Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween travels

Happy Halloween!

I got up extra-early today as I had a dentist's appointment. It's the first dentist's appointment I've had since the cancer came back, so we had a lot to talk about. One of the side effects of the bisphosphonates is osteonecrosis of the jaw. It happens more commonly with the IV type of these drugs, but there's a chance it could happen with the pill form that I'm currently taking. And it could happen that I wind up taking the IV form if I don't tolerate the pill form well, so we need to keep an eye on this. I'll be seeing my dentist every 4 1/2 months to make sure that my teeth are still ok. Next time I see her, she'll do a big xray of my whole head that we'll use as a baseline to track changes to the bones.

Also, since we need to be sure that my teeth are strong and cavity-free, I have to get a fluoride rinse to be used every day. And since the lack of estrogen in my body can cause dry mouth (which happened while I was on Tamoxifen), leading to cavities, I have to get some other stuff to keep my mouth moistened. Of course I have to drink lots and lots of water, too :)

Afterwards I went to the passport office. As of January 8, 2007, Canadian citizens traveling to the United States by plane will require a passport. I don't know that I'll be going there or anywhere else, but it makes sense to get a passport now, before the big rush in December. I should receive the passport in about two weeks.

When I got home, I had a big nap followed by decorating our place for Halloween. You can see our decorations here. They're not that great as the stuff we have isn't that expensive, but I think the overall effect is pretty good. We like to decorate the place a bit to encourage kids to come so that we can give out candy. This year, we got 42 kids, up from last year's 25. I'm pleased with that - I like seeing the costumes, especially on the little kids. They are so cute! Several people complimented us on our pumpkins as well.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Pumpkins and sweater

We finished carving our pumpkins today. Ian did a much better job than I did :) The pictures are here. Mine is based on one of the orb spider pictures that I took earlier this year, and Ian's is the Frank the bunny head from Donnie Darko. It was fun to do the pumpkins; I was a little unfamiliar with the woodcarving tools, which meant that I was a little clumsy using them. I didn't hurt myself, thank goodness :)

I also finished the front of the sweater I'm making. This means that I've finished the front and the back and have only the sleeves to make. I was pretty impressed with myself; the yarn gives a subtle striped effect to the finished product, and I managed to accidentally match the stripes on the front and back :) There's no way that the sleeves will match, but at least the body will all look the same.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


As you know, Halloween is only two days away. We usually decorate our doorway a little bit by putting up some lights and some of that spider-web stuff, as well as a pumpkin. We usually design our own pumpkin pattern. Last year, we did Skeleton Jack from the Nightmare Before Christmas. I think the year before we might have done a dragon pattern that a friend of ours designed for us.

Today we spent time designing not one, but two pumpkin patterns - one for me, and one for Ian. I'm not going to tell you what those designs are; you'll have to wait for the pictures tomorrow, provided they work out :) I will say this: Ian's is more complicated than mine, but they're both quite technically interesting.

We also ran around all over the place looking for pumpkins. We didn't want to buy a pumpkins until after we knew what design(s) we were going to do. One of the local grocery chains is (we went to two stores) completely out of pumpkins, but the other has lots. We were able to get a couple of reasonably good pumpkins, clean them up, scrape them out, and trace our designs on them. We also bought a woodworking carving kit because our pumpkin carving kit isn't fine enough for these designs. We'll actually do the cutting tomorrow.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Halloween party

We went to a Halloween party in Toronto today held by some university friends. It was a lot of fun. We got to see a number of people with whom we went to university, as well as a couple of people we'd never met. Everyone had to dress up in costume; you can see our costumes here. I think we looked pretty good. One couple dressed as "double-space", and another couple came as western-inspired characters. One person came as a coat-of-arms. He got 25 doll arms and safety-pinned them to his coat - it was creepy, but creative :)

The only thing that was hard is that the couple we didn't know brought their 7 1/2 week old baby. The baby was very cute and ate a lot (it was breastfeeding). I found being around the baby really, really hard, because it kind of made real the fact that I'm never going to have a baby that size or at that age. Given a choice, I might have wanted to be presented with this kind of reminder a bit later, since I only had the surgery last week. Then again, I enjoyed myself, so I'm glad I went anyways.

