Friday, April 30, 2010

Lots of laughs

We've had tickets to comedy nights at the Centre in the Square for the last couple of years. This year the comedy season ended with tonight's Just for Laughs Roadshow. This show was easily the best of the season - we laughed more in that couple of hours than we have in a while.

There were four comedians and of them, the first and last were the best. The host was Canadian and the last, featured comedian, was Australian while the middle two were from the US. The US comedians tended to focus on marriage, kids, religion, and ethnicity for their humour, and since these subjects just aren't things that we relate to it's no wonder that we didn't find them as funny.

The Canadian and Australian comedians drew humour from their accents, dogs, funny signs, and some silly physical interpretations. I was laughing so hard I was almost crying through most of their acts. If you get a chance to see this show, take it; it's well worth the cost and time.

Before the show most of the group went out to Boa Nova Rodizio Grill House for lots of yummy meat. Ian and the others enjoyed themselves but I didn't go because I'm not feeling my best this week. Yesterday I had really terrible heartburn and today I'm off food. I'm not feeling all that hungry and when I do eat it's not as enjoyable as usual. I get halfway through chewing something and it feels weird.

I don't know what's going on with body but I'm sure that it'll pass soon enough. I just wish that it didn't interfere with my ability to enjoy a yummy meal of meat.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

More patterns!

Of course I took advantage of the Vogue/McCall's/Butterick sale I posted earlier shipping was only $10, although I was charged both GST and PST. Boo. Online businesses don't usually charge the tax unless they're located in the same province/state as the buyer so I hope this means the patterns get here super-fast.

Don't get me wrong; I still love love love vintage patterns, but current patterns are useful, too, especially if I want to make something contemporary. Plus it's way less work for me to use a regular pattern than a vintage pattern, and I want to get some things sewn for the summer. I'd hoped to be smaller by now, but I'm not, so I'll just have to sew for my current size.

I also managed to wash most of the huge pile of fabric I have so they're ready to be made into (hopefully) wonderful things. I have so much gorgeous fabric - printed and plain jerseys, silks, stretch cotton sateens, plaids (my favourite colour!), mesh, and more - that are calling to me to be made into things.

I do need to tidy up my upstairs work area (again!) but it won't take long to do that since it's mostly patterns that need to be put away. Once that's done, I can start work on a couple of vintage sundress patterns that I want to make while I wait for the current patterns to get here. I'm so excited to sew something... hopefully I'll stay excited so that these clothes actually get made.

Pattern sale!

Until the end of today, Thursday, April 29 at 11:59pm Central time, online Butterick patterns are $1.99 and McCall's and Vogue patterns are $3.99 (prices in USD). Even better, since all three brands are owned by the same company, you only have to place one order to buy patterns from each brand. How convenient is that?

Happy pattern shopping!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Shoes, shoes, and more shoes

I'm in need of new shoes. I'm sure there are those that'll disagree with me on that because some might say that I already have a lot of shoes. It's true that I do have a lot of shoes but I can't wear all of them because they have high heels.

Of course I don't need just any shoes. I want a pair of those cute, flat, strappy, gladiator sandals that are everywhere this season. Last year you could only find them in the fierce high-heel variety but flats are coming back in a big way. Yay for me!

I especially love each of these pairs....
Kenneth Cole Reaction "She's a Gem" Sandal

Kenneth Cole Reaction "Sparkling Gems" Sandal
Alexander McQueen
Even at half-price, I can't afford these... but
they're gorgeous, aren't they?
Guess "Artly 2" Sandals

Jelly shoes are back, too. Remember them back in the 80s? How hot and sticky they'd get, and how they could give blisters, but everyone had them. I wonder if the current technology is more comfortable than they were back then? If so, then these pairs would be awesome, too :)
SM Swirly flat
Stuart Weitzman "Beadles"

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fabric, fabric, fabric

Over on the right I've added the etsy mini application, which shows my favourite things on etsy. I've filled it with some of my current favourite fabrics by Naomi Ito for naniIRO by Kokka Japan. Most of those fabrics are double gauze and all of them have this artistic hand-painted look that appeals to me. Each of those fabrics is about $20/yard which is quite expensive since I usually buy two or three yards of fabric at a time.

As well, I'm not sure what I'd do with any of those fabrics... as beautiful, artistic, and unique as they are, they're not patterns I'm used to using. The designer has put out books with ideas for using her fabrics but I find that most of the clothing designs are boxy and would be unflattering.

