Tuesday, August 27, 2013

virtual coffee date

Well, it has been a while...so I figure the "virtual coffee date" might be the best way to catch up.
If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that the main reason I haven't been blogging is because I've had a lot going on. Prepping for a move is exhausting and can be a little all-consuming. I found that a much better use of my time was packing and spending time with friends. Since I was moving away from said friends, I was much happier to spend time with them than to spend time on the internet. Plus, there was a lot of packing to do.

Now that we've moved - the unpacking begins, as does the trying to make this place feel like home. We moved into a place that had 4 different rooster decorations in it...definitely not our style.
the rooster hook will remain. the rest is gone
We also had random fruit and vegetable tiles in the kitchen. While I thought the leeks were actually kind of cute, they still all had to go.
and some pear wallpaper too
So if we were having coffee, I'd tell you that moving is both physically and mentally exhausting...but that I'm excited for new adventures in a new place. Plus my friends in Montreal aren't all that far away and have promised to visit (and obviously, since it is Montreal, I'll be visiting too).

If we were having coffee - what's one thing you'd tell me?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

whine wednesday

I hate to post a whine after not posting in awhile, but I am up to my eyeballs in trying to finish a paper (before Monday) and the air is so humid it feels like soup. So it is hard to be motivated to do much of anything but whine...and maybe drink wine. While I know that these are really not problems, they do cause a little crankiness. Here are a few things that don't make me cranky:
that my sister hates the font "papyrus" as much as I do
that this sign for a washroom exists
that i got to go here
this picture. because ham. and jordan. and guy maybe giving me the finger.
There - pants officially a little less cranky. But still - give me your best whine of the day (and maybe a wine suggestion - I always love wine).

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

wow. (the only thing about the yyc flood i seem to be able to say)*

So as my family spent a long weekend in Maine at a family reunion, those who lived in Calgary watched the internet with a bit of horror as the rivers spilled over into the city and flooded downtown. A lot of them live in said downtown and their houses were in the evacuation zone. I, as someone who was raised in the city and who feels very connected to it, found it unbelievable and tough to watch. I can only imagine how it was for my sister (who is 8 months pregnant) and Matt to see pictures of their block underwater...and know they had their truck in the underground parkade (with car seats in it) and that their storage room was likely also full of water.
The flood even made the small town Maine paper
Yes - it is just stuff and they know that in the grand scheme of things, they are lucky to be safe and my entire family is happy that they (along with my grandma and my aunt and uncle - who ended up with a flooded basement) are safe (and I'm glad that my mum and our family on Jordan's side lives on higher ground and have nothing to worry about except helping others recover). But it isn't fun to have to deal with all that goes along with flooding. That includes the fact that Heather and her crew left Montreal (delayed due to a thunderstorm of all things) knowing they couldn't actually go back home because there is no power or (clean) water.
the good kind of waterfront  (we spent the weekend surrounded by great scenery and great people)
It doesn't just stop at the billions of dollars that the economy will lose (I think they're saying 2-3) and in damage from the water (3 to 5 billion dollars? yeah, that's a lot) in Calgary alone. In the areas around Calgary, the damage was pretty extreme as well. The Siksika First Nation was absolutely devastated (here are pictures, and video is here). The Morely/Stoney Dakota Nation just west of Calgary (right near where I used to go to summer camp) was also pummelled by the water, the town of High River is living up to its name (and apparently was under so much water that it now looks like a war zone), and apparently an entire side of a mountain has collapsed and the Rockies will never be the same. And really - it doesn't stop even there, but there are too many places and people to even begin to mention. For more crazy pictures - the Huffington Post Alberta has some galleries (they also have a "flood 2005" gallery which I was there for and I thought THAT was bad but this is many many times worse) and Leana has some pretty crazy videos posted as well.

The bright spots have been seeing people come together and want to help each other. I've always known that people in Calgary are great - but when more than 7,000 people show up when they put out the call for 600 volunteers? That is awesome. And seeing the mayor stay awake so long to try to get things "under control" that a #nap4nenshi hashtag needed to be used? Also great. The Calgary Food Trucks feeding volunteers for for free and others for a donation to the Red Cross? Awesome as well. Plus, this ridiculously photogenic firefighter from Nanton, AB has made pretty much everyone smile:
Sometimes I hate Calgary's redneck reputation and conservative tendencies. I mock the urban sprawl and I wonder if it will ever seem like a place with more soul. But it is where I'm from - Calgarians and Albertans are still "my people" - and it sucks to see my people in need. And I think it is showing a tonne of heart now.

