Wherein I complain about bronchitis and cashflow

My bout of coughing fits wassn’t letting go of me, and Lyra has been having some trouble sleeping due to her cough for the past week, so I took the two of us in to see our doctor this morning instead of going to daycare/work. As it turns out, I have bronchitis and Lyra is mostly okay but has a bit of croupiness to her cough, which may or may not need treatment. I, however, get to take antibiotics for the next X number of days. Yay. Speaking of which, I’m due for the next pill right now.

I kept Lyra home for the rest of the day and took the day off myself to try and rest. This was a foolish plan on my part, since taking care of Lyra during the day is in no way a means to resting. The girl would not nap at all – I got ten minutes of nap out of her on my lap in the early afternoon, which ended abruptly with a phone call and a requirement to get my laundry off the balcony so they could paint. When I tried to settle her back down for the next two hours, she babbled incessantly at me, crawled around the bed, played with her Ugly doll, and generally just refused outright to sleep. I was beyond frustrated and exhausted. I finally just gave up trying to put her to sleep, and let her run around like a maniac for the rest of the day. In retrospect, I should have taken the time to drop her at Daycare after the doctor’s appointment. I’ve learned my lesson – tomorrow, the girl is going in to daycare and I am staying at home and not really working.

Well, not entirely working, anyhow. There are some things that I need to get done in the morning for work, but they’re easily done remotely and I’ll sort them out pretty easily I think. After that I’m just going to try and relax and let the antibiotics do their thing. Yesterday I managed to pull a muscle in my back from coughing. Today I had no energy at all. Last week is kind of a haze of randomness in my head – I don’t really remember what I did at all.

It’s bad timing for me to be missing work – there’s a lot going on (isn’t there always?) and we’re closing for the winter holiday in two weeks, so there isn’t a lot of time left for me to get it all done. The doctor, however, told me outright to stay home and recover (she offered a note in case the office requires it) so I’m going to listen to her, since I’m damn tired of all this coughing and soreness and general malaise. It’s never a good time to be sick.

That’s really all that’s going on for me right now. Adam’s unused URL automatically renewed this week – maybe this year we’ll do something with it. Who knows. I somehow doubt it. Guess I should buy hosting for it or something. I also hope to do some redesigning of my own website soon, but haven’t had the energy to really think about it lately. I want to work on it during the office closure, when I’ll have some time during the day to myself while Lyra’s at daycare. Plus I have another web project that I have utterly ignored – I would really like to revisit that and figure out what to do with it. Probably should buy hosting for that, too. Except I can’t afford any of these extra expenses right now.

I took a good long look at our monthly expenses vs. income this week, and reached a conclusion that I’m not particularly fond of. I was hoping in the next year we would be able to move out of our current apartment (which we love, but is getting too small) into a bigger place, preferably some sort of townhome with a small yard where Lyra can play outside. I’ve even been looking around at various options to see what’s available and in what price ranges, and it seemed like it could be something we could manage… but to be honest, we just can’t.

With the new car payments & insurance & the other usual expenses, as well as paying 900$/month on daycare, we’re just not able to take on any more expenses. The rental cost increase for us to move up to a townhome is (minimum) an extra 300$ a month. This is assuming we move further away from my work, which also means my transit costs would go up by either 50 or over 100$ (depending on if I was taking regular transit or West Coast Express). There is no real possibility at this point in time for either of us to bring in an extra 400$ a month. Adam’s work has has a salary freeze since a few days after he was hired – he’s never seen any kind of raise. My office has a freeze as well, due to the economic downturn and all that. And 400$ a month is nearly 5000$ a year – that’s no cost of living increase.

So it’s just not possible for us to move. If we weren’t paying for daycare, then we’d be set, but we can’t exactly drop that. It’s just frustrating… our place is too small these days for all of us, now that Lyra’s running around everywhere. We haven’t had a dining room table since she was born – we eat on the couch at the coffee table every night. We can’t really use the laundry machines in our building’s basement because the dryers take three runs to dry things – which means a single load of laundry ends up costing 5$.

