Thursday, August 22, 2013

Oncologist and some stuff

I'd planned to write more about our trip but I wanted to include pictures and they haven't been processed yet. We took a couple of thousand photos on the trip and the task is a bit overwhelming so I haven't done it yet.

I saw my oncologist today. My CA 15-3 tumour marker at the end of May was 34 and at the beginning of August was 39, which is still within my normal range. Yay! My oncologist wants me to do regular bone and CT scans just to be sure that I'm still doing fine. She wants to do scans twice a year - which is fine with me - and my last scans were in December. I'll see her again for the results in a few weeks.

I wanted to say that the way I talked about being in the US stereotyped people as gun-loving nuts and cops as thugs. I didn't say that outright but I'm sorry to say that I did kind of have that view in my head when I wrote it. For the record, people in the US are people, and although there are people who own guns, not everyone has one. Moreover, while some cops everywhere may be thugs, the ones I'd encounter there are no more likely to be thugs than they would be anywhere else.

There are things going on in the US that I don't like, such as: the loss of women's reproductive rights in many states; the rampant racism in Florida and other places; the fact that the NSA has been electronically spying on Americans (and that Canada, being an ally, was involved); the increased militarization of US police forces; and the US drone strikes. Even though these are policy issues that have very little to do with the ordinary people in the US, my head got caught up in all these events and I transferred my feelings about them into paranoid stereotyping of the people in the country. My apologies.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Atlantic Canada road trip, part 1

We returned on Tuesday from a 12-day road trip to and from Atlantic Canada. I'd have mentioned that we were going away before we left but it didn't seem like a good idea to say to the world that we wouldn't be home. Not that so many people read this blog but we felt that it would be better not to take chances.

We decided to take our time driving there and back because we had Gozer with us and we weren't sure that she could handle being in the car for too long. Therefore, we limited our driving time to a maximum of six hours per day. We figured that even we had to make lots of long stops, we'd be on the road no longer than ten hours per day and with both of us driving, that would be no problem. As it turned out, Gozer is better in the car than we are! She could stay in the car for hours at a time but we didn't know that before we set out.

Today I'm going to talk only about the route we took and the three interesting challenges we faced but I'm not going to go into detail about what we saw or the things we visited. I'll save all that for the next post or two.

To make for a varied trip, we decided to drive through Quebec on our way there and through the US on the way back. I kind of feel weird about going through the US because of the number of guns and the police climate there. We were careful to stay near the speed limit or with the flow of traffic so that the police had no reason to look at us. Weird, I know, but there it is.

On the way there, we stopped in Gananoque, ON; then Levis, QC (a suburb of Quebec City); and on the third day we ended up in Fredericton, NB. After leaving Gananoque we encountered our first challenge: we'd left our laundry bag behind with the clothes we'd worn the day before. Although I called the hotel the next day, they haven't called me back to tell me they found it.

In Levis, we had our second challenge: I broke my glasses. The left temple snapped off of the front frame between the hinge and front frame and since the frames were acrylic they couldn't be fixed. I temporarily taped them together that night and the next day Ian got some Krazy Glue and strong tape. For the rest of the trip I rocked the hipster taped-up glasses look.

After Fredericton we made our way to Moncton, NB, where we stayed three nights while we explored the Bay of Fundy, Moncton, and PEI. On our first full day there, after spending time over at the Bay of Fundy, we developed a flat tire - our third challenge. We did buy the roadside assistance but it would have taken an hour to and hour and a half to get a tow truck to us and we were tired and hungry after overdoing it that day. So Ian successfully changed his very first flat tire :) This challenge took a lot of our time since we had to spend the next morning getting the old tire fixed; I'd wanted to swap cars but none were available. We had planned to go to PEI that day and we still managed to do that even though we didn't get to spend as much time as we'd hoped to spend there.

Fortunately, that was it for challenges and the rest of our trip was smooth sailing. Or driving. Once we finished up in and around Moncton, we headed to Halifax, NS for two nights so that we could explore the region around Halifax and the city itself. From there, it was homeward-bound through Portland, ME and Liverpool, NY.

I know that this sounds like a lot of traveling and driving but it turned out to be not too bad. Ian did most of the driving while I read or napped but I was ready and willing to drive whenever he was tired or migrainy. We stopped every couple of hours for a bathroom break and to stretch our legs. We managed to not exhaust ourselves by driving which meant we had lots of energy to spare when we were walking around looking at stuff. More on that next time.