Want to help? The Red Cross is taking donations. And the Morley Food Bank needs help too. If you're in Calgary - YYC Helps is organizing crews of volunteers. And I'm sure there are countless other ways to help. Try following the #yycflood hashtag to see if anyone needs help and Nenshi is tweeting up a storm with links and information. Or if you know anyone in the city or surrounding areas (I'm sure High River will need a lot of help) - put out a call to those people and see if they need anything. Even just a "I'm glad you're ok and I'm thinking of you" might at least make someone smile.

And if you're in Calgary and need a smile, if the firefighter didn't do it, how about a kid and her great-aunt playing with bubbles?
does it get much happier than playing with bubbles? photo credit to my cousin Jill via Heather/@mrsbrillinger
Stay safe Alberta peeps and don't be afraid to ask for help or to rely on the kindness of strangers or semi-strangers. And Heather - good luck! Since I'm sitting pretty in dry (ok - it is humid so maybe dry isn't the right word) Montreal, feel free to call to bitch and complain any time.

*So clearly I can say more than "wow" 

The Calgary Food Bank needs cash donations as well: http://www.calgaryfoodbank.com/ 

Monday, June 17, 2013

birds...i hate them or - attacked on the run

The red-winged blackbird (or Agelaius phoeniceus) is evil. I'm fairly convinced that they have been put on earth to terrorize runners.

After seeing that tweet the other day (and getting confirmation that his 'crazy little birdy' was indeed a red-winged blackbird), I was feeling lucky that although I've had a few minor incidents with being chased by the little terrors, one had never actually made contact with me (unlike Jordan, who has been attacked numerous times). Well - I am now an attack victim and unfortunately, since I nowhere near as fast as Canada's fastest marathoner, I wasn't able to outrun the bird and the little bastard clawed the back of my head. According to Wikipedia, they aggressively defend their territory and have been known to "swoop" humans. I feel like there should be more than one sentence in the wiki entry about how jerky they are...

Birds: love them? Hate them? Been attacked by them on the run?

Friday, June 14, 2013

scene from a morning walk

I figure I'll ease back into this blogging thing with a short post and a picture.

I've been easing back into normal life (or mostly normal) after a month away and have decided that if it isn't raining in the morning, I should do my best to get outside either for a run or a walk before work - even if it is just around the block. The park near my house is always one that I enjoy walking by or walking through because I love the fountain and I love how it is a gathering place for people. When I walked by and saw this scene, I had to take a picture.
there's another dog between the two guys on the bench
I wonder what they were talking about. And it really made me wish that I had a dog.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

three things thursday - the barcelona edition

So yeah - I am neglectful. But Life has been pretty busy getting ready for my last two classes for school (oh, and presenting at a conference right before I left). Oh well - better to be busy than bored.
Anyway - since I'm in Barcelona, I figured I'd post a three things, Barcelona edition.

1 - The city ain't so bad:

2 - My new favourite bus sign is an ad I saw today for someone doing liposuction. It said: Want to lose weight? Liposuction! ...and get off one stop earlier.

3 - The Zombies? They really are everywhere:

So that's the really quick Barcelona edition of three things Thursday. Enjoy your Thursday!

Monday, April 29, 2013

the most interesting race...in the world (my 2013 Scotia Bank Montreal Half Marathon)

Maybe that title is misleading. The course isn't actually all that interesting, but this is probably the most eventful race I've ever had. If things are going to go wonky, they may as well go completely wonky right?

So I ran a half marathon yesterday. I ran the same one last year and had a great race - it was cool out, I was running with Suz, and I ended up with an unexpected PR. Much as I did last year, I signed up for this race as a bit of a carrot to help me keep running through the winter. I love running, but when it is cold, snowy, and icy, sometimes I need a little extra kick to get out the door and having a race to prepare for really helps. This year didn't go as well as last year. Instead of a regular race report, I'll just recount the calamity of errors that was this race.

Thing 1: 
My garmin broke somewhere between my house and the race. It was fine when I left the house, but by the time I went to put it on, it wouldn't change from the "what time is it" screen, was stuck at 8:52 am (which it wasn't), and was pretty much useless. I asked my friends if anyone had a spare digital watch, but since no one did (and why would they?) I accepted that I'd be running "blind." (and I knew that unless they'd changed something, the only course clock would be at the 10 km mark)

As I'm writing this, it's still stuck on the same screen at the same time. I tried plugging it in to see if it helped and nothing happened. I guess I'll let it run out of battery and hope it will somehow work after that.