Meh. I’m just complaining now. I’m disappointed. There’s nothing to be done about it at this point. It’s all little details that add up to being frustrating for me. It’s not the end of the world. To distract me from my irritation, here is a photo of Lyra in Tofino wearing a fairy costume.

Fairy Lyra in the wind

December means…

Christmas holidays are coming up. I am very much looking forward to the time off. Adam’s dad is coming to visit us for the last week of the month, which should be nice, since we don’t get to spend much time with him.

It looks like Christmas day will be at our apartment again this year. I’m a bit worried about the tree and decorations with Lyra being so full of energy and destruction. I’ll probably leave the breakable ones off the tree this year. The tree’s only three feet tall anyway, so it’s not like I need a lot of decorations or anything.The day willl be fun and crowded with Mom & Merv, Chris & Jinni, Adam’s brothers, and Lyra, Adam & I. Last year there was snow… I wonder if we’ll have some this year? So far it’s just been very, very rainy.

Santa's Elf Lyra smilingI’m starting to think about Lyra’s gift list now. I know that some of our family has already picked up some gifts for her, but I’ve put together a list anyway of things we would like her to get (and things she really doesn’t need.) I’ll email it around to family and such.

I’m hoping that the cold I’ve had for the past week is the last one I have for a while. It’s been pretty nasty. Lyra brought it home from daycare, then I caught it. I vegged out last Sunday, ended up staying home on Monday and sleeping half the day, and then tried to work the rest of the week. Ended up going home a bit early on Thursday. Unfortunately, Lyra’s been coughing as much as I have, which means she hasn’t slept well at night, which means neither have I. Yesterday I was feeling better enough that I thought I’d be nearly fine today, but this morning I started coughing again pretty badly. By this afternoon I had a headache from coughing. Not fun, I am grumpy and want someone to take care of me while I lie about feeling sorry for myself. This, however, is not entirely an option, since Lyra’s also not feeling great, and I’d feel guilty asking Adam to take care of both of us.

So here’s my plan for December.

Part the first: keep Lyra’s incoming gifts to a minimum, because we don’t need to overwhelm ourselves with STUFF, because our place is small and because the little girl doesn’t need a billion toys. It’s so hard to break consumerism habits in myself; it’s even harder I think to ask others to do the same. Maybe if I keep our toy standards high we’ll end up with fewer, higher quality items instead of a lot of cheap dollar-store and discount shop things that’ll clutter our world up and are probably full of chemicals and such. Quality > Quantity. I must repeat this to myself.

As for gifts for myself: I’d like to see people and do things. Also, if anyone wants to offer babysitting as a gift, I would not be opposed to that. I’m a big fan of experiences over items for gifts. If some folks have things that they picked out just for me and absolutely love, I’m certainly not going to say no to them or be offended or anything, of course. I still LIKE gifts – it’s a weird balance for me, because I do have a bit of a weakness for nice stuff sometimes, but if I know I don’t NEED something then I feel a little guilty for wanting.

Part the second: Get over this stupid horrible cold and avoid another one until at least January. Okay, so I don’t have that much control over whether or not I catch a cold, but I will do my best to take care of myself for the next month, as much as I can around Lyra’s needs. That means I should sleep more. I’ll see what I can do.

Part the third: Get another awesome holiday photo of Lyra.

And then there was language

Every day Lyra repeats a new word back at me, or just outright says a word she didn’t say the day before. She learns instantaneously, and it’s one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen. She’s been showing plenty of ‘headstrong toddler’ signs – she thinks it’s incredibly funny to do something we’ve told her repeatedly not to do – like throw random toys into the garbage can, pull the dish towels off their hanging rack, or play around with the chains that hold up some artwork hanging on the side of a shelf. She thinks it’s even funnier if we tell her no – she grins madly and bursts into giggles when we do.

Here are a few snippets and thoughts:

Running fairy LyraThe cat food lives in a bucket with a lid. Lyra likes to pick it up and carry it around in front of her, even though it’s half her height. When she gets tired of carrying it, she puts it on the floor and pushes it. The cats follow her around with longing – hoping she is about to feed them.

