Saturday, April 30, 2011

spring? is that you?

Sun: check
Running in capri pants: check
Sweating while running in the aforementioned capri pants: check
Daffodils, crocuses, and tulips: check, check and CHECK!
I think spring has finally sprung. And that makes me oh so very happy.
Tulips in Old Montreal
I hope it feels like spring where you are this weekend! Good luck to all those racing tomorrow and congrats to those who raced today!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

three things thursday- the phone blogging edition

Hello from rainy and humid Ottawa! (not that Montreal is any different right now) I haven't found the right app for the phone blogging yet but I will definitely do that. Until then- three things for a humid Thursday:

the Supreme Court is creepy in the fog

- I can tell I'm getting used to the French in Montreal. When I took the bus yesterday morning here in Ottawa, I thanked the driver in French. Now, this is not uncommon in Ottawa and the driver then spoke back to me in French, but the fact that it was my first instinct must mean I'm getting used to it.

- I had a fantastic dinner last night that involved delicious charcuterie. I've said it before and I'll say it again- if you're in Ottawa, hit up Murray Street. You won't regret it.

charcuterie makes the world go round

- I'm very glad this is a recovery week. I've been vetting lucky with work travel coinciding with recovery weeks...it is like it was meant to be. Because of the heavy rain, I've been hitting the hotel gym. The treadmill is boring, but at least I got to watch hockey!


I hope you all have a wonderful day! Any fun facts this Thursday?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

in point form

Because I wasn't a very good planner (and because I was busy having fun with out of town guests and relaxing all weekend) I forgot to schedule some posts for this week since I knew I woukd be out of town and woukd have questionable access to the internet. Oops. So, tonight I will give you some randomness today and hopefully mode later in the week too.

- the Canadian election is proving to be pretty interesting! The NDP seems to be surging (maybe that long awaited picture with Jack Layton will be even cooler than I already think it is)

- also exciting right now are the hockey games! Montreal just won game 6 vs Boston to force a game seven (go habs!) and the Vancouver game 7 starts in a few minutes (sorry, can't bring myself to cheer for them)

- I still can't figure out how to add pictures from my iPhone onto posts. Maybe I can't use pictures that are on the phone? Maybe I need to have them on flickr or something like that?

- I had a really good long run on Sunday! The first few miles were a little rough and I wondered how I'd ever get it all done and if I'd ever feel comfortable. But once I got over that, things worked out well and I felt strong. I did about 13.5 miles in somewhere around 2:05 and I'm pretty happy with that. Plus, the sun was out and that made me smile.

- I'm very curious as to how many autocorrect typos will be in this post. I really suck at catching them. I'm not really sure why- I'm a decent proofreader on good days. Meh.

- anyway I hope you had a great Tuesday and have a great Wednesday! I'll be knee deep in training sessions, so I think it will be both informative and exhausting.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

happy easter

It is a busy weekend of fun and friends, so today I'll leave you with an oldie but a goodie:
(source)
Hope you all have a Happy Easter (or if you're not the Easter celebrating type, a great rest of the weekend)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

three things thursday- the Canadian edition

In honour of some interesting Canadian news stories I've seen in the last few days, I thought I'd make this a Canadian edition of three things Thursday.
Does it get more Canadian than the Maple Leaf?
1- Apparently, Canadians are the second happiest citizens in the world (it must be true- the survey says so). Well, sort of- we're tied with Sweden for second happiest. Which makes sense really- Sweden and Canada are practically the same right? We have winter, we both love hockey, both countries are overrun with IKEA furniture (although maybe that is why we're in second and not first- too many frustrated hours with an Allen key), and we're both known for our beautiful women (oh wait, that's Sweden). Ok, so we're not the same, but apparently we have equal numbers of people who are "thriving"!  Joking aside, I'd say I'm pretty content- and I'm Canadian...so there's that.

(source)
2- We may be "thriving", but I have to say, I'm a little embarrassed that we're so dumb. According to a new poll, we think that the North is full of penguins and igloos. Penguins. In northern Canada. Maybe we've watched a few too many Coke commercials and not enough National Geographic? Don't you think we'd be shilling tourist trips to see penguins if there were indeed penguins in this country? We put animals on our coins and call them by their animal name...would we not have put the penguin on the penny by now so that we could think of ourselves as clever if we were a penguin-rich counry? Come on people!

