Friday, June 27, 2008

impossible is nothing

This made me think about the media and how those "butchered" by the headlines and the media really feel about it.

Take that shirt off and it is an even better commercial no?

Monday, June 23, 2008

rain boots and short shorts...together at last

As the title would suggest, I saw a girl in rain boots and short shorts today. As much as I thought it should be hideous, somehow she pulled it off. I have no idea why or how or if maybe I was just delirious from the hunger, but it didn't look horrible. It looked a lot like this in fact:
While the look isn't for everyone, I might be rethinking my decision that short shorts are no longer age-appropriate for me.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

another good thing about being blind

As most of you know, I'm pretty darn blind. I can't see more than a few centimeters in front of me without my glasses or contacts. It isn't really a bad thing, but it can get kind of annoying to have to lean forward and squint just to see the alarm clock in the middle of the night.

Over the years, I've found at least a couple of good things about having to wear contacts. For one, cutting onions doesn't seem to bother my eyes, and for another, if for whatever reason your eyes are red and teary and you don't want people to know the real reason, you can always blame the lenses.

Yesterday, I found another. As I was putting on my mascara, I guess I was being a little over-zealous and ended up touching the brush right to my eye. Now in most people, this would produce much tearing, eye rubbing and perhaps even swearing. Not me- in fact, I didn't even feel it and didn't realize it had happened until I looked a little closer and saw the black mark on my contact lens.

Unfortunately, it was waterproof mascara. So if anyone knows how to get that last little speck of black off of my contact, let me know.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

colour me surprised

Normally I think the drivers in Ottawa are horrid. They don't like to stop at stop lights, they try to run me over whilst running, and they spray slush all over me. But today, they surprised me. No fewer than 10 vehicles had the opportunity to soak me and ALL of them moved and slowed in order to avoid the puddle. I guess showing a little leg works for something.

In other news, I got confirmation that I can go to the conference I've been eying in Banff. Look out Alberta, here I come!

Monday, June 16, 2008

for those of you who don't have a washer and dryer

Few things are more frustrating than having to share laundry facilities. Especially in my building because:
a) It is full of students. (I'm not saying that ALL students are inconsiderate, but many are still in places in their lives where they are mostly thinking about themselves)

b) The hall and downstairs (and often our apartment) smell like cigarettes due to the basement dwelling chain smokers

c) I have to carry laundry (and myself) up and down 4 flights of stairs to do said laundry. If an inconsiderate fellow tenant has left their wet laundry (and no basket) in the washing machine for more than an hour, this involves at least 5 extra trips up and down the stairs to see if the washing machine is finally empty.

I'm sick of it. SICK OF IT. I want my own washer and my own dryer and I want to be able to do my laundry whenever I want. I want to be able to "fluff" a shirt or a pair of jeans in the dryer for 3 minutes if I want to. I want to be able to do my laundry without having to be obsessive about the time so that I don't inconvenience someone else (which apparently I shouldn't be so obsessive about because they don't care about my convenience).
One day. One day I will do laundry with pleasure.
Until that day, I'll try to stop myself from slaughtering someone by writing passive aggressive notes.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

an odourous journey

For those of you who are privileged enough never to have smelled Jordan's "old" running shorts, if you have no other goals in life, make your primary one to avoid the shorts. They stink. Even clean they smell. Fresh out of the dryer, the smell a little like Bounce, but mostly like...well, ass (and in this case, probably quite literally). Fresh off of Jordan, they reek.
To be fair, they were his only pair of running shorts for awhile, so they have accumulated miles and miles of sweat and stench, but yikes.
We went running yesterday and as I came into our bedroom all freshly showered, there was a noxious odour coming from my right. I picked my running shirt off the doorknob, gave it a sniff, but of course it smelled like roses (ok, more like Gain). I bent my head further to investigate and quickly figured out where the smell was coming from: the laundry basket. It took me only a second to realize that the shorts were in there. I called Jordan in so that he could experience the power of the shorts. He of course immediately pulled them out of the basket and stuck them in my face. True love that- smelling the shorts and still allowing him to sleep next to me.

Fast forward to this afternoon. I got on the bus, found a seat and immediately the smell hit me. It was so bad, that the woman walking onto the bus behind me turned right around and moved to the front of the bus. The man in the seat in front of me smelled just like those black Nike shorts. Oh the joys of public transit.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

a made-up guide to summer survival

Well, it isn’t even mid-June and it is already uncomfortable in the sun at 7am. The temperatures are rising and the humidex is rising even more. In fact, we have already had a couple of days where a “humidex advisory” has been issued. This means that it is actually dangerous to go an entire day without air conditioning. Until I moved here, I had no idea this was even a concept you had to worry about.

