Monday, October 31, 2011

things i wish i was good at

There are things that I am good at. Things like finding stuff on the internet (can I list "googling" as a skill?), making soup, finding a silver lining, and baking cookies.
There are things I'm getting better at- like not being so hard on myself, cooking meat, and asking for help when I need it.

There are also some things I'm really quite bad at and wish I was good at. These include:
  • Making my house look pretty and put together. It is something I have pretty much no aptitude for. I know what I don't like, I think I know what I absolutely hate, but when it comes to what I like? I sort of know what I like and when it comes to actually putting something together that looks good? Well, that is not something I can do at all. Maybe if I subscribe to some sort of magazine it will help...or is that what friends and interior decorators are for?
  • Carving pumpkins. Ok- so that isn't a skill that comes in handy all too often so maybe the real thing I wish I was good at was anything artistic at all. I have poor fine motor skills so I suck at all things that involve drawing, cutting, or painting. I wish I was better at stuff like that.
  • Up-dos. I think I could work on this- I just need to practice with some hairspray and bobby pins and to perhaps watch an instructional video or two. I don't think I'll ever be that good at it, but I could probably get a little better and work some new styles into my repertoire.
I wonder if those are things I'll ever manage to be good at...

What about you? Tell me one thing you're really good at and one thing you wish you were good at?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

signs I'm an older student

Since I'm now on campus (well for the last two weeks- and tomorrow is my last day) with a bunch of youngins, here are some signs that I am not like them:

  • I have no desire to wear sweatpants to school
  • I don't want to pair said sweatpants with Uggs
  • Potato chips and pop (soda for some of you) don't sound like the perfect lunch
  • I get to class early
  • I pay attention and am not embarrassed to ask questions
  • After an exhausting day of classes from 8:30-5:30, I have no desire to go out in party
  • My 10:00 pm bedtime still sounds perfect.
Yup, definitely getting old.

Only one more day of class- then back to my regular work schedule (plus all my assignments). I have a feeling that work will almost feel like a break...

What did you do as a student that you cringe a little at now? 
(For me it was all the crap I ate. I don't think I EVER thought about what it was I was putting in my mouth and in my body. No wonder I gained weight)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

signs i'm a student

Signs I'm "embracing" the student lifestyle:

  • I was awake until 3am on Friday night
  • Coffee has become a food has chocolate
  • I've stopped reading for pleasure
  • Almost anything I look up on the internet is school-related
  • I feel like I really deserve my evening beer
  • I have no idea what is going on in the world
  • My apartment is a disaster.
I'm glad the intensive two weeks of classes are almost over so that I can get back to a semi-normal routine. (though I'll still have a tonne of work to do...just on more of my own schedule)

Happy Wednesday- what is going on in YOUR life?

Monday, October 24, 2011

monday monday...

Well, I survived the first week. The days were long and there has been a lot to read and to learn, but so far so good. I've spent a lot of time staring at scenes like this:
reading reading reading
This has lead to wanting to drink a lot of this:
I do love my pumpkin beer
But all in all, it is actually going quite well. I have met with my academic advisor and discussed my possible thesis topic, met some really interesting people, and learned a lot. I'm sure I'll be complaining about the amount of work I will be doing at some point, but so far it is almost all stuff I actually enjoy and that I'm really quite interested it. Yay!

Stay tuned for a review of a great (and gluten free) Montreal restaurant: Chez Chose. Until then, if you follow me on twitter, this bag of bacon (and just the idea of a bag of bacon in general) may look or sound familiar:
Happy Monday!

What was the best part of your weekend?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

my first lululemon

My first lululemon was a pair of grey sweatpants. I bought them in early 2005 (perhaps late 2004) and they quickly became my go-to relaxation pants. They've been slept in, they've made me comfortable when I've been sick, and they've kept me warm and cozy while watching movies on grey days. They made the move with me to Ottawa and then to Montreal. Even though I've lost weight since buying them, they've still been a part of my life thanks to the drawstring...sure, they don't look the most flattering now that they're a little big, but they were still a comfortable "old friend."