Those aren't the only fabrics I like, of course. I bought some fabric on sale and it arrived today. I'm in love! I've already decided that I'm going to make some kind of sundress with black accents out of this fabric:
Silk/Cotton/Lycra twill from Gorgeous Fabrics
Isn't it gorgeous? I'm so completely, totally, utterly in love with this fabric. It's fairly lightweight and it looks less like a twill than a faille, almost, but either way, the weave gives the fabric the slightest sheen. The fabric gathers and pleats so well and has a floaty quality - but it still has body, and the tiniest bit of stretch. Since it was on sale, I bought four yards of it... I can hardly wait to make it into something.

If only I had unlimited money and could buy all the fabrics I ever wanted... and I had ideas for them all. And I was able to make everything that was in my head quickly. That would definitely be the life :)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Death and taxes

Ian and I finally got around to doing our taxes. The deadline is Friday and since we both dislike doing taxes we put it off until practically the last minute.

My taxes are super-simple: I have only one information slip to enter, so it's not hard to do my taxes. I used quicktaxweb again this year and somehow doing my taxes got a whole lot more complicated. You see, I first answered "Yes" to the question "Do I have a disability?", and so the program calculated a disability tax credit for me. I figured the answer was yes because I'm on disability but then I checked the actual definition for tax purposes and realized that I don't qualify for that credit because my doctor hasn't filled out the right form yet.

But when I changed the answer to that question to "No", quicktaxweb didn't remove the disability tax credit. In fact, there's no way to remove a deduction that depends on the answer to a question if the answer changes. I tried asking their "live chat" which was a computer program that gave an answer for the desktop version of the program, not the web version. I ended up having to scrap that return and start over.

I thought that this bug and solution was ridiculous and I ended up very frustrated and upset. You'd think that with all that meditation and book club stuff I've done, I'd be able to calm myself down... but no, I kind of lost it, much to Ian's dismay. I haven't lost it like that in a while and I'm embarrassed and sad that it happened today.

I guess I was (am?) stressed, in part by the taxes and also because someone else I know died of her breast cancer this week. She was awesome - she was 35, with a 4-month-old daughter that she and her husband had via surrogate. I'm so sad that she's gone. Her husband blogged about the events leading up to her death, which I appreciated even though it was emotionally hard to read. I felt so close to her as she was dying, which makes her death that much more difficult for me. It's easier for me to distance myself from someone's death when I'm only imagining what happened... when I know for sure what happened, it has more impact.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Recent Waterloo fire

I don't know if you've heard, but there was a ginormous fire here in Waterloo early Thursday morning. The fire took out the buildings University plaza where Mel's Diner was located, taking  out Mel's Dinar, Sugar Mountain, a sushi place, a vision place, and a bar (at one time it was called Loose Change Louie's and was most recently called Tabu). The fire completely gutted these businesses. Caesar Martini's, a restaurant next to Tabu, was spared the fire due to a firewall but it still received a lot of water and smoke damage.

Apparently there were no sprinklers in the businesses - or else they weren't working - and the roofs were combustible; these factors plus the early hour meant that the fire was able to really take hold. They still haven't found the cause of the fire although there is speculation online that it might have been set deliberately. There are rumours that the nightclub wasn't doing well (paying its employees in cash and some hadn't been paid in a while), but whether that would lead to arson, I don't know. It could just as easily have been an accident, or a burner, or a cigarette someone sneaked. Hopefully they'll be able to figure out the cause soon.

It's going to be strange to go by there and not see those businesses anymore. That plaza and those businesses have been part of the fabric of that area for so long that their absence will be keenly felt by many. I wonder whether the businesses will rebuild, there or somewhere else... or if that part of the plaza will be razed and built fresh with new businesses going in.

Either way, I hope that this fire gives the tenants in the other nearby plazas a wake-up call. They all have the same construction, as far as I know. If a fire hit them, they'd go up, too. I hope that they're looking at bringing a working sprinkler system and maybe adding a firewall.

At least there were no people n the buildings when the fire happened and no one was hurt. People were inconvenienced by the road closings and lots of people are going to look at the ruins, but no one was hurt. I do feel for the people who woke up to find their businesses and/or jobs gone.

