Friday, May 11, 2018

The Non-Adventure of Nikki, Matilda and Pippa.
 With late arrival of non-adventurers Kelvin and Myrah. Although for cats, that was an adventure.
So I guess they had one.

Long ago, in a land far, far away, there lived Nikki, a very tired emergency vet, and her friends Matilda, Pippa, Myrah and Kelvin. Marc lived there too, but he has his own story to write, so we won't write it for him.
Nikki, Matilda and Pippa went on a lot of adventures, which was fun. Matilda and Pippa particularly liked running in the woods, all full of ferns and moss and trees. And mud puddles. Especially Matilda liked mud puddles. 

         photo shamelessly stolen from google. Unknown person in a lovely green forest.

They also liked their friends. They came over sometimes, and everyone would go run and play in the woods, and then there would be a lot of food and commotion. That was fun.

Nikki was having fun as well, but she was getting very tired. Turns out, to sleep or not to sleep is actually not a question. She started not feeling well a lot of the time. She thought it would be really fun to have a mountain bike hostel, and it would have camping, a garden, great food and be named the "Happy Fig". Realistically, that was probably not going to be a good plan and likely mean nightshift at a clinic and dayshift at a hostel. So then she thought the best plan would be to go and be sleep-deprived for 1095 days in order to get a day job. It seemed like a good idea at the time, like many dubious life-decisions.

And so began the non-adventure. Rather than having adventures, Nikki worked, studied, ate and occasionally slept. Matilda and Pippa met quite a few new people that randomly entered the apartment to let them outside. Matilda apparently decided that being a watchdog was overrated and let everyone and anyone into the apartment and brought them a rabbit.

Although there were actually a few adventures. There was "adventures with chemotherapy" (Pippa), and "adventures with incidental liver mass biopsy" (Matilda, that's what happens when you won't eat your food and act all out of breath going up the stairs and just lie around). There was "adventures while confined to a small space with a big dragon" (Nikki), and not to be completely outdone, "adventures while confined to a small space with a dragon-in-training, or little dragon" (Nikki) 

 The big dragon was pretty bad, but Nikki became a good dragon-slayer, and Is unlikely to be breathed on by another dragon without pulling out her dragon-slaying sword and defending herself ever again.


At some point (now)  there were only 64 days to go, although neither Matilda or Pippa understood this concept. Occasionally Nikki watched TV shows or movies that are filmed in the lovely rainforest on the coast just to look at all that green. Two jobs in Vancouver showed up that both wanted to hire her, but unfortunately these choices sucked, and she had decided not to make sucky choices. So she decided to go elsewhere. 

Where could they go???  Mountains. Nikki, Matilda and Pippa all liked mountains. Mountains have climbing, biking, skiing, and people that do fun things. And she hoped people from Vancouver and surroundings would come and visit mountains sometimes too. She spent a few days in Salt Lake City and there was not a lot of green and no ferns. But there were mountains, and there is snow, and great food and cool cultural things and mountain biking and climbing and stuff. 

So..  with nothing to lose….. 

Myrah and Kelvin also joined the non-adventure recently, but as already mentioned cats don't like adventure. They like sitting around like a perpetual stitch-and-bitch session, watching, judging, griping, swiping and occasional purring and a lot of throwing fiber around the house. They'll get to do that if they make it all the way to SLC, which we sincerely hope.

It all turns out well in the end, and if it hasn't turned out well yet then it's not the end.

Hopefully we'll see you in Utah……

Sunday, November 6, 2016

random thoughts

I've been meaning to write about the Massachusetts concept of roads for a while, but really just didn't get around to it. Mostly because it's difficult to type while driving, which is generally when I think of these things. And there's not really any pictures, because photos and driving don't really mesh well. So I've thrown in some photos for interest. They have NOTHING to do with the writing, but they break it up so it looks like a lot less work to read through. Bet you'll like how I did that!

These are mushrooms. See - easier already!!!!

Early Settlers
A long time ago there were some settlers. One day one of them decided to go to another village, and some trees were cut down on the way to the village. Sometimes they didn't really know where the village might be and the path meandered around a lot before getting there. Eventually someone rode a horse the same way, and eventually the path was big enough to drive a horse-cart between various villages. They called these large paths "roads". Roads need names, and villagers (generally depicted as covered in some random dirt wearing funny caps and long skirts/baggy trousers) are not known for their creativity. As opposed to our "Weeping Willow Drive" options, they decided to keep things simple. Main street for example. North Road, South Road and such were popular. Every village had one of all of these, which was handy. Everyone knew these main roads, so they never needed signs. They did put signs on the little random cart tracks that no one ever used, just to make them feel better about the fact that they were so poorly travelled that people didn't even know their names.

