Tuesday, November 29

Busy, busy, busy

As noted in the Thursday post, things have been busy chez Seraphinalina. 

House concert went really well, highest attendance since our first show (a free show because we foot the bill).  Coco Love Alcorn is just a wonderfully warm person, her husband is charming, but Ellie stole the show for Mr. Lina and I.  Ellie was still a baby when she arrived, but she left a toddler.  It was clear that she was a good cruiser and she didn't really need your fingers to walk, but she just wasn't walking on her own.  At some point after the show, she was cruising around the living room furniture and just walked from the love seat to the coffee table.  I was sitting across on the sofa and her dad was beside her in a chair and I could see his eyes widen, but it seemed that Ellie didn't know what she did.  So she did it again going back to the love seat.  Coco saw that time and she just about freaked to see it.  We all started clapping for her and then it clicked that no one helped her.  After that, she looked so proud as she literally did laps between the dining room/kitchen/hallway.  It was really special to be a part of such a milestone.

Have you ever heard of a Stag & Doe?  Buck & Doe?  Wedding Social (Manitoba)?  I've heard in Thunder Bay they call it a shag, which makes me giggle and I'm not even from the UK. It seems every region has their own name for this kind of event and it's a bit more rural than urban.  It's essentially a fund raiser for a wedding, cash bar, door prize, a couple of games.  In rural areas, it works better because the social becomes the 2nd bar in town for the night and people who don't necessarily know the couple will come because it's something to do.  Friday night we got sucked into helping out at one.   This will sound odd, but we're pretty good friends with Mr. Lina's ex girlfriend, not like best friends forever, but enough that Mr. Lina ended up being the DJ and I ended up running a mini-putt game.  Another late night.

I was feeling pretty grumpy leading up to the Stag & Doe.  I didn't know what I wanted to wear, I was tired, I was sad.  Ellie was like a little light in the house and it was gone.  I had come home from work early because I was really sad.  I was a trooper once we got there, but it did clarify for me that the vacation to New Orleans was like hitting a pause button on all the crappy feelings I have. 

I'm going to be a bit new age-y here, if it's going to make you laugh, well, I'm a bit of a skeptic too, but curiousity gets me.  I want to remember some of this in a year from now, so it's as good a place as any to record it and my thoughts.

Saturday I helped my mom at a art/craft/wellness show.  It was an odd mix having alternative health care on the upper level and art/craft on the lower level.  Someone was doing tarot readings and I thought that was worth checking out.  There were a ton of tarot readers in New Orleans, but being so touristy, it just felt too... tourist trap to me.  I have a pocket deck of tarot cards and I really don't know why I bought them, curiousity I suppose.  I think what works about tarot is that it's your own interpretation of what you see.  If all it does is make you think, that's not such a bad thing. 

She asked if I had a specific question, I was a bit torn.  I don't want to hear I won't have children, I could ask about work...  I just couldn't find the words so I said no.  She said let's draw 4 cards to check your energy and what's going on.

She had another deck of pictures, not tarot, three cards went above these.  So out of this, the hermit shows that I need help, a counsellor, guidance.  The 10 of cups (the rainbow) is part of wish and the card above was also about wish fulfillment, she asked what it is that I want because she thought this was a strong indication I'd get it.  I said that picture is what I want, children.  The two middle cards are rods, the 8 of rods indicates travel.  She felt a pull to the west coast, I have no clue what that means, I said I have family in Manitoba, but she stuck to her feelings, Manitoba wasn't far enough west.  The 9 of rods is suppose to be about courage, but what struck me was the look on the guys face.  It's like Mr. Lina looking back at me saying, yeah... I dunno that I'm up for this.  I have more confidence in his parenting than he does.

She also commented (prior to me saying much about children) that the above card  in the centre had to do with medical issues.  Did I know why medical issues would be associated with children?  Sigh.  Yes, I do.  Now some of this would be led by my comments, but her feelings were that there will be two boys, close in age and more likely by adoption than birth.  One will have a strong attachment to animals, need to have animals and care for them.  The other will like collecting rocks, he will feel an attachment to the ground, feel comforted by the vibrations that the rocks have.  I suppose we'll just have to wait and see about that.

So I went home, told Mr. Lina about it and apparently he liked to collect rocks as a kid.  Every beach they went to, he liked picking up rocks, had a rocker to sort them.  I didn't know that myself.

Sunday we went to a house party, a nice change from hosting.  We were actually in Reader's Digest a year or so ago for an article about house concerts.  We just happened to be the closest Home Routes venue to the author.  This led to the connection between us.  6 a year are too much for them to commit to, so they occasionally take Home Routes people on their Monday off or book artists.  All the way from California, I got to hear Kevin Quinn from Boho Chapeau.  Good show, very personable and has a song about losing his dad that made us all cry.  It's not on an album yet, but there is a live recording of Kevin performing.

Thursday, November 24

Crazy day coming up

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers.  It's business as usual here.

An Amazon package arrived last night.  This is not surprising in my house, Mr. Lina is a frequent customer.  But he needed to tell me that my Christmas present was in there.  Why, I don't know, I would have ignored it assuming there was some Cthulhu or board game something or other.  You know what I think it is (given that it's the only thing I asked for - with reminders when it did release)? 

Tee hee.  The box (still unopened by Mr. Lina) is sitting in the living room right now laughing at me.  Bah.  As excited as I am about getting this for Christmas, I think I'd rather not know it was in the house at this moment.

Today is going to be a crazy day.  I will get back to Part 2 of New Orleans (there is much more food to come) and I have TWO completed Sorbettos to post about (wearing one at the moment), but, it's crazy day and this post is just to let off some steam while I wait for data to run. 