I'm a little relieved to hear that the "up north" quiz was only given to 303 people. Even though that is probably a large enough sample to reach statistical significance, I'm making myself feel better by thinking that they were mostly outliers.

(source)
3- We're having an election on May 2nd. With such a large country with multiple time zones, polls close in the East a few hours before they close in the west and we have this rule that you aren't supposed to post election results before the polls close. I definitely remember this growing up in the west- once the polls closed, they'd "turn on" the results that were already being broadcast in the east and since both Ontario and Quebec results were in and fully counted, we'd already know who won the election before our votes were counted. But that was back when information was easy to control. These days, it is a little harder but they still try. In fact, if I were to put something election results related on this blog, on my Facebook status, or on my twitter feed before the polls were closed in Alberta or BC, I could be fined...a lot of money. The story in the Montreal Gazette is actually worth a read. Kind of crazy to think that these rules are still enforceable.

And so there you have it- a Canadian news edition of three things Thursday. Hope you enjoyed some insight into this thriving, yet somewhat strange country! 

Any big plans for Easter weekend? Somehow, I had forgotten that I had Friday off for most of the week as I was working on a project...which means I'm down a day to get things done. Good think I'm on track with my work load!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

ladies- don't take it personally when he doesn't notice

One thing I've noticed about people with the XY chromosome is that they aren't as observant to change as those of us with the XX. It isn't a personality flaw, I deeply believe that there is something about that Y chromosome that makes its carrier just a little slower on the uptake when it comes to observing change. To back up that belief, I present to you the following conversation that happened late Tuesday evening:
Husband: Are you getting your hair cut soon?
Me: (laughing) I got my hair cut yesterday*
H: : What? It doesn’t look that different…
M: (laughing even harder) I have BANGS…
H: (slightly incredulous) oh yeah…you do have bangs…
M: I actually lost a lot of hair yesterday…it is quite different and I’m still not 100% if I like it yet
H: well, you had it in a ponytail for most of today and…
M: and I still had bangs… (I take my hair out of the ponytail and do a little turn around)
H: Oh, you’re right, it IS very different…I think it looks good.
Once I had stopped laughing, I thought this was a good life lesson to us all- sometimes, they just don't notice. It is just the way they are and it is ok (and perhaps somewhat humourous and endearing). So maybe we should just all make a game of it. Change something and then see how long it takes for the men in your life to notice...

What about you- do you think my theory is sound? Any funny stories about people not noticing a change? Or about noticing a change and reacting in a funny way? (When we were young, my sister once asked my dad to put his moustache back on after he shaved it)

*he got home very late that day, so there was no way for him to have noticed the actual day I got it cut since I was already asleep.

Monday, April 18, 2011

windy running

Sometimes wind can be good- today in Boston, there was a strong tail wind that contributed to the fastest marathon EVER run (though it does not count as a world record because there is a net downhill for the course). The men's winner finished in 2:03:02. That's 26.2 miles in 2 hours, three minutes, and two seconds. I ran half that distance in about the same time on Sunday. The women finished pretty quickly as well and the first two women finished within a couple of seconds of each other and it made for a very exciting finish! While I read something saying that the elites claimed they didn't feel the wind out on the course, the fact that they didn't feel it, clearly means it was at their backs ;-)
Meb Keflezighi at last year's Boston Marathon. Wow it was awesome to be there!
Which leads to why sometimes wind is bad. Sunday was one of those days where wind was terrible. We spent Saturday in Ottawa and on our way home, the wind was howling and was accompanied by rain. When we stopped for snacks around 10:30 pm (yeah, only I would need to stop for snacks at that time), I got out of the car and was pelted by the rain and wind. I yelled "if it is like this tomorrow I am NOT running...I won't do it."

It wasn't raining when I got up (later than normal on a Sunday morning), but I could hear the wind and I knew there was a wind chill (boo for wind chill in April). I was not excited but I have a race in May and I knew that the run had to get done.

I had to do a loop before picking up my trusty running companion Suz and figured that running into the wind on the way OUT would be better than on the way back. It was almost comically windy. Things were blowing around, sticks whipping my ankles, leaves blowing everywhere, dogs fighting the wind and trying to look like they were still having fun on their walks...
(source)
It felt like running underwater. I really don't know how I managed to propel myself forward, but I did it by just putting one foot in front of the other. And that meant that eventually, I got to do a glorious, glorious thing: I got to turn around. I know I'm not a heavy person, but I'm heavy enough that normal wind should not be able to move me. But I swear- as I turned my back to the wind and started to run, a gust pushed me and I started to fly...according to the Garmin splits some of the wind gusts pushed me to a 6:38 per mile (4:12 per kilometer) pace when I was trying to keep the pace between 9:30 and 10:00. So on the way into the wind I cursed and when it was at my back, I laughed. What else can you do?

