Wednesday, July 29, 2009

One day down

I don't know what made me say yes, but when Sherri asked me if I wanted to do the learn to run program with her, yes is what I said. She did the program last year, and because last winter was crazy with snow and ice, and because she is crazy and has three young kids who all participate in activities while she works full time, she did not run much over the winter and wanted to start it up again.

Anyway, when she brought it up I said yes, because in my heart I am a hopeful gal. I try to suppress it- but sometimes it gets the better of me. I was a little worried though. I am so out of shape. Well I guess a circle is a shape but not the kind of shape that looks good in a bathing suit. If summer ever comes to Ontario again, I may actually have to get in a bathing suit, so, I figure I have to do something about the circular nature of my being. I know it is going to be a painful process, and I am worried that I am not doing it with someone who is at my level. Sherri has done this before, even ran in a 5K race, three kids and all.

So it was with some trepidation that I showed up at her house yesterday evening to have our first "Learn to Run" session. Over a series of weeks, we will meet 3 times each week, and gradually increase the amount of actually running (or in my case s slllllloooooooow jog, then crawling and by the end of it almost slithering) each week.

Last night Sherri explained that we would walk for 2 minutes then jog for one, and we would repeat that cycle 10 times. I looked at her like she was on crack- that seems like a whole lot of jogging for a 5000 pound whale to do on her first night out of the aquarium. All Sherri said was: "We will work through it".

Ok. I thought to myself. Wondering if I should give her the number to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans so she could call them to haul my carcass off the road when we were done.

Before I knew it we were off, and the first few repetitions were ok. Not easy for me, but I could do it. I was breathing like an old man in a lingerie shop but I was doing it.

When we got to the 5th repetition of our 2 minute walk 1 minute jog, I began to notice that the 2 minutes seemed infinitely shorter than the 1 minute jog interval. That one minute was getting longer and longer and I am not even jogging fast. There was a baby learning to crawl on their front lawn as we jogged past, and the infant made it to the light pole at the end of their property before I did.

The 6th repetition was pretty painful. My legs were starting to feel it, and my breathing was gone to hell. I am sure there were points where I wasn't breathing anymore. Didn't really care to either. At around the 8th interval, I was praying for death and looking for a truck to jump in front of, but Sherri's neighborhood is pretty quiet. So I kept going. I wondered how much pounding my legs could take before they just said "Screw this" and fell off.

The last interval was difficult, I was really lagging by this point. Time was going backwards, and my tongue felt like a furry pillow with cat hair all over it. I was hot, I was sweaty, my legs were on fire, but I was done with day 1 of the Learn to Jog Program.

I was pretty proud of myself.

I woke up this morning in complete agony- but still pretty pleased I had done it.

We do it all again on Thursday night. Wish me luck.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Made in Sweden

Some time next week, Don’s mom, his Granny, his sister, her husband and their twins will become coming to visit for a few days. Naturally, the first question I had is, where the hell is everyone going to sleep?

We have a spare room furnished with a double bed which will help but is nowhere near enough sleeping gear.

We had a blowup mattress until a few months back when our cat peed on it. That animal has no idea how close he is to becoming a lovely side order of Chicken Chow Meow. I tried to salvage it, I really did, because at the time my sister Serena and my Mom were coming for a visit, and I needed the extra bed. So I scrubbed the bejesus out of the air mattress; I even let it sit in cleaner for a couple of days before blowing the sucker up again, and it seemed to be fine. I set it up for my sister in our home office, dressed the bed and fluffed the pillows, I even laid a mint on the turned down bed sheets. Serena was snug as a bug on a rug when I said good-night to her. She woke up around 2 am on the floor, the air mattress a flaccid pancake beneath her . Cat must have done more than pee on the mattress.

Which brings us back today’s problem: sleeping arrangements.

I spent the better part of yesterday going from furniture store to furniture store looking at futons- too big for this room, sofa beds- too expensive and some new fangled doohickeys called Klick Klacks.

You see when a mommy futon and a daddy sofa bed have strong loving feelings towards each other, they get married and have a Klick Klack. It is an ugly child, most often sporting “Baby Ka-ka Beige” coloured micro-suede and it makes a funny clicking sound when you move it.

