Thursday, December 23, 2010

Jane Fonda

I was watching Oprah today and Jane Fonda was on. They were taking a look back at her life, as she has just published her memoirs. What an amazing life she has had! And, to look the way she does at 72! Wow.
She said something that resonated with me. She said for so much of her life she was worried that "Today was the day they might find out" she was a fraud. I think we ALL feel that way. We all have accomplishments that we are proud of, and I don't think it has anything to do with that. It has to do with self doubt, and we all have it. That nagging feeling that maybe we don't belong, that we haven't really accomplished what we did on our own two feet. That there has been some mistake, and somehow, sometime we will be found out. I worry that someone will find out that I shouldn't do medicine, that I am not qualified, and I don't belong. Clearly, this is not the case, as I have all the paper documents to prove it, but the worry remains. I guess when something is so important to you, you really don't want anyone to take it away, and worry about it.
For so many years she felt like this, but doesn't anymore. Amazing that with age, she could over come this. Is it wisdom? Is it age? What gave her this revelation? It gives one hope that despite being a different person at different ages, we can learn from our past. We can forgive, and let go, and grow into a stronger more beautiful person.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stupid Microsoft

Sometimes I wish I wasn't such an idiot.
Oh sure, that might sound funny coming from someone with 14 years of post-secondary education and two degrees, but there are definitely different types of intelligence. I may be able to memorize something and think through a problem in my work place, but when it comes to other things I am just a total idiot.
I asked for a new computer for my birthday. There is some debate about whether or not I specified that I wanted a Mac or not. Regardless, I find it is hard to use. It is definitely not intuitive. For example, opening up multiple web browser pages takes multiple steps with the Mac. Downloading software from the internet takes a special web browser. Things like that. Why can't it just be simple?
Then, I made the error of actually calling the "help line" listed on the website where I downloaded (or attempted to) some software. No one was helpful at all. Stupid Microsoft and their stupid help line that was not helpful at all. In short, I spent two and a half hours calling different hotlines. I spoke to over a dozen people on three different continents, and no one seemed to be able to fix the problem (nor help with) I was having. To me the problem seemed simple: I can't download the software I purchased. That shouldn't be that hard to fix, right?
It seems that the biggest problem was actually finding someone who was willing to take ownership in this. I was bounced back and forth between different agencies: "No, you need the Canadian Microsoft". "No, you need the Microsoft Store." "No, we don't deal with downloads, you need technical support." "Oh, we don't deal with Macs here, you have to call another line." And my personal favourite, "We can't fix a download from Microsoft, you need to call this other company who deals with the downloads."
Ultimately, it boiled down to me getting so frustrated and angry that not only did I want to chuck this stupid computer in the snow, but I vowed to never buy anything from Microsoft ever again! Sigh, as Microsoft and Apple are the two big computer giants, I have to deal with one of them.
I managed (with tears) to convince my husband to see what he could do. I didn't ask him earlier, because he is always saying how I never do anything for myself (except earn a living, cook, clean, laundry, and plan every fun thing we have ever done). Then, he couldn't finish the download because he needed a password to get into my computer. He wondered why I put one on in the first place. Simple: it asked for one during set up, and I am tired of him being in my business. Well, that was a big mistake in saying that! He refused to help at all after that. Luckily, I managed to figure the password out.
So, if I wasn't such an idiot I would...
Remember my passwords, know how to use a Mac computer, know just how to download stuff, know not to download stuff from a website, and maybe never have gotten a Mac all together.
Sigh, too bad about the idiocy. All I can do now is live with it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Down with Zombies!

I don't understand the new obsession people seem to have with Zombies. There have been all those movies - ZombieLand, Shawn of the Dead, 28 Days later, Dawn of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, Day of the Dead, Diary of the Dead, etc. And now, that new TV mini series Walking Dead.
I personally have a phobia of Zombies (although they don't exhist). I can watch almost anything - monsters, thrillers, killers, aliens, etc., but not zombies. It stems from when I was a kid. I watched all these movies, and then "played" the movies, and got totally freaked out!
I really think it says something about society. It is like we all feel a little "dead" inside, like walking zombies. We feel that with all the problems in our own lives and all the problems with the world, that we couldn't possibly "feel" any more. So, we become dead inside. Not to mention the fact that society as a whole tells us what to buy, what to wear, how to act, what to think. So, we are just mindless beasts, plodding along, shuffling our feet, unfeeling, uncaring, not alive. And thus, zombies are just a reflection of how we are all feeling.
And those people in the movies (and TV series) that fight the zombies? They are what we really wish we could be. Good hearted, caring people who fight for what we believe in and try to make a difference in the world. We are constantly threatened by the virus of the world that endangers our humanity.
So, I say boo! to the zombies! We will not go quietly into the night! We will not allow society to dictate a dead life for us. We will fight, and change, and FEEL. No way will we end up like Columbus, who says, "It's amazing how fast the world can go from bad to total shit storm."
Alright, I lied, I do like that one movie, but hey, it's funny.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

reprieve

Whenever it gets like this I always feel like I need a vacation. So tired. Working so hard.
The last 3 days I have had a student (which is draining), and have been late every day. It boils down to working 10-12 hours every day. Makes for a long week. And, I am on call this weekend (Friday, Sunday).
The other problem is all the snow we've had. I like winter and snow, but it has been so Grey. I feel like I could take minus 40 any day as long as there is sun. Right now we don't have either. It is cold, snowy, and grey. Boo.
Sigh. Sometimes I wish I could just have a nice boring desk job in which I worked 9-5. Having a coffee break and lunch break would be great. Sometimes I just dream of going out for lunch.
Well, good thing we are going to Vegas in the 2nd week of Dec. It will be fun, but I am hoping we will get a bit of rest in as well. Maybe I will book a spa treatment for myself. Either way, it will be a nice reprieve.
And then there is Christmas coming. Again, boo. Not a fan. Too much stress and too much to do.
Maybe I'd fee better in the hot tub.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Last bit of summer?

It feels like summer. In a year where it rained SO much that our unfinished yard looked like a lake for most of the summer, we are having a gorgeous November. Admittedly, it is only a week in, but it is lovely. We had a really nice October too, until the inevitable snow storm right before Halloween. What is with that? Why do SK kids always have to find costumes they can wear OVER their snow suits?
Anyway, I am indulging in the nice weather by sitting outside, in the sun, with a beer while I make BBQ chicken. I decided to have my husband's family over while it is still nice. I am trying to soak up as much sun and get as much vitamin D as possible before the long cold months set in.
Luckily, we are going to some warmer places over the winter months. This is fast becoming a fantastic habit. Vegas in December to do some last minute Christmas shopping and warm up a bit, and then Cuba in February for 2 weeks. That has to be one of my favourite things to do - go on a "hot trip" in the winter. It definitely helps when you have 6 months of winter.
Now that that silly exam is over, I feel like I can relax a little. (At least until I find out that I failed the stupid thing) We have been out for dinner, watched some movies, and, of course, laid in the hot tub. Life is good when you are finished your exams (at least until something else comes up!), and have some free time.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Heavy Hearted After the Cardiac Exam

