Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I sold three pairs of earrings from my etsy store today!!!!!!! I'm very excited :) I know the person who bought the earrings, but that person had never seen the stuff in-person, so their experience was completely on-line. I hope this means that I'll be able to get more sales.

As I'm typing this, I see that someone else has bought something, too. I'm so thrilled!!!!!!!!!! I know this person, too, but I really appreciate that my customers are using my store. I'm working on another piece now, and I'll do some more tomorrow as well. I don't want my stock to get too low. :)

Thank you all for helping to support me by buying the earrings I make. I love love love designing and making them; I hope you all love them as much as I do.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ready for sales

Everything I've made that is ready for sale is up on my etsy store. I have two items marked as on hold for other people. I wanted to put the items up anyways in case those people didn't actually want these pieces. They'll also give people an idea of what I can design. The pictures are very detailed; they show the flaws better than they can be seen with the naked eye. I think that's good. :)

Someone told me that I would need a GST number and business number from the federal government. I don't need either one, actually. I only require a GST number if I sell over $30K per quarter, which I'm never going to get near :). The government website also says that I "should" get a business number, not that I "must" get one.

Getting a business number means that I could order from wholesale places and that items could get through customs more quickly, but I'm not ordering that much stuff. I mean really, a couple of hundred dollars here and there won't make a difference going across the border. And besides, if I got a business number, I would have to get a GST number, which means that I'd have to collect and remit GST. If I don't have to do that (and I don't have to, according to the government guidelines), then I'm not going to. So there :)

I also had dinner with a friend of mine tonight - I haven't seen her in ages, and I was glad to see her tonight. I've missed her. She lent me all sorts of beading magazines that I'm reading voraciously :) I'm getting more and more ideas....

Monday, February 26, 2007

My earrings will soon be for sale

Finally, I have really, really good pictures of my earrings. We used the digital photo box, together with a spotlight on the inside at the bottom to add some sparkle to the Swarovski crystals that I sometimes use. I'm not going to post them on the usual site; I'll be updating my etsy store tomorrow instead. So by tomorrow evening I should have them all up in my store for your viewing pleasure :)

Note that if you're looking to purchase the earrings from the etsy store, you'll need an etsy username. It's kinda like eBay in that way. I accept PayPal, and through that I think you can use a credit card even if you don't have a PayPal account. Note that prices on etsy are in US dollars.

If you want to buy my jewelry and don't want to go through the etsy store, I can sell them to you that way. But then I wouldn't have feedback or sales on my site - I'll sell more stuff if I've already sold stuff and have positive feedback. But I won't let my etsy store get in the way of selling you my stuff :)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Totally random thoughts

Did you know that there's a gas crisis going on here in Ontario? Yep. There was a fire at an Imperial Oil refinery, and there's been a CN strike, and so Ontario gas stations don't have much gas. Many of the Essos are closed because they have no gas. In a rebound effect, some other gas stations are closed because they ran out of gas after the Esso closed.

They're telling people that this is a temporary situation. The CN strike is apparently over, and the refinery repairs are almost complete. I don't think that people have been doing panic buying, although I'm sure that there are some people who will have done this. It feels sort of odd; is this what things will be like later, when the environmental crisis at our heels has gone too far? Gas stations will be closed, there will be lineups, and prices will go up, with an undercurrent of unease?

I guess the current situation isn't so different than the energy crisis of the 70s.

On a completely different note, we're watching the Oscars tonight, of course. :) I love the clothes, as I'm sure you all know. The only thing I'm not thrilled about is that it seems like many of the stars are wearing strapless, figure-clinging dresses. I've noticed a strapless dress trend for quite some time now, and I'll tell you, most people don't look good in a strapless dress. On the bright side, this means that the focus is moving to the neck, shoulders, and face. That means jewelry :)

It occurred to me today that while I can sell my jewelry by myself on the side, it might be difficult to go and sell it at a store. I can try and see; many people create jewelry on the side, but I would think that not many of them are on long-term disability and not supposed to be working. We'll see. Obviously I have to make more of the jewelry before I go and try and peddle my wares somewhere. By the way, I have placed an order for surgical steel earring hooks; I'll let you know when they arrive.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Another happy day!

We went to Mississauga today because it's Ian's dad's birthday. We took some pictures of the car; they're available here. Ian's mom made a very yummy meal and cake; of course I ate too much! But it was so yummy that I couldn't resist! :)

Some of you may know that I've been working on taking good pictures of my jewelry. I haven't been completely pleased with the pictures to date; they're too dark and stuff, in my mind. Ian bought me a photo box thingy! It's a cube with translucent sides and two big lights. I'm so touched and honoured and pleased and happy!!! I can't wait to get all set up and starting clicking away! I'm so happy to have one of these as I think it'll make a huge difference in my photo quality. And I'm thrilled that Ian is supporting me in this jewelry-making thing. I do hope that I'm able to sell them - I'll have a lot of stuff if I can't.

