Monday, July 31, 2006

Hot summer days

It was so hot and sticky today that I did next to nothing. Even now, at 10:30pm, it's 23C out with a humidex value of 41C. That's really hot - and tomorrow is supposed to be worse :( At one point, we got out of the air-conditioned car and both of our glasses fogged up - that's never happened to me before in the summer.

So I guess NBC only aired the first two episodes of Project Runway, probably because of the tie-in with the Miss Universe pageant. Now I really do have to wait until the fall to see the whole season. I was hoping that they would show the whole season. Oh well.

I got the long-term disability forms in the mail today. Those look like less fun to fill out than the other forms. There's a possibility that they'll deny this claim because it arises from a pre-existing condition (although I wasn't absent from work for the 3 months prior to the surgery, which means that according to the benefit terms, they shouldn't use the pre-existing condition to deny it... but this is one thing that I worry about anyways). They want a copy of my resume with the form, which is probably useful when evaluating new work arrangements ("the return to work is an essential part of your treatment plan"), but less useful in this case, I'd think.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Weekend at the cottage

We went up to a friend's cottage near Sauble Beach, ON this weekend. It was very relaxing. There were nine of us there who all went to university together. I haven't seen some of them in a few years, so it was great to catch up with everyone again. This weekend was also the first time in a very long while that we were completely without internet access. We also didn't watch any tv or anything, so it we were pretty well cut off from the outside world.

Aside from talking and catching up, we spent a lot of time wandering around the fen. Or bog. Whichever :) There were two kinds of insect-eating plants (the bladderwort and pitcher plant), a kabillion frogs, a smaller number of snakes, tons of minnows, and two crawfish. Fortunately, there weren't too many bugs :)

One of the distinctive features of the Sauble Beach area is the beach itself. It's very wide and very long - you can walk almost a half a mile out before the water goes over my head (this after walking about half a mile to get to the water). The water is very warm, and the beach is very sandy without rocks and stuff. There were almost no people where we were, which made it even nicer. An interesting feature of the bog/fen between the road and the beach is that the tracks made by ATVs are covered in plants. It's very strange to see these perfectly straight rows of plants growing all over the place.

Apparently the Bruce Peninsula (on which Sauble Beach is located) is a designated dark skies community. "Dark skies community" has a very technical meaning, but really it means that you can see a whole lot of stars and the Milky Way without even trying. I really enjoyed looking at the night sky both Friday and Saturday - I haven't seen that many stars at one time since the 2003 blackout :)

PS - thanks for the compliments on my sewing :) I really like the red and black dresses as well - it wasn't until I looked at the pictures that I realized that perhaps that kind of silhouette is much more flattering to me :)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A hot day

It was some kind of hot and sticky today. Therefore, I spent almost all day sewing in the basement. I managed to finish two skirts :) Photos of the sewing projects I've finished since I went off work are here.

We were supposed to go flying with a friend of ours, but unfortunately the weather was not cooperating. So instead, we spent part of the evening getting ready to go to a friend's cottage this weekend. We want to take some of our own food, and of course we need sleeping bags and clothes and stuff, too. I'm looking forward to the weekend - a break will be nice.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

No results yet

So my CT results aren't in yet. Unfortunately, the doctor is on vacation next week, and so I will almost certainly have to wait until August 9 to get the results. The nurse said that given the circumstances, they most likely won't give the results over the phone.

I talked to the nurse about the pain I'm having (it's always there - sometimes it spikes out and hurts a LOT, but it's pretty well always there now). She talked to the doctor and he's recommending 650mg of coated aspirin four times a day. I went to the store and all I could find was coated aspirin in 81mg tablets. Try and imagine what a pain it it to count (and take) 8 of them at once :) I'll have to see if I can get some bigger tablets tomorrow. I hope the aspirin works - tylenol and ibuprofen don't do much of anything for the pain.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Found fabric

I went to my local Fabricland and found some fabric for skirts. They're renovating the store to put greater focus on the home dec fabrics instead of the fashion fabrics. They'll also be bringing in some new home dec stuff. The people I talked to there said that they weren't going to stop carrying the fashion fabrics, which is good. The other main fabric store in the area has almost completely stopped carrying fashion fabrics in favour of things like towels, pictures, and tables. So it's good that the Fabricland probably won't stop carrying the fashion fabrics. I wouldn't have wanted to go all the way to Mississauga/Toronto/London in order to find nice fabric :)