Me, looking for a road (from the top of the Gunks cliff-face)

Along came more people, and the villages and roads grew. But somehow no one ever thought things like "Boy, I think more people might come along. We should stop just randomly connecting shit together and maybe not have a Main Street that connects to South Road followed by a merge with East Road. Or "We should consider moving that 10 foot rock rather than just meander around it. " The road connections were pretty random too, which no one thought much of. No one bothered with road signs on any of the well-travelled roads either, because obviously you know where you are. DUH!

Welcome to 2016, where to get from A to B you might drive Main Street which turns into Green Avenue, then turns into North Road which then T's into South Road. Turn left, and immediately (by immediately, I mean 10 feet later) turn right to continue in what for the sake of 10 feet would have been a straight line. My favourite Massachusetts driving trick is stopping at a stop sign, dodging cars on a road (generally this has to be a fairly blind intersection in keeping with proper tradition) and driving 20 feet to another stop sign which makes you wait in a little island of road big enough for 1 or 2 cars tucked tightly behind each other, before turning onto the next street.
This has nothing whatsoever to do with anything else in this rambling story

Someone apparently thought they'd help by building the ever-popular traffic circle. I like traffic circles, especially since they built one in Courtenay and then promptly arrested several naked teenagers dancing around it in the middle of the night. So I always thought they were kind of intriguing. As in "I'm intrigued with the relative speed of naked person vs. (presumably) fully-clothed and maybe somewhat less-motivated policeman." Massachusetts traffic circles are generally designed by 6 year olds.

So as I was driving today I was thinking about how my phone GPS has saved me on countless occasions, as well as thinking many other poorly connected thoughts. I live in a well-founded fear that the battery or connection will give out and I will be stranded literally in the middle of nowhere with not a clue how to get home. This did happen on my way to pick Marc up in Boston at the bus station, and it's not funny yet. Maybe in a few years.
Pippa after she got into the dog food cupboard. Should probably have gone to the vet with her. 

I also thought other things about cars while driving. I do think about bikes while cycling, so that's fair. I thought at how odd the American politics are at the moment. Marc tried to help me understand that there are just a lot of American people that feel that they are not considered worth even considering by the "usual" politicians. Which I understand. I came up with the "what would ___ do? question. Specifically, if ____  was on a deserted stretch of road, and no one would find out, what would they do if they ran you over?

I think Hilary Clinton would probably keep going. I could understand how it would be hard to vote for someone that would most likely hit the gas and leave you for dead.

I believe that Trudeau would stop and likely call for help, which makes me feel pretty warm and fuzzy.

Harper would probably check my wallet for money, take the wedding ring and consider the gold tooth, which explains how I feel about him.

My disconnect with the Trump supporters is how they suppose he will react in this situation. Like a lot of Trump supporters, I also believe he would ask his driver to stop the car. The disconnect is where I believe he would then back over me, get out, grab me by the p***y and kick me out of the country. Bein' left fer dead don't seem so bad now, do it?
Monsters under the Bed

Where was I? Oh yes, driving along the road rambling about whatever happened to pop into my head. And listening to the cell phone lady's directions. The phone lady is a pretty constant chatty voice while I drive, and I feel that we could try to develop a bit of a rapport.  Since I spend so much time listening to her, I was wondering if google could make her a bit more personable.  How about a touch of gratitude? "Nicely done! I didn't think when I said 'use the left lane to exit onto Main Street' that you had ANY chance of actually crossing 5 lanes of Massachusetts interstate traffic and getting to the left lane in those few seconds!"

Small horse selfie. Probably taken by a settler

Or maybe for a touch of humanity, some authentic reaction when she tells me to go left and I continue straight // turn left on the road that intersects at the same spot but runs slightly more left // turn right because I never really got the right/left thing down? Sometimes I feel that the phone does skip a beat and I think that I can detect a small sigh in her voice. But what if she did just come out and actually say "I'm so sorry, I meant LEFT, as in ON THE LEFT, or TURN TO THE LEFT, not the direction that you went, which is RIGHT." Or, after a big exasperated sigh she could say "I have no idea why I keep bothering with directions when you obviously have no intention of following them?".

