14 February 2010

it's that day with red hearts and stuff, right?

I completely forgot that today was Valentine's Day. J. and I went down into Vancouver for a few hours today, mostly as long as my ankle could handle, and on the trip home, somewhere on the bus or the Skytrain, I suddenly remembered that it was the day I used to call "Singles' Awareness Day" (acronym, SAD). It had slipped my mind before that.

This is a day which I liked when I was a child, because my grandparents would give us candy on pretty much any holiday. One winter when they were in Arizona (back in the days when they were snowbirds), they sent me and my brothers candy for Groundhog Day. So I liked that part. I liked making valentines with construction paper and giving them to my friends. I didn't really dislike the holiday until high school. Suddenly, I was head over heels in "love" with a guy who thought I was okay, but wasn't interested at all in me (he was head over heels for a friend of mine, instead). I was miserable. Valentine's Day sucked, because all the happy couples around me were giving each other flowers and candy and going on dates and going to the Sweethearts' Banquet our school hosted. That year, my dad gave me some really great socks for Valentine's Day and took me to the bookstore to cheer me up (where I bought Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility). I have great parents. I'm still amazed they put up with me in some of my moodier moments in my teens.

So, I made it through high school, tending towards grumpy every Valentine's Day because it would remind me even more that whoever I happened to like at the time didn't like me. Then I went off to university and met J. Our first Valentine's Day together happened about three weeks after we started (officially) dating. I told him I didn't want to make a big deal out of it, and being a guy who was still learning to read me, he took me at my word. I wrote him a poem and got my best friend to write it out for me in calligraphy. He said, "Oh yeah, happy Valentine's day" right before a class we had together. It wasn't the greatest day, since I had hoped he would do something in spite of what I'd said, but even so, I didn't exactly hate it anymore.

These days, we might go out for dinner, or stay in and make dinner together. The year he decided to make me Indian food was interesting. We had homemade palak paneer and some flatbread with grated horseradish in it. And that was it. Although, palak paneer is very filling. We went out for dinner tonight, but more because we didn't want to cook and Valentine's Day was as good an excuse as any. If he gives me red roses, it's never on Valentine's Day, it's because he thought it would be nice to bring me flowers.

I'm far less romantic than I used to be. I used to daydream about a guy who would do the grand gestures, but it turned out that what I really wanted was someone like J. He's not usually terribly romantic (although the occasional bouquet is really sweet of him), but I never doubt that he loves me, and I know that I love him. We don't play games with each other, and while it's not perfect (I doubt I could live with perfect--it'd drive me crazy), it's good. And we're happy.

Plus, wandering around Vancouver today was much more fun than an expensive candlelit dinner with roses. We had burritos and got to see a snowboarder jumping on a trampoline.

09 February 2010

half-way down the stairs

There's something about being cautious on stairs that I should have learned when I was a child. I mean, really, I remember vividly falling down the stairs at my grandfather's retirement party when I was about two. I've slipped down a couple sets of staircases since. And each time, I've survived with, at most, a couple bruises. I usually instinctively fall the right way, ever since I took a self-defense class (usually being the important word there).

Yesterday afternoon, I was walking down the stairs in the linguistics building, going to class. I was chatting with a classmate about the options of thesis vs. comprehensive exams, and then, at the bottom of the stairs, I saw a friend I haven't seen since before Christmas. So I shouted hi, and as I was asking him how he was (with about two steps to go to the bottom), I placed my foot wrong. Down those last two steps I went, viciously twisting my ankle along the way. I managed to turn the word that almost came out of my mouth into "shoot!" and sat there at the bottom of the stairs, breathing carefully so as to keep from crying.

I've twisted my ankle before. Many times. It'll hurt, I rotate it a bit, and it might ache for a half hour, at most. Then it's fine. The stabbing pain of this suggested that this injury might be more serious. So, I sat through my class for an hour and a half, trying not cry or move my ankle, and then got a ride home with someone so I didn't have to face the walk to the bus stop, the bus ride, and the walk home from the bus stop.

It still hurts this morning. Badly. I think I will be stopping by the doctor's on the way home. In the meantime, it's been wrapped up and I believe ibuprofen and walking carefully are my friends.

Edit: Yes, the doctor says it's sprained. I spent close to two hours at the clinic waiting for him to tell me that I was already doing all the right stuff. Then I managed to strain my thumb a bit (either because I was a bit tense while knitting at the clinic, or because I managed to sleep on top of my hand, or both), so I have to take a day or two off of knitting. It's easier than it was this summer, but it's still annoying. I want to work on those socks.

07 February 2010


We took a trip down to Vancouver yesterday and spent the day wandering around Commerical and Granville Island with some friends. Commercial is a really fun, quirky place with interesting stores and some great restaurants, and that's where we spent most of our day. Then we took Skytrain and the new "Olympic Line" streetcar over to Granville Island. The streetcar on loan from Brussells is very nice, and very similar to the MAX trains in Portland, Oregon, except the ones from Brussells have leather seats and signs that are in French and what I think was Dutch (since the signs are only a few words long, I wasn't sure if it was Dutch or German, since those can look a tad similar, and both are official languages in Belgium). And the drivers for these were driving much more slowly than the MAX drivers do.

I wasn't terribly enthusiastic about the Olympics until this weekend. We've been hearing about it for years, and so far, it's just seemed to result in lots of construction and road repair. And now, all of a sudden, this is something really, really neat. There were banners everywhere, people wearing maple leaves, and we actually saw the Slovakian Olympic team while we were waiting in line for the streetcar. This is real. It's no longer something we talk about, not something that's happening next year. It's happening now.

We're going back to Vancouver next weekend, the day after the opening ceremonies. We can't afford to go to any of the events, but there's free concerts and cultural stuff happening, and I want to be able to say that I was there when the Olympics were in Vancouver.