Subscribe: Voyages of the HMS Swiftsure
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
back  blog  day  friend  friends  i’m  life  mommikins  months  much  new  people  race  running  things  time  year 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: Voyages of the HMS Swiftsure

London's Fog

Updated: 2018-01-15T09:26:01.020-07:00


And 2018 Begins...


Its the start of another New Year which means I've gotten the blogging bug again - sort of. It hasn't hit full force yet but the itch is beginning to ... well ... itch. Normally, at this time of year, I lie to y'all and tell you how I'm not going to make any resolutions and then proceed to list a bunch of things I'm going to try and "work on" instead of calling them resolutions. Po-TAY-to, Po-TAH-to. Screw the usual getting in shape, eating better, cutting back on the Coca-Cola, etc. We all know I'm not serious about any of that.This year instead I'm trying to be a happier person. 

I'm a news junkie, mainly CNN and MSNBC with some CBC thrown in for Canadian content requirements and the occasional local newscast for good measure. As the majority of news, regardless of source, seems to focus on Donald Trump, his actions and his goddamned tweets these days, I get quite agitated at times. For my own sanity, I need to let go or at least cut back. To help save myself and my sanity, I've already blocked him on Twitter. Yeah, that's right. I blocked HIM. This also means when anyone I follow who retweets one of his tweets, it says the Donald's tweet is unavailable. Small victories.

I'm also going to try and have more patience. I don't like to repeat myself. Not a good quality in someone who has been told they mumble. I also get easily frustrated when other people can't grasp what I think are simple concepts. Like using a TV remote. Because my mother and I share an apartment and we spend a good deal of our time together, she usually bears the brunt of my lack of patience. I promise I will TRY my best to not get annoyed so easily with her. 

Those are the big things. Nothing too major but important to me this year.



Its that time of year again - Edmonton Marathon weekend! Actually it was this past weekend but I'm late posting about so pfffftttt to you. On the Saturday, I kept with what's becoming an annual tradition and volunteered to help with some of the pre-race set up; this year it was "medal prep". For those not in the know, each medal (over 4000!) are wrapped individually and have to be unpacked from their various layers and then hung on hooks so volunteers can quickly grab a handful to pass out as runners, walkers and wheelchair participants fly across the finish line.
I had originally signed up to walk the 5K this year (post race last year I thought I might try to run it again...ha!) but when Mommikins and I looked at the start times, her 10K race began three full hours before mine did! She would start, finish and get home before I set up on the start line. So, blinded by the beautiful ribbon colour of this year's 10K medals, I switched my registration to the ten. It should be noted that this is two days before the race, I have done NO training this summer and I started up with my physio exercises to counteract my runners-knee the same day. I don't recommend my plan of attack.

While I was unwrapping medals in front of the Shaw Conference Centre, I heard someone calling my name. Turned out a friend who lives nearby happened to be returning home from the downtown farmer's market and saw me! Long story short, I somehow managed to convince her to sign up to run the race with the rest of us the next day. 

So proud of Mommikins who beat her time from last year, shaving off about six minutes. My lack of training and prep work showed in my results and the condition of my knees. At the turnaround point, my knees began scraping against bone (or so it feels) and everything below the knee tightened up. I was passed by a woman who was about 8 months pregnant and looked like she was out for a Sunday stroll. I came in just over two hours which is about the same time it took me to do the Moose is Loose train run last year when both my knees and hips decided to rebel against me. I can't complain about my time (FYI, I finished dead last for 10K walkers! Yeah baby!) as I'm normally slow anyways and its my own fault for not taking care of my feet and knees well in advance. Will definitely do better next time... 

... anyone want to join us for 2018?!

The Joys of Car Ownership


Earlier this week, I received an email from the dealership where we purchased the Baby Clown Car, letting me know it was time for the first "scheduled maintenance". Having only had my vehicle for six months, I couldn't imagine what on earth I would need to bring my car in for. Turns out, it was for an oil change. Knowing I had minimal KMs on my odometer, I questioned the dealership and called my Dad to get his opinion. Turns out, the manufacturer recommends an oil change every six months or 6000 KMs, whichever comes first.
My Dad confirmed I should probably get this first oil change and check up since its a new car and I don't want them saying I didn't keep up with the maintenance, thereby screwing up my warranty. So, off I went first thing yesterday morning and drove into the service bay.