It looks like the skirt I'm doing is going to be a bit tricky - it's got a yoke that is pointed, so I'm going to have to set in those points. As well, I'll need to line the fabric I chose (it's white), and so I'll have to set in those points twice. I managed to get one of the three points done on the outer fabric, and it looks good.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Finished some sewing

I finally finished the blazer I've been working on. I've got to wash it and then I'll take some photos and post them (of this and the other things I've sewn recently). I'm pleased with the jacket - construction-wise, I think it turned out quite well, and it seems to fit pretty well, too. That's kind of a first for me, because I made the pattern adjustments without making a trial garment first. I got the pattern out of my Burda pattern magazine, and I think I may have finally figured out the adjustments I have to make for those patterns.

The jacket is kind of a weird colour, though, and so it doesn't really go with anything else that I have. Therefore, I have to make a skirt or two that'll coordinate with it. I have a skirt pattern that I've prepared, but I don't have quite enough fabric in the colour I'd chosen. I'll go fabric shopping tomorrow. Hopefully I'll find something that I like.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A very quiet day

After the adventures of the last few days, we decided to do almost nothing today. We'd thought about seeing a movie, but then we didn't do that. We managed to get out and do some shopping and go for a walk, but other than that we just sat around and watched tv, napped, or played on the DS Lite. It was very refreshing :)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

St. Catharines

Our hotel fun wasn't over last night. We had gone to bed at a reasonable hour, since we wanted to be up early, only to be awakened by the music from a Caribbean bar facing our parking lot. They had all of their windows and doors open and appeared to be blasting out Caribbean music in a desperate attempt to get customers to actually enter the establishment. We saw a guy playing pool by himself - that's not a sign of a healthy, profitable bar. While we knew that our hotel room was right downtown, and we knew that there were bars in the blocks surrounding the hotel, we didn't expect to be able to hear all of the music through earplugs. We complained, and then we checked out and went to another hotel.

When we got up, we checked the weather network for today's forecast. We were expecting sunny skies and a high of 25C when we left yesterday. The forecast changed sometime between yesterday afternoon and this morning - what we got was rain. And more rain. And then some more rain interspersed with periods of very heavy rain. They were expecting about an inch of rain to fall altogether. That may not sound like a lot, unless you're out in it all day.

Now, keep in mind that we were in St. Catharines because we were paddling in a dragonboat festival.... and we paddle rain or shine. The only time an event is cancelled is if lightning is spotted and isn't likely to let up, which unfortunately didn't happen today. So we spent the whole day in the rain and wind. About an hour after we got there, we bought some fleece jackets to help keep us warm while we waited for the rest of the team to arrive. It was a miserable day. I don't think I've ever been that happy to change into warm, dry clothes as I was at the end of the day.

There is limited parking at the St. Catharines event. There are three lots: one for people with tents, one for all other participants, and one for spectators. The one for spectators was on tarmac. The one for most participants was on a grassy field that was fortunately protected by trees. The one for people with tents was a dirt field. At least, it was dirt at the start of the day. By midday, it was a shoe-sucking field of mud (I'm pretty sure you could lose a small animal in that field without trying at all). The highlight of the day for our team was watching people get stuck in this field when they tried to drive out. One van had sunk in the mud up to its rims, and another truck kept fishtailing towards the embankment. Everyone did make it out safely and there was no damage to any of the cars or trucks in the mudfield.

The Silvermasters came in 5th out of 45 teams. That's a pretty good showing, if you ignore the fact that about one third of the teams were community teams that had never paddled before :)

Here are the things I liked about the event:
  • it's a permanent dock and permanent course with really wide lanes, as it's a course for a rowing club.
  • the water was deep (deeper water is better when paddling).
  • flush toilets. Lots of them.
  • lots of recycling bins.
  • things moved very quickly.
  • they moved very quickly to bring hay in to cover the other mudfields on the way to the docks.
  • the awards ceremonies were held after each division finished paddling the final race.
... and here are the things I didn't like so much:
  • the timing was messed up. They didn't have photo finishes, just some people with stopwatches, and so the times posted were not always accurate.
  • there were only two portalets, and they were never cleaned or replenished.
  • the lack of good teams at the event.
I might think about going back to this event, provided it wasn't going to rain :)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Here, there, and everywhere

My CT scan was the first item on the agenda today. Fortunately, since they were examining the sternum (a bone), they didn't need to do the contrast injection. This is good, because I don't particularly like the contrast injection :) The whole thing was relatively uneventful... until the end, when the technician said "Have you had anything that could cause this?" Hmmmm. That must mean that there's a "this" there. So the bone scan result wasn't just a fluke or an error, and the pain I'm having might not be a sole product of my imagination.

