Monday, June 29, 2009

Moley Moley Moley...

I'm sitting here at the computer, on my third Floyd Album, just trying to main-taaaiin.

It was a lousy weekend at work. The busy kind of lousy, not the dangerous or the incident ridden kind. Too many MHA apprehensions, too many crackheads. God, I love the crackheads; always a cheery smile and a flattering appraisal of you and your gifts. They are nature's way of keeping you humble, really. Now that its summer again, the rain keeps washing them up to the front door.

I looked at myself in the mirror when I got up today and saw an old woman. I've seen her before, in flashes, but Time is rapidly becoming that frienemy who tells y'all that my ass looks fat in these pants. My acne however, helps me keep my youthful glow. Ugh.

Since I had Quinn, the mole population on my body has exploded. Some are skin tags that my son helpfully rips off once and a while, some are sun damage spots. (Ok, a lot are sun damage spots. I spent many years a sun bunny and quite a few in tanning salons.) I've had a few moles for a long time, one of which started out as a small spot on my nose in my middle to late teens. For years, people mistook it for a piercing (including my own father, who, I will add, has a mole in the same spot). I really didn't spend too much time correcting them. I've even been known to dab a little sparkle on it before I go out. It has gotten noticibly larger over the last few years and I've toyed with the idea of getting it zapped off. Like everything else, it got sidelined for more important things.

A few weeks ago I lightly rubbed my itchy nose and my hand came away covered in blood. Upon examination, the mole had begun to tear away from my nose and was bleeding profusely. It healed pretty quickly, but I headed to my family doc to see if he could rip it off for good. If I missed it, I was gonna get that piercing.

My family doctor referred me to a plastic surgeon on the 19th, who took one look at it, measured it and sat down to have "the talk" with me. My mole, as it turns out, is not a mole. It is skin cancer. Specifically, basal cell carcinoma.

A Self Portrait.
An honest self-portrait...

Now, in all fairness, to activate the logic based defense mechanisms, if you are going to get skin cancer, this is the one to get. It's generally non-invasive and usually easy to fix with surgery. The non-logic parts of my psyche would like to remind you that it is still cancer. They would also like to add that after the thyroid and the cervix, this would be my third brush with this word.

My plastic surgeon (I just love saying that) went on to describe some sort of flappy closure thing that they would do to fill in the hole with skin from the side of my nose. I told her at the time that I didn't care what she did as long as I didn't end up with Michael Jackson's nose. (Oh settle down, he was still using it at the time.) She added that it would probably take a very long time to heal, probably upwards to a year and that there would be a bump there and it could look like a small bit of swelling. She also added that if I had still been a smoker, it would probably never heal. Good to know.

So, tomorrow morning, I go to day surgery for a little bit and get it over with. I'm sure it will go fine and I'll spend the afternoon on painkillers eating KD and watching cartoons. I'm returning to work Wednesday night with a few exceptions. The surgeon was horrified (as people usually are) when she found out what I do for a living, so she added a few disclaimers. Stuff like "try not to bend too much", and my all time favourite, "Don't get hit in the face".

I'll try not to.

Moley, Moley, Moley - Surgery Update - A Stitch In Time - The Best News All Week

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Garden Update

I was updating my Flickr page today with some new photos of the garden in preparation for this entry and I realized that my garden has really changed in the last month. I've been frustrated with it at times... especially when I would go out in the morning and find something savaged by a squirrel or bird. I've replanted my sunflowers several times and had to replant and reseed a few other things. I still haven't gotten any squash to sprout. However, my tomatoes have really grown and what corn wasn't pulled out is doing very well. The rest has to just catch up a bit.

Tomatopia: Ildi and Tiny Tim.

My cucumbers are doing well. My plan is to grow them up the gazebo once they get going. My leftover tomato and pepper plants seem to be doing very well too.

Busy Corner
Salad Bush Cucumbers, Peppers, Big Beef Tomatoes and Oregano

The new vegetable garden needed a few additions. Since the birds and squirrels keep having a go at it, I decided to fight back. I went to the dollar store and spent $20 on twisty, flappy, noisy things that would move in the wind and generally keep the critters out of my corn. So far so good. Quinn thinks they are marvellous.

