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July 27th, 2014

01:44 pm
Ho ho! I smugly return to running! I ran 3k and my knee is happier than before the run, so back to my usual schedule I think. It took the first very gentle 2k for my knee to feel up to snuff, though, so I'm still glad I bailed on yesterday's race.

Consolation SLIME LIME NEON GREEN race jersey photo for Raven! The Emerald City jersey she gave me is still uglier, but this one is more eye-stabby I think. A girl needs HIDEOUS EYE-MARTYRING variety in her NEON ATHLETIC GEAR wardrobe, natch. XD

Meanwhile I have somehow badly pulled my shoulder while lying still in bed. OH THE TREACHEROUS ATHLETIC HIJINKS I GET UP TO. Running made that feel a bit better too, so I'ma advil up and hope it just goes away over the course of a few workdays.

At the end of my run I sweatily slimed in to the hardware store across the street and picked up some new fans. My new bed fan is WAY quieter than the old busted one, huzzah! I also got a teeny weeny fan for Greg to point at his feet so he stops accidentally kicking my fan over. (Now he'll have to kick it over on purpose.) And I found some machine screws the right size to substitute for Ikea shelf nubby things, so I can finally finish assembling my shelves and unpack my CDs from moving in uh, 15 months ago. (Ikea is still locking out the unionized workers in the Richmond store, so I am still not setting foot in any Ikea. I miss their weird pastry and whimsical kids furniture. But not enough to cross a picket line.)

Greg has been running cooking shows in his play kitchen all weekend and it's ADORABLE. He's catering an endless series of picnics for his imaginary friends - my little ponies, Periwinkle (the cat from Blue's Clues,) and kitten versions of all the cats, dead or alive, in his life. (So Toby - alive! - Suzie - dead! and Gorby - dead! "Gorby and Suzie died after a long-happy-life but now they are my kittens. Toby takes a little longer to die because he is still alive." he explained.) He's serving yellow watermelon, several kinds of fried onions and peppers, and has been taking special care in preparing the toy eggplant. "This is a cutting board! I use it for slicing the eggplant right in to quarters. I just love the creamy white colour inside." (I think that last bit is a direct quote from one of his favourite youtube cooking show clips.) He explains the kitchen for the viewers at home. "This is the microwave, and next to it is my dishwasher, it's an upstairs dishwasher, not a downstairs one like mama's. Here is the cooler to keep things cold. The middle name of this cooler is called a refrigerator! It is connected to the ice cream boxes. I bought more at the store, dark chocolate, because I ran out."

CUTIE PIE. Might need to get him a little chef hat. I had trouble getting him to eat ACTUAL food as a result - he was offended that I was offering him more food when LOOK AT ALL THIS GREAT FOOD I AM MAKING HERE, MAMA! In the end I gave him some snacks in ziplok bags "to put in your pantry for later" which he accepted. I caught him surreptitiously snacking on the real crackers later on. Gotta work with the narrative.

Greg: "What are you drinking, mama?"
Me: "Water."
Greg: "Not coffee and not gin? Not those drinks?"
Me: "Mama's not always a private detective, sweetie."

I'm a positive health role model! Well, at least he also sees me head out running all the time, in between my caffeine and booze benders. (Okay no, I think he has fixed on those two as my archetypal Mama Drinks because they're the ones he's not allowed any sips of.) He sometimes packs up little purses full of lego and announces "I'm just going for a run!" Usually before settling in to make a Brio setup. Well, trains need exercise too.

Less than a week until TRAIN ADVENTURE TO PORTLAND! I'm super excited because now dad is coming too, for part of the trip anyway. LOOK OUT PORTLAND ABBEYS ARE COMING TO... UH... ADMIRE YOUR MANY MODES OF TRANSPORTATION! AND EAT OYSTERS AND PROBABLY BUY LEGO WHICH IS ALSO AVAILABLE IN CANADA! Can't wait to see Greg's face when we get on the train. My train mite.

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July 24th, 2014

10:27 pm
HAH! THE PRIDE RUN SHIRT IS EXTREMELY UGLY! Thank god. This is the run that had a SULFUR PILE YELLOW technical T last year. It is my favourite running shirt and I was pretty sure they could not possibly match its eye-martyring loveliness this year, but I showed up to pick up my package and the ladies' Ts were.... SLIME LIME NEON GREEN. YESSSSSSS.