When I got home, we had breakfast and read the paper and flyers. While looking through the Future Shop flyer, Ian noticed that they had the Nintendo DS Lite advertised. He checked online, and they were in stock at our local store. We quickly finished up our breakfast and rushed over there and Ian bought me a DS Lite (that he also uses). We also bought two games - Brain Age and Magnetica. Magnetica is a game similar to Puzz Loop and Zuma, but with more features and stuff. Ian enjoys it very much :)

We drove up go St. Catharines and played our own version of the Amazing Race. We'd booked a hotel/motel yesterday so that we didn't have to fuss with finding a place to stay (or paying too much). How hard can it be to find a motel in downtown St. Catharines and you have the address and a map? Well, it's pretty hard when the place is right downtown and the address you have is for the registration desk, which has almost no signage :) The actual rooms are across the street. The room we have is ok. It's quite large and clean. It has a small fridge and a microwave, which are the main reasons we chose this place. The toilet lists to the right, which is a bit strange at first. It's also not a low-flow toilet, which is something I haven't seen in ages. The room has a slight old cigarette smoke aroma, probably because once upon a time there was no such thing as a non-smoking room and the smoke is in the sofabed, carpets, curtains, and air conditioner.

There are a lot of restaurants here, of a lot of different ethnicities. There are Thai, Mexican, and Indian restaurants all within walking distance. But did we eat at any of those? Nope - we ate at the Mandarin :) It's a Chinese-Canadian all you can eat buffet that we like (yeah, ok, I know it's pretty lame :). There's one opening up in Waterloo in the fall.

When we finished eating, we went down to the dragonboat race area. The best part of the race environment is that there is a permanent course out on the water - we're using the rowing club docks and stuff. The worst part will probably be that there is almost no shade where the tents are set up, and there doesn't seem to be that much space available for the tents. The Silvermasters usually take up quite a bit of space with our two tents and all of our chairs and stuff - we sprawl, as a rule. We didn't bring our team tent, so we couldn't stake out a space. We think that'll be ok, as we'll stake out some space tomorrow before the rest of the team arrives.

Finally, we took a walk through downtown St. Catharines. There are a lot of empty storefronts; I think this area is undergoing revitalization. However, there was a fantastic store with a whole lot of HO scale train stuff called Niagara General Hobbies. They had some great models and track layouts and train maintenace sheds and stuff.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A former colleague

I found out today that a fellow with whom I worked at Maplesoft is in hospital and has been moved to the ICU. I guess he showed up at work about four weeks ago looking really sick. Someone convinced him to go to the doctor's, and the doctor admitted him to the hospital that day. He's been there since then, although he's only recently been moved to the ICU. I guess the doctors tried to do some treatment or other, but he didn't respond, and now things look very grim :( I don't know what's wrong with him.

I wish I had heard that he was in hospital earlier, because then I could have gone to see him before it was too late. No visitors are being accepted now :( I had a really good working relationship with him, and he was the fellow that ended up having to do part of my job when I left. He came across as really gruff and short-tempered, but in reality he was very shy. It took quite a while for him to warm up to me, but warm up he did :)

Anyways, I'm very sad right now. I really hope he'll pull through, but, well, I don't know if the odds are in his favour :(

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

New windows

We got new basement windows and a new patio door. Apprently the exteriors of these windows are self-cleaning. Last night we had to move everything away from the windows and doors, and so our living room was (and is) quite a mess. The company that installed them had installed the other ground-floor windows last year. They weren't very tidy; I had expected that a company that installs windows might clean them after installing them. Perhaps my expectations are too high :) They do have to install the same windows on all 11 units, so I guess they're busy. Either way, we'll have to clean the windows before putting the drapes back up.