The technician came out to get the keys and take down my mileage. When he re-emerged, he gave me a weird look. "You don't drive this one very much, do you?!" he laughed. Nope, I replied. Not much. He nodded when I said I'd had it for six months and drove off in my little grey baby. It felt a little weird as no one had ever driven my car before. Oh sure, someone had drove it off the transport and moved it in the lot but when I took it for a test drive, it had 4 KM on it. FOUR!

At first I was taken aback at the thought of having to shell out a wad of cash every six months for something I likely didn't need. Then, I started thinking about resale (should I ever decide to trade it in or sell it) - having records of all the regularly scheduled maintenance, checkups and oil changes would be beneficial. However, I've said from the beginning that I'm planning on driving this little bad boy until it falls apart and I'm aiming for 15 good years of driving. So, six months from now, I STILL likely won't be at 6000 KMs but I'll be pulling into the service bay once more and will gladly put up with the laughter coming from the mechanics.

Clifford E Lee Nature Sanctuary


On Saturday I took my first road trip in my baby clown car. Mommikins and I headed out to the Clifford E Lee Nature Sanctuary for a little walk around, some fresh air and a few photos. 

Stolen directly from their website, "Located 33 km southwest of Edmonton’s city centre, the Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary protects 348 acres of marshland, open meadow, aspen parkland and pine forest. The varied habitats of the Sanctuary attract a diversity of animals, including more than one hundred bird species, and provide excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing." This trip marked the first time I have taken my car out on the highway or gone over 70km an hour in it. Handles beautifully and has great pick up. Vroom vroom!
We saw plenty of swallows and a few ducks swimming around the sloughs and marshes but other than a plethora of spiders and mosquitos, very little other wildlife. Making our way along the raised boardwalk, it was quiet and serene - a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning. We didn't encounter any other people until we were on our way out. There were two couples who were obvious birdwatchers with their tripods, campcots and lenses heavier and larger than many toddlers. A very loud group of four arrived back at the parking lot at the same time we did. While they seemed quite nice, they definitely broke the relaxing atmosphere.
I would definitely recommed the Clifford E Lee nature sanctuary as a nice half day trip from Edmonton, especially for nature lovers. We spent about 1.5 - 2 hours walking around but you could easily spend longer if you took the trails through the woods but we opted to stick to the boardwalk and viewing platforms. Make sure to wear plenty of bug spray and sunscreen. Cost is free but they do accept donations to keep up maintenance on the platforms and walkways. 

Feeling inspired, Mom and I already started talking about other day trips to take and are thinking we might pick up the niece and nephew one Saturday and head out to the corn maze. Any suggestins for 1/2 or full day trips from Edmonton?

You can view my other photos from the trip by visiting my new Flickr Page.

Are you ready for some football?


Last night, Mommikins and I made our annual excursion to watch the Edmonton Eskimos play a little football. We usually try to take in one game in person each year; usually we both prefer to watch on television thanks to the commentary, close ups and replays. However, there's something special about watching a major league sporting event up close and personal. And we were CLOSE! Someone must have given up their season tickets because we managed to get tickets in the third row! That's three rows between us and the field. Where the players are! Unfortunately for me, it happened to be the Hamilton Ti-Cats bench we were right behind but we were close enough to hear them mouthing off to the Eskimos and some of the banter back and forth on the bench. The Eskimos were victorious and remain (fingers crossed; knock on wood) undefeated so far this year while the Ti-Cats have yet to win a game.
Great to share a passion for sports with Mommikins. We're going to see a second game later this season when her favourite, the Toronto Argonauts come to town for one of our last home games. It remains to be seen whether we'll be wearing parkas or shorts at game time.

The only two downsides to last night's game (yes TWO) was the woman beside us who REEKED of cheap perfume. Why oh why do some women bathe themselves in scent? And the guy behind us who coughed constantly throughout the game. It wasn't a regular "I have a cold" cough but rather one loud, head rattling hack every few minutes that made my eyeballs hurt.

Let's go ESKIMOS!

