"When the world is running down, you make the best of what's still around"

So sad

By Shanathalas
I try not to despair at the state of the world, but honestly, we don't deserve this planet.

More time in hospital

By Shanathalas

UPDATE: Well, I hadn't expected this (though I really should have): I got bumped. Symptom of the over-stretched medical system in British Columbia. I arrived at 7:30, got all dressed up in sexy hospital gown and booties, and lay on a stretcher for four hours. They were just about to start my IV line and then I was told that due to a broken machine and several emergency patients they hadn't expected, they couldn't do my angio today. I have to come back in two weeks. Considering how stressed out I was about it, I really wish it had just been over. Now I get to string the anticipation out even longer.


Tomorrow I am going in for a cerebral angiogram to find out what is causing the turbulence in the blood vessels of my head, making me hear my own pulse 24/7. All jokes about medical procedures aside; I’m really terrified. Not only do I have to be awake for the procedure, there is a small but real possibility of complications leading to bleeding, strokes and death. Currently, the most likely culprit for the sound is a dural arteriovenous fistula. So after two years of this horrendous sound, tomorrow we will find out whether its:

a) Nothing. This is less of possibility now that the doctors can here the bruit in my head. Half of me wants it to be nothing, as brain malformations are really scary. But then again the thought of hearing my own pulse for the rest of my life sounds miserable. But if it is just some odd trick of my anatomy, then I guess I will work with my osteopath to see if we can minimize the sound.

b) Something treatable. This most likely includes a dural AV fistula. Generally they can be fixed either with angioplasty or brain surgery. The other half of me wants this, because even though it’s kind of scary, a solution is possible.

c) Something not treatable. I guess the leading candidates are tumours, cancer or dead cells. This is also less likely, as I have already had two MRI/MRAs and customarily big nasties like this tend to show up on these type scans. None of me wants this.

Anyway, saving any bad complications I should come out of this with an eight-hour rest in the hospital, some bruising, a half-brazilian*, an answer to my problem and some hope that it can be resolved. Wish me luck!

*To get to the carotid artery, they feed the catheter into the femoral artery, through the heart and into the neck. The femoral is accessed where the thigh and groin come together. Fun, eh?



By Shanathalas
expatriate: a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person's upbringing or legal residence.

The Expat Women site have just invited me to list on their site (thanks gels) that focuses on woman living as expats. Its given me an opportunity to reflect on my own expat status. I have essentially been a expat from the age of one. My Aussie parents moved to Canada in search of snow and adventure when I was a bub. And even though I grew up with Canadians, Aussie culture was mixed in with my development via my folks. While not obviously different, I was often noticed for strange turns of phrase. I always identified as an Australian living in Canada. Then when I moved back to Sydney in my twenties, I felt more like a canuck living in Australia. Everyone identified me as a Canadian, and poked fun at my odd ways. Now that I've moved back to Vancouver after eight years downunder, I don't know who I am nationally. I am culturally both Australian and Canadian. While I generally have the Canadian trait of being very polite, I also have the Aussie nature to tell things like they are and not beat around the bush. Example: "Excuse me, sorry to be a pain but you're being fucking wanker. Thanks kindly".

My accent is a bizarre mix of Aussie-Canuck that can only be called mid-pacific. Oddly, people here in Vancouver tend to think I'm English, and the folks in Australia thought I was Irish. I've noticed that I've developed a slight stutter at times when my brain comes to a fork in the lingistic road. Example: "Can you please pass the .... tomato sauce/ketchup". And I very much enjoy mixing my Canadian and Australia colloqiullisms i.e. "I'm flat out like a lizard drinking, eh" and "Don't be such a hoser, mate".

But honestly, if Australia and Canada went to war today and I had to choose a country, I don't how I do it. Both countries are beautiful in their own way. Australia is an ancient dry, weathered rock, with red earth, white sands, and blue gums. Canada is a noobie geography with growing moutains, temperate green rainforests and vast snowfields. Sydney is a lively sprawling city with beautiful beaches, many cultures and opportunities. Its also polluted, scorchingly hot and ultra-corporate. Vancouver is relaxed, friendly, and temperate with beaches, mountains and multiculturalism. Its also dark and rainy three months of the year, losing its soul by virtue of being Hollywood North, and a little physically close the States for my liking. Sydney is a trendy nightclub with glitz , smoke and neon. Vancouver is a coffee shop with comfy chairs, a good view and Amsterdam treats*. I'm enjoying living in Vancouver at the moment. Its fun, relaxed, beautiful, clean and stands to handle global warming much better . But not a day goes by when I don't miss my friends and family back in Oz. I wish I could could walk through some time-vortex wormhole and visit my brother in Canberra or have a drink down the pub with my mates from the uni. I miss you all so much. I don't want to have to choose.

And luckily I don't have to. Since 2004 Australia has formally allowed dual-citizenship. And now I am on a mission to get my Canadian citizenship (I'm just a permanent resident currently). Once I have that, I can truly call myself a Canaussie.

*You know what I mean.