On Guard
Motion Sensor Guard Froggie

All in all, it's coming along. You can see one variety of lettuce is doing pretty well, while the other is busy annoying the hell out of me (I grew both in a box on a balcony last year without much light and they did fine, so I have no idea why ideal conditions are not working for it). You will also notice a lot of specks in the garden; those aren't weeds, rather they are bits of chives and onions that I chopped up to help with the pest control. It worked pretty well actually until I was able to hit the dollar store for my whirly treasures.

Coming along...
It's coming along...

I noticed on the way to work tonight that one of my planter boxes on the porch is sporting a few lobelia flowers. I look forward to the nicotiana and asters blooming as well. I planted some morning glory seeds in a cedar barrel a few days ago and they are already a few inches high (they are destined to grow up the side of the zeebo). I'm also pleased that my lawn is looking a lot less patchy these days... you can add watering the lawn to my list of simple pleasures. For some reason, after a busy night shift, it's very soothing to go out and water everything. I'm so tired by that point that my mind stops whirling and I can listen to the birds and the windchimes and really hit that state of zen before going to bed. I look forward to doing that tomorrow (well, today)...

I know, it's not one of my more exciting notes... but then again, you're probably not a gardener. :)

"Garden writing is often very tame, a real waste when you think how opinionated, inquisitive, irreverent and lascivious gardeners themselves tend to be. Nobody talks much about the muscular limbs, dark, swollen buds, strip-tease trees and unholy beauty that have made us all slaves of the Goddess Flora." ~Ketzel Levine's

Monday, June 8, 2009

Adventures with Quinn

“Doing all the little tricky things it takes to grow up, step by step, into an anxious and unsettling world.” -- Sylvia Plath

It was a big weekend at our place.

For months now, we have been preparing Quinn for the eventual disappearance of his bottles ("babas") and soothers ("tookies"). He's over three now, and I know he's way old for both in some circles. In our defence however, the bottle at night and sometimes one in the morning were tools that helped combat the absentee mother. Let's face it, 12 hour shiftwork does not make for consistant parenting. He's up early in the morning, stuffed with breakfast, quickly dressed and in the car before he has a chance to really wake up most days. It's not easy for me, let alone a pre-schooler. The tookies had been relegated solely to nap and bedtimes and only at home, not at daycare. He can drink from a cup and sleep without a soother... it was time for them to go.

The "Soother Fairy" was a stroke of genius from the BFF. Her daughter Erin (of kitty cat pancake fame) had difficulty letting go of her soothers as well, until one day, the Soother Fairy came and took them away. I can't remember if she left presents or if she gave the soothers to less fortunate children or what... I just remember it made it easier than having her beloved pacifiers just disappearing one day or some of the awful things I've heard over the years. Things like; "You're too big for that", "Only babies need those. Are you a sucky baby?" to me are just mean, but then again, so is "the dog ate them" (I heard that from a mother in a store one day) or the direct "I threw them in the garbage". The Soother Fairy would have to put our family on her list.

We started small with Quinn. We explained that the "Tookie" Fairy took the soothers and the bottles away. This rattled around in his head a bit unil he would say, at random, often to complete strangers "The Tookie Fairy takes away the bottles and the tookies, for babies!" (we added a little bit of social consciousness in there, as the Tookie Fairy does like to help the less fourtunate). She evolved in his mind as time went on. I personally don't know what she looks like, but "She's a real girl Mom! A nice girl. And beau-ti-ful!" After a few months, it was time for her to put in an appearance.

But what could she leave in their stead? Daddy-o and I have been checking out wagons for over two years now, pricing this one above that, checking out durability, weight ratings, customer reviews... it's insane, really. I think we spent less time checking out our car. I found one recently that would suit our needs. Unfortunatly, it's a little costly and I would still have to custom order the canopy for it (remember: my son and husband need an SPF rating of "asbestos" to go out in the sun). Luckily, my frequent searches of Kijiji would pay off; there was a lady not too far from us that was selling a "gently used" one for half the price. Sold!

Daddy-o got an email on Friday: the Tookie Fairy was going to be in town over the weekend. Saturday, we got another email, letting us know that she would be visiting us that night. Quinn wasn't all that happy about it, but he had his last "bedtime baba" and helped Mommy put out all the bottles and baby-ish sippy cups and his beloved tookie on the counter. It was a restless night, punctuated with a lot of sadness from my son, but it had to be done.

Sunday morning, Quinn awoke early and we went downstairs together. The bottles were gone! In the living room however, was a wonderful red wagon. He was very pleased... so much so in fact, that he would not stop playing with it and even ate his breakfast in one of the comfy red seats. Before we headed outdoors for our "adventure", he had already been "camping" with Bear, been to the moon twice, and had a Wonder Pets adventure where they saved some poor creature from imminent doom.

