Mr, Cupcake at Craters of the Moon

Mr, Cupcake at Craters of the Moon
Mr. Cupcake at Craters of the Moon

Thursday, March 31, 2011

a rush of readers

Well isn't that weird. I was holding steady with around 500 readers a month, then it spiked. Was it the catheters that drew everyone's attention? I'll have to make sure that's an extra good post with LOTS of pictures.

Did you know that people can insert their own catheters? I learned that today.

Ow.

Also: labelresources.com is a fantastic company to order labels from. They custom make to any specs and are fast and have good prices and super friendly customer service. I know that was a run-on sentence with too many ands. I'm tired so shutup.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

catheters and commodes - a teaser

Last week on Twitter I threatened to do a blog post on catheters. There are really a lot of catheters. I won't go into it now, I'll keep you all in suspense, and just to add to the excitement, I think I might also tell you about commodes.

To be clear: a catheter is a plastic tube a nurse sticks into a place it has no business being in order to help something get out. Like pee. A commode is a chair, often with wheels, and a place for a (usually) disposable bucket under the hole in the seat. It's for people who can't quite make it to the toilet.

My job involves ordering these things and keeping them in stock. Luckily, I never see where they get to. (Else I'd have become a nurse). I have learned a lot about these things lately, since keeping them in stock and organized has proven to be a bit of a challenge. Heck, while I'm at it, I might also talk about endotracheal tubes (did you know they come in different sizes?)(any idea what I'm even talking about?)

Normally this is a job that I have no need to take home with me. But all learning is a useful thing, and while I'm at it, why not share the love with all of you, my faithful readers?

On a side note, I was listening to a podcast the other day, and the woman being interviewed had been blogging for a few years when not one but two publishing houses approached her and asked if she would be willing to write fiction. As in "how would you like to write a novel?"  OMG YES, would be my response. So, if you from a publishing house, you know my position.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Stacey's birthday last year and this year


Here we are last year at Cafe Mexico in Victoria for my birthday dinner with the family. 
 I decided to wear the same to top this year in case it was noticeable how much weight I've lost since then. Maybe not the best image. Bad lighthing, I admit, and we were both pretty tired after having worked all day.
 The Happy Birthday sign makes its rounds above the area of whosever birthday it is. This is my room the CSR.
 This is the pineapple carrot cake with lemon cream cheese icing topped with walnuts that Dan made for me. I was going to make my own birthday cake but that was before I started feeling better again. What a dear. I took it to work, took some to Ellie, shared some with friends K2, had the rest for breakfast. Cake for breakfast!
This is the dinner Dan made. Poached salmon, pasta with a shiitake mushroom cream sauce; fennel and citrus salad; Jerusalem artichoke cubes with a balsamic reduction and slivers of mango. He pulled out all the stops, it was yummy.

turns out, I just need to eat more or, the embarrassment post

Well I am embarrassed.

I saw the doctor on my birthday. Went on about how I got sick and never felt like I recovered, still coughing, sore throat, etc., and oh yeah I've lost 24 pounds in the last three months. She looked at me. BINGO. (She didn't say that. Doctors don't know what bingo is.) She figures the reason my body wasn't letting me get better was because my body wasn't getting enough calories to recover. That certainly explains my high level of fatigue. She also pointed out that I'm probably cold all the time too (why yes!) So there it was, my doctor told me I should eat more cake on my birthday, and that I should slow down my weight loss program (from two pounds a week to a pound and a half or just a pound).

On that note, a couple of pounds ago I came down into the "normal" range of the BMI. That sure feels good. I have a growing stack of pants I can't wear anymore. I told a friend on Skype today that I'm shrinking out of my bras. We commiserated that the breasts are always the first to go when we lose weight. I also have more and more clothes I can fit into.

Here is something else that is a bit embarrassing. When I was doing laundry yesterday (I have energy to do laundry again!), I realized that I have five lime green tops. Five. I knew I liked this colour, and to be fair, two of them were gifts, but gosh it sure still seems like a lot.