There's some video of the fire here and here and photos of the aftermath here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Choices and responsibility

As you know, I've been reading The Power of Now in my book club. And while there are lots of things I don't like about the book and other things I disagree with, there are some truths there.The trick for me is to find the truths and try and ignore the parts that are silly or wrong.

Anyways, the latest gem I've come across is this one, starting at the bottom of the page 168:
"A victim identity is the belief that the past is more powerful than the present, ... that other people and what they did to you are responsible for who you are now, for your emotional pain or your inability to be your true self."

I've believed for a long time that what has happened in the past doesn't need to define who a person is in the present and this quote sums up my thoughts pretty succinctly. The only person responsible for who you are is you. Even if someone has wronged you, or even if someone has done something unthinkable to you, you're the only one who can decide who you're going to be and how you're going to handle the event.

In a way, that's a lot of responsibility. It's easier to focus on the past and to make someone else responsible for your current situation, because then you don't have to worry about changing anything. You can just say that this is who you are because this or that happened and that's it. But that gives that event and someone else a whole lot of power over your life. It's your life and you should have power over it.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that anyone should just push their feelings to the side or ignore bad events. When someone terrible happens it's important to deal with it and not just to suppress your feelings. But dealing with it doesn't mean to hold onto it and to blame it for your current situation. So take responsibility for your life... don't choose to be a victim or to give up power over your own life. You deserve to be happy no matter what has happened in the past.. and if you're still living in the past, come on into the present.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Oncologist appointment

The appointment with the oncologist went really well.

My oncologist thinks that it's unlikely that the nodes are enlarged due to cancer both because my tumour markers only went up to 40 (normal is <38), which they've been at before, and because it's very unusual for cancer to show up only in nodes. It's much more common for cancer to enlarge lymph nodes if the cancer has spread to the lungs or liver but there was nothing on the scan that indicated that the cancer has done that.

I gave my oncologist the pathology report from the elbow thingy biopsy showing sarcoidosis there and showed her the other sites I'm pretty sure are sarcoidosis - the ones on my legs, which the dermatologist said were varicose veins but that don't look anything like varicose veins. My oncologist did say that sarcoidosis is one of the things that can cause those enlarged mediastinal nodes, which we already knew. She was also happy that the pathology came back sarcoidosis instead of, say, lymphoma, another kind of cancer. I'm happy that I don't have another kind of cancer, too. :)

The only way to tell for sure why those nodes are enlarged is to biopsy them - and the biopsy has to be done under a general anaesthetic. She's sending me to a thoracic surgeon for the biospy and she's also going to try to send me to a respirologist here. I'll keep my current appointment with the respirologist in Oakville until I know whether she's able to get me into the same specialist here.

She's not worried about the shortness of breath I've been experiencing because it's mostly happening when I'm doing stuff that looks like exercising. If I start having a lot of episodes while just sitting around, we need to be concerned. I'm feeling better about that.

Overall, we felt pretty good coming out the appointment. Ian liked that my oncologist was thinking along the same lines as we were thinking before we went in. Oh, and my oncologist also said that she had a patient that had both breast cancer (not mets, just the "regular" kind confined to the breast) and sarcoidosis, which left me feeling more comfortable with her ability to treat me with this extra condition.

So my next step is to wait for the appointment with the surgeon and the biopsy. I'm feeling pretty good physically and mentally about all this... whatever happens, happens. There's not a lot that I can do to change the situation I'm in, and the situation isn't life-threatening or anything, so it's not worth expending energy wishing that the situation were different or worrying about it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tomorrow is oncologist day

I see my oncologist tomorrow. I thought I was doing ok but I'm finding myself feeling irritable and a little cranky.... so I guess I'm a little more nervous or anxious than I thought. At least Ian's going with me so I won't be alone. He doesn't usually come with me to my appointments because they're usually pretty straightforward but tomorrow's special.

The appointment tomorrow is a follow-up to the appointment I had a week and a half ago where I got the CT scan results that showed enlarged lymph nodes in my chest. The big question is whether they're enlarged because the cancer spread to them or if they're enlarged due to the sarcoidosis.

We already know that the sarcoidosis is in my skin in that scar on my elbow and a few other places on my legs. We don't know whether or not it's also in my chest.

So tomorrow hopefully my oncologist will have a plan for me now and going forward and it won't involve too much waiting. I don't mind doing a treatment change but I don't want to wait forever for biopsy results, if that's what we do.

I'll know more tomorrow... all I have to do is get through tonight (hopefully by sleeping for most of it).

