Thursday, September 28, 2006

Preparing for change yet again

Tomorrow we sign the lease on our new living quarters. We haven't rented anything for about 8 years so it's a strange place to find ourselves once again. Though more homey & permanent than what we are living in now, there's still a sense of unattachment. Detachment? (I'm sleepy & sick.) Also, there's stuff to think about like possibly not being able to paint, staining the carpet with pureed plums & wondering if installing baby gates will muck up the walls that we don't own. We have this tendency to be a little more careless with our own possesions & I get overly concerned when I have to care for something that is not mine. I'm a little worried that I'll turn into this weird neat freak that won't let anyone come into the house unless they are wearing a blue hazmat suit.

Anyway, big changes yet again in the next week & a bit. I think we get the keys tomorrow but we won't start moving in until Wednesday when our movers are scheduled to deliver the obscene amount of junk that is legally ours. Calvin's brother Bruce comes to visit next Thursday for a few days so we'll also be busy doing more sightseeing & boozing it up. Or at least I will while those two are off biking in the woods somewhere. Watch out Whistler. Me & Doodles will be organizing closets & cupboards & installing baby gates. Woo hoo!

I'm also hoping to reorganize this silly blog. I feel like I desperately need to update my links & blogroll, plus the whole thing could use a fresh look. Fat chance eh? I've been trying for the past few weeks to create a different page to link to where all the crap I never get to read anymore will be organized. As it stands right now, there's quite a few blogs here on the right that I never have time to read & I'd also like to link to a few new ones every so often just to spice it up around here. It's not that I don't love the old ones anymore, but I just feel like it's time for a change. That way it'll go with the rest of my life.

We'll see what happens when it happens. Don't hold your breath or nothing.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Seattle Sightseeing #2

The Children's Maze Museum

This is a great place to bring the monkey child. I’m going to miss living 4 blocks away from the Seattle Center because at $3 a pop (Microsoft discount) this place is so worth the uphill stroll. Unlike the Children’s Museum back in Ottawa this one has a fantastic area for little ones 2 & under called Discovery Bay. Park your stroller & away you go into toddler heaven. First there’s a decent sized fish tank that Doodles promptly tried to lick the scum off of & then once sated, she started smacking the glass so as to scare the bejeebus out of the tank creatures. Poor little fishes. Once inside the padlocked gated (so as to keep the older riff raff out) area there’s several of those wood bead bent metal maze things set up along the wall, as well as a couple of child sized table height ones. Of course she tried to eat the wooden pieces. Mmmmm crusty woodiliscious.

Next to the wall of wood chew toys is a seaweed area with bells attached at their bases above your head so when you walk through the vinyl green wavy things tinkle which makes for a fun game of peek-a-boo. Spread throughout the Discovery Bay are a few padded / matted play structure areas where your little ones can practice climbing & if they are like mine, biting & sucking on the vinyl mats. There’s also a huge basket in one corner that contains clear plastic tubes filled with assorted sparkles, plastic die, bells & the paper circles from your old three-holed punch. These are good for bonking against each other, as well as against other children’s heads. Also good for rolling along the floor with both hands so that you end up doing a face plant into the carpet. Oh and throwing into the air. That’s the fun. The best part in this wonderful area for Doodles is the little pond where two tiers of water are filled with various plastic sea creatures & boats for her to put in her mouth right after all the other germy kids. The ponds are too high for her for the moment so I am also stuck bent over like some old hunchbacked crone so she can be at the level needed to splash & grab the toys, but hey, at least there’s vinyl smocks to don so she doesn’t get her clothes wet. Not that she cares & not that I get to stay dry. The blissful look as she sucks the air brains out of the killer whale squeeze toy does however make up for any soggy garments I may have to wear.

The special exhibit on display at the moment is Clifford the Big Red Dog. Though we’ve never watched this cartoon I figured we’d check it out since all she wants to do is look at doggies lately. She can almost say dog now & it’s hilarious to watch her get so overexcited whenever she sees one of the canine crowd. She’ll kick & wave her arms & squeal & laugh hysterically at any dog she sees. Thankfully we haven’t met too many nasty ones yet but I’m starting to get a bit wary of where & to what she’s thrusting her innocent hands at. Anyway, the Clifford exhibit is pretty cute despite the whole thing needing a bit of antibacterial cleansing & a few less pushy kids. I know the child was only 4 or 5 years old but did he have to take ALL the plush flowers out of my baby’s hands? While she was trying to suck on it? No harm done but we were both a bit surprised. Good thing there were several large fibreglass dogs around to take the sting out of dashed suckage. Doodles especially liked the one named Cleo, a poodle with a perky little nose. Perhaps it reminded her of Gramma’s menagerie of doggies, or maybe she just wanted to gnaw on that snout.