LouiseJHunt LouiseJHunt LouiseJHunt LouiseJHunt LouiseJHunt LouiseJHunt LouiseJHunt LouiseJHunt

Yes, that was a total non sequitur, but LouiseJHunt seems to be mentioning me on every podcast (more embarrassment) so perhaps I should respond in kind by mentioning her in every blog post? Louise's podcast, by the way, is the Caithness Craft Collective Podcast out of northeast Scotland. It doesn't seem to matter what Louise talks about, I just like hearing her talk in the Caithness dialect. Thanks for the birthday wishes Louise! (btw, the word you were looking for was not 'humbleness' but humility, I think) (Okay I am listening to the Sneeze episode as I'm writing this post. Total multi-media junkie am I).

Tomorrow Dan & I will hit the road at 5am to reach French Creek for an 8am offload. Oh yeah, I still work at my fish counting job! There is a fairly large offload they need a hook-and-line validator for, and they need a second person to tag the halibut, so Dan and I will go. It's a long way but we'll be paid for our time and per kilometer (.43/km) as well as the time we are working. Working with My Sweety! A road trip! A trip into Town! Depending on how tired we are, I might be able to convince Dan to stop in at the Port Alberni Hops Festival on the way back (sorry, can't seem to find a website to link to).

Last bit of news: I am on sock #5 - I was shooting for seven before Cookie A comes next weekend but it was just too ambitious a goal. That's okay though, that means I'll have only five partners to knit after the retreat and that means I can move onto other projects. As ever, I have a long queue of things I want to knit!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Our weekend in Powell River in Pictures

 At the ferry terminal.


 Mildest climate in Canada! 2000 hours of sunshine! I'm in.


 I found it really interesting that the seashore on the west side of Vancouver Island smells very different from the east side. The east side is where I have spent most of my time on this Island, so being away from it this last year I hadn't realized that it is quite a different smell.
 I finished a sock on the ferry!

 Some Random Road.
 Sorry about the shadow of my arm across my plate. What you don't see here is the empty martini glass. One drink knocked me over and it was yummy! So this was pork medallions with currants in a balsamic reduction over rice, served with vegetables, with an overall Indonesian flavor. This was the Tree Frog Bistro. We'll definitely go back!
 We stayed in the suite that once belonged to the bank manager in the old Bank of Montreal Building. It must have been built in the 1930s with some of the original fixtures. I love these floors. It was a sunny morning, which doesn't always make for good photos.












 (Faux) old meets new.





 The view from the kitchen window.
 Blackberry Port '04, yo!

 This is where we slept. There was no heat in this suite, so we were glad we happened to bring two wool blankets and pillows with us. If we had known there was no heat, we would have brought the electric blanket!
 The suite takes up the entire top floor of this building.
 My Old Country breakfast at Starvin' Marvin's, a hole in the wall and seemingly the only breakfast place in town. It was delicious.
 Um... I could point this place out on a map but it has some unpronouncable name. We were just off exploring and found the best kept marina around.
 Best kept marina with extra-wide docks.

 O look! It's me.
 We were invited to this show but couldn't manage to stay awake long enough. (We are early risers, after all). It was an erotic art show. The band that played was Gods Balls. A full house with 300 people, it was quite the party we were told.
 Log jam.


I'm surprised I didn't take more photos, it seems like we packed an awful lot into that 36 hours. Lots of it was driving. Anyway, this here is 43 photos and that is really a lot!

Something is Seriously Kicking My Butt

Well hey, you all wanted to know about my health, right?

I'm now in my eighth week of work at the hospital. My shift is 8:00-2:30, Monday to Friday. It's a pretty sweet shift, really. I have to drive 41km from Ucluelet to Tofino, which on a good day takes me about 35 minutes. During the past few months, however, the tree service guys have been out holding up traffic while they shear the side off the forest, lest it should get blown into a power pole during one of our winter storms. There have been several crews out, which means no fewer than four sets of flag people with their "SLOW" or "STOP" sign.

So this delay means I have been leaving around 7:15am to get to work, getting home around 3:15pm, give or take. It makes my work an eight hour day. My job is also pretty physical: I'm walking around a lot, up and down stairs, lifting boxes (with correct posture, I might add), moving supplies and equipment. Nothing I can't handle, but it is physically demanding.

Because I hadn't worked in so long, starting a new job and a new routine took some adjusting. I was in my third or fourth week of work when I got sick, had to take two days off work. It was around this time that Ellie asked me (it was before I got sick, I think) if I would be willing to take part in the relay team for the Edge to Edge marathon. Add to this my self-imposed committment to knit as many Cookie A socks as I can before the retreat. Not to mention housework.