Speaking of earrings, I've been having trouble with the silver oxidizing on my ears from the sterling silver earwires :( . I don't want this to happen to other people - someone suggested that stainless steel earwires would be good. I did a little research, and it seems that titanium is quite hypoallergenic, too. I think I have a source for sterling silver, titanium, and (maybe) stainless steel earwires. I'll call on Monday and find out. Then I could offer people their choice between the three. Does that make sense? Someone also asked for clip-on earrings - I'm looking into those. I think I can get sterling silver clip-on wire things, so I could offer that as a choice, too.

Someone asked for 10K gold - I think I'm not going to be able to go there just yet. It's expensive, and I don't want to sink much more money into this just yet. On our way to Mississauga today we stopped at a bead store in Oakville (and one of the local stores). I got a lot of beads - I seem to have an amethyst fetish right now, and I also got some tourmaline and citrine. Amethyst paired with either of those two is beautiful. So pretty......... but I don't need more beads. I just want them - my semi-precious bead fetish could (almost) replace my shoe fetish. I have lots and lots and lots of tiny little beads.... I want to do things with chains and stuff. So pretty....

Oh!!!!!!! I forgot to tell you about my chest xray results. It was clear!!!! So the cause of my coughing isn't something that shows up on an xray. That's good; it means that I don't have lung mets. :) It's practically celebration time!!!!

Friday, February 23, 2007

More about my earrings

So I haven't sold any more earrings yet, but two people have asked me for some earrings like some that I have, but shorter. I like long dangly earrings, but I guess I should branch out to shorter earrings too :) A couple of other people have asked me to hold pairs of earrings for them, which is amazing too. I can't believe that people like my stuff so much! Then again, it is unique and handmade, and I think I have a flair for colour and design. I'm proud of all of the earrings I've made.

One friend suggested a portfolio in which to carry my earrings - right now, I keep them in sealed plastic bags. I write what stones each earring contains on a label thing. These keep the earrings from tarnishing, but the earrings aren't shown to their best advantage that way. And people are reluctant to take them out of the packages - but you can only really see the beauty if you hang them up and see them. I'll have to think about this.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A fantastic day

I had a "mystery outing" today with a friend of mine. She took me to my old place of work to receive a gift. She had organized a fundraiser to send me on my travels so that I didn't have to worry about money. I'm so very touched that all of those people would do such a wonderful thing for me. I almost cried while I stood there and they presented it to me.

I don't completely feel like I'm worthy of such generous gift, but I'm certainly not going to refuse it :). I feel so honoured to be thought of like this - that all of these people care so much to send me off on my travels. I will be sending thank you notes to all of them once I confirm a few email addresses. Those of you who read my blog that contributed, thank you - I appreciate it very, very, very much.

Afterwards, someone (ok, the organizer) bought two pairs of my earrings!!!!!!!!!!!!! She didn't buy them through my store on etsy, but in person. I was thrilled to sell them - they did look fabulous on the buyer :) She will look more spectacular than she always does when she wears them :)

After that, we picked up our car. We have a new car!!!!!!!! I don't have pictures yet because it was getting late, it was cold, and Ian had to curl, but we'll take some in the next few days. It is a very nice drive and we are quite happy with it. We will need to get used to it, of course :)

So overall it was a great day and filled with lots of positive emotion. I don't think I could ask for a better day than this. Thank you.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Technical support problems

Our internet went down earlier tonight. This is the third time it's happened; it has something to do with Bell, our service provider. They're also our phone company. Each time it's happened before, they've told us to just call and have them send the call up to second-level support.

So I tried to call and get it sent up to second-level support. Apparently the support database server is down and so they had no record of anyone's problems available to them. I told him that we've had this problem before and that we were told to call and have it go up to second-level support. I didn't get one of the a-team. Sigh. He seemed to think that he could still help me. He asked for my user id, phone number, and name, which apparently he typed into notepad. Then he asked what modem model we have. I've already told the guy that the problem is outside our house, and he asks me what modem model we have? That made me mad, because it's a completely irrelevant question. I know, the guy is following a script, but I don't do well with scripts.

I asked to speak to this person's supervisor and did so. He explained that they were to do what they could when their servers went down. I told him that they should be honest about the servers being down from the get-go. I also told him that it would be better if his people didn't ask stupid irrelevant questions when faced with some problems (like ours). Yes, I was my formerly normal, bitchy self.

We will have to call back another time in order to get our call recorded.

I also tried to access their site via my BlackBerry, and I can't get through to the online support there. It just says that I have an unsupported browser and gives me no option to proceed.

You might be able to tell that I'm not very happy with our internet service provider right now. I've been cranky for a couple of days (I don't really know why, but I've been impatient and cranky lately - maybe I'm tired?), and this doesn't help at all. I'll definitely give them a couple of calls tomorrow.

On the bright side, we're supposed to pick up our car tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

We have a social life!

I listed a couple of items on Etsy today!!!!! :) I'm very excited! :) I don't expect anyone to rush out and buy my stuff as there's a lot of traffic on the site and I'm an unknown, but I hope that eventually my stuff will sell. Over the next few days I'll add more items. I wanted to start out small and build up my store.

We also went over to a friend's place to play games tonight. We played Alhambra, For Sale, and Strange but True.

We've played Alhambra before and we like it; it took a long time tonight because there were two new people and a number of us were playing with hard puzzle-things (the 3D kind that you have to put back together into a solid object). Ian and I are considering getting some expansion packs for this game as each pack adds interesting new features. We'll see.