We've known since I first had chemo 6 years ago that we probably wouldn't have kids. After all, I'm getting up there in years now, and it wouldn't make sense to think about having a baby or anything until Ian is finished school (at which point I'd be over 40 - not really a good age to bear children). But until having children became completely impossible by having my ovaries removed, I didn't really need to think about it. The fact that this door is really closed will take some getting used to. I'm sure that, in time, I'll enjoy being around very young babies - just not for a little while yet. Right now it just makes me feel sad.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Still not completely better

So I'm still not feeling completely better. Ian is better today, though, and went curling. I was able to go and watch the people curl, but I wasn't feeling well enough to go for dinner afterward. It has occurred to me that I could be experiencing side effects from the bisphosphonates; we'll see. I may have to play with some of the other non-prescription medicines that I take.

I figured that I should rest up, since we're going to a Halloween party in Toronto starting tomorrow around 2pm. I spent part of this afternoon figuring out what I was going to wear, and ultimately decided to wear the same thing as last year. I know, that's boring - but at least I have a costume I can wear. I wish I'd kept the cape that I wore many Halloweens ago, as it could be used now. One of these days I'll make an inexpensive black Halloween cape.

Ian trimmed and shaped his beard in anticipation of his costume tomorrow. I won't tell you what his costume is; you'll have to wait and see tomorrow :)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Canceled plans

We had planned to go over to a friend's house tonight and play boardgames since Ian didn't have to curl tonight. Unfortunately, Ian is not feeling well. He hasn't felt well since about Tuesday, and even though he thought he was better, it turns out that he wasn't. I also ended up feeling under the weather this afternoon in the same kind of way. It's like a stomach flu or having eaten bad food or something.

So we canceled our plans for this evening. We had a very light supper so as to not annoy our stomachs. I'm hoping that we feel better tomorrow. Ian is supposed to be curling, and I am hoping to have dinner with some friends tomorrow night. We'll see. If we're feeling better than we did today, then we can have a light dinner out.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Recovery update

I had heard that after the kind of surgery I had that women get hot flashes and emotional right away. That hasn't happened to me. I had maybe one tiny little hot flash and I haven't been especially emotional at all. I wonder when these symptoms will arrive. Not that I'm especially looking forward to them - I'd be perfectly happy if I never got night sweats, for example.

It's almost as though my ovaries were never removed. Of course I know they were :) The pain tells me that.

I am moving around quite a bit more. I was able to walk to and from the grocery store at the corner. I'm not in nearly as much pain as before; all of the pain is focused on one area that's about 4 in x 1 in. The scars are looking good and scabby and they don't really hurt. The one in my bellybutton can be tender, if I rub it the wrong way.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Photo results

We picked up the photos that we'd had done. Funny, I never look the way I think I'll look in them. I guess that's because the previews aren't quite the same as the real shots, and I haven't been able to train myself to look at all of the details on the previews. All I see is the overall shot.

So looking at the final pictures, I see that the cuff on my shirt had rolled down and that my hair looks just a bit weird. I didn't notice these things at the time, although even if I had I don't know how many more photos they would have taken.

I think that I could have used a stylist during the photo shoot. That person could have made sure that my positioning was perfect :)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Left the house today

We tried to pick up the photos from Sears today, but unfortuantely they were too busy. We waited forquite a while, but the person taking photos didn't acknowledge us or the other fellow that was there, so we left. We'll try again tomorrow.

During the wait period, we took a little walk through the mall today to the food court to get something to drink. This is the first time I've been out of the house since we got here from Mississauga last Thursday. It's also the first walk that I've taken since last Thursday, and this walk was longer than that walk.

I guess this means that I'm healing, although I've still got pain and some swelling in my abdomen. I'm looking forward to feeling like a normal person :)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Still taking it easy

I'm feeling a bit better, although I'm definitely not up to my normal, cheery self. I'm still very tired and have quite a bit of pain. At least I'm moving around quite a bit better - for the last few days, I was always hunched over clutching my abdomen to ease the pain whenever I walked around. Now I'm barely hunched over, and only need to apply a bit of pressure to my abdomen.