Monday, April 19, 2010

A new Doctor in town

I don't know how many of you watch Doctor Who, but a new season has just started. We'd recorded the first episode and watched it this evening.

They've gone and changed a lot about the franchise, from the logo to the theme music to the TARDIS (inside and possible the outside) to the executive producer to the writers. Of course the Doctor has changed as well. I don't know if I'm going to like the changes - I really liked the old Doctor and the writing.

I guess this is how fans of the original show felt when it was re-introduced a few years ago. Would the Doctor still be the Doctor? Will the writing be ok? Will the aliens be right?

One change that I noticed at the very end of the last season and in this first episode of the new season is the music. I'm noticing that the music is much more obvious during important scenes than it used to be. Maybe it's always been like that and I've never noticed it before, but it seems to be more intrusive than it used to be. I hope that they're not trying to Americanize the show by making the show flashier. Part of its appeal is that it's so British :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

More looking at houses

We did end up going to see that house that's over our budget this afternoon. The house is a raised bungalow and the basement and yard were quite nice. They'd chosen to put three bedrooms on the main level instead of two which made for some small rooms and a small ensuite bathroom. The kitchen was also too small for our needs. We did like the general layout of the main floor in spite of some things being a bit too small.

So this house wasn't right for us in some ways. If we were willing to knock down a few walls and gut the master ensuite and kitchen, the house would be perfect for us. Of course we hardly even want to have to replace carpeting, let alone to do a major renovation. This place was priced as high as it was because it's at the very edge of a very expensive area and it backs onto a wooded area, but the house itself isn't worth what they're asking. If this place was in another area it would be much less costly.

It was good to see this place because now we know that this type of house has been built in several areas with slightly different floorplans and at slightly different price points. Seeing it also reinforced how much we really want a walk-out basement. We might be willing to settle for a basement with look-out windows, but we definitely don't want the usual teeny basement windows. We love the amount of light that you get from the big windows or walk-out patio door. Not only that, but look-out windows and patio doors are definitely better from a fire-safety perspective - I can't reach those regular little windows and even if I could, I wouldn't be able to wiggle through them.

Seeing this house also reinforced how much we like bungalows over two-story houses. There are two-story houses with a main-floor bedroom... but we just feel so much more at home in a bungalow. When we first walk in to a raised bungalow house, we feel comfortable pretty quickly; overall, we're happy, and it's the details that we don't like.

We both left the house feeling optimistic that we'll find exactly what we want. I hope it goes on sale soon.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Another open house

Lots of new house listings are showing up, finally! We went to an open house today to see a bungalow that has been on the market for a couple of weeks. We wanted to know why it hadn't sold and we wanted to see the floorplan.

We really liked the main floor; everything was fairly spacious and well-laid out. It was bright and easy to move around in as well. The basement was another story, however. They'd clearly done some of the drywall finishing themselves and hadn't done a good job. It looked like they hadn't mudded the joins properly and they hadn't done enough sanding, either. Plus the small windows were really difficult to access. And the carpet was awful.

Another thing we didn't like was that the house had a concrete deck because we'd rather have something that drained properly.

All of that could have been dealt with, maybe, if the house hadn't been way overpriced for the neighbourhood. The house was built about 12 years ago and the surrounding houses were built 40 or 50 years ago and have deteriorated. If the house had been in a better location we'd have seriously considered it because we liked the main floor so much.

Tomorrow we might go to an open house for something that's above our price range that has been on the market for a while. The master bedroom is a bit smaller than we'd like but it might be that the rest of the house makes up for that. We'll see. I think this house might be a tad overpriced for the neighbourhood but I don't know if the neighbourhood price is within our budget.

At least houses are coming onto the market... there's hope yet that the right house will come along. In the meantime, we'll keep looking at houses that catch our eye, even if they're not quite right on paper.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Two different movies

I finally got around to watching American History X today. If, like me, you haven't seen it, it tells the story of a neo-Nazi who's been released from prison and is trying to prevent his brother from going down the same path he chose. It's a brilliant movie: Ed Norton, who plays the title character, makes that character seem almost appealing in spite of his racism. It's in the way he carries himself, I guess.

The movie also seemed to really show how divided some places are and how easy it is for someone to go down the wrong path. One wrong look, one wrong move... and you're there. The movie showed a lot of events very starkly and with an unflinching eye.

