My Own Version of Olympic Fever

Good morning! I am up super early today because I had an anxiety dream about going to see the Olympic torch relay. Apparently, that is a thing that can happen if you spend your evening trying to coordinate plans for 8 am with a husband who works nights, a daughter who stays over at her dad’s and a client who usually comes at 8:05 but might be somewhat late because they are also going to see the relay. But I mean, how could we not go see it- it’s passing by just a block and a half from here!

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I admit it, I am kind of a secret Winter Olympics dork. I remember in 1998 I was unemployed in February and my marginally employed boyfriend and I would stay in half the night watching live events from the Nagano Olympics and it was actually pretty awesome. I almost wish I’d bothered to try and get tickets to some events but oh well, I can just watch them on tv. Last night I finally pestered Taylor into hooking up the cable in the living room. I mean, we have cable, but a few months back my digital box died (it was way old) and since we never really watched tv we never bothered getting a new one. We’ve been paying for it all these months just for Symphony, really. Anyway he was loath to do it, like hook the cable DIRECTLY to our big fancy tv but I managed to wear him down.

One thing going on for the Olympics (it’s part of the Cultural Olympiad) that I am basically IN LOVE with is this amazing art installation, Vectorial Elevation. It’s a series of like, twenty huge searchlights beaming up into the sky down by the beach. I remember seeing and ~artist’s rendering~ of it on the front of the paper a while back and thinking to myself “WHAT, that is just stupid,” but it’s actually not! The lights are also interactive- you can go to vectorialvancouver.net and program in your own 12 second light display.

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You can see the lights from the alley behind my house, and the first time I did I almost had a heart attack! I was taking out the trash and when I looked up there were these huge unexpected beams of light moving across the sky! It’s pretty cool watching them from up here but on Tuesday after Symphony’s piano lesson we all went down to the beach to see them up close.

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The lights are on both sides of False Creek, on Sunset Beach and in Vanier Park

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They are huge and eerily silent- you expect them to make noise as they swing around but they don’t. It’s a little creepy.

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Symphony described it as like being inside a circus tent made of light She also said it was an awesome experience, before she got crabby because I wouldn’t give her candy. Kids.

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Birthday Gifts In Action!

Kindle

I started using my kindle pretty much as soon as I finished The Elegance of the Hedgehog on Monday and I’m 36% of the way through my second book already. I think it’s safe to say I LOVE IT. Yesterday I used the “search” function to figure out who a minor character was instead of having to flip back through several chapters. Amazing! The only thing that I don’t like is the picture of Emily Dickinson that keeps popping up on the “sleep” screen. She is so creepy looking!

Work Bench with Work

I just used my work bench for the first time and I’m kind of loving it too. I assembled it yesterday (what a pain that was) and this afternoon I cut up some wood scraps (they’re actually the legs that came with my dining room table- I only used the top). It might look like I was just doing practice cuts but all these pieces are going to be used for an adorable new project I dreamed up a few weeks ago. I should be able to finish it fairly quickly so stay tuned!

Symphony, Valentines and Morgana the Cat

Last night I helped Sym do her cards for her class’ Valentines Day party tomorrow. Her stepmom, Colleen, got these great sets of cards from the store she works at (on sale, which is good because they’re crazy expensive). They’re from Meri Meri and I love them- so much cuter than a perforated Spongebob card with a gummy Krabby Patty stuck to it! She had these last year as well, with pirate and princess themed cards (this year it’s space robots and fairies), and we never use all 40 cards (20 per box) so I’m saving them for other years.

Sym's Valentines

She was very meticulous about writing the names and only made two mistakes (Laim and Jamine instead of Liam and Jasmine).

Sym's Valentines

I was in charge of stickering the boys’ envelopes shut.

Sym's Valentines

Taylor didn’t hang out with us because he was eating messy noodles.

Taylor NOT Helping with Valentines

The torn up cardboard is Dougal’s handiwork. Some of you might know that helping recycle cardboard is his favorite thing in the world.

