A deadline is negative inspiration. Still, it's better than no inspiration at all.

~Rita Mae Brown
Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.

~Alfred Adler


On The Bedside Table
  • NOS4A2
    by Joe Hill
My Now
Old Writey Bits
My Thanks
Matt Fitzhardinge - Alaskan dogsledding header picture


A Peek Into the Belly of the Beast. And Maybe, A New Tattoo.

One of the few perks of working beside the emergency room is that when you think you may be dying, well, it's right there, innit?

A few weeks ago I'd spent a couple days with some serious back pain - can't stand up straight-jeesus!-where are the painkillers! - kind of back pain.  The weird thing was that despite having a back injury I just don't normally go to bed perfectly fine and wake up 8 hours later suddenly unable to uh, stand up.

Nevertheless, I chalked it up to some typically Jen-like quirk of my injury, downed some naproxen and a cask or two of wine and soldiered on. Three days later, flank pain had joined the party and on Sunday I had woken up with a constant left-sided chest pain.

Being a cynical hospital worker who periodically mocks the young people who come in with chest pain I was tempted to just ignore it.  No baby, me.  But then, my little reptile brain kicked in and I start to worry that maybe, just maybe, something was kind of ...wrong.  If you know me at all, I'm sure you're on the same page as me when I say that I don't expect anything to be simple or easy these days.

So after a couple hours at work, I gave in and scooted over to the ER, signed myself in, got my little wristband and went back to work until they were ready to see me. 

A chest xray and a CT KUB (kidney, ureter, bladder) later, they told me I could go back to work.  The ER doc figured it's not that kidney infection still hanging about, I don't have kidney stones (thank god!  I seriously don't want to have to pee one of those babies out, EVER), I'm not having a heart attack, my labs are just as perfectly normal as they always are and while I may want to see a urologist about the (TMI alert) fact that I pee every 20 minutes all day long, he can't rule out a mechanical (ie: back injury) cause and hey, sometimes chest pain is just something weird, yet utterly normal.  I thought it was quite sweet of him, being near my own age, to share that he'd had chest pain for a year but that he really was perfectly fine.

I'm going to digress just a minute here for the kind of neato stuff before I get to the "denouement".  

One of the other cool things about where I work is that the guy who reads the films is a "coworker" so I went in and sat with him while he pointed out things they don't normally put in the reports and answered a couple of my questions.

Things like that my heart size is excellent for someone my age, my lungs are awesome and look!  see all that cloudy stuff there?  that's 27 years of smoking, lady!  *cue lecture*. 

Here's a screen shot of part of the CT.  If you biggie it and check out the lungage area you'll notice that you can see all the little veiny-like things like they've been injected with dye (yes, I am so technical) . That's the smoking.  I haven't seen a non-smoker's CT scan but I'm going to assume that on theirs you wouldn't see those veiny things at all.  Also, it's a tad embarrassing to note that you can see my spare tire and the fact that I have no "waist".


The other thing you can see on this is something I have had absolutely no idea about for the last 22 years.  That little red arrow is pointing to the clips that were left behind when they took my gallbladder out when I was 17.  Now, I realize that it probably doesn't occur to surgeons to mention that clips are left behind after EVERY surgery but, EWW!  GROSS!  Those things have been in my body all this time and no one told me.  Yuck.

The rest of the report mentions that I have no urinary stones, that the portions of the liver they could see had no lesions (thank god, since I was sure I'd be a candidate for a monkey liver by now) and that my appendix is unremarkable.

Since I've been reading so much in the last few years about visceral fat  (fat around your organs) and how that, especially for women it's so very very bad for you, I asked the radiologist how my padding was looking in there.  He said that I had less than most people my age.

I rock.

The other interesting thing (*cue another lecture*) is, in his words, "See that?  That's from smoking and one day you'll wake up and you won't be able to feel your legs.  Then we'll have to take you up to the heart cath lab and clean that puppy out." 

The little red arrow is pointing at a little white dot.  In radiologist speak, that's "a trace of calcified plaque in the abdominal aorta."  So, if my family were, say, a heart problem family (atherosclerosis) as opposed to a cancer family, then I'd probably have to really watch this.  Although, to be fair, all you smokers out there with cold feet or bad circulation - you've got plaque too.


