Friday, September 30, 2011

Still sick

I'm still feeling sick. Whatever is going on has remained in my eyes, which were stuck together this morning and have stayed goopy all day. I've still got a slight productive cough and I'm still really tired.

I've heard that there's a cold or something going around and it's possible that this is what's going on with me. I think tomorrow I might get myself some Cold-FX. I've taken it before when I was feeling sick and it's helped. It won't hurt and it might help. If it doesn't help after a few days I'll go and see a doctor.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Our trees

It's a new set of symptoms every day! I'm still feeling awful but the specific things affecting me change from day to day. Yesterday, for example, my throat was very sore. Today I woke up with my right eye sealed shut and a much milder sore throat. Who knows what I'll feel like when I wake up tomorrow?

The only constants are the slight cough, the off-and-on headache, and the exhaustion. Between the exhaustion and today's extremely goopy eyes I canceled metalsmithing today and my psychologist's appointment tomorrow. I figure it was best to stay home and rest.

I had to take time out of resting to meet with the arborist we'd called. We have a ton of trees on the property and not all of them seemed to us to be doing well. We were right: they're not doing well.

We have ten European birch trees on the property and all of them are heavily infested with birch borers and have to come down. All of them. If the previous owner had planted birch trees that actually grow in this region the trees wouldn't have been as susceptible to the borer. However, this variety of birch tree grows really quickly, which is probably why the previous owners planted them.

We also have three mysteriously diseased fir trees that need to come down both because they're dying and because they were planted too close together. There are also a number of spruce trees on the property that were planted too close together. Two of them have spruce gall and we're going to have them come down to thin out the trees and because they're kind of ugly with the gall. Removing one of them will leave a privacy hole along the fence so the guy suggested moving some of our tall ornamental grass over there.

At the side of the house we have two very small ash trees that look out of place so we're having those taken down as well. Hopefully bringing them down will help the emerald cedars planted there live longer as right now they're dying one by one because they don't get enough sunlight. There's a very small weeping mulberry that's planted there, too, but we can take that out or move it ourselves. After looking at how beautiful the tree can be when it's pruned properly, I might want it put somewhere else on the property where it makes more sense and can be gorgeous.

In our backyard we have larger three ash trees. We're going to leave them up for the time being even though the emerald ash borer is in our region and will find and infest our trees. At that point, these trees will have to come down but we're losing so many others that we don't want to have to take down any more trees than are absolutely necessary right now.

In addition to deciding which trees have to come down, we also learned more about the other trees in our yard. The tulip tree doesn't thrive in windy places; it prefers to be in a lower, more sheltered, spot. Having it up at the edge of the property where the wind blows means that it will never really thrive.

We learned that the two trees that didn't produce fruit this year are cherry trees, and that we have an small ornamental crabapple tree tucked away behind the greenhouse. It'll be more noticeable when the birch trees are gone although I don't know how much sun it's going to get. We also have a Rose of Sharon that might get more light when the birch trees are gone.

It's sad because we bought this house in part because of the beautiful garden and trees. We knew that the trees were too close together and that we might lose a few to make room but we had no idea that we'd lose so many other trees. Our backyard is going to look very, very different when everything is done.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Oncologist appointment

While I'm still not feeling my best, I did wake up feeling much better this morning and so I did go to my oncologist's appointment. I know that even though I wasn't coughing or running a fever, it was a bit risky for me to go to the cancer centre when I'm not feeling my best. Therefore, I took some precautions in an attempt to not infect anyone.

I kept my hands away from my face and everything else. I'm quite a fidgety person and tend to touch my eyes and face a lot as well as walls and anything that looks like it might have a texture so I thought if I did that I might pick up or leave something infectious. Of course there are times when I had to touch things - like when I do the symptom checklist thingy - so the most important thing I did was to use a lot of hand sanitizer. And by "a lot" I mean "obsessively". I used it every time I entered a new area or changed floors and both before and after I touched anything.

I think these measures were enough to prevent infecting others with whatever was affecting me (if it was infectious in the first place). While they have masks available at the cancer centre doors, I chose not to wear one because I wasn't coughing and my eyes and nose were dry enough.