Thing 2: 
My main concern about running blind was that I'd start out too fast. I'm a terrible pacer and have a tendency to start too fast even when I'm trying to pay attention to my pace. So I knew there was  a significant possibility that I'd start too fast. What I didn't think would happen was that I'd start ridiculously fast. For the first 5 km, I was in front of the 1:50 pacer - which put me more than 20 seconds per mile faster than what I figured I would do. Oops. (and yes, I paid for it later)

Thing 3:
I had to pee for the first 5 km of the race. I really should have taken another trip to the port-o-potty and I'm not sure why I didn't. Maybe I was thrown off by the Garmin business? So, I rectified my very poor first 5 km pacing by taking a break in the port-o-potty to pee. Definitely the first time that's happened. And it was a ridiculous mistake to make. ALWAYS pee one more time.

Thing 4:
Even though the first half of the race didn't go how I thought I would, I was feeling pretty good at 10 km, and though I went through a slight "what am I doing, why am I here" feeling between 10 and 12, by 12 km I had snapped out of it and felt ok again. Then, when going through a water station, I had my first-ever on-course collision. I don't know what happened or how it happened, but all of a sudden, as I reached for a cup, someone behind me stepped on the back of my leg (not even my foot...my leg). I managed to stay upright, but the guy who ran into me did not. I felt bad about that, but he got up fairly quickly so I kept going when I heard him say he was ok. I saw him later and he was scraped up but still seemed ok.

It definitely jarred me, hurt a bit, and threw me, but I think the adrenaline kicked in a bit and that helped. It is definitely sore now, as is my knee, and I'm wondering if I'll have a foot-shaped bruise on the back of my leg.
pardon the weird look on my face
Thing 5:
As if 4 things weren't enough, with about 20-25 minutes to go, I started to feel really sick. I'm not good with any sort of heat (running in arm-warmer temperature is my ideal) and it has ben fairly cool up until this weekend, so I think the "heat" was starting to get to me and I'm fairly sure I was paying for my quick start. Whatever it was, my stomach was not happy at all. I'd run, feel like barfing, take a few steps of a walk break to let things settle, and then start running again and the cycle would start again. It wasn't too fun. But I really didn't want to just walk it in. I just told myself that I had to keep moving, not matter how slowly I felt I was running.

At the 20 km mark, I really didn't want to take any walk breaks because it was so close to the end. So I decided to keep running no matter how terrible I felt because there wasn't that far to go...which I thought would work. But then with 500 meters to go, I realized that I had to either stop so that I could puke on the grass or keep running and puke on myself. I chose the grass. Special thanks to the many people who yelled "don't stop now, you're almost there" as they ran by... (my friend Liz did run by and tell me I could do it...that was actually appreciated) When the puking was over, I jogged it in. I managed not to puke again at the finish line and also managed to finish in 1:59 (with a pretty huge positive split), which I'll take considering the calamity of errors. I guess that ends my 7 year no puking streak.
Not only did this sign of Suz's get the most laughs, it was very fitting...
TL;DR - My garmin broke, I started too fast, had to pee, had a guy step on my leg, and barfed. Should have waited in line at the bathroom with Liz and run with her as she had a great 10 min PR! Yay Liz.

Jordan finished in 1:21. He's good at running.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

tetris is the best medicine

Apparently, playing Tetris might help correct lazy eyes. I can just imagine some kid coming back from the doctor and telling his or her parents that the videogame is "medicine." How many parens would believe it? I don't have a lazy eye, but I now really want to play Tetris.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

three things thursday - the happiness file edition

When I lived in Ottawa, the local CTV news station had a "happiness file" every evening on the news. It was super cheesy and had local things like "Doris McCarthy is turning 92 today. Happy Birthday Doris!" It felt kind of ridiculous because Ottawa isn't a town but rather a city and it felt really "small town." But sometimes I miss it - because it was simple, celebrated joy, and it was called the happiness file... So because of that - three happy things on the happiness file edition of three things thursday.

1- This Happy Dance. Mesmerizing and happy.
(i can't remember where I fond it - otherwise I'd source it!)
2 - Dogs and kids are adorable together. This list of 27 dogs that will do anything for kids is pretty great. I think you have to hate both dogs and kids not to smile when you look through the list.

3- There is something on Reddit called "Random acts of Pizza." People send pizza to random people who are in need, down, need a smile, just like pizza...anyone can send pizza to anyone. I love it!

So there you go - a happiness file! Now...tear yourself away from the Happy Dance gif and go spread some happiness.

Have you been on the receiving end of any kindness lately?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

love actually is all around

Bad things happen in the world...every day. But just like Hugh Grant's character in Love Actually, whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at airports.

I'd embed the clip, but most of the youtube versions of it have embedding disabled, so here's the link: Arrivals Level at Heathrow Airport.

People are generally good. And there is a lot of beauty and happiness in the world -whether you're in Boston, Iraq, or Montreal.