Sadly I will not be wearing this fine shirt at the actual pride run! My knee has been super cranky this week and I've taken the week off running. A few days of rest have made it feel better today, but I'm not stupid enough to make the first run back a race. So. I will wear my delicious neon green tech T on Sunday - if I still feel better - and go for a nice slow jog. HARRUMPH! I love the Pride run, but it will have to wait for next year - with hopefully ANOTHER horrible/awesome shirt - in the interest of shepherding my knee in to continued running. It's been an amazing and wonderful year of getting to run. I thought I would never be able to run again, but here I am, I've been running for 14 months consistently. I used to need two doses of advil to get through a work shift and now I don't need any painkillers at all. This uncharacteristic week of having a cranky knee used to be my normal. So it's awesome that it's odd again. But I'm CRANKY anyway. But this will pass.

The Loncon schedule has been posted! I'm actually a little excited about it!

1) None of the program items involve me. I SHALL SNOOZE ALL I LIKE. (I think I've decided to bring a banjo anyway, though.)

2) There are a bunch of Tove Jansson/Moomin panels! I will attempt to go show off my Little My tattoo, I think.


Once my knee gets less cranky, that is. Waiting patiently. IS SOMETHING I AM BAD AT. But here I go.

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July 21st, 2014

11:46 am
Oh, I'm so un-update-y lately! I have been basking/melting in the sun, taking many naps, chasing tiny train enthusiasts, etc. And a lot of lying around watching stargate and playing animal crossing in the dark with a fan going full blast at my toes. I miss the summer when it's gone but wilt in its presence. Like all native Vancouverites my chief enjoyment of any kind of weather is complaining about it. We're excited about any change as an excuse for renewed grousing about it, an occupation I am becoming a tenth level master in as someone who works in a retail environment. The joyful sparkle in the eyes whilst louding bemoaning the latest barometric variation is a passive aggressive pleasure that is perhaps difficult to detect for visitors. But just watch what happens when movie stars who film in Vancouver complain about how much it rains, we all go APESHIT. It's like you insulted our family. "HEY! I'M THE ONLY ONE ALLOWED TO TRASH TALK MY FAMILY! IT DOESN'T RAIN THAT MUCH! AND IT'S GREAT RAIN, YOU SHOULD BE SO LUCKY IT SHOULD RAIN ON YOU! PUT AWAY THAT UMBRELLA YOU ARE INSULTING MY COOKING!" Etc.

I had a terribly cultural weekend. I got a membership at the VAG for my birthday, and went to do one of my customary Abbey speed-tours. I love the Coupland exhibit! It has one room that's just snarky t-shirts, and one room that's just Lego, and several rooms that are like picking up a copy of Souvenir of Canada and shaking them out. I'm not quite old enough to be the target demographic for his wicked nostalgia cannon, but I can feel the mixed affection & scorn that he paints over everything and I love it. The third floor exhibit has some wacky-taffy house-themed installations. Which are heavily air-conditioned and kind of soothing and mostly have benches to admire them with. So if anyone is hunting for a good hot-day activity, yo. There's also a new acquisitions exhibit, which was a mix of cool! and meh! and a retrospective of painting in Canada, in which the walls are JAMMED with stuff. (Including the required Emily Carr, natch. I have not ever been to the VAG and not found a Carr somewhere and I would be intensely disturbed if that happened.) My favourite was a dutch painter (in Canada) from the 1800s (whose name I have completely forgotten now) with a painting called something like Motherly Love, with a picture of a sleeping infant in a cradle, and a mother sitting nearby. Instead of having a beautific expression of adoration and self-sacrifice, the mother looks COMPLETELY FUCKING EXHAUSTED, and there's a glass of wine and a decanter on the table next to her. Some things transcend time.