Until now. You see, through the years, the waistband holds the drawstring in place has slowly been getting holes in it. The drawstring has rubbed against the top of its "sleeve," making holes and slowly eating away at the waistband.  The other day, I pulled those comfy grey pants out of the dryer to find them now unwearable:
can't hold the drawstring anymore
Here's the thing- other than the waistband problem, these pants are in practically perfect condition. The hems of each leg are fine- no holes, no fraying. There aren't any holes or signs of wear anywhere BUT that waistband. These pants are older than my two nephews and there is just the pesky problem of the waistband.

Overall, I have to say that I'm really impressed with the quality of these pants- they've lasted for so long and with the exception of that waistband aren in really good shape. When it comes down to a "price per wear" calculation, I practically owe these pants money. But at this point, they are unwearable. I'm not sure I'm ready to part with them and to make them into cleaning rags, but I'm not sure how to salvage them.

Any ideas? Should I call lululemon and ask them if they have any ideas? Do you have an item of clothing that has lasted for what seems like ever?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

random tuesday

So I'm a little busy, so here are a few bullet points:

  • FaceTime is the best invention ever.
  • I am not usually a deep sleeper- but last night I was. I missed some text messages, oops.
  • School went well! I still know it will be an exhausting couple of weeks but the part where I'm terrified of what is to come is over and now the hard work begins.
  • Jordan is walking slowly but recovering well from Sunday's marathon.
I hope those of you who raced on the weekend had a great time and are recovering well. Congratulations on your races!

Are you a deep sleeper or a light sleeper? 

*I apologize for my lack of creativity and likely pictures this week but I'll be trying to fit it all in! Tomorrow? The goal is to fit a run in!

Monday, October 17, 2011

back to school- thoughts before it starts

So today I start my classes for my MSc (yes, it is the middle of October so it seems a little weird, but it is a  kind of different program- made for people who work full time). I have two weeks of classes and other than the 40 hours of class-time a week, I also have reading to do and other assignments here and there for the next two weeks. I'll have projects to do once the classes are over, but the next two weeks will be pretty intense.

Since I'll be in school for more hours than I usually work AND I have to leave my house (ah the joys of working from home) I'm thinking about things like will I have time to run, will I have time to do my usual errands, who is going to make me dinner?

I don't think I have access to a fridge at school and I'm used to bringing/making my own lunch...what will I eat? 'Cause come on, we know how much I love food and I get a little freaky when I can't eat on schedule.

And then there's the actual school related stuff- What if I don't get along with the people in my program? (there seems to be a decent amount of group work on the schedule) What if they're all geniuses and I end up looking stupid? What if it is crazy hard and I don't understand? You know- all those little anxieties that creep into your head when you're starting something new.

I'm sure it will all go well (although I know it will be a lot of work and it will be exhausting) but I am a little nervous both about the school part and the fitting it into my normal life. I forget how lucky I've been to be able to have good work-life balance. The good news is- even though I know I'll have pretty bad school-life balance for the next two weeks, I know it is just for two weeks that things will be super crazy. I can handle a little less than balanced for a little while.

So hopefully all goes well!

Tell me- do you have good work life balance? What do you do when you find the scale tipping to the unbalanced side?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

good luck runners!

Tomorrow is a big day for races- lots of people running marathons and halfs. I know I'll be out on the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon course cheering as loud as I can and hoping everyone has a great race. It should be a great temperature but the wind could get ugly.
I'll also be cheering the Canadian elites and hoping that the men can put up some big times. There are several of them going for Olympic qualifying times and for the Canadian record. It would be very exciting to see it happen.