Have a bright sunshine-y day


It's finally Friday - the weekend is here! Alberta has a long weekend thanks to Heritage Day on Monday. Lucky me, I've also wrangled a day off on Tuesday so I have an extra long weekend. What on earth am I going to do with myself?
Tonight, Mommikins and I are headed to the Edmonton Eskimos game. Our local CFL team is taking on the Hamilton Ti-Cats. Its a night game, starting at 730 - I don't know how I'm going to stay awake! On Saturday, we might head out of the city to visit a local nature conservation area. Naturally, I'm going to take a few more pictures and get used to my new lens a bit more. Plus, we'll get some (hopefully) sunshine and some much needed exercise. Other than that, I'm keeping my options open.

So far, the return to blogging is going well; at least I think so. Four days, four blog posts. I have to admit, making myself write something, even as banal as my plans for the weekend has gotten me back into the blogging mood. I'm looking forward to reading what my friends write and hoping that they blog regularly. Remembering my early blogging days, I was following 20-30 blogs at any given time, taking advantage of tools such as feed readers. I don't know if I would be able to find 20 blogs nowadays that I'd be interested in reading regularly. For my blogger friends, how do you find blogs to read/visit regularly now?

Have a fabulous weekend everyone. Hopefully its bright and sunshine-y!

Are there any Flickr Fans left?


In addition to the big blogging question, I have also been questioning my presence on both Instagram and Flickr. When I noticed that Instagram no longer allows cross-posting directly to Flickr (apparently this happened months ago), I decided to visit my Flickr page. To be honest, I rarely go there and it seems that most of my friends haven't been either. When I asked on Facebook who still uses the site, the response was an overwhelming "not for a long time". Most people I know who used to be active on Flickr have essentially given up on it and moved to Instagram.
There was a brief discussion on FB with Robyn, who blogs at Musings of the Edmonton Tourist, about her personal photography strategy which set me off thinking about what photos I want to share, with whom, and in what way. I followed that up with a lunch with Michael today to discuss his views on photo sharing and storage. FYI, he's the one friend who seems to STILL use Flickr regularly. After weighing the pros and cons of Instagram, FB and Flickr (along with Google Photos, external hard drives, etc) over some McNuggets and fries, I think I have landed on a first phase photo strategy.

Despite my original thoughts of ditching it, I'm going to keep Flickr for now and give it another go. It will be used as my main page for photo storage and sharing - mostly travel pics and times when I go out to specifically take photographs (like the recent trip to Elk Island National Park). Also, Michael figured out how to post to Instagram, Twitter and FB today from Flickr (bonus!). My Instagram page will be used for more of my day-to-day photos and select photos from trips and photography excursions. I will still post pics to FB as well but doubt I'll be uploading an entire album to share. Instead, I'll likely share a couple of photos and then a link to Flickr should anyone want to view more.

Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts and experiences. The more info I get, the better decision I'll make.

Say Cheese!


A couple of weeks ago, I finally purchased a new lens for my camera (Canon Rebel T3) - an 18-250mm Tamron. After six years, my friend Michael can finally stop bitching and complaining that I have something other than the stock lens my camera originally came with. For those who follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you'll know that we went out to Elk Island National Park this past weekend to test it out and see if we can spot any bison. The answer is yes.

Most of the time, I keep everything on automatic and just change the setting (landscape, sport, portrait ...) depending on what I'm doing. The result is that I often have to adjust the colours, sharpen the image, adjust the saturation, etc once I have the images downloaded. While I've got the basics down and have picked up a few tips from Michael and a great photographer I met when I was in Hawaii earlier this year, De-Jay Hanssen, I'm very much a photography novice. Occasionally I luck out and get a nice shot but I could certainly improve. 
Lake Astotin, Elk Island National park
Still planning on taking a basic photography course one of these days to increase my skills but it will have to wait until after my trip to Spain in the spring. Every spare nickel now has to go towards saving up! I guess that means, I'll have to take advantage of the knowledge around me and plan a few more trips to other beautiful shots near our city!

The Future of Blogging?