Getting ready for some gnawing

There were plenty of other things to see & play with in here. The older kids appeared to be having great fun playing mail delivery person & maneuvering large dog bones onto some conveyor belt thing that I believe deposited them into a large dog bowl (I wasn’t paying attention because it looked too big for baby to play with). There were books to read, musical instruments to smash, a fake sand castle puzzle to piece together & a grocer’s deli shop complete with plastic food & a kid that told me to get out because he was playing in there. I’m sort of glad crazy pirate baby has yet to form words because from some of the smack I’m hearing from the youngsters these days I am not looking forward to the lip I’m sure is in store for me. Oh and the swearing. At the rate that I’m (still!) cursing at the dog I’m almost positive her first word will start with an f. That’ll go over well at the playground won’t it?

Watching the roses get snatched makes baby

So very sad Posted by Picasa

So… lots to see & do & play with at the Seattle Children’s Museum. Besides the two areas we hung out at there’s several other spots to have fun in, including a gear / machine section called Cog City where you can depress levers, press button & watch science at work. There’s also a music area where I think you can play some instruments, etc. but again I didn’t really check it out too thoroughly as it was way beyond our respective age levels. One area that we explored a little bit was the regular exhibit (doesn’t really seem like the right word but whatever) which was different parts of the world as a village. (Ah I see... it is the Global Village.. I'm a little slow.) Little splices of life from China, Africa & more displaying living quarters, dining & shopping likely to be found in each place. Kinda neat & there were some wooden musical instruments for baby to bang away on but for some reason there were some really weird dead ends. In fact there were quite a few of these throughout the museum. You think you’d be walking to another room or a way out & bam there was a wall in front of you so you’d have to backtrack to get back to the beginning. I think someone needs to rethink the flow of user traffic in this place because it’s just not the most intuitive set of pathways I’ve experienced. Some of the displays also need a good cleaning. Won’t somebody think of the children? The dirty, germy children who put things in their mouths, probably after sticking them down their pants? Anyway, I’ll give it an A for keeping baby happy & getting me out of the apartment twice in the last 6 days.

Monday, September 25, 2006

He's ok

He fell asleep on the couch in his underwear while watching a movie.

After drinking 5 beers.

Phew! That splinterverse we were living in for like 4 hours was a scary place!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The aliens have landed

And taken over Sugar Daddy's body. That or the pod people, or maybe he's finally gone bat-shit crazy. Otherwise I have no logical explanation for what he said to me in the car yesterday.

"I don't really feel like going to a beer festival."


Monday, September 18, 2006

Success on the Eastside!

No I didn't pass my driver's test. I've yet to go back.... however we have finally finagled us a place to live for the next year.


It's totally rockin' & probably the nicest place we've ever lived. Also a complete fluke in finding it. We had an appointment to see an apartment down the street that we'd been pinning some hopes on but the leasing agent never showed & no one was in the office that was supposed to be open all day. Someone who lived in the building was gracious enough to show us their place & it was nice but we really wanted to see the other plans available. After waiting about 45 minutes we decided to go get some lunch & come back. On the way back we walked past this pretty park & these townhomes were across the street with a sign that said "now leasing" so Calvin gave the guy a call & made an appointment to see them the next day (Sunday).

