Drawing a blank

I’m on the commuter train about to head home, and bored because I have no book and no Nintendo ds to keep me entertained. This is how I ended up here in this phone lj client rambling at a blank screen, correcting phone typos as I go. I’m sure to miss some… Sorry.

In nine days I’m taking a vacation for three nights with a friend. We’re flying to las vegas for three nights, which should be lots of fun. It will also be my first overnight trip away from Lyra since she was born, which will be very strange for me, Adam and Lyra as group.

I’m both looking forward to it and nervous about it at the same time. But hey… Three nights in Vegas!

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!!

Camping and growing with Lyra

We went camping last weekend in Tofino, BC, on the far west coast of Vancouver Island. It’s almost as far west in BC as you can get. This was Lyra’s first camping trip, and she loved it. We were in a tent, and it was chilly, but the bedsharing definitely worked in our favour for it. Lyra was cozy in my sleeping bag with me. She very much enjoyed the beach and watching the waves and stuff. You can check out all the photos I posted from the trip on Flickr, but here are a few I particularly liked.

Sunset over Sproat Lake

Lyra & Adam

Lyra in the sand

Kite flying with Ian

Long Beach sunset

This guy is dancing like a superstar!

Jenny & Lyra at the beach watching waves

Today I took a couple of videos of Lyra playing around in the living room, showing off some of her new tricks: pulling herself up on tables, and standing around.

Ontario Photos & update

The trip to Ontario ended over a week ago, but I haven’t given you an update yet. I shall now provide you with said update, alongside a few photos I took while in Toronto and New Liskeard.

To begin with, here is a link to all of the photos on my Flickr page.

The flight went quite well. We were up at 40,000 feet for much of the trip to Toronto, and while Adam had a lot of trouble with his ears, Lyra was perfectly happy. She spent much of the trip crawling between Adam’s & my laps, and looking around all the weird new stuff. She napped in my lap for part of it as well, and the take-off and landing didn’t bother her at all. Adam’s ears didn’t pop for a week.

Adam’s mother & Aunt met us at the airport in Toronto, and there was much fussing over Lyra. We went to Adam’s grandmother’s home and there was more fussing over Lyra. She loved how much space there was in the living room there, and crawled around for hours. Bedtime was late (Toronto time) but about right in Vancouver terms.

Asleep on the floor

Our first full day in Toronto was mother’s day, so after Lyra’s morning nap (which she took on the floor) we headed to Adam’s Aunt’s house to have a huge brunch with a bunch of his family members. There was much fussing over Lyra. At one point, she got put into a broken umbrella stroller which threatened to collapse at any moment so that Adam’s grandmother could take her for a walk down the street. We deemed the stroller unfit, named it the crushing stroller, and rescued Lyra from its clutches, only to have another stroller acquired for the purpose of taking her for a walk down the street. It was all incredibly amusing somehow. We rounded out the evening with a Mother’s Day dinner at Spring Rolls on Eglinton at Yonge. It was tasty.

The next day was Monday, and we headed in to Toronto proper to visit High Park. We had warned friends in advance that our Toronto visitation times were limited, and they would have to meet us there if they wanted to see us. Fortunately, a bunch of people were able to join us at the High Park zoo & playground. It was a nice afternoon outside.

At the Zoo

Lyra & her mommy
(photo by Brian Tao, who borrowed my camera to take a few shots)

The next morning we took the long drive to New Liskeard. We took our time, stopping whenever Lyra needed a break from the confines of her car seat, and it ended up only taking us a half hour or so longer than usual to do the drive (about six hours or so, I guess.) It was a lovely, sunny day, and Lyra was once again a superstar considering she was confined to a harness for most of the time.

Our visit to New Liskeard has become a mess of randomness in my brain. I have no clue what we did on what days, but I know that we stopped in to see Paul & Jenn at Chat Noir Books (where they make a fine cup of coffee,) and we spent a lot of time with Adam’s mom & dad, handing one of them Lyra at every opportunity. Also, we got poutine at least twice. There’s nothing like poutine close to the Quebec border.

We did go to North Bay for a day, as a nice excursion. We spent an hour or so hanging out in a park by the lake, and Lyra crawled around in the grass with her Grandmother (Bubby-T.)

Crawling in the grass

She also went to check out the beach with her Daddy.

Shadows

Beaches make baby Lyras ROAR:

ROAR!

Grass and sunlight make baby Lyras turn into anime characters:

Smiling at the sunlight

We also went to at least two Barbeque parties – it was the May 2-4 weekend, after all – and Lyra got to meet a couple of other babies and have social engagements with them:

Maddy & Lyra

Nearing the end of our time up in New Liskeard, we took a drive down to Temagami. Adam and his dad decided to take the boat (newly put back in the water after the winter) from the Marina down to where it gets parked at Loon Lodge on Lake Temagami. They needed someone to pick them up at Loon Lodge, so Lyra and I took the Murano from the town of Temagami down the access road to the lake. When we arrived, we were informed that Adam & David had had to turn back due to excessive winds – if they had pressed on, it would have taken them another two hours to reach me. Lyra and I walked back up the trail to the Murano (sweet car to drive down Temagami access road!) and drove the half hour trip back to the Town so we could pick up the boys.