On Fridays when it’s raining and I want to take Lyra somewhere out of the house, we head down to the North Van library. There’s a great children’s area, and even a baby area that’s a bit cordoned off by bookshelves. Once there, I sit down on the floor or on a bench near the window and set Lyra loose. She immediately heads for the nearest bookshelf full of board books, carefully chooses one, and walks over to hand it to me. I ask her if she wants to read it (usually when she wants to read a book she’ll nod yes and climb into my lap) but every time she just looks at the cover for a moment and takes off back to the bookshelf, where she starts over with a new book. This can go on for a very long time, until I have a large stack of books that she isn’t really interested in reading. Sometimes I can hand her a book and ask her to put it back, and she does. Usually, though, she just ignores it and gets another book. She’ll also play with some of the toys, push around the book shopping baskets on wheels for a while, and stare at other children. It’s pretty entertaining.

Her new word today was hat. I don’t know when she learned it, but we were sitting on her bed and she pointed up at the two hats hanging on the wall and distinctly said hat. She then spent the rest of the day pointing at hats, carrying hats around, and saying hat.

On Wednesday we went to the Remembrance Day parade and service in the park. There were hundreds of people there, and many of them had brought their dogs. The word of the day for Wednesday was dog. I missed most of the ceremony because as soon as we arrived, Lyra demanded to be set down to walk about. She promptly wandered the crowds going from dog to dog, pointing at them and saying dog. I think this went on for an hour or so. She really likes dogs.

Her favourite playground structure seems to be the slide. On at least two days when I’ve dropped her off at daycare, she has immediately run for the slide, climbing up, sliding down, over and over, grinning the whole time. She loves moving fast and bouncing around, and gets bored when we stop for too long. This is not a baby who is content to sit around and play with toys on the floor. Do those exist?

Lyra holds a special place in her heart for music. She bops her head to electronic, she dances to bluegrass, rock and country, she sways back and forth to slow, ambient music. If one of us is holding her and dancing, she jumps up and down in our arms to the song, and keeps going even if we stop. She ‘sings’ along to songs without words (bah bah bah) and if I sing a note at her (for example, just singing aaahhhhhhh) she’ll do the same back at me holding a note (not the same one, but she’s trying.) It’s pretty awesome.

She’s starting to say so many single words these days that I can’t keep up really with remembering what they all are. Moon, dog, hat, mama, dada, eye, star, more, wow… there are so many connections being made in her brain that I can’t possibly keep up. I tire out just running around after her, now that she runs everywhere she goes. She’s going through a growth spurt right now too – the daycare folks commented on it, and I’ve noticed that her nursing has gone back to epic levels recently. On top of that there’s all the energy she’s expending by running everywhere she goes… it’s just amazing.

I wanted to post about our trip to Tofino on the last weekend of October… I will save that for another time. For now, here is a picture of Lyra and the Vancouver 2010 Olympic torch:

Lyra holds the Olympic Torch

How I became an activist in the fight against global warming

You might think I’m an activist, but I’m not, exactly. I work for an environmental charitable organization. David Suzuki is not my boss, contrary to what some folks might think, but he’s certainly involved in a lot of the work I do. I buy green cleaning supplies (or make them, sometimes) and I switch off lights and computers and obsess about my energy and fuel consumption. I’m a self-proclaimed tree-huggin’ hippie.

Except that I recently bought a little crossover pseudo-SUV thing. I don’t always take a reusable mug with my coffee. I have plastic lunch containers and I buy non-organic produce. I have a weakness for mac&cheese in a box and pizza pops on occasion. I sometimes just don’t care that my clothes might have been made of questionable fabrics in poor factory conditions somewhere in Asia because dammit, that shirt looks so cute on me and I like it. Also, sometimes I enjoy a juicy, rare steak made of dead cow meat.

