adding insult to injury

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FINALLY finished the second of this pair of boots on the weekend. they are up in the shop here.

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She climbed up but refused to go down the slide at the far end, instead she tried to “slide” down this ladder. Like she just sat at the top and pushed off, I barely caught her.

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My hair: SUPER grey. Her hair: finally out of her eyes after getting a long-overdue bang trim.

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A view of Mole Hill, before tacky condo developers RUIN IT with their greed and poor judgement.

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What’s up, crow?

So in addition to everything I posted about yesterday, pretty much all of last week/the weekend was such total crap. Like every day I woke up determined to not have the worst day ever and pretty much every day something bad happened.

Georgie had another abscessed anal gland, which formed and ruptured in like… 24 hours. Like Monday night she was fine, and then Tuesday afternoon she had this huge oozy wound. It was so gross and obviously no fun for her either, and cost $225 in vets bills (for those keeping track we’ve now spent over $500 on my poor dog’s butt). It was pouring with rain on Wednesday morning when I took her to the vet, and because we went right after I took one of the daycare kids to school, we were both soaking wet and cold for hours and hours (which prob helped me to get sick, see below).

I had been saving up all my paypal money to buy myself that long dress I posted last week, but on Tuesday night I discovered there was a weird problem with my paypal account. Some things I pre-ordered in December, which I’ve since paid for and already received, had a pre-authorization go through for them again. I didn’t want to spend the money on the dress until the problem was resolved. I discovered it on Tuesday night and it was fixed by Thursday, but in that time the dress sold out in my size. Obviously this is such a petty problem but I’m just so annoyed, like I was trying to be responsible and not use my credit card and instead waited until I’d made enough on etsy and then this happened? SO LAME.

On Friday morning the kitchen ceiling was leaking again, this time from the side of the hole that was cut before. We still couldn’t tell where the water was coming from though, and by the time the handyman got here the water had stopped. So he just cut a second hole in the ceiling next to the first hole, because water had been pooling there before it dripped out, and left it so maybe the next time it happens we’ll be able to tell what pipe it’s coming from. So now we just have TWO great big holes in our kitchen ceiling and can hear everything that happens in BOTH our upstairs neighbors’ bathrooms. GREAT.

On Friday night I got sick with sinus congestion, a fever and a sore throat. I felt awful all weekend and although I’m kind of grateful that it happened when I didn’t have to work, on the other hand I would rather have not spent the entire weekend feeling like shit. I’m still feeling a little cruddy and run down but thankfully this is a short week so I should be able to get through it, and then SMELL YA LATER, MARCH.

fight

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So as I mentioned last week, the new owners of the house next door want to put up a building in the backyard, and i wasn’t happy about it. On Thursday afternoon I went to the ~workshop~ they had with the architects or w/e. Really it was just all their boards with mockups placed around the room for us all to look at, and the architects dodging questions from anyone who didn’t love their gross building. The people who came were mostly residents of the neighborhood and a few rich dicks, and the people who were for or against the plan were split exactly across those lines, as in NO ONE who lives here wants this.

Basically their plan is actually even worse than I could have imagined. They want to move the existing house forward to the very front of the lot, making the backyard bigger, and then put up a big, ugly, three-and-a-half storey condo building right outside my window. It would be taller than the existing house, taller than the house on the east side of the lot and even taller than the house I live in, which is one of the biggest houses on the block. Because they want to move the existing house forward, the new building will block the entire window on the east side of the living room, and because it will go all the way back to the laneway it will also block the office window, at the south end of the room (my apartment is pretty open plan, and the living room & office are part of the same room). This building will block, and I’m not even kidding, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the natural light in my apartment, not to mention the non-stop construction noise nightmare I’d be living next to. And did I mention I work from home? Looking after babies that need to nap during the day? And that my husband works nights and sleeps during the day? And that this will ruin our lives?

And just to add to the horseshit, they aren’t even putting up a building with any reasonably-priced rental suites for families with children, seniors, people with disabilities, etc. Nope, it’s going to be more million-dollar condos for rich dicks to buy. I’m not even exaggerating when I say this is going to RUIN the neighborhood. For anyone who doesn’t know, the part of the city I live in, Mole Hill, is special. It is the last block of heritage houses left in downtown Vancouver, and back in the late 90s the entire thing was slated to be demolished. A group was formed to try and save the houses from destruction, and against all odds, they succeeded. Instead of being torn down, the houses were all lifted, remodelled and renovated, and then rented out with the goal of creating a diverse neighborhood, with all different sorts of tenants from all walks of life.