Hopefully the property management company will actually paint the window frames this year. They were supposed to paint them a few weeks after the windows were installed last year, and then never did it. I'd like to not have bare wood frames :)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Some progress

I went to the first Tools for the Healing Journey group session today. It was interesting. Since it was the first session, we did a lot of introductions and relaxation stuff. We have homework, though :) The program was developed by a doctor at Princess Margaret for cancer patients and their supporters. Basically, it's supposed to teach people how to find inner peace and tranquility during times like these. I'm stressed enough that I can certainly use something like this :) It's free at Hopespring, a local cancer support centre. Hopespring has the young women's support group (which is also free) as well.

I called one of my oncology nurses and it turns out that the tumour was ER/PR positive, just like the last time. That means that we can consider this a recurrence. At least I have that information :)

It looks like my family doctor is not receiving test result reports. Fortunately, I haven't had that many tests, so it shouldn't be too hard to fix that for the tests I've had, or the ones that I'll be having. I'll call the nurse tomorrow and get the results sent over. My family doctor will need all of that when it comes time to fill in the long term disability paperwork.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Project Runway

I had the abdominal ultrasound today, which was uneventful. I also got confirmation that the CT scan will be Friday. When I asked when I would receive the results, the person booked an appointment for August 9. She also told me to call about a week after I had the CT scan, and then they might be able to get me in sooner. So I'll do that :)

We watched the first show of season 3 of Project Runway. It looks like it's going to be an interesting show this season, as pretty well all of the designers are established and have actually worked in the industry. I hope this means that the quality of the designs will be better this season. Interestingly, the show is airing on NBC on Monday nights - it won't air on Life Network (its previous home) until the fall.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


It was so hot today (35C or so) that we wanted to spend time in air conditioning. Since Ian isn't that fond of shopping, we decided to see some movies.

The first was The Devil Wears Prada. It was ok. Meryl Streep was fantastic, as were the clothes and the shoes. The story was a little weak, however. What second assistant gets to wear the clothes from the company wardrobe closet for free to work? Really, the best reason to see the movie is for the aformentioned clothes and shoes.

The second was An Inconvenient Truth (also known by me as Al Gore's global warming movie). It's the movie of Al Gore's lecture on global warming. While his statistics might be a touch skewed (he is, after all, trying to prove a point), the argument is compelling. I highly recommend this film, especially if you don't believe that global warming is a problem.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


The Silvermasters paddled in Waterloo today and wound up 17th out of 53 non-university teams. That's a pretty good finish for us :) We had some great race times today - we did a 2:21:00, 2:21:26, and 2:18:26 (in that order). Those are really good times for a 500m race. Our third race was AWESOME! We did a series of 10 hard strokes and then the finish was called at 300m. That's a much longer finish than we've been doing, and it works really well for us. We did, after all, shave 3sec of our time - that's a HUGE improvement!

So, anyways, here are the things I liked about Waterloo:
  • participants got free bottled water after each race
  • everyone else got free bottled water whenever they wanted. It was really hot today (30C)
  • there were recycling facilities
  • flush toilets with soap and running water
  • portalets were cleaned once
  • great view of the races
  • friendly competitors and organizers
  • starter was good at lining people up to start the races
  • lots of good competition and some really good teams there
... And these are the things that I didn't like so much:
  • it was slooooooooooow. They finished 1 1/2 hours late, which made for a very long day.
  • little shelter at the marshalling area. Not only was it hot and humid out, it was sunny.
  • the band moved/appropriated the speakers that let us hear the announcer. We couldn't hear our team called to the marshalling area (or who was racing, or really anything about the races).
We'd go back to this event - it's very fun. We are very tired, of course... but it's a good kind of tired :)

Friday, July 14, 2006

CT scan scheduled

The CT scan is scheduled for Friday, July 21 at 9am. I'm glad that it's scheduled soon. I was doing some internet research on what kinds of effects radiation can have on bones, and I think I'm not going to do any more research :) It looks like radiation causes bone cells to die or to grow uncontrollably, and that growing uncontrollably shows up at least 4 years after the area was irradiated (it's been 5 years since the radiation). I'm just going to assume that I've missed something and there's something else that can cause the bone scan results :)

Today was pretty quiet. I did a bit of shopping and then went out for dinner with some friends. We wandered around Waterloo Park and looked at the animals. The bunnies were especially interesting - there's a tortoise in that pen!