According to some of the real activists, the real treehuggin’ hippies out there, I am a poser who isn’t doing nearly enough because I don’t chain myself to oil tankers or tell politicians in person how I want them to represent me. I will never be that kind of activist, and I am fine with that.

Ten years ago, a friend told me that I wanted to save the world. I didn’t really believe him. I was struggling to make ends meet, like everyone else – trying to get through the month with enough cash left over for an occasional meal made up of more than noodles and sauce. I didn’t have time to think about saving the world, although I cared quite deeply about all sorts of issues. I was too socially awkward and terrified of strangers and large groups to consider going to rallies or protests. I stayed home and talked to my friends on the internet, where things were quiet and safe and manageable.

I’m not the same person any more. Ten years is a long time, and life has turned upside-down at least three or four times since then. I’ve changed (although I still like sitting quietly on the internet). The world has changed. In the words of author and astronomer Carl Sagan, For the first time, we have the power to decide the fate of our planet and ourselves. This is a time of great danger, but our species is young, and curious, and brave. It shows much promise.

What do I do that makes me an activist? I can tell you what I don’t do. I’m not mobilizing groups to march up to Parliament Hill. I don’t ram boats into whaling ships or light things on fire to illustrate my point. I’m not doing anything that will get me arrested. I don’t argue with climate change deniers who are ready for a grand battle – it’s just not in my nature to argue, and I know a debate with me isn’t going to change their opinions.

I finally made it to my first rally – on September 21st of this year, I went to Vancouver’s Global Climate Wake-up Call. I forgot my cellphone and couldn’t call the Prime Minister (the lines were jammed anyway) but I was there.

What I have done is transform myself. I am still transforming myself. I’ve changed so many of my own thought processes and habitually do small actions to personally fight global warming in so many little ways that I don’t keep track any more. I make efforts to set a good example, to show friends and family that it’s actually pretty easy. I have hope for the future, and I’m not afraid to express it in the face of those who tell me it’s hopeless.

And I will try to raise my little girl to love the outdoors, and to understand our connection to the ecosystems around us. I want her to know that we are animals, the same as the fish and birds and bugs and furry creatures that still fill our world. I don’t want her to turn off lights and computers and televisions because I tell her to – I want her to know why turning them off is important to the air, the water, the land, the animals – including, but not limited to, ourselves. I want to nurture her sense of wonder about everything on this planet and off it.

I am the product of many years of incremental changes. I know that it’s overwhelming to feel like you’re the only voice speaking quietly about saving the world amidst a sea of 30-second clips for the Magic Bullet or the Slap Chop. I lose myself in it regularly, and I get overwhelmed and want to throw in the towel, because I really do want to save the world. The thing I often forget is I’m not the only one, and all the people like me who are quietly changing the way they think and act are the ones who will turn the tide. The waves are rolling in, the world is forever changing. So yes, I am an activist. Just not the kind you might think.


Photo of me at the Global Climate Wake-up Call (caring about things!) by Eli

This post is part of Blog Action Day 2009.

Fifteen months and counting

If we’re counting months (and at this point we still are I guess) Lyra is fifteen months old as of yesterday. A year plus three months. She’s practically in college!

Touristing at Granville Island

This week she transitioned from walking occasionally as a novelty into walking as a means of getting from place to place. She’s still quite wobbly, and it’s very cute to watch her step oh so carefully in sock feet on the slippery hardwood floor. In the past two days she has also neglected to take a morning nap, simply because she didn’t seem tired enough to actually sleep. This makes me incredibly happy.

I’ve never really liked naptime. For the first few months she mostly napped with me all the time, which I was fine with. I was very well rested. When she got older and started napping on her own, it was tough for me – she never stayed asleep for longer than a half hour to 45 minutes, so I never had time to really do anything but try and decompress – but since I was on edge the whole time listening for her wake-up, I never felt relaxed. I was better off napping with her, but I really didn’t want to… I wanted to do things that I could only do when she was asleep.

Once she started daycare, her napping became a lot more consistent. I once asked them how they managed to get her to nap… I didn’t really learn their secret, other than the fact that they aren’t me. Something about not being mommy or daddy (and also having years of experience convincing babies to nap) seems to work quite well for them.