I'm happy to report that my CA 15-3 tumour marker is staying low at 37 and that my bone scan showed no new spots. In fact, one of the spots on my sternum appeared smaller on this scan. How awesome is that? She also said that the biopsy from the endoscopy showed nothing and that the abdominal ultrasound showed nothing out of place.

We also talked about the denosumab treatments. She'd forgotten to tell me that the treatment has to be given every four weeks unlike the pamidronate, which stayed in the bones and so after a while could be given every eight or twelve weeks. I'll be receiving the first six treatments at the hospital (with bloodwork, I think) to make sure that I don't have any reactions to it. After that I'll receive it at home.

I'll continue seeing her every three months as long as my tumour markers stay good and low. I feel like the luckiest person ever because the cancer is still stable - and maybe even shrinking!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Not feeling my best

Have you ever woken up not feeling well but not exactly feeling sick, either? I woke up this morning with a terrible headache, a full-feeling chest, slightly gloopy eyes, and a raw throat. Not to mention that I was tired as soon as I woke up. I dozed in the chair for most of the day before I went to bed and slept. Now that I'm awake again, I'm tired and ready for bed.

I don't know that I'm exactly sick but I'm definitely not in tip-top shape. I'm not running a fever so I suspect that my allergies are acting up. I do have a bit of a cough that started on Thursday after I laughed so hard I was coughing but it's more of an intermittent dry cough.

Normally I wouldn't worry so much about not feeling well but tomorrow I'm scheduled to see my oncologist. Of course! I'm supposed to get my bone scan and tumour marker results and I don't want to miss this appointment. However, I'm not sure that I should be going to the cancer centre if I feel this way. I don't feel contagious - but at the same time, I don't want to possibly infect people who are immuno-compromised even if I won't in the chemo suite or its waiting room.

I do hope to feel better tomorrow. However, if I feel the way I did today (or worse) then I'll give the cancer centre a call and see what they want me to do. I can wear a mask while I'm there to try and protect everyone else in the waiting room. Or I can reschedule the appointment for a time when I'm feeling better.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Primetime 2011 Emmy Awards Red Carpet

Finally, here's the Emmy red carpet post! There were a lot of people at this event and a lot of outfits to evaluate. As always, some worked better than others.

I'm happy to report that fewer women are wearing strapless dresses and more are wearing dresses with straps and even sleeves. I rather like seeing people a little more covered up than usual because I'm a bit tired of seeing a lot of skin.

Have no fear that everyone was dressed perfectly appropriately as there were many women who were showing off way too much boob. There were also quite a few who made questionable dress and hair choices.

See for yourself what women wore to the Emmys after the jump. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Comedy night: Whose Live Anyway

I was a little nervous going to tonight's live improv show Whose Live Anyway, not because their name didn't make sense to me, but because not all improv is good Fortunately, tonight's show was rolling-in-the-aisles hilarious. It wasn't that they did anything groundbreaking, improv-wise; it was that they handled things in such a funny way.

For example, when they did the "pick an occupation and pretend we're selling a CD of songs about that occupation," the guys didn't just make up lyrics and sing - they sang harmonies. Their voices were ok too and they harmonized really well.

The best parts of an improv show are when the audience is involved. Obviously the audience got to shout out ideas throughout the show but there were a few skits where audience members got up on stage and those were priceless.

The couple who moved the guys around like they were puppets while the guys told the story did a great job. Either they were making up their own story and moving the guys around to that or the guys were able to respond fairly quickly to the way they were moving. The division between the puppet masters and puppets was almost seamless.

The best audience participation were the two young ladies who were supposed to provide sound effects for the story that the guys were telling. It wasn't funny because the ladies were good - quite the contrary. They were terrible in a hilarious way. At one point the guy said that he wanted to say something through a bullhorn and is sound-effect lady said, "I don't know what a bullhorn is" which was sad but also hilarious. Then when the other guy said that he thought he saw a whale, his sound-effect lady said "beluuuuga". I lost it then because of course beluga whales don't say beluga themselves. Oh, it was funny.