On one hand, radiation aside, I'm glad I got the tests done because it really does go a long way towards setting my overactive mind at ease (which I'm sure is partially due to working in a hospital and routinely seeing really sick, really young people).  I mean, as you get older, don't you worry about what's going on in there?  Has all that Coke you drank eaten away your kidneys?  Did that 40 pounder of Jack every weekend and all those shots of Jager you did in your twenties kill your liver? Has all the gum you ever chewed totally clogged up your bowels?  Are you with me here? 

On the other hand, the pain kept keeping on and I had no idea what the hell was going on.

About a week and a half ago, I started noticing that I'd get amazingly terrible stomach pains in the afternoons and, trust me, none of the usual culprits were present.

And then, it occurred to me.... The all important question.  What pills are the doctors giving me now?  You may remember the lumbar puncture from last Christmas when they thought I had some sort of rare fungal meningitis but really it was the relatively uncommon side effects of diclofenac?    And how about the last two years where I've slept 14 hours a day and it turned out not to be my body trying to heal itself but a rare side effect (hypersomnia) of the cipralex?  What about that time that penicillin made my entire body go become one big hive and all my skin peeled off?  And the Prozac in my early 20's that made me a tad erm...angry and narcoleptic?

Have I learned from these things?  Nooooooo.

Turns out that flank pain, muscular aches and back pain, chest pain and acute abdominal pain are all potential (yet not very common) side effects of those cute little smartie-like IRON SUPPLEMENTS I started taking right before this all happened because my ferritin stores are too low.  And that, lo and behold, it got really bad about an hour after I'd taken the pill, whether I took it with food or not.


I'm seriously considering tattooing, "Feel like shit, Jen?  What pills are the doctor's bright idea this week?" across the back of my hand. It'd save me a lot of time, money and trouble, I tell ya.




From Jaems . Answer the questions with lyric quotes.

Since I'm at work I plugged in my mp3 player and limited myself to songs on my playlist (or in a case or two, an alternate song by an artist on the playlist). There are a couple of questions I haven't answered - for those I think I'd have to branch out a little. And although I tried to not 'artist repeat' Billy and Ani are a couple of the best lyricists I know.

1. Who are you?

Squint your eyes and look closer

I'm not between you and your ambition

I am a poster girl with no poster

I am thirty-two flavors and then some

And I'm beyond your peripheral vision

So you might want to turn your head

Cause someday you are gonna get hungry

And eat most of the words you just said

32 Flavors

Ani Difranco

2. Are you male or female?

The world was moving and she was right there with it (and she was)

The world was moving she was floating above it (and she was)

And She Was

Talking Heads

3. Where do you live?

This is the land of a thousand words

But it seems so few are worth the breath to say

Except I'll be looking after my own world

And you just keep on saving the day

I'll try to stay but it's in vain when you're far

I'm on the run to wherever you are

Land of A Thousand Words

Scissor Sisters

4. What do you look like?

And I'll hide my head

Here in this paper bag

Cause if I can't see you then you can't see me

And it'll be okay

Fly little bee away

To where there's no more rain and I can be me

Paper Bag

Anna Nalick

5. What do you want to say to the one you hate?

what bugs me

is that you believe what you're saying

what bothers me

is that you don't know how you feel

what scares me

is that while you're telling me stories

you actually

believe that they are real

As Is

Ani Difranco

6. What do you want to say to your best friend?

And heaven laughs when we say good-bye

It ain't so far to the other side

Someday soon we will meet again

Say it over and over and over 'til then

Heaven Laughs


8. What’s your best quality?

I would not leave you in times of trouble,

We never could have come this far.

Mm mm mm mm

I took the good times, I'll take the bad times,

I'll take you just the way you are.