Meanwhile, we saw a few more apartments & one more townhome that was really nice but pretty far away on the East side of Redmond. Some of the other places we saw were really depressing & ugly & way too expensive for what you got. Most of the places come with a communal centre that usually has a business centre (fax, printers, etc.), workout room, pool, hot tub, movie room & living room area that you can book for parties. While this is great, it increases the rental prices & even though the common areas look fantastic, when you get to some of the apartments they don't live up to the expectations these areas raise. We also don't need any of this because we have discounted memberships at a fantastic gym complete with 4 pools, etc., etc., etc. (Seriously, the gym is insane!) So.... we were getting really frustrated with trying to find an apartment. The areas we liked in Seattle itself didn't seem to have much available without paying an arm & a leg for, plus we were severly limited by the dog restrictions. We started looking Eastside, which is across Lake Washington & consists of Bellevue, Mercer Island, Kirkland & Redmond (where Microsoft is) & prices weren't that much different but the farther we went the more likely they were to take out dog, plus it would be that much closer to work for Calvin who is getting a bit tired of the commute he's making every day now. We narrowed down apartments to one on the island & one south of Bellevue but decided to look one more day & check out the apartments that no one cared to show up to. Bonus for us I say!

Anyway, we got a 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath 3 level townhome with 1600 square feet for less than most other places we were looking at. I mean the place technically has more square footage than our house in Ottawa so all of our crap will fit & we won't have time pressures to get rid of stuff right away, but actually sort through what we need & what we can sell or give away. The place is across from a really nice park with bbq's, an excellent playground & lots of huge trees. We'll be walking distance from downtown Redmond & grocery stores (Whole Foods!) & a huge off-leash dog park & & &....

New car + new house = I am so spoiled!

Can you tell I'm happy? And so less stressed. It's like a huge weight has been lifted off our shoulders & we can get down to really enjoying ourselves here. Doing stuff like choosing baby's first Halloween outfit.

This sweet mermaid is not it. Despite the happy demeanor above she hated this dress contraption so much I thought she was going to rip it off her flailing limbs. Good thing she loves hamming it up for the camera or you would be able to feel her wrath through the ether of the internets & you would be afraid. Very afraid.

Be not afraid my friends for tomorrow is Talk Like A Pirate Day!! Posted by Picasa
Are you ready?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Flailing & Failing

I don't fail much of anything. Never have. If I set my mind to doing something I generally achieve it or even, overachieve. This is basically because:

  1. I am s-m-r-t.
  2. I am a total keener. And a geek.
  3. I will only attempt to do something I am fully prepared for. Sometimes I can fake this because of number 1.
  4. I can remember tons of useless information. Well... I used to be able to.
  5. Most importantly, if there is a chance that I will fail I'll avoid the situation like the plague.

For me, failure is basically not an option because I do not handle it well. (Understatement of the year?)

In order for us former Ontario folk to drive in Washington State we must both take our driver's license tests again. Written & driven. No problem right? Plus for me it was a good thing because I never actually took the G whatever exit exam in the graduated licensing format. I had planned to do it when I was about 8 months pregnant so if I happened to make a little error I might just get a little pity or the benefit of hormonal doubt. By the time I was 8 months knocked up I was running out of energy & working quite a bit so I made excuses to put the test off. Here there is no graduated licensing so all I have to take is one driving test. Woo hoo! But first I have to do the written. Again, no problem right?

Wrong! One of the problems with never failing much of anything can be a sense of cockiness. How hard can a written driver's test be? I did the practice test online & made only 1 mistake. I scanned the book & thought "ok I may not have read the whole book, but I've been driving for a few years now & am confident in my abilities (except for the dreaded parallel park)". So on Wednesday morning we got in our new car (yay Subaru!) & drove to the DMV in Redmond. I planned to read the book again in the car on the way there but was defeated by the screams of my precious crazy Doodles the entire way there. She's not the type of baby who will cry & eventually settle down but the extreme opposite wherein the cries build & build until she is out of her freaking mind & can barely breathe. It's all I can do to keep myself from unbuckling the car seat straps & picking her up to comfort her. Needless to say I didn't get any studying in before getting to the testing office.