I'm going to try a little good news/bad news...
Bad news...  couldn't sleep last night, too much to do today, too much on my mind.  Went to bed at 12 (about a half hour later than usual) but it was 1 before I fell asleep and Mr. Lina and I were both awake at 4am. 
Good news... when I did finally decide to not hit snooze again, I actually felt awake.  Sometimes it takes a while before I really feel alert.

Bad news...  ham was still frozen this morning.  It was suppose to go in the slow cooker.
Good news... gave me time to make chicory coffee (new addiction since NOLA) and put my lunch together while it was defrosting in the microwave.

Bad news... car needed gas, late start to the day was even later.
Good news...  Took the toll highway to try and speed up my trip to work, so it was at least more enjoyable than the first half of my drive usually is.

Bad news...  accident closer to my workplace, so any time gained was subsequently lost.
Good news... no real upside, I was just late.  But I did get to work early enough to get one of the last 3 parking spots in my usual lot.

Bad news... forgot my pass at home, must be in my other coat.
Good news... it's warm enough today to wear my light blue leather coat that doesn't sit well done up.  They say it's going to be 9C today.  Pretty impressive for November.

Bad news...  I don't enjoy dealing with the person I am doing project work for today.
Good news...  I'm going to be learning about restaurants for the project, so it should be vaguely interesting, a change from consumer packaged goods anyhow.  And the sooner it's done the sooner I'm heading home because...

Good news...  Coco Love Alcorn is coming to my house tonight along with her husband and her 14 month old daughter.  There's going to be a baby (well, toddler) in my house tonight.  Mr. Lina is very excited about that.  There is no bad news that goes along with that (well, until the toddler leaves).

The trumpet playing baby!  Multi talented, she plays the keytar on the back cover

So even with crappy stuff blocking my way today, it's going to be a freakishly good day because I say so.  Coco is awesome, there will be toddlers in the house, we have over 20 people saying they are coming tonight so I'm not stressing about attendance and it's one of our guests birthdays so there will be a surprise cake.  :)

Wednesday, November 23

New Orleans, part deux

Mr. Lina packed a lot into the short time we were there. The day after we booked the hotel, the Stephen King fan club whatever sent him an email saying he would be in NOLA when we were there.  So he bought tickets.  So one day we took the street car out to Octavia Books to pick up our tickets.  This gave us a reason to take the street car, visit the garden district, a cemetary and then push on to Audubon Park.

Mr. Lina at Anne Rice's old house.

Wild turkey at Audubon Park

A few houses were still decorated for Halloween

Mr. Lina at Audubon Park
I liked the street car.  For $3 you could ride all day and step out of the French Quarter.  The St Charles line runs through the middle with two lanes of traffic on either side.  Some people are not so smart, forgetting that there is actually traffic and there is possibly another street car coming.  It's also very well used, the cars were packed most of the times we were taking it.  Fortunately not so when this happened:

Street car vs Mercedes

No one was hurt, the fire truck just happened to be driving a few cars behind the Mercedes and we were about 2 blocks from where we were going to get off anyhow.  May I say in a street car vs. mercedes situation, the street car will always win.

The Lafayette cemetary was sad.  Beautiful, but oh so heart wrenching.  We weren't on a tour so I was just reading the plaques and wandering.  So many children died so very young.  There may have been some leaky moments before we left.  I don't think I'd seek out a cemetary like that again unless I wanted the emotional tidal wave that goes with it.

Saturday we split our time in three parts, French Quarter, then the WWII museum and finally the Stephen King reading.  First stop was Muffaletta's for breakfast from Central Grocery.  I can't eat the olive spread, so I really can't comment on the true Muffaletta but the bread, meat and cheese were tasty and Mr. Lina really liked his full version.  Good thing we went at 10:45 for that, by the time we walked back from eating on the boardwalk, it was lined up down the street.

Next stop was the Museum of Pharmacology.  Small but pretty cool museum, I thought it was about the right price at $4.  It looked at medical practices in general and specifically in NOLA.  There was a section about prohibition and alcohol and how labelling laws impacted a lot of "tonics" which were alcohol based.

Allergy testing equipment.
Whole section on alcohol as medicine.

The WWII museum was pretty cool.  We could have spent more time there but we were running out of day.  It's interesting to see a different perspective on the war.  Omaha beach was not something I remember spending a lot of time talking about, and in kind, I only saw the word Canada twice.  This picture amused me.  To hide the actual plans to enter France, they had fake planes, tanks and vehicles in England to make it look like they would attack the closest point to England at Calis.  This is 4 soldiers moving an inflatable tank.

We cut things pretty close getting back to the hotel to change and off to Stephen King.  There was a restaurant near the reading we figured we would have dinner there.  As we got off the street car, the line for the show was literally out the building and around 2 side streets.  Food was more important than the line so we went to Pascal's Manale and both had their signature dish, BBQ shrimp.  No idea why they call it that, those shrimp never saw a BBQ, but my goodness was it tasty.  I should have caught more of the table in that picture for scale, the shrimp were HUGE!

That is not a dessert bowl.

Served with a bib for good reason.

View from the balcony of Stephen King.
Stephen King is really great to listen to.  We saw him in Toronto when the book about a town in a dome came out.  It was an interview with David Cronenberg so a different style than the NOLA reading.  He talked for a bit, covered a few FAQ's, read from the book then took questions from the audience.  Time went by in a blink. 
 We were pretty tired and not into a visit to Bourbon street that night.  So we took the ferry across to Algiers again with the good camera to take night time pictures that didn't suck.  It's such a pretty city from a distance.  There are a few more things to wrap up but this post is long enough.  I'll end with the skyline for now.

