Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fit for Motherhood

I frequently wonder why I'm not married and I tell myself all the standard answers. But this weekend, I thought it might be because I'm not fit for motherhood and this is why. My poor roommate that works with pre-school children with disabilities finally got H1N1. We both knew that it was inevitable and were hoping that I would be able to get my vaccine at work soon enough not to end up sick too and that she would get a mild case. Well she didn't get a mild case, but I got my vaccine in plenty of time to not get sick(knock on wood) Friday night she started getting sick and by Saturday she was in rough shape, but managing with plenty of Tylenol and fluids. And then the symptoms got worst and her fever spiked and then she as complaining of chest pains and I was very scared. Because I work for the provincial health authority I get all the scary details that don't get released to the media. So I called one of the medical residents in the ward and asked if he could come and give her a blessing and give me advice what to do. As an aside, I'm very grateful for all the women who let their husbands serve. I know that it can be a real sacrifice. After they left, I felt reassured that I was doing what I needed to to help her and I knew exactly what to look for as my sign to immediately go to the hospital. But has the night progressed and her fever got worst I was very scared. I hardly slept and spent the night alternating between monitoring her breathing and temperature, listening to her weeping in pain and know that here was nothing that I could do and praying that she was going to be alright and I would know what to do. Now I love my roommate, but I don't love her like you love a child and I wonder if I'm cut out to suffer that much. Finally when her fever broke it was such a relief, but I kept wondering if I could have handled a night like that 4 times over. I have no idea what the answer is but I'm glad my roommate is going to be fine.

Monday, October 12, 2009


As many of you know it is Thanksgiving in Canada this weekend. I love Thanksgiving. It may be one of my favourite holidays. It's the only holiday where no one yells at you for wishing them a happy day or that has been taken over by commercialism. It's simply a day to be thankful and eat yummy food. For primary(Sunday school), I spent the week leading up studying what the Prophets and Scriptures have said about gratitude. So when my Saturday turned into a bit of a gong show, I was in a good frame of mind.

Here is a low down of all the things I'm grateful for.

It was the coldest Thanksgiving in 50 years and I was outside selling girl guide(scout) cookies all day on Saturday.
  1. I'm thankful that I own 3 pairs of long underwear, 3 pairs of winter boots for different types of snow and cold, 8 different hats, 6 scarves, 4 pairs of gloves and mittens with some extras, and 7 winter coats(and I'm making a new one).
  2. I'm thankful that I have a new furnace that is keeping my house nice and toasty warm.
  3. I'm thankful for a programmable thermostat to save money.
  4. I'm thankful I have a closet full of blankets.
  5. I'm thankful for hot water that I can use to thaw myself out.

The car I rented got a flat tire and I couldn't leave the store where we were selling cookies because I was needed for leader to child ratios.

  1. I'm thankful for tow trucks that changed the tire and put the little doughnut on.
  2. I'm thankful to the girl from the car rental place that came to the other side of the city to switch out my car.
  3. I'm thankful for the new car that has seat warmers and a fantastic stereo.

I spend my entire Saturday selling cookies, by the end my back was killing me because I was bending over dealing with all the money and standing on concrete and I needed to finish my pies for dinner the next day.

  1. I'm thankful for takeout.
  2. I'm thankful for pay per view movies.
  3. I'm thankful for drugs, lots of drugs.
  4. I'm thankful my roommate peeled and sliced all the apples.

I have so many things to be thankful for. Yesterday, I had a very yummy dinner at my friend's house and today I had pumpkin pie for breakfast and I'm still in my pajamas and it's almost lunch.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Canadian Thanksgiving and know that I'm thinking about you.

Monday, September 21, 2009

catching up

My summer was mostly overcast or pouring rain with brief periods if sun, so I just couldn't write.

To sum up:

On the home front I've dealt with the nightmare of the dealing with the condo board and finally got everything fix last weekend. I now need to put everything back.

On the dating front, "I'm looking for my fourth wife." Why would someone say that on a first date? And "If you voted for Obama or consider yourself a feminist you'er not the girl for me." I didn't vote for Obama because he is too conservative for me, besides I was too busy burning my bra.

On the work front, my organization is undergoing a major upheaval and while my group is secure, there is a lot uncertainty and the fighting in the media is awful.

On the health front, I had a scare and I had someone tell me that I'm "really getting fat".

But the fall is here and I'm starting anew. I've taken up swimming with a goal to swim 1650m. I'm taking a sewing class to make a coat. I'm moving to the teenagers with girl guides. So things should be better.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The damage

My biggest frustration with my whole water nightmare has been the property management company that my condo board hired. I feel like they are trying to take advantage of me because I'm a new homeowner and don't know much. The property management still hasn't sent someone, but they are starting to realize that I'm not going away. What they don't know is that I have the ability to read, consult experts and talk to my neighbours. So know I have knowledge about how to deal with water damage, I know the law that governs condos and I have the support of my neighbours to get elected to the condo board. And when that happens, the property management company with rue the day I bought my house. I think the other part that drives me crazy is I don't like feeling like I need to be this tough jerk, just to get stuff done.