I thought I was done with all this. Stress, worry, and most of all that horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach after a bad exam. It is that feeling that haunts most adults. The nightmare of being back in middleschool/highschool/college and having forgotten to study for that big exam (what exam?! Oh my god!). People told me that feeling would go away. Those nightmares would vanish. Apparently, not so. Not when you keep taking exams.
The good thing about this exam is it doesn't really matter. No matter what, my life doesn't change. I still have a great job, in a great city, with great people. I still have an amazing family, and an amazing house, and a great life. If I don't pass, I might have to write it again, or I might not be able to do cardiac anesthesia anymore, but I can still do everything else. Again, my life doesn't really change, but it still sucks.
My hubby and I wrote the same exam at the same time today, a first for us. We have discovered that we don't study the same, we don't handle stress the same, and we are a bit competitive. When we finished we both felt pretty shitty about the exam. The difference was that he thought this was "the hardest exam he had ever written". I can't really say the same. Does that mean I did better than him? Most likely not (he is "scary smart"), but I have done REALLY poorly on some exams in the past. I don't think he ever really has. I am willing to wait and see how it goes. Maybe we will both be surprised.
Sigh....
Nonetheless, it felt really good to come home (the exam was in Saskatoon, which I do not miss), see the kitties, and then watch the sunset from the hot tub. That felt better. I just wish that heavy pit in my stomach would go away.
I guess I'll just have to stop taking exams.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

10 great things about SK

1. Beautiful long lasting sunsets where the colour almost blinds you.
2. Space, miles of miles of it.
3. Peace. Thank God there aren't so many people here It is SO lovely just to have silence once in awhile.
4. People being neighborly. Before I even moved to my town and was looking at the house, the guy across the street came and helped us when our car got stuck, and he didn't even know us! No one in Vancouver would do that!
5. Reasonable realty. Almost anyone can own a little house here. A great way to build a little nest egg.
6. Comraderie. People from SK stick together. We love our province, our hockey, and our football team.
7. Wildlife. Not having so many people means you can see them in your backyard! Deer, prairie chicken, coyotes all so close you could touch them.






8. Raw lanscape. A landscape so untouched that people come from all over to hunt and fish here in places so remote that you can only fly in.
9.Talent. So much talent resides and is from here. We are a small province, but we are mighty. Artistic and scientific minds abound.
10. Hard workers. People who live by the sweat of their brow and work the land and don't feel the need to "keep up with the Jones".
SK is a fantastic province full of beauty and friendly people with purpose.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Thanksgiving

Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to be thankful for what we have. So, as it is thanksgiving weekend, I thought I would blog out a list.

1. The weather. OMG, it has been so beautiful here lately!
2. My beautiful yard. After many months of thinking it would never get done, both the back and front yards are finally finished (allowing us to indulge in the beautiful weather)!
3. Our hot tub in the back yard. So lovely (see one of my previous posts).
4. A great job. When I was in the thick of things always studying, doing research, and preparing rounds, I was never sure if it would be worth it in the end, but, thankfully, it is. Many times I can't even believe they pay me for what I do!
5. Travel. We have been some amazing places in the last couple of years: Thailand, Greece, Jamaica, Las Vegas, BC, Montreal, California. There are so many places in the world yet left to see. I can't wait!
6. This great country of Canada that we live in. No matter where I go, I am always happy I am Canadian.
7. My home. Again, no matter where we go, I am always glad to come home.
8. My house. Ok, this might be beating the bush a little. But a home is where your heart is, that can be anywhere, but I really do love our house. Our house in White City is so great for us, and just so perfect!
9. My cats. Seven and Stupe are really good cats. No matter how I am feeling I can always come home to some furry loving - purring and face licking!
10. My friends. I have a great group of people I am privileged to call my friends. Through all walks of life at every point in my life I have been blessed with knowing wonderful people.
11. My family. I am blessed to have such a great family. My immediates, My grands, and my in laws. All wonderful people!!
12. Health. Not just for me, but my whole family is very healthy. Thank goodness!
13. My hubby. Probably most important. He keeps me grounded, is great fun to be around, and is always a source of comfort. We balance each other well.

There are probably many more things I could come up with to be thankful for (I have such a great life!), but these are the tops for now.
What are you thankful for?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Physician advocate

My husband asked me a question that I thought was very true today. He said that there are a ton of patient advocate groups. Different places where patients can go if they feel they have been treated wrongly, and launch a complaint. But what about physicians? There doesn't seem to be any kind of organization which fills the same role for us. No one cares.
The only group that has any semblance of that is the CMPA (Canadian Medical Protection Agency), and personally I don't find them helpful. Oh yeah, they are really good when it comes to defending us in court (most often they win, and if they don't think they can, they settle), but they are not very touchy-feely. The one time that I had to contact them about a case that I thought had gone wrong (through no fault of my own, as I was a resident), all they told me was "not to talk to anyone about this". There I was a first year resident feeling afraid and alone, and terrible about the outcome, and that was all they could say? Thanks. Thanks a lot.
So why is that? Do patients really not value what we do? I don't believe that is the case. Are all physicians so bad? I don't believe that either. Or is it our system of a mostly non-litiginous based society (versus the States), where patients feel they need someone to complain to because they don't want to take it all the way to the courts? I don't know, but it doesn't sit well with me.
We work hard. We have given up the best years of our lives studying and working hard to become the best physicians we can in order to give our patients the best care. In the years where my other friends were getting married, having babies, and beginning to advance in their careers, I was stuck in a classroom for 8 hours a day, and then would study for at least another 4 more. And no, not for the average 3-5 years it takes for most people to get a degree, but for 14 years! OK, sure I am whining now. Was it worth it in the end? Sure. Am I happy doing what I am doing? Absolutely. And I wouldn't change it for the world.
But really, when someone who is SO good at their jobs gets a complaint from a patient (and farther up even) that was in NO WAY below the standard of care, that is just sad. No, this wasn't me who had the complaint launched, but I feel for that person. I feel like we really give up a lot for our patients (long years, long days, long hours, lack of sleep, lack of any kind of recognition), and we all do it willingly for THEM. So, really, where are OUR advocates?!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Backyard bliss

Last night I decided to watch the sunset (in the hot tub, of course!) from our back yard. I marvelled at the sounds of the coming night like a vampire newly "born". The crickets were singing, birds different than the day were calling, and as fall is fast approaching, there were Canada geese calling to each other getting ready for their long journey south. As the sounds of the geese came to a cresendo, a new sound broke into the night. Coyotes began their lonely howl, longing for the birds that had not yet taken flight. While listening to all of this, I watched as the sky slowly turned colour; first orange and yellow, then finally cresting in a sea of reds and purples, as blackness faded in. Such beauty. Such stillness.
Today, I experienced a different joy in my own back yard. With the fence finally in place, the cats were able to go outside to run and play. I giggled as Seven chased after a butterfly, only to have it fly away to taunt her again. And Stupe rolls in the grass, and lays there sunbathing in the warm later afternoon sun. If they could speak I am sure they would tell me they are at peace. They are happy, and they love the new yard.
So often, now, I am struck by how fortunate I am. How wonderful it is, my life, on the Other Side of the Mountain.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hard to be a Patient