Yesterday she and I slept in till 9am, which was fantastic. Morning naptime came and went without a hint of her being tired, so I didn’t bother trying to put her down. Afternoon nap was a bit earlier than usual, but she went down easily and then napped for an hour and a half. It was good.

Today she was up by 8am, which is still sleeping in for me, and is awesome. We went out for a walk, and spent some time playing at home, and generally had a great morning, followed by lunch. After lunch I put her down for her nap (and again, she went down easily) and she’s now been out for an hour and a half again. I feel awesome about this. I have some quiet time to myself (Adam’s out riding with Chris) and I can do things like write this stuff down, make myself lunch uninterrupted, and maybe play a video game. And I don’t feel on edge waiting for her to wake up.

So I hope this is a trend, and that maybe the two short naps a day are going to become one longer one.

Some random Lyra observations and developments:

In other news, we got Katamari Forever, and Lyra loves to help her daddy play it:

Playing some Katamari Forever

Today we watched a bit of a baby video that has Twinkle Twinkle little star in it. She started to sing along – not with words, but she was saying bah bah bah bah along with the tune. It was so awesome. She has also learned how to not only pull the fridge magnets off the fridge, but also put them back on so they stick. Knocking them off the fridge is a lot more fun, however:

My older brother Mike and his fiancee Norina came to visit a couple of weeks ago and brought her a little rocking chair that used to belong to my little brother & sister in Ottawa. It didn’t take Lyra long to figure out how to climb into the chair, turn around, sit properly in it, and then slide back out. This kept her entertained for hours.

In the mornings when I’m at home on my own with Lyra, we often walk together to Brazza (the coffee shop around the corner.) She holds my hand and we slowly make our way there, where I get coffee, and then we slowly make our way back. She loves climbing up the stairs by holding both my hands and walking up them very, very clumsily.

Her favourite foods are currently applesauce, grapes (cut up into bite-sized pieces), plums, cheese (old, mild, stinky, whatever, just bring on the cheese), goldfish crackers, and really just about any fruit you offer her. She’s not really interested in much meat, although she likes pasta and breads from time to time. And she’s got at least twelve teeth in her mouth with which to chow down.

And some random news about non-Lyra things

My birthday came and went last week with little fanfare. Adam kept asking me what I wanted to do, and I was too busy with work things and a sick baby (and not getting nearly enough sleep because of it) to really think about it. Ideally I wanted someone else to throw me some sort of party or something, which eventually kind of happened on Sunday. I got some cash, which I promptly went out and spent on some awesome new shirts and a necklace. And I got a giant ball of Edam cheese, which was fantastic.

Work has been absolutely crazy lately, with all sorts of changes afoot. I’m carrying on doing what I do, coasting along with the changes as they happen. It is an interesting time.

I have tried riding to and from work a couple of times, but it has been really hard. I’m still not equipped enough for it to be easy, and I am not a morning person, so it kind of has to be easy for me to get it done. The riding itself isn’t easy – but that part I’m fine with. It’s the complications of getting up early, getting Lyra ready and dropping her off, and then getting myself to work, without having more stuff than I can manage with me on the walk down to Daycare. Panniers are my mantra. If I had panniers, that’d fix everything. At least that’s what I tell myself. I could’ve bought panniers instead of shirts with my birthday money, but I really needed the shirts, too. And I desperately want an Android phone, but that won’t happen for a long time I think. I also have to get pants that fit me, since I have none that fit properly at the moment. I’m still between my pre- and post-pregnancy sizes for pants. It is frustrating.

None of these things can be acquired this month, however, because for Halloween weekend we’re going to Tofino with Chris & Jinni, and that’s where I’m putting extra cash right now. It will be nice – the first time I’ve gone without camping. I don’t think we’ll have enough for surfing lessons, sadly, but it will be lovely nonetheless.

And that’s an extremely long update on my life at the moment. Things are pretty good. Lyra is changing every day. The world keeps spinning round and round.