There were a lot of continuity errors and film equipment visible in the movie - more than usual. I wondered why that was and so I did a bit of research. It turns out that the original story was basically about rival drug gangs with neo-Nazism as a side part instead of the focus of the story. There's no drug dealing in the final version, of course. Apparently there are several versions of the movie and the final version - which Ed Norton helped to create - is much better than the next-to-final version. They got this great movie out of the original shots, I don't know... but they did get a great movie. See it if you haven't, and be prepared for violence, full-frontal male nudity, neo-Nazism, and very bad language.

For a complete change of mood...

When Ian got home we watched Superbad, about dorky high school students getting together with cool kids for a party. I thought it might be silly but it turns out that it's hilarious. I was worried that some of the story would be too obvious but it really wasn't. Some of it was over the top but it was always funny. I had quite a few belly laughs while watching this movie. If you haven't seen this movie and you're looking for something funny to watch, check this one out.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A night out

I went out with a friend to see Women Fully Clothed, a women's comedy show, tonight. It was quite funny; we and the rest of the audience laughed and laughed. Basically, it was a bunch of short skits interspersed with songs poking fun at women and our behaviours and events in our lives.

The actresses were all really good at changing their faces and body language to convey the different characters and scenes. They were also all good singers. We felt like it was over too soon, which meant that it was a good show :)

If you get a chance to see this show, you should definitely go - it's really funny and good for a night out and a laugh. If you're female, that is - while there were men in the audience, the show is definitely targeted at women.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Breathe in, breathe out

So I think I'm starting to have some of this shortness of breath they keep asking about. I'm finding myself feeling a bit light-headed when I go on my walk, and sometimes when I'm doing stuff at home I find myself panting. Washing dishes just isn't that much work, is it? Sitting on the couch after putting my plate away definitely isn't that much work.

I'm not surprised to be having a bit of trouble breathing. With spring on its way, the trees are blooming and the pollen is out so my allergies will be acting up a bit. So having some problems breathing while out walking isn't unexpected, but I wouldn't expect problems breathing inside the house while not doing anything physical.

Of course the oncologist I spoke to last week said that I would likely have shortness of breath because of the lung changes and the enlarged lymph nodes. Hopefully next week my oncologist will be able to help me figure out what's going on. In the meantime, I'll take it easy and take time to breathe if I need it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Food for thought

We just watched a Food, Inc, a documentary on the food industry in the US. It was shocking. The US government subsidizes soy and corn production and so those industries have created a demand for these products. Now there's either corn or soy in almost everything. Of course there are only a few companies that produce most of the packaged foods available so it's relatively easy for them to incorporate corn or soy products into aaaallll their foods.

The show also talked about Monsanto, that produced genetically modified crops, among other things. These are great for the third world, where food doesn't grow well all the time, but the documentary also showed the company going after farmers that might possibly have some of their seeds when they weren't supposed to. The people they showed that Monsanto sued had to give up their defense and settle because they didn't have the money. Monsanto bullied them into giving up. Maybe they don't always do this... but I think that these people are representative of the people the company goes after.

Another thing they show talked about was the complete lack of power the FDA has. There's no labeling and the FDA doesn't really have enough investigative or punitive power. The American consumer has virtually no protection from the industries worst offenders.

Now, we need industrialized food production in North America because there are so many people and they all need to be fed. But why does healthy, wholesome food cost more than "bad" food like chips and candy and fast food? How is this right?

I don't even know what could be done... except buy locally and organically when possible. Going to the farmer's market is a great idea, too, except that our farmer's market has vendors other than farmers. Fresh Ontario pineapple, anyone? If I could find a farmers-only farmer's market, I'd go there.

The documentary is available at the link above. There's so much more to it than what I've said here, and it's definitely worth seeing.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hair colour

Back when I was first diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, I decided that I would colour my hair and have it cut regularly so that it had a style. I figured that as long as I had hair I wanted it to look nice.

Then a while ago I was getting rashes under my pain patches after I coloured my hair so I had to stop using the permanent colour. I've been using the semi-permanent colour on my hair for a while now but I've been re-thinking colouring my hair at all. I'm wary of introducing new chemicals to my skin because of the sarcoidosis. At least my roots are well over an inch long; even though they're a light colour, there's no sharp line of colour.