Putting in a big, SUPREMELY UGLY and overpriced condo building absolutely DOES NOT MESH with this neighborhood; it’s the complete opposite of what Mole Hill is about. The owners don’t care about the neighborhood or the people who live here; they just care about making more money. Vancouver’s West End doesn’t need more million dollar apartments that no normal person could ever afford, and for them to claim that their vision is in line with the city’s infill housing plan is repulsive. They are also claiming that they are improving the neighborhood by restoring the existing heritage house but like… the previous owners did that. They aren’t improving anything.

In a few weeks there’s going to be a meeting of the tenants and other members of the Mole Hill Society so we can strategize and plan how we can stop this from going forward. The owners of the house haven’t actually applied to the city for any sort of permission or permits yet, so hopefully we can nip this bs in the bud. It’s not that we’re against development, we’re just against THIS development. If the owners wanted to raise up the existing house and put a basement suite under it I don’t think anyone would have a problem. If they wanted to put a small lane house at the back of the property where the current garage is I don’t think anyone would have a problem. I know I wouldn’t, and I’m one of the people who would be the most directly affected by any sort of development and construction next door.

As much as I complain about living here and daydream about moving away, I love where I live. I’m lucky to have such a big, affordable apartment downtown, and all my moving away daydreams are like… winning-the-lottery daydreams. I would only want to move away on our own terms, ie if we could somehow magically afford to buy a house of our own in a place where we wanted to live. I’ve been in this apartment for almost nine years and before that I lived in another apartment in this same house for four years. This is my home! We moved here when Sym was only one year old, and Gwen’s never lived anywhere else. If this proposed development is approved I feel like we’ll have no choice but to move, as first the construction and then the finished building will make this apartment virtually unliveable, and I’m not the only person who feels this way. Over half the tenants of this house and at least one from the house on the other side have said if it goes through they’ll move. I’ve actually already started filling out applications for housing co-ops, as our family can’t afford to rent anything anywhere near downtown otherwise, especially since my job is tied to this apartment.

Back when this entire block was slated for demolition, the people banded together and were able to stop it and save the block. Hopefully we’ll be able to do the same thing now, because I don’t want to lose my home.

keeping house

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Georgie had another anal gland abscess this week, this time it ruptured before I even noticed it so she had a huge oozy open wound, poor thing 🙁

I started the draft of this post the other day and wrote the title but now I can’t remember what it was going to be about, so instead I guess it’ll be about complaining. I’m having some really negative feels about my apartment rn. I just want it to be nice and not a nightmare to live here because we are trapped forever in this basement apartment, and it’s just the worst sometimes. Like, the leak in the kitchen ceiling hasn’t been fixed because they can’t figure out where it’s coming from and MEANWHILE I just have a great big hole in the ceiling. They cut it open to try and find the leak and when they couldn’t find it they just left the hole so they don’t have to cut it open again if they do figure it out. It’s right below my neighbor’s bathroom so I can hear every time they flush the toilet which is just great, truly.

Then, I just found out that the new owners of the little house next door (it sold again last fall) want to put up a THREE STOREY building in the backyard! There’s this new plan for Vancouver’s West End, putting infill housing in alleyways because the population density of 22,000 people in a square kilometer could be denser I guess? imo Vancouver doesn’t need MORE housing, it needs AFFORDABLE housing bc rents around here are ridic AND DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON BUYING A PLACE. But I digress, this proposed backyard building would be right outside my living room window so I’d get to a) listen to months of construction all day every day because I work from fucking home, and b) say goodbye to the one small shred of natural light in this place. Oh and not to mention Taylor would probably have a psychotic break from never sleeping again. Cool. Great. There is a ~workshop~ tonight to get information and give feedback about it before they apply to the city so I’m going with a list of questions like “How much are you budgeting to buy Seasonal Affective Disorder lamps for current residents you are consigning to a life of darkness?” and “Are you TRYING to ruin my life?????”

(I am aware that this is total diaper baby whining on my part but allow me this, please.)

In blog news…
I lightened up the layout (HOW IRONIC). It was so dark before because in the winter I feel dark but hey, it’s spring now. I also added a new page for printables. Previously they were listed with the DIYs but I’ve decided to make them separate because in all honestly, is “download this image then print it out” REALLY a DIY? You can find all my old printables on the new page, as well as some that I never posted here. Anyway, the printable page can be found here.

