Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A better week

I went to Janis's Hep C page and reread all the symptoms for Hep C and it made me feel better. My husband thinks I shouldn't read it and that it will just get me bummed out. I had to explain to him that the opposite was true. When I am feeling really crappy and it carry's on for more than a few days I start to get depressed and anxious. I start to think things are suddenly progressing quickly or something else is going on. By reading it over and realizing AGAIN that the symptoms come and go, and everything I was feeling last week was a symptom of Hepatitis C. Therefore in the ebb and flow of the disease there are good weeks and bad weeks. Knowing that next week I will probably feel lots better and the symptoms will recede for awhile makes me feel better.

So! What's new this week. Physically I am still a bit out of sorts and tired but not as tired as last week and mostly the swollen feeling is going away. I've been drinking more water and cutting down of fast food and it certainly helps. Heartburn is bad and I get tired of complaining about hot flashes (they never change except for the year I was on treatment when they went away completely). It's been cooler this week so that helps too. All else is liveable and not worth complaining about :)

Work is busy and we are getting ready for the CanWest Show which is our big trade show of the year. We take some trees and set up a display in our booth that we hope will draw people (landscapers, cities and parks, contractors) to our tree farm. It will be Judy, Stewart, Khushwinder and I at the show so we can pair up and have a look at what the rest of the show has to offer. We all have our areas of interest. Stew and Khush are more into the different types of dirt and pots whereas Jude and I are into the lawn and garden ornaments and the new varieties of plants and flowers. It's two days of fun and socializing with others in the industry, and a ton of business gets done and many contacts are made.

Friday we were up to Stewarts for our company picnic for the day. He is caretaking a house on the ocean that has a private dock and a rowboat with an motor. The main floor of the house is rented out and the owner is in Mexico. They are thinking of staying in Mexico another year and if so Stew and Kathy would stay out at there caretaking. It is just outside the boundary of Belcarra Park. The bay is called Bedwell Bay and they are across from Deep Cove which is on the North Vancouver side. It was a beautiful day with hot sunshine all day. Winai, one of the guys that works with us, is from Thailand and he took charge of the boat and took Jude and I on a two hour sightseeing tour of Bedwell Bay and out into and up Indian Arm. It was so nice and the scenery was gorgeous. Rugged rocks interspersed in the first strip of land along the water with summer cottages that were only by boat access. Winai said he felt like he was back in Thailand. He was in heaven out there on the water and running the boat like he did back home for the tourists. He was laughing because that was how he was treating Jude and I. One of us would point out a cool rock or gnarly looking tree to the others and Winai would manoeuver the boat over to it and stop it so we could see and then he'd move along again. He was just one big smile most of the afternoon.

Stew had all the crab traps set and baited with fish heads and he and Kriss (Jude's daughter) and Winai brought them up and down all afternoon and hauled in crabs for dinner. Half were too small or female and were thrown back in, the rest were dinner. We also had steak on the barbeque, salads, veggies and dip, fruit and dip, cheesecake, buns, chips and dips. It was all very good and very nice. We had a great day and got home around 10pm.

Saturday we were at my brothers for a barbeque for my Mom's 74th birthday. She had a nice day but got weepy on a few occasions as she thought about Pat. My stepdad died last November at 80 years old and Mom misses him very much. All this year has been a year of firsts without her husband and it hurts. In her gift bag of things Al and I got for her I included a bookmark that had an Irish prayer on it and she had a little cry but it was my way of including him in her day and although she had a bit of a weep she was happy he was there in some way and that we had remembered him and brought him to the party.

My sister in law is the worlds best cook. Since she has retired she's gotten into cake making. She started making beautiful cakes for family and word spread quickly and friends and friends of friends started calling and now she is making quite a few. She made this cake for Mom's birthday. The leaves are made of white and dark chocolate and she paints the chocolate on the leaves and then when they dry she peels the leaves away. The balls are actually chocolate dipped strawberries. It was soooooo good! Dave and Allie and Christina had gone to the PNE for the day and Ryan got busy doing something so just Josh came with us. We had a nice evening and were home fairly early.