This kind of sucks because for the first time in ages, there are new semi-permanent colours out on the market. Yes! Finally! Both Garnier and L'Oreal Paris have introduced new semi-permanent formulas with different special features. Garnier HerbaShine has bamboo in the dye and the conditioner for L'Oreal Paris Heathy Look Creme Gloss Color has royal jelly in it. I wouldn't mind trying one of these formulations - I do like the Clairol's Natural Instincts that I've been using, but I wouldn't mind something a bit different, you know? If you try one of these new products, let me know what you think. I'll live vicariously through you :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Saturday movie night

Tonight we watched Cure, another movie that we got for Christmas. It starts with a bunch of people who've killed their wives and have no memory of why they did it. We follow the detective investigating these crimes as he deals with his mentally ill wife and tracks the man behind these killers. Once the man behind the killers is revealed, we watch the interaction between the detective and the suspect.

There's so much more to this movie than just a detective story; it's a psychological thriller that focuses on the meaning of self or the answer to the question, "who are you?" This idea was played out in part through the interaction between the two main characters. Clearly they were foils for one another and so there were differences between them but there were also similarities, and watching them play off one another gave the movie some more depth.

One thing that made this movie even more interesting was that many of the causes for the events in the movie were open to interpretation, and sometimes it was difficult to know what was going on right then. Even if we didn't understand what was happening all the time, the direction made every scene watchable. In fact, not everything was revealed through dialogue; the only way to understand most of what was going on was to watch each scene and follow the camera-work.

Anotherthing I noticed was that the sound was such an integral part in each situation. Many scenes had an almost inaudible sound that filled the background, if that makes sense. This sound varied depending on what was happening but ranged from machinery to heartbeats and created the atmosphere behind each scene. we don't see too many movies that use sound this way in a majority of the scenes. I especially liked that the sound wasn't the usual "music" we have in Western movies to show something scary or relevant for a particular character. I wish more movies used this kind of technique.

We very much enjoyed this movie and highly recommend it even though it's subtitled. There is a bit of gore early on but it's not too bad.

Friday, April 09, 2010

CT scan results

I saw the doctor who's filling in for my oncologist today. The good news is that my liver is clear. Yay!

There are some unspecified lung size changes, which isn't really good or bad - just weird. The weird pain I'm having in my side is probably due to my lungs.

The slightly bad news is that four of my mediastinal lymph nodes are enlarged up to 2cm (most around 1.6cm in both major directions). One is right behind my esophagus, another right behind my sternum, a third behind the place where the bronchial tubes split, and the fourth to the right of that. The enlarged lymph node behind my sternum is probably why I was feeling some pain there recently.

These lymph nodes are probably enlarged due to the cancer, because my tumour markers are up, but they could also be enlarged because of the sarcoidosis. I knew the sarcoidosis, which mimics cancer, would complicate things - sigh. If the lymph nodes are enlarged due to the cancer, it means that my mets have progressed a bit.

Progression isn't the end of the world; it's not like the cancer has progressed to major organs, after all. Really, if my mets are going to progress, having it be to some lymph nodes is just about the best possible scenario. Of course progression would mean that it's time for a treatment change. I've been on the Femara for over three years now - way longer than most people stay on it - so having to do a treatment change at this point is no big deal to me. I'd expect that we'd probably try another hormonal treatment for these because my organs aren't affected, so it's highly unlikely that I'd need to do chemo right now.

Honestly, changing to another hormonal treatment is something I'd like to do anyways because the other ones have fewer side effects than Femara. Not having joint pain and not having a hard time moving in the mornings would be a welcome change.

Since the doctor I saw today was just filling in, she wasn't comfortable changing my treatment. She's set up an appointment for me to see my regular oncologist on April 21 so that she and I can decide what to do. Today's doctor also said said that because of the sarcoidosis, my oncologist might want me to see a lung specialist at the hospital instead of waiting for me to see the respirologist on May 26. As well, my lymph nodes might need to be biopsied before we change treatment. I think a PET scan might show if the lymph nodes are enlarged due to the cancer, but PET scans aren't readily available here.

So now I wait. I wish that the appointment was sooner, but waiting for a week and a half won't be too bad, I hope. :)

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Not the house for us

All of us, including our realtor, really wanted the house we saw today to be the right house for us. We went in with high hopes but pretty much as soon as we walked through the door we knew it wasn't right for us.

We loved the kitchen and living area as well as the deck and the bathrooms. The house had high ceilings, which was lovely as well. We didn't like the fireplace that was between the living room and master bedroom because you could see from one into the other - which means that light from one would go into the other.

