Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Talking about our dryer

Our new dryer arrives tomorrow! I'm thrilled that we'll have a dryer that works so that laundry takes less time.

When we bought the dryer, the salesperson made arrangements for the delivery people to take our old dryer out to the curb to be picked up with our regular garbage collection. However, garbage collection is tomorrow morning and we don't want the dryer setting out there all week. Even if we were allowed to do that, but we aren't - bylaws prohibit us from putting garbage out in front of our house when it isn't our night.

Both Ian and I separately concluded that we needed to put the old dryer out at the curb tonight so that it could be picked up tomorrow. It took hardly any time to get the dryer out there; Ian mostly did it himself with me helping a bit to bring it down the stairs. Ian put the leaking cooler out there, too.

Imagine our surprise when both the dryer and cooler were gone within an hour! There are pickers that drive around the night before garbage day looking for good stuff and I guess our dryer and cooler qualified. I'm actually happy that they picked up the dryer because I'm quite sure it can be refurbished - I just didn't want to pay for it to be done. I also didn't want to see it go to a landfill. I don't love it when the pickers drive around (I find it creepy) but I do love that they took the appliances at our curb.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Small changes on the way

We bought a new dryer to replace our old one and it'll be delivered on Thursday. We'd hoped to get a dryer that matched our washer, which we bought when we moved into the house. Unfortunately, while the style of dryer is still available, the colour we have ("night sky blue") has been discontinued. We didn't want to spend a lot of time shopping for dryers so our choices were between getting a matching style but a non matching colour or the upgraded version of our current dryer.

We ended up getting the updated version of our current dryer because it has a hamper door. This means it opens downward and can be used as a platform for sorting laundry. We love this door because some of our tops have to be hung up to dry and we can plop the laundry on the door and pull those ones out. Our washer and dryer are in the mudroom coming in from the garage and trying to sort the laundry straight out of the washer ends up with laundry all over the dirty floor.

In other news, I'm an Auntie again! Ian's brother and his wife had a baby girl on Tuesday. It's quite exciting to have a little person in the extended family.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A bit of this and that

Today was my first metalsmithing class in ages. I'd planned to go to the session last fall but I wasn't up to going to any of the classes. I feel like I'm doing a lot better and I've been looking forward to getting back into metalsmithing. Because I've done literally nothing at all with metal since last summer (except for one open studio session in December) I figure I'll start by just working on the class demos instead of working on any actual project.

A friend and I are also going to take an online class on making a felted cloche hat. We're going to dye our own wool and everything! My friend is also going to teach me some quilting stuff in exchange for me teaching her some sewing stuff. This year appears to be shaping up to be my most creative yet and I'm excited to see what comes out of it.

In less positive news, our dryer doesn't seem to be working. I went to put a load of laundry in the dryer and thought the light was burned out because it wasn't on. Unfortunately, the dryer wouldn't start so I ended up having to hang all of my laundry. I checked the breaker and it hadn't popped so we think electricity is going to the outlet but we don't have a multimeter to test it. Our contractor neighbour will have one so I'll ask him to check whether there's power at that outlet; if there is, then we're buying a new dryer. We wouldn't want to spend money on a dryer only to find out that the problem is with the outlet!

UPDATE: The outlet is working, so the problem is with the dryer. Sigh. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Going to the vet

It's freezing out there, with windchills around -25C which just feels cold. Gozer isn't getting very long walks because it's much too cold out there for her even if she did like wearing her booties and her coat fit her properly. Because Gozer is chubbier than she was last year her coat is a little bit snug and doesn't want to stay closed. I need to make a couple of velcro extenders for the coat because we don't have time to go and buy her another one and it's so cold that she's got to wear it.

This afternoon we walked to the vet's for her follow-up visit after finishing all those antibiotics. I thought about rescheduling the appointment but it isn't going to get much warmer until next week and I didn't want to wait that long to take her. So we trudged through the cold and wind to see the vet and it's just as well that we did.

