Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Sudoku bug

How did this happen? I don't even like puzzles.

And I mean pretty much all puzzles. The daily crossword puzzle in the paper, word jumbles, even word searches are not really my thing. This stems party because I can't be bothered to do them, but mostly because, well, I suck at puzzles.

So when the Sudoku craze started awhile back, I didn't even give those puzzles a second look. But then I got a Sudoku puzzle book for Christmas, and, to be kind really, I decided to do one that afternoon. Ryan, who loves them -- and is rather good at them too -- explained the concept and helped walk me through my first puzzle. It took me well over 30 minutes WITH Ryan's help to complete a so-called easy puzzle. That was enough for me, I thought.

But then, a few weeks later, I came across the book again while cleaning up and figured what the heck, I'll try one more. By the end of the day, I had given up on two of them and was attempting a third when I once again recruited Ryan's help. I was frustrated, and just needed to prove that I could complete one on my own. I vowed once I finished just one puzzle without help, that I would never, ever do another one.

Finally, after a whole day's of on again, off again work, I finished one.

Two days later, I picked the book up again and started doing puzzles. I'll still stand firm that I don't like puzzles, but for some reason, I can't make myself stop trying these. (Ryan, you can stop laughing and saying 'I told you so now'.)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Viva Las Vegas

I've been meaning to write this one for a little bit now, but keep getting distracted and busy. But I'm so excited...on Feb. 5, Ryan and I are taking a vacation in Las Vegas, and Austin is taking a vacation at Grandma and Granddad's.

We're staying for three nights and four days (we fly home on the red eye on Feb. 8) at a smaller hotel at the centre of the Strip. (Imperial Palace) . And we intend to do and see as much as possible in that short time. We both like to gamble, so you know we'll be parking ourselves at a Blackjack table for a time, but we also want to be a tourist. Vegas, to me, has always sounded like this completely surreal and almost cheesy place, and I want to be the cheesy tourist. We're going to go up the Eiffel Tower at Paris, take a gondola ride at the Venician, ride the roller coaster at Excalibur (or is it Circus Circus, I can't remember) travel by monorail -- just because we can. It's going to be a hoot.

We waffled for quite awhile on whether or not to go -- in other words, on whether or not to leave Austin for four days. We know he's in good hands, but it's a big deal (to us anyway) to leave your child at home while you skip out of the country for a few days. Austin has gone for sleepovers at my parents' house on two occassions, but both times it was only for one night while we were at a function. But this will be for four full days and four full nights. That's feels like a really long time.

But now that we've made the decision and booked the flight and hotel, we're excited, and don't, at least I don't, feel as apprehensive about leaving Austin. We'll miss him, I'm sure. But a trip like this is good for everyone's mental health. It will give Austin some time with his grandparents, and it will give Ryan and I some time to remember what it's like to be an adult.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Return to sender

We've been living in our house for two and a half years now, and every now and then, mail addressed to the previous owners ends up in our mailbox. At first it was everything -- especially for the husband (I think she put a mail forward on her mail, but he didn't) -- and I diligently wrote 'return to sender' on each letter before sending it back. At first, we received everything from flyers to Revenue Canada notices.

Now, when we get mail for the previous owners, I tend to just drop it in the recyling bin. Because no matter how often you send back promotional flyers or credit card pre-approvals, they keep coming. If something looks official, or personal (they got what appears to be a Christmas card this year), I eventually get around to returning it to sender.

But twice in the last month, we received mail addressed to someone other than us or the previous owners. Both times, they were official-looking letters (one was for life insurance, I can't remember the other) addressed to the same person. Could we really be receiving mail for the previous, previous owners? That's going back more than 10 years!

I don't really care who else we receive mail for, although it does get a little annoying after awhile. But it makes me wonder...how many of my old addresses are still receiving mail for me? In the last 10 years, I've had four or five permanent addresses -- plus the time I spent in rez at Ryerson. Are credit card companies, stores that have me on mailing lists, or worse, actual institutions that I do (or did) business with, still sending my mail to one of my former addresses? And if so, how in the world would I find out and get it to stop?

Friday, January 19, 2007

One month and counting

Then: Picture taken on Feb. 12...my due date.Exactly one month from today I will be sitting at my desk at work. This image comes to me with mixed feelings. I'm excited because I do really like my job and it will be nice to re-establish that sense of 'purpose' as well as re-enter the adult world. But I'm sad, because it means no longer being able to spend my days with Austin. In reality, I can't believe how quickly the year has flown by.