The weather network has provided a definition of humidex here and wikipedia also has an entry. They both make it sound like a made up non-scientific phenomenon, and in fact here is an article criticizing both humidex and wind chill, regardless, that humidity makes it damn hot. And hey, if Environment Canada has to be on the cutting edge of something, it might as well be making up weather phenomena.

So, in the spirit of making things up, here are my rules for humidex survival.

Rule 1: Hydrate
Yes, it makes you have to pee more often, but that sticky stuff all over you that makes you wonder if you were attacked by the “jam hands” of a pack of roaming toddlers- that’s sweat. Sweat mixed with anything that touches your skin…like lotion or dust or bugs. Normally, sweat forms as a way of cooling you off. The sweat comes out, it evaporates and you get some sweet sweet relief. But in the humidity, the air is already so full of moisture that there is no evaporation. Just stickiness. And, in order to create more stickiness, we must drink more water. Try to offset some of the salt loss that comes with the profuse sweating with a bit of Gatorade, or maybe a bag of potato chips.

Rule 2: Layers
Counter-intuitive: yes, but also necessary. Although fabric technology has evolved to the point where there are items of clothing that wick away moisture and don’t absorb stink, most of these items are appropriate only for the gym (although some of the Nike Dri-Fit golf stuff appeals to my inner prep). Thus, if you want to wear cotton in anything other than black, a sweat-absorbing layer is a must. I used to wonder why men wore undershirts. Now I know. Without them, you will be a nasty swacky* mess. Ok, you’ll still be a mess, but with that sweat-absorbing layer, it won’t be as obvious. Even with this rule, avoid grey shirts at all costs. You just never know what will happen with grey.

Rule 3: Think flowy
Mrs Roper had the right idea with her MuuMuus. If you aren’t willing to dress in layers, flowy fabrics that don’t touch your body are ideal. If you aren’t willing to go through summer looking like one of the Golden Girls, there are some more modern options such as this or this (though that last one borders on Roper), but again, the key is to think about flow.

Rule 4: Move less
This rule competes with rule 1 in that in order to hydrate (and as a result, pee more), you do need to move, and moving makes that stickiness turn into drippiness, but the thought here is to move as little as possible. Sure, this also competes with the fact that humidex season coincides with bathing suit season, but you won’t want to be out in the sun anyway (see rule 8). And, as rule 5 will demonstrate, you might be eating less anyway. But yes, anything to prevent the beads of sweat from forming and dripping is very important- this involves moving less and moving slowly. Sticky actually ends up being the preferable state because as we all know, sticky is better than drippy.

Rule 5: Do NOT turn the oven on.
If you have central air, this may not apply to you, but even then, you have to be able to afford to cool your kitchen to meat locker like temperatures in order for the oven to be an option. Turn that oven on and the kitchen turns from uncomfortable to sauna. You walk in there and immediately start dripping. This is especially true in an apartment such as mine where not only does the oven heat up, but so does the top burner. Oooh, even MORE heat, yay! I don’t care if your only child wants nothing more than a homemade cake for her birthday- pay someone to make it for you. Heck, go buy a McCains Deep ‘n Delicious from the freezer aisle just so you can stick your head in there for a second and tell your kid you’ll make her a cake once sweater season rolls around. No baking, no roasting, basically, limited hot food. This leaves your dinner options to salad, items that require only one burner of the stove (because more than one and you’re running the risk of oven-like temperatures), and anything you can make in the toaster oven, so don’t worry too much about all that sitting around you’re doing in order to comply with rule 4, because you’ll soon get sick of your food options and just stop eating all together.

Rule 6: Don’t you hate pants?
Once you get home and can do nothing but sit on the couch in front of the fan, hydrate, and move as little as possible, the logical solution is to strip down to as little as possible. Sure, this is when the tech-fabrics can come out if necessary, but why create more laundry (which requires moving) when you can just sit around in your underwear with an ice pack (or cold beer) on your belly?

Rule 7: Cold showers- not just for 13 year old boys.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. The only problem with the cold shower however, is that eventually it has to end and your newly cooled core temperature will be hovering back at feverish levels in no time.

Rule 8: Stay out of the sun
I know. It has been a long winter and all you want to do is be outside in the sun. But it will only take a few minutes to realize that being out in the sun is even worse than being in your kitchen with the oven on. You stand in the sun and even your dog tries to sneak in close to try to take advantage of the shade you are producing. Why? Why is that? Well that 29° that “feels like” 40° you saw on the weather network? That is measured in the shade. The temperature in the sun actually can’t be measured, thermometers don’t go that high. The drippiness that happens in the shade turns into a veritable downpour in the sun. You soak through that base layer and start messing up your ‘real’ shirt in a matter of minutes. The only thing that can save you is to stand soaking wet (post cold shower) in front of an air conditioner. And even then it takes a good 10 minutes for your face to return to a lightish red instead of the angry purple brought on by that kind of heat. So, save the sun basking to the few short weeks in the spring between the time the snow melts and the humidity starts and then again in the fall in the weeks after the humidex drops off and before the snow starts to fall.