After that I went to see The Tempest at Bard on the Beach. I'd never been before! It's Bard's 25th anniversary, and I can see why it's such an institution. The production was OUTSTANDING. 4 piece string ensemble on stage (2 violins, viola, and a BASS YUSSSS), ethereal harmony singing from the players for all the Ariel fairy/sprite magic bits, Prospero was totally hot, the drunken sisters were gloriously over-the-top and had like, full-on dance routines, it was awesome. All this on a stage open at the back with a view of English Bay, the ocean and the mountains and the rocky shore, SO PERFECT FOR THE TEMPEST. 12 gold stars! Thank you, Richters, for bringing me along! Somehow I got to keep Joe's parents in the divorce. But hey, he got to keep the dining room table.

I kid. Neither of us wanted that table.

I spilled poison all over myself last week. I'm fine, after some quick workplace stripping & washing, but my goal for this week is NO POISON BATHS. Sometimes my job is a little surreal. I've been reading Indexing on my phone lately, and... well, at least the poison wasn't apple-flavoured. But sometimes I feel a little like a fairytale apothecary, especially when I compound weird oral suspensions. "Apothecary" is actually something I have a protected legal right to call myself! Only licensed pharmacists can call themselves:

1. Apothecary
2. Pharmacist
3. Druggist
4. Pharmaceutical Chemist

...in BC anyway. My business cards have the fairly boring "Compounding Specialist" instead of "APOTHECARY & CURE-ALL - TINCTURES, TONICS & REMEDYES" but this is probably for the best.

Greg is at a sneaky age, but he is still three. On the weekend he was having a bedtime meltdown (I think I CRUELLY asked him to go pee before bed.) and I said "Oh no! Don't smile! Don't smile!" and he grinned hugely and said "I TRICKED you, mama! You said don't smile but I smiled RIGHT AWAY!" "You sure tricked me, baby!" I'm pretty sure that'll only work once, but DAWWWWW.

Later that night he woke up, bawling. "I want papa! I want papa to snuggle me!" My heart cracked a bit. "Oh honey, papa's at his house, but mama is here, mama will snuggle you." "Noooo I need papa! PAPA KNOWS ABOUT BUTTONS!" ...it turns out the problem was not affection, but that he was upset that the button-up shirt he insisted on wearing to bed instead of pyjamas wasn't buttoned up properly. I rebuttoned it, while he sniffled at me suspiciously, and after confirming that I hadn't done it crooked this time, he went back to sleep. 3AM FASHION CRISIS. I gotta say I can't blame him for thinking his pop would be better equipped to handle formalwear problems. But better yet, Gramma Deb will be back from Toronto soon, baby. You can go shoe shopping together and tell her tearfully how your parents never separate their colours in the wash properly or use shoe trees or ANYTHING. Or well mama doesn't. I think Joe totally has shoe-trees. I'll be over here checking if my shirt is inside-out or not, since that happened twice last week LOOK FASHION IS TRICKY.

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July 11th, 2014

09:01 pm
Bweeeee. Greg has stacked up two kid-chairs to make a house, and is furnishing it with lego, for its residents, an imaginary flower and an imaginary bird.

"There are couches, and here are some buttons for pushing, and there are two TVs, so the bird can watch and the flower can watch. They do not like the same games or whatever on the TV. But there are stairs in their house so if they want to snuggle they can go up the stairs, the flower can go to the birdhouse for snuggles. Without watching the same TV."

Ignore-snuggles! This set-up possibly describes my entire family. And some other families I could name. XD


Me: Oy! Stop touching my shoe horn! Leave it on the wall!
Greg: I wasn't touching it, mama! I was just looking at it with my hands!


So hot and cloudless! I have freckles on my freckles from running in the sun. It's 100% no-pants in my house right now. Greg has been hanging out in the bathroom with the lights out, lying on the cool tile and playing videos on the ipad under a towel fort. At night it's been Toby, me, and Greg in a line on my bed, plastered against the fan at full blast. Usually Toby is not allowed to stay the night in my bedroom, because he's an asshole who starts knocking shit over at 5AM unless cat food is provided, but I have been taking pity on him because BLERGHHGGHG HOT and he has a fur coat.

I'm sure this terrible heat wave, where exterior temperatures have climbed HIGHER THAN ROOM TEMPERATURE, which is what constitutes a heat wave in the pacific northwest, will end soon. Maybe? PLEASE SEND ICEBERGS. In the meantime we are guzzling a lot of frozen berries. Greg is slowly turning blue but may consent to a bath one day soon.