It was a rough run, but what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. And that wind (although it must have blown the energy completely out of me because I ended up in bed by 9:15 last night) HAD to have made me stronger!

Goal race is now 6 weeks away. Yay!

Congrats to all of you who ran Boston today (I was tracking Aron and a high school friend and they both rocked it!)- you were part of an epic race and I hope you had FUN!

Friday, April 15, 2011

fun for a friday- taking pictures of kids

Taking pictures of kids is HARD. They move quickly and they're unpredictable. You may not end up with what YOU think is the perfect picture, but in the end, you end up looking at what you took and you think "maybe that really is perfect..." because it ends up being a perfect representation of what it is really like to be around said kids.

When I was in Calgary last month, I brought the camera out to take some pictures of my niece and nephews. Once the nephews got adequately prepped for the photo shoot (ie- got the faux-mos ready with the gel and the spray-on colour), a little madness ensued:
Take a picture of me doing THIS (ok...)
complete with milk coming out of his mouth
Now that the "candids" were done, we decided to try to get them on the couch to get a few shots of them together:
wait-me first!
let me jump on top of you- that makes a good picture right?
not quite
almost...
got it...ok one more...
PERFECT!
 Then the third one decided to join in- by that time the boys were a little sick of sitting still (oh wait, were they ever sitting still?) so it was kind of challenging:
i just laugh at this one
as good as it gets :)
And for good measure- because he likes to ham it up for the camera:
where did he learn this???
I was laughing the entire time I was taking the pictures and every time I look at them, they crack me up even more. 

Just thought I'd post a little fun for a Friday. Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

three things thursday- the boston marathon edition

Since it is almost marathon Monday in Boston I thought I'd dedicate these three things to the marathon.

1- I loved being in Boston last year for the marathon- loved it. It is highly unlikely that I'll ever run that marathon- so I settled for running part of the course as part of a training run that morning and then being a cheerleader and nervous wife as I waited for my husband to come around that corner at Hereford and Boylston. And I loved it. There is excitement in the air all weekend and it is pretty fun to count the limping people and "celebration" jackets in the days that follow (I actually made a game of seeing how many jackets I could get into a single camera shot the next day) Plus, you can just see how much the runners and the entire city love the event.

2- If you're going to Boston as a spectator, check out this post over at Carrots 'n' Cake for her advice on spectating (and she's a seasoned veteran). While I just walked (and got a little turned around) from my hotel to the place I'd be spectating, her idea of parking yourself on a patio sounds delightful! If you want to feel inspired and hear a story of a journey from non-runner to Boston Qualifier, go read Aron's latest post over at Runner's Rambles. I remember reading her pre-qualification post and almost breathing a sigh of relief for her when I heard she qualified.

3- And while I can't give you any advice on the actual running of the marathon, I'm fairly certain it is just as simple as this:

So to all those lacing up and headed to the Boston start (and finish) line on Monday- remember- just start running. Have fun and good luck!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

glad i can be of service

Search terms are fascinating to me- "googling" can be a bit of an art, so I always find it interesting to see what search terms get me to what I'm looking for.

Recently, I've started paying a little more attention to the search terms that people use to find my blog. I came upon how to do this by accident (yeah, I'm a little slow with the way Blogger has evolved...it took me a LONG time to look at that "stats" tab) but have kept looking for fun. While the top search term of late is "gu brew review," (why no love for the chomps? I just don't know) here are some that have cracked me up:
  • biggest bottle of gin (probably because of this post)
  • intercostal muscles (and not just once- this comes up THREE times as intercostal muscles, external intercostal muscles, and internal intercostal muscles, and by saying intercostal muscles a few more times, it is sure to come up more)
  • rain boots with shorts (yeah- that's what I get for talking about it I guess, but again- this is a search that has come up in multiple ways: rain boots and shorts, shorts and rain boots, rain boots with shorts?)
  • asparagus pee (believe it or not, I've mentioned this in not one, but two posts- I guess this makes three?)
And because I would one day like someone to find my blog because of my multiple mentions of donuts (or doughnuts- depending on how you like to spell it), here's a picture for good measure- taken at the Donut Plant in NYC:
delicious pieces of donut heaven
Have you ever plugged something into google that you thought "man this is a weird combination of words"? Any weird search terms you've come across recently?