These improv guys are very, very good and they know how to engage the crowd. If you have a chance to see them, take it. Hopefully you'll have a great crowd, too, and have the same kind of belly-laughs that I experienced.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New winter clothing

I purchased a pair of these fine Sorel Tivoli 2011 winter boots today. I've been looking for a good pair of winter boots since last winter but I couldn't find the right style for me. I'd been trying to find taller lace-up boots but my calves are so big that most tall boots don't fit properly - either the laces are so wide that they look silly or the boots are all stretched and unattractive on the calves and folding strangely at my ankles, causing friction and blisters.

So I gave up on finding tall lace-up winter boots in favour of these shorter boots. Every pair of good winter snow boots I've bought are just above the ankle because they're easy to get into and comfortable to wear while walking around outside. These boots are waterproof, very warm, and have great traction with that rubber sole. They're not just functional, either; personally, I think they're great-looking boots and I love the styling with all that white trim and the stitching lines. I can hardly wait to wear these this winter.

I was also looking for a new winter coat as mine is getting a bit raggedy but I couldn't find any I liked. I'm looking for a long (mid-calf, or just above where the boots hit), black or dark grey coat, most likely down-filled with a covered front zipper, elastic at the wrists, a poufy collar and/or hood, and some stitching to create a curvy shape and to narrow in the waist. If I was a person of a more normal height then I could easily find such a coat... but since I'm short, the stitching lines are all in the wrong place. Finding a coat might take a while.

I'm still working on the red carpet post and hope to have it up by Friday.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More on my compromised card

About a month ago I wrote that my credit card had been compromised. After that I received my new card and destroyed the old one and thought no more about it.

Until today, that is, when I actually looked at my card balance and transactions and saw that there were 11 transactions totalling $1701.22. Ack! They told me a month ago that the charges would be reversed in about 10 business days but that timeframe was up two weeks ago.

Of course I called them right away and they said that they must be running behind. I was supposed to have received some affadavit thingy where I confirm that these charges are not mine and I haven't received that, either. Sigh. The guy said that if I don't receive the affadavit within 10 business days, or two weeks from now, to call them again.

They're giving me 150 extra air miles for the inconvenience of having to wait for this to be cleared up. That's nice, but I hope that they're going to reverse any interest charges these stolen transactions incurred. I don't want to be stuck paying interest on that much of a balance.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

63rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards

Tonight was Emmy night! Oh, I do love award shows, especially when the awards are for something I care about - like evening tv. Of course I love the dresses, too, but that's a subject for another post. I loved this award show: I haven't laughed this much or this hard during an award show since I don't know when. This was one funny show.

Jane Lynch was the perfect choice for the show's host. She's hilarious and can sing and it was her musical opening number and monologue set the light-hearted tone of the show. Pretty much every time she was on stage she joked around.

Of course a funny host isn't enough to make a funny show. Almost everyone who was on-stage said or did something funny thanks to the writers. For example, Ricky Gervais'  pre-recorded monologue with the offensive stuff "edited out" was hilarious. I also giggled throughout the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series nominees go on-stage when their names were called and then I howled when they crowned the winner with a tiara and a bouquet of roses. The fact that almost everything had to have been scripted didn't make anything any less funny.

Naturally, not everything intended to be funny was actually funny. The songs the Emmytones sang to introduce each section of the were clearly supposed to be funny but they fell flat. Charlie Sheen wasn't at all funny, although it seemed like he was trying to make some kind of joke as he said whatever positive thing he'd been told to say about Two and a Half Men.

Although the tone of the show was light-hearted, not every segment was (or should have been) funny. It would have been inappropriate had the segment remembering people who'd died this past year made any jokes. And not every introduction included much of a joke, either. In fact, the second half wasn't as non-stop hilarious as the first and that was ok. Funny moments were scattered throughout the show and the tone of the show stayed light throughout the show.

I definitely enjoyed watching the Emmys this year, and not just because pretty much the entire show was entertaining and fun to watch. I loved that it didn't take itself that seriously: there's nothing wrong with a dignified (some might say stuffy) award show but a light-hearted approach is definitely a welcome surprise. And I loved that it ended on time. Other award shows could learn a thing or two from this one.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

New video game: From Dust

We managed to get out for a two-hour walk this afternoon. It was a beautiful autumn day and perfect for wandering along some of the trails by the river. Although those trails are supposed to be connected all along the river, the trail is interrupted at the quarry so we had to detour through a commercial area. Even though we didn't get to stay by the river for the whole walk, we still enjoyed ourselves.