Oh ya & the DMV? As a foreigner you hear the stories & the comedians & the skits about the horrors of these places & while it wasn't as bad as some people make it out to be, it was still pretty bad. The wait was ridiculously long & frustrating & many of the staff appeared to be really grumpy. Especially the woman who was in charge of the driving tests & was behind in her appointments. You did not want to get in her way or some shit was gonna fly. Anyway, after waiting about 45 minutes I took the eye test & went to the computer to do the written exam with the baby crying in the background. Even though the tests are randomized I think the guy who sent me over must have thought I was a drunk cyclist because I swear half of the questions revolved around these topics. Seriously it was weird & sort of stupid. I mean come on, everyone knows it's really dumb to drink & drive, it's fairly well known that .08 is the legal limit, but really, what difference is it going to make in my driving ability & knowledge of rules of the road to remember exactly how many days you have to stay in jail or lose your license for if you get caught drinking & driving? I know not to drink & drive, I know if you get caught it's bad, really bad, isn't that enough? Why do I need the exact amount of days? For various offences? Why? Also why as a driver of a motor vehicle do I need to know how many feet a bicycle light should shine ahead into traffic? Isn't this the responsibility of the cyclist, not the car driver person? Things like this... I just don't get why I should fail a test because of these types of questions.

Ya I failed. And then I cried because it was just so fucking stupid. And then my baby wouldn't stop crying & screaming & clawing at me. And life just sucked. And then, upset, Calvin dropped me off at the gym so I could do a Baby Robics class (she goes in the Bjorn). She continued to scream & I continued to try & stifle my tears. I could barely get dressed because she wouldn't let go of me. I nursed her & put her down so I could get my shoes on & still she screeched. There was no holding back the tears anymore & I just about lost it in the changing room of the gym I'd only been to once before. Suddenly two sweet, sweet woman came & asked if everything was ok & made everything better again. I don't know their names, only that they'd been there (as in with screaming infant) before & I can't thank them enough for being so sweet to the crazy lady in the family change room. Whoever you two are, thank you from the bottom of my heart. The kindness of strangers is just about the nicest sort of kindness you can find.

Stupid Giraffe or proof that I am a bad mother. : ) Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 11, 2006

Seattle Sightseeing #1

The Seattle Aquarium

Eeek an eel!

We've been doing a hell of a lot of touristy stuff on the weekends since we moved here, just trying to get a feel for the city & I have to say, playing traveller in your own town is fun. Not that I'm sure I can consider this my own town yet, but we are in that strange transitional stage where we're not sure if we should raise our hands if the tour guides ask the crowd if anyone is from out of town. Yesterday I got all excited & raised my hand because we were from farther away than anyone else, but the guide never noticed & then I just felt like a dumbass schmuck for most of the day afterwards thinking about my overeagerness for some measly attention from someone whose job it was to entertain the paying public. Sometimes I am a goofball.

The tour yesterday was the Underground Tour of Seattle (Jennifer I went! And it was good!) but since I need to catch up on the other stuff we've done I'm going to skip it until I tell you about all the other places we've seen. And since I never get enough time to type out much, it's gonna be one site at a time. How am I even doing this right now you ask? Shhh don't tell anyone, but she's watching (captivated!) Baby Beethoven right now. Gah I know there's no educational value to these things but if it gives me a few moments peace, I'm letting her watch. She freaking loves it & tries to grab the objects off the screen while talking to the saxamaphone playing giraffe. We tried to get something mildly "educational" the other day & bought a Sesame Street dvd, but none of us are liking it as much, because a) the music isn't as great (though mildly less tinny), b) it has the baby versions of Elmo, Big Bird, Brandi & Prairie Dawn (who for some reason I loathe) & their parents which is just weird for someone who grew up with the regular sized versions & c) damn it, I'm supposed to sit there with her & interact! I'm sorry, but I bought this for a break from the interraction. Now I'm supposed to sing with her too?!

Yes I'm joking..... or am I?

Anyway, on to the touristy stuff. Last Saturday we went to the Seattle Aquarium and had some watery fun. We got there later than anticipated as Ms. No-Nap decided to snooze for 2 hours making our plans for getting there when it opened all for naught. Despite the long line up it didn't take forever to get in & on to the aquatic frenzy. The River Otters were first & didn't really live up to their reputation of being frolicking critters - they just laid there snuggled against each other looking cute & kind of oily. The Sea Otters on the other hand were chasing each other in & out of the water & being very frisky so the baby was fascinated for about three minutes. There was plenty to look at throughout the aquarium & several of the exhibits were located in a lower section where you could see the seals & other creatures swimming under water right beside you. There's also an underwater dome-like area full of fish, sharks (smaller ones) eels (see creepy one above) & other assorted slimy & anemone like creatures. Pretty cool. Elsewhere there's hands on exhibits where you can touch starfish, sea urchins & the like so Doodlebug was in heaven splashing about in there.