I haven't blogged since March. Ugh.What's keeping me from writing? The lack of feeling as if I have anything to say for a start. Looking back through my previous posts, its been 11 years (June 27, 2006) since I started this portion of my blogging life (when I was hugely into hockey) and I had a different blog prior to that for at least a year or two. It makes me sad in a way to look back at how often I would write and about the wide variety of topics. I had opinions and wasn't afraid to express them, even if I knew I'd get blowback from some folks. There were movie reviews, book reviews and interviews. What happened to me?My good friend Allyson who blogs over at Wandering Coyote asked on Facebook recently if anyone blogs anymore (specifically "Is food blogging still worth it"). There was a good deal of discussion in response to her question - basically yes blogging is still a "thing" although I would argue that general content blogging (e.g. using your blog like a type of diary, like me) has dropped off considerably. Specialized content (food blogs, running /exercise/healthy living blogs, fashion blogs, etc) seem to me to be more the norm when it comes to consistent blogging activity. For me, the question of whether to blog or not, and whether anyone would read it if you did, boils down to (1) if it makes you happy, do it; and (2) stop caring about the number of visits you get or comments you receive.Another friend, Eugene from 27th Street, blogs more than any one else in my small circle. He writes about his local community, art and music. It was his comment that summed it all up better than I have above: "I guess it depends on what kind of value you put on the activity and what you expect from it." Barbara, our favourite Bad Tempered Zombie, wrote: "It's worth it if you enjoy doing it."I miss blogging, something I know I've said before, so I'm going to give it one more go. Allyson's harmless question has restarted my blogging engine. No clue as to what direction it will take or if it will stick this time around. Likely it will remain a hodge-podge of moments from my life, complaints about random frustrations and overall silliness. My reply to Allyson's question was that I had been considering giving up my domain name and letting the blog go. However, her post kept popping up in my thoughts and making me evaluate what I really wanted. Do I want to let go of this sometimes rambling insight into the last 11 years of my life? Do I want someone else to scoop up the minute it becomes available again and claim it as their own? The answer to both was NO. There will be some modifications to the look of the blog - still loving the simple clean template but I'll be updating the links and info on the sides and the bar at the top to reflect where I am and what's important in my life. Previous posts won't be deleted like Anthony Scaramucci's tweets; who knows if I'll still be blogging 11 days after I start... Whammo! Current events political reference.I'm a nerd.So, there you go. I hope you stay tuned and enjoy the ride.[...]





Who knew looking at vehicles would be so draining?! 
Curently loving the Kia Sportage and the Nissan Juke and Rogue...

Get to the point


Lonely....I'm Mr. Lonely


Decided to take part in my friend Barb's month end Photo A Day Challenge for February. Prepare yourself for the most random photos...

Dear Donald Trump Supporters and Surrogates...


Hello Conservatives. Please don’t worry – this letter is not to slam, insult, denigrate, or belittle you. I fully support your right to vote and to vote for whomever you choose, even if we disagree. Voting is an important right and a responsibility. While I would prefer to see Hillary Clinton become president instead of Donald Trump (even though she’s not my ideal choice), if your side wins the election, I will fully accept the results. Full disclosure: I’m not American, I’m Canadian so I don’t have a say or a part in your election but if I did, I would still feel the same way. However, I’m not writing to you to talk about the American electoral process or exercising your right to vote. I would like to address an issue that continues to pop up, although it seems not as frequently the closer to the election we get, despite all the other nonsense that’s been going on. I’d like to address the accusations of sexual assault against Donald Trump by a number of women. While not all Republicans/Conservatives feel this way, the media chooses to interview those of you who question why these women are coming forward NOW, some of them years after the events allegedly took place. On behalf of women everywhere who have experienced the unwanted groping and grabbing, the unsolicited vulgar comments, the rape and the abuse, let me tell you why.We feel ashamed. We feel embarrassed. We feel, somehow someway, it is our fault. We know we are more likely to be dismissed than believed. We will be questioned, with less concern than that shown to the accused, about what we were wearing; about whether we had been drinking and if so, how much; about whether or not we led the other person(s) on; about our sexual history. We know that even if the person(s) is (are) arrested and it goes to trial, the likelihood they will be found guilty is slim. We know that if the odds have been defied and the person(s) have somehow been found guilty, the sentence they receive will be nothing compared to the shame, humiliation, and filth we feel for the rest of our lives for what has been done to us without our permission.Yes, there will be a small percentage (no I don’t have actual numbers or data to back me up so please don’t ask) of women who MAY bring charges like those claimed against Donald Trump for time in the spotlight, the hope that they will get some sort of monetary settlement, etc. However, I assure you, as a woman who has experienced some of the things mentioned above, that number IS SMALL. I don’t know any woman who wants to endure on purpose the kind of humiliation, degradation and scrutiny laying these sorts of charges results in. No amount of money or “fame”, if that’s what you want to call it, will change how a woman feels about herself or what has happened to her. You can’t wash away the feeling of someone’s unwanted hands groping your body or the memory of being violated with cash.How many of us remember being told the kid in elementary or junior high school who pulled your hair, called you names, etc did it because “they liked you”?  That's bullshit and we need to stop telling our children this. I knew a kid like that when I was in school - his name was Chad S. He would flip up my skirt or pull down my pants in front of everyone at recess. He didn’t do it to anyone else in our class. Just me. Did I think he liked me?  No. Instead I wracked my brain trying to figure out what I’d done to make him pick on me.By the time we’d graduated to Junior High School, he’d graduated to forcefully grabbing my breasts while we played Dungeons and Dragons at a mutual friend’s house. Repeatedly. Did I ever tell my parents? No. Did I stop hanging out with my[...]