It was actually more fun than perhaps it seems it would be. Adam was pleased to get out on the lake in a boat, I was pleased to spend at least a bit of time at Loon Lodge (although no loon burgers were acquired… and no, they’re not made of loons…) and the drive was really quite nice. I didn’t see any m00se, however.

We also took a trip out to the Elk Lake Eco Centre for lunch on one of our last days there. It snowed that day. The lodge was quite nice, however, even with the snow.

Did I mention it snowed?

I’d have to say that the trip was a success. Lyra was a Rock Star the whole time – she traveled well on the plane, she traveled well in the car, and she was so good the whole time. We have an awesomely mellow and happy baby, and we are lucky to have her.

The only really negative things I have to say about the trip are that Adam caught a nasty cold which he promptly gave to me, and we were both miserable for a good part of the trip due to a sore throat/cough type thing; and that next time I really want to spend more time in Toronto, seeing Toronto sites that we haven’t visited in a while, like the ROM and the AGO and most especially Canada’s Wonderland.

Good times!

It’s not the swine flu

This past weekend was a write-off for me. Lyra started to feel sick on Friday, and by Saturday she was pretty unhappy about it. I started to feel sick on Saturday, and by Sunday I understood why Lyra was so miserable on Saturday. Fortunately she was already feeling better by Sunday, so that was one good thing. This cold is rather short-lived – the worst of it was over in a day. At this point we’re both still a bit stuffy and my throat feels perpetually dry, but the headache is gone and I have enough energy to walk around outside again.

It’s good that we’re getting better now, because being sick when we fly to Ontario would suck, so very, very much. They’d probably quarantine us and refuse to let us on a plane.

I’m trying to sort out what needs doing before we go back east. I should make myself a checklist or something to make sure I don’t miss anything. So much to do…

Ontario, May 9th-21st

Adam, Lyra & I will be visiting Ontario for a bit in a couple of weeks. We discovered a seat sale that basically saved us 1000$ over going in August as previously planned, so we jumped on it. We fly into Toronto on the 9th in the evening, and will stay in North York for a couple of days at least. If anyone wants to see us in that time, please get in touch. We will be making plans with Adam’s Toronto family (I’m leaving that up to him to do) but will try to work around that schedule to see our friends before we head up to New Liskeard.

If, on the other hand, you are in New Liskeard, I imagine we will see you around. It’s not that big a place. If there is something specific you want to do with us there, let us know and we’ll figure it out.

Sunday Ride, Monday Transit

I went for a ride yesterday morning with Maryn, which was nice. I still haven’t got all my confidence back, but I am riding a bit better every time I go out. We just did a quick and easy ride, because Maryn was on a timeline, but it was good. I almost feel like I know the bike now – it’s starting to feel right again. We rode up in fog, but as soon as we turned around to ride down it started pouring. It was a very wet ride. It felt good to be on my bike though, and Adam had a good morning with Lyra – it was a good morning for all of us.

Today’s adventure involves taking the bus/seabus/skytrain out to visit my mom in Pitt Meadows. I haven’t done a long trip on transit with Lyra in the past month or so. She was really good on the bus before, quiet and interested in things or just napping in the sling. I’m hoping that still holds true, with the new, more aware and awake Lyra. It’s always an adventure with a baby in tow!

Speaking of babies – she’ll be five months old tomorrow!

Poolside Internet

I’m lounging by the poolside at 8:37 pm here at the Resort. I have to admit, it’s pretty damn sweet. It’s cooled off to about 80 degrees or so I would guess, with a nice breeze.

Today was a hiking adventure in some small mountains (hills, really) just down the road from our resort. Yesterday we went to the Desert botanical Garden to see some lovely cultured desert plants, which was very cool, but the hike today was much cooler. I’ll add a couple of teaser vacation pics here for you (I got Adam to take some of me looking pregnant, finally.)

I don’t think I can effectively explain just how bright, sunny, and weird it is here. Yesterday was the hottest day so far – around 98 degrees. Today was less hot, ranging from 85 to 94 degrees. There were some clouds that appeared in the late afternoon today as well – very high, thin cirrus clouds that didn’t block any sun at all.

The other thing that didn’t block any sun at all today was my sunblock. I am suitably red, but I think I’ll be okay. At least I was wearing a nice strapless shirt, which means no t-shirt tan line when it fades. Go me!

In the afternoon we relaxed at the condo (including a dip in the pool), then drove out to Cave Creek on Carefree Highway (let me slip away on you) for dinner and touristy gift shopping. After that we just came back to the condo, watched some American Idol, and are now sitting by the pool with somewhat sketchy but still connected internet.