My last day of work was on Jan. 27, 2006 -- which means in the last calendar year, I put in exactly 19 days into being a productive member of the workforce. I remember this time last year, I was waddling around, and lovingly being called a beached whale by Ryan (good thing I have a sense of humour). At that point, I was counting down the days until I left work as I had had enough of trying to lug my fat ass -- technically my fat belly -- out of bed, squeezing myself into presentable-looking clothes that no longer fit, and putting in a full day of work without tiring myself out by walking to and from the bathroom all day long. In fact, I was so big, and carrying so low, that there were bets around the office and amongst my friends, of whether or not I would make it to my last day. (Heck, there was even speculation that I wouldn't make it to the Bon Jovi concert, which was 22 days before my due date!)

We all know now that I did, because I spent the next four weeks waiting and waiting and waiting. In that month, I met friends for lunch; spent an awful lot of time hanging out with (and going to the movies with, and going to lunch with, and going for walks with) Vone and Lilo (thanks Vone!); watched the first season of 24; cleaned my house; and even re-organized my kitchen. I tried everything I could think of to induce labour -- and trust me, all those old wives' tales DO NOT WORK.

And then finally, on Feb. 24, Austin came into this world (with a little prompt from induction drugs) and my world hasn't been the same since.

It's been a crazy world but a good one. I can't tell you what I remember from the first few weeks, because I remember being overwhelmed and tired and happy and tired and stressed and tired. But we managed and by the time he was a few weeks old, I felt like I had a handle on this motherhood thing. In the first month, I managed to get around, with short trips to the mall or to Vone's.

Now: Austin and me at ChristmasBut the most vivid memory I have of early days is when Ryan and I took him to the Raptors game. He was 5 weeks old. Although I was a little nervous about the whole thing at the time, it went over really well and I remember thinking that it's not so difficult taking a baby with you. Of course, now I look at the pictures of him at the game and I think "what the hell were we thinking? Was he really that small?"

And then somehow winter turned into spring, and spring turned into summer, and summer turned into fall and here it is winter again. Over the next few weeks, I'll probably take more walks down memory lane from this past year. When I left work, I thought that a year is an awfully long time. Now all I can think of is how short a year really is.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bras and boobs

I've been wearing ill-fitting bras since the end of October. And to be honest, in the eight months before that I was wearing not-so-great fitting bras while nursing. And before that I wore this-will-do bras while pregnant. Which brings me back almost 20 months, to my old bras, which are now my ill-fitting bras, and quite frankly I'm not sure they ever fit that great to begin with.

So, this past weekend, I finally sucked it up and had someone who knew what they were doing take my measurements and help me fit into a few new bras. I'm not talking about someone at La Senza who makes $8 an hour and tells you what size you are based on a measuring tape loosely pulled around you, I went to a proper lingerie store where the women who help you do this as a career, not as a part-time job.

I won't lie. To get this kind of service is not cheap. But I finally decided that if on a yearly basis, I spend who knows how much money on clothes, jewellery or shoes to look good, then I could spend money to make my boobs look good. (And I don't mean for the man in my life -- although I'm sure he's appreciative of good-looking boobs -- I mean for me.) Why do I, and so many women I know, always settle for a cheap bra because "it's just a bra, so I don't want to spend a lot of money."

I learned a few things about why it's worth it to spend the money, at least once and awhile , to get a proper-fitting bra and some good information to go along with it.

Did you know that:

  • A properly-fitting bra can actually make your boobs look smaller and make you look thinner. (Both of which are things I like to hear).
  • Wearing a good bra means not having to be tugging at it and pulling the straps back up to your shoulders all day. Two things that I've been doing for years.
  • The right bra is ACTUALLY comfortable.
  • Washing your bras often actually extends their life, instead of breaking down the fabric as I previously thought (well as long as you do it by hand and not in the machine).

And although I'm not going to share the size I actually measured in at, I can say that a good part of the reason why my old bras fit so poorly, is well, they were too small. Kinda like squeezing your feet into shoes that don't fit, just because you're too lazy to buy a new pair.

So, in the end, I bought two bras and spent a grand total of...ready for this...$240. I can honestly say, that at this very moment, the bra I'm wearing costs more than the jeans and sweater -- put together -- that I'm wearing over it.

But I think it was worth it. And I can quit my endless complaining about my bra now. I won't do all my shopping at speciality bra shops, because my bank account can't handle that, but now when I go to La Senza, Sears or the Bay, I'll know what to look for. That, and a $50 or $60 bra at one of those stores suddenly won't seem so expensive.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

It's been awhile, I know

Slap me on the wrist for not posting lately, I know, I know. I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, time just seems to have slipped by these last few days. First I was sick (yes, AGAIN) and then Austin got sick. So last week just kind of disappeared with both of us feeling sorry for ourselves. So rather than writing when Austin's sleeping during the day, I've been using much of my spare time to relax and try to feel better. And occassionally get a few things done around the house.