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore


As some of you know, over a year or so ago, I finally paid off my dreaded student loans *thunderous applause*. It represented the last of my debts and I finally felt as though I’d thrown off the yoke of repayment which had hung around my neck since I graduated back in 1999. At times it had felt as though I would never shake that monthly payment. However, I stuck with it, began making extra payments when I could, sometimes of only a dollar or two, and watched gleefully as my balance gradually diminished. Freedom! Ok, so I still have my credit card but I don’t put that into the same category as loans and other large financial obligations.My whole life I have longed to travel. I attribute part of this to growing up in military family. When you move across the country every 4-5 years, you get used to seeing new things and visiting new places. While we didn’t travel far and wide for vacations during my childhood, I was always curious about distant lands and different cultures. Unlike a couple of my high school friends, I didn’t do the classic Senior Trip to Europe. I didn’t take my first “real” vacation until after I’d graduated when my best buddy and I flew to California to see Disneyland. After that, it was onto university where spare money was almost nonexistent and the most exotic locale I visited was a friend’s couch to watch a foreign film. A few years after getting my degree, I put myself deeper into debt by financing my next vacation (18 years after my first) and took a solo trip to the UK.I was always jealous of friends and coworkers who traveled every year – a week during the winter in Mexico or the Caribbean, two weeks in the summer for a cruise or off to Europe. It’s not their fault I haven’t had the opportunities to travel but I was still a bit bitter hearing about their fancy fruit drinks, exotic excursions, and seeing their sun-drenched snapshots.  If I continued to only take a break every 18 years, I’d be lucky if I managed two more trips before I kick the proverbial bucket. Inspired by my well-travelled friends, and my mother who seems to be able to manage at least one short trip every year, I’m changing my outlook on vacations. No longer will it be me sitting on my couch in my sloppy jam-jams watching day time television (although, yes occasionally I will still do that). I am actively looking at filling up my passport!It’s now no secret that I’m heading off to Hawaii with Mommikins in the New Year. However, I’m already looking ahead to my next two vacations! Yeah, I’m going a little hog-wild crazy here. My thoughts are that I “might” be able to afford a short (week) vacation in January with Mom, and then take a week vacation by myself (or with a friend) in the fall. I’m not one of those people who want to vacation in summer. Its tooooo hot for me to want to vacation here in Canada and many of the places I want to go have similar or hotter climates. No thank you. Plus, everyone else takes their vacations in July and August so I’m looking at September. Heck, depending on the location, I’d even look at October (plus it could be slightly cheaper!).It would be nice to be one of those people who have a passport filled with stamps from around the world. To have had unique adventures, learning about history where it happened, and experiencing the way the rest of the world lives their lives. I don’t need to live for a month with the Bushmen of the Kalahari or something equally exotic. What I do want is memories, images and stories of my own from the places I’ve always wanted to visit – and the ones I didn’t realize I wanted to visit until I ended up there. I’m already thinking of w[...]

The Bucket List



My good friend Allyson recently had a birthday and it got her thinking about what she wanted to accomplish with the second half of her life (yes we're both of that age now...).  One of the items she mentioned was travelling the Silk Road. I think this is an amazing goal. After much excitement over the possibility of one day taking part in the Mongol Rally, I started thinking of my own list of things I'd like to do.