But there was one place left for me to look for something different: Ikea.

My sister-in-law Sherri and I got up this morning and made the trek out to Vaughan and had a look at what the Swedes had to offer. Honestly, they export more that just good hockey players. That warehouse off the side of the 407 is a veritable hockey arena of goods. However it is the oddest shopping experience I have ever had. Like rats in a lab maze looking for cheese, you thread your way around the showrooms, write down the items you want: then go to the warehouse at the end of the maze and pick up your cheese…er..boxed items.

I always looked at the Ikea catalogue when visiting Sherri. I marveled at the time how nice things looked and how reasonably priced things seemed. Now that I am no longer an Ikea virgin, I understand those prices.

You do all the work.

From shearing the lamb for the textiles and sanding down the 2X4 for the sofa then schelping the items off the aisles and into your van- it’s all you baby.

You, an Allen Key, and stick men diagrams.

It was those stick men diagrams that really got to me. No written direction whatsoever. They are kind enough to show you little detailed line drawings of all the items in the box, but they are a little vague on all the piecing them all together details. Each page of the 10 pages of "instructions” shows two men completing one step of the process. Step 1 seemed clear enough, until Don and I completed step 1, and realized it was backwards. Steps 2 through 4 were somewhat clear and we managed to get through them will minimal blood shed. I lost a toe, but I have spares.

Steps 5 onward have a place reserved for them in Dante’s Inferno.

Seriously, we could not figure out what in the name of holy hell the stick men were doing. There are all kinds of arrows that zoom out to close ups of the screws, but no indication of what to do when and what part these screws really belong to. Worse still, in step 5 I can’t tell if Stickman 1 is trying to align Stickman 2’s back or if this is a picture of said stickman at the local Rub and Tug. They do look noticeably happier and loose in step 7.

Anyhow, 2 ½ hours and a call to the divorce lawyer later, the Lycksele sofabed thingie is complete. I am happy it is done, I think it will serve us well, but this rat won’t be going back into the Ikea maze again any time soon. I have had my fill of stickmen.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


For the longest time I had my life planned out. I was going to be a Marine Biologist when I grew up: move to Vancouver, work at the aquarium and swim with the Orcas. However, I also had thoughts of becoming a puppeteer (and work with Jim Hensen), an environmental lawyer, and an anthropologist but none of those flights of fancy came to fruition either. The marine biologist dream lasted the longest though, from about the age of 9 to 16, and it is the one I still think about often. The one I always wonder about. Especially when I see videos like this:

Absolutely stunning.

It was shot at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan. The main tank called the ‘Kuroshio Sea’ holds 7,500-cubic meters of water. Whale sharks and manta rays are kept amongst many other fish species in the main tank

Friday, July 17, 2009

I like to move it move it

About four years ago I got really serious about getting healthier. I had the time, had a little disposable income and I really wanted to make a change. I signed up with Executive Fitness & Wellness in Toronto, under the care of personal trainer Domenic Mirabelli and nutritionist Angela Carte. They were great! My progress was very slow, but I lost weight, got stronger and felt wonderful. I even started jogging, which for me was nothing short of a miracle. Ever see a mountain move? That is me jogging.

The funny thing is that while I hated cardio, I really enjoyed lifting weights. I discovered that was so much stronger than I thought I was.

And then I got pregnant, and it all went to hell.

Since having Iron Will, a couple of things happened. Disposable income? Gone. Free time? A memory. And when I do get the free time where the hell do I get the energy?

However I do want to get healthier, I would like to get that sense of strength and wellness back. I know it will take twice as long as last time, and it will be twice as hard but I do want to do it.

One of the things that helped with cardio was my cheap little MP3 player. I normally listen to classic rock. I don’t like a lot of the new crap that is out there, and country music? I would rather floss my teeth with my own spine than listen to that twangy caterwauling. But for some reason, when it comes to music to work out to, I could stomach some poppy tunes, and even techno. If I got the right songs on there, I could walk faster. And here is where you come in. I need new workout music!

The songs I used to have lost their punch for me, I need some new suggestions. Right now the only songs I am going to keep are: “Twilight Zone, Radar Love, and the Vampires Bar Dance Club song from the movie Blade (weird choice I know, but that song really got me going!). I need new suggestions.