After such a long walk we spent a very low-key evening. Ian bought and started playing a new video game: From Dust. In it, the player is the Breath, which has been created by a small tribe that is seeking the knowledge of their ancestors. The Breath helps the tribe find and access their ancestral totems and knowledge by opening up new passages and linking lands together. It's really basically a puzzle game with only a few commands that solve a variety of situations.

The animation and art in this game are lovely. The landscape with its rocks, sand, trees, andwaters is gorgeous and I love the way the Breath and people look. The people's movements tend to look quite realistic, which I like.

From Dust is my kind of game: fairly simple commands, a gorgeous world, no shooting or killing, and an interesting story. I love the idea of taking a desolate world and making it whole again... and of being a kind of goddess helping the people in the game. Even though I've just been watching Ian play it, this is the kind of game I like to play myself.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Making progress

After sleeping through the night I'm starting to feel a bit better now. I'm still tired although I think that one more good night's sleep will be enough. I'll talk to my oncologist about how tired I've been in case it is related to the denosumab. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a connection there.

Fortunately, being a bit tired today didn't prevent me from buying a new hat and scarf or from having a productive session with my psychologist. She didn't give me anything new to do for the next two weeks; I'm just focusing on getting more comfortable with mindfulness and visualization techniques, as well as trying to stay balanced in each area of my life.

I talked to her in particular about wanting to eat a more balanced diet and she suggested that eating mindfully all the time would be a good way to eat more slowly - and to eat better. It's hard be mindful all the time because I get distracted by other stuff going on around me. I can sit there and focus on the texture and taste of my food when all of a sudden I see a bird or something outside and my food is forgotten while I look at whatever the bird is doing.

Obviously this will be an ongoing process for me. Eventually I hope to be able to be mindful through a complete task but my goal right now is to try to get comfortable with these techniques. Eventually, with enough practice, I hope these techniques will be second nature for me when I need them. As well, we'll be building on these techniques in the future - next week she'll introduce me to emotional mindfulness - so it's important that I get a good grounding in these techniques now.

Going to see this psychologist was definitely the right choice for me. I feel so much better and so much more emotionally even since I started seeing her and I'm also feeling very comfortable with her. That's part of the point, I guess, isn't it?

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I'd have written something last night but I was asleep. Somehow I fell asleep early last night, stayed asleep until Ian got home, and went back to sleep for the night.

Today when I got home from the dentist I fell asleep for 2 1/2 hours in the bath after which I went to bed and slept for another hour and a half. As I write this I'm still so very tired. We'll watch tv for a couple of hours and then I'll sleep soundly for the night.

I think I'm coming down with something (and not just because I'm so, so, so, so tired) - my ears and throat feel weird and I feel kind of foggy. I thought about rescheduling tomorrow's haircut and appointment with my psychologist because I'm not feeling well but in the end I kept the appointments. I don't know how well things will go with the psychologist but I figure that it's better to go - even if I'm sick - than to not go. If I crash afterwards, that's ok.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Me and my electronics

Although I'm still feeling week and a bit tired, I'm definitely feeling better today than I did yesterday. There's still some residual weakness but I'm better. I am tired but I had trouble sleeping last night so it's no surprise that I'd be tired today.

I'm happy to report that my cell phone is working. I accidentally dropped it in the bath over the weekend. I was scared to tell Ian because I'm not supposed to have electronics in the bathroom. I pulled the battery out right away and lucky for me, the phone dried out and works just fine. The red moisture sensor went off which means that phone is no longer under warranty but it's working. I wish the kindle was as durable as this phone because I wouldn't be on my third kindle.

So no more taking the cell phone into the bathroom while I'm having my bath whether or not I'm using it in the bath. No more taking any electronics into the bathroom no matter how much I think I'll be ok. I'm naturally clumsy and eventually, no matter how careful I think I'll be, I will eventually do whatever it is I'm trying to avoid doing.

I think I may finally have learned this lesson.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tired and weak

I don't know if it's the denosumab or if I overdid it over the last few days but I was really tired and feeling a bit weak today. I started to go for a walk because it was so gorgeous outside but before I even got to the main street I decided I couldn't handle it and returned home. I ended up basking in the sun and reading a magazine for most of the afternoon.