The Bucket List - everyone has one, whether they’ve written it down or not. Some call it by different names but it boils down to the same thing:  all those things you want to do or accomplish by the time you die (aka kick the “Bucket”). These lists often include things we say we would do if we had the (a) time, (b) money, or (c) balls.  As with most wishes, desires, dreams, etc., they change over time as we develop new relationships, gain new experiences, or become exposed to new ideas and possibilities. A few years back, on a different version of my blog, I had created my own bucket list. That old blog has since been deleted and I have no idea what used to be on that list. Even if I had access to the list I had created, I’m at a different place in my life so many of those former items likely would no longer be something I want to accomplish. 

I’m starting a new list of “before I die” items so I can track some of them and share my experiences with those of you who care to read about them.  People might find them bland and boring, others might think I copied off many of these off of someone else’s list, and still others won’t care two licks about what silly things I feel like crossing off as I get older. Bollocks to the lot of you. It’s my list and these things are important to me for one reason or another and that’s all I care about.  My list will be constantly changing as I think of new things I’d like to try, new adventures to conquer, new lessons to be learned. I hope you enjoy it, even if it just makes you giggle at some of the absurd or seemingly normal things (to some) I want to take on.

Check out my list here.

Race #1 of 2016 - First Responders Half Marathon (5K)


Despite not training at all (come on...its April. In Edmonton!), Mom and I finished our first race of the season on Sunday - the First Responders Half Marathon. 5K for me, 10K for Mommikins. After having a month of warm sunny weather, the clouds rolled in, the temperature dropped and the rains began to fall just in time for the race. Argh. However, we were undaunted. After all, we're Canadian women and we're Leydens/Londons. Weather Smeather.Look how giddy we are....fools.Mom's 10K group headed off five minutes before those of us doing the five but I figured given how fast she walks compared to me, she'll probably catch up to me shortly before the finish line. I started off fairly strong, although as usual at the back of the pack (I'm slow and happy with that). The cold and lack of regular walking threatened to hobble me as my toes began to stiffen and ache but they soon realized this was not some sick form of torture and loosened up.I had heard the announcer say something about a hill right before we took off but didn't pay him much attention - he's probably talking about the half marathoners. No way they're going to make us short distance folks do a hill. Pfffft. Silly. I apparently should get a hearing aid. At about the 5K halfway point, the course vears up Groat Road hill (or whatever its official name is .... Satan's Sidewalk?). For everyone. Why would you do this? WTF?! But yes, there it was. The hill. I gave it hell as I powered my way up to the top and beyond to the turnaround point. People running back down the hill paid little heed to anyone still trying to climb up and I was almost involved in a number of near collisions as they figured I should move off the sidewalk despite also wearing a race bib. Courtesy people. There's more than just you Speedy Gonzales' flying downhill. As I started back down towards the eventual finish line (I know it was down there somewhere!), I highfived a lady on her way up. She was surprised but happy; I then went to high five her companion who I thought had seen me. I ended up causing her to almost fall over as I surprised her. Note to self - make sure to make eye contact first before attempting any future high fives. Inspired by the gaggles of 10K runners now flying past me on the downslope, I said Fuck It and went for it myself. Careful not to throw myself face first into the pavement, I kept to my penguin running pace and eneded up running most of the way downhill. Remember the first five words of this blog post: "Despite not training at all"?  Yeah, deciding to run down the hill was not my smartest move. Not training included not doing my stretches for my runners knee so by the time I got back to the relatively flat surface of Hawrelak Park, my right knee began to seize. No more running for me until I could see the finish line and the announcer began butchering calling out everyone's name. Sadly, I came in with a group of fast runners and he didn't get to my name. Sad face. However, I hobbled across the finish line, and picked up my nifty medal.Yes, its shaped like a running shoe! Where's the date though????When I picked up our race packages a few days prior, I was surprised to see a ticket for a free post race meal for all athletes. Winner! We were given a choice between Lemongrass Grill and Fat Franks. While Lemon Grass Grill sounded healthier and probably tastier, I took one look at the lineups for both, saw how slowly Lemon Grass was moving and hopped into line for Franks and picked up my victory meal. Most delicious hot dog of my life.Official time: 54:49. Not great but average for me. I'm not a fast runner and to be honest[...]

