Thursday, July 27, 2006

smelly cat

I need to add a disclaimer to this post to say that I swear I'm not trying to be mean! I'm just posting this so you can sympathize with my experiences...

I had the absolute WORST experience on the Skytrain today. I got on the train to go to work and it was still in rush hour. When I looked down the train, I was thinking, "how fortunate to find a seat!" There was only one seat left and no one seemed to go for it, so I headed for it. I noticed an overweight, dishevelled-looking man sitting in the seat perpendicular and in front of the open seat, but nothing really clicked...

I sat in the seat and was immediately overwhelmed by the smell. The man smelled HORRIBLE. I cannot even describe the smell it was SO bad. But I couldn't get up and leave the seat because I didn't want to insult him - isn't that the worst kind of guilt?! So, instead, I got out my magazine and held it in front of my face to try to shield myself from the smell, hoping desperately that he would get off the train soon and that I wouldn't puke in the meantime.

I sat there hoping that I would "get used" to the smell. You know how that happens, right? But it didn't on this occasion. When the man sat still, it seemed that the odour did not waft around my magazine, so I had several moments of reprieve. But, to add salt to a wound (I think for both the man and the people around him), he had Turret's syndrome - so, he wasn't sitting still very often. And everytime he had episode, the smell would waft and I would gag.

You know, I really felt sorry for this man. It was a sad state to see a person. But, seriously, I have never smelled something SO bad and just when I was starting to take the Skytrain more and more, I think I may have to take a break for awhile...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

baby moon

We went for a "fun" ultrasound this past weekend at 24 weeks along. Our friend, Aileen, is an ultrasound technician and volunteered to do an ultrasound for us "just for fun". Thanks again, Aileen, for doing that for us! It was amazing - such a different perspective when a friend is talking to you and telling you what she sees. Aileen talked us through some of the diagnostic things she does and she spent alot of time just showing us the different baby parts! We saw Dop's mouth and arms moving and even though I couldn't feel it, Dop was kicking me over and over again! Man, the abuse!

So, of course, we went for this ultrasound to find out that one gender-defining part and we found out that little Dop is a boy! It is so exciting to know and it makes it so real for me! Yes, we have a name picked out for Dop, but no, we are not divulging the name until he is born. We'll continue to call him Dop because if I start to use his name, I'm sure I'll just blurt it out all the time!

I'll upload the rest of the ultrasound photos to Flickr, but here is a photo first for Dop - it's his first baby moon! Hehehe...

On another note, this morning, I felt Dop externally for the first time. I think it's a kick, but I'm not sure. All I know is if I put my hand on my stomach, I can see my hand move when he kicks! It makes me laugh everytime because I imagine this wee little baby in my stomach kicking me as if to go somewhere!

Friday, July 21, 2006

culinary disappointment

One of the things I miss most about living in Vancouver is knowing where to go to eat.  The restaurants in Vancouver change as quickly as the shoes in my shoe closet!  While we were living in Vancouver, it was so nice knowing where to go to eat from the plethora of restaurants of every different cuisine in every neighbourhood.

Last Friday, Brian and I found ourselves in the unusual circumstance of going out for dinner in Vancouver.  We were in the Broadway & Oak/Granville area and we just did not know where to go!  A friend told us that there was a new restaurant closeby on Broadway, so we headed there.

We knew from the cheesy valet parking and the patrons that were dressed-to-impress at 6:00 pm (!!) that this was NOT the place for us, but without other options, we found ourselves looking for parking.  It turns out that the place is a chain called Joey's Mediterranean Grill.  It is an updated version of Joey Tomato's in Coquitlam (which, were were told by the waitstaff, has also had a facelift and is no longer a pasta joint).

It reminded me of Cactus Club - the waitstaff is HOT, the menu offers a nice variety and it's all OK, but it is definitely not worth the prices!  And I'm still wondering why they call themselves a "Mediterranean Grill" when their dishes seem hardly Mediterranean, except for the dishes with the word "Med" or "Mediterranean" in them!

Anyway, I think I'm mostly disappointed because in the past, we definitely would have found something better.  Instead, in our once-in-a-blue-moon dining experience in Vancouver, we ended up in a mainstream restaurant that did little to satisfy my palette but at the same time cleansed my pocketbook.

my birthday in july

My birthday is in October, so I was completely shocked when I came home one day last week to a potted mini-rose plant and a birthday card!  I thought Brian was having some sympathy mum-dum episodes (hehehe...).  As it turned out, the card had Varekai tickets inside and that was why he was giving me a birthday in July.