Monday, November 21

New Orleans Part 1

What a trip.  Mr. Lina has now moved pictures to an accessible place (his work laptop not being conducive to picture sharing but very good for backing up the pictures while we were away) so I can post about the trip.  I should have planned my packing around things I made, but alas, it's mostly RTW.

Mr. Lina has wanted to visit New Orleans for ages.  He did all the planning and researching for this, he had a full page of paper full of places to go, food to eat, hours they were open, notes about them (ie.  cemeteries less likely to be mugged), I was quite impressed.  It made it very easy to figure out what we were going to do for the day and string it together based on geography.  Quite a few places are closed on Mondays, limited or no hours on Sundays so some places could wait for Sunday and some couldn't. 

First stop was food.  We needed a late lunch after the flight and went to Mother's.  Mr. Lina had the Debris Po'Boy on the reco of our airport shuttle driver, I ordered fried fish (edit:  fried shrimp, I really did read this multiple times, I did not order fish) with rice & beans and turnip greens, but I got fried fish.  Whatever, no hives and it tasted fantastic.

Mother's pepper infused vinegar
 That evening we went to Bourbon Street.  Found it a bit like Niagara Falls, lots of neon, kinda tacky, total tourist trap, kinda feels like there is a con going on but you're okay with that because you chose to go.  3 for 1 drinks prior to 8pm are pretty common, I was hammered before 7:30. 
Busking to Atomic Dog
Bourbon St & Lucky Dog

Those boys there are busking  just at Bourbon & Canal St and you can hear them a block away, brass travels.  The amusing part was that they were playing Parliament, Atomic Dog.  Bet most people wouldn't recognize that, but Mr. Lina pegged it.

After 3 for 1 pours and a rum & coke that looked like iced tea, we did a little walking around and ended up at Cafe du Monde for cafe au lait and beignet.  There were maybe 15 tables being used, pretty quiet.  Next morning, it looked like this.

Busy, but we didn't have to wait for a table, people were leaving at about the same rate they were arriving.  I was so glad we got our beignets on Wed/Thurs because Saturday morning it was a mad house with the line up around the outside of the building.

Have cafe, will travel.  We walked around the boardwalk, this is me in front of the steamboat Natchez.  We had dinner there that night.  Nice Dixieland jazz, good food, exceptionally accommodating to my allergies, they made catfish up just for me because I couldn't eat the buffet version. 

Then to the aquarium.  I was looking forward to this.  I love sharks, they freak me out but I'm just fascinated.


He's coming to get me!

Aquarium tunnel, no sharks, just fish & rays.

Budgie making a break for it in my purse

Off we go for more sights..  We took the ferry across to Algiers and stopped in for lunch.  The guide book said the Dry Dock had great po'boys, but I can't say I was overly impressed, good, but the beer was better.  And this sign. 

It's getting to be my bedtime and before I'm charged for whining, I think I'll leave it at that.

Sunday, November 20

Versatile Sorbetto

Prior to my vacation, I was honoured with the Versatile Blogger award from Lazy Subcultural Girl

The rules are as follows:
1.  Compose a short dedication to the person who gave you the award.
2. Write a list for your readers, detailing things about yourself that your readers don’t know.
3. Pass the love forward to five bloggers that you feel deserve to receive it too.

LazySubculturalGirl caught me with her tag line of "because black eyeliner is too high maintenance".  I know that feeling as it's a bit hit and miss if I bother with lipstick going to work these days.  The clothing she makes is always awesome, with edgy fabric choices that hide the mom of three beneath.  I love the Sci-Fi Sundays and they have certainly come in handy in relating to my husbands media choices.  Every post is amusing, interesting and inspiring. 

Oh.. things you don't know about me..  Well I was just telling a few stories from my childhood, and the A-Z, I'm pretty open here.  But I can probably dig up a few.

1.  Like LazySubculturalGirl, I have allergies.  The usual seasons/pollens/animals, but celery, carrots and mustard are my food allergies and sweet potatoes are on my suspect list.  I don't really want to work on confirming sweet potatoes, I just avoid them for now. 

2.  I worked for an outdoor advertising company out of university making maps.  I know a lot of small towns in Canada, Wetaskiwin Alberta anyone?  (which I pronounced wet-a-ski-win to a sales rep rather than we-tas-ke-win, they laughed).

3.  I played the clarinet from grade 7 through high school.  I was also in two choirs.

4.  I don't swear often, when I do it's a sign that maybe I don't need that next glass of wine...

And time to pass the love... 

1.  3 Hours Past the Edge of the World  Steph does some amazing work, she writes a lot of educational posts and is so willing to share her knowledge. 

2.  Living in Red I am so in love with her rounded front door, how could I not?  She sews and knits and talks about her family and home. 

3.  Stellar Parenting  Is a parenting blog, raising two boys that she adopted as older children.  I love every update, both the amazing steps her children have made to attach and heal and the crazy posts that remind me adoption isn't a piece of cake.  So absolutely inspiring.

4.  Falling Through Your Clothes  I love her style, she really knows how to dress her figure and takes risks with capes and beautiful fabric I would probably be afraid to cut into. 

5.  Petty Grievances  Ever have a morning when you need a bit of a giggle?  Highly recommend checking Petty Grievances out.  Be it the Wearable Wednesday posts that take a look at runway fashions or her own sewing, I'm always amused.

Honourable mentions to Tanit-Isis and K-Line, but I thought it was maybe against the rules to tag the same people you were tagged with.

Now I titled this Versatile Sorbetto didn't I?  That's 'cause I'm sewing.  Well, not at the moment.  I decided to double check the width of tape I'd need and the bias tape tutorial in case there were any tips I forgot and thought I really should take a minute to recognize the award I'm pretty pleased with.  So, one Sorbetto done, second is cut out...  time to get on with the bias tape production. 