How hard would it be to have a little sensor that lets her talk back when I start to yell at her? It would be such a more realistic interaction to have her respond when I yell "SHUT UP AND STOP NAGGING I'M JUST GETTING SOME GAS" rather than repeating the interminable "turn left to continue on route 9 for 4 miles...." over and over. But just as I was pondering these very important questions I was advised 3 times to "use the right lane to turn left onto Research Drive" at the last stop sign, and I arrived safely back home, having no idea where I've actually travelled.

Which means it's time for some food and more studying. Did you know you have a pre-Bötzinger complex? Don't sell it on ebay, you need it.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Hello from the Other Side....

I thought would be a better blog title than "Misadventures" for the next 2 years, because really, there are no adventures until then. 

But... that could be selling this short. After all, there's unknowns, and things that are unexpected and go wrong. All hallmarks of a good adventure. And it isn't as though I haven't done anything cool, it's just that "cool" has been packaged very tightly into very small bits of time.

I'm currently sitting in the Vancouver Airport, and realize how important it is to remember that there are sane and fun people in the world. So I decided that I should create an occasional update on crazy Massachusetts. There's something funny about most things, and maybe by writing about it I'll see the funny. Or maybe not, and then in a few years I'll have a non-funny account of my sojourn into the USA.

So, what have I done in the last 2 years that was fun... I will try to come up with 10 truly fun things. I will not mention the not-so-fun, so in case you think I'm pulling a facebook-my-life-is-so-amazing-I-could-just-spit thing, I'm hereby warning you in advance the list is heavily edited for fun only.

1. I walked my dogs in the woods in Massachusetts, which involves some rocks, trees and a lake. Pippa and Matilda are AWESOME! And fun. Pippa thinks killing chipmunks is fun. I don't think so, but I've never tried. Matilda thinks rolling onto her back on the lawn performing for hordes of screaming children is fun. I would rather kill a chipmunk.

2. Marc coming to visit is fun. We climbed in the Gunks last fall for a day and again this spring for a few days. It was scary, and very fun. We used to climb here when we lived in Ontario, and this was the rock we pretty much learned to climb on. The gunks has many roofs, and they stick out and get in your way, so you have to lean waaaaaaaaaaay out to get around them. They have very large centipedes and buzzards that circle above you.

3. This spring Marc and I climbed the Whitney Gilman Ridge of Cannon Cliff in Franconia Notch. This loose and falling down piece of cliff used to have the old man on the mountain hanging precariously off the top corner until he got tired and left. The Ridge was attempted by the Power-Licht duo back in the early days, and we were easily denied due to inexperience, wtf-are-we-doing-here-feelings and a massive rainstorm. This time it was quite fun, with some obscure route finding. If in doubt - step out over an abyss. Find an abyss, then try looking for a tiny hold that would keep you from disappearing into it. That's the right way. It was a lot of  Type A fun this time.

4. This week! I might need to stretch this out over a few numbers, or I'm not going to get to 10....

5. Saturday - dinner in Squamish with Luisa, Jason, Meghan, Chris, Geraldine, Felix and new friends Rosa and Red. Red is furrier than Rosa. Felix and Geraldine will also have another new friend for me to meet during next year's annual visit.

6. Climbing Squamish is always fun. Especially when I get the guided tour courtesy √† la Marc. Squamish Butt-lite via the Rambles and some simul-climbing on Banana Peel, Calculus, Memorial Crack,  Snake, St Vitus direct and Jungle Warfare - not bad for a week when mixed with everything else including some sleeping. We also hung out with Luisa and Jason quite a bit, and ate wonderful food out of their amazing garden.

7. Seeing my cats. Myrah and Kelvin quickly acted as though they had OF COURSE noticed I had been gone.

8. Friday night dinner with Yvonne, Kenta and their friends. Yvonne is also working on providing more friends. Did I mention Matilda likes rolling over on her back in screaming hordes of children? I swear she smiles as she does it. There may be a few children for her to entertain in the future.

9. Today (Saturday) was great fun. Jungle Warfare, then snoozing on Britannia Beach in the sun with the smell of the Pacific Ocean as the tide crept in. And then there was dinner tonight - with a massive gang of friends including Kala, Chris, Angie, Paul, Suzanne, Yvonne, Kenta and friends, Jacek and Marc. It is wonderful to know the world still has sane and fun people that go out and have adventures and get together and have a good time.