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles


I don't hold much stock in the "fortunes" included in fortune cookies. Sure they're fun but they're purposefully generic, a lot like psychics, so that people can apply whatever fortune they get to their own lives. So, when I stopped to pick up dinner for Mom and I at Wok Box last night, I almost didn't grab a couple of them to go with our teriyaki shrimp (Mom) and teriyaki chicken (me).   Almost.  As I waited for our food to be ready, I reached into the bowl and grabbed a cookie. When I went to pick up a second one, I realized it was attached to another one. Chuckling slightly to myself, I figured it was a "sign" and I had better take the two who were attached, just like it seems Mommikins and I are sometimes attached at the hip. I tossed them into my bag, grabbed our take out boxes and headed to the train in order to torture my fellow commuters with the smell of stir fry.Mom never eats her fortune cookies. Usually, hers ends up sitting on the counter, in a drawer or in the cupboard for a couple of weeks before I decide to toss it in the garbage. So, it was a bit of a surprise when I heard her rip open the wrapper and start crunching her cookie after finishing off her noodles. As she read her fortune, she started laughing. "You soon will be crossing warm waters for a fun vacation." While the Pacific Ocean isn't that warm, it seemed to hit close to home - we're heading to Hawaii in the New Year. Hearing her fortune, I couldn't wait to open mine to see if it held as much promise."Your talents will bring you the highest status and prestige."As my Facebook friends will know by now, my current job (a secondment) is ending six months early and I am being returned to my previous position. Not because of anything I've done; my old branch has not been able to keep anyone in that role for longer than 4 months since I left a year and a half ago so they told my current office they either need to make my role there permanent or they're going to take me back (they have the right to do so; it is written into my agreement). My current bosses did everything they could to keep me but after two months, they've exhausted all options and ... back I go. Its okay...sort of. I understand the reasons for pulling me back and I appreciate everything my bosses did to try and sort things out. It still doesn't mean I'm happy. Therefore, beginning last week, I started applying for new jobs. One position in particular has me very excited - I won't get into the details but its with a different Ministry (I work for the Government) and it would definitely be a promotion ("higher status"). It is also with a higher office ("prestige"). Needless to say, I started laughing as I read my fortune out loud and it continued as I read it to Mommikins. I'm holding onto this particular fortune and hoping that it comes true.[...]

I miss running. A lot.


That about sums up my mood right now. Sigh...



Has it really been 5 years (OMG) since the last installment of my interview series? Yes, apparently it has. We're back with a pair of new interviews of the not so Rich and Famous. First up, my good friend, Robyn, who I had the pleasure to become real life friends with after meeting through blogging. You can read her fabulous blog, The Edmonton Tourist. Robyn is one of those amazing friends that I only see in person every 3-4 months but we always pick up right where we left off as though we had just talked the day before. She continually inspires me to push myself further, to believe in myself, and not take shit from anyone. We joke about the most inappropriate things and laugh until we're in tears. Heck, when we first met, over a cup of tea and a slice of pumpkin cheesecake (hold the walnuts!), we talked about certain parts of your anatomy ... um ... you know ... um ... rubbing ... irritating ... when you run ... ah ... so ... alright! We talked about butt chafing! Ok? Butt chafing! That's the kind of friend she is! Don't judge us; its a common runner problem. Anyways, I should probably move on to the interview before I get myself in trouble. Without further ado, please enjoy learning a bit more about what makes Robyn tick.Name, occupation, favourite running medal.Robyn National Events Project Manager my first Half Marathon Finisher Medal 08/11.Garden gnomes are taking over the world and only you can save the human race. How do you do it? Smash them with rocks and my slingshot.If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be and who would sing it? Darth Vader's Theme.If health/cost were not an issue, and you could run any marathon/half marathon in the world, which one would you choose, what would be the celebratory drink of choice and how much trouble would you get into post-race? New York Marathon, Le Chouffe and I'd crash Mark Ruffalo's home. He lives close to the finish line.You have to hide a dead body. Now! Roll in carpet toss into neighbors yard- he's so messy no one will ever find it.Why do you love Disney so very much? When I was 6 I sat on Main Street with my dad to watch the Electrical Parade. It is one of my favourite memories of my dad. Walking into Disneyland takes me back instantly to that moment.If you could have any famous person (not including Donald Trump) locked in a room so that you could torment them for a day, whom would you choose and how would you torment them? Jann Arden - talking smack because she'd give it right back and that would make me laugh.What is your favourite swear word? Use it in a sentence. Explain why it is the king/queen of all expletives.OH FOR FUCKSAKES. It's satisfying because my mom gets so shocked by me using it. I then remind her I'm 48 and can say whatever the fuck I please.A loud noise wakes you from a deep sleep. You turn on the light to find that you are surrounded by mummies. They aren't doing anything, just standing around your bed. What do you do? Roll over and go back to sleep. I covet sleep above all else.Why do men have nipples? To make their pecks look good....duhIn the fruit salad of life, which fruit are you? Tomato. Not quite like I seem.A crazy “doctor” travels through time and space in a ship disguised as a British police call box. Why? Try to convince me this is even remotely entertaining. The kitschy B movie horror films are hilarious and the Doctor is surrounded by terrible props, fakery and bad sets. The writing is clever and promotes kindness. It embraces diversity an[...]

