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Prairie girl with a west coast future.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

With Glowing Hearts.

Ok. Confession time. Until last Friday, I was doing my best impression of a hostile Vancouverite and shunning the Olympic Games.

I moaned about the tourists and the transit headaches and laughed at Mother Nature's cruel sense of humor.

And then, I saw the torch being run down the street outside my work.

It was a happy accident that I managed to be heading down for a coffee break when I was swept up in a sea of excited co-workers on their way to see the torch. So I decided to forgo caffeine for some reflected glory.

Waiting in the growing crowd outside, I couldn't help but get caught up in the excitement and enthusiasm of those around me. The torch wasn't even in the vicinity yet and I found myself spontaneously yelling "OOOH" when an official looking vehicle drove by.

From my vantage point, the whole of downtown seemed a-wash with people. People were in the streets, on top of newspapers stands and climbing the spindly urban trees in hopes of getting a better vantage point.

And then.

The torch came around the corner. I must admit that my jaded Canadian heart jumped into my throat.

The sound that exploded from the crowd was like an ocean wave - it grew and roared and crested as people jockeyed to see a glimpse of the flame.

The crowd was held back by the peace officers, and as I let myself be shifted and moved by the crowd, I found myself right next to the torch runner. I was close enough to see just how wide his smile was as he held the flame aloft.

The torch passed as quickly as it came, the runner flew past us and continued to run in the direction of BC Place Stadium.

The crowd grew quiet and dispersed. Once held together by collective excitement, we were now strangers again.

The remainder of the day passed with simmering Olympic excitement. Co-workers shared stories of running into athletes and celebrities and we all watched, with mounting trepidation, a protest form and grow legs in front of the art gallery.

The work day came to a close and I found myself walking my familiar route to catch my train. My usual practice is to walk fast, with purpose. But this walk was different. I noticed the volunteers in their turquoise jackets. I noticed the tourists, comparing maps and I noticed the flashes of red and white patriotism among the crowds.

For the first time, the Olympics was more than just an inconvenience. It was a welcome break from my routine.

And when Alexandre Bilodeau won the first gold medal, ever, on Canadian home soil, I think my heart actually starting beating in time to our national anthem.

I've never been one for overt patriotism, but these Olympics are helping me remember what's really behind the maple leaf.

PS: My new found patriotism does not mean I have stopped glaring at idiot tourists who hold up traffic to take pictures of seagulls.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


At the time of writing, I cannot feel the entire right side of my face. The area from my right ear to the middle of my lip is a complete expanse of numbness. I have to consciously think about not biting my tongue. This is more challenging than it sounds.

As you probably deduced from the preceding few sentences, I spent a joyful 2 hours of my afternoon in a dentist chair.

I'm a dental sissy. The idea of needles and drills and other dental torture implements invading my mouth fills me with an enormous amount of dread.

To their credit, the dentist and hygienist were both very sweet. The dentist explained the entire procedure and the hygienist held my hand and talked to me about her Mexico vacation plans while the Novocaine was being injected. Yes, I needed my hand held. I DON'T LIKE MOUTH NEEDLES OK! STOP JUDGING ME!

And so I waited to get numb. I waited and I waited. The most that happened was a vague, unpleasant tingly sensation. But I still had feeling. The hygienist prodded me a few times and asked "Can you feel this?" and looked at me strangely when I nodded in the affirmative.

The solution to this problem? Another shot! So there was more hand holding and more talk of Mexico and the creeping numbness finally started to kick in.

After about 10 minutes, I couldn't feel much of anything on the one side.

The filling itself, while uncomfortable and full of drills and noises and spraying dental matter, was quite straight forward.

As an added bonus, I watched a tv that was situated on the ceiling. Unfortunately, the show was Dr. Phil, so I had to endure whiny teenagers who were SO IN LOVE OK?! with their shifty boyfriends and who hated their parents for....being parents.

So, the dentist finished the filling, but still, I was captive in the chair.

Oh yes, this appointment was a "two fer". Not only did I get a filling, but I also suffered through the unique dental torture that is a mouthguard fitting.


So imagine that expanding foam insulation that everyone's dad buys at Home Depot.

Now imagine taking that insulation, spraying it in your mouth and "gently clamping down" as this horrible stuff oozes all around your mouth and threatens to drip down your throat.

And imagine someone cheerfully telling you not to swallow which, of course, reminds you that you desperately want to swallow.

Oh! And this stuff sets really fast, which means it forms a pretty intense seal around your teeth.

Apparently, my teeth bonded to this stuff in an "unusual way" and the hygienist had to literally brace herself against my head in order to successfully pry the gunk off my teeth.

She reassured me that I do still, in fact, have all of my teeth still in my mouth. I have my doubts.

So that was fun.

On the up side, I managed to not to drool all over myself on the train ride home. So there's that.

I'm home now and actively waiting for the numbing to wear off. Because I received two doses of Novacaine, the dentist said it could take "anywhere between 3 and 7 (!) hours to get full feeling back again".

In the meantime, I may engage in some idle tongue chewing.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Stress and Numbers and Graphs

I had a stressful morning, full of broken alarm clocks and flailing. I was afforded 2.5 extra hours of sleep due to malfunctioning technology, but by the time I did awake from my slumber, I was in a total state of panic.

I managed to get dressed, perform basic hygiene functions, feed the cats and rocket up to the bus stop in about 3.5 seconds. I think I broke a sound barrier.

After arriving at work 1.5 hours later than usual, I was about 1.5 hours behind in everything I tried to do today.

This made for a long, frustrating and tedious work day.

Finally, finally it was home time! I shuffled out onto the congested downtown streets and shoved my way onto a crowded skytrain. Surrounded by 9.5 million fellow cranky commuters, I spent the ride home trying to preserve some kind of personal space. It was a losing battle.

Immediately following the skytrain ride came a short jaunt in a shuttle bus which deposited me in Port Moody.

As I walked down the hill toward my townhouse, I marveled at how my stress level declines exponentially as I more farther away from downtown Vancouver.

If I were to express this in a mathematical equation (why not?!), it would look something like this:

Except replace those words with "Stress Level" and "Distance From Vancouver", respectively.

Vancouver is full of noise and people and buildings. And I don't particularly care for noise or people or buildings.

And while Port Moody is not where my heart is truly at home, it at least allows me to breath and stretch and look at the scenery without having to look past a skyscraper.

So, even though I spent the whole day 1.5 hours behind, I came home, and I took some deep breaths, and I was able to catch up to myself.