The information sheet I received at the hospital said that I would be back to normal activities after two or three days of recovery. Ha! I think I'll listen to my surgeon, who said it would be at least two weeks before I could participate in my normal activities.

I am watching my incisions pretty carefully; one of them is weeping a little bit and has a bit of red around it. The other two also have some red around them, too, which is new. I'm a bit worried about infection, even though I have been keeping the incisions as clean as I can (and putting dressings on them when I think they need it). I'll continue to watch the incisions over the next few days.

I finished the scarf I was knitting for Ian to go with the hat I'd knit him last year. The pictures of the hat and scarf are here. I'm now working on a sweater for me.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Some slight improvement

I took the dressings off of the incisions today. They're healing up ok and don't show any sign of infection. My abdomen is still very swollen, especially on the left. While there's still a lot of pain, it is lessening a bit - I can more easily get myself onto the couch or bed. The painkillers are also helping, though. I'm hoping that by Monday, I'll be able to actually go for a short walk at a reasonable pace.

I'm so lucky to have Ian - he's been helping a lot. I don't have the flexibility to get into the bathtub for a shower, so he's been helping me there. And he's helping me get comfortable on the couch, and he's serving me food when I'm hungry or thirsty :)

I'm about half-finished Ian's scarf. I think it's going to turn out really well.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Home now

I was feeling well enough to travel today, so we came home this afternoon. I am very grateful to Ian's parents for making as relaxing an environment as possible for us before and after the surgery. There's no place like home, though, so we were happy to come home, too. On the way home I was able to pick up the swag that the company gave each employee a couple of weeks ago. My name was in fact on the list, so I guess ther was nust a mix-up that first day there. It's a really nice light brown suede blazer-style jacket with our company logo discreetly placed on a front pocket. People had complained that the jacket was too big, but I found that it fits pretty well. The sleeves are way too long, but that's expected. I can make a small change so that the sleeves look better on me.

Ian curled tonight, and we were both concerned about me being left alone in case I needed help. Although I was feeling well enough to travel, I'm still in quite a bit of pain. I had a friend come over and keep me company for the evening, which we spent knitting and watching tv. I'm finished just under a third of Ian's scarf. I'll be glad when this scarf is done so that I can move on to one of my sweater projects :)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

More surgery details

Oh yes, I am still feeling quite uncomfortable, particularly on the left side. It really, really, really hurts if I try to stretch or flex the muscles there. This makes lying down very difficult.

It was kind of a surgery adventure today. I'd been pretty impressed with the nurses and other staff there before, but this time was different.

First, the person who had done my initial intake seemed to be a bit upset when I told her that I couldn't have the type of tape she was holding up. I felt like I had inconvenienced her by my request for a different tape because I have problems with adhesives. Next, we waited in the waiting room for an hour, to 20 minutes past my new surgery time. When they came to get me, it was only to take me to xray, not to surgery. I guess that the pre-op admission clinic would normally have arranged for the xray because I have asthma.

When we got to the xray department, we were left sitting in the hall for 45 minutes. Ian went to ask them what was going on, and it turned out that the technicians didn't know that I was there. Sigh. The volunteer who delivered me there had gone to take the requisition somewhere, and another nurse from day surgery (not xray) took it away. So I suspect that this was the source of the confusion. Ummm, I had a bit of a meltdown during this time because I was so frustrated not knowing anything and because I was so scared. No one really told me what was going on, and I was worried that I wasn't going to able to have surgery today because I wasn't at surgical daycare. It seemed like there wasn't great communication between the nurses.

Once we finished all of that and did the things on the last-minute checklist, I was taken to the operating room. Luckily they had changed the surgery order because I didn't come back until 1:30pm (an hour and a half after my new surgery time), and I was able to have my surgery today. Because I have lymphedema, I'm not supposed to have either an IV or a blood pressure cuff on that arm. The anesthetist said that he didn't see why they couldn't put an IV in the lymphedema arm, so I had to explain the reasons to him. The first reason behind this is that needle pokes can get infected, leading to more lymphedema. The second reason is that if they're injecting something into my arm and for some reason it goes outside my veins, then there would be a buildup of lymph fluid to clean the area, also leading to more lymphedema. In an emergency I can have blood withdrawn from that arm, but it's better if it's left alone.