Yesterday I was on the other side of things. The other side of the curtain, so to speak. Yesterday, I was a patient. It was so hard to be a patient, so hard to relinquish control. And I believe it is all because I know too much. I know what can happen, and what doesn't. I know what can go wrong, and what I think is right. Just too much knowledge.
No, what I had done was not earth shattering, or even scary for most people. All I had done was a gastroscopy (a stomach scope). I have had one before. In fact, that was how they diagnosed my celiac disease in the first place. That is how it is always done - they scope you and biopsy your duodenum. Last time I was freaked out too. I was still a resident, but I asked on of the staff guys who I thought of as more of a friend to come by and give me some sedation. He didn't end up doing anything, but the internist felt more comfortable to give me sedation, enough sedation! It was still fairly traumatic, although I don't remember anything of the procedure that time, but I didn't want to go for a follow up scope.
So, we come to yesterday , which is 5 years later, and the only reason I am doing this is so I can get disability insurance. Otherwise, I still wouldn't have gone. I feel better, my numbers are better, so why would I get a scope? Sigh, I guess I should have just done it earlier.
It was so hard to be a "good patient". You know, compliant, trusting, not crazy. I failed. I was really keyed up, and kept telling the nurses how much of what drugs to give me. I gagged and coughed and was, unfortunately, not the model patient. I probably apologized to the surgeon 100 times, and thanked her just as many, so at least that was good.
Then, we rushed out as soon as they would let us go (after turning off my own IV, and refusing to eat anything). We stopped off and got a monster amount of take-out, as I had starved ALL DAY for this, and felt like I deserved good food. Yum, grease!
On the drive home, the Gods go me back. Traffic was terrible, as it was now rush hour, and my hubby had to stop and start a lot. So, I got nauseous. I sat up, opened the window, and just tried to breathe. "Slow breaths, in and out", I told myself. That is what I tell my patients, right? I thought I was getting better, and then the blackness started to come. I told my husband I thought I was going to pass out. He looked at me, and after seeing how pale I was (including my lips), he thought he would check my pulse.
"Holy crap, your having a Vagal!" What he meant was that my pulse was plummeting along with my blood pressure (it was close to 30 at the worst), and the lower it got the blacker my vision got. Layer by layer, it got darker, and darker, and I felt like I was hotter, and falling further and further down a deep dark hole.
I have never seen my hubby drive so fast. We were finally on the highway and we have a little kit at home for emergencies when we are driving with pretty much everything we would need (IVs, ephedrine, atropine...). So, he knew that if he could just get me home, he could treat me and make me feel better (not to mention fix my deteriorating blood pressure).
We live 10km out of town, so by the time we pulled into the driveway, I had climbed my way our of the dark hole and lay there reminding myself to breathe. Unfortunately, the greasy food I had thought was going to be so good, just did not sit well. Pain and nausea are not a good combo with take-out.
SIGH. THIS is why I didn't want to do it earlier! Doctors really are the worst patients. Not only because we know too much and try and control everything (its in our nature, we can't help it), but we get all the complications too. Luckily, I shouldn't have to have this done again once my disability finally goes through. Stupid insurance agencies!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

just living life

I haven't blogged in a long time. Sad, but true.
A lot of times I feel like unless something INCREDIBLE is happening in my life, there is just no point in blogging. And, incredible, unfortunately, doesn't always mean good. Lately, I have just been living, and that doesn't seem blog-worthy, but sometimes, that is what people want to read. They want to know (especially if they live far away) just what your day to day life is like. So, here goes.
Over the summer, I have been trying to train for a marathon. I am running the GoodLife run in TO in October. It should be fun. Really, though, it was just an excuse to go to TO and see my friend, Jennie. I haven't trained enough, but I have decided that I really just have to get out there and JUST DO IT (as the commercial goes). If I don't, it will hurt, and that will suck.
My other procrastination project is my Transesophageal Echocardiography Exam (TEE Exam). I just don't feel like writing this stupid thing. I mean, I llike working in the heart room and doing big cases, and I really feel like by doing cardiac anesthesia it makes me a better anesthesiologist (I can handle anything then), but I am just sort of examed out. However, I have paid a huge amount of $$ and will be humiliated if I fail, so again I just have to DO IT!
So, what have I been doing instead of these? Well, working (but not that hard), and enjoying life. We have been at the lake any time it isn't raining (which it has rained a LOT this summer), and enjoyed some time away. We went to BC for a weekend, had a few weddings, watched some of our yard be completed (this deserves its own blog, as it is so frustrating), and I just got back from a girl's Vegas trip (photos and blog to follow).
I suppose I could have blogged about any one of these things, but they just don't seem earth shattering enough. I really like my life, but maybe others who read this will think it is boring, I don't know.
There are a few things I would like to be doing: Jazz class on Sundays, University chorus on Mondays, Pilates on Tuesdays, Learn to swim class on Wednesdays, ball class on Thursdays, and Spanish class on Saturdays, but somehow I think that is too much. If I ever win the lottery (although I rarely buy a ticket and hardly ever check them), I will just take classes all the time, and travel. As it is, I am having trouble organizing running, studying, and pilates.
Anyhoo, enough with the procrastination (man! I am SO good at that), and off to study. At least I will work on one of the things on my list.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Exam woes

I am supposed to be studying for an exam right now, and I just can't do it. After 5 long years of studying and worrying for one huge exam, I just can't get motivated. I am scheduled to write the Perioperative Transesophageal Echo Exam (PTe Exam) the beginning of November. Essentially, our department has decreed that in order to do Cardiac Anesthesia you have to have passed this exam. In addition, since the same surgeons do Thoracic as do Cardiac, this means you need to have this silly exam to do that too. That sucks. I really enjoy working with the Cardiothoracic team, but I am not keen on this exam. Now, if it was an exam like any other where I just learn the info and regurgitate it, that would be fine, but this is a SKILL. I might be able to fake my way through the MCQs, but the other stuff, maybe not. I think I am just wimping out. I mean, a straight forward CABG or Thoractomy is just that, straight forward. It is also fun. I just don't like the stressful stuff, life valves. It is not the hemodynamics that stress me, it is the TEE. I really feel like I just didn't get enough training in residency.
Well, medicine is supposed to be about lifelong learning. I can teach myself stuff (I taught myself highschool physics, afterall), so maybe with the books and videos I have I can learn it. I guess I just have to suck it up, and buckle down.
I just have so many bad memories of studying for hours on end. It feels like the first exam.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Patio love

I haven't posted in awhile. It seems my life has been filled with landscaping, work, and the lake. Two of which I am very happy with.
We got back from Greece and got back into the swing of things right away. Work needed bodies, and we needed money, so it was a good fit. And then, there was the landscapers. They weren't able to do anything on our yard, and were a month behind due to all the rain SK had while we were away. That just meant that we were able to watch all of the work they did.
Every day when I would come home, I would think to myself, "what have they done today?". I would walk around and see only small changes: first the weeds were gone, then the land was level, then the first layer for the patio, and the second, and so on. Now, they have the patio and retaining walls finished, and most of the brick planters finished, and there is even top soil on part of our "lawn"!! It is so exciting! My hubby and I have taken advantage of the new patio a couple of nights in a row now. We sit out there with our tiny bistro set which is dwarfed by trhe enormous patio, sipping wine, watching the kitties play in the dirt. Seven even thought it was her litterbox at one point (ew!). We are loving the patio! Soon, very soon, we will have grass and trees, and flowers, and a hot tub to go along with our beautiful new patio!
Man, I have to say I am so happy I can afford to have someone else do this for me. Not only do I not have the time or desire, but I don't have the know-how, or the patience. And these guys are really taking the time and effort to make it look GOOD! Best $$$$$$ ever spent!!

see my Facebook profile for updated pics!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Great Happy Canada!

We are back at work after a fantastic weekend. We have been out of the country and so haven't been able to use our cabin. This weekend, though, we spent most of our time there. The weather cooperated and we managed to take the boat out quite a bit. Tubing, skiing,and swimming was had by all. Even my mom tried skiing after she got over her initial fear of the water and realized how warm the water was! So brave of her!! My grandma turned 93 on the weekend as well. We had ice cream cake, and fireworks to celebrate. And although she didn't ski, she had a great time on the boat watching us tube! All in all a really fantastic weekend! Life is good.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

home is where the heart is

On the flight home I watched a movie called "One Week". It is about this guy who decides to drive from Toronto to the Pacific Ocean after his diagnosis with cancer. The videography in the movie is amazing!
As I watched the scenes go by about one province to another, I got really homesick. I thought to myself, Gee our home really is beautiful! I kept thinking about all the scenes they showed and the road he was driving, and thinking that I had been on the same roads many times.
Then, today we couldn't sleep and so we were up really early. I went for a morning run. It was SO lovely! The sun was shining, the shy was blue, everything here is SO green (on account of all the rain, what a good month to be away, by the way), and it all smelled so fresh. It was a great run, and I missed it so much. I missed the sky - it seemed like there was always smog or a haze in the sky and it was never really blue. I missed the weather - not too hot or too humid. I missed the space - I ran for 10 minutes and didn't see a soul.
Travel is wonderful. Seeing new places magical. Experiencing new things amazing. But one really appreciates one's home even more after they have been away for awhile. Home is, afterall, where the heart is.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

We took a sunset cruise to the volcanoe and hot springs. Walking around the volcanoe was like being on the moon! From the top you can see a panoramic view of Santorini.