Monday, April 11, 2011

dealing with disappointment

Remember this post? Where I publicly announced the fact that I applied to grad school? Where I talked about needing calculus to be in the program and therefore starting my series of calculus gem and test anxiety posts? Well, I found out last week that I did not get accepted into the program. Boo.
old picture of a "boo" face I don't have bangs right now- though seriously considering them
I know it is a very competitive program at a very competitive university. I know that the fact that I was taking calculus instead of already having it may have counted as a strike against me and so could the fact that I hadn't secured any funding. A lot of factors go into being accepted or rejected from graduate programs and I know that I'm "good enough and smart enough"...but that doesn't mean it wasn't a huge disappointment. It was really the biggest major rejection of my life so far (what can I say- I've been lucky!), so it was definitely a tough blow. And can I just mention that I found out a day and a half before a calculus exam? Yeah, double boo. But, I think that so far, I've dealt with the disappointment pretty well and here's how I've done it.

Step 1- I cried.
No choice in the matter really...it was something that I was really hoping for and it didn't come through. So I had my own little private pity party and had a good cry. (and once that was over, I told my husband so that he could feel sorry for me and join my pity party once he got home from work)

Step 2- I closed the books.
As I mentioned, I had a calculus test later that week and had some studying to do- which is hard and can be an exercise in frustration because I find calculus hard. I just wasn't in a place where studying would be effective or that studying was even remotely a part of what I wanted to be doing. So I took the evening off. Sure- studying that night may have helped me get a slightly better mark, but I ended up doing just fine on the test (take THAT stupid university that rejected me) and I definitely needed that evening off.

Step 3- I looked for the silver lining.
Since one of my goals this year is to remain positive no matter what life throws at me, I started to look at what the good things about not being accepted into the program. It means I'll have a "real" salary next year instead of a student salary and it means we might be able to buy a condo instead of continuing to rent. There is an important family event happening in October and not being in school means it is more likely that I'll be free to be there. It also means I won't stress myself into a pile of craziness as I try to adjust into full time student life. It still sucks to get rejected, but there are some good things about not going to school.

These are bachelorette party shots, not drowning my sorrows shots. I did not drink this much, don't worry
Step 4- I drank.
Yes, that's right- I drowned my sorrows in a big ole glass of wine and I stand by that decision :)

Step 5- I told people.
Misery loves company and telling everyone means that they are all there to support me. I've often felt like a giant failure when things haven't gone my way and have been almost afraid and embarrassed to tell people. Maybe it is a sign that I'm an adult that telling people sucked only because it meant that I knew they'd be sad for me, not disappointed in me. Plus, telling people leads to more of Step 4, because we all love to drink our failures away :)

The post-it speaks the truth
Step 6- I made the decision to still kick some ass.
Why make the decision to be miserable about it? I still have to finish this calculus class and I had to take the test. I had a conference presentation to do on April 4th. I have projects to do well at work. I have races to run...I have all sorts of life ass to kick without the program. Despite the disappointment, life goes on. While I do plan to contact the program to see how I can improve my application for next year, who knows- maybe it just isn't a good fit for me. I just have to go forward with the confidence that things happen for a reason. A door just closed, but I know that somewhere, a window was thrown open for me. I just need to find that window.

So there you have it- my steps to dealing with disappointment. It sucked, I cried, but all will be ok. (Even though I still have to learn calculus)
How do you deal with disappointment? What always makes you feel better?

Saturday, April 09, 2011

the little things

I was pretty cranky this morning. I'm not sure why- I slept well (and long) and had no reason to be cranky, I just was. I had a pretty hard run on the schedule and it was really tough to drag myself out the door (even into the beautifully sunny day). Once I got out there though, the little things made me happy:
  •  smiles and nods from other runners
  • the beautiful sunshine warming my face (oops- forgot to put sunscreen on!)
  • friendly dogs
  • a child trying to race me as I ran by
  • multiple pugs :)
  • crocuses blooming
  • old people holding hands
I left the house feeling cranky, but came home feeling tired, but invigorated.


