Suz's Review of Her 2007

Holy speeding year, Batman! Did you see that? 2007 is almost gone. Mere hours to go and I have a houseful of wonderful people, cats and food. It couldn't end much better.

Last year, Cheruby and I rang in the new year at his house with his friends. It was alright, but I was just happy to be with him.

January started with a great trip to Edmonton. I got to see so many great friends and had a wonderful time. Cheruby and I started playing Mage. I got pretty sick in January too, sick enough to keep me from work which is not as easy as you might think. I got a flu shot this year for the first time since I was in high school. We took a weekend trip to Christopher Lake to visit Cheruby's aunt and uncle. Those are always enjoyable. We also started playing Low Life with Drang and SocChick.

February was filled with games of Low Life and Mage, supper at EE Burrito's with Cheruby's mom, Irish sessions at Cluricaune Pub and Lydia's, and tulip deliveries. We started playing In Nomine which Cheruby runs. A friend needed some support so we spent a long time creating a CD just for her. Cheruby and his cousin had a falling out. And Cheruby and I spent our first Saskatchewan Family Day with my parents quite far north at Little Bear Lake in a wonderful cabin. We all went ice fishing and went for rides on snow-mobiles. I also started exercising regularly. Cheruby's cat moved into my house and Cheruby never slept in his own bed at his house again.

March brought about my viewing of Pan's Labyrinth which was uplifting for me. Another trip to Edmonton was upon me, but just me this time as I bought a ticket from a friend who could no longer go. Mage, Low Life and In Nomine once again kept us busy. My friends lives were quite tumultuous, but results have been for the best. I care about them all very much so it was hard for me to be objective about anything. Dinner at the Ivy was good. There was also a board meeting for the Canadian Cancer Society. Babyface also stayed here for quite a while when he started his new job. I was happy to have him and his family moving back to Saskatoon. My mom and I helped with the moving in for a while. I also proctored an exam for a friend's sister. The fabulous people from Edmonton came up for a game and stayed with us. I got to hang out with quirkykitten which I enjoyed immensely. I continued my swimming goodness.

In April, Cheruby officially moved in. He arranged a garage sale and sold a lot of his stuff. I sold a little of my stuff to make some room for him. I need a lot more storage space than he does. We also celebrated our first anniversary even though we were in different cities. I was on a business trip to Winnipeg at the time. I also spent some time in Edmonton at the beginning of the month. As usual, there were lots of games being played. I spent some time with friends and my mom came to visit.

May brought about time off that was packed with family. My brother finally married the mother of his children. YAY! And Cheruby's sister married the man of her dreams two weeks later. In amongst all that, I saw some great friends who live in Calgary and had a party at my house to see a lot of other great friends who came from afar to attend another friend's wedding that was the same day as Cheruby's sister. Games and time with more friends made this a very busy month. I was happy to have Cheruby with me to help me stay sane.

June started with a party hosted by the dear Rilla and Em. I stayed with the dear Neuba when I went to Edmonton. She was my date for a friend's wedding - traditional Chinese wedding with all the crazy courses of which I tried every single one. Then I was off to Winnipeg for work again. And then off to Toronto for work. I enjoyed being able to see so many of my colleagues who work very far away from me. And then to Lake Namekus for Cheruby's birthday celebration with a stop at his uncle's. I think the rest of the month was spent just enjoying being at home with my angel.

July began with the usual International White Trash Week celebrations in Regina with Cenobyte and His Nibs. This time Cheruby and I were actually able to attend. We also got to pretend to be a werewolf pack which was a ton of fun. Ril and I went to Regina again this month to see a psychic but she was broken. Furnace shopping and meetings with the bank also happened this month and took quite a bit of time. Off to Winnipeg for more meetings for work.

I had some vacation time in August again. I journeyed to Calgary to get my niece and nephew and spend some time with my friends. We shopped and went camping at Tobin Lake with my parents and had a good time. We hosted our first movie night on our countdown of AFI's Top 100 Movies of all time. I had my appeal board hearing this month on the ongoing issue of my eavestroughs. We helped Lando celebrate her birthday. Cheruby also made the semi-finals in an international screen writing competition. To celebrate, we had supper at Taverna and saw two movies in one night - Transformers and Stardust. It was a great evening and month. We kept up with our usual gaming and event schedule as much as possible. Cheruby's cousin called and they made up.

September started with a week of vacation time which was very needed although it was mostly spent doing home repairs with my dad. I spent time with mom as well which was great. We got to go on a riverboat cruise with work which was pretty cool. And I got to spend a lot of time with friends. Gaming and movie nights continued with great success. We met up with Cheruby's aunt and uncle from the states. There was a wonderful breakfast with all the people that were eating at the Ivy earlier in the year.

October saw the completion of my eavestroughs thanks to my dad. As well, we had the furnace and water heater replaced, an air conditioner installed, and the wood fireplace replaced with a gas fireplace. We spent some time in La Ronge with Cheruby's dad. Another week of vacation which was also very needed and actually relaxing this time. I got to see a friend through work who moved quite a few years ago. The lovely Edmonton folks came for a visit. Cheruby and I attended the Echoes of Erin concert which was great. Movie nights continued with D&G being our regulars. I have very much enjoyed their company.

In November, I had another week of vacation. Cheruby and I drove out to the coast and spent a few days visiting those in Vancouver. I got to see some of my friends from work in Vancouver. I treated Cheruby to an evening in Jasper which was very lovely. We drove Calgary to Vancouver then back through Edmonton to get home. It was a wonderful vacation. The Edmonton folks came up for their final visit for a long time as the game they were playing in was finishing. I love having them here. We listened to over 40 hours of Christmas music in November for our Christmas project. I also accepted a position as the Canadian Cancer Society Saskatoon board president.

December started with a trip home to visit my parents and hang out. I enjoyed the weekend with no expectations, just enjoyment of their company. I spent two weeks working in Calgary just before Christmas which was hard, but I very much enjoyed the time spent with colleagues I rarely get to see. We even got to go to the mountains - it was the first time ever for one of my colleagues. I spent a weekend in Regina for my first provincial Canadian Cancer Society board meeting. I also hosted a psychic party at my house one weekend. Bne came home with me from Calgary and has been a great house guest and company.

Tonight is New Years' Eve. I hope to see a lot of my friends and wish them the best. To those of you I can't see in person, I love you all and will see you in 2008.

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Nerdling Fun

I Am A: Neutral Good Human Ranger/Sorcerer (2nd/2nd Level)


Ability Scores:

Strength-12

Dexterity-11

Constitution-13

Intelligence-17

Wisdom-14

Charisma-17


Alignment:
Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment because because it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.


Race:
Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.


Primary Class:
Rangers are skilled stalkers and hunters who make their home in the woods. Their martial skill is nearly the equal of the fighter, but they lack the latter's dedication to the craft of fighting. Instead, the ranger focuses his skills and training on a specific enemy a type of creature he bears a vengeful grudge against and hunts above all others. Rangers often accept the role of protector, aiding those who live in or travel through the woods. His skills allow him to move quietly and stick to the shadows, especially in natural settings, and he also has special knowledge of certain types of creatures. Finally, an experienced ranger has such a tie to nature that he can actually draw on natural power to cast divine spells, much as a druid does, and like a druid he is often accompanied by animal companions. A ranger's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.


Secondary Class:
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.


Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)




Detailed Results:

Alignment:
Lawful Good ----- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (21)
Neutral Good ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (25)
Chaotic Good ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (19)
Lawful Neutral -- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (18)
True Neutral ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (22)
Chaotic Neutral - XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (16)
Lawful Evil ----- XXXXXXXXX (9)
Neutral Evil ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXX (13)
Chaotic Evil ---- XXXXXXX (7)

Law & Chaos:
Law ----- XXXXXXX (7)
Neutral - XXXXXXXXXXX (11)
Chaos --- XXXXX (5)

Good & Evil:
Good ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (14)
Neutral - XXXXXXXXXXX (11)
Evil ---- XX (2)

Race:
Human ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (14)
Dwarf ---- XXXXXX (6)
Elf ------ XXXXXXXXXX (10)
Gnome ---- XXXXXXXX (8)
Halfling - XXXXXXXXXX (10)
Half-Elf - XXXXXXXXXXX (11)
Half-Orc - (-2)

Class:
Barbarian - (-6)
Bard ------ (-6)
Cleric ---- (0)
Druid ----- XX (2)
Fighter --- (-4)
Monk ------ (-21)
Paladin --- (-23)
Ranger ---- XXXXXX (6)
Rogue ----- XX (2)
Sorcerer -- XXXXXX (6)
Wizard ---- XX (2)

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Ah, Christmas

Oddly enough, I thought I did pretty well this Christmas. I had it all planned. Even with my gallivanting around the country, I managed to be done Christmas shopping a week and a half before the big day. I think I started to relax after that and got sloppy because nothing much seemed to get done after that. In fact, not all presents bought have been sent to their recipients and some haven't even been wrapped. Although, we're close now as things have been done on an as needed basis.

There was one other added request for my support which I gave willingly, but kind of left me without the energy to be social and energetic. Cheruby was very good to me and made sure that I knew it was okay to not be that way. I had a good time.

Bne has been here since last Thursday. We drove home together on the evening/night of the 20th. It was mostly a good drive, but close to Saskatoon it got a little bit more miserable. I was pretty useless at work on Friday, but managed a nap before Lando's wedding which made it better. That and I got to hear my angel play and sit next to Babyface who made me laugh and giggle. It was all good.

Saturday, Bne and I watched Six Feet Under all day. We got through over half of the last season. it was good. Only 5 more episodes to go. Part of me just wants it to be done. I want off this ride. The other part of me knows that once it's done, I will be sad and I don't necessarily want to be sad.

We had some folks over on Sunday to enjoy some good company. I liked it although I had to leave everyone downstairs at about 1:30 so I could sleep as I had to work Monday. And work I did - 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. Somebody had to be there for the staff who were there until 5 p.m. Pacific time. That's okay, I don't have to work New Years Eve at all.

Christmas Eve, Cheruby and I exchanged gifts. I was so excited to be able to tell him about GenCon. I couldn't possibly make it to his birthday in June to tell him since registration begins in February. He's very excited to have others included in the trip as well. Although, he doesn't know about the costuming yet and I'm particularly excited about that. I got my elf, Elvin. [squee]

Christmas day was sleepy. But we got up and wrapped presents and went to Cheruby's mom's house to open presents. I felt quite spoiled. Then Cheruby made us wonderful Christmas breakfast which we all enjoyed. We played a bit of Tetris before coming home for a nap and opening presents with my lovely folks. Then it was back to Cheruby's mom's for Christmas dinner. Last year, she made sweet gravy due to a mix up with icing sugar and flour. This year, she spewed wine over the table when my mom asked her very politely how long she'd been hearing "these" stories. Stories about anything and everything from Cheruby. It was very funny. I nearly died laughing but only because my mom was there. We get a little silly sometimes.

Boxing day wasn't as sleepy as I would have liked in the morning, but in the afternoon, I got my nap. Cheruby's dad showed up and met my folks. It was good and I was very tired. They went off to a shindig at one of Cheruby's band mate's and I went to visit Ril, Kaz, and Bne. We played a partial game of Runebound where I could do no wrong. It turned out to be just what I needed because I returned home feeling much better than I had in many days. I was quite surprised by the effect that few hours had had on me, but very thankful because I was starting to tire of feeling broken.

Today was even a good day at work and I managed to keep my energy up until 3:30. I napped and then we watched The Raiders of the Lost Ark. And I am currently winding down for sleep again. I have to go in again tomorrow as Bne is sleeping in my home office. If I get lots of sleep tonight, I think I will be mostly recovered from my over expenditure of energy and be ready to enjoy my upcoming 4-day weekend.

And tomorrow, I get to see Buttery B and Neuba which I am very much looking forward to. The movie might be okay, but I'm more interested in the company.

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Healing

I was fairly upset about having to leave Saskatoon to come back to Calgary today. I wanted to stay home and be with my angel and be surrounded by my things and be able to sleep in my bed. Alas, it was not to be. By my choice, of course, but sometimes that only makes it necessary and not easy.

On the drive, I was feeling lonely. I didn't like it. I phoned Cheruby and that helped a lot, but I still felt sad afterward. So I reached to hold the hand of someone described to me last weekend. And there I was, holding hands with this man. It felt right. And then I gave him all those negative feelings I was experiencing. I felt them all leaving and it was good. I felt the hand I was holding let go and start to withdraw. Instinctively, I scrabbled to keep ahold of it to keep the feeling, but quickly realized that it was okay. I was okay.

I thought of lots of rationalizations for this sudden shift in mood. I had a lot of time to think along the drive. But I want to believe that there is a hand for me to hold when I need it. So for me, that's what happened.

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Lost


This isn't what blogs are for, but I seem to be missing my Blue Moon game and additional decks. Has anyone seen them?

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HOME!!

Things have been cra-a-azeee lately. Holy to-do lists, Batman!

Recap:

After spending the weekend at home with my folks two weeks ago, I came into work the next Monday morning to read about a project for a large client that was going to have some incentives that were pretty sweet. I know my team is awesome and can do without me for a while. They are pretty self-sufficient, but like to have me around to do my manager-thing which mostly involves giving the people making their lives harder than necessary what-for and helping them come up with the most efficient solution to a situation.

I digress and I'm realizing this is going to be a story rather than a recap. Oh well. It's making me happy.

After being on stand-by for most of last week, I finally get the go ahead that we're really going to Calgary for the next week (this past week). That was a really stressful couple of days because I had to figure out what was on my to-do lists, cut things that weren't going to get done, figure out what I could pass off to Jeremy (not that easy for me as most of you know), and do as much of my stuff as possible before flying out on Sunday night.

I also had to fit in all of my regularly scheduled programming for last weekend - leaving work early to drive very quickly to Regina for a Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) board meeting which turned out to be 6.5 hours of budget-talk on Friday night and 2 hours of budget-talk on Saturday with a couple more hours of much more interesting stuff, but I was so tired by then that I wasn't as enthusiastic as I could have been.

His Nibs and Cenobyte (in absentia) were kind enough to put me up for the Friday night at their place which I enjoyed greatly. I was hoping to spend more time with them that night, but I went to bed and crashed before having to be back at the board meeting early in the morning.

After the board meeting on Saturday, I went to one of my favourite stores in Regina called the paper umbrella where I bought a *fabulous* pen. I've been using it all week and I'm not sure it's going to last if I keep doing that, but really, what else is a pen for? It's really making the project work easier by the happiness it brings me.

Then I got to see my brother and dad. I watched my brother spend scads of money at Home Depot on stuff for his new bathroom. My dad is still in Regina by himself working away at the new bathroom. I love their house there and it's even better that it is so much closer to me! We had some pizza and munchies together and I toured the house. I gave them some much needed advice on sound-proofing the wall between the new spa tub and my nephew's room. What would they have done without me, eh? [grin]

Leaving my brother and dad to start rebuilding the bathroom, I headed back out to Lumsden for the company. I sat with cenobyte for a bit and we watched Ghost Whisperer. She told me a little more about her visit with the psychic and just gabbed for a while. It was really good. I'm so looking forward to spending more time with her in the next year.

Anyway, I stayed a little longer than I should have there because I was expecting my mom to be coming to my house in Saskatoon that night. Oddly enough, I beat her home and I got there at 11:30! She followed Cheruby home from the Mage game though which was pretty coincidental. She thought it was me because he was driving my car. Having the puppy in the house was pretty awesome though. Cheruby liked it.

Sunday was an adventure - up early enough to run errands at CostCo and Peavey Mart and clean the house (mainly my office) before the psychic showed up. Mom went first and it was pretty traumatic for her. Rilla went second and was very happy with the experience. A nervous Cheruby was next, but got some information he was looking for and was happy he'd done it. All of those people were in with her for over an hour. My turn was last and she had a really tough time getting started with my reading. For about 30 minutes, she couldn't see any of my issues. Nice thought, but not quite. I was happy enough with the reading, but it didn't last as long as the others. It was interesting although with all the hub-bub in my head with to-do lists, I didn't retain a lot of it and this time, it wasn't taped. I really wished AJ had been there.