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bunnies

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Gwen loves bunnies*. When she was little(r, she’s still little) the first book she liked us to read to her was I am a Bunny, and read it we did, dozens of times a day, over and over. She has lots of stuffed bunnies and they are all her favourite: Sleepy Bunny, Grumpy Bunny, Momo Bunny, Big Bunny, Purple Bunny. They all get plenty of hugs and kisses. She points out all the bunnies in all her books, she points out the bunnies on our shower curtain.

Every little girl has these bunny-print pajamas from the Gap for Easter this year. They are cute but I had no intention of buying them (I think the Gap’s pajamas are overpriced and only get them on sale OR in a moment of madness) but I stopped in there a few weekends ago when they were having a 40% off sale. The only had two pairs of these jammies left: a tiny baby pair, and a size 3 (which is Gwen’s size). OBVIOUSLY IT WAS MEANT TO BE.

A few years ago Sym dressed up as a “vampire magician” for Hallowe’en. She had a ruffled blouse, a flouncy black & red crinoline skirt, a cloak and a top hat, as well as some gothic looking jewelry and a magic wand. To complete her look I made a rabbit for her to pull out of her hat, but not just any rabbit: I made a Bunnicula. It’s just a felt flattie, black and white with a widow’s peak, big red eyes and embroidered fangs. Since then the Bunnicula has been up on my bulletin board, until earlier this week when Gwen’ noticed it. SHE HAD TO HAVE THAT BUNNY(cula). She cried until I got it down for her and she’s been carrying it around and cuddling it ever since. She loves bunnies, I tell you. ALL bunnies.

*Gwen also loves: foxes, squirrels, bees, frogs, bugs, birds, mice, goats, cats, dogs, butterflies and owls.

happy day

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picture by Taylor

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some more suede & leather patches I’ve made recently: the bunnies & mushroom are available in the shop and the little deer will be listed this afternoon.

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picture by Taylor

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Saturday was my & Taylor’s 6th wedding anniversary. Pretty cool, I think. To celebrate we went for dinner at The Roof at the Hotel Vancouver. We actually had an amazing time, there was a jazzy duo playing lounge-y songs and these really really old oldsters were dancing, which was just great. Idk, it was so sweet and funny. We joked to each other that we should request some Lionel Richie and then right before we left the one musician was like “We are still taken requests” like why didn’t you say that two hours ago! We drank a bottle of wine and ate a ton of good food (like, the portions were almost TOO BIG, if you would like a huge slab of meat for dinner then this is the restaurant for you) and as I’d told them it was our anniversary when I confirmed the reservation they brought us a tray of tiny little desserts to share. You all know I LOVE TINY FOOD so I could not have been more pleased.

After we came home we exchanged gifts; we like to try and tie our anniversary gifts to the “traditional” gift list (like last year I embroidered Taylor five wood-themed patches), and the 6th anniversary is iron. You’d think it would be hard but we both knocked it out of the park: I got Taylor a discontinued Lego set of IRON Man and he got me a waffle IRON that makes heart-shaped waffles. GET IT??? IRON MAN. WAFFLE IRON. (IRON) NAILED IT.

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I’ll keep him around a lil while longer I think.

moon & stars

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First of all, thank you to everyone who reached out to me (mostly on instagram) about CTS. The doctor/all my internet research told me about 50% of people recover without surgery but it’s great to hear from so many people who only needed a brace & rest.

SPEAKING OF REST, I’m bad at it. On Monday I had some banners that I needed to make & ship straight away, and then yesterday I could not help myself, I had to make something. I had this really dark blue suede that came in a bag of scraps, not enough to make into shoes or boots, but perfect for patches! I made two appliquéd and embroidered suede & leather patches, a crescent moon & stars and the constellation Aquarius.

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It was actually so nice to just make something for funsies (although I did put them in the shop BECAUSE OF COURSE I DID and have sold some already, oops); on Monday night I got very depressed sitting on the couch and doing nothing with my hands. I figure… people who get CTS can’t just quit their whole lives, they have jobs and responsibilities that they have to keep doing, and so do I. And as long as I wear my brace and take breaks and don’t do TOO much it’ll be fine. Also, I managed to find a median nerve-friendly activity I can do in the evenings to fill the crafting void: painting my nails! It’s something I enjoy doing, it keeps my hands busy AND if I try to make or sew anything I’ll screw up my mani.