I've been watching the horror that has unfolded in the southern States in the aftermath of Katrina. I cannot even begin to image what it must be like to live through something so horrific. Bodies floating in the streets. Looting is out of control. Thank God the various National Guard units will start making order tomorrow by the sounds of it if they can get in to where they are needed most. Vancouver offered our Urban Search and Rescue and they were called to come tonight. They were ready and getting a police escort to get them to the airport and out on the fasted plane there. They were needed in Louisiana and that is where they are headed. I am very afraid that when all is said and done the death toll will be in the thousands.

Well I am tired tonight and am heading to bed with a book and a nice cup of tea.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Bad week :(

I'm stuggling this week. I'm not sure why. I had sorta planned to spend the majority of my week off having quiet time and resting alot. Somehow that didn't seem to happen or if it did, there just maybe wasn't enough quiet time. Maybe just being back at work is tiring after being off even though this is a four day week. Today is our company picnic up at Stewarts and Al is off running some errands so I am sitting here quietly trying to get it together.

I'm so tired and the hot flash's are so debilitating this week that I just want to scream sometimes or cry. They bring on waves of nausea to go with the heat and such a feeling of weakness that I have to sit and let it pass. My liver area seems to be a bit....hmmm well I guess enlarged or swollen. I can feel pressure and a bit of tenderness so again I think I am not drinking enough water. Last night coming home on the freeway there was some kind of something ahead that had us all alternating between crawling along and sitting and waiting. I have no air conditioning in my car and the heat just invaded and brought on hot flash after hot flash. By the time I got home I was beat red and Lynne and Dianne were here waiting for me. Al looked concerned as soon as he saw me as did the girls, so god only knows how I looked! I am weepy too for some reason. Mornings are ugly. It takes at least an hour to be able to feel well enough to function. I just feel cruddy. Hopefully it is just a low spot and all will be better tomorrow or next week. I feel like I need to be completely alone by myself with my computer and my books and swing and just spend a few days vegetating. But that is not going to happen.

Tomorrow we have a barbeque at my brothers house for my Mom's birthday. She's 74. Most of my kids are coming I think so I'll get to see the baby. But Sunday I am doing nothing!..........well after the housework is all done and I'm ready for next week I'm doing nothing. Not a very cheerful entry today I'm afraid. Maybe tomorrow...........

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Back to work

Two days back at work and it seems like I never had a holiday! It was good to see everyone and get back into the swing of things. This gorgeous flower is called a Blue River ll Hibiscus. They are almost the last of the Hibiscus to bloom and the flower on this one is huge. They are supposed to get to 10" across and this one is pretty close. It's the first flower to open on the plant so I am anxious to see what it will look like when the whole plant is covered in these flowers.

On Friday we are closed for the day and we're having a company picnic at Stewart's place at Belcarra. He is right on the ocean there with a dock and boat. Families are included so it should be a lot of fun. Fresh crab, Al is in heaven. :)

Friday last week we went to Capilano Suspension Bridge and the Treetop Adventure in North Vancouver. We've been wanting to go for awhile as we hadn't been in years. We decided to go on Friday and it was really impressive. The bridge is huge "Originally built in 1889, today's bridge is the fourth bridge at this location, 450 feet across and 230 feet above Capilano River and is, without a doubt, the world's greatest suspension footbridge!" (from the webpage). It sways and bounces as you walk across. Long way down too. Then on the other side and up a walkway is the Treetop Adventure. That was very cool. They have built a walkway like a suspension bridge high up in the trees. They are using a collar system that doesn't harm the trees at all. "An innovative compression system safely secures each tree’s observation platform using only 20 pounds of force per square inch, approximately the amount of pressure exerted by pressing your thumb firmly on a tabletop. Combined with custom-engineered steel cables and a commitment to routine inspections and adjustments, this system does not damage the Douglas fir trees in any way" - again from the website.

A few pictures from there.

There were lots of people on there so it was really moving. A couple of years ago a lady here in BC took her two kids over the bridge and "somehow" managed to drop the baby off the bridge. The little girl was down's syndrome and the mom was in a custody fight with the dad for the kids. She fell a long way down and her fall was cushioned by the trees. When rescue personnel got down there the baby was awake and crying with scrapes and bruises. How she lived is beyond me. The mom was charged and and in court said it was an accident and she tripped and the baby fell. The court believed her and she is free.