My mom, Cheruby and I hung out for a couple hours after she left. Then I packed in a frenzy and was off to the airport for my flight to Calgary.

Calgary I can recap: 12 hours of work a day, eating and sleeping. Throw in a niece's Christmas concert as well as a nephew's Christmas concert and you have my week. I didn't have wheels to get around so I was quite trapped. I had thought I might see Bne and Ferlak tonight, but changed my flight because I needed home for a rest.

Tomorrow, I had some shopping to finish, a rental car to pick up, and laundry to do. There is a party being hosted at my house. Fudge needs making as well as finishing up some Christmas presents. Cards need to be addressed and sent and then I'm back on the road Sunday headed for Calgary again. I'm hoping next week isn't as grueling, but I'm guessing it might be even worse. It's going to end well because I get to drive back with company in the car. YAY!

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Big and Small Things

After a month of blogging, I was surprised to find myself wanting to do it. Of course, blogging usually takes time just before bed which meant that I was getting less sleep because of it. And this weekend, I was allowed to go to bed without blogging. I slept over 9 hours on Friday and Saturday nights each. It pleased me.

So there are big things that may not happen like my working in Calgary for the next week or two. We'll see how long the project takes. This seriously cuts into my holiday plans, but I'll manage.

My brother is moving to Regina, which you all know by now, and that's big. I'm going to be in Regina to help with all the stuff the weekend after Christmas. That means that mom and dad, who are also going to Regina to help that weekend, aren't going to be in Saskatoon for Christmas. I'm a little sad about that. Okay, a lot sad. I love being with my parents, but they don't like to be away from home for too long. And especially with the new puppy, they'll want to be close to home. Part of me is being selfish too because I don't know where I would put everyone in my house. With Bne coming and my parents and Cheruby's dad, I just have no idea where they would all go now that my office and Cheruby's office have all kinds of stuff in them.

I'm going a little crazy with my Christmas plans. I have a pretty big to do list and not a lot of time with weeks in Calgary now taking those evenings away. Ah well, you know what, everything will be just fine. Christmas will come and go and I will be happy for all the company and love filling my house. It doesn't get much better than that.


Being at home this weekend, I was able to visit with my mom and do some crafty business with my very talented aunt BB and my mom. We went tromping around in the snow-filled bush in the country side. It was awesome. I loved it. And we decorate BB's Christmas tree which is too tall for me to get to the top of even with a six foot ladder. It is totally awesome and cool. BB only recently converted to a fake tree. For most of their years in the house, they would get a real one which was about the same size as the fake one if not bigger.

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Photo Finish



Here I am, blogging my last post for NaBloPoMo. I have to say that it's been harrowing and boring and sometime exciting. I very much enjoyed the writing part while in the car on the drive. It felt great to just write and not have to worry about anything else. Unfortunately, without all the hubbub of being on vacation, there wasn't as much to write about after I got back. I also didn't feel as much like spending hours writing because of all the other things in my life that I am doing.

While some people didn't think they'd make it through the month, I never once considered that I wouldn't do it. You see, I was in a competition which means I don't give up. The number of times that my eyes were barely open and it was after 11:30 at night during the month was a little too much. Cheruby was constantly whining for me to come to bed or just playing Oblivion to be "with" me.

The best part about this whole thing was the friendly competition between Rilla and I. And to prove who's better, here's the scoreboard. (A Short Post is less than 300 words, a Moderate Post is 300 to 699 words, and a Long Post is more than 700 words.)

Word Count Comparison

Rilla Suz
November 1 315 220
November 2 214 0
November 2 1957 606
November 3 366 402
November 4 461 716
November 5 241 391
November 6 513 0
November 6 650 234
November 7 174 287
November 8 190 153
November 9 559 0
November 9 114 234
November 10 265 1205
November 11 369 893
November 12 369 315
November 13 418 834
November 14 362 359
November 15 697 521
November 16 665 431
November 17 132 203
November 18 154 621
November 19 261 148
November 20 1037 450
November 21 562 556
November 22 811 742
November 23 157 396
November 24 474 136
November 25 251 521
November 26 308 215
November 27 581 310
November 28 175 183
November 29 499 250
November 30 684 749
Total Words 14985 13281
Total Posts 33 30

Points Earned

Rilla Suz
Short Posts (5 points each) 36 42
Moderate Posts (10 points each) 108 60
Long Posts (15 points each) 27 54
Posts with Photos (1 point each) 9 3
Fabulous Posts (7 points each) 21 35
Posts Above Mandatory (4 points) 12 0
Posts About NaBloPoMo (-2 points each) -10 -4
Completion Bonus (25 points) 25 25
Total 228 215


As you can plainly see, the best blogger won here. I thought there was some trickery about in Rilla's blog style. Making stuff up, double posting from another blog (I posted on that other blog too and didn't double post), making promises that weren't kept, taking a post from another friend's blog, and posting about NaBloPoMo itself are most of the shenanigans pulled off by my esteemed competitor in the name of winning. Of course, I am guilty of a few of those myself, but not in the abundance that she had the audacity for.

It's a good thing that all of that means nothing and I love Rilla to bits.

Getting all the figures together for the things I thought were important to blogging, I began to be a little bit more objective. And quite frankly, I'd rather read Rilla's blog than my own. As I mentioned in my Bored Now post, I am essentially lazy and don't want to put in the effort, except that it took over 2 hours to write this post. Rilla, on the other hand, gets a lot more out of creative works and writing. I don't take that for granted just because she's now a Master of English. Most of the time, she really loves it. That makes me happy that she loves it. I remember finding her on the floor in a Chapters pouring over books of poetry and being enthralled by it. I wish I had a picture of that because although most people would just see Rilla sitting on the floor surrounded by books which is happy in itself, I would see Rilla in love and experience that feeling of seeing her again. I sat down next to her wanting to be included in the feeling, but alas, that's not for me. I get my rapture elsewhere. And in fact, it's with me right now in that memory of my dear friend.

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There's No Place Like Home

This weekend, I will be heading to Nipawin alone. Cheruby has elected to stay in the city to play video games with his cousin. I'm going to be relaxing and being taken care of as soon as I step through the door at my parent's house. I do want to do some crafts with my mom, but we both love it so it'll still be good. I have a bunch of Christmas presents to make in the spirit of saving money. I don't have a lot of spare change this year. Renovations are very pricey. That's okay because most people like to know that there is effort put into their presents.

So, my plan is to drive home in the daylight of Saturday morning and hang out with my folks and their new puppy all weekend. I'm looking forward to meeting the new little one, actually. I'm really hoping that he's cuter than his pictures because he looks very sad. I would be sad too if the comfort of the only people I'd ever known took me away from my mom and left me with people I don't know. He plays a lot more than my parents first dog ever did and eats three times as much.

I'll be home Sunday night with all my finished crafts and be very happy to see my beloved angel.

Oh yeah, and with all the blog disappearances, I have now backed up my blog. It makes me very happy to have done so.

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Giggles

I had the giggles all day today. Everything was making me laugh. Poor Cheruby didn't know what to do with me because he was feeling crappy today. I laughed until my belly hurt at least half a dozen times. It was wonderful.

Work today was oddly productive and I felt like I was accomplishing things which is nice. And then after work, Cheruby and I had a short nap with the cats. We're getting very close to being done a project we've been working on as well. That's exciting.

I've been shoveling or sweeping the snow everyday and have been loving it. Go figure! It's been quite cold out for November and I haven't minded that much.

And then, with Cheruby at band practice tonight, I got to go SHOPPING! I got stocking stuffers and Christmas wear for the kiddenz and Christmas cards and it was a jolly good time! And with Christmas hats and collars on the kiddenz, I don't think this day can get much better. Especially since I'm one day closer to the end of this posting every day thingy.