Gozer's goopy eyes have cleared up - yay! - but her ear isn't completely cleared up so we have stronger drops for it once per day for the next nine days. We can go to the vet's for a checkup in two weeks if we want and I think we might want to do that.

The vet was able to express Gozer's left anal gland but Gozer did not want her right anal gland expressed at all, which leads the vet to think that there are still some problems there. We're just going to keep an eye on it for now and if she seems to have problems we'll take her to the vet. Because Gozer is so opposed to having the glands expressed, the vet might need to mildly sedate her to get it done so that she doesn't start associating the vet with the wriggling and pain and scary stuff.

Most concerning is that the vet thinks that Gozer's cataract in her right eye has grown since she discovered it only two weeks ago. There's a veterinary ophthalmologist here in town and the vet suggested that Gozer be referred for a check-up there. Even if the cataract turns out not to be not too big of a deal right now, the exam will provide a baseline. On the bright side, since Gozer is so young she might be a good candidate for cataract surgery. Not that I want to unnecessarily put her through surgery but I don't like the idea of her not being able to see out of that eye for the majority of her life. Of course these are decisions for another day.

Funny that Gozer's issues are all on the right side. I hope that her ear clears up because she's clearly uncomfortable with it. I think I can speak for both of us when I say that we're looking forward to the day when it warms up here. We don't like being out in the cold.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

2013 Golden Globes Red Carpet, Part 2

Here are the rest of the red carpet outfits from the 2013 Golden Globes!

Enjoy all the pretty (and not so pretty) dresses after the jump.

Friday, January 18, 2013

2013 Golden Globes Red Carpet, Part 1

It's been so long since I've done a red carpet post that I'd forgotten how long it takes to do one! While I haven't finished evaluating all of the outfits, I've got through almost half of them and figured you'd like to see my progress so far.

So here you go.... my first red carpet post in I don't know how long. Enjoy Part 1; the second part will be up tomorrow or Sunday.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Working on a red carpet post

I'm working on a red carpet post for the Golden Globe awards but it's not finished yet. I hope to have at least half of the dresses (out of about ninety) evaluated tomorrow.

I've actually been quite busy lately. I had lunch with a few friends yesterday that I hadn't seen for a while. One of my friends brought her ten-month old daughter with her. Apparently no one other than her mother can hold her... except for me :) I have a face that's proportioned like a baby's's face: round with features close together. I couldn't hold the baby for very long but she was comfortable with me for a few minutes, anyway.

I've been a bit tired lately because I've been up early to help Ian give Gozer her eye ointment and ear drops. Gozer doesn't mind the eye ointment, so much, but she definitely does not like getting the ear stuff squirted into her ear; she does not like it at all. Her dislike for the ear drops is mitigated by the pill covered in peanut butter treat she gets afterwards. Fortunately I only need to get up early for two more days.

Gozer and I have been going on walks in the afternoon because it's been so nice out. I think she's missed going on afternoon walks and we've both been enjoying the slightly warmer weather. Going on a longer walk in the afternoon when it's warmer is nicer than walking later when it's cold out. As well, she gets a chance to sniff more when she walks with me than when she walks with Ian (whether I'm there or not) in the morning or evening.

Hmmm, I feel like I've been really busy but it seems that I haven't done all that much. At least I'm doing something, right? Tomorrow you'll get to read my thoughts on the Golden Globes dresses!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Golden Globe awards

It's the start of the big award season! Yay! I'm watching the Golden Globes right now and while there seem to be more commercials than usual, I'm enjoying the show very much.

This year's show is hosted by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey and their comic genius has permeated the entire show. This may be a big awards show but there's a close, friendly vibe. People were making jokes, when things went wrong people just laughed, and everyone seemed to have a great time. Jodie Foster's acceptance speech was brilliant and poked fun at media and reality shows and being gay and single and how much she values privacy. I don't know if she had planned it in advance or if she spoke off the cuff (Ian says she planned it) but her speech was wonderful.