Gwen is super fascinated by my brace. Whenever I take it off she steals it and tries to put it on. I found a small legwarmer of hers with a hole in the side for her thumb and she likes to wear it around on her right arm, just like me. Of course, I HATE my brace so after work today I’m going to go to this pharmacy by the hospital that I’m hoping will have a better selection. Is it bad that I just want a brace that looks cool? I mean, I have to wear it for two months, and this navy blue & red neoprene number is really cramping my style.

Tunnels

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Spot the danger.

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This dress is her absolute favourite right now: a print with foxes, and pockets??? Who could ask for more from a dress? Not this girl.

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I’ve been having a lot of pain and numbness in my right hand for the past little while so this morning I went to the doctor. He confirmed my suspicion that I have carpal tunnel syndrome. Like, I JUST beat Graves’ disease (or at least it’s in remission) and now this? Just one annoying health problem after another? Is this what getting old is? Because NO THANKS. Sign me up to become a non-corporeal vaporous being of pure energy. Upload me to the cloud.

CTS can be linked to hypothyroidism, so with my history of thyroid disease I will need to get my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels tested, but my doctor thinks it’s more likely from the repetitive work of all the crafts I make. Kind of funny that my husband, who has worked in IT for like, fifteen years, is fine but apparently my pathetic median nerve can’t hold up to a lil crafting. Ok a LOT of crafting but still. Ha ha. Soooooooo funny.

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Now I get to wear this cool and not-at-all uncomfortable wrist brace all day and night, or all night and as much of the day as I can. It’s pretty annoying because in my line of work (my day job, not my side hustles) I have to wash my hands 350 million times a day, so it’s put on brace, take off brace, wash hands, dry hands, put on brace, take off brace, wash hands, put on brace, repeat ad nauseum. Every time I prepare food or wipe a nose or change a diaper. So tedious! And wearing the brace for extended periods of time (ie ALL DAY AND NIGHT) makes my wrist and hand all sweaty and the sweatiness trapped under the brace makes my skin all irritated and itchy.

It’s also annoying because making things is what I really love to do, and now my ability to do it is seriously impaired. tbh my ability to do ANYTHING is impaired, like it hurts to do the dishes, it hurts to lift Gwen out of her crib, it hurts to hold up a picture book to read to her. I have to wear the brace for 6-8 weeks, and if it doesn’t improve then I might need surgery, which sounds super fun.

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Over the weekend I made these cute bunny boots for Gwen, and I was going to give a pair away on my instagram, but after talking it over with Taylor it just doesn’t make sense to give myself extra work right now, which is so unfortunate. I’m in the middle of making some black leather boots with a double fringe, but I might put finishing them on hold. Idk. I have a bunch of open banner orders that need to get made, so I’ll probably focus on those, the things people have paid me money for. It’s going to be hard to not be making anything else though; I’m so used to working on something all the time that just sitting watching tv and not doing anything with my hands seems weird.

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PS To add to the fun today, Taylor was working from home last night and discovered the source of the mystery puddle: a little crack in the ceiling, way at the back above the upper cabinet where we couldn’t see it before, with water the seeps/drips/pours out intermittently. So that’s great, I can only imagine what a joy this’ll be to have repaired.

Ghosts & Cupboards

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Totally empty train cars are eerie.

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Magnolias are in bloom all over the city.

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Little Seawall walker.

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Can’t resist sunlight through the trees.

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All the flat stud rivets I mangled & destroyed while figuring out how to set them. Good thing I bought 100, haha.

The other week Taylor and I got up on Saturday morning and found this super mysterious puddle of water on the kitchen counter. It was under and around the Nespresso so my initial assumption was that Taylor has refilled the machine’s water tank and spilled some on the counter, but he hadn’t refilled it, just turned it on. We worried the Nespresso might be leaking, but the water was clear and had no coffee smell at all. I checked to see if water had gotten trapped under the dish-drying rack and run over to the Nespresso from there but no, the rest of the counter between the sink and the puddle was dry, as was the ceiling. When we opened the cupboard above the Nespresso we found a second puddle. This one was much smaller, at the front of the bottom shelf only. Nothing above it was wet, the shelf-puddle was much smaller than the counter-puddle, and very localized. The very front edge of the shelf had actually become swollen with water, as if it had been sitting there for a very long time, but none of the things on the shelf (sippy cups, coffee caps, sugar bowl) were wet. As far as we could tell, there was no logical explanation for the water. No one had spilled it, it hadn’t leaked from anywhere, and the fact that it appeared to have originated in the otherwise dry upper cabinet and dripped down onto the counter made zero sense. The only possible answer: ghosts. Ghosts did it.*

Gwen discovered this week that if she shuts herself in the bathroom and opens the cupboard under the sink, the cupboard door will prevent the bathroom door from being opened. This caused some serious panic on Monday night when she shut herself in there alone with the bath running, but I managed to bump the cupboard door shut and get in before she climbed into the bath unsupervised. She usually can’t get into the bathroom by herself (there is a gate in the hallway) so we don’t have childlocks on the cupboard but I guess it’s time for that to change.