I used to feel this way back in the day when I started exercising a lot (like when I was riding my bike to and from work) and not eating enough to build up the muscle being created. I had been on several very long walks late last week and then gardening for three or so hours yesterday without increasing the amount I was eating so that could have been happening again.

I've also been losing weight - since I started using the new and amazing scale last week I've lost about three pounds. I assume that's been happening because I've been walking because I haven't been eating any more than normal. At least that's what I hope has been happening. I get a little bit nervous whenever I lose weight without meaning to because that can be a sign the cancer is active. I very much doubt that the cancer is active but there's always that little voice saying "but what if..."

Staying home and relaxing turned out to be good for me - I feel better and more rested. The weather doesn't look all that good for the next few days so we'll see how I feel and where my weight goes.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lee Valley purchase

Lee Valley opened a store here in Waterloo a couple of weeks ago and we checked it out last weekend. I was able to buy some metalsmithing things and we got some garden stuff.  My favourite purchase was this pair of knee pads I bought and I used today while weeding and puttering around the garden.

I tried kneeling on a knee pad while weeding but I don't often stay in the same place when I'm out there and it was a pain to have to move it around. I didn't have any other knee pads so I ended up either kneeling on my bare knees or bending over and hurting my back.

These knee pads are thick and adjustable and they're quite large so on me they cover the lower part of my knee as well. I could barely even feel the different terrain I was kneeling on. I can't say enough positive things about these knee pads - they're awesome. They're also washable!

I know it seems sort of silly to write about something so small - like knee pads - but when a product like this makes a task like gardening so much easier, I figure it deserves some attention.

Besides, I want to brag about having a Lee Valley here in my region :)

Friday, September 09, 2011

Feeling good

I'm very happy to report that I haven't had any bad side effects from yesterday's denosumab. I was very tired and I did have a three hour nap today but I think that's because I only got about three or four hours of sleep the night before last. When I'm nervous I often have a hard time sleeping, and of course I was nervous because of the new treatment even though I knew I had no reason to be nervous.

I felt well enough today that I was able to go for an epic walk this afternoon after my nap. I've also been able to eat normally and haven't had any tummy issues. I think I like this denosumab treatment.

In other exciting news, I purchased all-access passes for the Toronto After Dark Film Festival for both of us. Yep, we're going to an eight-day horror movie festival in Toronto this October!!! I'm so excited. They'll be showing at least two movies per night and my intention is to go to as many as I can possible manage; hopefully Ian won't have any problems sitting through all of those movies. Buying the passes saves a lot of money over purchasing individual tickets for each screening and is so much less hassle overall.

Our plan is to stay in a hotel in Toronto so that we don't have to go far when the later movie is over. I guess we could travel back home after the later movie but we wouldn't get home until the middle of the night and I think that would be much too tiring. Since this looks like it'll be our vacation this year, I hope to be able to see some other things in Toronto like the ROM, the AGO, and the Textile Museum of Canada. I don't want to do too much because I don't want to exhaust myself but I'm sure we can find fun things to do while we're there.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

My first denosumab treatment

Today I received my very first denosumab (Xgeva) treatment. This treatment replaces Pamidronate, the bone-building treatment I've been receiving for the last few years.

I think I mentioned before that denosumab has only recently been approved for use in Canada and according to the pharmacist I met today, it's being used for other types of cancers and my oncologist is the one championing its use here. The pharmacist said it was like a "miracle drug" because it's easier to administer, works better than other bisphosphonates, and has almost no side effects compared to the other treatments.

The reason that this drug is so awesome is that it's a monoclonal antibody - a protein that targets only certain cells in the body. Because monoclonal antibodies only attack particular cells and leave all other cells unchanged, they have fewer side effects and work better than most cancer treatments that attack a broad spectrum of cells. It's all those unwanted cells that are being killed by these broad-spectrum treatments that cause all those bad side effects.

One of the great things about this new treatment is that they no longer have to monitor my kidney function the way they did with the pamidronate. They do have to be sure that my blood calcium and phosphorus don't go too low and they'll monitor that with periodic bloodwork but I won't need to have the bloodwork done monthly.