Good luck to everyone running other races and to Marlene, Laura, and of course to my husband Jordan who will be tearing up the Scotiabank course. I hope the wind is always at your back and that you all have a great race!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

noteworthy apples or when apples are no longer hand-fruit

Yup, I'm actually dedicating a post to an apple. But here's the thing- the Honeycrisp apple is not just an ordinary apple but rather a piece of fruit heaven. Genetically it is a hybrid of what was originally thought to be the Macoun and Honeygold but later turned out to be false...look, you learned something! They are crunchy, they are sweet, they are never mealy. The name "Honeycrisp" is actually quite perfect- sweet and so crisp when you bite into it. Even better than that- they are HUGE:
Honeycrisp vs Courtland
They are so big in fact that most Honeycrisps can no longer be considered hand-fruit. What is a hand-fruit you ask? Well it is is simple: a fruit eaten out of the hand. Something that requires no preparation, no utensils, and no peeling. Most apples are indeed hand-fruit:
Courtland apple- definitely hand-fruit
But the Honeycrisp, unless you are Shaquille O'Neil, moves into non-hand-fruit category due to the fact that it would be next to impossible to eat without any sort of preparation:
Honeycrisp apple- NOT hand-fruit
The preparation time, however, definitely worth it. Once you try one, you too will be searching the stores every fall and talking about these magical apples to all your friends (this batch of Honeycrisps came to me through a friend because she knew someone with the "inside scoop"). I know it sounds weird to get excited about apples, but give them a try. Even Jordan calls them noteworthy.

Have you tried a Honeycrisp? Have you every found a piece of fruit to be noteworthy?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

thankful it isn't race week or "you get what you need"

Almost as soon as I left the medical tent after the Montreal half-marathon, I was thinking about a redemption race. I trained really hard this spring and summer and I know that I was in the kind of shape that would have had me PR (and got that sub 1:55) if my body got along with heat a little better. I had already been considering running the Scotia Bank Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon, since Jordan is running the marathon, and thought "ok, that's my redemption race...I've got almost a month to recover and prepare, it will be cooler, and it is a flat course." Plus, I've run it before, so I know what to expect.
Post-Race in 2008
Instead of rushing into it, however, I decided to sleep on it. I figured I should give myself a day before I registered. I woke up the next morning thinking that I still wanted to run the race so I would register.  It sold out before I got the chance to sign up. (lots of Montreal runners needing a new race perhaps?)

I looked around for people selling bibs (someone tried to sell me one for $150- double what he paid) and even considered running the half using a full marathon bib- even had a potential one lined up. But ultimately, I chose not to run. I decided that since I have to do the driving to and from Toronto and I have two weeks of intensive school courses starting on the 17th, being a spectator and being Jordan's support crew will be exhausting enough.

Now that it is just a few days until the race- boy am I glad it was sold out! (thank you universe, well done!) Work is intense this week and I have a million things to do to get ready for school. I already handed in my pre-course assignment, but I still have reading to do, tuition to pay (damn I miss my undergrad degree days when I could pay online with a credit card- easy AND credit card points), and life to organize before leaving this weekend for Toronto. I pretty much have to have everything ready to go so that I can walk in the door when I get home from Toronto on Sunday evening/night, crawl into bed, then be ready to learn on Monday morning. Adding race week nerves and stress into that would not be fun.
No racing = more beer this weekend
So in this case when it comes to this race- I didn't get what I wanted, but I definitely got what I needed! And if I don't post or don't leave as many comments on your blogs as usual, you know why. I'm a little frenzied over here.

When is the last time you didn't get what you wanted but rather what you needed?

PS- Baby watch is still going strong. No baby yet- so go say hi to Heather and tell her a joke to make her laugh! (and marvel at that fantastic picture of me on her latest post. I'm pretty sure I'm singing Bon Jovi and I had already lost my right earring- I think it was the only casualty of that night)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

scenes from the 'hood- st henri's finest

Since this weekend was gorgeous (seriously- gloriously sunny and it felt a little like summer). Therefore, I spent a lot of time outside. Some scenes from the neighbourhood. Here are some pictures from the weekend walkabouts.