We didn't eat dinner with our friends (they had pizza; we made a stir-fry), so we missed most of For Sale, but it looked pretty interesting. Basically, you buy houses as low as possible (by bidding) and try to sell them for as high a price as possible. It's a pretty quick game which is definitely an advantage.

We didn't like Strange but True. In it, you read 4 headlines, only one of which is an actual headline. Each person or team bets on whether they think that the headline is real or not. Afterward, a story corresponding to the headline is read out and each person or team bets on whether the story is unverified or true. It's not all that fun. It got a low rating on BoardGameGeek, though, so I wouldn't expect it to be that fun. If you're buying a board game, then you're better off sticking to games that have a rating of at least a 6.5 or 7 on BoardGameGeek. Games with that kind of rating tend to be well-thought out and interesting.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Lots of excitement around here

We pick up our new car (with snow tires) on Thursday!!!! We're both very excited. I made arrangements for the insurance, so that's all set up. We've got the parking space for the old car, and everything is falling into place. Yay :)

I ended up buying more semiprecious beads. Some of the freshwater pearl beads are on sale at Michaels so I picked up some of those. Then I went to my favourite semiprecious bead store and bought stuff. Probably too much stuff, I know. :) But I won't be going out for bead stuff for a while now.

I also fixed up the purse I'd made last fall; I am going to try to sell it. It is a beautiful purse and I think I could get some money for it. I'll list it (as well as a couple pairs of earrings - I fixed up all of my earrings to be the same size) tomorrow. While I hope someone will buy my stuff, I don't want to get my hopes up too high. The extra money would be nice, and it would also be nice to get rid of some of the stuff that I've made as well as the stuff that I will be making.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The usual kind of Sunday

We saw Bridge to Terabithia today. It was good - not quite what we expected, based on the trailers (we sort of expected something that was more like Narnia), but it was still good. The target audience would be pre-teens and teens with a good message, so if you like that sort of thing, I'd recommend that you see it. The special effects are very, very good.

The heroine (Leslie) reminded me very much of my niece. She was tall and willowy and had a beautiful face and eyes. My niece is beautiful like that. There was something about the way she moved, too, that reminded me of my niece - carefree and young and full of life and vitality. And she dressed in a way that I thought was like my niece; she was an individual and she put her clothes and hair together in her own way. It didn't matter what anyone else thought or said; she was her own person and she looked like that. My niece is like that, too. So I ended up watching the movie and thinking of my niece. I'm not saying that the heroine was EXACTLY like my niece, but she came across like my niece does, and just reminded me of her.

This is not to put down my nephews in any wya; they are beautiful and wonderful in their own way - but they're not girls. :)

I have finally taken good pictures of all of the earrings I've made. In doing so, I've found that some of my earring pairs differ in length by as much as 1/16" :( I'll have to fix those before attempting to sell them. The pictures are here. What do you think? Do the pictures accurately show the inherent beauty of the earrings? I'm assuming, of course, that the earrings are beautiful - I think they are, but I understand that others may disagree. :)

Ummm, yeah, I've made a lot of earrings. It is rather fun :) I really do hope that people will buy them; I know that the all-glass earrings won't be as expensive, but I do think that they're beautiful.

Oh!!!!!! Westjet will be flying to the Kitchener-Waterloo airport starting on May 14 until sometime in October. There's a seat sale on right now for 50% off from KW for travel from May 14 to June 27. So the price to and from Edmonton in that time would be $129. That is a fantastic price!!!!! If anyone is thinking of coming to visit, then please please please check with me before you book anything; as you know, we're doing some traveling. As well, my energy level varies depending on what's going on, and I wouldn't want to be exhausted during a visit.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A day of nothing

Ian let me sleep in today until after noon - that was nice :) I'd stopped taking the clonazepam because I was sleeping too long and having freaky dreams. My doctor told me to take 1/2 of a pill, and that doesn't make me groggy in the morning, doesn't make me sleep forever, and doesn't give me freaky dreams. It also means that I don't wake up in the night, which is nice.

I bought a tackle box in which to keep my jewelry stuff. It is a small one that has 3 separate plastic boxes that each can have 24 compartments. That's enough for me right now :) I especially like that this is very portable; I can sling it over my shoulder and go.

We also bought some chain and a dowel to use for photographing the earrings. Ian read a thing about photographing to sell on eBay, and we're trying to put those principles into practice. Not that I'll be selling on eBay, of course, but I do want to take good photographs of my stuff. People tell me that my earrings look much better in person than in the photographs, so that's not good.

Of course I'm making more earrings.... I just can't stop. :) I love each and every pair that I make, which is a good sign, I think.

Oh yeah, and we should be able to pick up the car on Wednesday. They're putting rust-proofing and scotchguarding stuff on. We hope that they'll be able to order snow tires and have them installed by then, too. We'll know more about that on Monday. In other good news, our landlord is providing a second parking space for the five months for free! We're quite happy about that :)

Friday, February 16, 2007

More about earrings

I spent quite a lot of the day shopping for more bead findings and stuff. I am able to get sterling silver wire from the local bead store for $5.50/m. That's a good price, and I use a lot of it. I made a couple of pairs of earrings today, and I'm in the middle of making another pair. I'm starting to do some of my own designs now and so far I'm pleased.