Receiving denosumab is very easy: it's administered exactly like a flu shot and hurts about as much. I had to stay there about twenty minutes after it was injected just to be sure I didn't have a general allergic reaction the way some people do with the flu.

I felt good afterwards and had no tiredness or tenderness or stiffness at the injection site. Hopefully these treatments continue to go as well as this one seems to have gone.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Movie day

Somehow I managed to do almost nothing productive and just sit and watch movies.

First up was Julia Misbehaves, a movie showing on TCM. It was one of those light-hearted comedies from just after WWII. In this movie, a n'er-do-well dancehall mother who hasn't seen her daughter in years in invited to said daughter's wedding. The mother and father rekindle their romance and lots of hilarity ensues. What made this movie better than a run-of-the-mill comedy was the actors: Greer Garson plays the mother, Walter Pidgeon plays the father, and a 16-year-old Elizabeth Taylor plays the daughter.

As soon as I saw Elizabeth Taylor I was hooked on the movie. She was so gorgeous back then and so young in this movie - and yet she had that "thing" that reached through the screen and practically made you watch her. fortunately, the movie has more to offer than just Elizabeth Taylor: it's also funny and well-acted by everyone. It wasn't an award winner but it was definitely a fun way to pass the time.

After that I switched over to Cracks on Netflix. This is a movie set in an English boarding school in the 30s and is about a group of swim team girls, their instructor, and a new girl. The swim team leader has a crush on their instructor but when the new girl arrives, the instructor focuses all of her attention on that new girl, upsetting the previous dynamic and causing problems. It doesn't help that the instructor has a crush on the new girl.

That these grown-up feelings , relationships, and events are happening to pre-adolescent girls makes this a coming-of-age movie. More than that, it's also a movie about the how we portray ourselves to others and who we are. Aside from a great story, this movie is beautifully shot and each scene is lovely. I very much enjoyed watching it and when it was over I wanted to watch it again right away. I highly recommend this movie, if you can find it. It hasn't been released in the US.

Finally, I watched Wristcutters: A Love Story (also on Netflix), a road-trip movie that takes place in a crappier version of our own world populated by people who kill themselves. No one can smile; there are no stars in the sky, and everything is dirtier, greyer, and uglier than in our own world. Our protagonist finds out that his ex-girlfriend is in this world and he convinces his newfound friend (who has a car) to drive him around so that he can find her. Along the way they pick up someone else who insists that she's not supposed to be there and is seeking the person in charge. Adventures ensue.

I liked this movie. The basic story was kind of obvious although it was quirky enough to stay interesting. I was a bit worried about the movie because of the suicide aspect but fortunately none of the suicides portrayed were like my mom's. In fact, many of the suicides were portrayed in a comic sort of way. I don't think I'd watch this movie a second time but I'd recommend it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Lifestyle changes

We've both gained weight over the last few years and it's time for us to try to get rid of some of it. I'm not supposed to try to lose a whole lot of weight but I can - and should - try to be more fit. My psychologist, in particular, believes that if I can become more fit by eating right and through regular walking or other exercise, I'll be better able to handle the emotional stuff that will come up through therapy. This makes sense to me because I already know that when I eat badly and do nothing, my thinking goes down and feels sluggish.

We've already started making small lifestyle changes to try to be healthier. For example, we've started going for walks after dinner. It isn't a huge amount of exercise but it's a good start. We've also bought ourselves a fancy scale that will graph our weight, body fat, and BMI for us. Hopefully this tool will help us make the long-term lifestyle changes we need to make in order to lose weight.

You see, I've been on diets off and on for most of my life and I know that they don't work. Depriving oneself of food will make one lose weight... but without a corresponding shift in mindset, the weight won't stay off. Losing weight and getting fit require a change in the way the person thinks about food and activities. So if I want to be more fit (and I do), I need to start eating things like vegetables and fruits. More than that, I need to *like* eating them, and I need to see them as part and parcel of my diet. I need to think of myself as someone who eats fruits and vegetables and not someone who eats ice cream... and that's a tough shift in thinking to make.

One of my sisters has made these same shifts in thinking s I hope to get some advice from her as to how to make this work. For now I'll make small changes and see how they go.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Chainmaille, here I come!