Just the Way You Are

Billy Joel

9. What’s your worst quality?

somebody do something

anything soon

i know i can't be the only

whatever i am in the room

so why am i so lonely?

why am i so tired?

i need backup

i need company

i need to be inspired

Face Up and Sing

Ani Difranco

10. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

11. What’s your attitude towards drugs and alcohol?

Walking round this dirty town

Drinking up till we fall down

Don't want to live forever this way

But it's gonna have to do for today

I'm addicted as I want to be

I’m Addicted

Goo Goo Dolls

12. What’s your secret?

While in these days of quiet desperation

As I wander through the world in which I live

I search everywhere for some new inspiration

But it's more than cold reality can give

If I need a cause for celebration

Or a comfort I can use to ease my mind

I rely on my imagination

And I dream of an imaginary time

Everybody Has a Dream

Billy Joel

13. Do you have any special talents?

14. What does love mean to you?

i want somebody who sees the pointlessness

and still keeps their purpose in mind

i want somebody who has a tortured soul

some of the time

i want somebody who will either put out for me

or put me out of misery

or maybe just put it all to words

and make me say, you know

i never heard it put that way

make me say, what did you just say?

i want somebody who can hold my interest

hold it and never let it fall

someone who can flatten me with a kiss

that hits like a fist

or a sentence, that stops me like a brick wall

because if you hear me talking

listen to what i'm not saying

if you hear me playing guitar

listen to what i'm not playing

and don't ask me to put words

to all the silences i know.

and don't ask me to put words

to all the spaces between notes

in fact if you have to ask, forget it

do and you'll regret it

i'm tired of being the interesting one

i'm tired of having fun for two

just lay yourself on the line

and i might lay myself down by you

but don't sit behind your eyes

and wait for me to surprise you

i want somebody who can make me

scream until it's funny

give me a run for my money

i want someone who can

twist me up in knots

tell me, for the woman who has everything

what have you got?

i want someone who's not afraid of me

or anyone else

in other words i want someone

who's not afraid of themself

Asking Too Much

Ani Difranco

15. What does friendship mean to you?

Lighthouse tall and grand

Standing on a cold headland

Shine your light across the sea

for a wayward sailor girl like me

Lighthouse man

Guide this sailor back to land

Steer my ship on through the storm

Back to water safe and calm

Sometimes I need a lighthouse for my own

It gets so dark I can’t see which way I’m going

Lighthouse man I’m all at sea

Shine a little lighthouse light on me

Lighthouse man I’m all at sea

Shine a little lighthouse light on me

Lighthouse man can’t help us all

Some are saved and some will fall

He’ll show you where the danger lies

But he can’t help if you capsize

Cause He’ll light your way but that is all

Steer your own ship back to shore


The Waifs

16. Are you a strong person?

Oh no baby, I will not lie down

I'm brave enough to be crazy

I'm strong enough to be weak

I see all these heroes with feet of clay

Whose mighty ships have sprung a leak

And I, want you to tell me darlin'

Just what do you believe in now?

I Will Not Go Quietly

Don Henley

17. What makes you angry?

People walk a tight rope

On a razor's edge

Carrying their hurt and hatred and weapons

It could be a bomb or a bullet or a pen

Or a thought or a word or a sentence

There ain't no reason

Things are this way

It's how they've always been and they intend to stay

Ain’t No Reason

Brett Dennen

18. What makes you happy?

While there is time

Let's go out and feel everything

If you hold me

I will let you into my dream

For time is a river rolling into nowhere

We must live while we can

And we'll drink our cup of laughter

The finer things keep shining through

The way my soul gets lost in you

The finer things I feel in me

The golden dance life could be

The Finer Things

Steve Winwood

19. What makes you sad?

keep looking through the window pane

just trying to see through the pouring rain

it’s hearing your name, hearing your name

I never really felt quite the same, since I’ve lost what I had to gain

No one to blame, no one to blame

Seems to me, can’t turn back the hands of time

Oh it seems to me, can’t turn back the hands of time

Hands of Time

Groove Armada

20. Where would you rather be?

There is something exciting

about leaving everything behind

There is something deep and pulling

leaving everything behind

Something about having everything

you think you’ll ever need

sitting in the seat next to you

Another White Dash

Butterfly Boucher

22. How do feel when you think about your happiest memory?

When I touch your hand

It's then I understand the beauty lives within

It's now that we begin

You always light my way whenever comes a day

No matter where I go I always feel you so

'Cause you're everywhere to me

And when I close my eyes it's you I see

You're everything I know that makes me believe I'm not alone


Michelle Branch

23. How do you feel when you think about your biggest mistake?

24. What are you looking forward to in life?

26. What are some words to live by?

Every day I write the list

Of reasons why I still believe they do exist

(a thousand beautiful things)

And even though it's hard to see

The glass is full and not half empty

(a thousand beautiful things)

So... light me up like the sun

To cool down with your rain

I never want to close my eyes again

A Thousand Beautiful Things

Annie Lennox


Don't Talk To Me About the News

Daily I am saddened and highly disgusted with the entire human race in general.