I woke up in the recovery room in a lot of pain and freezy cold. I actually became one of those people that was screaming and crying due to the pain and the cold. They gave me morphine and told me to lengthen my breathing. That's hard to do in the face of the kind of pain I had, but I was able to do that.

I slept for what seems like a long time after that. A requirement before they release you is that you have to walk to the bathroom and you have to keep down food. I was able to do both. However, the nurse wanted me lying back on the bed. She said that I should get on via a "log roll" technique, where you rest your butt on the bed and roll your shoulder onto its side, after which you bring your legs up. This technique works a LOT better if your feet can touch the ground and your butt can sit on the bed at the same time. I couldn't do that - some of you may have noticed that I am of underaverage height. So once again I became one of those people that cry, whine, and complain, this time because of the pain. It hurt a lot to try to do that manoever on that bed. The nurse just said that I shouldn't be so tense, that I should just do what she was showing me. Sigh. I told her that I couldn't do what she told me to do because the bed was too tall. She didn't bring me a stool to step on, either, which would have helped immensely.

Aside from all of the confusion, things went pretty smoothly. I am in quite a bit of pain that I hope will go away today. Or at least that will respond to painkillers :) I don't feel any different yet, either - I was worried that I would wake up feeling very different. I'm still the same old cranky me :)


Chantelle's surgery is over. She is in the recovery area and resting. She will be able to come home in about 2.5 hours from now. She is rather uncomfortable right now. Hopefully the pain will dissipate soon.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Surgery tomorrow

My surgery time has been changed to 12noon from 12:45pm. So I have to be at the hospital at 10am. I still expect that I'll be out of the hospital around 5:30pm. As the surgery time gets closer and closer, I feel more and more nervous. I'm sure that I'll feel better tomorrow morning (that's the way that this usually goes for me), but tonight I'm a little bit on edge. I'm trying not to be too cranky.

I spent some time this afternoon tidying up the house. I didn't do anything that remotely resembles cleaning, but I did put some things away. We're spending tonight and some amount of time after the surgery at Ian's parents house, and I like to return to a clean house. Well, a tidy house, anyways :) So when we go back, the house won't be quite as much of a sty as it usually is.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Surgery info

I had my pre-op appointment today. The surgery will be at 12:45pm on Wednesday, and they expect that I'll be released from hospital around 5:30 or 6pm that day. I have to be there by 10:45am. I can't have any food after midnight tomorrow, but I can have clear fluids (including coffee, if I wanted it) up until 6:45am.

I had my young women's support group today. A couple of women there have had an oophorectomy, which is quite helpful for me. Healing times vary amongst these women; one went back to work within a few days while another one took a couple of weeks to heal. Most women talk about the hot flashes that they experience, but they don't mention any other symptoms. So hopefully it won't be too bad for me. I actually think that I have hot flashes now - there are times where I can feel a buildup of heat, and I start to feel really hot. Then I start to actually sweat. After a while, the heat and sweat diminishes. So maybe these hot flashy things will just continue (possibly more frequently).

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Michael's had a sale on yarn today. As some of you know, I am an occasional knitter. I've actually finished a sweater, have another one partly finished, and have a third one planned.

So I bought enough yarn to make three more sweaters, as well as a book with some sweater patterns in it.

I've prepared one of the patterns (I need to make the same kinds of adjustments for knitting patterns that I do for other clothing patterns) and done a sample guage piece for it. I won't start it yet, though, because I owe Ian a scarf. I'd knit him a toque last year, and promised him a scarf to go with it. I'm doing that now :)

Friend's wedding

We went to a friend's wedding and reception on Saturday. The groom was a high-school friend of Ian's. The wedding was held at the Islington United Church. It isn't the couple's usual church, but they needed one that would hold up to 400 people. The church itself is really nice with lovely stained-glass work.

