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....

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  5. 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!
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  6. 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.

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  7. 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.
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  8. 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).  www.lizziebennet.com 

    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).
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  9. Banff and stuff

    Friday, August 22, 2014

    When I reached the bottom of the trail after visiting Garibaldi earlier this month, Peter was waiting for us all with a giant Slushie, because he is awesome. He also had a plan for us to go on a road trip that he had planned out. I was able to get time off on relatively short notice and we packed the car with stuff and took off!

    We stopped in Sun Peaks where Peter did some mountain biking and I enjoyed our apartment in the village and worked on Project Persuasion blog stuff.

    LakeLouise-12After two nights there, we hit the road and made our way to Lake Louise/Banff. Lake Louise is really beautiful (and busy). We had an anniversary dinner in the Fairmont hotel, and enjoyed the amazing view.

    We had intended to do an overnight backpacking/camp hike but the forecast called for thunderstorms so we plopped our gear in a car-camping site and did a loooong day hike instead - to Helen Lake (12km round-trip, 455m elevation gain). The hike was lovely - lots of wildflowers out still.

    The lake at the end was small, but the surrounding scenery was amazing. Sadly there were also enormous flies - I've never seen flies this big... I think maybe they were horseflies (I say because they were HUGE). We hiked up a bit further to a peak where there was a great view and a breeze to keep the files away. This is always my fear with nature - that I'll go to all the trouble to get somewhere remote only to find it is unbearable and there is no escape. The hike down was a bit tense as we ran into other hikers who had spotted a grizzly on the way up and rangers who said there was a black bear near the trail head a bit earlier. We stuck close to other hikers and made it out alive - yay!
    Sweaty Hikers
    The best thing after a long hike? Taking off your hiking boots. Also showering. Showering wasn't an option in this case but we tidied up a bit and went to have a nice dinner in an old railway station in Lake Louise.

    Remote tea house The next day we hiked up to Lake Agnes from Lake Louise - to visit the famous tea house. Apparently everyone else on the planet had the same idea because it was mobbed with people. We got a table inside somehow and had tea and food and enjoyed watching the very fat chipmunks run around inside grabbing crumbs of tea biscuits from the floor.

    After hiking down we visited Lake Moraine. It's all just stunning there; quite unreal.

    The next day we were back to Lake Moraine. I had checked out the hiking guide and it identified a nice, flat, short hike to Lake Consolation that sounded just about right. The trail was in a busy bear area so hikers are required by law to be in groups of 4 - so we kind of tagged along with other people (and survived). Lake Consolation was pretty and much less busy - a bit of quiet nature without the torture of going up a mountain was nice.
    Consolation Lake Panorama

    Then we hit the road, stopping at a diner/cafe in Invermore for classic road trip food. And we arrived in Fernie very much looking forward to a proper bed. Fernie is a cute town and everyone we met there seemed to be a transplant from somewhere else who loved it in Fernie - so it definitely attracts people! Peter got another day of bike riding in, while I had some time to myself. We enjoyed the local pub scene.

    Then it was a long drive back to Vancouver, all in one shot stopping only for ice cream and wine in Osoyoos.

    That, my friends, is my hiking for 2014. I have gone up enough things and slept in a tent enough; it is worth it here because it is so beautiful, but I think I'm done for the season, thanks.

    It was wonderful to see another part of BC (and a sliver of Alberta) - we are lucky to live here - staggering beauty abounds.

    As always, more photos are on flickr.
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  10. Project Persuasion is Alive

    Monday, August 18, 2014

    So, the project I've been devoting a big chunk of my free time to since returning from our travels, has been launched!!!!  Yay!  There is still more work to do, but I'm glad it is starting to spool out into the world. Hopefully people will find it and enjoy it.

    It's Project Persuasion - a modern retelling of Jane Austen's novel Persuasion via blog (and a bit of twitter). I did the bulk of the writing while in Poland and have been working on the other aspects since I got home (also, lots of revising). Thankfully I had some friends willing to read early drafts and provide feedback, and my sister took on the daunting task of getting the website templates I found to do the functional things I needed.  People have been wonderfully supportive of the idea.

    And, voila - the first blog post of the series is up!
    You can find it here: http://halfhope.blogspot.ca/2014/08/the-beginning.html

    It will go on for several months, so check back often or subscribe to get the blog posts in your inbox via email.  Uh, also please tell me if you spot any typos.

    You can also do the following:
    - follow the character's twitter account @AliasAnneElliot
    - like the project Facebook page

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  11. I Survived Nature

    Wednesday, August 06, 2014

    What's this thing?  A blog?  I have a blog?  Oh yeah, I do!

    I spent my long weekend camping, like a proper Canadian. I hiked up to Garibaldi Lake with 3 other ladies. This was my first time camping where I had to carry all my own stuff (Peter is very accommodating and takes all my heavy stuff).  The hike up with a pack was very sweaty, but I survived. (1050m elevation gain in 7.5km.) And getting to Garibaldi Lake made it all worth it for sure. It's stunning there.

    Garibaldi Lake

    Everyone in the city was out camping so we squeezed our two tents onto one pad, as did everyone else and there were approximately 188219 people camping up there, but it was still very chill and everyone was very friendly. Only the poor forest ranger trying to accommodate everyone looked stressed out.

    The next day we hiked up to Panorama Ridge (7km from camp) which was several new kinds of stunningly beautiful. Definitely the most beautiful hike I've ever been on. We really are spoiled for scenery here in BC. We slid down the snow pack on the way down which was funny and cold (snow up the shorts in August is not expected).

    We relaxed by the lake, had lovely meals together, played new card & dice games, made friends. We had a beautiful view of the stars and saw some meteorites at 2am.  On Monday we hiked down and Peter picked us all up (greeted us with a slushie because he is made of awesome) and took us to the pub.  When I got home I took the best shower ever and scrubbed actual dirt off me.

    Black Tusk
    Either I am getting more accustomed to camping, or this trip was just really perfect because I had an awesome time.

    It's hard to complain about anything when you are lucky enough to spend time in such a pretty place.



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  12. Canada Day At Home

    Tuesday, July 01, 2014

    It's Canada Day and I'm at home! I'm planning to go enjoy some of the festivities today and ruminate on how lucky I am to live in this place - it's not perfect, but it's pretty good. Traveling does have a way of making you evaluate where you live and come from; it's impossible not to compare. For me, Canada and Vancouver came out looking shiny.

    You have not seen me post on here much because I am hard at work trying to complete a project I worked on while in Poland. If all goes well it will launch online in August! I think it will be fun - I'll put the link here when it is ready. It's a challenge to make progress in the scraps of free time left over after working full time, but I'm determined! It will mean a continued lack of interesting blog posts, however. Instead you should go check out my sister's blog - Bluenose Girl - she just did a great post summarizing her Poland travel experiences.



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