The bedrooms were also on the small side. They were almost right but just a bit on the small side. Plus, while the basement was finished, there was no real place to put a sewing area.

The real problem is that to make the house perfect for us, we'd need to change every room somehow. All the carpet needs to be changed, walls need to be put up in the basement, that fireplace needs to be removed... basically, the house isn't move-in ready. And we want a move-in ready house, even if that costs us more.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Tomorrow is a busy day

Tomorrow is Pamidronate day. It sort oft feels like I just got Pamidronate yesterday but I guess that was a month ago - where does the time go? I kind of wish that I didn't have to be there so early. My first appointment for the bloodwork is for 9:10am - a time when I'm usually still asleep. Getting up that early is a not easy for me.

After the appointment is over we're going to look at a house. Ian doesn't know this yet because he's curling, but this is the plan for tomorrow. :) Our realtor called this evening about a house that's come up and isn't even on the hotlist yet, let alone MLS. It's on the street we like and it's a bungalow with a fenced yard and I think it's got a walkout basement (that may not be finished). It definitely sounds like the kind of house we want, and it's a good price.

I sort of want this place to be the right place but at the same time I don't want to get my hopes up too far. The good thing is that if one place is going on the market, there might be others. There's a house for us out there, somewhere... I hope it goes up for sale soon.

Monday, April 05, 2010

What a gorgeous day!

The weather is still gorgeous here; it rained early this morning so the sky was clear and the air was fresh. Ian had today off as part of an extra-long weekend and we spent some time out walking this afternoon. We could have just stayed in and played video games (he plays, I watch) with the windows wide open but it was so nice that we just had to get out and enjoy the weather. It won't last forever, after all: it's going to cool down this weekend.

The winter we had was very mild and basically non-existent which is fine with me. We didn't get a summer last year, either, so not having winter is a reasonably fair price to pay for that. I hope that it doesn't end up way too hot this summer; staying about where it's been with little to no humidity would be perfect.

My back is feeling a little bit better - I can get up off the couch with more of an ache and less actual pain - but it's still quite sore. I wish I knew what had caused the pain in the first place and how I could make it better. I figure that walking is good for my back because it's fairly gentle and I find that it limbers up my back. I hope I'm making the right choices so that my back continues to get better.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! I hope the Easter Bunny found you and was good to you.

We watched The Simpsons Movie today. It was a lot like the Simpsons tv show except that it was longer and made a bit more sense. As much sense as anything in the Simpsons makes sense, at least. The one question that kept going through my head was whether the dome over the city was what gave Stephen King the idea for his latest book, Under the Dome. In it, a dome - albeit an invisible on - suddenly drops over a city. There's definitely a similarity there.

We're home now. Ian has tomorrow off and we're going to relax and take it easy. I love this idea because something is wrong with my lower back and I want to rest it as much as possible. It started hurting about a week and a half ago and it's been getting progressively worse since then. At this point it hurts when I'm just sitting and getting up from a sitting position or bending over is agony. Once I'm standing, I'm able to walk without too much difficulty, although even walking today is more painful than it was last week. I think I might have hurt it more on that walk we took the other day.

No matter how I hurt it or made the pain worse, I'm basically an invalid right now. Hopefully resting up and doing a whole lot of nothing will help fix it enough so that I can at least stand up easily. Not having to plan my movements and being able to move quickly, almost without thinking about it, would be a welcome change from my present state.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Finally: Avatar

We did see Avatar today. We went to the afternoon show and we were quite surprised to be watching the movie in a full theatre. Sure, it was a smaller theatre, but it was still full.

Technologically, the movie is a triumph. I loved the world - Pandora - that they created, with all of its phosphorescent flora and brightly-coloured fauna. The whole concept of the world definitely caught my imagination and I wanted to be able to visit and experience it for myself. The world looked and felt real.

The Na'vi, or native inhabitants of Pandora, were well-thought out, too and they, like the world, looked realistic; clearly some time was spend making them look the way they did. I thought that there were a few times where the scale of the Avatars seemed to be off, but maybe that was perspective or something.

The CG needed to create things was really quite amazing and very well done. This technology has advanced quite a bit since it was first introduced and it's no longer quite as easy to tell what's real and what isn't. Creating the Navi was definitely the big achievement because they were created from the actors themselves instead of animating them from scratch.