Earlier this week I staged a DARING DAYLIGHT CAT RESCUE!!! This little black and white cat seemed to have been living in the pit under my upstairs neighbor’s porch/outside my kitchen window for the past few weeks. My neighbor Katherine asked me what we should do since the poor kitty seemed sick, so I put on some work gloves, grabbed a small pet crate, and clambered down into the mud. The daycare kids were inside having snack but I could see them through the window, and they were laughing their little faces off! The cat was trying to climb out of the pit, and kept jumping up (the pit has concrete sides that are about 3 1/2 feet high) but then just falling back down. She was skinny and muddy and eventually just gave up and I was able to corral her into the crate without touching her- I didn’t know if she had a disease or anything and I didn’t want to risk infecting Claire. I gave her some water and was calling the SPCA and emergency animal hospital to try to figure out what to do with her, when Katherine brought me a missing cat flyer from the laundry room. It turns out she’s was our other neighbor, Sarah’s cat, who escaped with Sarah’s apartment was broken into on Christmas Day (I KNOW. People are scummy). The poor cat had been on the streets for almost seven weeks! Of course I’d seen her out there but I was told Sarah’s missing cat was white, and it didn’t see her flyer since I don’t go to the laundry room. Still, a happy ending for Morgana the cat!

Sick Kitty

In other news, spring is DEFINITELY here. All the trees and bushes in the neighborhood at starting the blossom and yesterday the rain started. It’s pretty grey and dismal out right now but these bright pink flowers are helping to brighten things up!

More Spring Flowers

What I’ve Been Reading

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The Modern Dog 8/104, The Lost City 9/104, The Elegance of the Hedgehog 10/104

These are the last three books I bought, so now I can start using my Kindle (finally, I mean I’ve had it for four whole days!).

The Modern Dog was pretty interesting. Each chapter is its own self-contained essay or article about human-dog interactions throughout history. Some parts were a little cheesy (a woman finds an abandoned, half-drowned puppy named Angel who is her constant protector, even after his death when his ghostly barks rouse her during a gas leak), but others were informative (a chapter on how different kinds hunting dogs have been bred and altered as hunting techniques and weapons have changed) and ridiculous (a teenager posts pictures on his blog of the author’s dog getting a tomato juice bath after a run in with a skunk, and years later the pictures still pop up on anti-animal testing websites as “proof” of vivisection). I’m basically mental for dogs anyway so this just really reinforced that.

I picked The Lost City out of the bargain book bin because I liked the cover (the greens! the foliage! the typeface!) but I actually really enjoyed this book! The story was fascinating and I got really emotionally invested in the characters’ lives. I ended up staying up until 3 am to finish it! I just had to know whether the lost city would ever be found, who would live, who would die and most of all, what would happen to the cat? This makes it sound really swashbuckling but it’s actually a very quiet, introspective and melancholy book. My only (minor) complaint is that it’s one of those books without quotation marks, so sometimes you can’t really tell who is saying (or even thinking) what.

I think I bought The Elegance of the Hedgehog just because I kept seeing it in every bookstore I went into, and you know what? I did not like this book AT ALL. Maybe there is just something off about the translation- in one passage a coat is described as being made from the wool of a llama with a papaya on its head. What does that mean???- but the people in this book got on my every last nerve. I rarely leave books unfinished but with this one I came very, very close to just quitting a third of the way through. The end of the book redeemed it somewhat, but not enough to make up for the heinous struggle of getting though the first 300 pages.

New Hair II: The Shortening/More Hot Birthday Action

On Saturday afternoon I went back to the salon to get my hair cut again- not because I didn’t like the first time but because I thought I would like it more if it was shorter.

New Hair II

LOVE IT. Love love love it. I haven’t had my hair this short since probably 2005 or something so it’s quite a change for me and I’m going to have to seriously get over my over-reliance on ponytails.

On Saturday night we went out for Part Two of my birthday celebration. I ended up wearing my American Apparel tri-blend raglan pullover, but because I’m fancy I paired it with my vintage black crystal necklace and a ridiculous silver sequin miniskirt. I figure I’m just about at the end of my miniskirt wearing years so why not go out with a bang?

Sequin Mini

I realized when I got home I’d accidentally left the tags on the skirt. How did I not notice that???

Taylor with Wine

Taylor and I had a couple glasses of wine at home and then met Rich and Jenn at the restaurant I chose, The Corner Suite Bistro Deluxe. The food was so good! I had arctic char with olive oil mashed potatoes, Taylor and Rich both had steak & frites and Jenn had the vegetarian croque madame, and for dessert we had paper bag donuts (hot, fresh donut holes you shake in a paper bag to coat with cinnamon sugar). I think because the restaurant just opened last week they were still working out some kinks and it did take a while to get our drinks at first but overall the service was good. I would definitely go back!

After dinner we wandered around Robson and Granville checking out some of the weird Olympic art installations and then to the bar at Market for drinks. It wasn’t as weird in there as the last time I went (no one doing interpretive dance in a creepy mask) but there was still some good people watching. We parted ways with Rich and Jenn and went home at around twelve-thirty, but immediately went back out to buy a ton of junk food to eat while we fell asleep watching Caravan of Courage (yes, the Ewok movie).