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Cousins

Cousins are good people to have in our lives. The ties are a mix of friendship and blood which makes it stronger somehow. I have so many cousins that I don't even know them all and that's just first cousins. I don't even want to think about second cousins and cousins removed. Yikes! My mom is the youngest of twelve (gasp!) kids and there are a lot of marriages and kids from there and then my dad has four siblings that have also procreated. It just gets so confusing. I'm just proud of myself that I can remember all my mom's and dad's siblings names. I think I'm almost there with all the spouses of those siblings as well. But the cousins are way out of my league.

So, today, Cheruby's cousin got laid off from his job for the winter. You see, he's in construction. Normally, he'd be able to work, but he did some dumb things and got himself laid off. He first refused to work for a relative of the owner on a particular project because, apparently, the relative was dumb. So, he was transferred to another job site where he had to go up and down an icy hill which was killing his already bad knees. So after a week of that, he refused to work on that project and thusly, is now collecting employment insurance.

After doing these silly things he got a little depressed and called Cheruby to go out there with some video games to comfort him. [sigh] Cheruby can't say no to his cousin so off he went to play video games and get fed by his cousin's wife who loves to cook. I wish I could cut out of work early to go play video games. Cheruby just be putting in the work time on the weekend, I suppose.

Silly cousins.

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Shopping

You know, there are days when I LOVE shopping. Shopping makes me happy because I find things that I like and things that the people I love will like. At Christmas time, I'm allowed to indulge those year round impulses to buy stuff. And when I go shopping early enough, which is within the next two weeks, there aren't enough people in the stores to drive me nutty.

So, tonight, Cheruby and I went shopping. He was acting a little ... unhappy. So I asked if he was Angry and he said yes. It crushed me! Apparently, I was really wanting Cheruby to enjoy Christmas shopping with me. He says that he was just a little irritated, but that's just a degree of anger. I completely agree with that, but anger can range from violent rage to minor annoyance. He was completely willing to just suck it up, but I was so distraught at the thought of him being angry at all with being there that I couldn't even think about enjoying myself.

We'll have to try again because we didn't end up in another store after the first one. I'll have a better expectation next time and hopefully, Cheruby will be able to enjoy himself like he does when he's picking out Matt's Christmas comics.

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Bored Now

At a very basic level, I'm lazy. It's the reason I didn't finish university. I can put a lot of different names on that, but really, I wanted to spend time with my friends rather than go to class or study because it was fun and more importantly, easier. I don't regret not finishing university even with the student loans I'm still paying off. I don't feel that I would be in a better place if I had finished. My brother has a degree, but doesn't use it. Cheruby has a degree but doesn't use it. I'm happy with my life.

Part of the reason my neighbour keeps getting upset is because I don't do things RIGHT NOW. Well, I don't have the inclination to do things most of the time. The things to do are nice to haves for me, not necessities. Sure, it would've been easier to prop up the front step a little when the ground wasn't partially frozen, but thems the breaks.

Of course, when I put my mind to something, it's incredibly difficult to try to stop me. Take NaBloPoMo for example. I'm very sorry I ever challenged Rilla. It takes a lot of time to do a proper blog post in my opinion. Most of mine have been half-assed because it's just filling the page, not actually talking about important stuff. Like all the stuff about our vacation to Vancouver. All that could have been happily summarized into one post that people would have been much happier to read. I was so prolific mostly because of all the time in the car while Cheruby was driving, but it wasn't needed.

Yesterday, I totally stole from Rilla and didn't get a single comment about it. That really shows me how much people are caring that I'm writing this much. Trust me, we're in the same boat. We'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming shortly. I still feel guilty about that, by the way.

I would ask for ideas, but I don't really want to just start making stuff up. I'm not that sort of girl. I don't usually find made up stuff funny. Cheruby has been trying to pin down my funny factors. It's mostly absurdity and nonsensical humour but even that can go too far very easily with me. Comedies I've like include "Little Miss Sunshine" and "The Full Monty." These two movies have a real emotional touch to them. That's why I like romantic comedies as well. I'm a sucker for a happy ending.

Cheruby and I have talked about my reluctance to do creative works like writing. I don't want to go through all the effort of creating something and then have other people not see it as beautifully as I do. And being creative is hard and time consuming. I'd rather be lazy and be entertained. Just ask my mom, I've always wanted to be entertained.

Alright, enough blathering for today. Only 5 more days to go. And I'm not going to take it personally that no one wants to know the things I think about them from yesterday's stolen post. ;)

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But I Don't Use LJ

And from the incredible, undeniable, one-and-only Rilla:

Binary Kitten drew me into an LJ meme which I shall have to adapt somehow to make sense for my bloggery.

If you comment, I will...

1. Tell you how we met (online or otherwise).
2. Associate you with something - fandom, a song, a colour, a photo, etc.
3. Tell you something I like about you.
4. Tell you a memory I have of you.
5. Ask something I've always wanted to know about you.
6. Tell you my favorite user pic of yours, or photo if you don't have one.
7. In return, you must post this in your blog (if you want).

I tried last night to find the one similar to this that cenobyte did months and months ago but couldn't find it in her archives.

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One of Those Days

Nothing seemed quite right today. I woke up with a headache. It wasn't bad headache but should have been bearable. The slightly not right belly wouldn't normally even be worth a mention. The sluggishness seemed to be fused with my limbs rather than just resting there. And the morning fog in my brain refused to lift. I tried to work for 2 and a half hours like that. I could barely carry on a conversation. I was just closing down when a fellow manager phoned me and I couldn't keep it together - I was so close to tears. What the HELL?!?!

Apparently, I was a real kicker last night in my sleep. I kept waking Cheruby up with kicking him. That's not nice. And then, I apparently rolled completely on top of him. How on earth did I sleep through that? And besides, that's not an easy feat for me. I try to do that when I'm teasing him about taking up too much of the bed and I can't. Of course, normally, I'm laughing too hard.

I like to blame dear luna for these things and so I will again. It's a full moon tonight.

After shutting off my work computer, I went straight to bed and slept for another 3 hours. I woke up a few times with kittens sleeping on me, but I'm cool with that. In fact, it made it better. Of course, the best thing about the nap was Cheruby curled up next to me and holding me. It was like he was holding me together when the world was trying to rip me apart.

I woke up still with the headache, but the fog had lifted a little. My arms and legs felt like they could move more and my belly was just feeling hungry which is more normal. I went back to work because I could do that when it's across the hall.

Cheruby resumed the laundry and made us something to eat. That helped with the headache a little more and removed the rest of the sluggishness. And then he phoned an agent and left a message for her. I really hope that he gets a return phone call. He was so nervous about it.

And now it is evening and I am home alone with my thoughts. It's good and I'm thankful the day is almost over.

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What's Wrong With My Name?

I'll tell you what's wrong with it as there are several things.

Let's start with Susan vs. Suzanne. These are two different names and they are pronounced differently as well. Yes, they are similar, but Susan ends in a schwa ə sound for the a before the n. Whereas in Suzanne, you are pronouncing the a as a short a ă as in Anne. This difference in vowel pronunciation affects the en sound at the end of each name. I've always thought that the ə + n sounds lazier than the ă + n sound.

Then we can talk about the middle s in Susan vs. the z in Suzanne. They both sound the same, but I prefer the z for spelling and aesthetic reasons. I like zeds in general as they aren't as commonplace as esses. This my nickname, Suzi, look less sissyish. Check out Susi. Try putting a soft ess sound for the second ess there. It just doesn't work. With the zed, there is no confusion.

Now, let's talk about my last name. Short e Ĕ, two ens, ess. I happen to like it a lot for its brevity. When people see it written, they rarely mispronounce or maim it. I don't think I can recall a time that someone has actually. However, saying it so that someone can write it down is almost impossible which makes identifying myself over the phone quite difficult sometimes. Those most difficult times are also marked by the person trying to understand my last name having a different first language than English and I'm going by my nickname instead of my given name.