I got lucking and was able to salvage the carpet, but not the carpet pad. I learned that you have to dry carpet from back to front so the glues that keep it together don't dissolve. So here's the pictures of the damage. My first indications that it was more than just some wet carpet.
The problem corner where the water is seeping in from the foundation.

When I realized that I had mold.
The rusty nails that told me that this was not an isolated incident. According to the insurance guy, it's not the previous owners fault that they didn't notice because the dry wall was doing a good job soaking up the water.

The pile of of molding drywall I riped out.

I don't know if you can see it but the vapour barrier was dripping with water.

This corner is going to be a nightmare. This is before I pulled out the moldy insulation.

You can see where it is coming in.

One of the frustrating parts was that some of the insulation looked fine from the front.

But then I found this on the back.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The frustrations of water

I'm exhausted. Wednesday evening I stepped into a puddle of water in my basement, of course it was in the finished side with my perfect set up for sewing. Then came the mopping and calls to the condo board. They are responsible for any problems with the windows or foundation. Then came more phone calls and frustrations. Friday, the condo still hadn't sent someone out, so I called my insurance company and they sent someone out 2 hours later. Of course, it's not covered. In any case, the contractor guy was super nice. Turns out I have a water seepage problem at the base of my foundation that has been going on for 3-4 years and the reason no one noticed was because up until the heavy snow that we got after the ground thawed on Tuesday, was just the perfect conditions to create a puddle. He also told me how to clean everything up instead of taking the money that I don't have. So Friday I riped up half my sewing room. And still the condo still hasn't sent someone out. The property management people that the condo hired don't realize yet that I will not stop until it is fixed and if they want to have any peace they will fix it quickly. I'll post pictures later.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

a small brag

Since this is my blog and feel that this is an appropriate place to brag. This week a received an award from SAS, the programming language/software I use at work. I receive the Customer Forum Leadership Award for my work as President of the Edmonton SAS user group. I stepped down this fall and it was nice to be recognized for my work building up the group for the last 5 years. Then that night, there was a big party for the retirement of the organization I work for. There is a huge government restructuring with health care in Alberta. And to pre-emptively answer the question, my job is very secure. There are not that many people in the province that have my knowledge about the administrative data used to evaluate health care. Anyway, this is me a Herta. She is the longest employee at the Cancer Board at 45 years. I have to admit that I can't imagine working at one place for that long. She is a fountain of knowledge and one of the people that really helped me when I started working.

And another brag, one of my co-workers asked me if I had a secret life as a sexy bombshell. I made my dress for the night and I love it. Some of my co-workers even walked right by me. It made for feel great about myself. Below are my friends Anthony and Amy with Herta. Anthony and Amy are my ranting friends from work. When I need to get on a soap box, they are there for me.


My friend is getting married this summer in a small backyard wedding, and I'm making the cake. I've started with my experiments to find the perfect recipes for the cake and to work on my decorating skills.

This is my first try. A chocolate cake with raspberry buttercream icing. The icing was perfect, but the cake fell in the middle, so I'm still looking for a choloate cake recipe. I think is turned out will and was feeling pretty good about my skills. And then there was the disaster. A plain vanilla cake with lime icing. The cake was dry and the icing was way too runny and I could just add more icing sugar because it was a boiled icing.

Girl Guide Winter Camp

This year I decided to step down from my position as a girl guide leader with a weekly meeting. The best part has been that I can keep doing the things I love best and avoid the things I don't like. And the thing I love best is camp!!!! So every year in the winter we head out to a camp that the Girl Guides own. In the winter we stay in the fancy lodge. The girls are only 9 to 11 years old and their parents couldn't cope with the girls sleeping outside in winter. This year the group has 11 girls. We had tonnes of fun. Some of the girls goofing around when they should be in bed.
The girls at camp do all the cooking. They love it. Most of them aren't allowed to cook at home, so this is their chance to do it. At camp, the girls also do all the cleaning. We divide the girls into patrols and they take turns doing all the duties at camp. You would think that there would be much moaning and complaining about the bathroom cleaning, but that is one of their favourite jobs. They even fight over who gets to do the various jobs. The bathrooms at camp are also the cleanest bathrooms ever, because over the course of the weekend they get cleaned 3 to 4 times.

The girls making bead hat crafts. We had an insane number of beads in the craft boxes, so I came up with a bead horse and bead cowboy hat. We always plan a couple of crafts for the girls to do during the down times.