It was quite a long walk going over the bridge both ways, around the treetop adventure and then walking the lower trails. Took us a couple of hours with many rests. The walkways are wooden and very nice with many benches along the way. From there we went to Stanley Park.

Very tired tonight, long day catching up on me. I'll finish this tomorrow.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

A good holiday

It's Saturday and my week's holiday is almost finished. We got done what we wanted for the most part and took a few day trips that were very enjoyable.

Saturday started with us going and getting Al a good crochet game. Josh came over and we played extreme crochet all over the back yard. At times I was laughing so hard I couldn't see to shoot the ball. The neighbours I'm sure think we are insane.

Sunday started with a mini-crisis for my mom. We were planning on a quiet weekend with a trip to the flea market on Sunday morning. We were getting all set when the phone rings and it's my mother with a burst hot water tank. She lives in a 5 level co-op townhouse in Richmond. When she got up and went downstairs to let the cats out, her floor mats were floating around the bottom level.

She phoned me in a panic and also my brother. He lives in New Westminster which is about 10 minutes away and we live an hour and a half away but we got there within 20 minutes from each other. He phoned me while we were both on the road and chatted for a sec and I told him not to let mom do anything til we all got there and figured out what needed to be done. Does he listen to me??? NO!!!! I had talked to mom on the phone while on the way there and she told me that the co-op president had been around and told her to do whatever was necessary such as bringing in a reclamation company and a plumber. So much easier.

We get there and my brother is gone. Mom says, "Oh he phoned the reclamation company back and told them not to come. He said it would be easy to clean up and he went to rent a shop vac and a big blower heater fan." My poor brother arrives back with said equipment to be met by a sister with a face on her like a meat axe (as my grandma always used to say) and I'm going "WHY!??!" "Why would you do that?" The water had covered her whole bottom floor and seeped under the walls on both sides to leak into the units on either side of her. The washer and dryer were sitting in all the water and needed to be moved, her crawl space was down there and she uses it as a storage area, the washer and dryer needed to be moved out and both my brother and my husband have really bad backs.

He took one look at me and says "What? No problem I can take it back and call them back." So he did. He comes back and we asked him if they charged him to take the stuff back and he said it was only $10. We asked what he told them and he said he told them his crazy sister had decendend on him like the hounds of hell and berated and bullied him into taking it back! They felt so sorry for him they did with a small restocking fee. LOL It pays to be the older sister on occasion. As it turned out the reclamation guy was a flood and water damage specialist and he had some meter thingy that he checked all the walls with and he said the wall was wet for 6 inches up all the way around and if they had not dried it properly it would have been moldy with that black mold in six months. So they cleaned it all up and got her a new hot water tank and got it installed for her. All was good again.

Seeing as how we were in Richmond anyway we decided to make a day of it and head into Steveston. The seagull at the top of the page was sitting on a piling waiting for a fish handout. Steveston is a small community right on the water of the Fraser River and the fishing boats come in there. On the weekend you can walk down to the docks and buy fish right out of the boats. Lots to see and always something going on down there in the Summer time. We had a really nice day and it seemed we walked for miles.

Monday was a rest day and then on Tuesday we went and picked up our granddaughter and took her for the day. Took her to see my Mom and had some lunch and she was very good. She didn't play shy at all and even gave Great Grandma a kiss and a big hug. Then we headed to Stanley Park. The park is beautiful and has a wide variety of attractions. We were going to take her to the aquarium but when we got there she heard the train whistle and wanted to ride the train, which we did.

She loved that! From there we headed to the Farm animal Petting Zoo. She liked all the animals but really was not much interested in touching them. They had a good selection of goats, sheep, pigs, ducks, chickens, ponies and guinea pigs along with some snakes in cages and some turtles. This little rooster was crowing and had her crowing with him at one point. Very pretty and silky looking little guy. She looked at everthing and commented on most of it.

