We don't know our way around Calgary. So we took the GPS. Generally, the GPS works like a dream. But sometimes it's not up to date on closed businesses, new streets, etc. Also, it can give off some fairly interesting directions. Like these:
"Right turn on Memorial Doctor West"
(actual street name is Memorial Dr ... or "Drive")
"Exit right onto Crowchild Triangle"
(actual street name is Crowchild Trl ... or "Trail")
"Slight left turn on 15th Avenue Say"
(actual street name is 15 Ave SE ... or "Southeast")
"When possible, make a legal u-turn"
(up here, u-turns are never legal)
"Make a diagonal left turn on Unnamed"
(what is a "diagonal left turn"?!?!)
"Exit right to 16th Avenue East 1A Highway E 32 Street to H W Y 1E Highway 32 East"
It's great when the GPS gives no advance warning, too. And that's when you think it should just say "Turn left ... NOW!" But mostly, it's good. And it certainly helped us to find our way around. Eventually. It also inspired some interesting discussions. And we have found that a fairly inexpensive way to stay entertained is to drive your vehicle into the middle of a large parking lot, ask your GPS for directions, and then drive around in circles completely ignoring its directions and waiting for its microchips to start smoldering as it keeps "calculating route" over and over. Also, you can contemplate what the perfect GPS would actually say to you at any given moment. Like so:
"No. Your other left."
"Stop your vehicle now. You should not be driving."
"Make an illegal three-point turn."
"Our records show this is not a street. You are driving through houses."
"We are contacting the authorities. Stay where you are."
"Return your rental vehicle here, before you kill someone."
We had a lovely visit with my birth mom, though it was too brief. She seems to be doing well, all things considered. I don't think I've blogged much about her illness, if at all, so I'll do so now. If you're here for humour, you should probably just skip over the rest of this post ... it's medical stuff, and cancer is just not funny.
My birth mom has a rare form of pancreatic cancer. She was diagnosed with it this past summer. The tumor was quite large (roughly 6 inches) and had spread to her liver, bloodstream, and lymph system. It's an aggressive and fast growing form of cancer. It is also inoperable. When she began treatments, we were told that the cancer had almost completely replaced her liver and that, without chemo, she would not be expected to survive more than a few days. Fortunately, her type of cancer is generally very responsive to chemo, and liver cells can regenerate if enough of the cancer cells can be killed off.
The tumor has responded well to the first bunch of chemo treatments and has shrunk so that it is no longer causing any pain. And her liver is functioning once more, which is good news. The doctors stopped the chemo when they were required to, when her white cell count was at a certain low level. She will go for a CT scan in the new year to see if the tumor is growing again and, if so, she will need to start another round of chemo treatments.
In the meantime, she's fighting the cancer any way she can, and is trying an experimental therapy with a drug called "DCA". It's not presently being tested as a treatment for pancreatic cancer, but we are all hopeful that it will help her. Next time we go down, we'll try to stay a bit longer and have a better visit. We hesitate to tire her, though, so have to curb our enthusiasm a bit. The kids in particular can tire a person out pretty fast.