Greg runs in with an update. "My birdhouse has three floors now!"
"Oh, who lives on the third floor?"
"The flower and the bird and the cat, all together."
"Are there three TVs now too?"
"Yes, for all of them."

Peace in our time. They're having a tea-party now, with Periwinkle the cat and an unspecified My Little Pony. I don't know whether the guests brought their own TVs. I may have to lend out my gameboy and a smartphone.

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July 6th, 2014

12:35 pm - New Song! The Indiana State Pepper
The Indiana State Pepper!

I wrote this in honour of the Tooles' announcement of their first album, the tenuous connection to which may be impossible to explain, but it is also dedicated to Professor Pete, who discovered the Indiana State Pepper, although he tried to cover it up for reasons I will never understand. PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE SORT OF

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10:42 am
EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS HIPPO ARTICLE CHARMS ME. (h/t to corvi) I know invasive druglord hippos are actually a serious OH I CAN'T EVEN FINISH THE SENTENCE WITH A STRAIGHT FACE.

Amy: "I'm writing a new song entitled, "How the Fuck Do You Smuggle Four Hippos, a Giraffe, and an Elephant."
Me: "Does the chorus go By Being A Motherfucking Drug Lord With Your Own Army And Also Shooting Government Officials As A Hobby, because probably it should."

Greg is falling asleep in the middle of the day next to me.
"Are you having a nap, honey?"
He jerks his head up. "No! I am just... looking down... so I can see my blanket better."
Greg immediately falls over, asleep.

Greg is shopping with Auntie Jessie, who is picking out a steak.
"Wait Auntie Jessie! Actually they're all quite raw!"
She bought one anyway, but FOOD INSPECTOR GREG is ON THE CASE.

I relate this to Auntie Seanan, who is delighted.
Me: "Do you want to go to the corn with Auntie Seanan, sweetie?"
Greg, looking alarmed: "Mama tell Auntie Seanan I was just PRETENDING!"

I'm still enjoying fooling around with bowed banjo. Yesterday I tried bowing AND playing slide. That was an interesting sound! I... think I should stick to one or the other for now, though, until I get good enough for one hand to be more autonomous. Also I should buy something more suited to being a slide than the graduated cylinder I was using.

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July 3rd, 2014

04:38 pm
It's always a surprise to me, which posts about work will occasion "Huh, how interesting" and which will get "WAIT ARE YOU SERIOUS THERE ARE PHARMACISTS WHO DO THAT?" Chatting with demented patients - and negotiating the transition from lucidity to not so much with them and their families - is a pretty routine part of my job, and I'd be surprised if it wasn't for almost every community pharmacist, even in super busy chain pharmacies. There's more and more dementia out there as people are living longer and longer, and people with dementia are usually on prescription meds, maybe a lot of them, and the dementia is usually not the first medical condition, so I see it in my patients I've been slowly getting to know for years. I do have plenty of patients I barely know and rarely see too! I have about 20,000 patients; there's maybe three or four hundred I recognize on sight well enough to call by name and remember in broad strokes what's up with their health without looking up their records, but almost all of my patients on meds for dementia are on this list.

If you're thinking your pharmacist is distant and wouldn't do these things, it's probably because you're a young person (in pharmacy that means you're not 70 yet) and aren't on many (or any) regular meds. If you catch them chatting with a patient on 15 medications who is in the store every week with adjustments to their blister pack, they probably have a different demeanour. I'm sure there's a lot of variation, as with any human endeavour, and I love my job and I think I'm good at it, but I bet your pharmacist is secretly better at it than you might think too. :)

(For anyone thinking I dove in to a mailbox or chased down a mail truck or something, the Canadian postal system includes little postal outlet franchise places that do most but not all of the things a full post office does, and there's one inside my pharmacy, taking up a corner of the store, so that part actually just involved me saying "Hey, can you open your drawer and check something for me?" to a co-worker. I didn't even have to walk away from my computer.)

Anyway. I am flattered by all the kind words on what I thought was a whining-about-work post.


I keep peeking at The Tooles' kickstarter page. IS IT FUNDED YET IS IT FUNDED YET. I know there's like a month left, I just... really, really want them to have an album. They're the funnest and they need to be on my ipod. Okay I really really want them to make the music video with the goats and the coasters. But first: album.


