Thursday, 29 July 2010

The Way I'm Running Has Sure Got Me Down On My Knees Next Stop Vegas Please

I have a dilemma. It's not a bad dilemma. I'm definitely not complaining. It's just something that has been circling around in my head, distracting me from my (stupid!) (almost complete!) (but not quite!) accounting course. I need guidance so I can stop thinking (fretting) about it.

Shawn and I are going to Vegas in September for my lovely friend Cat's wedding. We booked our hotel (MGM) a few months ago because we wanted to take advantage of a promotional rate they were offering. So we booked the hotel but then our schedule changed a bit and it was significantly cheaper to fly into Vegas a few days earlier than planned, which has resulted in my dilemma. We are going to be in Vegas for a week, from Saturday to Saturday. We have a hotel room booked from Monday to Saturday. The Saturday and Sunday for which we do not have accommodation booked? Are the Saturday and Sunday of the long weekend. Meaning all the rooms in Vegas are stupid expensive for those two days. As in, it will cost us more to stay in Vegas for those 2 days than it is costing us to stay for the following 5 days. And we got a suite for those 5 days! A suite that is 24 square feet larger than our condo! So do we bite the bullet and curse the long weekend and just stay in an expensive hotel room? Or do we stay off-strip in a dodgy hotel (keeping in mind that I have an active imagination and I watch CSI and I do not want to get murdered.) Or do we rent a car the minute we land in Vegas and spend 2 days driving to the Grand Canyon? Renting a car and driving to the Grand Canyon really appeals to me (I've always wanted to go there and so has Shawn) but realistically, it will end up costing more than the 2 nights in a hotel in Vegas. Though it will provide more of an experience, right? Road trip! Grand Canyon! Route 66! Has anyone done the drive from Vegas to the Grand Canyon? Has anyone been to the Grand Canyon and been disappointed? Before this dilemma arose, our plan was to take a full-day bus tour from Vegas to the Grand Canyon - has anyone done a bus tour to the Grand Canyon from Vegas? I need stories, people. I need stories and experiences and informed advice.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

There's A Blueberry Pancake Flying In The Sky

I am deeply entrenched in schoolwork. Yesterday my course completion deadline was moved up by a week (a week!) meaning that I have until Friday (Friday! As in, three sleeps from now!) to submit my coursework. I am grounded from fun. I am grounded from non-fun (I hit a new low when I started looking forward to doing laundry as a break from studying.) I am a studying machine.

Machines need fuel; however, so the one thing I am not grounded from is making blueberry buttermilk pancakes with fresh local blueberries and topping them with fried eggs and bacon.

Priorities, people.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

We Were Wasted And Happy We Were Laughing In The Sunshine

A little sunshine to balance out my lightning:

I just finished reading The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. I was crying by page eight but the tone lightened after the first chapter and I really enjoyed the story. The story isn't light but it's a light read, if that makes sense. Without giving too much away, the story is told from the point of view of an old dog and the first chapter is about him trying to convey to his master that he wants to be put down. Sad, yes, but still a good summer read.

* * * * *
Stella will do anything for food. She's half beagle and half pug - two breeds known for their voracious appetites. Shawn cannot resist her charms, though I can't really blame him when she pulls stuff like this:

"Please may I have some peanut butter and toast?"

She makes me smile. Constantly.

"LADY! I do not think you realize how badly I need some of that white cheddar popcorn!"

* * * * *
Wolf Parade, Stars, The Black Keys, Hannah Georgas, and She & Him are providing me with an awesome summer soundtrack. I've been doing a lot of car-dancing is what I'm saying.

* * * * *
It's Thursday! Which means that tomorrow is Friday! Which means that it's almost the weekend! My weekend will be spent studying (grumble grumble grumble) but I also have plans to drive out to the berry farms in search of local raspberries and blueberries. Local berries make my heart happy. Smitten Kitchen featured a raspberry recipe this week that I'm planning to make for a gluten-free dinner we're having next week. It would be irresponsible of me to not test the recipe this weekend, right? Basically my life is seriously lacking in raspberry brown sugar gratin and I need to rectify the situation immediately.

* * * * *
Alright, who has some sunshine to share? Or lightning bolts - we are equal opportunity here at two L's. Ready? And go!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

And I Love That Little Game You Had Called Crying Lightning

Lightning bolts, in bullet points:

- My time with the Darth Vader mask has been extended for another 2 weeks.

- My follow up appointment to talk about the additional 2 weeks? Is in mid-September.