The Saturday after I was sick and unable to work, I had a bit of a relapse. I was feeling achy and fatigued, didn't feel like I would be safe to drive much less babysit that night, so I had to cancel.

That was a few weeks ago now and I have to admit I still don't feel like I'm getting healthy. I still have tightness in my sore throat and a productive cough.

I have a history of depression. Not really bad, but I was on quite a cocktail of antidepressants for a few months several years ago. In the spring and summer after we moved here to Ucluelet, I had several depressive episodes, probably springing from our uncertainty about what our options were at the time.

I've been knitting a lot and writing a lot and typing a lot and otherwise using my hands/arms/wrists a lot and I am forced to admit that they hurt. My hands, arms, and wrists hurt. I should be taking it easy and not breaking my neck over some self-imposed challenge of knitting so many socks.

This past weekend Dan & I took a trip to Powell River, to check it out. (That's fodder for another post). We left on Saturday morning around 8:30am, got home around 9:00pm on Sunday. While it was tremendous good fun, it was also exhausting. It meant I didn't get time to rest, rejuvenate, or clean the house like I usually do on the weekend.

I have a number of health issues that have been creeping up on me. I'm not going to go into them here, but I did make an appointment to see a doctor in Tofino. We've lived here a year and I hadn't gotten around to finding a family doctor yet. Well I finally chose one (based on the ones I met while working at the hospital) and I'll see her tomorrow. I'll go in to talk about my sore throat and the fact that I don't feel like I've gotten better from that cold.

Tomorrow I turn 37, and while I don't want to be melodramatic or paranoid, I have real fears I might be admitted to the hospital I work at. I am feeling absolutely depleted, physically and mentally. Doing laundry seems to take the piss out of me. I even like doing laundry. I feel like I can't get anything done and because I have a mountain of things that need to get done, the list grows. Is my immune system giving me trouble? Am I having another depressive episode? Is this the early onset of menopause I was told to expect?  I eat well, I take vitamins, I usually get enough sleep, and if it didn't exhaust me I would be exercising. I'm at my wit's end. I'm used to being physically strong and full of energy; I am a generally happy person and often all I need is a coffee go perk me up. But now... the coffee just kills my appetite and I go to bed hours later with nausea and an empty stomach.

I think about some of my favourite podcasters that have recently had major health issues. Dr. Gemma and Susan Dolph are the ones I am thinking of. We pushpushpush ourselves because we believe that what we are doing is so important and at the end of the day, our energy stores get depleted. I forget sometimes that I need to recharge my battery. The problem is that I don't know what that looks like right now. I still have to go to work, but perhaps I will take the weekend off of everything, laundry and vacuuming be damned. I might even have to take a break from my weight loss program - two pounds a week is agressive and it means that at the moment, I am allowed only 1166 calories per day (not counting any exercise I do, which increases my allowable intake). It's been going so well and I am pleased with the results, but shrinking sick me isn't as good as healthy me.

Monday, March 14, 2011

ghost readers

Are you one of those people who reads blogs but doesn't comment? If I'm getting 500 hits a month on my blog, that's an average of 16 readers a day, not including me reading my own posts. Almost nobody comments.

Someone else whose blog I read (or was it on Twitter?) mentioned this. I'm sure we all have our reasons for not commenting on a post. Maybe we like the anonymity. Maybe we have nothing to say. Maybe we don't know how to comment, or find that whole entering-the-gobbledygook-word a bit of a mystery.

See this is one of the reasons I got these gadgets on the sidebar. That way I can see I have had readers recently from Winnipeg, Western Australia, Germany, and Rhode Island. Where are you friends-I-haven't-met coming from? How did you come to my blog? I would *really* love it if you told me how you found me. No really. I would. And if you have a blog, chances are, I'll start reading you back. I'm a pretty good commenter!


drive-by friending

If you are a knitter and listen to knitting podcasts, you may have encountered the term "drive-by friending". This refers to people who hear or read someone's Ravelry name, and then add them to their friends list. The friendee recieves a message "yarnsalad has added you as a friend" and sometimes you have no idea why.

 I first heard this term while listening to Susan Dolph's podcast, Knitajourney. Louise J Hunt mentioned it in a recent episode and said that I was the first person to drive-by friend her. Really?