Friday, November 18

Feet eating slippers

Mr. Lina - I know you don't generally read this, but in the off chance you are reading this particular post, look away now.  You can read this post on December 26th.

I'm not kidding.  Nothing to see here... 

Nothing at all.

No zombies of any kind.

I know I'm looking over your left shoulder, there is ah.. something on the wall there.

Okay, I think we're in the clear.

So a friend of ours sent me a link for zombie slippers, perfect for Mr. Lina.

He adores zombies, this really is perfect.  At $20, I thought this was a good gift, a nice mix of practical and novelty and I won't be upset if he doesn't wear them.  I started to click through and got a shipping estimation that was more than the slippers themselves.  Now I don't mind a bit of shipping, I know shipping to Canada is going to be a little steep and these aren't tiny little earrings, but a $20 purchase shouldn't come to $43 with the cheapest shipipng option.  It's not worth that to me, I might be annoyed if he didn't wear them.  If I tried, I could probably find something similar locally. 
Then I thought maybe someone has something similar on Etsy, I have bought him zombie cufflinks on Etsy before.  And there are many zombie things, but they are either pretty zombie kittens or hand painted $110 shoes.  Neither are really what I want.

But hey, I sew.  If I was looking on Etsy to see if someone else made them, can't I?  Sunni just made cute little slippers for her new home. 

So...  anyone ever made slippers?  My mom has sold really simple oval slides a few years ago.  I don't need them to be as complicated as the plush ones, but I really like the concept of your foot going into the mouth of the zombie so I'd need something with a back and more coverage (less feminine) than ballet slippers. 

Something to ponder...

Tuesday, November 15

Home sweet home

We had a fabulous time in New Orleans.  When we have pictures off the camera, I'll post about the trip.  It was a great week full of museums, alcohol, seafood, alcohol, and walking (not always in a straight line).

Our flight home was suppose to be yesterday giving me today to unwind, do a little laundry and get some groceries.  The plane, however, was not as inclined to function.  There was a mechanical issue, a part broke that required two mechanics to come down from Canada on a Lear jet last night to fix it.  So we got an extra night in Louisiana at the airport Ramada courtesy of Air Canada. 

Events like this typically bring out the best and worst of people.  From my perspective, I don't want to fly on a broken plane.  There was apparently a few conventions going on that were flying home on Monday so there were no options to get an entire plane load of people home yesterday on alternate flights.  As soon as they said they would comp a hotel, I really didn't care.  The hotel is not used to a plane full of people suddenly needing a shuttle to the hotel, nor checking in at once, there was a lot of confusion from Air Canada so every step did feel like pulling teeth to get what you needed, but eventually it all fell into place. 

We met some lovely people.  We got fed up waiting for the 4th trip from the little shuttle and split a cab with Jason who is originally from Calgary but presently lives in Manchester.  We met another couple from Winnipeg and the 5 of us ended up having dinner together.  There was a gentleman who lives in Ottawa but was originally from Russia who we took the shuttle with this morning and talked while waiting the hour or so for Air Canada to check us in (there was some serious staff/technology issues going on).  But the time went quickly while we chatted.  He was kind enough yesterday to try and help someone who was from the Ukraine and struggling to understand what was going on.  After 8 months at sea, he was heading home, but his American employer used a Greek travel company who booked 10 people on a trip through Canada and he was the only one with a visa that would let him do that, so he was isolated and confused.  And paranoid as he thought this was the government tracking him down.  Then he fondled the wait staff in the restaurant and had a visit from the local police.  I am hoping he managed to sort things out with the police, he wasn't on my plane at 1:15 nor the 12:35 plane, but we know he checked out at 8am. 

Now we are finally home, Mr. Lina is doing his laundry so he has jeans for work tomorrow (there are down sides to casual offices, very little work appropriate clothing went with me on the trip) and I think I'm going to have a bath and head to bed.  It's been a long two days of drama, airports and hotels.

Saturday, November 12


High school was a pretty good experience for me.  I spent most of my time either in the music department or working in aquatics.  Still, I'd see some movie going on about high school being the highlight of their life and think, really?  Are you kidding me?  This is not "it".  Sometimes I felt that people had an impression of who I was and I needed to be that person rather than just being me. 

I fell in love with the University of Guelph the minute I stepped on campus.  I didn't know what I wanted to do, I didn't know how to explain it, but I took two steps off the bus and thought, I am suppose to be here.  I spent the next 5 months going on and on about it until March break arrived and I could visit again with my mom.  Mom was hoping I'd go a little closer to home (might have for my grandparents sake if I didn't hate that campus when I visited at March Break) but I knew in my heart that was where I was suppose to be.

The first day I moved into residence, I had a little epiphany.  I knew my room mate from middle school (sigh, not a good choice to live together, we should have been in the same building in different rooms), but really, everyone was the same as me.  We all knew next to no one and there wasn't a reason that they wouldn't want to talk to me.  So I was just... me.  There weren't any preconceived ideas either way.  I didn't know if they sneezed orange juice out their nose in grade 3 and they didn't know I struggled putting my shoes on the right feet in kindergarten.  It was very liberating.

I am still close to the girls I met in first year.  6 of us went on to rent a house together in second year.  Then they wanted to move closer to campus and I didn't think I could afford that.  So I took a gamble and didn't sign a lease with them (which is a very big risk for me looking back).  It turned out my best geography friend (my maid of honour) was looking for another person to round out her house.  It was great, solidified my friendship with her, although I wasn't close to the other girls, they didn't drive me crazy.  Fourth year, she and I found an apartment for just us.