A couple of weeks ago I mistakenly looked at the paper sitting on the desk at work only to learn that less than a week after the US government gave AIG an $85 BILLION bailout, the corporation held a week-long retreat for it's executives where they ran up a tab of $444,000.

Sadly, I don't even need to turn on the TV or pick up a paper to see how horrifying this world has become.

All I need to do is go to work.

In a hospital where, at any given time, 3 or 4 wards are isolated because antibiotic resistant things are spreading - in no little part because you can watch an underpaid, uncaring, privatized cleaner wipe out a toilet with a rag that is then accidentally dropped on the floor, only to be picked up and used to clean the sink.

In a department that employs roughly 25 people on a weekday, any given day of which 4 or 5 people call in 'sick'. One banner day last week we had 10 people off.

So, don't talk to me about the news. Don't talk to me about "helping my fellow man". Frankly, my fellow man doesn't need any help these days - he's entitled to the best of the best without having to take responsibility for actually working for it, much less deserving it.  Cause when it all goes to shit - someone will bail him out.  Regardless of what an uncaring, bigoted, useless ass he is in real life.

My "fellow man" can kiss my ass. I haven't seen him around helping me out in the last couple years. He's been hanging out denying his culpability for the state of the world with all the time-honored institutions in this country as they show us how they deny responsibility for their own actions.

After a day of providing the best patient care - to people who could actually use a little help - with as much heart and grace as I can muster in the conditions of my workplace, under the circumstances of this world and the overwhelming stress of my own life, I've given all I can.

Whatever I've got left won't go to charities I can't afford, lazy-ass motherfuckers who need to grow the fuck up, executives/ governments/ businesses who take no responsibility, mentoring university students who think they deserve B's for showing up to class, picking up garbage after mental midgets or volunteering at food banks when I myself can barely afford to eat.

No, what I've got left goes only in the direction of those that deserve it. In my opinion, the creatures large and small that our inhumane race damages more every day with as much careless disregard as they show everything else.

Given a choice between picking a fallen child up off a sidewalk because their mother can't be bothered to and picking up a worm to deposit back on safe ground...well...

At the end of the day, I give a little back to them. In return, they give to me and make my world and the world in general a better place to live in.

The rest of you? You're on your own, man.

(I'm still playing around with video - if these suck or if you'd like to see them in a larger format, you can go here to view them on Smugmug.)


Well, Knock Me Over With a Feather

Although my horoscope has been telling me for months that things are getting better (not so's I've noticed), today, it was actually RIGHT ON THE BUTTON.

The current planetary configuration promises success. One small bit of news will give you a taste of the good times that lie ahead.

After only EIGHT months (as opposed to the usual 2 years), the military has agreed that I'm no longer good to them and approved my medical release. Of course, there's still a good four or five months before the paperwork is done but soon! soon!, people, I may actually be able to apply for some sort of benefit and GET IT for the first time since I was injured.

24 months ago.

Although, I am a bit skeptical about the "good times", unless it means that from now on, instead of bad news at every possible juncture, there will be only good.

And THAT, my friends, is a concept that requires me to go lay down.