The dresses women are wearing are lovely, for the most part. There are lots of beaded embellishments and lots of lace and lots of sheer fabrics. I'm looking forward to doing the red carpet post in the next few days

Saturday, January 12, 2013

No more tasty water for a while

Since we brought back the tasty water, we've gone through a lot more than usual. Normally we finished one 18.9L water bottle per week with my two or three litres of water per day and Ian's lesser water usage. However, in the last week we'd finished between one and a half and two of those bottles and that's an unusually high consumption rate.

At first I thought that I was drinking all that excess water but when I counted the number of times I fill my water bottle, I realized that there was no way I was drinking quite that much. Ian hasn't been drinking much more water, either. So what's happening with our water?

It was leaking is what was happening. We should have known better than to put the cooler directly on the hardwood floor instead of on a drip catcher mat of some sort, but we apparently didn't. Now the hardwood under the cooler is swollen and uneven. The water had seeped below the subfloor onto the top of the joists but hadn't dripped onto anything in the basement, which is good.

Hardwood isn't the best choice for a kitchen; it's what the house came with and it looks really nice but if we'd had tile or vinyl or whatever else, we'd have seen that the cooler was leaking days ago and the subfloor wouldn't be all soaked with water. Someday we might change the floors but that day is far away. We'll have to buy a new water cooler and when we do, it'll go on a mat so that leaks will be immediately obvious.

So it's back to the Brita water until we get out and find ourselves a new cooler. We figure we'll look at Costco and at Crystal Clear (where we buy our tasty water) and hopefully find something soon. I like the yummy water so much and I'm missing it already.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

One-sided snowball fight

I had a bit of a negative experience today while on my way to my hair appointment. It started off with me running a bit late for my hair appointment and having trouble finding a parking space. After circling the block once, I decided to park in a lot across the street and about a half-block away from the salon. When I got there, I drove quickly but carefully through the parking lot to a space close to the intersection I had to cross..

As I was walking towards the light I heard a guy start yelling and swearing and making a lot of noise behind me and moving in my general direction. Another guy started yelling at him and their conversation devolved into a "f*ck you" "no, f*ck YOU" exchange. I didn't really pay attention to either guy beyond because I don't want to get involved in situations like that.

While I was waiting for the light to change, a snowball hit the ground a few feet in front of me and then another one hit my feet. I turned around, saw a guy looking at me, and said, "what's your problem?" The sam guy who'd started yelling before said, "you f*cking asshole, you should drive slow through a parking lot!!" I knew it was the same guy because he used the same language and had the same voice. I didn't say anything in response and just continued to my appointment.

The person at the front desk in the salon had seen the guy throw a few snowballs (as in, more than the two that I saw) but didn't know that I'd been the target or that the guy had yelled at me. We laughed it off and I got my hair cut. Afterwards, I checked the car to be sure that the guy hadn't keyed it or slashed the tires or anything and picked up a few things at the grocery store. I'd planned to do more errands but started feeling really tense and upset so I went home instead.

It wasn't until I got home that I realized that I was freaking out because this guy had yelled and made noise, followed me for half a block, and thrown snowballs at me just to get my attention so that he could yell at me. Although clearly the guy had issues that have nothing to do with me, he had behaved in a threatening manner by following me and had assaulted me both verbally and with snowballs. It was a scary situation and even now as I write about it, I'm feeling stressed and upset and I want to curl into a ball.

Ian said that I should have called the police from the salon and he's right: I should have been reported the guy when the incident was fresh in my mind. At the time, however, I froze and made a joke out of it because that's been my coping behaviour in situations where I'm threatened. Telling someone in authority that someone has done something to me just doesn't occur to me. I'm going to talk to my psychologist about this because I think it would be healthier (and safer) for me to contact the authorities when someone does something to me.