The wedding started about 1/2 hour late. There were six bridesmaids and groomsmen. Each bridesmaid wore strapless dusty rose knee-length satin dress with matching satin waistband and her own silvery shoes. I didn't love these dresses, both because I don't think satin looks good on most people and because the hems were topstitched. Each groomsman worse a cutaway coat (which I find quite attractive). The ceremony was of course lovely; interestingly, it was the groom that seemed nervous and teary. Someone handed him a box of tissue at the end of the ceremony :) The bride wore a strapless ivory two-piece dress. It was lovely, of course, although it would have been better had they used ivory tulle to decorate the church instead of white tulle.

After the ceremony was over and the certificate was signed, the bridal party took pictures with each of the different groups that had attended the wedding. As the grooms friends, we were dead last. It would be nice to have pictures like that, although it took a long time to do this due to the number of people.

The reception was held at the Atlantis pavilions at Ontario place. It was very nicely decorated, with white tulle everywhere. The table centrepieces were 2 1/2 foot vases with two orchid branches surbmerged in water in them. They were beautiful. There was also a big screen where people could see the action happening at the bridal table.

The bride and groom both have a Chinese background. Therefore, the first appetizer was roast suckling pig with jellyfish. I would have liked this better had the pig been warm, but it was served cold. It was ok, I guess. Ian liked it. I didn't try the jellyfish. The second appetizer was a mixed-green salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. It did have spinach, but I'm sure that's not a problem :) The third course was braised imperial shark's fin in boullion. It was pretty yummy, although I didn't love the gelatinous texture of the broth. The main course was grilled veal rib eye. It was a huge piece of meat served with underdone rice and vegetables.

The dinner service was very odd. The tables were beautifully set. However, there wasn't enough bread for everyone at the table, so not everyone got bread. Also, the people clearing each course refused to take the cutlery away. No, really, they refused. They wouldn't pick up the plate unless the person took the cutlery off of it, and then they wouldn't take the cutlery from our hands. We had enough cutlery for fresh cutlery with each dish, and so previous cutlery should have been cleared. The bread plates were also not cleared, although they did provide a handy place to put used cutlery. By the end of the meal, the table was quite messy, however.

The non-Chinese food was not very good and tended to be very inconsistent. Ian's salad was swimming in dressing while other people didn't have enough. Similarly, his veal was rare while mine was medium-well done. I don't know what catering company they used, but I certainly wouldn't recommend them. The Chinese food was apparently catered by some restaurant in Toronto. I think it was probably very good.

Finally, Ian had requested non-seafood, non-fish dishes as his dietary preference, and they had a lot of trouble with that. For some reason, they thought he was vegetarian while they were serving him meat.

Dinner started a half hour late and lasted three hours for those four courses. There were lots of speeches during dinner (some of which were good :) We left after the first dance (choosing not to stay for the bouquet and garter toss) as I was getting tired. As we were leaving, they had a seafood and dessert table set up. The desserts looked very yummy, but the seafood smell was quite overpowering. I don't love seafood, and I don't like its smell, so the desserts weren't as appealing as they might have otherwise been. Also, it was 11:30pm and I should never eat that late :)

All in all, it was very nice to see these two people who were obviously very much in love get married. While it wasn't perfect, it was still a lovely occasion.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Cancer, curling, and culture

I did see the oncologist today, and we are starting me on the bisphosphonates and Femara (aromatase inhibitor). I took the prescription in to be filled but the drugstore didn't have the generic version of the bisphosphonates. I'll pick it up tomorrow. I'm to start on those right away, and I'm to start the Femara a few weeks after surgery when I'm healthy. If I have any problems with either of these drugs, then I can call and get in to see her. The nurse was there and nodded her head when I verified this. Otherwise, I won't see her again until January.

One of the tumour markers - CA 15.3 - was slightly elevated the last time I was there. She said it was up by about 20 points, which isn't very much (I think normal is under 35). It looks like this will be the marker that we monitor as we re-did the test again today. I'll be curious to know whether or not the number is higher now, since I suspect more cancer now because of the lymphedema symptom.