What little things made you smile today?

Thursday, April 07, 2011

three things thursday- adjusting to time zones edition

Another Thursday, another three things. I'm liking Thursdays! (plus, Thursday means it is practically Friday!)

1- I spent Tuesday evening either surrounded by lush forest or looking out  at the sunset over the harbour. Wow Vancouver is beautiful...I don't know if I could live there, but I could definitely spend a lot of time there.
Lynn Canyon
 2- My hope was that by the time I got back to Montreal, the snow would be gone. I pretty much got my wish (just a few little patches here and there)- but now I'm stuck looking at brown, dead grass. I'm sure it will green up in no time (and it is WAAAY better than snow).

3- Maybe I'm being a little premature here, but I actually think I did ok with the time zone adjusting. I'm guessing that part if it has to do with having to get up early on the days that I was there. The first morning both my sister and I were up super early- but it worked (plus, we went to bed super early the day before). We were able to get that early morning run in and then had all day to do what we wanted. The rest of the days I had to get up early by default since I was working and still wanted to get some running in. So while it was slightly difficult to get up around 6 this morning (which was 3AM Pacific), I don't feel too bad! Yay!

And just for fun, I'll leave you with a picture I took of the top of a garbage can. Why would I take a picture you ask? Well, I really identify with the message- or at least Jordan does. A garbage can lid just like that was once dropped from the top of a parking garage and onto his car...
seriously, don't drop it
Hope you have a great Thursday! Any random little tidbit you'd like to share?

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

goodbye vancouver

It has been nice. I wish the sun had been out more, but you did provide some great views (I'm looking out the airport window at misty mountains) and at least a little sun. Plus, no snow! I hope to come visit again soon...next time though, more days like this:
on the aquabus
I'm really hoping the snow will be gone when I get home...how likely do you think that is? I'll miss the green of Vancouver, but I'll be happy to get home to Montreal.

Monday, April 04, 2011

busy in vancouver

It has been a busy few days and the next couple promise to be busy as well. So, I will leave you with a few pictures of my trip so far. It is great to be in a city where spring is already underway!
Donuts on Granville Island
Mmm...Beer
On the Aquabus
Cherry Blossoms
Today it is pouring rain- the perfect day to have to be inside all day. I hope your week starts off well! What is your favourite way to explore a city?

Sunday, April 03, 2011

the lie

So firstly, thank you muchly for the compliments about the picture- it is one of my favourites :)

Secondly: the lie. Unfortunately, I am not able to use my printer...I just can't seem to figure it out! I think it  has more to do with the fact that it is a cheap-ass printer that likes to pretend it is compatible with Macs but isn't, than with me being incompetent. I've managed to set it up just fine to work with my work computer, but it really hates my Mac.

The pickle- well, I genuinely have one of those. Maybe I'll post a licjre when I get back.

Those who said daytimer were right! Up until this year, I have indeed used a paper one, though since university, I haven't really and truly run my life with one. If my sentences and this post sound disjointed, it is because I'm sitting in the lobby of my hotel in Vancouver,  being completely distracted by the people coming and going. But I'm too darn cheap to pay for $15 internet just for the evening.

Because of that- I don't have any pictures of this beautiful city to share with you right now. I haven't loaded my pictures onto the computer yet. But I can leave you with a link to my favourite part of the menu I read yesterday: fun with menus

Hope you all have a great weekend! (and congrats to Marlene on her latest marathon PR- she ran it as an "easy training run" and PRd by 13 minutes...wow) I'm very thankful it is a recovery week, so I just have a short run tomorrow morning before all my conference stuff.

Friday, April 01, 2011

upside down frown

It is Friday, I'm not working today, and therefore, my frown has now been turned upside down.
are girls allowed to quote the simpsons?
Wait...that's a smile, not an upside down frown!

I was going to schedule a post that had me running away to a hippie commune in BC (since I'm flying to Vancouver this morning) as an April Fools Day joke, but decided against it. Instead, I will tell two truths and a lie:
1- On my desk, I have a finger puppet of a pickle- I got said pupped from a jar of pickles.

2- I run my life with my daytimer- which is paper, not computer based...I just haven't been able to make the switch)

3- I can't figure out how to get my printer to work with my computer. I can do a lot with my computer, but this printer thing is baffling me.

Ok- so which is the lie? And feel free to share either truths, lies, or both in your comment!