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Coming to you live from Arizona!

There was great adventure to be had today!

We woke up at 4:30 am and were picked up at 5 am by our friend Sean, who was kind enough to take us to the airport at that ungodly hour. Lucky for us, he was on time (Sean has been known to be tardy from time to time…) From that point forward, there were many adventures.

Our first adventure involved the airline. Our flight was purchased using aeroplan miles (many thanks to Adam’s Dad for supplying us with said aeroplan miles.) As such, our flight was confirmed by Aeroplan, who work with Air Canada. All over our flight confirmation sheet was Air Canada branding. At the airport, we walked to the self check-in kiosk for Air Canada flights and entered our confirmation number, to be greeted by ‘code not found.’ Our next step, naturally, was to get into the Air Canada check-in line to speak to an attendant. We stood in line for about fifteen minutes or so before reaching said attendant, who told us that our flight was actually a US Airlines flight.

Into the next line we went – this time the check-in for US Airlines. This went smoothly, and lead us to the next line (pre-customs check) which lead to another line (customs) which lead to another line (baggage check) which lead to another line (breakfast! finally!) which lead to plane boarding (huzzah!)

The flight was uneventful. The in-flight movie was The Devil Wears Prada, which I watched while Adam played the same level of Patapon over and over and over again. Not a bad movie, and one that I would be unlikely to rent otherwise, so that was all right.

After landing in Phoenix, we caught a shuttle bus to the car rental depot (which was a good ten minute drive away, I swear. Big airport.) We got into another line to pick up our rental car at Alamo (also booked using Aeroplan miles.) We stood in this line for about twenty minutes before reaching the front. The nice fellow behind the counter asked for the name the booking was under, and couldn’t find it. He then asked for the confirmation number. Funny thing about that confirmation number – Adam had called Aeroplan on Friday to make sure that the fact that we didn’t have a confirmation number wasn’t going to be a problem. They assured him that the rental would be there.

Since they couldn’t find it, we left the counter and went to find a place to sit down and call Aeroplan – whose customer service was closed, due to it being a Sunday. Yay customer non-service. He then called his parents to see if they could look up the rental. His mom said she would try to look it up and give him a call back. It was at this point that Adam started to wonder if he’d written down the wrong car rental place. Perhaps in writing Alamo, he actually meant Avis?

I remained seated near the snack bar with our luggage while Adam walked across the car rental depot (nice of them to put all the car rental places in the same building, let me tell you) to check and see if our rental was, in fact, with Avis. I have to assume he stood in another line – I had enough time to flip through the Scottsdale and Phoenix tour books for interesting things to check out while we’re here.

Adam returned, successful – our car rental was, in fact, with Avis and not Alamo. We went down the 3-level escalator to find our car – a nice, brown Chevy Malibu. We filled it with our bags and hopped in. As soon as we turned it on, the dashboard flashed ‘Change Oil Soon’ at us. we hopped back out and told an Avis attendant, who told us to take a different car – a nice, white Chevy Malibu. This one didn’t have any complaints when we turned it on, and so off we went to find our Resort.

Navigating through Phoenix was pretty straightforward, and within about half an hour or so we had reached our resort. We checked in and went to our room, bringing in all of our bags and checking the place out. The room, unfortunately, was not entirely to our liking – the promised fireplace wasn’t there (although who needs a fireplace in the desert?) the washroom was very wheelchair accessible (the wheelchair seat wouldn’t stay up against the wall in the shower, which we thought might make it challenging for me to shower properly (belly = teh bigness) and it really wasn’t quite what we had ordered. Adam went back to guest services to see if we could change out rooms.

They were happy to switch suites for us (it’s really a full condo, about the same size as our apartment) so we headed to the new one. We arrived to find another couple just leaving – they had also just checked in and were checking the room before getting there stuff. We stood there looking confused and tired, and they promptly told us to take the room. Adam went back to guest services to confirm things, and we actually did end up getting the new suite. The very nice couple who gave it to us noticed I was rather pregnant and offered it freely. They were really quite nice.

The new room has a huge bathtub (one of those triangular ones with jets,) a patio with some nice furniture, and the fireplace from the pictures. It’s quite lovely.

After dropping off our stuff and changing out of our sweaty hot Vancouver clothes, we went off to find some late lunch. Fast-food Mexican is pretty available around here. It was all right, but no Burrito Bros. After that was a trip into the land of Super Target. Adam didn’t believe me when I told him it was a magical land of inexpensive but nice things. He now understands its awesomeness. We spent money on nice clothes (maternity for me, stuff that fits for him) and random things we forgot to bring with us. We also got some groceries to stock the condo.

Now I’m online (10$ per 24 hour period) with the laptop in the living room while Adam watches Discovery Channel. It’s entertaining to have cable. It’s been a very long day of standing in lines and a comedy of errors, but all has worked out nicely.

So far Arizona is hot, dry, and incredibly sunny. I had forgotten what the sun looks like.