One of the items I bought recently was a setup I can use to make jump rings. Buying pre-made jump rings can be expensive and they only come in certain ring and wire sizes. Making and using my own jump rings means that I can make just about any size between 2.5 and 11mm inside diameter out of any wire I happen to have.

Obviously this means that I'll have a lot more flexibility and choice when it comes to incorporating them into my work. Using custom sizes will also make my work look different from everyone else's. More importantly, being able to make my own jump rings means that I can make my own chainmaille.

I've loved chainmaille for a very long time because it reminds me of lace-making and has a similar appearance. I've been doing some research on chainmaille and  I've discovered that there are a ton of different types of weaves. Apparently there are four main ways of weaving, or linking rings, together: European, Japanese, Persian, and Miscellaneous weaves.

I'm particularly interested in Japanese and Persian weaves, in part because I'd never seen them before, and in part because I think they're pretty. I've made a list of the weaves that I want to try and I started today by making myself a short chain of Half-Persian 3-in-1. It took a few hours to figure out how to do it; thankfully, I found this video of a guy demonstrating the weave with shower curtain rings and I finally understood what to do.

I'm very excited about the prospect of making more jump rings and learning more chainmaille weaves. I hope to eventually use the knowledge to create my own pieces. Or maybe I'll just create samples and samples and samples and samples like my mom did with her knitting samples. We'll see what happens, right?

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Working towards a less sad lawn

Our poor front lawn has been almost completely dead for months. It was re-sodded last year after we put new weeping tile on the side of the house and after the drought we had in July the lawn just didn't recover. Our neighbour thinks that our lawn died because leatherjackets moved in and ate up the roots on several patches of lawn in the neighbourhood. Maybe that's what happened. Maybe both things happened; either way, our front lawn was pathetic.

Our neighbour is going to re-sod his lawn but we don't really want to do that so we made the decision to re-seed the lawn with grasses more native to this region. In our travels today we stopped by the Ontario Seed Store outlet at one of the local Home Hardware stores and bought ourselves some new grass seed and a thing to apply it. We raked the lawn, raked some soil over it, added some seed, and used the mulch raked up from the lawn to cover it. By the time we were finished it was 8:15pm and full dark. As I write this, we're watering the lawn and it's about to start pouring. We hope that the downpour won't carry off all of our seeds if we pre-soak the lawn. It's a theory, right?

We also bought ourselves some clover seed for the backyard. The lawn grows really well in some spots and is patchy in others and we happen to like the look of a clover. Besides, clover is a bit more eco-friendly than the lawn that's typically grown around here. We care about having an eco-friendly lawn not just because we care about the environment (which we do) but because we're lazy and don't want to have to water too often.

Friday, September 02, 2011

MTV Video Movie Awards 2011 Red Carpet

As promised, here's my red carpet post for last week's MTV VMAs. Ok, the carpet was black - although there's no carpet in the pictures - but to simplify things I'll just call it a red carpet. This attire at event is fairly casual in comparison to pretty much any other red carpet event but most people still wore something a little dressier than they'd wear to, say, the mall.

Oddly, many of the attendees were showing off a lot of leg. It's as though they all got together and decided to wear the shortest skirts and shorts they could find. Weird.

Have a look for yourself after the jump.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Epic walking!

Today was the first day this summer that I've been out on an epic walk. The weather just hasn't cooperated for me to go out for a long time. Even on the days that it's been nice, I didn't really know the neighbourhood well enough to go out and walk for a couple of hours. Now that I've been out and about in the area on shorter walks, I was able to go on a lovely long walk today. I've missed walking like that.

I'm still working on the VMAs red carpet post. I'd have had more time to work on it if I hadn't gone for a long walk but I felt like walking today. Even though it was humid out.

I haven't got the results of my bone scan yet and I don't really expect to hear anything before I see my oncologist on the 27th. She would call me before I see her if something new shows up but it's been two weeks since the scan and I haven't heard from her. I don't really worry about the scans these days because I've been stable for so long.

I'm so very lucky that my mets are limited and stable. Someday that will change; for now, I'm happy to not have to think much about the mets I have. It means that I can go on epic walks and write red carpet posts like an almost normal person (for some definition of normal).