A Slow Shifting of My Tectonic Plates

1. No, the condo hasn't sold. Of course, as usual, I've probably chosen the worst time to try and sell. Made only THAT more difficult by the simple fact that the tenant pissed off and now, on a part time job, I'm trying desperately not to freak out at the attempt to pay rent, a mortgage, doctor's bills, condo fees, bills, food, a line of credit, an overdraft and, yes people, FOUR credit cards. (Thank you, yet again, Canadian Military, for the last three debts)

2. Before you helpfully suggest I work more, let me point out that well, I can't. I work the maximum my body allows me to. I still regularly miss work. I am, inside myself, far calmer, empathetic and content and I enjoy my job so even if I could force myself into working more, no matter how badly I need the money - I won't. I sleep a LOT. It's not depression, it's just how I deal, cuddled up with the Cabbages and my down comforter while my body and mind regain and maintain equilibrium. I worked a 15 hour shift last weekend alone - during a full moon and on the busiest, craziest, short staffed Sunday I've seen in 3 and a half years. Not once did I get angry, snap at anyone, freak out, feel overwhelmed or not take the time out to hold someone's hand if they needed me to. You should all be so lucky to encounter me during your hospital stay because I am damn good at not only my job, but patient care as well.

3. I think at last count I had 8 raccoons? One of the "f"'s (Frick or Frack, who are two of the 'strays' and not of the original momma from last year) brought three of the most adorably roly-poly babies by a few weeks ago and so now, yes, I have 11.

4.Rowan (with only one working paw), the mother of Bushy Sue, Boone, Darryl and Darryl (who are VERY big boys), the aforementioned Frick and Frack, the as yet unnamed babies and Agnes. Agnes is very old and she usually comes alone, eats a bit, has a nap on the lawn by the door, eats a bit more, groans in pain and wanders off. (pictures below - Agnes -replenishing her will to eat; momma and babies; and 5 in a row (Darryl, Darryl- who are quite obviously #'s 3 and 5 from the left), Bushy Sue, Boone, the other F.) Click to biggify.




5. All of these pictures were taken without zoom. Whatever you think about the fact that I feed the raccoons (and please don't share that with me - I don't care), imagine for a moment that you are sitting outside relaxing with a glass of wine, juice, beer whatever, a cigarette and eight (the most I get at any one time) wild animals two to three feet from you. Wild animals who peacefully co-exist with your pets and you (and seriously, I am sick of hearing about how one day they'll shred my cats, that's just ignorant). It changes how you see the world. Many of my friends have come over to experience this and find it just as enthralling as I do. We're all here 7 days a week, if you'd like to stop by.

6. I haven't worn my uniform since Oct 22, 2007. Even after all that's happened and although I am waiting for my medical release papers (honorable discharge to you 'mericans) I am still required to show up at the unit at the minimum required now that I am 'okay' for light duties. Otherwise, I'm NES (non-effective strength) (AWOL to you 'mericans). How freakin' stupid is that? *sigh* This Wednesday is the last chance I have. Goody.

7. Yesterday, my shift at work started at 7 am and after blowdrying this mop of hair upside down I flipped up and..... pulled some large muscle in my neck and shoulder. Not one of those, "ow! but in five minutes it'll be okay pulls", as I found out to my chagrin over the next few hours at work, but one of those "how dare you move your head and arm, you will be PUNISHED with excrutiating pain that makes you cry out" kind of pulls. I came home as soon as the next shift showed and spent the rest of yesterday and today alternating between ice packs, heating pads and tiger balm. How sissy is my body these days? Sheesh. I should be good to go back for my final shift of the week tomorrow though.

8. No news on any of the compensation fronts yet.

9. I don't know if I've said this before but I think my family doctor has been looking for a blanket diagnosis for what's happened to me as opposed to what I think is going on - which is four different things. One - the lumbar spine and cervical spine issues which cause the large muscles in my legs to stop working. Two - the massive stress which ramped up the jaw-clenching and caused the migraines. Three - the stress fracture in my femur (which I can't even, in the face of overwhelming evidence, get my GP to admit). And, last but certainly not least, four - the shoulder issue and arm pain issue.