The next day we went to Ancient Thira. It is on the top of a mountain. It is huge! An entire city of ruins complete with sewage system and theatre! Truly amazing! It was, however, very hot at the top and there were many steps to climb to get up. We keep thinking that if we never see another set of steps it will be too soon! Everything here is built on the hillside with many steps.


This is the windy hairpin turn road we had to take to get up to the top. So scary. At points there was just a sheer cliff with nothing to restrain you, and barely enough room for 2 cars to go by. Good thing the cars in Europe are all small, no way you could get Jurgen's FJ by!


Sorry about the sideways pic.
I have just about had enough of greek food. On the way to the beach we found Senor Zorba's - a Mexican restaurant in the middle of a greek island! So good to have some nachos!


Perissa beach is very busy. There are many bars, waterskiing, and a ton of people. The "sand" is not really sand but many hot black rocks. We walked on it and swam with our shoes. Still nice to cool off in the water, though, as it is 35 degrees with 95% humidity!


Monday, June 14, 2010

Santorini

Cats are everywhere in Greece. In Athens there are more dogs, but here there are cats. This one came to visit us one afternoon, so I gave him a little drink. Cute, but not as cute as mine!


This is the view down from our room. They call this the "Old Port".


Yesturday we rented a car and went all over. First wine tasting at about 4 different wineries. So lovely!





This is the famous Red Beach. It is a treacherous walk down, and no services, but definately worth seeing.






The sunset in Oia is amazing. This is the view everyone talks about. I have to admit, though, if you pretended this was wheat instead of water, it would look similar to home.





Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cruisin'

In Istanbul, buying rugs.


The Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

The Windmills in Mykonos.


Standing at the "Wailing Wall" in Jeruselum, Israel. We had to go to separate areas to wish/pray.




The Great Pyramid, Egypt. This was the best day ever!



I just love cats, especially this one!!


Our last stop on the cruise, Crete.






Sunday, June 6, 2010

The "Big Boat"

I haven't blogged in a few days because the internet on the "big boat" is very expensive (15E for one hour). So, now that we are on Mykonos and it is windy, I thought I would give you an update on how things are going.
We left Athens on Friday to embark on our 7 day cruise around the islands, Turkey, Israel, and Egypt. We have now been on the boat for 2 days. At first I thought the boat was very weird. Our stateroom is TINY. Two twin beds, a tiny TV, and the smallest bathroom I have ever seen. There is only a shower curtain between the shower and the toilet. The whole bathroom gets wet when we shower, so we leave the door open after to help it dry out. Luckily, this happens very quickly. The boat, by cruise boat standards, is small. There are probably only about 1800 passengers in all. It is easy to get to know people, as you keep running into them. That is nice, at least. The food is good, and we bought the "all inclusive" deal for drinks, which are also good. All in all, it is still a pretty good boat, but not to the same opulence that I think some of the other cruise ships are like.
Yesturday, we visited Istanbul, Turkey. It was a whorl-wind tour of the city including the Blue Mosque, the Hagid Sophia, and the Palace. It was a busy day. At the end of the day we did some shopping in the Bazaar, which was fantastic!! I tried my hand at bargaining, and I think I got some OK deals, although I am certain my mother could have gotten a better price! ;) The Turks are really good salesmen.
Today we are in Mykonos, and as I said, it is too windy to be at the beach. It is a cute little town with windmills and white washed buildings. We are only here a short while, but I don't want to do all of my shopping here as we have a lot of time in Santorini to do that as well. We were hoping to go to Paradise Beach today. It is a famous party beach with music and bars and lots of people. Jurgen would have hated it! haha. Lucky for him, the weather did not permit.
Tommorrow, we have a "day off" where we are just at sea, and then it is off to Israel. I am a little nervous to go there with all of the problems they are having right now, but I really don't think there is a good time to go. We'll see, I guess. Then, off to Egypt for a day, and back to Athens. Talk about whirlwinds!! but I am sure it will all be amazing - Turkey definately was. I would go back there.
Will write more when we have cheap internet again.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Athens to Delphi

The temple of Apollo in Delphi.

Romantic dinner at the habour.


Visiting the Acropolis.


The view from our hotel - the Temple of Zeuss.




The sprawling city of Athens.



Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Athens

We are finally here in Greece! I can't believe it!
Yesturday, we spent going around to some of the tourist areas in Athens. Our hotel, the Athens Gate, is a lovely hotel very close to most tourist destinations. It is right across the street from the Temple of Zeus, and only a 10 minute walk from the Acropolis. The roof top bar/restaurant has a fantastic view of both.
We, of course, visited both sites, and the new Acropolis Museum. The ruins were amazing! I kept wondering, as we were walking around, what it must have looked like in all its splendor 2000+ years ago. Luckily, in the museum they had some replicas, and a video of what they think it looked like.
We then went to the National Acheological Museum. It was absolutely huge! Two floors and many rooms. We definately didn't see it all. It really makes you wonder about all of the skilled laborers and craftsmen who carved all of the marble statues. I told Jurgen that I wanted a marble statue of me when I die (as most of these are from tombs)!
We met a very nice taxi driver who took us to some different spots including the top of a mountain to see panoramic views of the city and one of the harbours to have dinner. I am sure he got a kickback for taking us to that restaurant, but we didn't mind. It was good, and nice to see something different.
Today, we are doing a day trip to Delphi. This is where Apollos temple was and where the oracles were. I wonder if the gases that made them all high will still be there?! Ha ha probably not. Then, it is off to see more tourist stuff in Athens and a day trip to Sounion.
I will try to post pics when we find a real internet cafe. This one at the hotel doesn't have a plug for my camera. Good thing we have digital, as we already have a ton of pics. I am my mother's daughter, afterall!! ;)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

silver lining

I went out with a couple of friends the other day and I was telling them that I try to see the silver lining in things. I am not always very good at it. In fact, sometimes I downright suck at it, but I am trying more and more to see it.
So, the latest silver lining that I have been able to see is the weather. I am not sure what is going on with our weather. We had such a lovely April, and then, May has just sucked. Rain, Wind, Snow, Wind, Wind, and more Rain. Yuck. Cold Yuck. But......
We are leaving for Greece on Sunday. The bad weather gave me a chance to pack all of my light warm-weather clothes in my suitcase, without having to worry that I would need them. Also, did I mention that I am going to Greece?! There really can't be more of a silver lining than that!
I dream of sun and greek ruins, wine and sand, olives and moussaka. It is going to be great!
I will post pics and stories here - Soon!!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

One week

In one week we are off to Greece!! A place I have wnted to visit for YEARS, and now we are finally going! Sure, it is not a great time to go, what with the Greece economy in the shitter and all, but I am sure it will be fine. We aren't exactly going to seek out demonstrations or anything. Worst case scenario: they stop public transportation and we can't get there, or we can't get there because of that dust cloud from the erupting volcanoe in Iceland. Middle case scenario: they stop the public transportation ONCE we are there (and maybe can't get back, oh that would be SO bad). Best case scenario: everything works out perfect and we have a fantastic time!!