We're going to get some stuff so that I'm better able to photograph the earrings I've made. The pictures I've taken so far don't really show off the earrings to their best advantage, and if I'm going to try to sell them then they have to look as good in pictures as they do in reality.

I really have to finish up the purse I'm working on, too :) I almost have enough earrings to sell so that I can return to purses. I think that what I'll do is work on purses when Ian isn't home because I work on that stuff downstairs and then work on jewelry in the evenings when he's home and we're watching tv.

This is so exciting :) I like creating things that look nice - and I'm very proud of the work that I've done. Given that I've never done any wirework or jewelry before, I'm pleased that I'm able to do this work as easily as I have been doing it. Each pair of earrings now takes between 30 and 90 minutes.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A very exciting day

We put a deposit on the Civic Hybrid today. :) :) We're going to get the one that's sitting in the lot that we test drove. At least it'll be familiar to us :) We have to get the money together as well as insurance, but we should be able to pick up the car next week. We're both pretty excited :)

I've emailed our property management people to see if there's a parking space in which we could store the old leased car for the next five months. I'm not totally comfortable leaving the car in someone else's driveway, but I'd be happy to park it here. The other option is to take it back to Mazda and pay out the lease. That would mean that we'd end up paying for the car anyways - so if possible, we might as well keep it around and drive it. As well, if we kept it and Ian does take the new car to weekend juggling festivals, then I would still have a car available.

I also made more earrings today. You can see my work here. I'm quite happy with them, myself :). I'm thinking of making more and trying to sell them. What do you think? Think I could get $25-$30/pair?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope you all had a good Valentine's Day and got to eat lots of Valentine's Day chocolate :)

We spent most of the day at various doctor's appointments. The roads were pretty bad, so it was a good thing that we had stayed in Mississauga. My first appointment was with my surgeon, and it was pretty uneventful. My second appointment was with my family doctor because I had to drop off the insurance form for him. He requested a chest xray because of the coughing and shortness of breath that I've been experiencing. I expect to get the results of that next week.

I'm sure a bunch of you are wondering what all I'm taking these days, because I've talked about various medical problems I've had. The list of stuff I'm taking is long :) I take:
  • Femara (aka letrozole) and oral clodronate for the metastatic cancer. Femara removes what little estrogen is left in my body after the oophorectomy (my tumours are fed by estrogen), and clodronate builds up my bones to counteract the cancer's actions.
  • Nexium for the problems I was having after eating, where my stomach would burn and hurt. My stomach no longer hurts since I've been taking the Nexium :)
  • Celebrex for my lower back, which was injured some time ago and which hurts when I wake up. The clodronate makes this pain worse, but the Celebrex has been keeping the pain at bay.
  • Oxycodone (aka Oxycontin) and occasionally Percocet for the mets pain, both in the sternum and in my left femur (although the femur spot has not been confirmed as mets). My bone mets pain is severe, and so I take the painkillers.
  • Cipralex (aka Lexapro) for depression - it's been working - I feel much happier these days!
  • Clonazepam (aka Klonopin) to help me sleep and to help with anxiety. I'm supposed to take 1/2 of a pill in the hopes that it won't give me bad dreams and will keep me asleep for a reasonable amount of time.
  • Symbicort and Ventolin for my asthma.
  • Aerius for my allergies.
I also take a variety of vitamins as well as some other things to counteract some of the side effects of the oxycodone. But that list contains the main things that I take. My pharmacist has done a good job of making sure that I don't have any drug interactions.

I made my first pair of earrings tonight!!!!!!! You can see the finished product here. I don't have a picture of me wearing them because Ian isn't home yet and I can't take a good close-up picture of me without his help, but I'll add one when I get a chance. I'm quite happy with them for a first try. I don't think all my loops are perfect loops or the exact same size, but I'm still very pleased. It took a long time to make these earrings - about4 hours - but then I'd never done it before. I did waste a few of my findings in figuring out how to do stuff. I'm looking forward to making more earrings in the next few days. :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Beads, beads, and more beads

Tomorrow night Ian is busy and so I'm going to spend it trying to make earrings. I still want to get back to working on the accent thingy for the purse I'm making. Ian says I never finish anything (which is partly true), but I want to try all of these different things, and I want to try the earrings fist. In order to make earrings, I need beads and findings, so I went looking for them today. I hope this works :) I know that it will be sort of tricky to bend the wire and stuff, but I think I can do it.

Michael's has a sale on sterling silver findings and some beads, so I bought a bunch of findings. I also bought a kit thing that has all of the different tools necessary for the job. The most important one will be the round-nose plier thingy used to make loops. Once I bought all that stuff, I went over to the local bead store, but they didn't have the beads I wanted. Sigh.