You see, my nickname runs into my last name in a sometimes very confusing way - suzienns. I have to pause longer than usual in between my first and last name than I would for others like my angel. With vowel sounds, ē and ĕ, together, it doesn't create a natural pause as most other names. It could have something to do with them both being ee sounds as well. I have developed a particular way of speaking and spelling my informal name that lends itself to be more easily understood which helps me not be frustrated with them. I say my nickname, then spell it. Then I pause for a moment. This pause is very important for processing that what comes next is going to be a new word. I then say my last name, pause again, and spell my last name. I also pause after the first letter of my last name to give it more emphasis that it is its own letter before continuing with the last three letters. That is the most effective way to do it. I can usually gauge the perceptiveness of the person I'm speaking to and can vary the above process up a little and remove explanatory bits to shorten it up a bit. Sometimes it backfires and I have to do it more than once.

I very naturally have developed the best way to spell my name out loud to avoid confusion over the years. My friend TUO wouldn't know about any of these difficulties as she'd never experienced them. And then she made a phone call for me to confirm a reservation. She was quite frustrated by the end of the call because it took her about 5 minutes to get the woman to spell my name properly to find my reservation. Her comment as she hung up the phone was, "Did I not say the E?!?" It was then I truly realized the importance of my method and sympathized with her frustration.

The only place I go by my given name is at work and other professional settings. In these settings, I'm able to write my name down myself or email someone where my full name is spelled out in the email address. When verbally providing my work email address, the underscore in the middle between my first and last names provides the pause necessary for the recipient to process the initial E in my last name properly.

The only other thing is that there are TWO ens in my last name. People like to sometimes only hear one.

And I'm not even going to get into how lucky I am that my first name rhymes with a female body part.

After all that, let me tell you one other thing. I like my name. It's interesting and gives me something to rant about.

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My Mom

There are very few people is no one that can do what she does for me.

It took me about five minutes to write that sentence. I don't know if I can describe my mom and what she means to me. I don't know if there are enough words to capture every nuance of why I love her so much.

Yesterday, the woman who wants to help me asked what I used to do to feel better before Cheruby was here. And one of the answers was, "Call my mom." And that made me a little sad. And then she asked me if I could still do that and of course I can. And then, in my head, all these crazy thoughts started whirling about. Like, "Why don't I call my mom? Oh yeah, because I want Cheruby to be able to be there for me instead. It's better. But why not still call my mom? It doesn't take anything away from Cheruby, really. And it does me a world of good. But what happens when she's not there anymore? ... " And then I started paying attention to the conversation in the room again because I didn't want to think about it anymore.

I'm very scared about that someday when she isn't there anymore. I don't know when that will be but I'm trying to grow up and not need my mommy anymore. I haven't been that successful. I didn't even realize I was doing it. I don't want to cut her out of my life. I want her to be a big part of it but it's going to hurt so bad when she goes.

And today, I was talking to my friend whose parents have been in and out of the hospital all year. I haven't seen her in a while because she's been taking care of her mom and dad while her mom recovers from heart surgery. She's having a really hard time watching her parents grow old. I don't think my parents are even close to that yet and I'm already really scared of it and pulling away. That's really not cool at all.

My mom phoned me today at work and apparently, they have a new puppy. For almost two weeks now, Zachary Amadeus has been in my parents life. I had no idea until today. Mom wouldn't even have mentioned it except in passing which is how I found out. And why the hell didn't I talk to her in so long? I know I was on vacation when she and dad got the puppy, but dang!

I realize it's not as serious as I think, but it sure is upsetting to realize that I'm scared of relying on her because she won't be here forever. And I know this is going to upset her quite a bit, but she knows I love her to bits. And she knows that there is nothing that would keep her from me or me from her if there was anything really important going on. All I need to do is ask. I really can't think of anything (non-evil) that she wouldn't do for me if I needed it.

And in all of that, I haven't described my mom in any concrete fashion. How do you describe light and goodness and love in physical form?

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Feelings

Today, I revisited someone who wants to help me. And not just help me, but help Cheruby too. It was nice to hear some of the things that I have been asking for to be echoed by someone else. She also made me feel less guilty for what I see as my own faults and especially my temper. She wants to help me with that.

She told me that before I start anything, I need to HALT and examine my motives. I need to ask myself if I'm Hungry and if I am just eat something before continuing. I need to ask myself if I'm Angry and if so, just tell someone that I'm angry and not be ashamed of it and try to hide it. I need to ask myself if I'm Lonely and if I am, reach out to someone like Cheruby or just call my mom. And lastly, I need to ask myself if I'm Tired and if yes, I need to deal with that first either by having a nap or walking around the block a couple times or punch my punching bag. Seems so simple, but in the middle of my emotional vortex, it's hard to stop sometimes.

I admitted today that I'm a little scared of myself sometimes. That's why my punching bag isn't up. The flood of emotion that I get when I hit it is kind of explosive. And rightly so, I guess - I am punching something. But, that's something I need to do to, put up my punching bag and use it. I remember a day when I wasn't feeling sociable - the type of mood where nothing can go well and I was supposed to go gaming with friends. I knew the night would be horrible if I didn't deal with my mood first. I decided to punch it out a little. Within 15 minutes, I was done and out the door with a smile on my face. My neighbour in the apartment building was coming with me and was a little frightened as he'd heard the ruckus, but that quickly faded when he noted how good a mood I was in. The guilt about my temper has been making it worse because I have been trying not to let it out at all instead of dealing with it constructively before it becomes destructive.

When I started writing this post, I was Angry, but didn't know why. I feel better now, but I don't know why. Does it matter or should I try to figure it out so it can maybe help me next time. Or maybe it just matters that I can be honest with myself about how I feel.

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Vancouver Trip Pictures

I didn't take that many photos from our trip, but I have to say that I'm fairly proud of the ones that I did take. I think my favourite is this one of Cheruby, Kevin, and Matt enjoying their shawarma in a tiny downtown cafe called Babylon Cafe. It is a dish that Cheruby desires often as he fell in love with it in when he lived in Vancouver. He would have one of these cookers in our house if he could.


And a picture of my angel in front of the steam clock.


Here's a merged view of the mountains from the balcony of hotel room in Jasper.


I mentioned the controlled fires on the side of the road on our way into Jasper, but they also had one right next to our hotel. It was huge.


There are a few others that I uploaded to Facebook.

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Alberta Provincial Archives

Cheruby's sister gave us a tour of the archives in Alberta on Saturday before we headed home. It was pretty cool. She is filling her head with a lot of information that she will never need again. What parts will be forgotten and what parts will be remembered? How many stories will she know that won't be her own? It's nice to meet people that enjoy their job at a basic level like that.

We were first introduced to the more public area, the Reading Room. There are separate sections in the Reading Room for local history and maps and photographs and encyclopedias and Alberta law books and homestead information. It was a round room with square little off-shoots to the rooms. I liked it. There was a display with World War I letters and documents which included a telegraph advising Mrs. Stanley that the government regretted to inform her that Pte Stanley had been killed in action on such and such a date. It seemed so cold, but that's how it was done. At least they paid for the characters to say, "We regret." Another document was the discharge papers for another soldier on compassionate grounds. I can't help but wonder what qualifies as compassionate grounds for the army during war time.

After the Reading Room, she showed us some of the vaults. We got to see archived stuff from CBC recordings to old manual tax record books (so cool!) to really old long play records to fragile hand-painted glass latern slides of plants to an over-sized photo of the guy that made the lantern slides. The shelving units and banks of lights and the cold storage and everything was so neat and way more high-tech than I would have thought. Of course, there were piles and piles of stuff in the hallways outside the vaults that hadn't been processed yet.

There is the librarian there who decides whether or not a book is historical significant or valuable enough to be stored there. If not, the donor gets to decide what they want done with it. And there are lots of Archivists there that make similar decisions about paperwork and documents and photos that come in. They don't just store government stuff there either. They also store private individual stuff. All the stuff Lando deals with comes in through the private sector.

The coolest thing of all was how truly interested Lando is in pretty much everything in there. Even the boring stuff was kind of interesting. She was so much fun to watch show us things in different vaults and talk about the environmental setting differences for different media and snooping in all the boxes of pictures and records. She was totally into the old fashioned card catalogues that they have. She was telling us about how they were trying to phase them out which is kind of part of her job.