The technology imagined and used in the movie was interesting and quite cool. I loved the curved screens with all the data and imagery and the hologram projections. I'm a sucker for that kind of "future" technology. Speaking of the future, the costuming was definitely lacking. Unless you assume that clothing and hairstyles won't change at all between now and 150 years from now.

The 3-D aspect of the movie was ok. I liked the scenes that weren't overtly 3-D, but I definitely didn't like the scenes where the action was in the foreground. Because this 3-D technology works by offsetting the image and then bringing it together with the glasses, it is very difficult to get a foreground image that doesn't look like a cardboard cutout. I also get tired of the "Look! I'm in 3-D" scenes, which weren't as prevalent in this movie but were still there.

The worst part of the movie was the story. The first two-thirds of the story, where we learned about the people, culture, and world of Pandora, were ok because the thought of the world was inspiring. Even then, there weren't really any surprises or depth to the story: there was nothing original or deep about it. The last part of the movie was even worse. It was a big battle scene and it dragged on and on with no suspense or interesting bits. It was like every other battle you've ever seen in any other movie.

Part of the reason that the story fell flat was that the characters on the "evil" side were completely one-dimensional. The corporate guy was slightly less evil because he felt some remorse after destroying the land, but nothing came of this remorse. The military guy was a gun-toting, evil, military, "might is right" caricature of a man. Had there been as much depth to these characters as to the other main characters, this movie might have been better, and might have even won more awards.

I would have loved this movie had it focused entirely on the world and the people and didn't include any of that awful "evil" stuff. It could have been such an inspiring, amazing movie had the story been better, or had the conflict involved characters and situations that were more realistic and less one-dimensional.

See Avatar for its technical achievements and enjoy the beauty of this movie. Ignore the weak story and characterizations if you can.

Friday, April 02, 2010

A relaxing Easter weekend, coming up

It's Easter weekend! For us, Easter means yummy food because we spend the weekend with Ian's parents. Today Ian's mom made delicious hot cross buns for brunch and a very yummy rack of lamb for dinner. I'm stuffed already!

After gorging ourselves on hot cross buns, we decided to take advantage of the gorgeous record-breaking temperatures by going for a walk at Rattray Marsh down by the lake. A kabillion other people joined us so it was crazy busy there but it was good to get outside for a bit.

Tomorrow we're finally going to see Avatar. We haven't been out to see a movie (or even watched many movies) for quite some time. There's a lot of hype surrounding Avatar and I hear that the story and dialogue aren't all that original, but the 3-D and CGI technical achievements are supposed to be groundbreaking and spectacular. We think it's worth seeing the movie just for its technical achievements.

And then Sunday we'll have yummy eggs benedict and, if we're really lucky, the Easter Bunny will put in an appearance. This is going to be a great weekend.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Eating out for my birthday

One great thing about birthdays is getting to go out for dinner. This year I got to go to two different restaurants. Yummy!

Last night Ian took me to Olivier and Bonacini for my birthday. This is a new restaurant that opened up at the mall and I've been curious to see what it was like. I liked the decor; the ceilings were high and it felt spacious. The kitchen was open and you could see into it. The restaurant had a number of tables that seated five which I thought was quite unusual. I was surprised to see all of those tables filled... with five people. So I guess there's a market out there for tables of five - who knew?

The good was pretty good. I had a burger (one of their specialties) and it was very tasty. The outside was charred and yummy and the inside was tender and also yummy. The coleslaw had way too much cumin in it, but the rest of the meal was fine.

Ian had rack of lamb with gnocchi and it was also very yummy. The gnocchi was delicious, as was the lamb. There was a strange apple chutney that tasted sort of unusual but the rest was yummy. The prices were also quite reasonable - definitely more reasonable than what we paid the other night. The food was better than the other night's, too. We definitely recommend this restaurant and hope to go back sometime.

Tonight a friend of mine took me to Baker's Cove, a seafood restaurant. We had the most delicious fish and chips; they offer a choice of cod, haddock, and halibut for the fish and regular batter, rice batter, or grilled fish - the latter two are options for people who don't tolerate gluten. We each had the halibut: I had regular batter and my friend had hers grilled (I think). The fish (and chips - hand-cut potato fries) was delicious. We followed this delicious meal with a very yummy handmade key lime pie. I also recommend this restaurant for fish and chips (and key lime pie) - they do takeout, too.