Fitness in the world of mommyhood

SpokesLet me be honest with you – I am terrible at fitness. I have been for as long as I can remember. I hated gym class in public & high school. I have had gym memberships on more than one occasion and actually gone to the gym twice at most, each time. I decided to take up running and did it once (after buying pricey running shoes!) There is a distinct lack of fitness regimen in my life.

It’s not that I’m in terrible shape; I’m not. Neither am I in good shape. I have weirdness in my left knee & hip that makes it hard to crouch or climb stairs at times. I can’t run unless my life depends on it. I get winded if I climb a lot of stairs. And if you go by general standards of female shape and body, I have more weight on me than is ideal. I suppose that makes me just about average.

It’s in my nature, however, to compare myself to everyone around me. I compare myself when I’m riding my bike to the people who ride past me effortlessly on the uphill, and feel like I’m falling short. I follow it up with reasons why I’m not – at least I’m ON my bike, and I’m doing a near 15k ride each way to get to and from work, up and down mountains and bridges, and hey, I haven’t actually been bike commuting in two years and they’re doing it way more often, and some of them are crazy roadies and I’ll never keep up with them even if I want to. But all of these thoughts come after the fact, and while they help, the initial feeling of losing some sort of competition in my head (stupid competitive head) is not really a good one.

I’ve been realizing for the past year or two (not including pregnancy time) that I am quite simply thinner in my mind than I actually am. I think you’re supposed to feel the opposite, according to what all the magazines say anyhow, but that’s not for me. I assume I’m pretty slim, and then see a photo of myself and think “holy crap I’m SO much bigger than I think I am!” On top of that, I’m realizing that in my general age group among the other women at work (and I work with a lot of women) I’m on the larger scale. It is very unsettling to think you’re one size and realize that you’re not – even when you think you’re thin.

Earlier in the spring I signed up to do core conditioning clinics with a group of women, specifically designed to condition you for mountain biking. I actually rather enjoyed it, and stuck with it I think because it was a class format that a friend was also taking, and I had paid to go to the class, which commits me to going on two levels. You might think that paying for a gym membership would provide the same commitment, but it really doesn’t. At any rate, this wasn’t about weight loss, it was about strengthening and conditioning. And it was good, but I haven’t lost weight.

I considered a mommy boot camp type thing, and even signed up for one, but it was cancelled before it even began. After that I realized that a boot camp is probably not for me anyway – I don’t like exercising, and turning it into some sort of military training thing just bothers me on so many levels.

Those conditioning clinics are still happening, but with the car purchase we’re not in any place for me to rejoin them. It’s possible in a few months we’ll work out how to fit it in, but right now it’s not an option. So I’ve decided in the meantime that my only real option for cardio fitness is the biking to and from work, which I restarted doing this week.

On Monday I rode to work, then went downtown on my bike at lunchtime, then back to work, and then did a partial ride home (combined with transit.) It felt good, and I was exhausted. Yesterday I took transit as usual. Today I rode again, this time managing to go both to and from work. It felt great, and wasn’t as hard as on Monday. It’s amazing how fast you acclimatize to that kind of exertion.

My ride isn’t really a short one. I measured it out once on google maps, and it came to about 14.5 km one way. There is uphill and downhill in both directions, although it’s slightly more downhill on the way there, and thus slightly more uphill on the way home. It takes me just under an hour to do the ride at the moment – probably about 45 – 50 minutes.

This means I’m doing an hour and a half of cardio on a bike every time I ride. I have no idea if this will help me lose weight. I’m not entirely certain that losing weight is what I want to do – people keep telling me I look like I’ve lost weight, but I haven’t actually lost a pound in about 6 months now. My shape has definitely changed since before the pregnancy, and I’m down to my pre-pregnancy weight without really having to work at it (probably because of breastfeeding, but who knows).