Speaking of lymphedema, I also asked to get into the lymphedema program that they have there - the wait is 8 weeks, but it'll be worth it to see them, I think. She's also going to see whether or not I should redo the genetic testing. I did the testing back in 2001, and they've found two new genes since then, so it might be worth re-doing it. I'll see what she says.

Tonight was also my first night of curling. It was fun up until someone fell and hit her head on the ice :( She got a cut on her head which bled like crazy, as head wounds do. She's going to have a big bruise there - unfortunately, I think it was her head that broke her fall. She's apparently doing fine, though, and has someone watching over her tonight.

On the culture front, we saw Gene DiNovi in concert tonight. He's a jazz pianist who performed a bunch of Gershwin and other tunes from that era. It was amazing to watch him. We were able to watch his hands which are very elegant and graceful when playing. He also told stories about what it was like in that environment back then. It's really cool to hear some of that - there's definitely a lot of history there. The music was wonderful. I didn't recognize much of what he played, but I definitely enjoyed all of it.

This was a very full day, as you can probably tell. I'm going to wrap the gift for tomorrow's wedding and call it a day, I think.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Surgery scheduled

I called my family doctor who called my surgeon, and they straightened things out. My surgery date is Wednesday, October 18 (yes, that's next Wednesday!) in Oakville. I'm doing all the pre-op stuff on Monday. The surgery will be laparoscopic, so the incisions will be small and I'll be out of the hospital the same day. If there are any problems, then the incision will be bigger and I'll be in hospital for a day or two.

I'm glad that I'm getting in really quickly, but I'm scared, too. It's going to be a big change, and I don't think I'm ready for it. Then again, I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to be really ready no matter how much time I have. I have an idea of what to expect, but I won't really know what it'll be like until I go through it.

I get to see my oncologist tomorrow. I know that she'll be wanting to start me on the bisphosphonates (bone builders) soon. I hope that she'll see me in a follow-up visit about a month after this, because I'll need to start on the aromatase inhibitors then. I don't want to start on them without seeing her. Also, if I don't respond well to the type of bisphosphonate, then there are others that they can try - and I want to be sure that she'll see me in this case (as I've mentioned before, getting through the nurse is difficult).

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

No surgery date yet

I got a message from the surgeon's office today. I'm completely confused. Back in August, they told me that once I had the biopsy results, I should call and then we would arrange a surgery date. But they've made an appointment for me to see the surgeon again, with no mention of a surgery date at all. And they want my family doctor to fax them something - presumably a referral (I couldn't really tell on the message). I don't understand that at all, since they received a referral back in August.

I guess that since this biopsy process has taken so long, they've either forgotten what their original instructions were or we need to go through the whole process again. Unfortunately, neither they nor my family doctor's office were open this afternoon. I'll be spending some time getting this straightened out tomorrow. I don't mind going in for an appointment, but I want to make sure that we're definitely heading towards surgery. I also need to know whether or not I need to get anything from the oncologist on Friday before the surgery. I'll tell you, this isn't exactly what I imagined tomorrow would be like :)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


The cancer in my sternum is definitely breast cancer. This is good news, as I know what the treatment is and it has a decent prognosis.

The next step will be surgery to remove my ovaries. I've called the surgeon's office, but they haven't called me back with a surgery date. Hopefully they'll call me in the next day or two.

I feel much better knowing what we're dealing with, although I do feel a little guilty having delayed everything by two months. I'm concerned by the lymphedema I've got going on - I have mild swelling in my arm, hand, and side. I have a sneaking suspicion that the lymphedema is linked to more cancer in the breast. If I'm right, then the surgery might make the swelling go down (since my cancer grows because of estrogen - when the ovaries are removed, most of the estrogen in my body will be gone).

My family doctor also suggested that he would like me to go back to my old oncologist. I'm thinking about it.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Results tomorrow?

I see my family doctor tomorrow. I hope he's got the results from the biopsy. Since I haven't heard anything from the hospital, I'm hoping that the samples were good.

