Wednesday 30 April 2014

Hung Over and Intoxicated, All at Once

Would you believe neither of these states has anything to do with alcohol?

I do love red wine ... and gimlet season has begun (Paul recently made me a tasty one with lime juice and stevia, instead of Rose's lime cordial) ... but this community bookshare cabinet fashioned from wine crates is the closest I've come to booze in the past two days.

(This bookshare is close to another very groovy one that I photographed here.)

The cause of the hangover?

Low blood sugar at 3 a.m., followed by fitful sleep for the rest of the night. Ugh. Freddie — burned out from a long day of meetings at the college — slept through it, though he has otherwise been doing quite well with early morning alerts.

I'd been planning to row this morning — my first time back on the water since capsizing last week — and since I was more or less awake at my usual rowing alarm time of 06:00, I got up and went to the lake.

This was the sky over 4th Avenue as I waited for the bus.

Rowing was great. Nice flat water, which I managed to stay on top of for the full 10km.

The low hangover hit when I got home. Headache, lethargy, fogginess ... ugh.

But a puppy still needs to walk! And even though Paul would happily have done all of Freddie's constitutionals today, it was such a beautiful day that I packed up some library books that needed returning, leashed Freddie, and dragged my hungover carcass out the door ....

... into the first really summery day of the season. Intoxicating!

Lilacs! The best smell under the sun.

(Lousy photo. I'll try to do these guys justice next time ... though the smell really is the thing.)

Thai Spirit House

Weather Vane

Make a Wish

At Play 1

Destination 1

(I refrained from taking any pics inside, as it was very busy.)

Destination 2

Behold ... the Nofo Dog Beach!

At Play 2

Cool Grass

And now ... it's 6:30 p.m., and I'm writing this entry OUTSIDE, on the balcony, with the scent of potted basil wafting in the air and our wind chime catching the odd breeze. Birds are chirping; Freddie's snoozing. Paul is making dinner. OK, there's also a truck idling in the lane and a weed whacker zizzing away in the distance ... but my hangover is pretty much gone, and there ain't much reason to complain.

Hope you're having a good evening, too ... thanks for stopping by!

Monday 28 April 2014

Happy Birthday, Freddie!

In doggy years, Freddie is now a fourteen-year-old boy. Yep ... that seems about right! In celebration of his two human years, he got to invite two friends to play down at the Spanish Banks dog beach, where the tide was super-low. He invited Kali and Plouf, and they all had a blast in the sunshine and great expanses of puddles and sand (as did Heather, Paul, and Leah!).

Freddie is fast, but he's no match for Kali the Komet!

Reflections 1
Doesn't Plouf look like a Pharaoh's dog here?
(That's K and F in the background, being ball-obsessed.)

Reflections 2

After my harrowing water experience last week, I was happy to spend time in the shallows! (Harrowing more in the aftermath than in the moment .... I have a better understanding now of the wacky things one's body can do in response to trauma and have no trouble believing that recovery from train wrecks — literal or otherwise — can take years ... or even forever.)

The rest of these pics were taken during Freddie's birth-week. (Paul and I have always stretched birthday celebrations into a full week, though, arguably, every day is Freddie Day around here!)

Another Community Book Share! This lovely one is at West 2nd and Trafalgar. I borrowed a copy of Michael Crummey's novel Galore, which I've been keen to read ever since it came out five years ago (that's roughly eight months in book publishing time!). 

Here is the story of the Book Exchange:

And here is Siri's Heiberg's obituary.

Her husband, John Kidder, is the Green Party candidate for Fraser-Nicola.

The world needs more Readers and more Greens!

Reflections 3

A while back, I wrote about buying a new pair of runners. The reason (for the runners)? Freddie and I are attempting a new activity: CANI-CROSS! Here is a short video of what cani-cross looks like in action. Freddie and I aren't quite coordinated yet. Freddie likes to pull, yes, but we've been doing a lot of work on getting him not to pull when we're out for regular walks .... so he's understandably a bit confused that there are now times when I want him to pull.

I think he'll figure out that the special harness he wears for running means that it's OK to pull.

When he does get going, it's exhilarating!

Here's my crappy attempt #1 to photograph the belt that I wear:

Here's attempt #2. At least you can see the bungee leash ...

For a future post, I'll get Paul to photograph us properly. For now, you can check out the Canadog website, if you're interested in this kind of equipment. I'm really pleased with Canadog's gear. It's sturdy, fits well (both Freddie's part and mine), and they're currently having a 15% off sale on all their stuff. (This is an unsolicited and unpaid endorsement, but they're welcome to send me trial products anytime. ;-))

Spot the owl!

Bard on the Beach is gearing up for a new season (below). The Main Stage will feature safe crowd pleasers that we've enjoyed a few times (The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream), so we'll probably give those a miss. I'm kind of in the mood for Richard III or Othello ... but those don't seem to be box office smashes with the summer theatre-going crowd. Not sure what the preference says about me!  

Tennyson School Sign 1

 Tennyson School Sign 2

"We are going to raise the funds to buy the essentials for the children around the world."

(The definitive articles are charmingly ambitious!)

I like to imagine a pre-White-People setting just below/beyond this image ...

Breaking Down Barriers

Does this school courtyard look a little like a prison compound, or is that just me? Fortunately, the rest of the joint is quite a bit more appealing!