Right now, it is the long weekend in May and it is raining. It is supposed to be raining for the next week, and I am not bothered by that at all. It will be warm and sunny in Greece. In fact, it is predicting it to be 28-30 degrees all week in Athens. To me it is almost better this way. I will appreciate the warm that much more seeing as it is so cold and wet here right now. Also, it gave me a chance to pack and not have to worry that I might want to wear any of my warm clothes in the next few days.

Ah, Greece. Greek food, Greek weather, Greek islands, Greek hospitality. I am looking forward to all of it!! Not to mention the side trip to EGYPT that we are taking on our cruise!! This will be a trip to remember.

Stay tuned! I will post pictures and stories (just like when we were in Thailand) while we are there.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Moms and Grandmas

It was Mother's Day on the weekend. My mom is on vacation in the USA, but I still celebrated. I took my grandmother out for dinner.
I don't spend that much time with my grandma here, but I have always respected her. She is tough. Way tougher than women today, including me. She comes from a time when women worked hard. They didn't do all the jobs that men did in those days, but they definately worked just as hard. She believes in simplicity and staying active. She was tall in a time when women wer supposed to be small and petite. She has always been strong. She is 92 and up until recently, she lived on her own, drove her own car, and danced 3 times per week.
My mom, on the other hand, is strong but in a different way. She has always been the peace keeper. She has always tried to have a positive outlook on life. Even during adversity, she is always postive.
I may not be a mom just yet (although I like to think of my cats as my "furbabies" and that I am their "mom"), but I hope that I will be just as strong and good as my mother, and my mother's mother.
So, to all the Moms and Grandmas out there (a little belated) - Happy Mother's Day.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A conference over

Well, the weekend is over, and it was a success. We had 75 people attend the lectures on Saturday day. That is way more than I expected! The speakers were really good, and if I hadn't have been so preoccupied with everything going smoothly, I would have really learned something! ;)
The Friday night "Meet and Greet" put on by the district was also a success. It was very well attended by both the residents and the Regina staff. The food was really good, and the alcohol flowed. Even though I didn't really have much to do with the event on Friday, I still felt very proud.
The Saturday night event, however, was a flop. What was supposed to be about 46 people ended up being only 33 (paid for by 29). The food was really good, and the band was great, but it just wasn't well attended. The main problem was the residents. At the last minute, a lot of them decided not to come (even though they had told me they were and so we had to pay for that). I took it personally that they didn't want to come, but honestly, I can't blame them really. If I didn't have to go to a dinner with a bunch of staff people, would I have gone? Or, would I have just gone out somewhere with the other residents?
I decided not to attend the Resident's Research Day for the same reason the residents didn't attend Saturday night. I didn't want to. Why would I waste my time listening to boring research? I did attend the meeting (being the Secretary of the division), though, which was productive. We learned that the residents are NOT required to attend the educational day at all, but it was always linked to the research day in hopes that it would be better attended by the staff. Well, tit for tat, I say. If they attended the other stuff, I might be more interested in going to their stuff. Whatever. Anyway, I really wonder once the residents actually know this just how many of them will attend next year. I bet not ALL of them will (i. e. attendance will drop). We'll see.
Regardless, despite the bitterness I feel towards what I felt was a slight by the residents on the Saturday night, the weekend was a success. I had people tell me they thought it was the "best Bev Leech ever!", and not just my husband (who sort of has to tell me that).
It is just one more thing I can put on my not-so-impressive CV to improve it a bit.
My hard work paid off!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The organization of an Anesthesia educational event

I am organizing a "mini conference" for next weekend. It is an educational day that is put on annually in Saskatchewan and rotates between Regina and Saskatoon. We used to attend every year as residents. Last year it was in Saskatoon, and being the first year as a staff person, I did not attend. The people at the annual business meeting (which happens after the conference) decided that this year it should be in Regina, and that I should be the one organizging it. So, I was "voluntold" to do it. I originally was a bit put off that they did this to me, but in the end I agreed to it.
So, since last year, I have been working on this. I, luckily, have had some help from a couple of the other gals. One, in particular, has been super helpful. Unfortunately (or not!), she has just given birth to a beautiful baby girl and will not be around to help me on the actual weekend. The other gal has agreed to help me on the actual day, so that is good.
Our topic for the year is Neuroanesthesia. I feel proud that we have such a renowned speaker (Dr. Arthur Lam) coming all the way from Seattle, Washington. In addition, we have two neurosurgeons, another neuroanesthesiologist, and a patient speaking. It should be interesting.
We have over 60 people coming to the event. However, over half of those people are residents, who have to come. That part kind of sucks. I realy wish there were a few more people coming. Alas, what can you do.
The other stress are the residents themselves. The district is hosting a "meet and greet" for the residents. This is an event to introduce the residents to some of the Regina Attendings, allowing for networking. We have decided to have appys in a nice restaurant to allow people to mingle a bit. Again, I really hope people decide to attend. I sort of feel like after paying for a hotel room for two nights and comping the registration fee for the conference, the least the residents could to would be to come to the "meet and greet" (again free). And again, you can lead a horse to water, but can't make it drink.
I will be happy when next weekend is over, and it has been a huge and fun venture that I can put on my CV! I am sure it will be a success. It will just take a bit more work.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Work hard and the Rewards will be Great!

We are off to the lake today for the first time this year. They have promised the weather to be warm, and so we thought we would take advantage of it and get out there. As much as I love the lake, today I have mixed feelings. My hubby warned me this would happen, and I hate it when he is right! It is just a lot of WORK, and I am feeling lazy. We need to put the dock together, put it in the water, put the track together, put it in the water, open up the cabin, clean the entire cabin, rake and cut the lawn, go through the bedding plants, take the boat out, launch the boat, put the seadoo lift in, take the seadoo out, launch the seadoo, set out the chairs, get rid of the garbagefrom last year....... So, you can see my reservation. As much as I have been tellling my husband that it is no big deal (he was really stressing about it the other day), I need to take my own advice. Once it is all done, and the cabin is back to being a usable space, it will be great. I love our cabin, I just hate all the work. I guess that is like everything in life - work hard, and the rewards will be great!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mind your own business

Even though I am starting to get wrinkles on my face, people must think I still look young. They must. Or, why else would they still treat me like I am 3 years old?! Or, maybe they are the children - feeling the need to "tattle" on me to my superior.
I am an adult who is very conscientious of what I do for my patients. I take great care in how I treat them and giving them the proper care that they deserve. I would never do anything that I thought would put my patients in jeopardy. So, if I do something that doesn't sit comepletely right with someone (something so minor, it is ridiculous), they should mind their own business! Just because something is used a bit "off label", it doesn't mean it isn't safe. As I said, I try to do everything in my power to keep my patients safe, comfortable, and as healthy as possible (although I can't make them better than they originally came in). It offends me that someone would think otherwise.
I am tired of being pushed around. I am tired of not being treated approriately. If that person has something to say to me, they should say it.
So, I will take my own advice, I am going to tell that person exactly how I feel! Don't treat me like I am stupid or young, because I am neither!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

show me the evidence!

I think I am funny. No, not HAHA funny, although maybe a bit of that too, but the other kind. Despite being trained in the sciences and taught to question (which is maybe why I have such a hard time with a true ipso-facto belief in religion), I am a bit gullible. I see something on TV or in a magazine and think, "hey, that sounds really cool! I wonder if it works?".
For example, I bought these "Miracle Noodles". They are developed in Japan and are gluten free, carb free, and even calorie free. So, what are they then? Apparently, they are made of some insoluble fibre (so you just poop them out because you can't digest them), and absorb the flavour of any sauce you put with them. Well, I thought I would try them. So, I went on-line and bought 10 packs of them (that was the least you could buy). They finally came in the mail the other day, so I made some. I have to admit, they are really weird. They come in some kind of water, and you have to rinse them for 3-5 minutes with hot water, and then they are ready to eat. They do taste like nothing, but the texture is a bit weird. I guess the question really is: How much pasta do I actually eat, and is this worth it? Probably not.
I was just curious. That is what it boils down to - curiosity. Maybe not gullibility, I don't know. I guess I should think of myself as inquisitive, and that really is a sign of being trained in the sciences. Someone tells me something and I think, Hmmm, and have to see it for myself. I am willing to try almost anything once (I have Green Tea drink crystals that are supposed to boost metabolism, and melatonin for sleep), but I have to see it for myself to believe it works. Show me the evidence, but please allow me to try it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Whining

Warning: The following post contains vast amounts of whining!