From there it was the playground with Grandpa following her around like a shadow. You just can't be too safe these days. We don't take our eyes off her for a second while she is in our care. Then we wandered down the park towards the water park. She suddenly realized where she was and starts stripping off her clothes as she's walking and she's talking a mile a minute at the same time. "Oh look! It's the water park!! Well I have to have a shower because..........well just look at me..................I have sand on me" and she's handing me her t-shirt. She cracks me up and I love listening to what she has to say. She sings and points things out in the car as we travel along too. Grandpa and I took turns following her around the water park for an hour. She loves other kids and tries to join any group of kids she comes across. No shyness at all. She just goes right up and joins in the conversation and whatever it is they are doing. At one point she was running away from me and I was talking her picture and I got such a jolt of deja vu. She looked exactly like David (her dad) at that age. Her blonde curls falling down her back. Man o man, that was over 30 years ago.

She was getting tired so we put her in the car and headed to White Rock. It gave her time to have a nice nap in the car on the way and when we got there it was getting on to dinner time. We let her play on the beach for awhile and then we went to a beach side restaurant for fish and chips. Then home to her parents and we headed home to collapse in a heap of well earned tiredness. She is like a little perpetual motion machine and never stops moving. I am so worried about anything happening to her that I can't relax and am moving constantly myself. She exhausts me totally but she is so beautiful and fun to be with. Grandchildren are the best!

Wednesday was a quiet, around the house, type day. We needed to rest or at least I did. It rained overnight finally and was a bit cooler and I went and had a nice nap on the porch swing in the afternoon. There is just something decadent about napping on a swing in the middle of a weekday afternoon.

Thursday and Josh has been bugging us all week to go geocaching with him. He is our Mr. Technology. Any kind of electronic gadgetry and he is right there and knows what it's about. He has a gps system in his lap top computer and he went out and bought a hand held little thing to use for Geocaching. It is like a treasure hunt with these global positioning things. We found one that was short and nice and close to home to try it out. The idea is you follow the route they have layed out and it takes you to a treasure cache. You take the treasure and leave a new one for the next group to find or you take nothing and leave it intact for the next group. The one we took was here and the instructions said

If you are approaching the first location from the west on the freeway, be sure you take the exit that is about 700 metres from the location. If you are coming from the east, you will have to exit a couple kilometres down the road and backtrack on the parallel road. You will find a large parking lot. Look for a sign at the north end. On the sign you will see 2 dates (years). The next clue is found by filling in the coordinates as follows:N49 03._ _ _ (the first date minus 1540) W122 10._ _ _ (the second date minus 1160)Travel (walk) to this location and go underneath that object. You will find a total of six numbers that are 3 inches tall (in a group of 4 and a group of 2)... The cache is located by filling in the coordinates as follows:N49 03._ _ _ (the first 3 numbers plus 125) W 122 10._ _ _ (the last 3 numbers minus 39)Go to the cache from there. Even though the cache seems very close, you should travel carefully to it..... (Crossing freeways on foot is very dangerous.. be safe and drive it please)Please be sure to cover the cache well when you are done.

We had fun but we didn't find the cache. But next time we will be better prepared and know what to expect. It could be a fun hobby and Al and I can borrow the hand held device and do it ourselves if we are so inclined. You never know.........

Well that takes us to Thursday. This whole week I kept thinking about how being home from work and resting lots I should not be feeling tired so much but of course I am just as tired as always. I have also realized that I don't do stress well. I had noticed that stress seems to affect me badly but then something that Ron Metcalf said in his blog suddenly made me really think about it. Both times that Dr. Chan has sent me off to see Dr. Erb and get an opinion on what's going on, I have been under a lot of stress and my liver has shown bad enough symptoms to send me off to the doctor again. I know I don't do stress well and have always felt like a big woosy. But if I can just mentally put it down to a Hep C symptom I don't feel so bad. :) Overall I have been doing well except for the hot flashes both during the day and at night. I also have no stamina on walks but have found if I can just sit and rest for a few minutes and then continue on it works for me.

Well this has dragged on into a book and I'm not finished yet! More later. :)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Four more sleeps.....

One more week of work and then I'm on a week of holidays. I'm looking forward to a few days of doing nothing except what I want to do. Al has two weeks, the first with me and then he has another week that he plans on spending just puttering around the house. We are great putterers. We think we'll make great retired people! We are homebodies who like to putter at home and take the occasional day trip someplace.