Thursday, July 13, 2006


The bone scan results are inconclusive. There is an area of concern on my sternum that corresponds to the pain I have there (that pain started in January or so). Apparently the area of concern could be either cancer or else a long-term side effect of the radiation. The fact that there's only this one spot of concern is another reason that it could be negative. They're going to schedule a CT scan to see if they can determine whether this is cancer or not. I would hope to have that soon, but, well, we'll see.

The doctor didn't have the ER/PR results; apparently they haven't been transferred from the medical oncologist records to the radiation oncologist records.

Sigh. The doctor understands that this waiting is very frustrating. He said that the wait has no medical impact, but that of course there is a psychological impact. It's times like this that I wish we had two-tier health care. I am willing to pay to have these tests, if paying for them meant that I could have them more quickly.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Some results tomorrow

Tomorrow I get the bone scan results and I should find out whether or not this cancer is ER/PR positive or not. If it's ER/PR positive, then it is a recurrence as it'll be the same as last time... and it means that the cancer grows because, well, I'm female and have female hormones.

I'm a bit nervous about the appointment, of course. I know that the outcome of the results is already determined and that no amount of worrying will change that outcome. Funnily enough, I don't think that I'm that worried about the actual outcome - I think that I'm more worried about what will happen after I get the results. I guess I haven't completely let go of the fact that I can't control what the doctors are going to do - and that they probably aren't going to do things as quickly as I'd like them to.

For example, if the cancer has spread to the bone, will I see the medical oncologist before August 15 (which is my first scheduled appointment with that doctor)? I don't really want to wait another month to get started on the next stage of treatment. If the cancer hasn't spread, will the radiation oncologist (who I see tomorrow) do the referral for the mastectomy before the ultrasound results are in? Chances are good that if the cancer isn't in the bone, it's also not in the liver (especially since I have no symptoms of liver metastasis), so in theory we should be ok proceeding with preparations for the mastectomy.

As much as having time off is fun, I'd like to be able to get back to work... I feel like I've been off for so long already while I do a whole lot of waiting. Some might say that I'm impatient :)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Vicki's gone

Vicki left for BC today :( I was very sad to see her go - it was really nice having her here. Aside from her being a good houseguest, we got to do fun things and hang out and generally enjoy ourselves. It was very soothing to have some family here right now. Her flight was early this morning, and so when I drove her there I got to miss the rush hour traffic in both directions. I also missed the truck that appeared to be on fire and the other truck problem :)

I worked on the blazer today. I made a mistake on the sleeves (my underlap turned into an overlap), and so I'll have to recut those pieces. I got the buttonholes and hem done, though. I'd done 5 of the buttonholes in white and then I realized that I wasn't happy with that colour. So I picked them out and redid them. I'm getting very good at picking stitching out... I'm not sure that makes me a better sewer, though :)

I've posted the before and after haircut photos here.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Ian's home!

We picked Ian up from the airport today. His flight was about a half hour late, which wasn't too bad. I'd expected his flight to be later due to the storms that we had around here today. Of course I also expected it to take extra-long to get to the airport due to the rain, but it didn't take much extra time at all :) It rained a bit on the way back to Waterloo - at one point, it was pouring while the sun was shining brightly - but it wasn't nearly as bad as we heard it had been.

We paddled tonight as well. One of these days I'll remember that I need to actually get out and do something like go for a walk or bike ride on the days I paddle (or bellydance). If I don't warm up that way, then my performance in the sport is very much sub-par. I was splashing all over the place and not twisting enough and generally doing very badly. Oh well - Thursday will be better.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Another quiet day

We had planned to go to some flea markets today, but unfortunately Vicki's headache is still really bad. We stayed home today instead. She finished looking through my Burda pattern magazines and I ran a couple of errands. This evening we did a little bit of grocery shopping (mainly to pick up some Shikar Poppa Dums - they're little papadum chips and they're very, very tasty).

I also washed my new sari fabric today, and the dye ran a bit onto some other black clothes that had white trim. I now have a few pieces of black clothing with pink trim :)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Whole lot of nothing

After yesterday's travels, we took it easy today. Vicki had had a headache for most of the last couple of days so she rested today. While she was resting, I worked on the jacket I've been sewing. I sewed the collar (it's a notched collar - the first I've ever made) and decided that I didn't feel like sewing the sleeves or the hem. It turns out that I made a mistake in the seam allowances on the front piece and so I'll have to face the hem to have it look right.