Hopefully I won't run into the guy again... at least until I've figured out how to deal with situations like this when they happen. For now I'm going to cuddle our dog and let some of her calm energy wash over me.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

More vet adventures

We had a big day at the vet today because Gozer met two different dogs. When we got to the vet's, Gozer met a 4 1/2 month-old puppy who was afraid of her and who barked and tried to attack her. Gozer kept on trying to meet the puppy and wasn't at all fazed by the puppy's antics. Just before we were leaving, Gozer met a 12 1/2 year-old dog who was quite happy to sniff (and drool) on her. That dog was afraid to be at the vet's and left two presents on the floor both before and after he went in the exam room. Gozer wasn't there for that part.

We were at the vet's for quite a while this afternoon. Gozer had been licking and licking and licking at her butt over the last couple of days so I asked the vet to take a look at it as well as looking at her infected ear and her goopy eyes. The vet cleared out the hair in Gozer's ear and after checking a sample of the gunk there, discovered that the infection was mild. It turns out that Gozer was licking at her butt because she had swollen anal glands. The vet expressed those glands and apparently the stuff that came out was a bit infected.

As well as having ear and butt problems, Gozer has red eyes from irritation and also has a small cataract in her right eye. She hasn't increased the amount she's drinking or peeing so the vet isn't worried that she has diabetes. Cataracts usually appear in older dogs but everything about Gozer indicates that she's about three years old now. Therefore, her cataract is probably genetic. Clearly we'll need to keep an eye on her eye.

Gozer also spends a lot of time licking her front feet. We thought that she was doing it because of her booties but apparently ear infections, anal gland problems, and licking feet can all be signs of food allergies. The allergy compromises the immune system and the dog ends up with all kinds of problems. Gozer does get a very itchy face right after eating and gets a very hot back as well. We're to watch for signs of flushing in her ears or belly at any time and keep track of when it happens.

If Gozer does turn out to have a food allergy, we'll have to take her off all of her food - her kibble, peanut butter, and cookies - and introduce a hypoallergenic food. If she stays stable on it for eight to twelve weeks, we can re-introduce one thing, wait to see if she's ok, and introduce the others. The current food is a dental food that keeps her teeth clean and if we're not allowed to give her that, we'll have to look at keeping her teeth clean another way.

That's all long-term stuff. In the short term, to treat Gozer's ear, eyes, and butt, we have drops, a gel, and oral antibiotics. The drops go in her right ear twice a day for ten days, the gel on both eyes twice a day for ten days, and the antibiotics twice a day for ten days. Poor girl, she's practically falling apart!

Giving Gozer her eye gel is definitely a two-person job so I'll be getting up early for the next ten days to do that. We go back to the vet in two weeks to see how she's doing. Hopefully she feels better.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Gozer gets groomed

Gozer was groomed today, finally! The last time she was groomed was in early November so she was looking very shaggy. Her long, curly hair was developing a lot of snowballs when she was out in the snow, too, which made for some very uncomfortable walks. Snowballs between her toes hurt her feet and make it painful to walk but she doesn't like her booties because the narrowest part rubs against her dew claws and she finds that uncomfortable.

Gozer doesn't love being groomed. She's fine going to the place but wants to leave right away. Today, as soon as the groomer came out to get her, she jumped onto the lap of a fellow who was there with his dog. As if some stranger will protect her from the mean groomers when her own mommy won't! After that, Gozer tried to hide under the reception desk so the groomer ended up carrying her to the grooming area.

Apparently Gozer was comparatively well-behaved during grooming. Normally she howls and cries when she's being dried but this time she only barked the way she does when she sees another dog and wants something from it.

Unfortunately, Gozer has a mild ear infection. Her breed has hair instead of fur and that hair grows thickly in her ear canals, too. If the hair isn't plucked regularly, it can block the ear canal and create a lovely place for bacteria to grow. The last time Gozer was groomed the groomer didn't really pluck her ears so there was a lot of extra hair in there. The groomer got some of the hair out and there's some redness in the ear as well as goop. I think the ear infection might be related to the extra-goopy eyes she's had lately.