It was a hot and busy week at work. On Wednesday, Jude and Lynne and I had our beach day at White Rock. It was glorious, the sun was hot, the breeze was wonderful and we just thouroughly enjoyed laying there for a few hours. We had fish and chips for dinner and by the time we got back to Jude's for craft night we were all too tired to do anything. We sat and chit chatted for awhile and then headed home.

I seem to be very tired these days and am really looking forward to a week off. I'm having a hard time sleeping properly and my nights are very disjointed. I'm up and down and turning this way and that. I disturb Al's sleep too. A couple of nights I got up and moved to the porch swing with a blanket and laid out there and dozed for awhile til I'd suddenly wake up again feeling damp so I'd get up and go back to bed.

This last weekend was fairly peaceful and we got a lot of little things done. The weather has been hot so we have only been walking a few times lately. We'll catch up with that again in the fall when it's a bit cooler. We've talked briefly about getting our bikes checked out and road worthy and taking them for a ride but have only got as far as thinking it might be fun. Maybe on our week off we'll do it.

Monday, August 01, 2005

August already!

It's August already and the summer is half over! We didn't make the beach on Thursday, that has been moved to this coming Wednesday instead. The week at work was very hot and quiet. Can't move trees in the heat, it will probably kill them. We do most of our tree relocation in the cooler weather unless necessary. People are pretty much done planting their gardens as well so I have been working on the website and getting pictures to trees.

Friday night Al and I went out for Pizza and then to a movie. We run into problems with movies because we like different styles of movie. I hate slapstick and Al is not into "chick flicks" so we usually end up with a comedy or an adventure. This time it was a toss up between War of the Worlds and Sky High. We ended up at War of the Worlds and it was pretty good. Good special effects, not much in the way of a story line but that's ok. We went and saw Josh's new apartment between dinner and the movie and it's looking great! He has the projection screen adjusted the way he wants it and can get the biggest setting on his projector tv. The only problem is that if the room is light it fades out the picture so he has blackout curtains on order and that will take care of the problem. He needs them anyway because he works nights and sleeps days so it will help in that department as well.

Saturday was a full day. We left home by 10AM and headed in to Vancouver. We are so funny. We have decided we get into ruts with things and refuse to deviate. So we decided to look at maybe a different place to watch the fireworks from. We headed to the west end. Drove aimlessly around there for awhile. Then we thought ok! Stanley Park is the place to be. So we headed into the park and around to the side with the fireworks and found a spot to park and paid for all day parking. Then we wandered about for a bit and tried to see where we would have to sit to see well and decided with the amount of people arriving during the day and evening the space would be very crowded so we finally just went "Oh to hell with it lets go back to last years good spot" So we gave away our all day parking pass and headed over to the other side of the harbour and right down to last years spot.

We got a great spot under the Burrard Bridge on the edge of Vanier Park and it only cost us $4 to park from 9AM to 11PM. From there we left all our stuff in the car and took one backpack and walked the seawall to Granville Market under the Granville Street Bridge. There are some really beautiful apartments along there. Must cost a fortune to live in them! We parked just on the other side of this bridge. The walkway extends all around the waterfront.

Once we got to Granville Island we wandered around and looked at some of the little shops (very expensive) and then into the market which is a huge warehouse type building that the front of is big sliding glass panels that open out onto a dock at the back along the water. There are benches and wide walking areas, places to sit out and eat or feed the seagulls. The little ferries run back and forth and the channel is fairly narrow so you are looking across the water and boats to the apartments on the other side. Inside the market are tons of little stalls that sell all types of food. Breads, cheeses, pasta, meat, fresh fish, veggies and fast food that you can then take outside to sit in the sun and eat. We bought picnic food; fruit, meat, cheese and bread and then I had a major major hot flash that damn near knocked me out. I was seeing stars and getting lightheaded and the sweat was running down my body. I said to Al, "I have to sit" He didn't even ask questions, just steared me to an exit and out to a bench. I sat in the shade for awhile (luckily beside a busker with a very nice voice) and he went and got us cold drinks. We sat and rested and enjoyed the people. Then we started meandering back towards the car and Vanier Park.

We got back and got out our chairs and books and picnic basket and had ourselves a very nice lunch and read and rested for an hour. Vanier Park has the Vancouver Museum, Archives, Planetarium and Maritime Museum all on the same site right on Kits Point.