- The additional 2 weeks is necessary because of a data reporting error. Not because of anything I did, not because the Darth Vader mask is a feasible treatment option, but because the clinic needs a full month's worth of data.

- I finally went out and bought running shoes and started running. Things were going really well and I felt good so I (stupidly) pushed myself harder than I should have and now I have a stress fracture in my foot. Moral of the story: I am old. I should not exercise. Real moral of the story: I have no business running on concrete.

- My accounting final is on August 7th. Between now and August 7th I need to finish my 9th assignment, do all of the reading for the 10th module, complete the 10th assignment, and study for the exam. I am so behind and I have no one to blame but myself. Lightning! Bolt!

- Shawn and I have both been really busy lately and it's starting to affect how we treat each other. We've both been snappy and impatient and I'm not sure how to break the cycle. It's our anniversary on August 4th and I would love to go away for the weekend but my final is on the 7th and he's got a gig on the 6th and we work different work schedules (me: Monday - Friday, him: Tuesday - Saturday) so it's difficult for us to get away. August is going to be ridiculously busy for both of us and I'm worried that we're facing a bickery, hostile month.

- Shawn installed a dual-flush converter on our toilet so now there is a "small flush" button and a "big flush" button where there used to be a lever. We're going to conserve so much water and we're going to save the environment and aren't we fabulous people?! Except that I hate the dual-flush converter. You can't just flush the toilet anymore, you have to stand there and hold in the button until the toilet is finished flushing and I know, I KNOW, poor me having to spend 7 seconds flushing the toilet. I just hate it. I won't be shamed by this.

- Unbloggable family shite. People are crazy. That is all.

Monday, 19 July 2010

We Should Try A Little Harder In The Tedious March Of The Few Every Day's A Different Warning

I want to write about sunshine and barbecues and hikes with the puppies and days at the beach. I want to write about the fun that I'm having with Shawn and the big plans we have for our second anniversary in just a few weeks. I want to write about summer and watermelon smiles and sangria nights but I can't because all of those things exist only in the corner of my brain labelled "what summer should be" and not in the corner of my brain labelled "reality: of the stark and cold variety."

I admire people who write about the tough times as well as the bright times but I hesitate to admit it when I am having a dark day (or week, or month, or season as the case may be.) I don't want to be a whiner. I don't want to be negative. I want to throw positivity out into the universe so the universe will bounce some positivity right back at me. Right now I kind of want to punch positivity in the ear, unfortunately. My attempts at positivity have failed and a tantrum is brewing. It's sunny and warm but my eyes are lightning bolts.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The Outlook Was Decidedly Blue But As I Walked Through The Foggy Streets Alone It Turned Out To Be The Luckiest Day I've Known

I try to be an efficient person. I make lists and I plan and I think of possible outcomes and different scenarios. I spend a lot of time thinking. I scheme.

I keep myself busy. I spin from one project to the next, barely allowing myself time to take a breath. I often don't finish a project before I hurl myself into the next, leaving a trail of inefficiency and unfinished projects in my wake. The unfinished projects pile up until I am paralyzed at the thought of how much time they would require to complete. It's silly. If I just buckled down and completed the tasks, I could check them off my list and move on. Instead, I avoid my old / incomplete / difficult / uncomfortable projects for new! fun! exciting projects like painting the bedroom or reading the Stieg Larsson trilogy. Which is why I have three weeks to complete two modules and assignments before my accounting final but I could talk in depth about Lisbeth Salander and my bedroom walls are the perfect shade of dove grey with a deep turquoise accent wall.

It's something I struggle with - the self-discipline and willpower to accomplish the boring stuff. I'm trying to find the balance between the mundane and the exciting. I'm not always successful (clearly) but I am getting better (says the lady who is blogging instead of reading her accounting textbook. *sigh*)

Like Gravy To Potatoes Luke To Darth Vader I'm A Souped Up Sucker And I'll See You All Later

In one week, I will (hopefully) be able to return the Darth Vader sleeping mask. I don't think the sleep specialist or respiratory therapist will recommend that I continue using the mask - the quality of my sleep has not improved. If anything, the quality of my sleep has declined because of my inability to adjust to sleeping while wearing the mask.

I'm not complaining about my lack of sleep again, I promise - just sharing a picture of Stella being ridiculous. For some reason she's drawn to the continual flow of air from the mask. Weirdo pup. Either that or she wants to be a Star Wars villain. I smell next year's Hallowe'en costume!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Popsicle Toes Are Always Froze

Summer finally arrived last week and it is capital-h-Hot. I'm not complaining, though, not one bit. Summer is a short season here in Vancouver so I will gladly welcome the heat and humidity.