We went for ice cream this evening at the Grill. They have Stoney Creek Dairy ice cream (yummy!) and they make their own waffle cones while you wait. While eating the cones, we wandered around the University of Waterloo campus. We saw some cardinals and a mommy squirrel with 4 or 5 adolescent squirrels. They were very cute. The mommy was very glad to see us go.

Friday, July 07, 2006


Vicki and I went to Toronto today. We'd originally sort of planned to drive into downtown (yes, I know that's not usually a good idea)... but then I realized that the Molson Grand Prix was this weekend, and so there were road closures and stuff. So we drove into Mississauga, took the GO train, and then the subway.

Our first stop was the Textile Museum of Canada. Unfortunately, we arrived before they opened, and so we wound up wandering through an art exhibit at Nathan Phillips Square. We stopped for a bite to eat at a coffee shop there. As we were leaving, I noticed an article in the Globe and Mail on how today's work environment results in ADD in the workplace (I was interested because I work in a chaotic environment - that's what comes with working for an email-based company. There's no way that I could decide to read and answer my email only twice a day :) ). The lady tidying up practically shoved that section of the paper into my hands, so we took it with us to read later :)

The Textile Museum was awesome. The current exhibit is on Wandering Weavers, and it showcases textiles from a number of nomadic cultures. There's also an interactive section on fibers and textiles. I assume that section is for kids, but since there were none there at that time, we played with the stuff :) Half of the museum was closed since they're setting up a new exhibit, so as we were leaving they gave us half of our admission fee back. That was a pleasant surprise since we'd already decided that what we saw was worth the $10 admission.

We then walked down Queen Street and poked into the shops there for a bit. I think that I'm not quite cool enough to shop there :) I ended up buying a top from some nameless store. We both really liked the dresses in Fashion Crimes, although they were quite expensive for what you got (the construction on some of them was not really up to par IMHO). Most of the dresses were 50s-inspired with crinolines, and many had some sort of applique on them. This store also had lots of gloves.

When we were finished walking, we took the streetcar down to Dufferin St because we wanted to go to Designer Fabrics. They have a lot of great fabrics there, and it's fun to go through and just touch all of them :) Some of the fabrics there are exquisite (and you pay for it, too!). It is definitely the place to go if you want upscale home decorator fabrics, dupioni silk (which comes in about 100 colours), or embroidered silks, all at very reasonable prices considering what you get. We actually ended up spending more time in the trims department than the fabric department. Vicki bought a bunch of trims and stuff to use in garments that she'll sell through her (and Ruby's) store on etsy.

Did I mention that I was wearing new shoes that I just bought last week for all of this? Ummm, yeah. That might not have been the smartest thing to do (although the shoes look fantastic and were mostly comfortable through the day).... by this time, my feet hurt. We took the streetcar to the Long Branch station and then the GO train back to the car. We finished up with "dinner" at Demetre's, and then came home.

It was a very long, but very fun, day.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

St. Jacob's

We went up to St. Jacob's today. It's a small community that has a lot of interesting stores on the main strip downtown, and it's only about a 10 minute drive north of my place. We spent most of our time in the Mill and the Village Silos - they're a few old buildings that had been converted to tiny shops. Vicki bought some stuff at these places :) There's a great model train exhibit; they've got all sorts of trains and stuff, and they've built an HO scale track there. They have a website outlining their progress here.

I paddled tonight as well. This time, I paddled on the right at the front of the boat (the position known as "stroke right"). I am much more comfortable on the right side, although I wasn't quite ready for the full race that we did :) I'm much happier with the practices I've attended this year - they're more demanding than the ones last year. I'll be paddling at the Waterloo festival on July 15, and it looks like I'll be paddling on the left at the front of the boat (in "stroke left").

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Niagara Falls

Vicki and I went to see Niagara Falls today. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that the parking lot only took cash. There was no sign saying that they took cash only, and we didn't have enough with us - I'd expected them to take credit cards or even debit cards (silly me!). I guess I've become much too accustomed to using my debit card :). The attendant was very nice, though - he said that we could park off to the side, go to Table Rock, get cash out of the ATM there, and come back and pay them. We managed to get the last $100 out of that ATM :) I went and paid the parking attendant while Vicki looked through the gift shops at Table Rock.