I dated someone...  ah... well, let's call him Ritchie, it was a nickname he had in highschool.  We met December of first year, it lasted for 6 years.  He was there for me when my grandparents passed away, I was there when he struggled with mental health.  I think a lot of the issues stemmed from me.  I was willing to be anything and do anything for him.  But in the end, he wanted me, the happy person I can be, not the person walking on eggshells trying to keep him happy.  I wouldn't have ended that relationship even when I knew it wasn't making me happy, thank heavens he did it for me.  A lot of lessons were learned with that.

University to me is about your education, but so much of that is out of the classroom.  Those 4 years were essential in me becoming the adult I am today.  I think of those years fondly, the crazy things we did, the friendships that last.  Guelph really was about me being in the right place at the right time. 

Friday, November 11


My dad's parents died before I was born.  I am named after his mother, although she used her middle name and I use a shorter version of what's on my birth certificate.  They were always a bit of a mystery and I think if I was playing the game of who would you like to meet alive or dead, I'd probably pick them. 

It's almost like I was that much closer to my maternal grandparents because of that.  Nana and Papa were my favourite people to visit.  They loved a good party.  Nana could do no wrong in the kitchen, anything from dinners to appetizers to desserts.  At her funeral, I spent time talking to ladies from her Stitch & Bitch group and they all said they liked it best when she hosted because of the food.  Papa had a bar built in the basement.  He may not have had the widest variety of alcohol, but he had 3 of everything he considered essential.  One to be open, one as back up and a third in case a party broke out. 

Papa was a story teller.  A tall story teller.  I can still hear him saying "Hey-hey!" in greeting at the door.  He would occasionally ask for the password, it was usually sword fish.  He would tell you about his brother, and how big his tomatoes would grow.  They were SO big that he put a concrete slab under ground to support the plant.  Without it, the ground could not support his tomatoes.  Even as a 5 year old, I knew this was rediculous but he got my uncles mother in law going with it sometimes.  Some stories were true.  Like the time his brother won a live turkey at the company Christmas party.  Apparently both the turkey and my great uncle were kicked off the street car on the way home, the turkey went one way, my uncle the other.

Nana was my idea of what a woman should be.  She always looked pretty, she always had nail polish on.  She wore pants at home, but always a dress for important gatherings.  She had a beautiful laugh and the best hugs.  My dad loved her grasshopper pie so it was a frequent dessert at Christmas.  I never ate it.  As much as I trusted Nana, you just never knew with Papa around if grasshopper pie was grasshopper free...

My grandparents were devoted to each other.  They met working together in the 30's.  They had to keep it a secret for a few years because there was a policy that you couldn't date coworkers.  In the 30's, you didn't just find somewhere else to work.  Papa apparently went to his manager to ask for a pay raise, he was getting married and he needed more money to support his wife.  His manager said he couldn't, for Papa's position, he couldn't pay him more than what Nana was earning.  Papa asked what if he married her, could he have her salary? 

Nana had Alzheimer's.  I noticed the first odd moments when I was 12 or so.  By the time I was 16, phone calls were difficult.  I almost picked my university to live close and support them.  Papa learned so much because he had to.  He learned to cook, to buy her clothing (although it was apparently a difficult conversation with my mom to hint that Nana needed new undergarments and he wasn't up to buying that), deal with personal care and household chores.  When she went to a nursing home, he bloomed a bit.  He could talk to the nurses, visit his wife, love her without the constant strain of her wandering.  He died from a heart attack.  I swear she knew.  She didn't recognize anyone by that point, conversation was beyond her.  We went to tell her he died and the nurses said she had been listless and slumped in her chair pretty much from when he died.  It was heartbreaking, and yet so touching to see that connection.  The home did monthly rememberance services for residents, they made the exception for Papa and included him.  Nana perked up after that, it's like he said enough is enough, I'm still here with you.  Nurses told us that if she was being difficult, they only had to say Papa's name and she would relax and cooperate.  Nana died very peacefully in her sleep 14 months after Papa.  I've never known two souls so intertwined, it was truly inspirational love.

Thursday, November 10

My Dad

My dad is really good with kids.  He knows how to make them laugh, joke around, teach them skills but he is also good at setting expectations for behaviour.  I don't ever remember feeling like if Mom said no I could get a different answer from Dad.  He might be more likely to buy a bag of chips for us to share after swimming, but that's about the extent of it.  I loved spending time with him, going to public swims, the bowling alley, shopping.

There was a lot of gender roles that swapped in our house.  Dad actually did most of the produce, deli and some food (usually to cash & carries that catered to small restaurants) shopping in our house.  He had his Saturday routine to various shops including the fruit market to say hi to the owners and he knew most of the staff by name.  I nearly died when I was 12 and he was yelling up the aisle "Hey Carmen, I've got a rotton cantelope for you!".  I was mortified and went to hang out in the bean sprouts to distance myself.  Back to non-traditional gender roles, yes Mom did all the Monday to Friday cooking, but Dad pretty much took over the kitchen on the weekends. 

I thought all dads worked on weekends because mine did.  The part I never clued into is that we would go to his work with him and no one else was there.  He ran the office for a wholesaler, so there was a big warehouse in the back we could play hide and go seek in.  If he knew how high we climbed on the toilet paper boxes, I don't think I would have been going back.  They had computers in the office with maybe 6 games.  Hangman was my favourite, but there was a foot ball game my brothers liked.  There was a glitch that if you punted the whole thing froze.  Over and over, one of them would think, maybe this time it won't freeze.... and punt.  I can hear the tone my dad used to say "Aw... you punted again, didn't you?" and the inevitalble lie of  "Noo...."

That company sold off the wholesale division and within a year and half they went under.  I was in grade 8 I think.  Old enough to realize scary things were happening in our single income house.  He worked for the liquidators for a while, it gave him time to find a job he hated.  Dad had weeks of vacation saved up that he never used, pension that disappeared.  It left a real impact on my parents financial health.