So without cash to join a class, I’m hoping that my riding to and from work can be some sort of fitness regimen. If I lose weight, that would be awesome. If I tone up and look better, that would also rock. If I lose a size, that would be nice too. But really, what I want is to be able to play with Lyra and keep up with her at least a bit. She’s an active little monkey, and I don’t want to be a couch potato for her life. The biking will help, I just hope it’s enough. I don’t have the money (or, to be honest, want to spare any more time away from Lyra) to get a personal trainer or join hardcore classes. Plus, I don’t wanna.

Except that part of my brain that’s comparing me to everyone else and saying I fall short. I’ll just continue telling that part to shut the hell up.

Weekends of excitement

The summer is basically over now. While officially I know that summer doesn’t end until the 21st of September, in my mind it’s always over when Labour Day weekend is done – I still live in my head in a world where the school year reigns supreme. Luckily for me, this will work well since I have a child, who will be on a school year schedule in a few short years.

We ended the summer well with a trip to Vancouver island – biking in Cumberland and at Mount Washington with the Muddbunnies riding club, of which I’m a member. I only made it out to one ride with them all summer, but that’s just how things worked out this year. At least I got to go on the biking trip with them all. It was spouse-friendly, so Adam and Lyra came along and we rode with Bunnies and some of their boys.

The first day was a road trip to the island with Steve and Susan. We caught an early afternoon ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo after loading up the car (and going through hoops to get our bikes over to the island in addition to ourselves, but that’s just a frustrating complication that got dealt with effectively.) It was gorgeous and hot and sunny, and the ferry ride was nice. Lyra spent a lot of time holding our hands and walking.

That’s right, walking. She’s started to let go and stumble drunkenly towards us if we’re within a few feet of her. She’s done a few good faceplants into the carpet. She’s also insistent, now, that she be allowed to walk whenever she likes – and she’s moved from holding us with both hands to holding on with one hand. She also likes to walk up and down stairs, although she isn’t particularly good at it yet. She now has some lovely little brown and pink shoes, since the Robeez aren’t going to work when the rains come.

Lyra’s first steps were on the biking trip, which is pretty awesome. Her first words were also on the trip – she said nana (in reference to a banana, specifically) and she pointed at the bike in one of her storybooks and said “Bike!” I think it’s pretty fitting that she said bike on a bike trip.

That was over a week ago, and now she basically says bike in reference to nearly everything, in addition to bikes. She points at fish and says bike. She points at a rock and says bike. Too funny.

Adam’s mom Tyna is visiting now. Chances are good Lyra will take more independent steps while she’s here. That should be nice.

Oh yeah, and I finally got around to posting my bike up on the Buy & Sell on the mountain biking forum page. If you know any Vancouver area folks looking for a good all mountain type bike, share this link with them. If I sell that bike, I can buy a bike rack and go out with my other newer bike. Hooray for biking!!

Exciting times at Brazza Coffee & Gelato

Adam’s mother is visiting us. I picked her up today at the airport, and we went to grab a late lunch at Brazza, the coffee shop near my apartment. We were just thinking about packing up to leave (or possibly get Gelato) and I was walking around the shop with Lyra. She enjoys walking.

I was looking out the window when I noticed a car about to pull out running in to the parked car behind it. As I watched, the driver realized that she had hit the car behind her and pulled forward quickly. Unfortunately, she then hit the car in front of her. She switched back into reverse quickly, and ran into the car behind her again. Then things got weird.

The driver switched back into drive and basically put her foot to the floor. She accelerated fast enough that her car ran into the little convertible in front of her a second time, this time hard enough to push it forward and out of her way. The convertible smashed into the car parked in front of it, and then rolled back into its own parking space as the car that was causing all the commotion was no longer in its way.

Post-accident outside BrazzaIt wasn’t in the way because she had driven up on the the sidewalk, still gunning the engine, and smashed into the patio at the Yaas Bazaar. I can’t really say how long she was there, wedged into the patio, but the entire time she was still pushing her foot to the floor on the gas pedal. A cloud of smoke and the smell of burning rubber was intense, and I started to worry that she would back up again and smash through the window of Brazza. I picked Lyra up and went towards the back of the shop, which was starting to fill up with smoke.