I had an hour before my group, so I went back to Michael's to get some beads. I managed to get a bunch and then somehow managed to get to my group on time, although I did have to rush. Time flies when you're looking at beads. After my group, I rushed back to the bead store to get some other beads. I now have enough beads to make two of the three pairs of the earrings I like. One of the pairs I can make multiple times over; I couldn't buy just a couple of beads, so I have a lot. :)

Tomorrow I see my family doctor and my surgeon and Ian has an appointment as well. We're in Mississauga tonight because the appointments are early and the weather is bad. There is a bead store in Oakville very near to my surgeon's office; I hope that there is time between my appointment with my surgeon and my family doctor to pop into the store and see if they have some more beads I like.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Supporting our ideals

We took the Honda Civic Hybrid out again today. We both decided that we do like it a bit better than the Nissan Versa; the Versa is a good car much like our own, but the Honda is a little bit of a step up.

We have run all the numbers, and yes, the Hybrid is a bit more expensive, but the monthly payments aren't that much more (although they do go on for an extra year). The payments for either are well within our budget. The insurance would be $10/month more than the Versa, which isn't very much.

So it looks like we're going to go with the Hybrid, and with our ideals, instead of the Versa. We'll be out for the next couple of days, but we hope to seal the deal by the weekend. If we don't get the car on the lot, then we might have to wait for 6 weeks or so before the car is delivered. That's not a problem.

The only question is, what do we do with our current car? The lease isn't up until July this year. We're thinking of parking it somewhere; we just have to find a place to put it. We'll see. We'll be taking the plates off and putting them on the new car, I think. I don't expect that the car company will just let us take the car back early.

On another note, I'm having a lot of breathing/asthma problems lately. I have used my inhaler a LOT, which is unusual for me. I know that it could be related to the cold, but it wasn't even very cold out there today, and today was especially bad for me. I see my family doctor on Wednesday; I'll talk to him about this then.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

I was outraged.... and I shopped

I just read that that the Breast Cancer Society of Canada refused to accept a donation from the Exotic Dancers for Canada because the group donating was too "controversial". The group apparently raises money every year in memory of a dancer who died of breast cancer.

It makes me so mad to hear that any group views exotic dancers as second-class citizens. I've never been an exotic dancer myself, but I am a feminist. Who is this group to judge that exotic dancers can't contribute to their organization? For heaven's sake, strippers are people, too. They could get breast cancer just like I did, and for their money to be refused by a breast cancer organization is an outrage. Aaargggh.

I wrote an email to the Breast Cancer Society of Canada to tell them exactly what I think of this asinine decision. I told them that I thought it was outrageous, that I wouldn't donate money to them again, and that I would encourage others to not donate to them as well. There are a lot of breast cancer groups out there, and I'm going to make sure that my money doesn't go to this group. I encourage all of you to do the same. If you want to donate to someone who does breast cancer research in Canada, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation is a good choice. The Canadian Cancer Society is always a good choice as well, of course :).

Ok, I'm calmer now. I was really mad earlier.

On a less rant-y note, I bought a bunch of beads today. I was able to get them cheaper than at the store where I'd purchased them before because they were half-price at the store. I got lots and lots and lots of colours. Now I've got to do something with them :). I also got some tulle in several colours. The only thing I was disappointed about was that I couldn't find any black individual sequins; I need them for something I'm working on. I got some fabric remnants as well.

I also was looking longingly at the jewelry-making stuff. I have no idea how to make jewelry, of course, but... well, you see, there are these earrings that I like but that I can't afford. I think I could probably make them; I'll go to the bead store and see if I can find some cheaper versions of the stones and findings. We'll see.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

More test driving plus a movie

We test drove three cars today: the Toyota Yaris Hatchback, the Nissan Versa, and the Honda Fit. We wanted to drive cars that are comparable to our Mazda 3 sport.

We didn't like the Yaris. While it is zippy, it's very small and loud. We also didn't like the center instrument console. The front seat wouldn't go far enough back for Ian to sit comfortably to drive it, and the place for the left foot wasn't comfortable for either of us. On the plus side, it had ok visibility. We wouldn't buy this car, although if I were buying a car for the first time and had no money, I'd consider this one. It's not at all right for the two of us, though.

We very much like the Versa. It's a lot like our current Mazda 3, with similar instrument paneling, feel, and comfort. It was a fairly quiet ride, too, which is nice. It felt like it had a lot of pickup as well. The back seat has a ton of space, even if Ian is the one in front. The car isn't quite as wide as our car, and so curling brooms would be hard to transport (yes, we brought a curling broom and a paddle to each test drive to see whether or not they would fit in the cars). The thing we're most concerned about is that the weatherstripping had come loose on the driver's side back seat window, and the right mirror was cracked. We assume that the mirror was cracked because of vandalism on the lot, but we want to look into maintenance issues on this car. Right now there is a promotion on for 1% purchase financing with 30% of the purchase prices of the car down. That is a plus :). The Versa is definitely in the running.

We didn't like the Fit at all. It isn't a safe car for me to drive because I can't see around the headrest to do shoulder checks. Stop laughing, you people! :) It isn't a picnic being 5' tall, and the car needs to fit both of us. It also was a bit of a noisy car. It's comparable to the Yaris; if I had to choose between the two, I'd pick the Yaris.