Montreal has a really strange law that basically says "no street meat." So no sausage stands, no chip trucks, and no taco stands. Nothing that involves cooking in a place other than a kitchen. For a place known for great food, it is definitely a food downfall and with the food truck craze sweeping North America, we're definitely missing out. Lately though, businesses have been getting around the rule by cooking in a kitchen and serving the food in a portable truck. Grumman Tacos is actually based pretty close to home and it was nice to see them set up in the hood this weekend. We got to try the "Thanksgiving" tacos and meatball tacos. I definitely preferred the Thanksgiving over the meatball.
Grumman 78 Tacos
One thing my neighbourhood has a lot of is graffiti- both in a street art and in a "tagging" kind of way. This cat and dog art is something we all found very confusing when we saw it:
Are they hugging? Are they fighting? We just don't know
This one, however, is not confusing at all. I think we all know what the message is:
Do they know someone has to pay to cover that up?
It is definitely an interesting neighbourhood and I love that I get to run and walk by so many interesting sights and sounds almost every day.

And finally, because no long weekend is complete without a little refreshment:
Mmm. Beer.
I remember being at a pub in Calgary when Okanagan Spring had their 1516 release party and I have loved their beers ever since. There aren't very many places around here that carry it, so when I see it on tap, I have a hard time resisting. They've definitely changed their logo since I left Alberta (where the Okanagan Spring is a plenty) and I love their new look. It reminds me of a grain elevator- which is somewhat odd because there aren't many grain elevators in the Okanagan...but I still like it.

So there you go- a little walk around my neighbourhood. I hope you enjoyed it!

Do you eat from food trucks? Does your city allow "street meat?"

Monday, October 10, 2011

scenes from a long weekend long run

This weekend was absolutely gorgeous. Blue skies, warm temperatures, and a lot to be thankful for (it is Thanksgiving weekend after all). Definitely the perfect weekend for running too. Since it was so beautiful, I figured I'd take my phone along to take some pictures (plus, still waiting on news from my sister, so I get a little anxious if I'm away from my phone for too long).

We decided to run up Mount Royal (because hey- why NOT run uphill for 3 miles?) and were therefore treated with great views and interesting sights. Since it was so beautiful out, we had a lot of company in the park, but it made for some great people watching. There was a group of guys who looked like pro-football players, a guy making strange sounds while running, and even someone running just like Phoebe (oh wait...that person was me).
on the water fountain
Once we hit the top, we had to stop and admire the view. Strangely, there was also a police car that drove by on the path just after I took the picture.
at the top of the mountain
all smiles despite all the up hill
As usual, a great run followed by some great coffee. It was even better knowing that the weekend is a long one and an earlier morning on Sunday could be followed by a sleep-in on Monday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 07, 2011

friday randoms- the happy thanksgiving edition

Some random thoughts:

- Last night I had to go to the apple store to pick up my computers after the file transfers. It was really quite strange to walk up to the store and to have as many people milling around outside the store as there were inside the store. Lots of post-it notes and different pictures and tributes taped to the store window, lots of apples or bags of apples, and many bouquets of flowers. I was just glad that all of those people weren't IN the store. It was nice to have a little room to move and to get served right away!

-I have had two dreams about my sister's baby in the last two nights. The first was one where she emailed me to tell me that the baby would be born at 6:03 AM (and I was in a panic that I didn't know if that would be my time or her time). The second involved watching the baby move around in her belly- but in a super creepy way. Her belly would stretch so much that it sort of formed around the baby and you could do stuff like grab its hand. What Heather did was pinch its nose. It was super weird. Dreams are just weird.
-Thanksgiving weekend always marks an anniversary of sorts for me. October 2005 is when I moved from Calgary (and my family and the place I'd always lived) to Ottawa. So the first weekend of my move was Thanksgiving. I don't recommend that. But it did all work out. Since then, I think I've managed to get back to Calgary about half the Thanksgiving weekends that I've lived away. This Thanksgiving we're staying put.

Yes, definitely random.

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend! And if you aren't Canadian- why not be thankful this weekend anyway?

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, October 06, 2011

dance, sing, floss, and travel

Whether you like their clothes or not (I do- even though they are a higher price point, every item I have bought has stood up to running, yoga, strength classes, biking, and endless cycles through the wash) I think most people can find something in their manifesto that resonates:
I find that different statements resonate with me depending on what is going on in my life. Sometimes I just need to "breathe deeply," sometimes I need to remind myself that how I handle setbacks is really what matters- not the setbacks themselves, and sometimes I just need to "choose a positive thought."