We worked on the chemistry badge. The girls loved the experiments. We did a chemistry magic show for the Brownies (7-8yrs old) and the Pathfinders(12-15yrs old) that we using the other lodges at the camp. I forgot to get some pictures of the show. But the best part was when our first year guide, lit the match for her experiment. I was a little nervous, because normally there is a lot of crying and fear about using matches, but she had no problem. She was actually the first guide I've had that had no fear and just know she could do it.

This is a video of the girls trying to get the baking soda and vinegar explosions going.

More beading. The girls are always bugging do work on them.

We worked on the life skills and the bird watching badges. So to kill two birds with one stone, we made bird houses. For most of the girls this was their first time using a hammer. There was a lot of pulling nails out and straightening them out on the part of the leaders.

There was also a lot of holding the part of the leaders. I think I may have been temporarily insane to hold a nail while a kid hammered for the first time.

It was very difficult to convince the girls that if they held the hammer at the end instead of choking up on it, they would have more success.

We also give the girls what we call a challenge book. It's another thing to keep them busy when they are finished their duties or between activities.
The food line up. You would think we starve them, given how quickly they come for meal times.

The girls laying around in the snow.

This is the pile of stuff . It's amazing how much we bring out for one weekend.

The girls love sliding everywhere. It works out great for us. Once they finish cleaning we kick them out of the building, so the leaders can do the final check out.

All of us at the end of camp.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Christmas in England

I know this post in a long time coming, but here it is.

This year, my mum and I went to my sister's house in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire England. I didn't get any pictures of my sister's house, but it is a interwar bungalow. It is movie cute. The only problem was that the house had no heat. This may not seem like a big deal since it is not nearly as cold in England as Edmonton. But let me tell you. It was COLD.

I left for England on the 18th. Oddly enough, it doesn't take that much longer to get to my sister's than it does to my mum's in Ontario, since they have a direct flight Edmonton to Heathrow. I got there on the 19th to find my mum, who arrive a couple days ahead of me, very sick (norovirus) and my sister also sick, but at least only a cold. So I spend the first part of the vacation taking care of the sickies and freezing while waiting for the plumber to finish the radiators for the heat. Finally on the 23rd, we had heat and the value of my sister's house doubled. Probably the best improvement she will ever make to her house.

Once everyone was feeling better, we went to York. This is me on the top of the Tower of York. The view of the city is amazing.

I'm always amazed that these old castles and towers are still standing. Below is my mum and little sister.

I did take a couple of pictures of my sister's house. The lay out is very simple, wide foyer/hall way. Two large rooms off each side and a bathroom at the end. Off the dinning room, you find what the estate agent called a "conservatory", but it's really just a drafty enclosed porch. Off the conservatory is what is called the out building. The out building has the original toilet, the coal room that my sister has turned into a laundry room and the kitchen. Having a separate room for the laundry is very unusual in England, most homes the laundry is in the kitchen. I think it's weird to have dirty underwear in the kitchen. Anyway, one evening my sister was in the bathroom in the house and my mum needed to use the bathroom, so she went to the toilet outside. Anyway, after while my sister and I heard my mum yelling for us. We both thought she wanted help in the kitchen. Since my sister was on the phone and I was playing just a game, I shut my game down and went to help my mum. As I was going by the in house bathroom I could hear water running, so I asked my mum her there was something wrong. She replied with a "you are a useless daughter, who clearly doesn't love her mother enough to come and help her". I was very confused, so I told her "I was coming to help in the kitchen, I was just shutting down my game and I didn't know what her problem was." Then she said "Well you weren't quick enough, go look in the toilet." Now I was even more confused. So I went to the toilet. And this is what I saw.

At first I couldn't figure out what the black stuff was on the floor in front of the toilet. And then I was thinking "is that part of the toilet seat cover". So I walked in and looked in the toilet and found the following.

That's right the rest of the toilet seat cover and my mother's slippers. And I just started laughing and laughing. I could barely move I was laughing so hard. I finally walked back into the house and choked out a "what happened?" to my mum. It turns out that the antique toilet was having some issues flushing and my mum in her great wisdom thought it would be a good idea to close the lid and stand in the middle on the lid and try to get the flusher to work. While the lid broke and she feet got wedged in the toilet. Apparently she was yelling for help for ten minutes before we even heard her. And then because we thought she was yelling for help in the kitchen, I didn't rush. By that time she managed to get herself unwedged. I pointed out that it wouldn't have matter if we heard her right away, because we would have been laughing too hard to actually be any help at all. The best part was that for the rest of the vacation, my sister and I would just start laughing every time one of us thought of it.

This is my sister being silly, while we are getting ready to go to London.

Noelle in the Black cap in London.

And my mum laughing at me taking pictures.

My mum and sister outside of the Gaol Museum.

For Christmas, my mum gave my sister and I tickets to see Billy Elliot on New Years Eve. If you ever get the chance to see it, I would highly recommend it. The singing and dancing was phenomenal.