10....   hmmm. I guess I'll have to include reading "Neverwhere" in airports. I will follow it with "Good Omens". I should be thoroughly messed up by tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone who did their part to return me to some sanity. Next update in September, which is not far away. I will try to include pictures.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Things done well...

This is a very long overdue update, but apparently a residency takes a lot of time and work. Who knew????  I promise to keep it short, I got stuff to read. :o)

In the beginning was the trip across the continent. Rainy Jasper all-nighter driving followed by smoke. Which actually kept the temperature down, but was very ummmmmm... smoky.

 Somewhere around here we had a big discussion about the zombie apocalypse, and which gigantic farm implement would be your best survival option. Until the diesel ran out, when we voted for a hill, a slippey-slide and a trebuchet. It was a long drive.
Smoke and pretty yellow stuff
A brief stop at my mom's in Ontario. These are her wild beasts. This picture may not have been taken in July......  but somehow I forgot to take pictures and I like this one.

Arrived in Massachusetts in a muggy heatwave, and I'm worried they call this summer. My non-air conditioned car was pretty horrendous, and we couldn't leave the dogs anywhere so did stints of running into stores with one person sitting in the car practicing tolerance while the other person went into air conditioned stores, or apartment hunting. The campsite was on a lake, which made it all better.

I found a place to live, but couldn't move in for 4 days. So we went climbing. Marc led the dicier pitch one of Drunkard's Delight and I played on the roofey bit. First lead since my ankle mutiny, which was fun but spooky when I had to use it to get over the roof and realized it doesn't bend that way yet. Marc led some other super cool stuff that I got to play on as a nicely safe second. Son of Easy O, Directissima - so much fun!!!!

Then I went for 3 days of teambuilding crap while Marc did some shopping for my new pad. We acquired a bike tree on day one, slightly before we found a bed. At least our priorities are mutual. Teambuilding is stupid. 

 A brief and awesome August visit had some of this

and this

Massachusetts does fall very well. Although this is New York, which does fall very nicely as well.

I had a visitor this fall, which was lovely. The visitor is a bit weird. 
 Seashells. At the seashore

Can't post a blog without her. 


Today I got my car registered in MA !!!!! YAY!!!!
this involved: 2 phonecalls to Nissan in May and several hours of internet research, none of which was truly helpful. 2 phonecalls to ICBC.  One trip to the licensing office, where I got the licence bit but couldn't get the registration bit. Many phonecalls to what is probably a dead phone in an empty office in Boston, but that's the number they gave me. Marc getting the right phone number. Phone Nissan. Get a letter from Nissan, then one trip to the Worcester office for border control (no where near any border) next to the FBI office btw. Quite a securely guarded building, I refrained from photography. One more trip to the registration office, instead of a 3 hour + wait I went mtn biking. Back today, 2 hr wait, got registration!!!!  Followed by mtn biking. Off to an inspection mechanic, who told me I have to remove the bike rack and scrape the window tinting off with a razor blade. To second mechanic, who took off the bike rack and didn't say squat about the tinting. Attached new plates and I'm finally legal!
Now I just have to send the old plates back to get an ICBC refund......
BTW. it's illegal to have a bike rack on your car unless it's in use. Should I: 1. store it securely in my car or apartment or 2. purchase small inexpensive bicycle to attach to rack?

next update in 6 months.....

Monday, June 15, 2015

What I learned on the sofa - late post - for biking go to next post

This was still in progress, so never got posted. Now it is. No drawings, pictures or deep insights, sorry.

1. Sofas are never as soft as they look.
2. You can rent chickens. You give them back in the fall.
3. Everyone is a liar. The biggest lies make the best TV shows.
4. Movies that have a ginger in them are always funny.
5. Tech bindings pre-releasing is common. For the rest of my ski career I will always check for crud in my binding, then put my toes in, rotate and wobble the ski until I know the toes are locked, then lastly kick the heels down and ski.
6. When we destroy this world we can terraforme another galaxy. It'll be weird, but we'll adjust.
7. You can never have too many knitted hats. In case anyone wants one, I may have a few extra.
8. 2.5 weeks is too early to load a broken ankle.
9. Some surfaces allow skis to slide. Some don't.
10. You can never have too many friends when stretchers are involved.

Weekend of Various Things, including avoiding Certain Death on several Occasions.