The groomer cleared out Gozer's ears a bit but obviously Gozer didn't like it and the groomer didn't want to press the issue. We have an appointment to see the groomer and the vet tomorrow to get the infection looked at and the ear cleaned out. Fortunately the infection is still mild but I want it to get it taken care of as soon as possible.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Excitement in our neighbourhood

We had a bit of excitement in our neighbourhood yesterday. Our street is a dead-end place which connects to one of the main streets in our area. There's a bus that runs on that street and yesterday, a passenger on the bus took another passenger hostage. The police blocked off the street so that traffic couldn't get through while they negotiated with the hostage-taker. They brought in the tactical squad and dogs, too.

According to comments on a news story, the hostage-taker first demanded McDonald's, which he got, and then heroin, which he didn't get. He claimed to have a gun and a syringe containing his HIV+ blood but no weapons were found.

Seeing the police out in force was a little scary. We didn't know what was going on at first and we weren't about to go out and ask the police about the situation. The first news report we saw said that they were asking people to stay away from the area. This got me to thinking: what if they'd evacuated our street? The bus wasn't that far away and if there'd been a bomb on it, we would definitely have been evacuated. Well, they would have tried to evacuate us: we were in the basement and I almost never hear the doorbell when I'm down there. Ian was playing a video game and we definitely wouldn't have heard anyone at the door.

The idea that our area could be evacuated and I wouldn't know it is frightening. Thankfully, we don't get a lot of hostage-takers on buses around here so we don't need to do something about it today .... but we need to do something about it soon by installing a doorbell in the basement. If the police come to my door, I want to know that they're there and answer it. Sure, it would mean that I'd hear and answer the door to annoying sales people, but I think that's a small price to pay.

BTW, Gozer really wanted to bark at the police dog when we took her out yesterday evening. Silly girl!

Saturday, January 05, 2013

The tasty water is back!

We finally have water in our water cooler again! We've been living on Brita water for the last month or so and I just don't like the taste as much as I like the water cooler water. You'd think it was just water but the water from the tap here isn't very tasty and the Brita doesn't filter out whatever it is that makes the water taste the way it does. It would be perfectly fine to drink in a post-apocalyptic setting where water is scarce but since we're not living in that world, I want tasty water. Also, when you drink at least two litres of water each day like I do, you want that water to be tasty.)

The reason we were without yummy water for so long is that we discovered an algae problem. When we last took the bottles in to fill them, we noticed that there was some green stuff in the bottom of each bottle. We checked the water cooler and saw green spots in the top of it. Sigh. We'd had problems with algae in our Brita container before and I think it made me sick but I never expected to have problems with the water cooler.

We think that the algae spores must have blown in from the fountain. We had a lot more algae in the fountain this past year than the year before because the fountain was going for so much longer and it was so much warmer and drier. Even so, I have no idea how the spores got into the bottles or the cooler (or the Brita before, since the algae showed up in February). If there are spores flying into our water bottles, this must mean that there's quite a bit of algae spores flying around in general so we're breathing them in. That's not good. We'll have to try to do something about the algae next year.

To get rid of the algae, Ian used dry rice to scrub out the bottles, rinsed them in a weak bleach solution, and rinsed them thoroughly. I'm not sure how he cleaned the cooler as I wasn't here for that; all I know is that he used a bleach solution but I'm not sure what else he did. Really, all I care about is that the water tastes yummy again.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Movie: The Panic in Needle Park

Although I haven't talked much about it, I still watch a fair number of movies. Tonight I watched The Panic in Needle Park, a 1971 movie starring Kitty Winn as Helen and Al Pacino in his first major role as Bobby.

Bobby is a small-time hustler and heroin addict living around "Needle Park" an area in New York City around Broadway and 72nd St. He visits a friend and first meets Helen while visiting a friend as she recovers from an illegal abortion there. Later, when Helen checks into the hospital, Bobby comes to see her. She's homeless now and stays with him. In another place and time this would be the beginning of a wonderful relationship but here it's the beginning of a downward spiral for both of them.