I Has a Wagon!
I has a wagon!

Our first adventure of the day was a walk around our neighbourhood. Since we moved in at the end of November, we haven't been out walking around much, I must confess. It was fun trundling along, checking out all the pretty flowers in the neighbourhood and ending up at the park.

Because That's How I Roll...
Because that's how I roll...

It turned out to be a surprisingly nice day. Surprising only as The Weather Network was evidently on crack again as it had advised rain for five days straight. The sun came out as we reached the park and we had fun climbing and trying out some of the "bigger kid" stuff.

Lonely Boy
Lonely boy on the swings... Awww!

When we got home, it quickly became apparent that napping was out of the question. Tookie withdrawl, I would imagine. After several failed attempts, we went outside to play. There he discovered another new addition to the yard, a sandbox courtesy of Skye and Erik. It's a double sided thing, one for water and one for sand and that's how it started out. It ended completely different tho' and Quinn spent a glorious hour and a half making mudpies, islands and himself a delightful mess.

He got a whole lot muddier before he was through, trust me!

Quinn was soaked and sandy from his head to his toes by the time he was done. One change of clothes, a cup of milk and an episode of Thomas later, he was an unconscious heap on the couch.

All in all, it was a weekend of discovery. I know there have been many like this before and we have many more to come... this weekend just seemed special. I guess it is one more step towards child instead of baby. It is also a little more freedom for he and I; since we have moved away from using the stroller, it will be easier to use the wagon for our "store adventures". I also discovered something about myself... it wasn't just him clinging on to his tookies and babas. My little baby is very much a little boy and he's growing up way too fast. He will be doing so many more amazing things before we know it.

Maybe our next adventure will be potty training. One can only hope.

June Blooms II

In our adventures yesterday, Quinn and I found a few more pretty things to look at.

I finally captured some of my red fuchia buds... they look like tiny paper lanterns. My pot of them is doing well behind the gazebo.

Little Lanterns

We found a lilac bush on the way home from the park. I have been trying to get a decent macro of lilacs for years. Of course, it was a bit windy... why do I always try to get macros when it's windy?

Lilac Macro

My roses are finally blooming. I'm not sure if it was the much needed shot of warm weather, or the boost of Miracle Grow I gave them the other day. Alas, they will remain a treat for the eye as they do not have any smell at all.

Pink Rose

More on our adventures later... and an explanation of "The Tookie Fairy". It was a big weekend around here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

June Blooms

Ahhh, I love spring.

I was puttering around in my garden yesterday and there were quite a few things that begged to be photographed... including my son who was all "take my picture, Mommy! How about now?" I blame myself, really. ;)

One of the bushes in my "dunno" garden has turned out to be a weigela. It is covered in pink buds and white blooms. They are stunning against the variegated leaves.

White Weigela
White Weigela

My rosebush is also covered in buds. By the looks of a few that are starting to open, they will be a hot pink. I hope they are as much of a treat to the nose as they will be to the eye.

Ahh... Anticipation.

My boys gave me three pots of fuchias for Mother's Day; two pink and one brilliant red. So far, I've managed not to kill them. I kept them indoors at night for most of May, simply because the weather has been so cool this year. I keep deadheading them and that is paying off as they are covered in buds.

Pink Fuchias
Pink Fuchias (or is that Fuschia Fuchias?)

A Breathtaking Red

Whilst I was checking things out, Quinn was amusing himself by finding pretty stones and the like. We had some bits of wood left over from the garden construction and he had been stacking them up like blocks in various spots in the yard. I put two "feet" down for him beside the new garden, he added a board, I added another board and he then basically told me to get lost as he was going to build something. When I turned around again, he was incorporating all his pretty rocks and finds in the yard into a marvelous innukshuk-esque sculpture. There was some consternation about the "head", but he was quite delighted when he found a concrete "grey hat" for his masterpiece at the side of the house. This is what he came up with:

Quinn's Creation
Quinn's Creation

Needless to say, both of us are quite proud of his work.

"I Made This!!"
"I made this!!"

It was a very productive morning, but alas we had to go in for lunch and naps. There are many more buds forming on my other plants; I look forward to discovering what each of them are. As a little garden update, I have sunflowers, carrots and lettuce that have sprouted!

Mmm... spring is just magic for the senses.