The puppies have been less than impressed with the heat, however. Our neighbourhood is all cement sidewalks and gravel-filled dog parks - not very nice for rolling around in when it is hot and steamy - so I packed them off to the suburbs to spend the day in my parents' tree-filled backyard.

The puppies love my parents' backyard. It's big and shady and comes complete with a puppy! Toby's actually not much of a puppy anymore; he's old and arthritic and his hips are slowly twisting the wrong way, but he lets the pups crawl all over him and kiss his face. He's afraid of cameras (and has figured out that my iPhone is a camera) so I can only snap sneaky shots of him.

Since Stella's raspberry eating incident, my parents have erected fencing around their vegetable garden. When Stella discovered the fence, she was displeased. She spent a good portion of the day balanced on the edge of the garden wall, trying to decipher a way into the garden.

I didn't want the puppies to get overheated so I made them puppy popsicles. I mixed up about a cup of plain yogurt, a big spoonful of natural peanut butter (don't use the sugary stuff or you will end up with a sick pup), a mashed banana, a grated carrot, and a handful of chopped cranberries into a gloppy mix and then used my mini-muffin pan as a mold. They took a few hours to freeze into pucks of puppy popsicle goodness and then I popped them out of the pan and stored them in a bag in my freezer. The yogurt keeps them nice and chewable. The pups approve.

After hours of fun in the sun, I brought the pups home for a much needed snooze. Stella crashed for the entire afternoon, giving me a nice uninterrupted stretch of time to work on my accounting course (boo-urns to working on homework when it is nice and sunny outside.)

The ear draping over the side of the bed? Kills me. She is very easy to love when she is like this (you know, quiet and immobile.)

Friday, 9 July 2010

Tiny Little Hands Clapping

Shawn has his solo music project but he also joined a local band (Black Betty) a few months ago (side note: I love the new band. They kind of sound like Soundgarden + Ozzy.) Two days ago the band got a call from Live Nation asking if they would be interested in opening for Steel Panther at the Commodore. The Commodore Ballroom is somewhat of an institution in Vancouver. I would go so far as to say that it's the best place for live music in the city. It feels large - and attracts big name acts - but can actually only hold 900 people. It's a stepping stone - a step above playing in bars but a step below (albeit a large step) playing in arenas. Coldplay played their first North American gig at the Commodore. Lady Gaga played the Commodore in March 2009 and a year later returned to Vancouver to play at GM Place (tangent: GM Place was renamed Rogers Arena this week and ... no. Just no.) U2 played the Commodore in 1981. Playing the Commodore is kind of a big deal.Last night I watched Shawn fulfill his dream of playing on a big stage to a packed house of rowdy fans.
It doesn't matter that it was a rowdy crowd of Steel Panther fans. It doesn't matter that Black Betty was a last-minute fill-in for an opening band that bailed. All that matters is that all of his hard work paid off last night and I am so very proud of him.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

We'll Design A Clever Disguise Or Retreat To The Bottom Of The Sea

I make a mean guacamole. I am good at recommending books and bands. I bake really delicious pies. I make excellent playlists. I am good at some things is what I'm saying.


There are many things that I am not good at and for those things, I have my people. When I need to sound smart, I have Turtle. When I break my computer, I have Turtle's boyfriend. When I need to know what accessories are appropriate for a certain outfit, I have Robin. When I need someone to listen to my crazy without judging, I have Cat. When I have an accounting question, I have my dad. I have no problem finding help when I am unable to do something by myself.

A little while ago, I started to hate my blog. I still loved my bloggy people, I just felt like blogging was becoming a bit of a chore. I decided that I needed a blog redesign. I needed to approach blogging differently and in order to do so, I needed to change the look of my blog. I know absolutely nothing about the technical side of blogging though, so I needed a person.

I'm not sure how it happened (I'm guessing it was a combination of her kind heart and my blatant desperation) but Kyla became my bloggy person. A few emails were exchanged and it became painfully obvious how limited my technical skills are. Yada yada yada, I hired Kyla to redesign my blog.

My fancy new blog, twitter background, and etsy banner are all products of Kyla's brilliance. She did it all. The only thing I did was send bizarre emails with statements like "I like colour. Not like COLOUR colour. But colour. You know?" And she did know. Or at least she pretended to know what I was babbling on about and still managed to wrangle my thoughts into a cohesive design. Working with Kyla was an entirely positive experience - she listened to me, she gave me exactly what I wanted, and she suggested things I didn't even know that I wanted.