10. However, I did get into see a sports medicine specialist a couple weeks ago (NOT the one who gave me an appointment 8 months after the request but one that I saw 2 weeks after the request to him). He and I looked only at the fracture and the shoulders. His letter to the GP will definitely confirm the femoral stress fracture and he thinks I possibly had a hip stress fracture as well. I still have one shoulder / arm - the one that was 2 inches lower than the other when I came home from basic - that still hurts constantly. He thinks it's rotator cuff impingement - my chiro thinks is brachial plexus impingement. I'm more inclined to go with the chiro's assessment but regardless, we can all agree that something is impinged in my shoulder. The sports guy gave me some exercises to stabilize my shoulders, as they are "sloppy" and if they haven't helped after two months then we'll be looking at surgery or injections. So far, I'm actually seeing some small improvement. These things are all good, as they represent small steps forward and further evidence for my various compensation issues with the big machine.

11. A few weeks ago, I began to have organic fruits and vegetables delivered by the lovely people at Spud (Small Potatoes Urban Delivery). You set up a "fresh harvest" box and fill out a bloody long form choosing certain things "all the time", "most of the time when available", "sometimes" and "never, ugh, I hate this" and every couple weeks a delivery man (I call them my "Spud muffins") comes by, picks up the Rubbermaid container from the last delivery and replaces it with your new delivery. They do let you know the week before what they've got on your list so you can change things around and there's a price limit you set. I get $30 every two weeks. And yes, it's far more expensive than "regular" produce but that sort of forces me to damn well eat it all and not leave anything in the fridge to rot. It's kind of a cool concept and although organic produce tends to be erm... small and beat up looking, I'm enjoying that this stuff is mostly local, they donate some of the proceeds, the variety of foods and the chance to try things I've never had before. Seriously, before last week, I'd never eaten chard.

12. The very small amount of this video that I watched made me physically ill. I can't even embed it. I urge every one of you to sign the petition governing pig farming. Or, at least, stop buying Hormel meat. I myself, love pork. And I'll keep eating it. But I believe it's the responsibility of all of us to ensure that these animals who give their (mostly, sad and uncomfortable lives for us) - as well as a basic right of the animals - are treated in the best, most humane manner we have available to us.

13. Like I said above, I'm an unabashed meat eater and I can't see myself ever stopping that. However, I think that as an extension of the aromatherapy I've been studying and the things I make now for myself, my awareness has begun to overflow into all aspects of my life. I try to be far more aware of the things I do. I carry my own cloth bags. I order organic shampoos and body products (those I don't already make myself) online. I recycle EVERYTHING I can. When I order groceries, I ask for paper bags so I can put them in my recycling. I keep an eye on the WWF website to find out what they recommend (blue fin tuna - bad! overfished!) and I follow their recommendations and suggestions the best I can.

14. I also buy more fish as well these days and I try to buy seafood from New Zealand. There is an awesome article in the National Geographic titled Blue Haven that I urge you to read regarding their no-fishing reserves. The part I find most interesting is the findings below:

For reasons not fully understood, when areas are closed to fishing, snapper aggregate within them, forming large resident populations. Spiny rock lobsters ("crayfish" to New Zealanders) do the same. Their density inside the reserve is about 15 times higher than outside. Commercial crayfishermen have cashed in on the reserve's success because the outward migration of crayfish—a process marine biologists call spillover—brings the crustaceans to their pots, strategically placed just outside the boundary. These former skeptics are now some of the reserve's staunchest defenders. They refer to it as "our reserve" and act as marine minutemen, reporting poachers and boundary cheats.

Spillover and larval export—the drifting of millions of eggs and larvae beyond the reserve—have become central concepts of marine conservation. Reserves where fishing is banned are now seen as potential stud farms and fish hatcheries, replenishing the surrounding seas. Research at Goat Island has provided some of the strongest evidence of this replenishment effect—research made possible by the fact that the reserve has been closed to fishing for 30 years.

15 WARNING: the squeamish may want to skip this part. The other thing I started in the last few weeks was using cloth menstrual pads. All I'm going to say is... not as icky as I thought, nice and comfy and I feel damn good about reducing plastic in landfills at the end of every one of those five days.

16. One of the main things (after torrents and before communication) I use the internet for, as I've said before, is to look things up on the fly. Gardening. Recipes. A song I heard on TV. Something I'm reading about in a book. A word. A concept. A religion.