I'm a little nervous in case I do get results. It's always like this - I'm fine for a long time, but the night before I might get results is always the worst for me. I know that I'd rather know whatever there is to know... but I'm a little afraid, too. I guess I'm afraid that things will change once I get the results. I guess they might, if only because we'll have a better idea about what is going on with me. There's a certain comfort in ignorance. Knowing stuff means that I have to do something with that knowledge, even if all I have to do is just follow treatment orders.

Of course it's possible that my family doctor won't have the results for one reason or another, in which case I would hope to get the results on Friday. I see my oncologist then.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Gobble, gobble, gobble

This is Thanksgiving weekend, and today is the day that Ian's family has Thanksgiving dinner. It's good to do this on the Sunday so that everyone has time to recover from all that food on Monday, before going back to work on Tuesday :)

Ian's mom made a delicious dinner. We had a very moist and tender turkey (I thought it was good, and I don't like turkey), cranberry sauce, stuffing, cresent rolls, mashed potatoes, squash, sweet potatoes, green beans, brussel sprouts, white asparagus, green asparagus, and pickles. For dessert, she made pumpkin pie. Seeing as how I love sweet things, I look forward to the pumpkin pie; it is always delicious. Yummy!!!

We are all very stuffed and sleepy now :)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Shopping and a movie

We spent most of the day shopping. We're going to a wedding next weekend, and we had to get the wedding gift, of course :) We also spent some time getting accessories for the evergreen-coloured dress that I'm going to wear. I'd originally wanted to get new shoes that were flesh-coloured and sparkly. It turns out that I have some high-heeled pumps that are flesh-coloured (well, a two-tone beige) with some very subtle gold and silver sparkle to them. So I'll wear those :) I did buy a necklace, an ivory shawl, and some earrings.

This evening we saw The Illusionist. It's a lot like a con or grifting movie set about 100 years ago, and we thought it was really good. The whole movie was spent setting up the con, and the twist, when it was finally revealed, was unexpected and therefore good. The accents were quite well done - they were consistent amongst the actors throughout the entire movie. I've seen those actors in other movies and in interviews, and they don't speak like that in real-life. The constumes and sets were beautiful. I'd recommend this movie if you like either period films or con movies.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Electric cars and alternatives

We saw Who Killed the Electric Car today. It's a very good documentary about what happened to the electric cars that had been introduced in the 1990s and have been off the road since. I won't spoil the ending by telling you who the movie found guilty - I strongly recommend that you see the film yourself :)

I tell you, that movie makes me want to go out and buy an environmentally-friendly car :) The electric car wouldn't be suitable for everyone - it doesn't have enough range, enough infrastructure (because of the charging stations), or enough room. Unfortunately, a 2-seater car isn't suitable for everyone. These are things that could be overcome, of course, if the car companies were willing to put research and development money into them. I don't think that they will, though - it's almost as though they're in partnership with the oil companies to keep people dependent on gasoline and oil.

The hydrogen fuel cells mentioned in the movie don't really seem like a good alternative to the electric car. There are certainly storage issues - anyone remember the Hindenburg? Another alternative that I've heard of are ethanol fuel mixtures like E85; I hope that they are actually brought to market. Unfortunately, I'm not convinced that the oil companies are willing to allow alternative fuels into the market (I'm not sure how much I believe in Shell and their alternatives, even with those commercials).

I'd like to buy or lease a hybrid car when my lease for the current car is up next summer. If I could get one that could optionally take E85, I might be extra-happy :) We'll have to see whether or not the design of the cars is suitable for someone short like me. I have trouble with visibility in some cars. Also, any car I buy has to be suitable for both me and Ian - it has to be easily adjustable. If it turns out that the car design won't work, then we'll get a car that has low emissions and good gas mileage.

I can say, too, that I don't want to buy a car from the "big three" - GM, Ford, or Chrysler. It seems to me that they're trying to stifle alternatives, which I don't like at all. Their hybrid cars don't get the same mileage as a non-"big three" car, either. Until I see that these companies are actually trying to be more environmentally-sensitive, I choose to not purchase their products.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Jackets and coats

The company I work for provides swag for its employees on a regular basis. We were asked quite a few months ago to provide our size information for jackets, and the jackets were distributed today. Unfortunately, even though I sent in my size, I wasn't on the list to receive a jacket :( I'm guessing that it's because I am on long term disability, but I haven't confirmed that for sure yet. If I was a conspiracy theorist, I'd theorize that my manager is against me. But that would be going too far :) I'm hoping to get a jacket when I go back to work (whenever that is).