So tired today. This is the longest weekend of the whole year, Easter weekend which includes Good Friday all the way to Eater Monday. I had the misfortune of "taking one for the team" and being on call for a large portion of it. Yesturday, Good Friday, I was on call. When I got to the OR there were only 4 cases, none of which seemed like they would take super long. Knowing how things sometimes progress slowly in the OR, I thought I would probably be finished around supper time. Somehow, none of those cases turned out to be the straight forward cases they were booked as - for example, a half hour tracheostomy turned into a 3 hour fiasco. Then, we were blessed with 3 more actually straight forward cases and I was finished by 11pm.
OK, so now you are thinking, that doesn't sound bad. Why is she so tired? Well, as luck, or unluck, would have it, it didn't end there.
No sooner was I tucked into my bed, cuddled with my kitties fast asleep, then does my pager go off! An emergency case to come back for, and the surgeon warns me that she probably has another one after that. Long story short, I was home for an hour and a half, and then worked straight until 8 am. That means I worked almost 24 hours completely solid! Yuck!
Normally, I would take today and recoup. Sleep in really late knowing that I had the next day as well to return to normal. Alas, not on this long weekend. I have less than 24 hours before I am back at it again doing a Labour and Delivery shift for 24 hours. Again, yuck.
Yes, I am whining. But, sometimes I feel like people (especially the nurses) don't care. I worked with two different groups of nurses (one for 8 hours, the other for 16). They don't care that I worked through lunch, and barely had time for dinner. They don't care that my cases are continuing, and continuing. They have someone to relieve them for coffee, and lunch, and coffee, and dinner, and coffee. And, when they are done their shift (at most 16 hours) they know someone is there to take over for them. Not so for me. I feel like when I tell them I want to stop for something to eat, they look at me like I am lazy. It drives me nuts.
Most the time I love my job. I get along great with all the nurses and surgeons (with a couple of exceptions). I find my job stimulating and enjoyable. I just don't like call. No, not true. I don't mind the usual call when I just work until midnight or even until 2 am. I just don't like never going home or working for 24 hours straight. Yes, whining again. It does pay off, though. I must remember that. How can I afford to go to Greece for 3 weeks in June? I work my butt off once in awhile to pay for it!
Well, I am making a home made sticky toffee pudding to take to the pot luck Easter family dinner we were invited to attend tonight. At least it smells good in here, is lovely outside, and in 24 more hours I will be finished this stretch of call. I can do it. I just need a little more chocolate to tied me over! And, maybe a nap in the afternoon tomorrow if it isn't busy (in the call room, not at home). The good always comes with the bad.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

hard work paying off

It seems like a lot of times I use this blog as a form of catharsis, a way to vent. When I am upset about something, or feeling badly, I use this blog as a way to express myself.
Today is a different sort of blog.
I have been feeling incredibly happy lately. I have been loving my life and everything in it! I don't know if it is the sun, or the weather, or what, but life is great!
I have a wonderful husband who I still love to pieces, two cats who love me to pieces, a great house in a nice neighborhood, a great job in which I get to hang out with nice people, and lots of fantastic friends. We are planning my dream trip to the places which were top 2 on my list of places to see, and it won't make me broke for my entire life to do it.
Even my job, which is sometimes taxing and stressful has been lovely. I have had a couple of really challenging days with tough cases, and they have gone beautifully. My patients have been really gracious, all of my lines have been effortless, even my epidurals have "fallen in".
So, now as I right this I become a crazy person. I begin to worry. It can't stay like this forever. Something has to happen. The wheels always come off, so what will it be? I guess best not to think to much on that, and just continue to enjoy the moment.
People always told me that someday all my hard work would pay off. They were right.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

frustration on the road to a good life

My husband has decided to make some major changes in his life. Previously, he LOVED food - Fatty, greasy, calorie-lidden food. And, he hated excercise. The only thing he would ever do would be something where gravity helped (downhill skiing) or where he was being pulled (waterskiing), but nothing else. I may have made some negative comments, but whatever. He has decided to make the change.
So, he has been working out. It started with walks in the evening with me (at first forcing him, and then with him being more amenable). Now, he has been exercising almost every day after work or during the day.
Also, he has changed his diet. He eats a litle breakfast, and then has a couple of healthy snacks in the afternoon, a healthy dinner (most of what I make is healthy anyway), and then maybe a healthy snack in the evening. He has even found a program where he can find the number of calories of pretty much anything and then calculate (with the calories burned from excercise) what it will take to lose weight.
I am so proud of him! He may not have noticed any results yet, but I feel like this is a lifestyle change for the better.
The problem is, he is discouraged. He says he doesn't feel "satisfied" and that he was happier before when he was eating fries and pizza all the time. I really feel like if he saw results, he would feel better about all of this. I think he is doing the right things, but I don't know what else he could do! How do I encourage him to keep this up? He has to know that this isn't just about weight loss, but about feeling better and living better. It is about being around longer for our family (whatever that might be - a whole other blog there).
I only hope he will start to feel better, start to see results, and continue on his road to a good life.

Friday, March 12, 2010

It is amazing what some sun can do

I was feeling so down, so blue,
It is amazing what some sun can do.
I was so grumpy and didn't know what to do,
It is amazing what some sun can do.

I wasn't willing to go outside,
Knowing there was no sun to shine.
Was spring coming? There was no sign,
Still there was no sun to shine.

What was wrong? And why no fun?
This was because there was no sun.
We procrastinate and get nothing done.
This was because there was no sun.

Finally, the sky seems so blue!
It is amazing what some sun can do.
We all yell, and cheer, "woo hoo"
It is amazing what some sun can do!

Am I absolutely ridiculous for loving the sun so much?
Maybe.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Not an austerity program!

I think marriages are funny. They are all pretty much the same. The same struggles, the same fights, the same bonds, really. When I listen to some of my friends complain about their loved ones, I can't help but chuckle and think that they are just like us. Not always in the same role, though, but ultimately similar.
One disagreement, it seems, that everyone has is about money. One person in every relationship is frugal, while the other is not. In a way, this is a good thing. If both persons had no regard for money and spent everything they earned, the couple would quickly be bankrupt! On the other hand, if both persons were extremely frugal, they might have tons of money, but they wouldn't have any fun, and would be very boring, indeed. So, a balance is OK. It is striking the balance that is the problem.
This comes at a time when we are attempting a balance. I don't know how many times I hear, "We can't afford it. We are on an austerity program." Oh brother! We CAN afford it! No, I don't want to buy a chunk of the moon or even pay for a trip to get there. I am talking about things like blinds, landscaping, and travel.
So, we compromise. I try not to buy everything I want all at once. But, eventually, I will get my way, and we will have blinds, landscaping, and travel. It just takes time, and perserverence. OK, not really a compromise in the strictest sence, but it works for us.
Now, what colour of blinds to put in the basement......