It's also important to note that all the things we looked at are a matter of public record and anyone could ask to look at these things. They just wouldn't have the same experience because they would need to know what they were looking for and we got a personal tour of the facility and got to just poke around.

I have to say that it makes me want to go to the Saskatchewan Provincial Archives and poke around. But what would I poke around for? Lando mentioned that genealogists tend to come in and do research there. They look at the homestead papers and the tax books for counties which I thought was interesting. I should make a trip to Regina with my dad once my brother lives there and we can look into our family.

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Homeward Bound

I am sitting in the car on our way home. We are in Saskatchewan again after being away for 9 days. Cheruby is driving on the snow-wettened highway in between Lloydminster and North Battleford. Hall and Oates' Christmas album is playing. The fields surrounding us are like comforting blankets welcoming us back to where we belong.

We are missing the cats more than ever today. Thinking about how happy we will be to see them and how happy they will be to see us. The thought that we cleaned the house before we left is just calling us home quicker because we will have no to-do lists to think about until tomorrow and that's only unpacking and doing laundry.

Our plans are all made for when we get back to Saskatoon. We'll quickly unload the car of all the contents. Everything will be unceremoniously dumped onto the kitchen floor to be dealt with later. We'll turn on the fire place and turn up the heat. We'll grab some blankets and pillows and hunker down for the evening on the couch. The television will welcome us home with more stories from our Gilmore Girls. And tonight, we will sleep soundly in our own bed.

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Missing The Kittens

Two hours outside Edmonton, I started feeling the urge to skip Edmonton altogether and just go home. Of course, I just learned that I forgot half of my computer power cord in Vancouver. That may have put me in a I-want-to-be-in-the-comfort-of-my-home-with-my-stuff mood. It was plugged in behind a couch and I forgot that bit of it. Something always gets forgotten. I would prefer to have it back as soon as possible, but I may have to wait until Christmas when Matt comes to Saskatoon for the holidays. It's only a month. I have other means of powering my computer. It seems the simplest way to go even though I would really prefer to have it sooner.

Sleeping in a very nice king size bed was fabulous after too many nights on the air mattress. Both Cheruby and I have kinks in our neck and shoulders that need to be worked out. We slept for a blessed 9 hours and just puttered around Jasper until we got bored of that. We would have gone swimming and sat in the jacuzzi, but the pool was closed at our hotel for its annual cleaning. We pouted and could have gone to the neighbouring hotel's pool.

The sun greeted us when we went outside and I didn't realize how much I'd missed having the sun on my face and arms and street in front of me. There were patches of sunshine hitting the mountains which made the trees burst with green. It made me realize just how dreary Vancouver had been. It's funny, I would describe Vancouver as filled with energy, but most of that energy is man-made with neon lights and variety in everything from food to clothes to attitudes. The politest panhandlers I have ever had the pleasure of encountering.

There has been very little wildlife on our drive which was very surprising to me. I really wanted to see more bighorn sheep. Cheruby did get to see a pretty owl today though. We went to a store in Jasper that had some funny boxers. They mostly reminded me of Kaz. Cheruby's favourite had a picture of the train and the words, "TOOT! TOOT!" on it. Heh.

We're staying with the loverly Neuba tonight and hopefully seeing Cheruby's sister for breakfast tomorrow before heading home. The final stretch. Cheruby and I have been talking about the kiddenz with increasing frequency. We miss them.

*Sorry to all those who are in Edmonton that we won't be seeing. We're only here for one night and then gone again. Hopefully, I'll see you all soon enough.

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In Jasper

I walked around downtown Vancouver by myself last night for the first time. I made it to the restaurant I was meeting a friend at and back to the Skytrain by myself. I even walked around Robson a bit on my own. Then I made it back to M&K's place. I was very pleased.

Cheruby and I had a nap before K got home so that we would be able to play games when he got home. And play games we did - two final games of Puerto Rico in fact. I finally won a game of Puerto Rico. We played 5 or 6 games of it over the days we were in Vancouver. I really love that game. There is less of a competition on a turn basis as no one really knows what the score is until the end of the game. It was a little disappointing that I could only win when the other two players were so completely tired that they were making themselves giddy with counting errors, but you know, I'll take what I can get.

We got a later than desirable start. I'm not really shocked that 7:30 leave time didn't happen. We ended up starting our exit from Vancouver at 9 a.m. It took us over 45 minutes to leave the greater Vancouver area. I've decided that I enjoy the small part of Vancouver that I stayed in and visited, but all the parts surrounding that suck. Too big. Okay, maybe it's pretty and it would be okay if I had the money to live there, but I don't so it's a non-issue.

We stopped one last time at Famous Foods which pleased me. The smell was overwhelming, but I really enjoyed the selection. They had different stuff and lots of it is organic. Cheruby says you can get a lot of the brands at Steephill Co-op in Saskatoon, but I've never been so I wouldn't know.

I got surprisingly freaked out by the drive north in the Fraser Valley. It was so high up and close to the edge, that I couldn't really look forward to enjoy the view. I could only look backward. It was a good thing Cheruby was driving for that part.

It was a long drive. There was another blizzard in between Blue River and Valemount, but it was worse because it was in the dark. However, we had a few cool things happen on the drive.

  • There was a very large herd of bighorn sheep.
  • We didn't die in the storm when a semi drove down the middle of the road and came a little too close to us for comfort.
  • The snow covered trees were soooo pretty even in the dark.
  • Cheruby and I each got a short nap.
  • McGriddles for breakfast were yummy. (Don't judge!)
  • Controlled bonfires on the side of the road close to Jasper were awesome.
  • Lots of waterfalls and bridges and spectacular views.
We just finished a fabulous dinner at dining room in our hotel and are now enjoying the rest of our stay in Jasper before heading out to Edmonton tomorrow.

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It's Only Wednesday

It seems like forever since we left home and we won't be there for another 4 days. I miss the cats. I know they are cared for but that's not the same as being there.

I feel like my first personal trip to Vancouver (besides the one I took with my parents and being a recalcitrant teenager) isn't quite what I wanted it to be. It certainly isn't at all like my other trips.

After talking about feeling free from plans on Monday, I realized that I hadn't bothered to check to see if I knew anyone here that I would like to see and spend time with. And I do - several people. I feel a bit like a jerk for not making arrangements with them before I got here. Before yesterday. Chances are I won't see either of them which kind of sucks a lot. I would have dearly loved to see Rob. I think there's still a little hope to see D2, but [le sigh] that might not happen either.

That isn't to say it has been bad. I've been walking and laughing and having fun and playing games and watching movies. We did some shopping and started thinking about what to get people for Christmas. By the time we get home, there will only be 38 days until Christmas. And really, even though I have to work on Monday, December 24, it'll be like a 5 day weekend for Christmas which will be very awesome and cool. So many people will be in Saskatoon for Christmas and I'm especially looking forward to having Bne around for a while.

So, today, Cheruby is going to visit a talent agency in person. He's a lot anxious about it, but not because he thinks they'll tell him to go away. He has no idea what he'll do if they let him in! I know he'll do fine. I'm so proud of him.

After that little trip, we're going to head down to Granville Island for a bit. Cheruby needs just one more dose of nostalgia before we head out tomorrow morning. And I want to see all the pretties.

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Our Vancouver Hosts

I'd like to thank Stiller and Matt for their hospitality in letting us stay in their home and spending all their free time with us being awesome.

Kevin Stiller, who grew up in Saskatoon with Cheruby, has been in much, much more than just what's shown in IMDB although mostly television extras. The most notable of movies was X-Men 3 where he was a soldier and got to be on the Alcatraz set. For TV he's been on Smallville, Stargate Atlantis, Battlestar Galactica*, and other cool shows filmed in Vancouver. However, this far from defines Kevin. I first met Kevin while playing in Saskatoon by Night. He was a Malkavian and it suited him quite well. We didn't become friends at that time as I was a little weirded out by all the Malkavians, but he seemed one of the more sane ones out of character. We have many friends in common, but are only now getting to know each other.