On Tuesday afternoon I took gwen to the post office with me to mail a couple banners and a pair of boots. I am ALWAYS at the post office, like AT LEAST 2-3 times a week so I’m fairly friendly with a lot of the people who work there. One of the employees, who I chat with regularly, commented on Gwen, saying “She’s always so quiet, I never hear her make a peep!” To which I automatically replied “She doesn’t talk, she has a speech delay.” TALK ABOUT A CONVERSATION DERAILER. And it’s also not strictly true: Gwen does talk, just not as much as she should. tbh she hasn’t made any huge strides since January; she has a couple new words but not many**. She has, however, reached the point where not being able to effectively communicate has become so frustrating for her that she just SCREAMS and SCREAMS. She also screams to express happiness & joy, so in spite of her delayed talking she is DEFINITELY not “always so quiet.”

* It’s possible that one of us sleepwalked to the kitchen and put an ice cube in the cupboard which melted slowly overnight, but idk how much more likely that is that ghosts. Not very, tbh.

** Huh, just as I was writing this post the speech pathologist we saw in January called to see how Gwen was doing and schedule an appointment for early April. Serendipity!

A Walk in the Woods

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This was a very creepy spot.
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Spot the hummingbird!

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You don’t see these little Douglas squirrels as often as the Eastern Grey squirrels which have basically taken over.

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On Friday Taylor, Gwen and I took a walk through the Stanley Park trails. We hadn’t been through the park (only around the Seawall) since the early fall. We went past Lost Lagoon, up to Prospect Point, around Beaver Lake and then home. We tend to choose our trails at random and almost every time find something new or go a new way. This time we came out of the forest just below the Rose Garden, a way I SWEAR I’d never come before. Along Cathedral Trail are all these weird upright root slabs from trees felled in the 2006 windstorm. I feel like I MUST have seen them before but they are like… EXTRA WEIRD now. Taylor said the look like somewhere a dead body would be found all hung up and posed like in Hannibal or True Detective (potential serial killers pls don’t get any ideas), and one of them is DEFINITELY a place used for romantic interludes, based on the condom wrappers around it, haha.

Gwen had a great time running around up at Prospect Point, less fun when we put her in her stroller to go back down the trail. She’s definitely keen on walking more when we’re out, which is fine sometimes but others… yeesh. When we walk places together she wants to point out every dog and car she sees, and when she lets go of my hand to point out cars while we’re crossing a busy street it’s not great.

Another thing she likes to do (that is totally unrelated to walking) is she has to kiss everything goodbye. Please note that I’m saying everyTHING, not everyONE, because unless you are a toy, or a shoe, or a piece of garbage or a sharp object she shouldn’t have getting a kiss from this girl is a rare gift. Those objects (and every other object) need to be kissed. Sometimes it’s cute, like when she cuddles and kisses her baby Calico Critters. Sometimes it is not at all cute, like when it’s a soiled diaper. Sometimes it’s when she knows she’s got something she shouldn’t have and she pretends she just wants to kiss it, like I KNOW you are up to no good with those scissors and my passport, no amount of kisses will convince me otherwise!

Scooting & Swinging

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Our cool co-ordinating outfits.

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Telling Taylor to get on the swing next to her.

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All pictures by Taylor Laramie

It was so beautiful and sunny today, I really wanted to go out and do something. I walked around so much on Friday and Saturday though that my body was like LOL NO, so I figured we should stick close to home. Before lunch we took Gwen out on her lil scooter to the playground. My hope was that she’d want to scoot around on the large paved area to get some more practice, but as soon as she saw the swings it was GAME OVER, MAN. She does love scooting though; on the way there I helped her (it’s slightly uphill to the corner) but coming home she had no interest in my help and would push my hands away. She fell once but after some brief yelling she got right back up and scooted home.

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