But things are looking up and I have a few things in the hopper that I just have to find the time to write.

Friday, January 05, 2007

I refuse to admit I'm turning 31

In three short days, I turn the big 3-1. I write it like that because for some reason, I'm having a difficult time accepting the fact that I'm going to be 31. It's ironic, because I had no trouble accepting the big 3-0.

Thirty wasn't a big deal to me. In fact, as my 30th birthday approached, I realized that I had forgotten that I wasn't yet 30. Maybe it's because I was pregnant at the time, and from when I found out we were expecting, I knew that by the time the baby was born, I'd be 30. So at this time last year, I honestly thought I was already 30. So that big number came and went (with a awesome dinner party to go with it) and that was that.

But now comes 31 and suddenly it feels like a REALLY BIG number. And I can't explain why. I have a few friends who turned 31 last year, and lived to tell, so obviously it can't be that bad, but it feels suddenly older and more mature than 30. Maybe it's because 30th birthdays tend to be celebrated -- and I went to many 30th birthday bashes (and even missed a few) in the last year -- but so far, 31 seems to quietly slip by in the hopes that no one notices.

And I'm just letting it slip by. In past years, there's always been some sort of party around my birthday. For a few years there, it seemed like early January parties at our place (in the apartment) were a tradition. Then there were the nights-on-the-town parties. Because you know, every needs to party one week after New Year's! (Hey, it's not my fault!) But this year, there are no birthday celebration plans, no big dinners and no nights on the town.

So is this what's it's become now? Letting your birthday go by quietly in hopes that no one will notice you're one year older? Why, for the first time in my life, do I feel like I'm dreading my birthday, or denying that it's actually almost here. Because all through my twenties, I was never the kind of person who moaned about getting older -- I rejoiced and celebrated. And I'm not moaning now, but somehow, that age -- 31 -- just feels a whole lot older than 30.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I don't know half these people...

Couldn't help it, it just looked like such a cool idea. Stole this from Rob, who stole it from Alex.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

How to lose the holiday pounds in a hurry...

...come down with the stomach flu and eat nothing but a little bit of chicken noodle soup and a few pieces of toast for the next 48 hours.

To tell it from the beginning, the holiday week was great -- hectic but great. We spent 2 days in Montreal (from Dec. 24 to Dec. 26) to be with my family, and then a day and a half at home before heading to London from Dec. 28-31 to spend Christmas with Ryan's dad and mom.

It was a solid week of present opening and eating. Over the week, we had two turkey dinners and more desserts than I care to count. But it's all part of the holiday cheer, and I love it.

Then came New Year's Eve.

The plan was for Ryan, Austin and I to have breakfast with friends in London that morning, before packing up the SUV and heading back to Toronto in the early afternoon. Ryan and I were going to put Austin to bed, order a pizza, open a bottle of wine and curl up on the couch to watch TV -- or maybe a movie. Sounded to us like a really nice, relaxing New Year's Eve after a very hectic Christmas week.

Then I changed the plans. At 2:30 a.m., I came down with the flu -- having likely picked it up from Ryan's sister, since she came down with it 12 hours earlier. Less than 30 minutes after I made my first mad dash to the bathroom early that morning, Ryan's other sister was doing the same. The entire day was spent lying in bed, alternating between sleeping and feeling sorry for myself -- and coming to the conclusion that there was no way we were making it home that day. That afternoon, Graham (Ryan's mom's partner) succumbed as well -- and Austin started showing symptoms. We definitely weren't going anywhere.

So New Year's Eve played out as follows: Austin went to bed around 7:30 p.m. and the whole family lounged in the family room watching TV for awhile. By 8:30, Graham and Ryan's mom headed upstairs to bed. By 10, Ryan's two sisters called it a night. By 10:30, I couldn't do it anymore and dragged myself downstairs to bed. And poor Ryan, healthy as can be, stayed up by himself until 12:01. I do remember him coming down to bed -- I woke up as he came in -- and kissing me for New Year's, but I was dead to the world again before he even managed to crawl into bed.

Some night eh? Sigh. It's the first time I've missed midnight on New Year's Eve since I was a kid.

On New Year's Day, we managed to get out of London around 1 p.m. and although nauseous me found the car ride rough, we made it home without having to stop.

So now it's Jan. 2 and I'm starting to feel like a human being again. It was only two days, but it feels like I was down and out for two weeks. But hey, as I said, in two days, I managed to drop a few unneeded pounds, so call it a step towards achieving my new year's resolution goal. (To get rid of these last few baby weight pounds)

And lucky Ryan, with his immune system of steel, has yet to get sick.

So, Happy New Year. Here's to spending more time with friends, more time relaxing at home with Ryan and Austin and to less time being sick.