The sometime plan was to go riding in Cumberland before I move to the other coast for a few years.  Yvonne and Kenta thought they should torture themselves with the Twelve Hours of Riding the Same Trail Over and Over in Cumberland, and as friends we thought we should intervene. So a bunch of friends  jumped on their plan, skipped the race and rode about 12 hours over two days, which is probably the same riding time (so they wouldn't miss out on time-in-saddle), and picked many trails. I wish I knew the word for a "bunch" of people on bikes. Because that was us. And two dogs, of course. 

Saturday had some farcical entertainment at the back of the pack as I had to walk the sketchy hills. Unfortunately I didn't only try to deal with a recently broken ankle fortified with adhesive tape (courtesy of Angie), but also a non-functioning rear brake. Luckily Angie saved me from Certain Death by taking my bike so I could slither the hills while holding on to sturdy salal and trees.... Unfortunately my bike was a freight train on wheels, which made Angie work very hard and still was  slowly sliding backwards down steep rubbly hills, and was quite scary to watch. 

Yvonne was kind enough to investigate some mud.

She took LOTS of pictures of us, but this is all I managed. However, it was a very neat log, even if you can't see how long it is. 

There are a LOT of amazing new trails in the Cumberland woods. We picked Potluck into Canyon and down along the Trent River as likely to be a good choice, and the shady woods with a trail looping through the woods and down the embankment to the river and back up didn't disappoint anyone. 

The riding day sort of ended with this.

 Although then it got more interesting when Pippa thought she needed to rescue Matilda and I (from Certain Death), as we were obviously lost in the woods. We weren't, since we took a shortcut as Matilda's feet were very painful. Pippa and Marc and Andrew thought they should loop a few more laps to get all they could out of the day.  

The best bike shop EVER......  Simon's Cycles in Comox.....  Simon saved me from Certain Death by fixing my brake for me. Did you hear me say BEST BIKE SHOP EVER!!!!!! I can't thank Simon enough, that was definitely above and beyond. Sunday would have been really very terrifying without a rear brake, and instead it was super fun. But I'm getting ahead of myself, because we're not at Sunday yet. Focus Nikki!!!

I am out of drawings... and since I have a lot of packing to do I am going to do the unthinkable and steal pictures. Muhahahahahaha.......  

Darcee and Chris are good friends of ours from Comox that I never saw enough when we lived there. They insisted they'd like nothing better than to have a giant mass of dirty bikers visit them for dinner, so we did. And it was amazing. It was lovely to see Darcee and Chris, and I will miss them until they come to visit me in Boston! 

Picture courtesy of Paul

Incidentally, if you see this in a store....BUY IT!  Schnell, schnell! 

I was so tired I think I was asleep before I hit the pillow. So were Pippa, Matilda and possibly a few others. 

Sunday was another day however, and after a cup of really strong coffee I was feeling up for more punishment. So was the rest of the gang, although sadly we'd lost a few locals after Saturday. For justifiable reasons, but the group was a bit smaller. 

Becca saved Matilda from Certain Death by taking her for the day. I sincerely hope Matilda wasn't whining and being an ass all day which she did last time Becca saved her.....  I felt extremely bad for our rush at the end of the day, because I didn't even get to say hello to Becca, much less intrude for a visit. I'm so sorry Becca! I really wanted to see you! Unfortunately the ferries wait for no man. Or woman, child, group of very dirty unshowered bikers.... Or should I say, they're often late, full, annoying and have bad food, but we still really need them since my swimming skills are not up to the task. 

Team BiG DoG- Pic by Yvonne
Hot Road - also Yvonne's pic

Suzanne and the BiG DoG, as spied upon by Yvonne

I probably should think of more interesting and awesome things to say, but Marc just put a plate of breakfast next to me and my stomach is trying to strangle me. 
The short version - lovely to see everyone, especially the Islanders that I haven't seen in a long time. It was an absolutely brilliant weekend. Thanks to everyone who saved us and made it what it was! 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

what really happened

I have been wrestling with my conscience these last few days. Do I tell the world what REALLY happened? Or stay silent?

I will forever feel guilty if someone else has this horrible experience and I have done nothing to try to prevent it. So I feel I must come clean....

I was skiing down the last bit of snow as I said in my blog. It had been a full moon the night before, which is relevant. The fact it was Easter may be important as well.

And then.......  

an encounter. Seemed innocuous at first........

but rapidly went horribly wrong.

I apologize for my lies and deception in not coming out with the real story immediately, my guilt will follow me forever and I hope my delay in coming forth will not cause further harm.