We went to Varekai last Friday and, in short, it was amazing.  As with every Cirque du Soleil performance, you can't help but to "Oooo..." and "Ahhhh...".  In Varekai, the costumes were magical, the child performers were unbelieveable and, of course, the acrobatics leave you breathless.

In addition to Varekai, I have also seen Mystere and Alegria.  I can't tell you which one is best because they were all amazing in their own right.  All I can say is that a Cirque du Soleil show is a MUST for everybody.  You need to see at least one show.  And, it is a MUCH different experience watching it live than watching it on tv.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

chivalry is NOT dead!

I'm 23 weeks pregnant now and I'm hoping that I look pregnant and not just fat.  But I realize that people don't want to assume that someone is pregnant because heaven forbid if they are wrong!  So, I guess I've been giving people the benefit of the doubt on the Skytrain (Vancouver's public train system) when they don't give up their seat, seeing a pregnant lady standing.  Brian, on the other hand is just appalled!  He believes that there is absolutely no reason at this point in my pregnancy that people do not give up their seat for me.  I've been pretty lucky on the Skytrain, though.  I guess my work hours are shifted enough that I'm not directly in rush hour and most times I've been able to get a seat. 

Today, however, I left for work a bit earlier and found myself in the middle of the morning rush.  By the time I got on the Skytrain, there was standing room only and it was pretty packed standing room at that!  So, I took a look around me and noticed that there were some young, able-bodied individuals (men and women) that were sitting down.  I looked down at my stomach and glanced at my reflection in the window.  I'm PRETTY sure I look pregnant.  I was feeling a bit let down that there was not one person on that crowded Skytrain that thought that I might need a seat!

A couple of stops went by and more people got on the train, so I was forced to keep moving down the aisle.  Just when I had given up the notion that people actually give up their seat anymore, the lady in front of me stood up and offered me her seat.  I thanked her and I was very happy to see that chivalry was not dead.  It truly made my day.

A couple of stops later, an elderly man got on the train.  I noticed that there was a girl in her late teens/early 20's that was sitting in one of the elderly and disabled seats by the door.  She looked right at the man and I guess it never clicked because she made no move to vacate her seat!  Eventually, a man got up and offered the elderly man a seat.  (I noticed that the man and the woman that gave up their seats actually knew each other.)  I'm sure that the kind gesture made that man's day as well.

I'm so happy to see that people still get up to offer their seat to others that might need it more.  It is a show of respect for others that my parents and Brian's parents taught us growing up and we will definitely be passing this lesson on to our kids...

Monday, July 17, 2006

posting photos...finally!

I finally bit the bullet and subscribed to a full Flickr account.  Take a look at the photos of the twins that mom Van Dop sent!

I can't believe how easy Flickr is to use!  I can drag and drop photos into my Flickr account or I can forward email sent to me with photo attachments directly into my account (check the Uploading Tools in Flickr).  You can set it up to automatically resize your photos too, so that you're not uploading photos are 1 to 2 MB each.

I highly recommend using Flickr to store your photos.  The only drawback is that Flickr does not support my blogger.  Some blog tools (e.g. Blogger) can be used in conjunction with Flickr.  I'm not sure what the benefit is, but it probably has something to do with the fact that I don't have to add links like the one above in order to see my Flickr photos!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

top model face-off

I wouldn't consider myself a reality tv junkie, but I've been watching America's Next Top Model religiously for the last couple of cycles.  So, when they came out with Canada's Next Top Model this season, I was all over it!  I thought that a Canadian version would be SO much better than the original because, well, I'm Canadian!  I even asked Liezel to record it for me because we were still in France for the pilot episode.

Sadly, I have not been able to sit through an entire episode of CNTM.  I'm not sure what it is, but it is definitely not the same show as it's American counterpart.  I think Tricia Helfer makes it worse!  I'm not a big fan of Tyra Banks, but there is some train-wreck sort of quality about her that makes me watch the show week after week.  Tricia tries to be as "dramatic" as Tyra, but she just comes off as monotonous and boring.

I haven't watched enough of it to have a distinct opinion of any of the girls, but I definitely don't like the guests and judges that they have on the show.  They try to be mean, but they come off sounding dumb and I actually feel embarrassed for them!  And maybe I'm just annoyed at seeing Jeanne Beker again after seeing her for years on Fashion Television - how does she manage to stay on the air?!

In any case, I'm disappointed by CNTM and I'm already looking forward to the next cycle of ANTM to fill the void in my Wednesday nights...

Thursday, July 6, 2006

the beginning of traumatization

The realization of parenthood is now upon us.  I realize that we are fortunate to live in a country that pays for us to go on maternity/paternity leave for up to 1 year.  I also just realized today that the maximum you can earn while on maternity leave is $413 per week.  Now, I am traumatized...