So it's come down to a choice between the Honda Civic Hybrid and the Nissan Versa. Put another way, we have to choose between our environmental ideals and a car that is very much like our current car. The Honda Civic Hybrid would be a bit of a compromise for us, as it's a bit narrower for Ian and it doesn't have 60/40 split seats (which we like for hauling stuff). The Versa is a lot like our current car but with better fuel economy and is fun to drive. It is less of a compromise and is less expensive.

How much are we willing to pay, and how much are we willing to compromise, for our ideals? I don't know. We're running the numbers now; I have to get an insurance quote on both to see how much each will cost us. We expect to make a decision by next weekend. We'll probably take the Civic out again to see what it's like, and we may end up taking the Versa out again as well. Really, I wish every car was a hybrid and that we didn't have to compromise our ideals for a car we love. Sigh.

Later on, we rented the movie Hard Candy. It is a strange movie and not at all suitable for children. It's about a girl who meets a guy on the internet and then meets him for coffee. Thing is, she's 14 and he's 32. She convinces him to take her back to his place, and some very bad situations ensue. It's not a sexual movie, though. The strangest thing about this movie is that it doesn't have a soundtrack, and most of the movie takes place in his house. In some ways, it's a very intellectual movie - a movie that makes you think - not just about pedophilia, which is obviously a huge theme, but also about what makes someone a psychopath. It is an interesting , albeit disturbing, movie that can at times seem slow-paced. I'd recommend it.

Friday, February 09, 2007

I had a dream...

I had a dream last night that really stuck with me. I dreamt that I went to work even though I knew that I wasn't allowed to do that because of the long-term disability. I was very nervous and worried when I went in. When I got there, I didn't know anyone there. The office was completely different, too, although I was able to find my own desk. I sat down and tried to do work but I couldn't figure out what to do - I know I was trying to do some SQL queries that were in some wrapper scripts, and I just couldn't figure it out. I tried and tried and tried, but I couldn't make it work. Then I went to get a pop but I didn't have the right kind of money, they didn't have what I wanted, and I couldn't get back into the office because I forgot my passcard. I managed to sneak back in and go back to my desk, where it occurred to me that I should look at my email. I ended up leaving then; someone I used to work with at Levi's drove me home.

I don't know why this dream stuck with me more than others - I guess because it was about work and there was a lot of confusion and uncertainty. The feelings were very strong and very negative, Clearly I'm not ready to go back :) I hope that if I ever do go back, it isn't like that dream. It felt awful, working in my dream.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A slow day

Sorry - I forgot to add a title to yesterday's post. I've fixed that now :) I do the title at the end of the post so that it can sort of sum up what I've talked about, and I was really tired last night.

I've been awake more hours than usual lately - I'm actually awake for up to 12 hours in a day now :) This is fantastic! I feel almost like a normal person, although I wouldn't say that I'm ready to join the legions of people who work for a living. It's still all I can do in one day to get up, get showered, get dressed, and do something that's not just sitting in front of the tv.

This afternoon I managed to do some sewing while watching tv. I was actually down there for a couple of hours, until I had to stop and think about what I was going to do next. That's kind of what happens when I'm making something - I figure out how to complete one stage, so I do that, and then I have to figure out how to do the next stage. So right now, for example, I'm trying to figure out how to add an accent piece on what I'm making. I know sort of what I want it to look like, but I can't quite figure out how to make it look like that. So I'm taking a break to think about that (and some other designs, too).

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Random thoughts

I had to go and buy a new toque because I lost my other one and it's too cold out to go without one. While I was shopping, a pair of shoes jumped onto my feet and begged to be bought. They were very cute and on sale and so I took them home with me. They're this pair. It's the butterflies that got me. And the fact that they're flat and cute. I am so weak.

I also played around with some of the fabrics and stuff that I have. Since I have a tv downstairs now, I can keep up with my shows and work on stuff there. Not that I'm watching anything exciting these days - during the day I watch various Star Trek shows. But at least I don't have to sit on the couch like a lump - I can sit downstairs and play with my fabrics and try to figure out how to make stuff.

Speaking of work, I mailed in my insurance forms yesterday. Sigh. They wanted copies of all my latest scans and reports, which was a bit of a pain to get together. I will be taking the physician forms to my family doctor next week. I have no idea when I'll go back to work. I'm not going back right now - I'm definitely staying on long-term disability for now.

I was thinking about work, and it occurred to me that no matter what job I do if I go back, people are going to expect me to be the same person I was when I left. I was very efficient and very good at my job; I was definitely the go-to person in that group. I'm not that person now. I can't do that kind of work any more, because it's too stressful. Being the best performer and the go-to person and the one who knows how to make stuff work means that I worked every night on my BlackBerry. Ian used to hate it, because I was always checking messages and working and working and working and working.

So if I ever go back then I can't be that hyper-efficient person I was - or at least, I can't do it outside of business hours. I don't know how hard it would be for people to accept the "new me" - the people who don't know me won't have any expectations, but the people with whom I worked closely (and who haven't left) might still think I was the person I used to be. That could suck a lot for me and for those other people. I'll stop thinking about this unless I actually go back - there's no point stressing myself out over something that might not even happen.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Making more stuff

I sketched out some purse ideas today. It was fun - I haven't done creative things in a while. I bought some cheap purses at Value Village a while back so that I could use their frames. I took one of them apart and am going to use the frame and the body structure to make another purse. I need some ribbon and a small piece for the lining but I think that's all I need for that one. I hope it works out. I have ideas for a couple more purses for which I think I have fabric. If not, I can hopefully use fabric remnants. I will need to get some beads and sequins and stuff, too.