In spite of each of us drinking about a bottle and a half of wine on Saturday night, neither Taylor nor myself was hungover today (some sort of birthday miracle). We spent a super-relaxing day lying around in bed and on the couch, reading and watching tv. Basically I had a perfectly lovely, low-key birthday weekend!

My present from Rich and Jenny, Alessi Paradise Birds salt and pepper shakers. EDIT: now with a better picture.
Paradise Birds

I think I took this after some wine. Taylor had Jimmy Neutron hair that night.
I don't even know.

It’s raining cats and dogs! crochet bombing at the Davie & Burrard community garden.
Crochet Bombs

4 out of 5 blob-faces don’t like the Olympics, but the fifth one is STOKED!
Olympic Rings Have Feelings

Claire in the children’s living room. She was sitting on the third beanbag chair but of course as soon as I went to get my camera she moved.
Claire in Repose

The Best Birthday

Taylor and Symphony are THE BEST, they made my little party last night so perfect.

I was really tired after work and decided to make it a pajama party, so please excuse my outfit and sleepy face.

Symphony gave me a shoebox filled with little toys and pictures she had drawn of the two of us. Some of the toys were things of hers, like little stuffies, and some stuff she’d made, like a Perler bead ipod and a little green felt shape she’d sewn herself and drawn eyes on.

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Taylor’s moms always give me tools and handywoman stuff, and this birthday was no exception. I got a bunch of picture hooks, a book on refinishing furniture, and a laser level and new digital stud finder. The laser level is shaped like a ball and I was really confused about what I was looking at for a second.

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I was so excited about my “big” presents from Taylor. I had a pretty good idea about what I was getting and as it turned out I was complete right. He got me a collapsable workbench, which is awesome because now I won’t have to clamp wood the the dining room table to saw it anymore!

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And he got me a Kindle! I was kind of against ebook readers for the longest time because I really really love books, but I read SO MUCH. I just don’t have enough room for a hundred new books a year anymore! I’ve already downloaded my first book, but I can’t start reading it yet- I have one real book left to finish first.

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After presents it was time for cake, and it was such a nice one! Taylor got it from Cupcakes, and I don’t even care what people in other cities might say, this is LITERALLY the best cupcake shop in the world. Like if you don’t agree, I will fight you. It’s that good. The cake was wonderful but omg SO SWEET. None of us were able to finish even small slices!

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There are lots more photos on Taylor’s flickr, mostly of me making weird faces because I’m always talking or eating when people take my picture. it’s like when my sister had her bachelorette party- every other woman there posed all ~sexy~ for pictures, even the supposed “candids,” but I had my mouth wide open in everyone because I was laughing or telling some hilarious story or something. I guess for me, having fun is more important than looking good.

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Later we had pizza and played one of our epic family Apples to Apples matches. The best round had to be when the contenders for “Handsome” were “Cleaning the Bathroom” and “Angry Hornets.” Taylor was the judge and he was nonplussed, the say the least. I still can’t believe my angry hornets didn’t win!

After game (which I won) it was Symphony’s bedtime, but first we finished reading the last two chapters of Charlotte’s Web. We both ended up bawling our eyes out and had to go read Olivia Forms a Band just to make ourselves feel better.

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Taylor and I finished the evening watching Fringe (a show I love) and Caprica (a show I’m still iffy about). As soon as Caprica ended Taylor fell asleep, and I putzed around on the internet for a little while (I’m making this tiny pink farm-within-a-farm on Farmville, go ahead and laugh because I know how uncool that is) before going to bed myself. I think this was actually the first time we’ve shared the bed on my actual birthday. Amazing!

Today I have a hair appointment at noon (I just had it done last weekend but I decided I want to go shorter) and then later dinner with Rich and Jenn. Other than that I think I’ll be lazy all day and try to finish up my book so I can start using my Kindle. Orrrr I might take out that workbench and start sawing things.

A Happy Birthday

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Thank you to everyone for all the birthday wishes! Everyone on facebook and twitter, all my girls in SS, Rich and Jenn who called me to scream Happy Birthday! at 7:30 in the morning and of course my darling daughter and sweet husband who texted me right at midnight. I ♥ all of you!

Tonight I’m having a family party with Taylor and Symphony, and I’ve heard a rumour that presents and cake are involved.

Tomorrow night Taylor and I are going for dinner at The Corner Suite Bistro Deluxe with Rich and Jenn and then to the bar at Market for drinks afterwards. For some reason it’s always hard to get a reservation at a reasonable time on my birthday weekend, plus Jenn’s a vegetarian and I’m really picky about food. The Corner Suite just opened this week so there were still had tables available, and the menu says in big letters vegetarian and vegan options available upon request. Perfecto!