This has had an impact on me. 
Work does not define my life.  Maybe I'll work an evening here or there, but it better be for a damn good reason (odds are that it's my own fault for not managing my time better)
I plan as if our financial world is going to fall apart.  I want to have control over my RRSP's, savings, be comfortable with our overall debt level.  Mr. Lina is more of a spender than I am, and I think it stems from this, I stress about money more than he does.
I will suck what I can from my employers when I can.  I will not carry over a day of vacation.  I will max out matching RRSP contributions rather than leaving it as a pension they hold. 
We are staying in our little house until we need more house rather than want more house.  I know we could afford something bigger, but I like watching our current mortgage drop over time.  However that is becoming a chicken/egg thing with kids and adoption.

Now that said, I'd love to be able to stay home with kids which would make us a one income household.  But you can bet I've come up with a budget to be sure we can live like that and have some savings set aside.  I'll be keeping enough skills and contacts up to date that should Mr. Lina lose his job, we can both work on getting back on track. 

Any wonder that in the social style I come out as an amiable where being safe is a driving factor in behaviour?  It's stuff like this that reinforced it.  Some people would take the lesson that my parents survived, Dad eventually found a job he liked and kept to his hours rather than working overtime for nothing.  But me, it's a lesson in CYA because the world can fall apart.

Wednesday, November 9

Becoming a big sister.

To talk about my brothers I'll need to give them names.  Initials just don't work so well for me because I don't think of them that way.  I don't have knicknames for them in real life.  Both are younger than me so I can't define them like that because "older younger brother" is silly.  So, the one who is 3 years younger than me will be...  Scots because he's most like the Scottish side of my family and the youngest will be Clone because he is a dead ringer for my dad.

I was not quite 3 when Scots was born.  I don't remember that at all.  I've been told I was a bit surprised to find out that Scots was a useless baby rather than a playmate.  I have also been told that I was a good helper when I got over the disappointment.

I do remember the day Clone was born.  It was the last day of kindergarten and I took cookies to school.  Now maybe everyone took cookies because it was the last day, but in my nearly 6 year old mind, I missed taking cookies on my birthday because my birthday was the first day of school and I didn't know we were able to do that.  This somehow made the world right to me.

I was skipping home from school, I was in a pretty good mood considering my beloved kindergarten was ending.  I grew up on a major street for the subdivision, and 6 houses down from us was another major street where I was helped with a crossing guard.  I was a bit upset to see not only my crossing guard but her teenage daughter and my brother S.  I was told that my parents had gone to the hospital, the teen was there to baby sit us.

Was I upset about my parents being gone?  No.
Was I worried about another sibling?  No.

I was rather put out that I really was a big girl and I did NOT need help walking the last little bit home from school.  Of course my parents were at the hospital, I took cookies to school, naturally there was going to be a baby. 

Oh, and what's for lunch?

So out of this story you see a few things about me:
I can be fiercely independent.  I have a very hard time asking for help even though I want to help others.
I need to know where my next meal is coming from.  This is still true, I feel better knowing what the plan is for meals.  It doesn't have to be carved in stone or super firm, but I like knowing what's on the agenda.

The rest of this story blurs for me.  My brothers birth was difficult, his heart stopped beating, he breathed in mircomium, my mom had an emergency section to save his life.  At 9lbs 11.5 oz, he was a monster in an incubator, but he needed every ounce to live as his first few days were pretty rough. 

I remember my crossing guards daughters being around a lot to babysit us.  They took us to a field behind a good park to pick wildflowers for home.  I remember my dad making pretty "weird" things for dinner like sandwiches (which I was not pleased with because he just put out meat and buns and salads, I was 5 and S was 3, we weren't really capable of build your own sandwich so I thought this was bizarre in a "Mom wouldn't do that" kind of way).  Dad is great in the kitchen, I think those meals were just about trying to balance work and home and the hospital so that's what we got in a pinch. 

As Clone got older, he had lung damage from the mircomium and a rediculous amount of food sensitivity and allergies.  His asthma put him in the hospital on a few occasions, introducing table food resulted in eczema all over his little body (and free pictures from Blacks because they thought the camera made his face red).  My parents found 4 foods he could eat and worked from there.  As he got older, he could tollerate more, now the only things he can't eat are peanuts and tree nuts and he really hates peas. 

My job as his sister was usually to keep an eye on him.  Like if we went tobogganing, if Clone came along we couldn't go far and it was my job to listen to his breathing and bring him home if it changed.  I don't remember ever feeling resentful of it, my parents probably played into my love of helping people and solving problems, but it did mean that the 6 year age gap was pretty noticable.  We didn't really relate as siblings/peers until he was in his 20's.

Tuesday, November 8

Vacation posts

I will be away for 6 days.  I have written a few posts for while I am gone.  Mr. Lina is way too internet dependent for us to be without some device so I'll probably get to pop on from time to time but not enough to post.

I have put together a few memories with these posts, looking back at people and events that impacted my life.  I think moments in childhood can speak a lot about who we are in simple terms, we're often still driven by the same basic needs.  People speak to what you idolize growing up and how you see the world.  Events can be turning points if you let them.

Last night I did finish the hems for the green tea towels.  I guess I got so busy squaring them up and keeping them as large as I could, I didn't think of how big they were.  They are different widths by a good inch.  I find it kind of funny and it's certainly not going to stop me from gifting them.  I mean who is going to sit there and compare the size of your tea towels?  The recipient will know, but I'm pretty sure those are going to Mom (the benefits of a secret blog I can write that) and she won't care.  I traced out some leaves, I think I'll take the hoop, thread and needle with me on vacation for quiet times.