All said it was a good time, though probably better to visit when the baby is not so much of a baby but more of an inquisitive 3 or 4 year old. I think our almost 5 year old nephew Thomas would love it but as for Doodles, if something wasn't moving around directly in front of her or she wasn't able to splash in the water, she seemed to get a little bored / tired & got more enjoyment out of reaching towards unsuspecting heads to pull other people's hair. For some reason she really likes blondes.

The Aquarium itself is apparently undergoing some renovation & expansion projects which will hopefully update the look of the place. I think I was expecting something more along the lines of Marineland or Sea World because coming from the Prairies / Eastern Ontario the only exposure to ocean life you get is from commercials. It's like when I moved to Newfoundland & thought it would be exciting to visit the seals at the Ocean Sciences Centre in Logy Bay. Calvin took me shortly after meeting him & well, I thought it was really cool to see a couple of be-whiskered faces popping up every so often but after a short while it got pretty cold & exciting was not the word to describe the experience. I'll say breezy & fascinating. As for the Seattle Aquarium, not so cold but probably just as old (too lazy to check) so some parts feel slightly dated construction wise (like the dome) but really it's probably just due to my overly eager expectations. A part of living in this society that always wants the latest & greatest technology perhaps? Whatever. To sum it all up, the Aquarium was a great place to get acquainted with the watery environs that surround this city, the baby liked it, we liked it but left wanting a little bit more excitement wise. B grade for visiting with baby but I'd rank it higher if you are going with an older child who is fascinated by all things ocean.

Having a great time until she banged her head too many times on the glass. Posted by Picasa

Sidenote: Did you notice how long this took? I started this on Sunday... it's now Thursday. That's pathetic!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Where to begin?

So much to tell & so little time to tell it all. It used to be back in the day that I could start a blog post in the morning, work on it bit by bit throughout the day when the Doodles would nap or play by herself on the floor beside me. By the end of the day I'd usually have something half decent typed out & I could hit that good ol' Publish Post button & move on to catching up on all the other blogs out there. This was when my child would nap. And be happy. Obviously it hasn't been working out so well for me lately. I think the extreme separation anxiety phase is dissipating because I can finally skip off to pee by myself again but she's still pretty attached & wants to be near me most of the time. Sometimes she'll be playing on the floor with her toys & I think I can sit 8 feet away in plain view at my laptop but within a couple of minutes she'll notice I'm not beside her & will crawl over & pull herself up on my chair, wanting to be picked up so she can bang on the keys. So much for trying to type. It's just been a losing battle so I've sort of given up writing anything during the day. I keep thinking I'll do stuff in the evening when she's finally gone to bed but by then I'm so brain dead & tired that the words are lost. It makes me a wee bit sad. Reality TV & light beer numbs it pretty good though.

I'm also feeling under pressure to find us a more permanent place to live. The place we are in is nice & I love the freedom of not having all of our accumulated possessions surrounding us. It's made us realize how little stuff & space we actually need to be happy. It makes me want to sell / give away most of our belongings that are sitting in the moving company's warehouse right now. There are items in there with a lot of sentimental value but that's it. Sentiment. Does one really need thses objects to remember the past? I'm not sure. I know when I see some of the trinkets & books & old articles of clothing I'll be overcome with the sense of remembrance but right now I don't miss them. They are just stuff. Taking up space that I don't need. That I don't have right now & that I'm not really looking for in a new place to live. This is the dilemma. Do we look for a house because of the convenience of having somewhere to put all of our crap or do we look for an apartment & pay extra for a storage space that we can keep extra things until we are ready to sell them? We are both thinking the latter but then there is the complication of only having the movers one more time. We'd have to rent a truck & make several trips to take stuff that would be delivered to a storage place if the building we choose didn't have a big enough space for us. So we would essentially be overwhelmed with boxes & boxes of stuff, large furniture items & patio furniture for a few days. All this clutter in an apartment... I couldn't live too long like that.