Last June, I went through the entire Ravelry group for the Electric Sheep podcast and friended every single person. At the time, it was something like 600 people. Total drive-by friending, and simply because (and this is what I told people when they asked) they listened to the Electric Sheep podcast and therefore must be a nice person. A few dozen people asked, a few hundred friended me back, no questions asked.

Ravelry is unlike Facebook in that there is no steady stream of status updates. If someone is in your friends, it simply means you have ready access to their notebook. This includes projects, queue, library, groups, and hooks/needles. You can see what they are knitting/crocheting, see what books or magazines they have, see what groups they are in. It's a great way to learn about the kinds of things that are out there that we may never have heard of before.

So drive-by friending on Ravelry isn't as invasive as Facebook is. When I joined Facebook the first time around, people I hadn't heard from since high school friended me, ostensibly, to stalk me. I found that creepy. I don't really spend much time on Facebook now, since I find I have all my social media needs met here, on Twitter, and through Ravelry.

This is all to say if you are reading this, are on Ravelry and haven't yet friended me, you are welcome to! My handle is yarnsalad pretty much everywhere I go.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I broke my new truck on the first day

After bidding farewell to the 1988 Tercel that came free to us from our friends at BackYardFeast a few years ago, we needed a second vehicle. I've been taking our 1999 Ford F150 to work in Tofino every day, leaving my poor husband stranded in Ucluelet. When I told him I wanted to give the Tercel to The Good People at Stellar Coffee, who have been borrowing it through the winter, and that we would need to acquire a commuter vehicle for me, Dan set to work straight away on searching the listings for used vehicles.

He found me my truck. A 1986 Nissan 720 4WD. It's 25 years old and rusty, of course, but with some solid TLC in the next few months (Dan loves to tinker), it will be in good shape.

He and a friend brought it back from Nanaimo yesterday and today I finally got to see it and sit in it and drive it for the first time. Lots of things to get used to. I've never owned my own truck before, I've only ever had cars. And an older truck that has 4WD... well, it was simply begging to be taken out on the logging roads.

We jumped in and headed straight for West Main. I wanted to see what the truck could do. Our weather conditions couldn't be any worse with all the rain coming down and high winds, so it was perfect for a test drive. West main has some pretty wide and deep potholes and they are all FULL of water right now.

I discovered that it's hard to go slow in this truck. Do you ever experience that? Like it's a real effort to keep yourself to the speed limit. Or safe driving speed. Um...

Dan discovered a new side of me today. He didn't know how... shall we say... reckless I can be when I'm behind the wheel. We were never unsafe, I had complete control of the vehicle. It was pretty fun, actually.

So we're screaming along West Main (I don't actually know how fast we were going, but I was in third gear and the gears are tall.)(Dan says I was doing 70-80k)(Really?) at a speed that was "faster than Dan would have gone". He thought I was on a mission to break it. Well, not exactly. I just wanted to see what this truck could handle, how hard I could push it. It's good, see, to know what your vehicle can do because if you're ever in a situation where you need to, say, slam on the brakes on a gravel road, how much distance do you need to stop?

Okay so I was going a tad fast. If I was the passenger, I would have been hurling up my breakfast but being in the driver's seat meant I had the steering wheel to hold on to. (There is a HOLYSHIT handle for passengers, in case I haven't completely scared you away from driving with me.)(Ha.) There were some potholes that were more like ponds, big enough for small fish, I'm sure. One memorable pond was about 20 feet wide and I (according to Dan) was in the air before landing in the puddle (really?) and took it a lot faster than he would have.

We turned down a side road to see how the 4WD would handle. Tons of branches in the way, no problem. Drove right through them. A few felled logs on the road, 8" diameter, I simply drove right over them. I love having a vehicle with balls. It seems to bring out my inner redneck.

We got to the end of ths road and had to back up to turn around. It was then that we realized the cap was gone. As in the cap that goes over the bed of the truck. Now to be fair, it wasn't secured very well (only with a few wimpy clamps) and we did hit some bumps pretty hard. So we went a-looking for it, retracing our steps.

Imagine our surpise when after a good 8km (5mi), we finally came upon it!

Oopsie!



Dan says it looks like it's been broken before

Self portrat. Me in driver seat. 

Parked in front of our house. See? We made it home, safe & sound.