I like being able to design things, and I've been doing it since I was a little girl. I designed a wardrobe for Grade 1, although I think I had to pick my one favourite outfit :). In my preteen years I designed evening gowns. Once I learned how to sew, I designed some clothes for myself and would even make them sometimes.

Making clothes can be complicated, but making purses is mostly easier :) I don't know as much about purse infrastructures as I do about making clothes, but I'll learn. I'm going to try to sell them, which may or may not be successful. It doesn't really matter to me whether or not I sell stuff I make, but trying to sell them gives me some justification for making stuff I don't need :) The bottom line is that I have a strong need to make things, and for now, those things will be purses.

Monday, February 05, 2007

One of those busy and tiring days

The appointment with the genetics counselor was uneventful. She took my history again, and said that it was highly unlikely that I would test positive for any of the deviations for which they're testing. Apparently the main difference between the testing that I got before and the testing I'll get now is that they have a new test that not only compares genes to see if there is a positive variation (ie one of the known mutations is present) but they also test to see if some genes are missing. So we'll see. It'll take about 4 months to get the results. This is not a fast process.

The drive to and from the appointment was really awful because of slippery roads and snow and stuff - I didn't exceed 30kph for both drives to and from the hospital. I wish that drivers wouldn't tailgate when the conditions are bad like that and there are accidents all over the city - grrr. Between the earliness of the appointment, the fact that I didn't sleep well last night, and the drive, I was very, very tired.

I ended up sleeping for a long time when I got home, meaning that I skipped both Well-fit and bellydancing. I just felt so exhausted and I was having trouble breathing that I felt that it would be better to not do physical activities today. I think my asthma is acting up. It was like I didn't have enough breath to finish my sentences - it was a very strange experience. We've put the humidifier on because it may be the dry air making my asthma worse. If that doesn't help, I'll talk to my doctor.

Tonight after I rested, we went to a friend's place to play Werewolf. It's a slightly different game than we're used to because it has cards we haven't played with before. There was a fairly large group playing - 14 or 15 at the peak - and so we could introduce the different new cards. We enjoyed ourselves very much and had a great time, as did everyone else, I think. One of these days we'll need to host our very own big games night, but we need to get some things first (like some card tables and card chairs and that kind of thing).

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Superbowl Sunday

After curling, we went to a friend's house for their Superbowl party. They have it every year. There weren't as many people there this year as last year, which was kind of nice. We only got to see the last half or so of the game, so we missed the half-time show. That's too bad, because I like Prince.

The thing that sucks in Canada about the Superbowl is that we get a Canadian feed - the US feed is shuffled through the Canadian station, and so we get mostly Canadian commercials. That means that we don't get to see many cool new US commercials - we get to see not cool Canadian commercials :(. Sigh. I know, I can go to YouTube's Superbowl page or whatever to see them tonight or tomorrow, but it's not the same.

I have to get up ridiculously early (for me) tomorrow again because I'm seeing the genetic counselor at 9am. There are some new genetic tests they can do since the last time I had the testing done, and so I'd like to get them done. I don't think it'll change my life any if I test positive for a mutation, but I'd like to know if I do have one that they know about. And if I test positive, then my sisters have the option of getting tested, too.

On a completely unrelated note, I've been following this blog of a young woman who had some kind metastatic colorectal cancer. She had been admitted to hospital on January 13 and she died this morning. Her husband has been blogging her final days while he watched her in hospital (they have both been blogging there for the last 8 months or so as well). It's very sad and very touching - the blog is here, but don't read it unless you are ready to cry. I hope that Ian will also blog for me when I can't do it myself.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Test-driving the Honda Civic Hybrid

We test-drove a Honda Civic Hybrid today. It drove pretty well - I didn't notice the continuous variable transmission (CVT), whatever it is - acceleration, stopping, and normal driving felt normal to me. It's pretty sophisticated technology, that's for sure. We both felt that the ride was very smooth and very quiet. We were surprised at how much trunk space it has; we were actually able to fit a paddle and a curling broom back there - we were worried that with the battery back there, we wouldn't be able to fit it.

One thing that Ian didn't like was that it is a bit narrower in the front than our car, and he felt that visibility out the front window wasn't quite as good as our car. Also, there's no "mute" button for the stereo on the steering wheel. I liked the adjustability of the seats and steering wheel as well as how much space there is in the back seat. Overall, we liked the car. We'll test-drive a few more, but we could certainly make this car fit into our life.

What surprised and annoyed me was that the salesperson seemed to be trying to talk us OUT of buying a hybrid. He started by saying that the hybrid wouldn't give us that much increased mileage, because we don't do much city driving (apparently the mileage gains during city driving are quite phenomenal). We said that that didn't matter to us, because our driving habits will likely change once Ian finishes school. And I drive around the city when I drive.