I'm excited about blogging again. I have ideas and plans and intentions. I still have a few things to finish (my about page and blogroll are currently sad and empty) but I'm excited to show off my blog. I removed the BlogHer ads - I have nothing bad to say about the program, it just didn't feel like a good fit for me. I dislike Blogger's inability to respond to comments (the "" makes me want to stab my computer) but I didn't feel comfortable learning a new blogging platform so I am going to start responding to comments in my comments section. Blogging is going to be fun again. Mark my words!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

And I'm Out Here Banging My Head After All The Dancing And Spilling Beer All Over The Place

It is only Wednesday and I feel like I'm about to collapse. A million things are happening this week and I'm excited and I'm exhausted and I would love nothing more than to sit down with a proper mug of tea and write a coherent post but all I've got is a paper cup of espresso and bullet points.

- Robin is home from Africa! Her schedule got a bit mangled by situations she couldn't control so she hopped on a plane and came home early. I was trying to not get too excited because she didn't know exactly when she'd be able to come home but her flight landed last night so I am officially pee-my-pants excited.

- In exactly 2 months I will be in Vegas recovering from Cat's bachelorette party the night before and looking forward to Cat's wedding the following day and I am beyond excited and happy. I love Cat and I cannot wait to be there when she marries her fella. Shawn and I are staying in Vegas for a bit of a holiday after the wedding - what should we do while we're there? I've only been to Vegas once before so I'm still a rookie.

- Two of my favourite bloggers are asking for help to achieve awesomeness. Emily is trying to win a dream honeymoon and LiLu is attempting to become MTV's Twitter Jockey and if you're so inclined, voting is quick and easy and would mean so much to them.

- I have not bought new running shoes yet. Some of you suggested that I go to a running store to speak to someone about which shoes I should wear and that was a very logical suggestion. I'm not so logical though (understatement of the year) so I'm hesitating. I used to run. I wasn't a runner but I used to run. I'd get my shoes from the Running Room and I'd go on the group runs and I'd talk to people about shoes and blisters and chafing. I think I'm scared to go back now that I haven't run in a shameful amount of time. Like they'll know I'm a fraud or something. And yes, I know how crazy that sounds but hi, my name is Hillary and I am a little bit crazy. So I have no shoes.

- Shawn is playing at the Pillage at the Village festival in August and it's kind of a big deal and I'm ridiculously excited for him ... and I kind of don't want to go. It's not that I don't want to see him play at a big venue (umm ... one of the bands opening for Bif Naked!) it's just that it's on the island, in the middle of nowhere, and I won't have anything to do or anyone to hang out with when he's off doing band stuff. Plus it's a serious hassle to get to and we'd have to sort out dogsitting for the pups and I can't take any time off work so I'd be going up Saturday morning and coming home Sunday morning and ... I really don't want to go. I'm a bad wife is what I'm saying.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Troubled When It All Stays The Same Caught Between This Cold And The Waves

Exciting changes are afoot here at two L's please. Soon the final kinks will be sorted and I will return with the story behind my redesign :)

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Hey Young Thugs The World Is Yours

I haven't been carded at the liquor store in a long time. The legal drinking age in BC is 19 and I am, well, not 19 so it doesn't bother me. I'm not forcing my driver's licence upon the the liquor store clerk or anything.

So I'm at the liquor store tonight and the checkout clerk looks to be about 12 years old and he's, I don't know, just got this vibe about him. Let's just say that if his shirt had a collar, that collar would have been proudly popped. So I hand over my beer and he asks me how I'm doin', all shmarmy-like. We make small talk as he rings up my purchases and then he tells me he needs to check my id. And I'm all "wtf?" because for one thing, shouldn't he check my id before he rings everything through? Also, I was buying an apricot wheat ale not wine coolers, you know? But whatever, I hand over my driver's licence and he gets all squinty-eyed as he does the math and then he says, "1982? Lookin' good for 1982!" as he hands my id back to me.

Umm ... what the fuck does that mean? Looking good for 1982. I'm 27 years old!

The older gentleman in line behind me actually snorted as I took my card back and paid, silently. I didn't know what to say! I mean, I wasn't offended (it's actually kind of funny) but I was kind of taken aback.

I should have called him a whippersnapper.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

True Patriot Love

Happy Birthday, Canada!
To celebrate, I dyed my hair red in your honour.

(The red hair may be more of a hairdye mishap than a patriotic statement but I'm admitting nothing.)