Saturday, March 6, 2010

fog vs. fun

It has been weeks of fog and cloud and I was starting to feel depressed. I find my mood is directly related to the amount of sun I get. Usually Saskatchewn is a great place to live because we get so much sun, even when it is 40 below. For some reason this year we have had a ton of fog. So strange. At first, I thought it was really neat. Sort of dreamlike. A morning white mist shrouding everything in a soft blanket of secrecy. After a few days, it had lost its appeal. Then, it was just annoying. Trying to cross the highway to get to work when you can barely see the oncoming traffic, is not fun. When work was done and I would drive home, excited that it was finally warming up, it would be cloudy or foggy again. Boo!
The other day, I couldn't stand it anymore. After having a very frustrating day at work (delays in our starts, and then avoidable complications on our case), I knew I had to run. Sometimes it is the only thing that can get me to reset again and not feel so grumpy. It was not really nice out. It was - you guessed it - cloudy, and windy. But, I had to do it. I went out anyway, and felt way better after, even if I didn't go for as long as I normally would.
Today, however, things are finally different. It is absolutely LOVELY outside. It is sunny and warm (if -1 degrees is warm). Even the cats thought it was not too bad out! And, by next week it is supposed to be +10!!!! I will be out with BELLS on!
As the sun continues to shine, the snow melts slowly away, and the temperature rises to something other than below zero, perhaps my cabin fever will slowly ebb away. More runs outside, walks with my hubby, and soon, so soon, trips to the cabin for spring clean up. To top it all off, we are planning to do our yard this year! Sigh (of contentment), I love spring.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

OH CANADA!

Once again, as I watch the closing Olympic games, I am struck by how awesome our country is! What a way to end the games - Winning the GOLD medal in men's hockey! We "owned the podium" in hockey. A close game with our (ever) rivals, the americans, in both the men's and women's hockey. Hearing our anthem, loud in the rink, is one of the best sounds their is! It brings tears to the eyes! It has been so great for our country to host these games. It put Canada on the map. We showed the world we can compete, and we can party!
There may be some bitterness from the other countries (Russia's newspaper has a not so nice writeup on the games), but it isn't all about winning. It is about coming together as a country and competing. Luckily, we got to do a lot of both!
In the end, I am proud to be Canadian. Proud that we have 6 months of snow and ice in which to practice for the winter olympics! Proud that we have a passion for what we do, no matter what it is! Proud of the comraderie these games have brought out in all of us!
As much as I love to travel, there is still "No place like home!".

Monday, February 22, 2010

Greek woes

I love to plan trips, but I fear it is getting the better of me. I have spent a LOT of time planning our next trip - to Greece. The problem is there is just SO much to see! And I don't just want to run around randomly.
So, I initially found a site (http://www.travel2greece.com/) which specializes in "luxury" vacations, but it seemed pretty pricey, not to mention the fact that the travel agent was from Greece and couldn't give me prices in CAD. When I told her I thought it was too pricey (it didn't even include airfare), and the hotels she had picked didn't get very good ratings, she got offended. She told me that "Greece isn't just about sitting on the beach and getting a tan". After that I wasn't so sure I wanted to book with her.
Then, I contacted a Canadian travel agency. I have contacted them several times about what I want and it seems to be taking them a long time to find anything for me (despite telling them almost exactly what I want). So, I went into the office, and I just didn't get very good vibes from this lady. When I told her that I didn't want to spend $300-400 a night on hotels, she said, "Oh, so you want to go budget, then?" No, that isn't what I want at all. Isn't there a happy medium? That sort of offended me. Sure, I don't have to like my travel agent, but if she isn't really willing to work with me, or if I don't feel like she is on my side, then maybe that isn't good either.
Now, I think I should go back and book with the original lady for half of it, and then book the other half by myself with Expedia or something (although I was mad at Expedia for our last trip).
I had a fortune from a fortune cookie the other day that said, "Speak less about your plans and you will see more accomplished". So true. Less talky more booky. I just wish I could decide and get my butt in gear and book something already. I am just not sure what is holding me back....

Saturday, February 13, 2010

proudly canadian opening ceremonies

As we watched the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Olympics, I felt so proud. Proud to be Canadian. Proud to be part of such a wonderful event that will showcase how amazing our country really is. My favorite part was the poem written and performed by Shan koyzcan:

We Are More by Shane Koyczan

When defining Canada
you might list some statistics
you might mention our tallest building
or biggest lakeyou might shake a tree in the fall
and call a red leaf Canada
you might rattle off some celebrities
might mention Buffy Sainte-Marie
might even mention the fact that we've got a few
Barenaked Ladies
or that we made these crazy things
like zippers
electric cars
and washing machines
when defining Canada
it seems the world's anthem has been
" been there done that"
and maybe that's where we used to be at
it's true
we've done and we've been
we've seen
all the great themes get swallowed up by the machine
and turned into theme parks
but when defining Canada
don't forget to mention that we have set sparks
we are not just fishing stories
about the one that got away
we do more than sit around and say "eh?"
and yes
we are the home of the Rocket and the Great One
who inspired little number nines
and little number ninety-nines
but we're more than just hockey and fishing lines
off of the rocky coast of the Maritimes
and some say what defines us
is something as simple as please and thank you
and as for you're welcome
well we say that too
but we are more
than genteel or civilized
we are an idea in the process
of being realized
we are young
we are cultures strung together
then woven into a tapestry
and the design
is what makes us more
than the sum total of our history
we are an experiment going right for a change
with influences that range from a to zed
and yes we say zed instead of zee
we are the colours of Chinatown and the coffee of Little Italy
we dream so big that there are those
who would call our ambition an industry
because we are more than sticky maple syrup and clean snow
we do more than grow wheat and brew beer
we are vineyards of good year after good year
we reforest what we clear
because we believe in generations beyond our own
knowing now that so many of us
have grown past what used to be
we can stand here today
filled with all the hope people have
when they say things like "someday"
someday we'll be great
someday we'll be this
or that
someday we'll be at a point
when someday was yesterday
and all of our aspirations will pay the way
for those who on that day
look towards tomorrow
and still they say someday
we will reach the goals we set
and we will get interest on our inspiration
because we are more than a nation of whale watchers and lumberjacks
more than backpacks and hiking trails
we are hammers and nails building bridges
towards those who are willing to walk across
we are the lost-and-found for all those who might find themselves at a loss
we are not the see-through gloss or glamour
of those who clamour for the failings of others
we are fathers brothers sisters and mothers
uncles and nephews aunts and nieces
we are cousins
we are found missing puzzle pieces
we are families with room at the table for newcomers
we are more than summers and winters
more than on and off seasons
we are the reasons people have for wanting to stay
because we are more than what we say or do
we live to get past what we go through
and learn who we are
we are students
students who study the studiousness of studying
so we know what as well as why
we don't have all the answers
but we try
and the effort is what makes us more
we don't all know what it is in life we're looking for
so keep exploring
go far and wide
or go inside but go deep
go deep
as if James Cameron was filming a sequel to The Abyss
and suddenly there was this location scout
trying to figure some way out
to get inside you
because you've been through hell and high water
and you went deep
keep exploring
because we are more
than a laundry list of things to do and places to see
we are more than hills to ski
or countryside ponds to skate
we are the abandoned hesitation of all those who can't wait
we are first-rate greasy-spoon diners and healthy-living cafes
a country that is all the ways you choose to live
a land that can give you variety
because we are choices
we are millions upon millions of voices shouting
" keep exploring... we are more"
we are the surprise the world has in store for you
it's true
Canada is the "what" in "what's new?"
so don't say "been there done that"
unless you've sat on the sidewalk
while chalk artists draw still lifes
on the concrete of a kid in the street
beatboxing to Neil Young for fun
don't say you've been there done that
unless you've been here doing it
let this country be your first-aid kit
for all the times you get sick of the same old same old
let us be the story told to your friends
and when that story ends
leave chapters for the next time you'll come back
next time pack for all the things
you didn't pack for the first time
but don't let your luggage define your travels
each life unravels differently
and experiences are what make up
the colours of our tapestry
we are the true north
strong and free
and what's more
is that we didn't just say it
we made it be.
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Sure, we may not win all the medals. We may not even win the most medals. I don't really think that is the point. The olympics are about coming together in a sense of comraderie for a purpose. It is like the "It's a small World" of sports. If we could take how we feel about coming together as a global community and tranfer that to every other facet of life, perhaps there would be no wars, no famine, no global strife.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Jamaica

After a LONG delay of over 18 hours, we finally left the airport at 4am. We were all exhausted by the time we arrived, but the warm sunshine and beautiful surroundings woke us up enough that we could enjoy the rest of the day.