The Animated Bayeux Tapestry

By Shanathalas

My Sweet Babboo

By Shanathalas

Jai and I have been married for one whole year now. It’s amazing to think. It seems both like yesterday and a million years ago. And while it’s been a tough year, we are both so happy together. We seem to have had an over-abundance of “poorer” and “sickness” in our first year of marriage, and while life’s potholes always appear in our way, we are always able to lift each other up. I could not hope for a better hubby. Thanks for your patience, humour and love this past year (and indeed the six years before that). Happy Anniversary to my sweet babboo.

PS: Thanks for all the yummy sammiches :)


A little something from the Gossip Column

By Shanathalas
While I certainly don't want to move into Perez Hilton territory, and bring down the tone of my own blog*, I can't let this juicy morsel of gossip pass without comment. Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai got married yesterday (to some bollywood star I've never heard of). Why do I mention this? It allows me to state publicly that I think Rai is probably the most beautiful woman in the world. Though my bread isn't buttered on that side, if I was into woman, this would be my ideal. With the world's most beautiful eyes and a gorgeous smile, Rai is in my mind a living work of art.

*Cause it's totally highbrow, eh?

Everyone pile on the bandwagon

By Shanathalas
The Canucks, Vancouver's Pro Hockey team, is in the Stanley Cup playoffs this year, after missing out for three years. The quarter finals start tonight against the Dallas Stars. The rounds are best out of seven, and the playoffs will go on until June I believe. Vancouver has never won the Stanley Cup, and has only made it to the final round twice. The last time was 1994 and when the Canucks lost in game seven of the final round to the New York Rangers (stinky Rangers), Vancouver had a it's first proper riot.

Let's hope things are more peaceful and successful this time. After years of supporting the Canucks, even when they sucked, it would be a thrill for them to win, especially now that I'm back in Vancouver. And I think they've got their good luck charm: Jaime, the Aussie Hockey Fan.

Quality of Living Survey

By Shanathalas
Mercer HR Consulting has published their Quality of Living Survey for 2007, and Vancouver has come in third best in the World. Apparently Vancouver would be best-in-class if it weren't for its crime rate. We tied with Vienna, and were bested by Geneva and Zurich. Hats off to Düsseldorf (congrats Steve and Alex) for tying with Auckland for fifth. Sydney came in a very respectable ninth. Edinburgh wasn't listed, but I think that must be because with a population of less than half a million, I doesn't count as a city (sorry Evelyn & Tancred).

Most interesting was the fact that
every Canadian city scored better than all the U.S. cities surveyed. I have a feeling that has something to do with medical coverage and social safety nets.

The April Fool

By Shanathalas
I had a complete brain fart and thought March had 30 days in it this year. Hence, I thought April 1st was on Saturday, not Sunday. Either way, I completely forgot that April 1st was April Fools' Day until 11:00pm last night. We heard some strange tapping at the window, and looked out the window to find it was snowing/sleeting/hailing. My favourite April Fool's joke use to be "look outside; it's snowing"! This year the jokes on me. Snow in April is practically unheard of; Climate Change has made fools of us all.

Even though I didn't manage it, Blizzard got one over on Jaime. He was completely convinced of the new piece of armour in World of Warcraft: the Tinfoil Hat.

Still, brilliant as it is, the tinfoil hat is no match for the Top 10 April Fools Jokes. My favourites are the Taco Liberty Bell and the Left-handed Whopper.

Sucks to be me....twice

By Shanathalas
The Canadian government has managed to fuck me over twice in one week. Firstly, I just found out that I am ineligible for the security clearance I need to work as a Historical Researcher. As I had been outside Canada for more than a year, there was no way I could get the clearance. Why couldn't they have told me that EIGHT MONTH AGO!!!??? I've been waiting all this time for this great job that I had been accepted to do and I now I can never have. It's been a massive blow and has left me really pondering where to go from here. The thought of a career in boring admin makes me wanna puke.

And the second screwing I got from the government is having my application for a Permanent Resident Card* sent back. The reason? When I originally immigrated to Canada as a baby, the immigration official at Vancouver Airport left my middle name off my form. So when I applied for a card (which replaces the old form) Canada does not recognise my name with my middle name. When I rang Immigration Canada the other day to discuss the ridiculousness of the situation, I asked them to make the card with just my first and last name. I was told they wouldn't allow that, as all my provincial ID has my middle name. Their suggestion? Legally change my name. To exactly as it is now. Is this not dumber than a bag of hammers? I pointed out to the telephone adviser the inanity of this suggestion and she agreed it was without sense but the only thing I could do. I complained that that was my name when I arrived in Canada, and it was the immigration officer's mistake, not mine. She said that if I can prove that, then I can apply for an amendment to my form. While this will be as slow as changing my name, it will not cost anything. Lucky for me, Mum is a Pack Rat and still has our passport (as a bubby, I travelled on her passport, not having one of my own yet) from when we arrived, with my name clearly including my middle name. So now I will have to have the form amended before I can once again apply for my PR Card. I hate bureaucracy.

* Card I need to show to get back into Canada if I leave for any reason.