And a special thank you to LazySubculturalGirl.  I'll be receiving my award when I'm back, but it doesn't mean I'm not tickled pink today.

Monday, November 7

Lazy weekend

I have to say I love the fall time change weekend.  Today was the first time in ages I've gone to work feeling rested.  It was nice to wake up with the alarm and although I didn't get out of bed, I just rolled over and snuggled a little longer.

I stayed up far too late on Friday night talking to R's mom.  She was going to a conference in the area and asked to stay with us.  Figures, I turn around and it's 3am and she and I both have to be out the door around 8/8:15.  Short night, lots of black tea and I was off to a craft show.

I mentioned my mom sells her sewing on an Etsy site.  For the most part, her sales are from craft shows in November.  My mom has very poor hearing, busy shows can be very hard on her because she doesn't always realize people are talking to her or are behind her.  In a busy room, I can stand behind her and say "Mom" and she won't notice, I have to touch her.  She has hearing aids, but they really don't help in noisy rooms, it just makes the background noises loud too.  Last year this show was a zoo, she didn't sell quite as much this year but there were lots of people.  It's good to see a well attended show.

Thursday I stopped at Fabricland and  I bought a remnant of what seems to be tea towelling, I thought it could be a nice gift.  I was given a book for my birthday of cross stitch and embroidery patterns.  I haven't done cross stitch since I was a teen, just little Christmas ornaments and then I got bored because how many ornaments did I need?  Anyhow, I do like to make some gifts for Christmas, this might be a good three for one - use the book, give a gift and have something to do while hanging out with Mr. Lina.  The remnant was cut horribly crooked, it took a while to get it all squared off.  Then I realized I didn't have matching thread to sew the edges.  Sigh.  It's all pressed but the raw edges are still raw.

So guess where I went for lunch today?  Somehow a spool of thread (50% off) and embroidery thread turned into $24.99 at the till.  Strange how that happens.  I'm sure it had nothing to do with the 2m of red edged tea towelling I bought (I do have 3 households I could do this for and it was also 50% off) nor the two other remnants I bought.  Or the hoop, or the black thread (did I mention 50% off?), the little red buttons... 

I started a knit top last night, but it's not going to be done before our vacation, so I'll blog about that when it's finished.  We're off to New Orleans on Wednesday morning.  I have the bulk of my clothing packed now, I won't have time for much tomorrow because of bowling.  Mr. Lina being who he is, we will likely have a laptop or playbook or something along with us, so while I don't think I'll be posting, I might comment or check in while we're away.

It is good timing for me to go away I think, a break from work, time to be with Mr. Lina and step out of reality for a bit.  Mr. Lina is more excited about the city than I am, this has been on his wish list for ages.  I'm happy to go anywhere and spend time with him, so this is as good as anywhere else to me.  My preference for travel is actually within Canada, it's so huge and there is so much to see.  I have only been to Kelowna in BC, Calgary for 3 days for work and layovers in Calgary and Edmonton airports going to/from Kelowna.  LOTS of time in Manitoba but I've yet to see Saskatchewan.  I've seen a lot of Montreal and the areas north of there and a bit to the south (St Bruno specifically) but I haven't been to Quebec City since I was 12.  I loved Halifax, Dartmouth, Wolfvale, but I haven't seen the rest of the Maritimes.  Outside of Canada, either cheap all inclusive for some winter sunshine or I'd like to see where my great grandparents came from in England and Scotland.  One day.  For now, we'll be walking a lot, eating a lot and hopefully catching a LOT of live music.

Friday, November 4


I stayed up a little later than I should have last night.  A friend was over to play guitar with Mr. Lina, they lost track of time and I started laundry a little later than I should have.  Net-net, it's been a slow morning.  At least I'm working in an office closest to home so leaving late wasn't a problem.

That said, I've felt like I'm in a cloud today and two pregnancy announcements is not helping me find my work mojo.  Both are having their second kid and I've been trying longer than when they had their first.  One of them didn't even know her husband when I had my first IVF.  I am happy for them, they are both great women and I'm sure they are great moms, but it sucks at the same time.

But I am going to shake that off and do some actual work once I hit post, that's the deal with myself.  Sulk time is on pause until the cider/wine appears at home.

We will be hosting Coco Love Alcorn at the end of the month so we're starting to do some promotion for her.  We saw her at Summerfolk a couple of years ago, her CD Play is great, but I was looking for some video footage to share.  I have to warn you, this song has become a bit addictive, I've listened to it 5 times in 2 days, I have had it stuck in my head for hours.  My first email to Mr. Lina today was "I like boys."  I don't know how geeky the men in your life are, but Coco is going to be a big hit amongst our friends.  As Mr. Lina said in his promotion, "she's one of us".  I bring you the folk-rap (never thought you'd hear that did you?) styling of Coco Love Alcorn...  "Intellectual Boys"

Thursday, November 3

A to Z of Seraphinalina

I am feeling a bit mentally drained today.  It's been a pretty focused workday that just sucked all the thought out of me.  I was off to a client I see every 2-3 weeks and there is a Fabricland with a little detour, and yes, I succumbed to temptation.  One knit, one remnant of microfibre and 3m of faux suede later...

But feeling as tired as I am at the moment, I'm going to steal from Funnygrrl  and be a lazy blogger today.

Age - 36

Bed - Double, like it, but it's getting up there in years.  I really don't care much about what my bedroom looks like, I don't spent much time there.

Chore you hate - I'm not much of a chore person.  Probably washing dishes.

Dogs - more of a cat person but allergies will keep anything with fur out of my home.  I like breathing without medication.

Essential start to my day - Breakfast.  I don't function well without food.  Not much of a coffee person.