The Falls were beautiful as usual. It wasn't too busy today, and so we were able to get right up to the railing at many points along the walkway. We ended up walking to the Hershey store (about 1.5 or 2 km), taking pictures the whole way. There was a beautiful Zen garden across the street from the Hard Rock Cafe. It was very peaceful. The souvenir shop next to the garden was the best that we saw; it had the best selection of stuff and the stuff they had wasn't all that tacky.

We were a bit disappointed by the Hershey store; there were a lot of chocolate bars, but, well, I can buy those almost anywhere :) Next door to the Hershey store was a Coca-cola store. We stopped there; Vicki had a flavoured pop and I had a vanilla malt (yummy!). We also wanted to rest our feet after walking to the store. We stopped at the RCMP store, where Vicki bought a wooden watch. It looks really cool. The one she got has a leather band, although they did have some with wooden links. The company is called Tense Watch and they're Canadian; their website is here.

At that point, we were pretty well done with walking.... or so we thought. We had planned to take the People Mover (a bus) back to Table Rock, but we weren't sure how much it cost. There were no signs regarding tickets at the stops (I looked), and there were no signs on the buses themselves. It turns out that tickets must be purchased in advance from places that aren't marked at all, and it's $7.50 for a daypass. We decided that $7.50 each was a little pricey to go one way back to the car, so we ended up walking back. We passed through some lovely gardens, so it wasn't all bad. As we walked through the parking lot, we entertained ourselves by finding license plates from far away. The farthest was from Mexico.

Overall, it was a fun day. I was disappointed by the lack of signage for things like the parking lot and the People Mover - I felt like there must have been an orientation course on how to navigate Niagara Falls that I missed. Or maybe I'm just spoiled because I live in a place where we have signs like those :)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

More shopping

Vicki and I went to Lens Mills and to an Indian fabric store. I bought sari fabric in a lovely red (the chiffon pieces are tie-dyed). I don't have any idea what I'm going to do with this fabric, but it was too beautiful to pass up. Vicki bought some remnants at the Indian store and some other stuff at Lens Mills. It would have been nice to go to Michaels as well, but I was too tired and needed a nap.

I paddled tonight - I'm feeling much better on the left side. I actually felt like I was pulling water with every stroke, not just dipping my paddle in the water :) Our team website is now up - you can find it here.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Shopping fun

It was hot and humid today, and so Vicki and I worked to stay in places that were air-conditioned (which means that we went shopping). We spent most of our time at Winners, but didn't buy very much today. When we got home, I dyed my hair - it's now a darker reddish brown, which I like better than the light brown/dark blonde.

The hospital called about the abdominal ultrasound. There's no way that they can get me in earlier than the 17th, but they said that they'd call with the results... or if I didn't hear anything by the 24th that I could call and get the results. At least I'll still get the bone scan results on the 13th, and don't have to wait until August 15 (which is when I see the oncologist) for the ultrasound results.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Comings and goings

Ian left for Barcelona today. We spent the afternoon at his parent's house playing keep away with the dog. She didn't like it when I kept taking her toy, but it's hard to take a small dog seriously when she growls :) We also played Brain Age on the DS lite. Apparently my brain is either in its 20s or 40s, depending on which exercise I do. :)

Ian's mom had a good point that one view of the delays in all the tests and stuff is that they must think that my condition isn't that serious or urgent. That is a good way to view these delays - I'll try that over the coming weeks.

I drove Ian to the airport, saw him enter the security area, and then settled down to wait for my sister Vicki. She was supposed to arrive at 8:30, but her flight was early. Vicki will be here for the entire time that Ian is gone. That's a pretty fair trade, I guess, although it's a bit of a shame that Ian left today, as it's our 6 year anniversary today :)

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Happy Canada Day!

I saw a lot of friends today. This morning I went to Doon Heritage Crossroads with a friend of mine, which is a re-created village in Kitchener that shows what life was like between about 1900 and 1914 in the region. Admission was free since it was Canada Day. There aren't that many buildings in the village, but it was still sort of interesting. The best part was seeing this friend of mine - I haven't seen her for about a year.

This afternoon Ian and I went to Stratford to see some university friends. We sat around and talked and played Bang and Bohnanza. We don't see these friends very often, so it was good to catch up with them.

We didn't see any fireworks today, and Ian didn't juggle at the Canada Day celebrations (these are both usual activities for us on Canada Day). It was still a great way to celebrate Canada Day - with our friends.

PS - I'll be posting pictures of my new haircut soon.