Kevin is tall, lanky, and balding. That doesn't detract from his natural charisma of which he has an abundance. He often tricks me with his false naivety which just makes him more charming. I couldn't possibly ever get upset with Kevin for anything because he has the best intentions and looks like a hurt puppy whenever he thinks he's genuinely done something wrong no matter how small the thing. His innocent demeanor belies the experience that his years must have given him. I admire that in anyone because it's not an easy thing to accomplish. Kevin is a man that is open to anything that comes his way.

Even when Kevin hates someone, and he has a rule where he feels that he should hate someone at all times so it is focused somewhere instead unfocused and therefore being spread about to everyone, it seems a little hard to believe because of the innocence in his eyes. How could someone this seemingly kind hate anyone? Those who refrain from using common sense and go against his idealistic views seem to garner his wrath and become the epitome of those aspects he loathes. I still wouldn't be sure if he's kidding even if he were to say, "I'm not kidding."

MattMatt Risling, on the other hand, is rather reserved and aloof. He is Cheruby's best friend and therefore, I am trying to get to know him as Cheruby has done with all my friends. That isn't to say it's a chore, it's just that I mightn't have tried otherwise due to his aloofness and his cuteness. He's got great style and is someone I view as "cool." He's quite polite and I think judges those around him before letting himself open up. But even then, he is still quite reserved.

He whomped all the other players during the games we played on Sunday night. I chose to refrain from playing one game due to my desire to not become competitive. Matt called on me for assistance during one of the games I wasn't playing as I had played before and he wasn't quite sure what was happening. Being asked for help, of course, is what me feel really great. I gave him what I thought was all the information for the decisions he needed to make and still let him make the decisions. I was distracted by work for most of the time so it was easier for me to be removed from the play. I didn't get anxious when he was battling like I would if I had been involved. It was the best of both worlds for me.

For work, Matt works as a teacher for ESL students. He doesn't have his certification, but does have an English degree and has been to film school. He is a connoisseur of movies in that he is very critical of them. If there is a movie that passes his critical eye, he usually really likes it. It seems that there is very little middle ground for movies with Matt. His annoyance come from much subtler things that a bottle of whiskey moving to difference spots on the table in the same scene without anyone touching it. I like that things like that don't bother him as much as it seems to bother others. I also like that he doesn't judge me for just wanting to be entertained by movies and not needing to have them be thought-evoking to be enjoyable as some movie snobs.

Over the past few days with these guys, I've enlightened by conversations about how good bowling is to watch on TV, how to make poker fit into a sports network lineup, cringe humour, subject-verb agreement issues with the word 'media,' and a host of movie-related topics.

And lastly, I met my first have-nots as their roommate is one. No different than any other human beings except that they truly aren't comfortable in their own skin.

_________
*Season 4 is now rumoured to be airing in early April next year. Ggrrr...

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New City

Being in a place where I don't really know my way around usually leaves me feeling a little uneasy. Being on vacation without a plan of what I want to do while away from home usually leaves me feeling a little out of sorts. Worrying about work that needs to be done usually leaves me feeling a little stressed at all times.

So far Cheruby and I have played games, watched "Flight of the Conchords," gone out of the house for food, worked for a couple hours, and slept while in Vancouver. Two days of those activities and I'm okay with that.

We talked about going to Lynn Canyon, but nothing was set. We also talked about Stanley Park and possibly the Aquarium, but I'm not set on either. Having no expectations before we set out has been weird for me because I like to plan things to get the most out of my time. One downfall is that I just remembered that a friend of mine lives here and I would dearly like to see him. It might not happen, but I'm really hoping it does.

This lack of planning is finally settling in and I'm really okay with it. I'm relaxed and have no expectations of myself or anyone else. I may not have as many things crossed off a to-do list, which might make me feel like I'm wasting my time here, but I'm relaxing and being myself and being happy. I don't know that I could ask for more.

Now that the feeling of freedom has set in a little, I'm not totally looking forward to some of my commitments that I did make over the next two days that we're here. They are flexible, but people are still counting on me to follow through. Not having people expect things of me is so freeing, if only for a little while.

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20 Steps from Calgary to Vancouver

We got a later start than we'd wanted because I missed my alarm going off. It's not that loud or persistent. So we got 75 minutes of extra sleep. Bne got up with us and so we chatted a little. And then Ferlak was up before we left so I got to hug my guys once more before leaving.

A short stop for gas and breakie and we were off. And here are the highlights of the trip because twelve hours of driving might get boring for you to read about.

  1. Very little traffic at that hour of the morning. Snow-boarders apparently like to sleep in on Saturdays.

  2. Cheruby and I discussed the fact that we are completely spoiled by knowing mountains as the Rocky Mountains. A lot of the world pictures mountains as very large tree-covered hills. They do not know the majesty that is the Rockies. Just another reason why Canada is so wonderful.

  3. We were mooned by a big horn sheep - nothing but ass. We had to ponder what the hell that thing was for a quite a while before recognition set in.

  4. The curvy road just before Golden was great. (Interesting Part #1 according to Cheruby.) It brought back some fabulous Crash Team Racing memories. Music I know and like and can sing along with is such a great comfort during times of intense driving. There is a lot of speculation and research being done to determine of music affects us, but it's all in scientific journals that I would have to pay to access.

  5. There was enough wet (rain and big fat snowflakes, no slush on the roads) before Golden that we decided that we needed new wiper blades for the car. This was an item that didn't make it to a to-do list and so was forgotten. I was the hero here. Cheruby even admitted he likely wouldn't have had the guts to ruin the other wiper blade holders to get them off the car so that we could put the new ones on. He really was in awe when I had the new ones on so quickly after deciding I'd tried everything but mangling them to get them off.
  6. Roger's Pass
  7. Snow grater in between Golden and Revelstoke in Roger's Pass because of all the big fat snowflakes gracing us with their presence. It was so beautiful and magical. I let Cheruby deal with the slushy roads and kept my mind occupied with writing for my blog. (Interesting Part #2)

  8. The blat of the slush being thrown against the windshield from oncoming large trucks was fun even if momentarily blinding us.

  9. We saw an SUV in the ditch facing the opposite direction he was going on the opposite side of the road. The driver was fine and on his cell so there was no need to stop. The grater was just moments away.

  10. Fog in the mountain tops and just hanging out by the side of the road help with creating the magical beautiful of this place. British Columbia really is the best place in the world.

  11. Waterfalls and little trickles of water through the rocks right beside the car after coming down from the summit of Roger's Pass was awesome. I've always thought so.

  12. There is a castle with a dragon and turrets and everything between Revelstoke and Salmon Arm that, while being a tourist trap, makes me very happy to drive by.

  13. The tunnels on the side of the mountain are just another reminder that we are truly in a different place.

  14. Cattle in the middle of the mountains?!?! It just seems like a bad idea.

  15. After driving through winter in the mountains, we come out the other side to find it still fall in Salmon Arm.

  16. From Salmon to Kamloops was pretty, but boring.

  17. The Coquihalla got interesting (Interesting Part #3) with the wet in the dark and the constantly going downhill at great speeds. Cheruby was driving during the first downhill part in Roger's Pass so I didn't realize how frightening it was.

  18. We stopped at a Rest Area at Hope to switch drivers and headed out for the final stretch.

  19. Frightened Cheruby by introducing the idea of a thin line of light that would appear for mere moments across the road, but everyone who drove into that line would disappear, teleported through time and space, and there would be very few witnesses and no one would know what the hell happened.

  20. There was a 45 minute delay just before the bridge coming into Vancouver for no real discernable reason. I managed to keep Cheruby distracted from his increasing rage through kisses and Christmas carols and making up stories and names for people in other cars.

  21. Fun finding the address in Vancouver and then, and then, shots of rum! And then more rum. And then cider. And then beer. And then wine.


The whole drive didn't seem that long. The good weather for most of it helped as did the lack of other drivers. And I am very pleased to announce that my iPod made it all the way to Vancouver from Saskatoon (16 hours) without any charging and it's barely into the red on the battery gauge. I love my iPod.