I've always loved the "Dance, Sing, Floss, Travel" part as well. It just seems like a day with all of those things sounds like a great one. The sushi restaurant I was at last night has us all covered on the "floss":
automatic floss dispenser? yes please!
There were a few of us who were just a little too excited about the floss dispenser and we proceeded to floss our teeth. It was a little hilarious and all kinds of awesome. Also awesome? When I put this picture up on my facebook wall, a friend of mine told me that she thinks of me every time she flosses her teeth. What can I say? I like to floss!

Flossing- yay or nay? What statement in the manifesto resonates with you today?

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

my sister is all grown up

Today is my sister's due date (or one of them know how due dates can be). Crazy. As I explained in my birthday post to her, we're close and being this far away during this, dare I say epic, event is a little tough. I wish I was closer and I wish I was there.

That being said- I really can't wait to get that message that says "HEY- this hurts like HELL!! Here comes the baby!"
get outta my belly!
Hopefully, for her sake, that message comes sooner rather than later. So go on over and send her your best wishes.

Do you live far away from your family? What kind of events to you end up missing?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

out with the old and in with the

Dear new computer,
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...
duelling macs
Hooray for no more rainbow pinwheel of death and I'm very excited to get started with my new computer. But first, I need to part with it for at least 24 hours while the fantastic people at Apple transfer all my old files to the new computer.

I spent about an hour cleaning out all the clutter from in anticipation of the file transfer. My favourite "found" file was the file called "Dinner." I genuinely had no idea what it was going to be when I opened it. The contents? A spreadsheet, including formulae (or formulas if you don't want to be fancy) for my sister's bachelorette party dinner. Yup. I'm a confirmed geek.

How geeky are you? What is the true measure of your geekiness?

Monday, October 03, 2011

internet hate

So I don't get hate mail and I don't think I've ever had a comment that has offended me. I've had people disagree with me, but no one has been mean or offensive. Clearly I haven't "made it" in blog land (and I'm ok with that). But here's how I know that people have a lot of blogger hate- I have the word "dooce" in my blog name.* And do you know who gets a lot of hate? Dooce.

Every week, I get hits on my blog because people are searching for Dooce. Some of them are just search terms- like dooce wedding, dooce photos, dooce larabar or more recently dooce running. But others reveal just how much people like to "hate" on the internet. Here is a list of some of the nicer ones- dooce is shameless, dooce's stupid marathon, stupid dooce, and i hate dooce.

I genuinely couldn't imagine googling something like that. Seeing those search terms makes me thankful that I've never had to deal with the hate. Would I be willing to deal with it for the kind of money she makes on her blog? Hmm- maybe....but I'm not so sure my skin is that thick. Could it thicken with time? Perhaps. But I'm perfectly happy with what I have.

Obviously I know that there is a LOT of crazy hate on the internet. You only have to look at the comments section of news sites to know just how MUCH internet craziness there is out there. I often wonder what those people did before the internet. Did they send strongly worded letters to the editor? Did they keep all that negativity inside? How did they get all that rage out before they could hide behind anonymous comments on the internet?

Don't get me wrong- I am all for constructive criticism and I love comments that challenge peoples thoughts and perceptions. A good debate is awesome. But I don't like blatantly mean comments- and I think we all know the difference between disagreeing with an opinion, constructive criticism,  and being mean.

If you've ever had to deal with it- what is your technique with dealing with internet hate? (I have to admit- I kind of miss the Dooce posts dedicated to hate mail) Have you ever left a comment that you worried would be taken the wrong way when really you were trying to be constructive?

*And hey, just in case you were wondering about the name of the blog, check out my first post ever (here). You see, back then, blog was practically a four letter word. Not everyone knew what a blog was and if they did, they thought you were a bit of a weirdo for blogging (not that I'm not a weirdo). There were a few "big" bloggers and one of them was Dooce. I thought she was pretty funny and thought to myself "hey, maybe I can blog too." And so, Inspired by Dooce was born. And now that she's running- can I pretend that she was inspired by me?