So when that didn't work to talk us out of it, He said that it didn't have as many colour choices. Whatever. We had already said that we didn't care about the colour of the car so much.

I guess he pulled out his big gun then; he said that buying the hybrid would be too expensive. The hybrid costs about $5000 more (less a $2000 rebate from the government) than the Honda Civic sedan. Honda has 4.9% financing on the sedan and 7.1% on the hybrid, so it is more expensive to buy a hybrid, all other things being equal, when you finance through Honda. We're hoping to get bank financing for the car so this may not be an issue. Even if it is, we started off by saying that we understood that it was more expensive, but that we wanted to do our part to help out the environment, and we felt that we have the means to buy a hybrid.

Then the salesperson stopped talking us out of the car we wanted, and talked about leasing was better than buying. We had already said that we planned to buy the car. However, apparently if you manage your money right, you can invest the final buyout amount in something that will make money over the lease period, and you'll end up ahead after the buyout. Unfortunately, we're unlikely to do that, since we don't have the $10000ish extra that we're not using to buy a car to invest. How many people do?

I am really pissed off that the salesperson and Honda don't seem to be committed to selling hybrid cars. I understand that since Honda doesn't sell as many hybrids as they do sedans, they don't get as much revenue from them, and that's why they finance with a higher interest rate. But that just seems backward to me. I think that Honda should be ENCOURAGING people to buy a hybrid with things like lower financing and other rebates. Sheesh. I'm really, really annoyed by this. We just find out that we have big-time problems with climate change, caused by people, and I don't think that car companies and oil companies are doing enough to help reduce emissions.

I wish I knew what to do to change this. There's something not right here.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Appointment with the oncologist

I saw the oncologist this morning. She said that it takes Femara at least three months to start working, and of course I've been taking the Femara for exactly that long. She felt that we should give the Femara a real chance to work. So we're going to wait two more months while taking the Femara and see what happens. We're not going to do any scans on my left femur because even if there were something there, that wouldn't change the decision to wait two months to see what happens.

She seems to think that the pain I have is flare-up pain; that the biopsies combined with the treatments have made the tumours in my sternum inflamed, and that the pain should lessen soon. She said that it's very normal to have flare-up pain when Femara starts to work, and that she's heard of women having flare-up pain for three months.

If I still have a lot of pain and/or my tumour markers don't go down after two months, then we'll look at another treatment. My CA 15-3 tumour marker actually dropped from August (58.8) to October (48), which surprised me, although 48 is still above normal. So that marker would need to be 48 or lower in two months.

She was actually happy about the bone scan results, because she said that the scans get worse before they get better. And she said that I did the right thing by calling them when I did. I feel a bit better about calling even though the scans didn't show anything.

So overall the appointment went well. I'm happy with the outcome; I wasn't prepared to wait three months to see if this would work, but two is a good compromise. Plus that means that I won't have switched treatments before I go to Las Vegas :) And who knows - maybe the pain really will go away and I'll have a more normal, stable life on Femara for a while.

Later on during curling, I wore my pink shirt and used my new pink curling broom. Apparently they were a very attractive combination when I fell. Yep, I fell on the ice tonight - it doesn't happen very often. Reports are that I bounced; what happened is that is slipped on my slider foot, fell on my knee, and then fell again on my shoulder. I didn't fall on my head, thank goodness. I have a goose-egg on my left knee, and I pulled my right shoulder a bit. We'll see how stiff I really am tomorrow, of course. Silly me :) I'm fine, though, really. I was a bit shook up after falling, but I'm fine. :)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Shopping adventures

You should all be very, very proud of me today. I went to Winner's (my favourite store), and I didn't buy this pair (Aries) of shoes by Betsey Johnson for $100, or this other pair (Meri) of shoes by Betsey Johnson for $100, or a pair like this (Lemore) in distressed beige leather by Steven by Steven Madden shoes for $60. Yes! Winner's has Betsey Johnson shoes!!!!! I love love love love love these shoes!!!!!

I wanted all three pairs of shoes, all right. I don't have a lot of need for the Betsey Johnson shoes because I have no place to wear them - I just wanted them because they're beautiful shoes. And I do love beautiful shoes so much......... Sigh. I could almost find a use for the Steven shoes, but the colour wasn't quite right so I passed them up. So I didn't buy any of these shoes, even though I really really really really wanted them, because I am trying to save some money.

Instead I ended up spending money on makeup - but it was substantially less than the shoes would have cost. :) One of the drug stores is having a sale on the Physician's Formula makeup that I love, and so I bought some stuff I didn't have as well as some replacement mascara - they have a creme mascara (Lash-in-a-Tube) that is fantastic! I did find two foundations that I'm happy with - one is a Physician's Formula; there's a lightest colour that is working for me (yay!), and the other is a Marcelle brand in their lightest colour. I tell you, this colour-matching stuff is tricky.

At least I didn't spend that much money today; I'm happy about that. And I was able to find a couple of products that I like that weren't too expensive. All in all, a pretty successful day. It was a good way for me to spend the day before my oncologist's appointment. I'm feeling reasonably calm about tomorrow; I just hope that it goes well.