Because I'm a worry wart I'm also concerned about where to live. Neighbourhood wise. Right now we're in Queen Anne - South Slope. Walking distance to downtown, Safeway is 3 blocks away, lots of restaurants & coffee shops (go figure!) around & we're 4 blocks from Seattle Center (Space Needle, etc.) There's a bit of traffic noise, loud seagulls (Elliot Bay close by too) & weekend drunks yelling, but it feels safe & pretty vibrant. If we can't find something else we could always get another apartment in the building so at least there's that option. Then there's Belltown which is pretty much downtown so I'd be really close to anything I'd want to do (Library, art galleries, shopping, restaurants etc.) but there'd be a bigger noise factor (traffic, buslines & more partying drunks) & some sketchier areas that are kind of weird walking through with baby. We've also been looking in an upcoming area called South Lake Union which has some cool apartment buildings, REI (= MEC but with more selection), & a soon to be Whole Foods. There's also noise from the float planes & nearby major traffic routes & well, it's a transitional area so some parts have a really industrial feel which I don't have a problem with but it's not so family freindly. Capitol Hill, Madison Park & Madrona look great & would be good for Calvin getting on to the bridge (bike/bus or car) to go to work but there doesn't seem to be as much available there.

Then there's Eastside. Which is where Calvin works. Which is where it seems many Seattleites thumb their noses at & vice versa. At least this is the impression we have from a few travel books & maybe one or two people. Surburbia versus culture. Nitty gritty living versus clean family fun? Who knows if it's true or not but it just gives me more to consider. I love being an urban dweller in a metropolitan city because I imagine myself to be ever so cosmopolitan & chic, taking my funky-dressed infant to galleries, caf├ęs & cool stores where she doesn't protest while I sip a soy cappuccino & read a good book. Ya right. I'm lucky if a shower every day, the baby hates wearing anything other than a diaper, she will scream like Alice Cooper if I'm not paying attention to her & likes to tear up & then devour paper. I want to think that we would go out to restaurants once a week to enjoy ourselves & take in the gastronomical delights of Seattle but really, it's too freaking hard & I feel like I'm eating like a savage half the time because I can only use one hand which is busy tearing up what I'm eating into teeny pieces that I can feed to the suddenly ravenous birdlike creature that is sitting in my lap. I guess what I'm saying is that we don't necessarily take advantage of the conveniences of living the urbane urban lifestyle.

Not that there isn't any restaurants or any other attributes missing from living on the Eastside. It's just doesn't have the same feeling. Which is fine. I really don't care but it's just something else to think about while searching. Along with some things we're not used to like leasing offices instead of just an elderly superintendent couple, 20 day notices instead of 30 day making searches before the 10th of the month just pointless, high rents (more than our mortgage payments in Ottawa but less than what we'd be paying here for one) & then there's the whole doggone dog restrictions. Most places have restrictions by weight - 20, 25, 30, 45, 50, 60 pounds, some also have breed restrictions like no Pitbulls, Rottweillers, German Shepards & yes, even Dalmatians. Crazy neurotic aggressive dogs. At least according to some leasing companies. Whatever, I'm not going to start ranting about what a pussy our dog is but try to be cheery that our choices are narrowing which should make it all easier. Right? Thing is, it seems that all the (nicer) places I'm interested in are the ones we won't be accepted in.

Anyway, this has sadly taken me two days to write because of a certain someone with a very mean temper. Seriously, the little bugger can be nasty even on the day when we should be celebrating her 10 month birthday. And now I can feel the bass from the sex freaks' stereo in the apartment below so I gotta go slug back a beer. Pronto. Ahhhh apartment living is fine....

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Virtual Party Time

Guess who's old?

Birthday wishes today to me, John B, Bob Newhart & to Dweezil Zappa who is old like me. But with better sideburns.

Belated happy stuff to my sweetie Calvin, Denis, Stan, & Teanna. We miss you all. Well... except for Calvin. We just miss his brain.

e.t.a more birthdays & take a lookie at what I got for my birthday. Men in sailor suits. mmmm yummy! Better than what I got the sugar daddy for his big day. What was that you ask? Nothing. Nada. I suck. At least we both got drunk.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Just a question

When did the pronunciation of Empire (as in waist) turn into umpire? I think I've been watching a bit too much TLC lately... or just too much tv in general, because I've been hearing a few too many so called fashion experts refer to high waisted garments as something that belongs at the ballpark.

OK Here's an explanation but it just seems so affected & silly.

Must go to bed.