The walkway going in the opposite direction from the bridge takes you down into Kitsilano Beach which is where I grew up. Spent many summer days hanging out at Kits Beach. In the 60's when we had the hippy days, Kits Beach was just down the road from 4th Ave which was the hippy stroll in those days. Like Haight Ashbury in CA, in Vancouver it was West 4th. I lived on 1st and Cypress and went to Kitsilano High. I was just on the young end of hippies and was still under parental control for the most part so didn't actually get into the best most fun part of hippydom but I did have alot of fun back then. My mom called me a hippy and that made me happy.

I really wanted to be a hippy and live the nomad lifestyle. By the time I started running away from home alot of the hippies had gone home and only the real druggy type hardcores were left and I really wasn't into that. I just wanted to be part of the whole "Make Love not War" "Flower Power" lifestyle hanging at the beach and sleeping 10 or 15 to an apartment all smoking some pot and having fun in the summertime going to the summer Be-in at Stanley Park, dancing and smoking when it was warm and fun. Not the reality. I got the tag end of it and some fun though. :)

Anyway we walked down into Kits and I took Al up into the old neighbourhood hangouts and down to Henry Hudson Elementary. We wandered around and peered in all the windows. It's one of the old red brick, three story schools dating back to probably the 30's or before. When I went there the basement's were split into the boys basement and the girls basement with the janitor's room in between and we weren't allowed on each others sides. I don't know if it's still that way or not. It sure brought back memories standing there looking in the window of rooms I ran around in back in 1960. The school looks exactly the same even on the outside with the playing field outside.

From there we headed back to the beach and got out our blanket and food basket and chairs and laid under a willow tree by a pond behind the planetarium and spent the rest of the evening there. We had a clear view of the sky over English Bay. We ate and played cards, read our books and in my case had a nice nap. We watched the ducks with tiny babies still swimming around the pond. The sky clouded up a bit but it stayed warm with a warm breeze blowing in off the water. It was heaven. The fireworks were excellent and Sweden was last years winner and they were again very good. We are thinking of going back next Saturday for the finale. We hung around afterwards. Took our stuff back to the car and then crossed the path to the water's edge and watched all the boats coming back in. The police helicopter flew overhead with a searchlight going over the crowd and the boats. Thousands of people. We heard on the news the next day that there were 62 liquor seizures, several fights and numerous drunk arrests but we saw none of that at all where we were. I think really the families come to the Vanier Park side of the water and the young partiers go to the West End/Stanley Park side. Also in Vancouver it was Gay Pride week this week and Sunday was the big Gay Pride Parade. The city and the West End were busy and full and lots of fun this weekend. We didn't get home til 1AM

Yesterday we were home most of the day doing various household chores and fix up's and sorting and changing rooms about kind of day. Worked on the bedroom and moved the room around. When Josh had his big entertainment centre in our livingroom we moved our much smaller one into our bedroom. It has the stereo and a tv and dvd in it and one of our shaw boxes. So we have left it there and Al got the stero hooked up and all the cords sorted out and zapstrapped together. Much nicer and neater. Then we were out to friends for dinner and cards.

This morning I am sitting here tired but feeling good. We did a lot over the weekend and we've been really enjoying it just being the two of us. We love having the house to ourselves and running our own schedules with no worries about anyone else but the dogs and cat. We still see the boys often and Josh drops in several times a week but he never stays long. He is loving his place and it's looking really good. He's a good housekeeper at his house :)

A few bouts with nausea this week along with this problem with the heat. It is very hard to manage if I need to be outside for some reason. Hats and sunglasses help as does lots of water but it does not stop the continuous hot flashes. They are so intense it's hard to explain to people. I go bright red and am instantly covered in sweat. I can see Jude and Stewart get worried looking. It must look like I am getting ready to have my head explode or something. Stewart generally tries to order me back into a building (I mostly ignore him unless I am seeing stars and feeling faint) and Jude starts fanning me with whatever she has in her hands. We must look quite the sight as we go about our day. This morning I am listening to Rob Thomas's new disk over and over. I love his voice. My My My is a great song. Norah Jones is good this morning too. Very soft and quiet today. Rest day.