Has anyone received their copy of Lalala!!! #10 yet? Instead of SENSIBLY waiting for Monday to drop them off at the postal outlet ten feet from my counter, I dropped them in an outdoor post box with a sort-of-broken door. I mean, not like broken-wide-open-anyone-could-steal-the-mail, more like, maybe they won't pick up this mail until some union dude with a wrench comes out to look at it in two weeks. But PROBABLY they are fine and on their way.

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July 2nd, 2014

03:54 pm
It's soooo slow today, and somehow the customers I am getting are not themselves.


A regular customer angrily walks up to my counter. "Where's my arthritis cream! Is it in your BREASTS? OR YOUR SHOES? I'll take it either way!" I raise my eyebrows mildly. On the bus I would be yelling back at him, but at work this sort of outburst usually comes with context. His daughter, standing beside him, mutely drops off a new prescription for an antipsychotic. Oh.


A regular customer cheerfully walks past my counter, drops her prescription in the Canada Post box, and carries on.

I get the mail clerk to fish it out for me, fill the prescription - for an Alzheimer's medication - call the prescribing doctor to get a phone number for a family member, call them to let them know the scrip is ready and that maybe mom needs more help than you have realized until now.


A regular customer stops in to get a blister-pack of medication. "Oh! Did you get our message? We need a new prescription from the doctor. Here, this is a list, you can get the doctor to sign it."

An hour later, the same customer stops in to get a blister-pack of medication. We have the same conversation. This time I call the doctor's office after she leaves, but they don't have a family contact.

An hour later, the same customer. I offer to let her call for an appointment with my phone, but she waves me off, she'll take care of it.

There might not be anything I can do with this one; but I have the rather science-fictional opportunity to try new approaches every time she comes in, as long as she keeps forgetting that she's come in. Maybe I'll hit on the right thing to say to get her to the doctor next time, or to persuade her to part with one of her kids' phone numbers. At least I know she HAS kids; from more lucid conversations in years past. Sometimes there isn't anyone TO call. Until things are bad enough that you call an ambulance or the police.


Maybe the heat is baking everyone's trains of thought, or maybe their usual support structures are in disarray due to vacations, or maybe it's just statistical clumping. I prefer the summer days full of weird sports injuries and insect misadventures I have to say.

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June 30th, 2014

02:10 pm
YOU GUYS YOU GUYS GUESS WHAT! Amy's Irish pub band, The Tooles, are gonna record!

Kickstarter! For the Tooles! Doing a thing!

They're GREAT. Amy has the very best hair, David is probably not in Venice, and Kurt looks JUST LIKE Vincent van Gogh! Wait, wait, I mean, Amy is the very best fiddler, David is an energetic and delicious guitarist & singer, and Kurt looks JUST LIKE Vincent van Gogh! Well he does. ALSO he's a great musician.

Amy and David were the GoHs at Conflikt! DO YOU REMEMBER THAT GREAT CONCERT. That's who this is!

For ten measly bucks you can get their album!

I backed it at considerably more than ten bucks, because (a) they are GREAT and (b) I want them to have an album SO BAD, and (c) WAIT STICKERS I HAVE A MEDICAL CONDITION REQUIRING STICKERS, and (d) THERE'S AN OPTION TO BE INEXPERTLY PHOTOSHOPPED ON TO A POSTER. I mean, maybe they could do it expertly, I don't know, but I'm hoping for _my_ poster that they do a TERRIBLE job. I will frame the shit out of that poster.

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June 29th, 2014

10:06 am
It turns out Greg is not bad at arithmetic when it involves cats.

Greg: "Auntie Seanan has 3 kitties, and we have one kitty and that would make 4 kitties all together."

Me: "I don't think Toby would like visiting Auntie Seanan's kitties. Or vice versa."

Greg: "Also Suzie and Gorby, that would make 6 kitties. Even 7 kitties I would say. Or a hundred kitties. I would say a hundred kitties is good actually."

Me: "We're... we're not getting a hundred kitties."

Greg: "Well how about just 6 kitties."

Me: "I... think one kitty is the right number."

My little cat lady.

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