Fine Arts

Symphony’s teacher, who she also had last year, likes to have the kids create their own versions of great works of art. Last year they did Picasso paintings of animals, Van Gogh Starry Nights made from construction paper scrolls and Monet Waterlilies. This year they’ve made Mondrian pictures using squares of white, red, blue and yellow paper and strips of black paper.

Symphony's Mondrian

In a classic modern art moment, it’s actually hung upside down.

Happy Spring!

Crocuses & Bee

I know it’s still the first week of February (and almost time for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics) but I’m pretty sure it’s springtime. I took this picture in the alley behind my house but there are also daffodils, irises and tulips busting out green shoots all over the backyard. Take that, winter!

Monday’s Post, Now On Tuesday

The past couple of days have gone by so quickly! I completely spaced on making a post yesterday and last night I didn’t even make dinner (scrambled eggs & toast, I really need to buy some groceries) until eight o’clock. I have a packed evening tonight so I better get this out of the way before it’s tomorrow already.

A White Black Bear
Spirit Bear: just a black bear that’s been hitting the bleach?

Sunday afternoon I went to the Museum of Vancouver again, this time with my internet friend Leanna. It was actually supposed to be a meet up for this general discussion community I’m in but no one else came. We checked out all the taxidermied animals in “Ravishing Beasts” and then the new “Art of Craft” exhibit.

Depressed Tiger
Albino Skunk
Horrible Specimens
Leanna saw these horrible jarred specimens preserved in alcohol and was like “Mmm, this makes me hungry!”

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These shoes grossed me out so much! The grey fur one with the antlers is bad enough, but the black and red one is lined with dense black fur and those white things on it are teeth. TEETH. So wrong.
Creepy Boots
The boots on the left have a seashore motif and are decorated with mussel shells. It totally reminded me of the barnacle man, so yes, also creepy.

Afterwards we headed back downtown and met another girl, Kristen, for coffee. She’d wanted to come to the museum but was late getting to the designated meeting Starbucks, and I’d stupidly given her the wrong phone number so she couldn’t get a hold of us. Durr.

Kristen & Leanna
Kristen and Leanna.

Monday was a professional development day at Symphony’s school, which made my workday a little easier since it meant I didn’t have to go out at nine and three with all the kids. Two of the daycare kids, K and B, are still getting over being sick, and I actually had the stupidest conversation/argument with both of K’s parents- his dad in the morning and his mom in the afternoon. They are convinced that B is the one who got K (and me) sick, when if you look at my timeline, it’s obviously the other way around:
January 18th-19th: B has a mild cold with a runny nose
January 20th: B develops a cough and after naptime is running a slight fever
January 21st-22nd: B is fine and just has the runny nose, no cough or fever
January 22nd: K gets sick with gastroenteritis that evening, as well as his parents and some friends from work.
January 29th: B gets sick in the morning, I get sick in the early afternoon
January 30th: B’s mom gets sick
CLEARLY it was K and his family who got the rest of us sick, especially since no one else here (none of the other kids and no one in my family) has been sick at all, and another person K’s parents work with also got sick. They just think that because B had a fever that one day, she’s the one who infected their kid. However, a cold =/= gastroenteritis, and if she did have the stomach bug then, why would she be fine for the next week and a half? This was all especially frustrating for me because IT DOESN’T MATTER. It’s not like I’m going to penalize them or assume they’re unclean or provide substandard childcare just because their kid was sick! It happens, and I was actually really happy with them because he was still sick on the 25th and they kept him home. To tell you the truth, they kind of drive me buggy at times- I’ve really bent over backwards to accommodate their weird fluctuating part-time scheduling requirements but they always want more special treatment. ANYWAY. I’m over it now. No more complaining.

Tongued Claire
Last night I walked into my room and my cat Claire was just sitting there, staring into space with her big googly eyes and her tongue sticking out. She stayed like that for about five minutes, I thought she’d had a stroke or something!

Ferocious Dougal
Passive Dougal
Dougal has been handsome, as usual. He really is the best dog.

Soooooo now I have two more hours left of work, Symphony’s 45 minute student-led conference at school from five-fifteen to six, her piano lesson from six-fifteen to six-forty-five (which I need to take out money to pay for) and somewhere in there I have to give her something for dinner since I probably won’t get her to her dad’s house until well after seven. After that Taylor seems to be under the impression that I’ll want to go to the gym but I really don’t think that’s going to happen.