In summary, humidity sucks but at least it is fun to follow a bunch of made up rules in order to stay as comfortable as possible. Hey, at least there are a lot of good movies coming out this summer and one sure way to escape the heat is to sit in an over-air conditioned movie theatre eating that delicious movie popcorn.

*In case you need a translation, swack is the sweat you get on your back that makes your shirt stick to it, if you happen to be sitting while swack develops, it will likely be accompanied by swass, which is clearly ass sweat. Neither are desirable.

Monday, June 09, 2008

vermont- the trip

Day one: Driving and shopping
This involved coffee, (g)Napoleon the gnome and finding our way through Montreal just fine. It also involved an unfortunate trip to what we thought was a rest stop but actually an old people’s clinic. But, we had to pee and there was as sign to the bathroom…soooo…we went.

At the border, Heather was driving (and wearing her rachel ray-esque scarf) and seemed to loose the capability to think because she had to ask me where we were going and what we were doing. I very much understand the feeling. Even though I’m doing nothing wrong, I always feel like I have to prove my innocence around customs officials.

Then to Burlington for lunch, shopping and of course some ice cream. Oh Ben and Jerry’s, why are you so darn tasty.

We got to where we were going around 5:30 and it was nice to be off the road. After a delightful dinner in Jamaica, it was off to bed.

Day two: MICE
My day two started off quite unfortunately. I woke up sometime in the middle of the night to the sound of the cat going a little nuts, but he tends to be pretty loud, so I didn’t really think much of it. AND THEN….when I woke up in the morning in my normal state of having to pee, I opened the toilet lid and there, in the toilet were two dead mice. TWO of them. DEAD. Just floating there. As someone who is a) from the city and b) quite frightened of rodents, it was…ummm quite shocking. If only Heather had been the first one up.

I recovered from the fright and had a good visit with relatives (Heather finally got to meet our aunt!) and tried to carb up with all my might. All day we hoped that the torrential rain would work itself out and stay away for Sunday. After a lovely dessert of Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream, it was off to bed early.

Day three: The race- damn you hills
4:40 felt pretty darn early…let me tell you. And it kind of sucked knowing that I was getting up at 4:40 but not running until 10:15. But, we managed, and after a lot of waiting, and sitting and waiting some more, we were off.

They call the Covered Bridges half marathon the “best 13.1 miles in New England”. It is definitely pretty. Trees, rivers, waterfalls, bridges, dirt roads, paved roads…all beautiful. I enjoyed most of it. Except of course the HILLS. Oy. They kicked my butt.
(Speaking of butts, there was a fellow Canadian running in some oh so fashionable Canadian flag shorts. As I passed him at about mile 12.5, I really wanted to slap that Canadian flag ass for good luck).

But we finished despite the hills (and when you look at my splits, you can really see where the biggest hill was, I was 2 minutes slower that mile than any other. 2 MINUTES...that is a lot) and both of us made our time goals. (looking back, not sure why I had a time goal my first time out, but you have to go big or go home now don't you?). I know we both struggled at the end, and besides my "i can handle this for now" phrase running through my head, I tried to think of Jordan and how the week before he had gone twice the distance (though he is much speedier so definitely not for twice as long) and was feeling pretty crappy at the end. There would be no quitting.

We basically felt like death for the rest of the day, and went to bed at 8pm after a lovely dinner of steak and potatoes. Oh, and I dropped the rest of the Americone Dream on the floor, so we had to settle for Heath Bar Crunch.

Day three: the long drive home
Basically this day is a blur because we were so tired. But I'm pretty sure that the "I'll never run again" thoughts I was having at miles 11-13.1 the day before had long gone and I was already thinking about running another half. I had to drop Heather off at the airport on the way into town and it was kind of sad. It was so nice to spend 10 whole days with her and to run another "first race" with her.
So yes, it took me more than a week to write and post this, but yes.

For pictures, check out the facebook album (and if you aren't my friend look for me)

Monday, June 02, 2008

not sure if they are american

I'm not sure if they are American, but the people in my building sure do care about the presidential election. Mere days after the "Obama '08" sign appeared in the window of our neighbours, TWO "Hillary '08" signs have appeared in the window of the apartment below them. I had no idea I was living amongst the Americans...
I should really go out and take a picture. It is quite a strange site in the middle of Ottawa.

On second thought, the American embassy IS within sight. Perhaps they are hoping someone will see the signs.