Symmetry ... almost

Little Puppy deferring to Big Freddie (raised paw, tail low)
(Soon after, they were happily romping. :-))

I've been doing some interesting reading about the extensive repertoire of "calming signals" that dogs use with each other and with their humans in stressful or potentially aggressive situations (the puppy's body language above would be an example, I think). This led to an equally interesting conversation with Paul about the calming signals that humans employ — for instance, in the craziness of Whole Foods at 5:00 on a Saturday afternoon. Material for a future post, perhaps ...

In the meantime, Freddie and I sign off with play bows to all. :)

Thursday 24 April 2014


Tuesday morning I spent a few moments believing I might drown. I was rowing a single in less-than-pristine conditions, and circumstances (including my own mediocre blade work) conspired to flip me over at the far end of the lake, with no one around to help. Holding on to one rigger, I got myself and my vessel over to a nearby wooden platform where geese usually hang out and set about hauling myself up — all the while contemplating the possibility of an underwater demise. I can swim, but my experience in chilly, choppy water is pretty much nonexistent.*

Dexter Lake, Oregon (2009)

Burnaby Lake Dock (2011)

Weirdly, I didn't panic — my thinking was closer to Shit, this'll really, really suck if I can't get up here — and fortunately my blood sugar was nowhere near tanking (if anything, adrenalin had jacked it up). Using the upside-down boat for leverage, I eventually landed myself on the platform. Shortly after, Larry the Laser came along in his single, saw I needed help, and beamed back in pursuit of a safety boat.

I sat for a few more minutes, taking in the misty marshes at the edge of the lake, the noisy morning traffic of water birds, the blue-grey coast mountains. The local bald eagle circled its nest. Then coaches Ben and Cinda rode up on their motorized stallions, and, having determined that I wasn't in distress, turned my shell over and suggested that the best thing to do was to get right back in.

It wasn't the easiest 2 km back to the dock, but I'm happy I took their advice. I don't want to be afraid of water ... especially that water.**

Which brings me to the star of this post — and, arguably, of life on Earth: WATER!

Nature's Tech Fabrics: breathable & waterproof!

When you live in a rainforest, with buckets of water falling throughout the year and lushness everywhere, it can be hard to treat the stuff as a precious resource in need of protection. But it is.


Well-hydrated plants are what I think of — enviously — when my blood sugar is really high, and I am, as a consequence, really dehydrated. Drinking water is an obvious and necessary treatment for hyperglycemia, and yet it it used to puzzle me a bit that the prescribed order of operations is to drink water first, then take extra insulin. Taking a shot or pressing a couple of pump buttons takes no time at all, and insulin takes a while to have an effect in the body. Shouldn't the correction dose come first — I always wondered — then the water guzzling? But then I figured out that, in treatment terms, dehydration is a much more urgent problem than hyperglycemia. Yep. Human bodies need water ...

 ... and not just to look at and play in!

Cartographic Algae, Point Grey

The Big Swim!

This is Kits Pool, being scrubbed for the new season, which begins Victoria Day weekend (May 17). It's 137m long and open to the public. The water is mildly chlorinated, heated, and salty. It's a swimmer's paradise, and it's located three short blocks from our new digs.

Tuesday's adventures aside, I haven't done a lot of swimming over the past few years — partly because of rowing, partly because I was, until last year, using a non-waterproof insulin pump, and the idea of being disconnected (not to mention having my $6,000 device secured in a 25¢ locker) for over an hour didn't thrill me. Now that I'm back on shots (and a bit less fanatical about rowing), I'm psyched to get back in the drink!

"Out, damned spot!"

(in honour of the Bard's 450th birthday, yesterday)

Coastal Accretion

Easter Morning Baptism

I wish we'd arrived in time for the ocean immersions. Most of the people gathered above were observers. The newly baptized (older teenagers, mainly) had already dashed off, wrapped in towels, on their way to the public change rooms — which they discovered to be locked. Oh, well. They looked like robust kids, and they were having a good time. May they remain so tolerant and put their Christianity to good use!


Paul and I had the pleasure of witnessing Freddie's first joyous encounter with the ocean, when he was a little puppy and still living with his trainer, Shari. Here's a short video of the experience (filming credit to Shari), featuring Freddie, his sister Daisy, and their cousin Boomer (another service dog in training).

Water, water, all around ...

Coastal Erosion

Now that we are the proud occupants of a west-coast home with a BALCONY, it is only right that we make an attempt to grow some food — beginning, rather unambitiously, with herbs. Here is Freddie, hanging out in the basement of Kitchen Corner while I choose pots. Oh, and, of course, those plants will need water. :)

To wrap up, I have a link for you! Who woulda thought there'd be TWO Heather Burts blogging about walking/hiking with their dogs ... but there are! Heather Burt #2 (I'm only calling her that 'cause I'm older!) is in Wisconsin, where she does very groovy-sounding hikes with her groovy-looking dog, Charlie. Here's a recent post from Hiking With Heather, in which Heather and Charlie take to the water (well, Charlie does anyway!) on the Ice Age Trail.

That's it ... thanks for stopping by!

Keep your head above water and stay hydrated!

*I also have a waist belt PFD, but they're actually kind of difficult to deploy successfully once you're in the water!

**That said, it's now been two days since I flipped, and I gotta say that if hitching a ride back could have lessened the day-after impact (crashing exhaustion + intermittent nausea), it would have been worth a bit of back-in-the-saddle fear!