Favourite colour - Purple.

Gold or silver - Silver.  My wedding rings are titanium and my engagement stone is a clear sapphire, my birthstone.  I like my jewellry to have significance.  I don't have my ears pierced, but neither does my mom (nor her mother/grandmothers) so if I am wearing earrings, it's likely a hand me down from them.
 Height - 5' and a half inch. 

Instruments you play - Clarinet in high school, but I'd rather support music than play.

Job title - Senior Consumer Analyst.

Kids - Not yet.

Live - Ontario, Canada.  I've always lived relatively close to Toronto without ever living in Toronto.

Mothers name - Marilyn.  I went through a phase where I figured out that her middle name (Margaret) was also her mothers name and both of her grandmothers name and somehow it's not in my name at all.  I named all my dolls Margaret and if I could have changed my name when I was 10, I would have had a second middle name of Margaret.

Nicknames - not many really.  Seraphinalina is something I gave myself.  Hmm...  nope, can't think of any. 
Edit:  I did think of a few, my dad calls me Sweetie (even on my Christmas presents if it's from him), Mr. Lina calls me Snuggles and various forms of the word snuggle, like snugglebum.

Overnight hospital stays - No.  I've spent time at the hospital for surgery, but not overnight.

Pet Peeves - Pet peeves need to be petty and I just can't get too worked up about much.  Aggressive drivers I suppose, the kind that weave in and out and scoot up a lane that is going to end just to get 2 cars ahead of where they were.

Quote from a movie - "I'm a girl, I'm a girl, I'm a girl..."  from Some Like it Hot.  Not exactly the deepest of quotes but the first to come to mind.  If you haven't watched this movie yet, you really should. 

Right/left handed - Right handed, my mother is a lefty so sometimes I arrange things a bit backwards because it "seems" right.

Siblings - Two younger brothers, two sister in laws and one brother in law.

Time you wake up - Alarm goes off at 6:30, if I'm in the shower by 7 we're doing well.  Without a schedule, I'd probably wake up around 8.

Underwear - Varies, I like cheeky lace panties that I make, but I also have more practical cotton panties.

Vegetable you hate - Not much, I am allergic to carrots, celery and mustard.  If it doesn't give me hives, I'm pretty much okay with it.

What makes you late?  - Sleeping in.  I try to be punctual, I'm usually running a couple of minutes behind from thinking it will take less time to get somewhere than it will.

X-Rays - Dentist, baby toe when I cracked it when I was 14, my uterus (that freaking sucked, do not recommend that test)

Yummy food you make - Lots, I like to feed people.  I like doing appetizers best, bean dips, hummus, artichoke dip, cream puffs with savoury fillings, foccacia, brie en croute...

Zoo animal - It's been a few years now since I was last at the zoo.  Maybe the penguins, but mostly because they make me think of  "And Tango Makes Three" a great story about how parenting isn't about birth.

Wednesday, November 2

Time to breathe

Things are chugging along a little better this week.  Not to say it's perfect, but...
  • I haven't cried at work
  • I have been productive yesterday and today
  • I have taken all of my medications and vitamins
  • I am feeling better now at the end of the day than I did leaving the house
So all in all, not too shabby.

Halloween was lots of fun.  We had 67 kids at the door this year, which is about average for us.  Last year was not a good year so I'm glad to see it was an anomaly rather than a declining trend.  I like handing out treats.  We dressed up in our Saturday costumes again (although I wore comfy red flats).  One little girl, might have been 3, as she was walking up the path she says (quite loudly) "Are you a pirate?" to which Mr Lina said "Yes I am, and are you a fairy?" and then she babbled on about all of her magical powers and how she liked being a magical fairy.  Her two older brothers were Mario and Luigi and didn't say a word.  I bet they don't get too many words in edgewise.  My brothers could probably relate.

Between Halloween and bowling, both nights have been busy.  I have no plans for tonight and Thursday.  A good friend is going to a conference in town and asked to stay with us on Friday.  I am looking forward to seeing her.  I mentioned her son, R,  in my posts about Summerfolk.  She's a good mom-friend, know what I mean?  The age gap is there, our stage of life is so far apart, but I love listening to her perspective.  She makes me think.  Anyhow, she has plans until about 10pm so we won't have a ton of time to chat before bed, but it will be good to catch up and outside of her visit, I don't have plans.  So this is 3 nights where I do have some house cleaning to do, some personal laundry (seriously out of panties), household laundry, but... I don't have to go anywhere.  And laundry doesn't need a lot of babysitting so it will be time for myself. 

I had lunch today with an old friend.  We met through my bowling  league, I suppose 9 years ago now.  Not that long relative to my university friends, but it feels longer.  We just clicked immediately as good friends.  I think because we aren't really part of each others worlds, we've often been good neutral supports for each other.  We don't see each other like we used to.  He's not bowling anymore, he now has 2 kids, moved half an hour away and for quite a while our workplaces were too far apart for our usual lunches.  I was thinking about him at bowling last night and how much I miss him.  I always know I can call him for support, but it's been months since I have reached out to him.  So today I did.  Rather than giving the usual "oh it's good" for the "how's life?" question, I figured I'd be honest.  It turned out he was seeing a client not far from my office this afternoon, lunch worked for both of us and I'm glad it did.  I didn't get to everything, but that's okay, this isn't going to be fixed in an hour, but it also had me realizing my thoughts about it are more organized.  They are coming from a calmer place where I can make rational decisions rather than just being overwhelmed.  I could talk about it without welling up.  It's good. 

So that is how my day started filled with thoughts of not wanting to leave the house, dread walking across the super long parking lot and ended with handing in a project and a smile that isn't entirely forced.  The right friend at the right time.