Someone got worried that the car was going to explode and told everyone to go out the back door, so we did, (but seriously, cars don’t explode except in the movies, unless something happens to light the gas tank on fire.)

Once the car had stopped and the engine was off, I went back through to the front of the store to see the aftermath. And boy howdy was it something else. She managed to take out three cars besides her own, plus a bike rack. If Kate (coffee shop staffer) had been working, her bike would have been wrecked, since the rack was wedged between the car and the Yaas Bazaar patio.

Fortunately there was no one sitting on the patio itself. The people sitting outside Brazza narrowly avoided getting hit, and it was also fortunate that no one was walking on that section of sidewalk at that moment. As it turned out, no one was hurt, although the driver was definitely in shock.

If we had decided to leave a minute earlier, we could have been on the sidewalk when it happened. Crazy to think of.

Since I saw the whole thing from inside Brazza, I went up to the police officer and wrote up a witness report. I also pulled out the point & shoot digital camera that I had on me at the time and snapped a few pictures.

It certainly made for an exciting afternoon. I wish I had my real camera with me rather than the point and shoot, but what can you do? Carrying the baby bag around means I don’t get the carry the big camera as much anymore. But at least I got something.

Post-accident outside Brazza

The promise of bananas and motor vehicles

I was at home with Lyra today, since it’s Friday and that’s what I do on Fridays. Just after lunchtime I was cleaning up the kitchen and rambling away at her while she played with blocks around the corner. I ramble at her regularly. I explained my plans to her about how we were going to go out and do some laundry, and maybe go pick up some fruit for her at the grocery store, like a banana or something. From around the corner I heard her squeal with delight, drop the blocks she was playing with, and sprint crawl towards me in the kitchen, excited about the prospect of a banana, apparently.

I have realized that I can’t offer bananas right now unless I actually HAVE one to give her. I wouldn’t say she was disappointed, but she certainly looked for it, and I felt a bit guilty to lead her on and not produce the fruit in question.

She is definitely beginning to understand language. Who knows what other words she recognizes but isn’t excited about, and thus doesn’t express any reaction to them… Time to make sure the boys watch their tongues around her, I guess. Even if it would be amusing to hear her swear like a sailor…

Tomorrow we are going to Ikea for Lyra bedroom things, and then stopping in at my mom’s to drop Lyra off for a bit while we contemplate car ownership. We’ve been without a car for nearly two years now, and we were doing all right with it, but the inability to go biking without depending on other people has just reached a point of making us crazy, and it’s affecting our activity level. It’s just sad that I’ve only been out riding three or four times this summer – not because I was tied up with Lyra, but because I had no way to get to the trails with my bike in the allotted time. It sucked. We’re also finding that we are spending a lot on the car co-op these days – nearly as much as a car payment, to be honest – and we can barely get cars anymore without booking far in advance because there are only six near us, one of which won’t hold a baby seat and three of which require transiting to (which is really hard with a single person, baby, and baby car seat, let me tell you.)

And so we are going to look at cars and see what we can figure out. The environmentalist in me is feeling guilty about it. The mountain biker in me is crazy excited to be able to get out to trails again. The road tripper/camper in me is crazy excited to go on road trips and camping. The mother in me is happy to have the option of driving to things like swimming lessons when time is short and buses are few and far between. And while it’s been satisfying to not have a car, it’s just not practical for us anymore. Again, this makes the environmentalist in me sad, but I’m trying to assuage the guilt by making sure that fuel efficiency is a top priority, within the limits of what our needs are. No point in getting a tiny fuel efficient car that can’t carry bikes.

The environmentalist in me has settled for internally raging that Canada is designed for people with cars.

We shall see how it goes. I’m excited and nervous, and I know it’s unlikely that we’ll buy anything tomorrow on sight, but part of me kind of wishes that’s how it’ll happen. Now that I’m committed to car ownership, I’m ready to have the car RIGHT NOW. When I make up my mind about something, it’s hard to be patient.