Last week I was reading a book (The Judas Strain, see right sidebar) and I came upon a description of Christmas Island, where millions of land crabs migrate to the sea to lay their eggs every year. Thinking that sounded kind of bloody awesome and not even knowing that something like a crab who lived inland in burrows even existed I went directly to the internet to look it up. It was all true. Christmas Island is 52 sq miles in land area and north west of Australia - roughly 150 MILLION crabs migrate every year. Each female gives birth to about 100,000 babies. It's been added to my intinerary (when I finally get outta here) but I totally can't understand how absolutely NO ONE I know (so far) thinks this would be awesome to witness.

Christmas Island Red Crabs -


Shopping by Name


Monty Python's Holy Gril, Black Sheep Brewery, North Yorkshire

Accusation Ale, Phillips Brewing Co, Esquimalt, BC

Sometimes Bitterness comes from a frivolous Trademark dispute. We prefer it when it comes from a nice late hop addition to a great ESB! Our September Seasonal is here, in all its glory...only 180 cases available in finer Cold Beer and Wine stores near you!

[Phillips Brewery was subject to a trademark dispute over its "Blue Truck" ale, which was named after their (you guessed it) blue delivery truck that had recently died. It seems that Red Truck brewery out of Vancouver took exception (I guess they didn't see a similar problem with the Red Truck (Cline) winery in California whose name they are using). ]

These guys have some fantastic beers with fantastic names - Amnesiac IPA, Black Toque India Dark Ale, Draught Dodger Maple Cream Ale, Surly Blonde Big Belgian Triple, Dirty Squirrel (hazelnut),

Hobgoblin and Fiddler's Elbow,Wychwood Brewery, Oxfordshire.

For anyone interested in other great labels, I found a flickr list called Beer Labels, Close Up which has some pretty cool stuff on it.


Rotting Grape

Vampire MerlotVampire Wines, California


A Lake, Awesome Company and Cat's Pee

Hrm. I'm uploading photos to my Smugmug account and the large file uploader stays on top of whatever else I'm doing on my system. It's a bit of a challenge to type around, but then again, I guess it can't be said I'm not up for a challenge.

What's happened since last I spoke? Nothing new on any of the points in the last post, except that the condo is now on the market. Even after my super real estate agent, Shari, cleaned the shit out of the place, it's still smelling a bit like smoke so we've got pro carpet cleaners coming in on Friday and an open house on Saturday. I mixed up some essential oils today and shipped them out to her to make it smell even more lovely and wonderful.

Fingers are crossed.

After a couple of weeks of baking hot weather here on the west coast of the island and 24 hours of thunder a couple of days ago, it's finally raining. (although Victoria receives the least amount of lightning in Canada, 24 hours of thunder ONLY was a bit disconcerting) I'm sitting under the overhang on the porch, drinking a caramel crunch coffee, smoking Camels and thoroughly enjoying the wet.

I'm on day two of my three days off this week. Today was haircut day (it's all one length midway down my ears now); tomorrow, teef cleaning; thursday, chiropractor - I like to space these things out so I don't overly tax my laid back self.

As a belated birthday present, Vicky took me out to the cabin on her aunt and uncle's property for three days last week. She'd grown up there as well, but her parents no longer own their house on the lot. The little cabin had no running water and an outhouse but was wonderful and relaxing. I think it may have been Vicky and I's best, most relaxing trip yet. She shared some great memories of her childhood with me and the lake was just.... wow.

There are only about 10 houses on the lake and their property is at one end - the last one before Mt Work Regional Park begins. Most of the days were spent on the wharf in the sun just appreciating the utter silence and watching the ducks. I also completed my first hike (40 minutes up the mountain) in about a year and a half and swam across the lake and back. I noticed that my muscles get tired very quickly but rebound after short rests and over the next few days I was barely sore at all. I think I blew the "fuse" in my back again that regulates the large muscles in my legs but after resting for a week, the chiro will look at it on Thursday and see how I've ended up. The swim was a killer on my arms.

Vicky, of course, makes all the meals and on our last morning we had pancakes with freshly picked red gooseberries and blackberries.

Also of note was one of the wines we had (yes, I thinks it's perfectly acceptable, yea, even advisable to buy wines based on whether or not I like their funky names) which was quite nice (and helps the animals too!):


All the pictures are here but I shall leave with one below.


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