Soon enough, Helen picks up Bobby's heroin addiction and the two of them move from place to place she prostitutes herself and they deal drugs to support their habits. Eventually she's arrested and rats on Bobby to in order to avoid jail herself. At the end of the film she picks him up from jail and they walk away. It's a sad and predictable story and while I've seen what seems like a kabillion movies of this type, this one was very powerful.

Part of the film's power is that it is 40 years old and could practically have taken place today. It seems that couples who share drug addictions always follow the same path: love and happiness in the early, idyllic days followed by desperation for the drug over anything, including the other person. That craving becomes the focus of the relationship.

This film is also shot in a realistic documentary style. There is no soundtrack or music used in the film and the entire film is shot on location on the dirty streets and grimy diners of the area, with actors that wore no makeup and looked dirty and worn-down when they couldn't get any heroin and a face-rubbing, eyes-closed, dopey mess when they could get it. The scenes where the baby cries while people are scoring drugs

Of course what makes this film great - as great as Trainspotting or Requiem for a Dream  - is Al Pacino's performance. He really sold the small-time drug addict hustler role with the rages and cravings and hustler ways. He and Kitty Winn really sell the love between their characters - the love that binds them through everything. Without him, this film would still be good; with him, it's great. If you have a chance to see it, take that chance; it's well worth your time.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy new year!

Happy New Year! May this year bring you happiness, good health, and prosperity.

I got away from writing in my blog every day in 2012. I'm not exactly sure why or how that happened; a lot of the time I was withdrawing into myself and didn't feel like writing. Even if I did feel like writing, I didn't think I had all that much to say. Looking back over the preceding years, I prefer reading my daily posts over my once-in-a-while posts as there's more continuity and I have a better sense of how things were going for me.

Over the last year and a half I've really been struggling to stay grounded and halfway normal. The depression I've lived with for most of my life got a lot worse and during the summer of 2011 when I started to hear a voice in my head telling to kill myself, I knew it was time to get help. My psychologist has been extremely helpful in uncovering the reasons behind some of my thinking and figuring out ways to deal with stuff.

For example, it turns out that the voices in my head were developed during my childhood when they served a protective function for me. It also turns out that I spent parts of my childhood not exactly there and that I dissociated whenever things were too much for me. When I first realized that I'd coped in these ways I was a little taken aback because those coping methods are considered mental illnesses in some circles. The idea that I wasn't just struggling with depression but a larger mental illness scared and humbled me.

One other issue we've discovered is that I also had some rage issues towards children: when I saw babies or toddlers on tv or in person, especially if they were happy or laughing, I'd feel overwhelmingly angry towards them. I also felt that anger when children were having a temper tantrum or were behaving badly. It turns out that because my childhood wasn't great and was lacking in childlike joys, I was jealous of happy children... and I wanted the unhappy children to be quiet.

By identifying where these issues have had their roots and establishing ways of dealing with them, I've been able to work through a lot. Some of the ways that I've been working through stuff is by identifying what I'm actually feeling - not what I think I'm feeling, but my actual feelings - and naming it, as well as journaling and doing things that I find soothing, like spending time in the garden or whatever. I haven't been comfortable sharing all of this stuff because until I could process all of it. It's also hard to talk about the fact that I've got some mental illnesses going on because it's kind of scary and there's such a stigma against it.

I tell you, dealing with the mess that was my childhood and my more recent mental illness and then learning new ways of dealing with everything takes a lot of energy. I've spent hardly any time doing anything - let alone anything creative - because I've been so focused on making things better for me. I feel like I've turned a bit of a corner now, however. Even though I still have a ways to go and I'm not all the way better, I feel like I've passed through the worst and come out the other side, ready to be the me I've worked so hard to develop.

This is going to be a great year for me, I think.