What do you listen to when you are working out? What songs really get your blood pumping? What do you have on your IPod or MP3?

Friday, July 10, 2009

How cool is this?

Anyone remember Mr. Mugs?

I never really liked the Mr Mugs stories when I was in school, because I found them too boring. There was little story and zero character development (yeah, I was a geek, but then, I was a kid who read). But there was this one Mr Mugs adventure I really liked. I think it was called Mr Mugs Goes to the Moon, or some such inventive and creative title *ahem*. Anyway, it focused on space exploration and the future. Even the cheesy drawings of Mr Mugs in his space suit didn't turn me off. I was fascinated by it, I loved all the possibilities it postulated. It presented a positive version of the future, and made it seem like when I grew up, this was how life would be.

As I got older I continued to be drawn to science fiction, and fantasy. My parents gave me the book the Hobbit when I was about 7, and that pretty much sealed the deal. When my dad introduced me to Star Trek, I was convinced that when I grew up, we zip to the moon just like people hop on a plane today, and I couldn't wait to go.

Even today when I see movies, I marvel at future technologies and wonder, when will we have something like that?

Don't laugh.

Your cell phone is very much like those old communicators from Star Trek. Skype much? Jules Verne predicted this video chatting technology in his novel In The Year 2889, which was published in 1889. Michael Crichton’s 1972 thriller The Terminal Man: the implants in the main character's brain were not unlike implants later developed to help deaf people hear and blind people see. Bradbury’s classic dystopian novel “Fahrenheit 451″ predicted that large home theater mounted on your wall in 1953.

And now XBox is building on predictions made by authors like Tad Williams, and Phillip K. Dick with it latest generation console. It makes the interactivity of the Wii look a little like Pong. The possibilities for future applications are exciting, and a little scary. Either way, I think I am going to want one.

Take a look.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Williams willing to risk Gros Morne's UNESCO status

Williams willing to risk Gros Morne's UNESCO status.

No, no need to read that a second time. Trust me, your read it correctly the first time around.

Dan has another grand plan.

He wants to build 40-meter high transmission towers through Gros Morne to bring power from the Lower Churchill hydroelectric project to the island. A move that could cost Gros Morne its designation as a World Heritage Site, and more importantly, forever alter its face. Adding a scar of progress and power strewn across the stunning landscape that is Gros Morne.

Going around the park adds, according to the Premier, $100 million to the cost of the project.

So, we bull doze our way through the park with the Transmission lines, or we take the long way around it with a higher price tag. Well open your wallet Danny, because defacing that beautiful landmark is not going to happen.

If we must look at this in terms of dollars and cents we need to ask: How much money does Gros Morne bring to the province? How will this kind of development affect that? And let us look long term here while we are at it please. Because this kind of mistake will cost us way more than $100 million; it will cost us more than just money.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Making nice with an old friend

Tequila and I had a parting of ways over ten years ago. It was nasty. It was an out and out brawl.

It resulted in me hugging the toilet bowl for about four hours, all the while reciting: "Never again, just let me make it through the night, and I promise never to drink tequila again".

I kept my promise...until a few months ago. My friends Marie, Leah and I went to a local Mexican restaurant, and Margaritas were on the menu. And I was thirsty. So very thirsty. I ordered something I had not had before, a Golden Grand Margarita, and it was fabulous. Tangy, and fresh. I stopped myself at two.

So yes, we are on speaking terms again. We keep our visits short, and sweet. No shots mind you- never going back there again. We don't want to overdo it. We are just taking things slow- nice and easy over ice. With lime and Grand Marnier...Come on, you didn't think I was drinking that ready made slushy crap now did you? You know me better than that.

Come on, have one with me won't you?

Golden Grand Margarita

•1 1/2 oz Gold Tequila
•1/2 oz Grand Marnier
•1/2 oz lime juice
•3 oz sour mix
•dash of orange juice (optional)
•lime wedge for garnish
•course salt for rimming glass (optional)

Now I just pour it all over ice, and enjoy...

methinks there might have to be a part two to this post...maybe a demonstration? Mmmmm?