During the week, we took a bus to a place called, "Rick's Cafe". It was a huge area with a massive bar, a small pool and cliff diving. There was an area where tourists could jump off, too, although not as high as the real jumpers. Jurgen decided he would take his turn!! He had salt water up his sinuses for the next 3 days!! Despite this, he said it was worth it for the thrill and to get out of the heat for a bit.

From left to right, this is Jurgen, Gwynn, and Mike. Mike and his fiance were staying at a different resort, so we met up with them one night at Rick's cafe. It was nice to swap stories and all watch Jurgen dive!


From left to right, this is Melissa, Patricia, and me. The girls with the guys.


This is us at our resort the first couple fo days.

This is Gwynn and Tricia, the couple who came to our resort. I think they had as much fun as we did! I think we will have to make this a semi-annual event!

The swim-up bar in the main pool. We affectionately termed this the "pee pool" . Afterall, there were people who would sit there for what seemed like ALL DAY drinking, and you have to wonder just where all that beer goes?

The view from our room. We had paid for oceanview. I guess you can sort of see the ocean peaking through the trees way at the back there. Next time, maybe I won't bother with that. You really aren't in your room that much anyway.

This was our room and Jurgen relaxing after the long flight. Cute little room.
So, would I go back to Jamaica? Definately! Although, after experiencing credit card fraud (which was obviously an inside job as our cards had never left the safe the entire time), I don't know if I would go back to that resort. The other thing I learned is that one week just isn't long enough! We should always go for two. That way if you are stuck waiting to leave for 18 hours or so, it still doesn't matter, as you have tons of time to relax.






Sunday, January 24, 2010

"An Act of God" to ruin the week

I am still here in Regina. "An act of God" had kept us here. We haven't had a bad snow storm all year and suddenly, the day we are supposed to leave for Jamaica, all hell (and snow) breaks loose.
We were supposed to leave at 9am today. We left our house before 7 am to drive in and pick up our friends. We had to drive 55km on the highway all the way into Regina. Then when we got there, the ticket counter was backed up, and they told us there was a "mechanical problem" with the plane and we were being delayed. They told us at that point that it wouldn't leave until 12. What we didn't know at that time, was that that was bullshit and the plane wasn't even there yet.
We decided to leave, and went and had breakfast at Smitty's. Then came back for our flight after hanging out at the in-laws for a bit. Then, we went back and sat around for an hour and a half. No one told us anything, no one gave us updates. We looked on the Departure Board and now it says 4pm!
Finally, at 2pm they finally told us that now we have a plane and they think they can land in this awful weather, but they don't have a crew. We won't have a crew for another 8 hours. So, we are able to pick up our luggage and go home for 8 hours. Then they tell us to keep checking the website because it might not be then either. Well, I just checked and it now says 2am. What crap.
I am wishing two things now. First, that we would have booked two weeks (then a delay of a day or two wouldn't be a big deal), but we didn't. Now, I am almost wishing they would just cancel the whole thing because at least then maybe I would get my money back.
Jurgen says to me, "See, this is why I don't like to travel". Again, what crap. We have never been delayed or cancelled before, and we have travelled a fair amount. A lot of people have these stories, so it is not just us.
I am frustrated and disappointed but there is nothing we can do. The really upsetting part is that this was not a cheap vacation AT ALL and wasting a day seems like wasting a whole lot of money. Not to mention we convinced another couple to come with us and now they are wasting this money and time too. Sigh. Again, there is nothing we can do.
Well, maybe we will still be able to go for a little while, maybe not. Only time will tell....

Monday, January 18, 2010

Jamaica, Man!

We leave for Jamaica in 5 short days. I can't wait! Sometimes you just get to the point when you need a VACATION, and this is it! It will be so nice to just sit and do NOTHING for awhile. Get some sun (Lord knows I need it), sip some pina coladas, go swimming, read a book or two, see some fishies. Aaaahhh, hot trips. How I love them. I do wish we were going for 2 weeks instead of 1, but honestly when I was booking it it just never occured to me. We have never gone for longer than 1 week before (OK there was that one time in Cuba we went for 2 weeks, but that was different). So, I just booked one. Unfortunately, my hubby had wanted to go for 2 weeks, but it was REALLY hard to change, so we are just going for one. Besides, that way we can save some money for Greece (which I have just gotten the green light for!!!!!!!!). But, I digress.
Jamaica will be relaxing and wonderful and warm and I am SO looking forward to it!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

remembering 2009

It is Jan. 1 and I feel drawn to blog about what I really liked and will be memorable about 2009.

Moving into our new house. When we bought the condo in Regina I always felt like it was Jurgen's house. Afterall, he lived there by hisself for two years before I got there. It was full of his decor and his furniture. Kind of like moving into your boyfriend's apartment - not really yours. I also had started to get the "baby ache" and thought that condo was way to small to raise kids in (although I was raised in house just a little bigger than that). So, we started looking for a new house. I am so happy with our house in White City. Sure, there have been a few problems (see my previous blog), but hopefully they will all soon be fixed. It is a beautiful spacious house in a peaceful neighborhood with a fantastic view. It is full of OUR decor and OUR furniture, and I can see us filling up the rooms with children and laughter. I love our new house.

Jennie's wedding. Everything from the shower in September, to the wedding on Thanksgiving, to the reception in Moose Jaw, it was all so fun! It was great to meet the people who are now such an important part of my best friend's life. Wonderful to get to know some of Jen's extended family (like Shawn, Eddie's parents, his brother, his sister). And truly great to get to better know the man who has stolen her heart.

Finishing my first year as a staff Anesthesiologist. Writing my board exams was a "right of passage", an awful thing that everyone must do in order to finally do what they have been trained for 9 years to do. It took everything in my soul everyday for a year just to put one foot in front of the other in order to get to the "big day" and sit in those little rooms until the end. Then, it was over and I had passed, and the world seemed so much brighter and better somehow. It was like the beginning of a new life. Now, that I have finished over an entire year of work, I realize something. I didn't pass because of luck, or even that I had studied so hard. No, I passed because I was meant to. Because I am good at my job. It really says something when the nurses who you work with everyday trust you enough to put them to sleep, enough to thank you with gifts and words of kindness afterwards. It says something when the nurses are happy that you are the one oncall with them - not because you are friendly to everyone, but because they are confident in your work. I am truly happy with my work here in Regina.

Watching my Dad progress. Last March my father had open heart surgery. He had a rough go of it afterwards with several complications including what could have been a devastating stroke. But he is tough. If life has taught me anything, it is that any toughness and perserverance I may have is because of my father. He taught me to never give up and to keep putting on foot in front of the other, even if it is with a walker at first. I watched him progress from struggling to speak and being unable to walk, to now joking and laughing like his old self and walking up stairs like he had never been bothered by them. Life may not be fair, and sometimes bad things happen to truly good people, but you have to be thankful for what you have. And, I am thankful my dad got a second chance.

All of these things helped me grow as a person this year. I can only hope that the next year will help me to grow even more.