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Bowling and Chocolate

Well, bowling went okay. I wish my niece had been in a better mood though. She really is a handful sometimes. I love her to bits, but she spent most of the time we had together being grumpy about my not being able to stay longer which ruined the time we did have. Remember the last time I saw her and it was incredible? Well, there might be a pattern there. My October trip was the only time I've seen her in the past year and a half that Cheruby hasn't been with us as well. She has fun with him, but keeps claiming she doesn't like him. The reason she doesn't like him is because she's jealous of him. He's the first guy in my life that has taken my attention from her. I wish I could make it easier for her, but she's gotta work through it and just be okay that sometimes, I am going to choose to spend time with Cheruby and I am going to choose to do things that Cheruby wants to do.

My nephew, as usual, was a pretty good kid and listened to most things I was saying and we got into some play fights about one particular bowling ball. He didn't realize this, but it was the heaviest ball there. Most of the others were the lightest weights and some were moderate, but there was only one heavy. The difference is so slight, but he knew it. Cheruby won the first game by one point above me. And then my niece won the second game and my nephew came in second. I remembered how to bowl for a few frames, but kept forgetting again. I also remembered my habit of watching my ball hit the pins and flipping up my left foot at the precise moment of impact, or would-be impact if a pin was in the way as I sometimes miss. My foot doesn't go straight back but off to the left a bit further like I'm kicking the pins next to the one I hit. I was a little embarrassed about it and hoped that no one noticed my little quirk.

Of course with all the shenanigans, we took quite a while for bowling and got back to the house just before 9. That's quite a bit after I had wanted and it meant I wouldn't be able to have coffee with W,H&E. I was disappointed and still am. There's a little guilt in there too, but that's mostly just because I didn't call to tell them that I wouldn't be coming even though the plans weren't firm. I kept thinking that I should phone, but once I was at Bne and Ferlak's, all thoughts of anyone else left. I still owe them a call though.

Cheruby went bowling grudgingly because he would have much preferred to just head to Manland to play games, but he understood my desire to spend time with my family. He knows how much they mean to me. Of course, that didn't stop him from getting a little impatient a few times when he was trying to get me out the door. I just couldn't go without hugs and kisses from my niece and nephew. She didn't really want to give me a hug because she was still upset with me about staying longer, but she let me hug and kiss her and smiled through it. She really is a lot like me when I set my heels in about being upset. I guess that's the worst part - understanding where she is coming from and why she's fighting everything so hard. You might be luckier than her and I in being able to recognize that the stubbornness thats ruining things and let it go. Sometimes I just can't and I've many many many more years of trying than she has. It's a lot for me, especially me, to expect of her.

It's always so great to see Bne and Ferlak and Siochain and brother, Tallguy. (It would be so much easier to talk about him on my blog if he just got a blog himself so that I would know what he's comfortable being called on the net.) Bne is just Bne. There is no true way to describe him except that he makes me laugh and feel great. Ferlak is also very special to me and is one of my best friends. I think it all boils down to the fact that I have shared so many things in my life with those two men. I am so blessed to have such great friends. And then of course, Siochain and Tallguy who were my surrogate family when I lived in Calgary. I don't know what I would have done without them. And now, they still light up my life although sometimes, I forget to enjoy their company while we're together because I'm too busy trying to figure out how I can make them happy. Quite silly, really. In good news, Siochain was happy last night and smiling. Things aren't terribly settled with her, but eventually, it'll work itself out. And Tallguy had some great news to share - he's being headhunted by an Ivy League school (it's still preliminary, but fingers crossed) which might an incredible opportunity (if it is the school and not the place in BC) AND (yes, there's an 'and' which is incredible in itself) he's got himself a Skilled Worker Visa for a country that he's been dying to get back to. I think the latter makes him happier, but both pieces of news are just fabulous.

Siochain and Bne went to the store and got me chocolate as per my request. I asked for a small little one and I received the huge Christmas version. I can't complain because I love it so. Bne also got three other kinds of chocolate of which I partook. And then I stole the rest of the Toffifee (I think they should put a pronunciation guide for the name on the package) because I love it a lot too. While they were at the store, Tallguy and I discussed the virtues and many vices of Bne's cover letter for the Ministry of Transportation. I was trying to help Bne rewrite bits of it, but I ended up not being able to explain myself so I just rewrote bits (2 of 3 paragraphs (there was a fourth, but it just said, "Please call me!!" more-or-less)) myself. It went faster and Bne said it captured what he'd been trying to say with his previous paragraphs. I managed to cut out about 10 lines on the page with my revisions. While the wordiness sounded more like Bne, he should save that for the interview because his delivery makes it charming somehow. During all of that, Cheruby and Ferlak played games. They started with the Starcraft boardgame Cheruby just picked up and then moved onto Hollywood Blockbuster which I quite enjoy normally, but I was too tired. They did try to encourage more of us to play, but we were all too busy with our own stuff. And then I crashed hard from the sweet, sweet chocolate covered coffee beans.

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Vacation Mode On

I'm almost there. I can feel it. I just have an hour of work to do before I'm there in spirit as well as off the clock. That won't happen until later tonight, so I'm going to enjoy my time until then.

On the agenda is having pizza and going bowling with Zoey and Chase and Patty first of all. I'm really excited about that. Cheruby needed a little convincing because he just wants to go play games with Ferlak and Bne. [sigh] Boys will be boys. ;)

After bowling, depending on the time, I would like to have coffee with my friends who I haven't seen in an incredibly long time. It might be too late though and I might have to skip that one. They're definitely getting a phone call though.

Then it's to Ferlak and Bne's place for the rest of the evening and night. We're going to get very little sleep and talk and have fun and play games. I'm really looking forward to seeing them. I left a message for Siochain and her brother, but I don't know if they got it or if I'm going to see them tonight. I hope I get to see them cuz they're awesome.

I feel so good right now, but that might have more to do with the handful of chocolate covered coffee beans that I had for lunch than anything else. [grin]

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10 Reasons to Drive Instead of Fly

  1. You have access to whatever creature comforts you want to bring with you.
  2. The bathrooms along the way are 5 times as big.
  3. You don't have to pay $5 for some Twizzlers.
  4. The person next you is someone you know and hopefully, like.
  5. The scenery along the way changes between more than two colours.
  6. You can be as loud as you want without disturbing anyone.
  7. Cell phones can be on.
  8. Control of your destination is mostly in your own hands instead of in the hands of two people you've never met. You can turn back if you want to.
  9. Some stranger isn't going to nod off and rest his/her head on your shoulder.
  10. You don't have to go through any security check points and be tempted to make inappropriate comments.


We leave for Calgary tonight and Vancouver very early Saturday morning. YAY!

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I Voted!

For as cranky as I am at most of the political parties and how poorly I think this race was run, I am still pleased at my right to vote. I am very pleased indeed.

Cheruby was so excited about voting that he couldn't even wait until I went; he voted this afternoon. And now, all that's left is waiting.

For the first time this year, I had to pause at the voting station to think. I really hadn't decided beforehand who I was going to vote for. I've been battling Cheruby's views and trying to keep my own priorities. He has very strong opinions on the subject of who should be running the country and province. We haven't yet experienced a mayoral campaign together so I'm not sure about that one.

And today when the moment of truth was upon me, I weighed Cheruby's arguments and opinions. I understand his point of view and I even agree in most cases. In the end, I am happy with my decision and the X I place on the ballot. It's a really good feeling. I am Canadian and proud of my country.

When the polls close at 8 o'clock tonight, Cheruby will be practicing with his Irish band with the election coverage on mute in the background. I might be doing the same thing only with Christmas music in the background instead. Or packing for our trip or doing any number of items on the pre-trip to do list that is stressing me out a little. We leave tomorrow.

Edit: One of the closest races of the election was in my riding. The NDP won here, but the election was won by Brad Wall and the Sask Party.

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I'm quirky, confident and happy. My friends say I'm generous, warm, reliable, and dependable. My mom, dad, and angel say I'm beautiful. I'm not perfect, but that makes me human.

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