Since I didn't get a jacket, I bought a new winter coat. Ok, I probably would have bought a coat anyway, but not today. I loved the coat I had last year, but I had trouble with the zipper. Ok, the zipper insertion pin tore off and I had to graft a new one on. I didn't think that my "surgery" would last another year. The coat I bought is similarly styled to the one I had last year; they're both knee-length and have an a-line shape on the bottom. This year's model is a bronze-ish colour with a hood with rabbit-fur trim. The zipper is separable and quite sturdy. It's down- and feather-filled, has elastic around the wrists, and also has a covered zipper, so it'll be warm. Ian's only comment is that it's shiny. Which it also is :)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Launch party

There was a launch party at work for a new product that the company I work for just released. I set up and worked on this product in my department before I left, since I was responsible for products of this type in my department (apparently that may change when I go back, which I'm not happy about.... but that's a tale for another day).

Anyways, no one from my department, including my manger, forwarded the invitation to me. I can sort of see why that happened, since I'm not working there right now. I still felt a bit slighted, though, because the invitation did say to forward it to anyone who contributed to the project. I feel that my previous contributions are being forgotten or ignored by my manager and team - and even if it's just that they're forgetting me, well, that doesn't feel that good either. I suppose it's a natural thing to happen when someone is off sick for a long time like I have been. A friend in another department forwarded the invitation and arranged a ride for me, which I thought was very generous. It also turns out that my director also wanted me to attend, which made me feel better.

So I went :)

They had comedian John Heffron there for entertainment. He was sort of funny - being a corporate event, there were a lot of jokes he couldn't tell.

It was nice that the company paid for the event. Everyone invited could bring a guest, and all the food, water, and soft drinks were free, with a cash bar available as well. A light dinner and dessert was provided. The food was ok, except for the really terrible cheeze sauce - some speculated that it was because the sauce was burned, but it also tasted sort of tobaccoey. It was really strange.

I was glad that I went, as I got to see a number of people I hadn't seen in a while. I've missed those people. It was also good to get caught up on some things that were going on outside of my department.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Photos taken today

We had some photos taken today at Sears. I'd only ever had photos taken there with a large group, where there's only one real pose. When there's just two of you, they actually have you do different poses. Although when they asked us if we wanted to do some floor work, we did wonder what kind of photo shoot this was going to be :)

Ok, so it wasn't THAT kind of shoot. It was just a normal, "take pictures of two people" kind of shoot. And we're definitely not models.... the pictures showed us as we were. That's means that they're good pictures, I suppose. But I've been looking at myself in the mirror lately and thinking that maybe I've lost a couple of pounds. Ummmm, well, even if I have lost some weight, I'm not exactly a little person - as the photos clearly show. Oh well - it's better to see myself as I really am, even when that doesn't match what I wished I looked like :)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Dairy Queen

This was one of thoe days where I do almost nothing. It turns out that if I get up at a reasonable hour (like, say, 9am), then I sleep all afternoon. It's as though I get up at noon, and this happened today :)

I was able to work out a bit on the exercise bike today, so I figure I'm in ok shape. We also had Dairy Queen for the first time in a long, long time. Usually it disagrees with me, but I was fine with it today. That made me quite happy :)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Learning new things

Ian had figured some time ago that while I was off work, I might like to do something sort of technical. I spent some time today learning PHP and CSS. We host the Silvermasters site, which Ian is in the process of converting to PHP and CSS, and Ian was hoping that I would be able to help with this. We also downloaded some software to keep track of gift wishlists, and it needs some major work.

So anyways, I was trying to make this software look a little more current with a better UI (ie use fewer tables and more menus). It's pretty fun. We'll see how it goes - we also want to make some changes to the database tables that it uses. If we get it to a point where we like it, then we might try and use it.

It's kind of fun to learn something new. It might even turn out to be useful, although I think I can say for certain that I don't want to work in web design :)