All Work and No Play...


I can't believe that it is almost March. It seems like I just did my year in review post and declared this the year of Caesar Sundays... And now its almost Big Brother's birthday and spring is definitely in the air. Time certainly flies. Sigh.Speaking of Caesar Sundays, they haven't begun yet. They were supposed to start last weekend (delayed due to Super Bowl Sunday) but unfortunately timing didn't work out so we're still looking at rescheduling. I'm having a long overdue drink with the amazing Robyn tomorrow which will be the first, and possibly the only, Caesar Sunday. There have been a lot of factors working against my fun weekly plan: (1) I don't have a lot of friends, at least people I want to share a drink with. I KNOW a lot of people but there's a difference (2) I'm inherently lazy and haven't been bothered to put more than a cursary effort into this little project; and (3) I realized how much I might end up spending over the course of the year and I had to shake my head a little bit.As you may remember, over the past year and a bit, I've finally paid off my two student loans in full and I paid off another loan I had (in half the time they gave me!).  Seeing those debts be erased from my "To Do" list, is an incredible feeling. The only other debt I now currently have is my credit card and that is the recipient of every spare bit of change I can funnel its way.  Ahhhhhh, the prospect of being completely debt free is like an aphrodisiac. Sooooo addictive.  However...SourceI haven't taken many vacations in my adult life. TBH, I've only taken three. The first was 1991 when my best friend at the time and I went to California for a week. It was our first trip travelling alone (her first outside of Alberta!) and we had a blast. Eighteen long years later, I took my second vacation where I travelled to England by myself and wandered the streets of London alone, stayed with complete strangers who turned out to not be axe murderers (yay) and instead were two of the most wonderful people you could ever hope to meet. In 2013, my most recent vacation took me, my mother and my favourite aunt to one of the most beautiful spots in the world, Jasper National Park. Ahhh, my own little bit of heaven.Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. Not doing so is a waste. Sure, there are debts to be paid and retirement to be saved for but taking care of myself in a good way (not treating myself to takeout far too often as I usually do) is as essential as both of those things. And so, Mommikins and I are treating ourselves to a trip to celebrate our next birthdays.  We are going to Hawaii for a week in the new year where we will wander around the island of Oahu, soaking up the sun, climbing volcanoes, and living the island life. Its not the original trip we had hoped to take but rather than throwing ourselves back into debt to pay for the "trip of a lifetime" we've opted for something a bit more financially responsible and yet still enjoyable, relaxing and offering us the opportunity to recharge our physical and mental batteries.Its taken me a long time to learn to be responsible with my money and it was a very hard, emotional and expensive lesson. But now that I have, I've also learned that its ok to spend some of it on things that matter. Making memories, spending quality time with those I love and care for, and remembering the almighty dollar isn't the bottom line.[...]

Celebratory Caesars for Everyone!


Roll me out the door, I am done. Two long food-filled months have come to an end and I have enjoyed them completely and whole heartedly, much to my waistline’s demise.  The December Christmas celebrations included three office lunches, dinner out with the girls, a birthday dinner for Mommikins, dinner with some of the peeps from my previous office, Christmas Eve at our place, Christmas Dinner at Big Brother’s, lunch with a friend while spending far too much shopping for unnecessary electronics, and two viewings of Star Wars, with snacks. Add in various boxes of chocolates, homemade cookies, squares, and other baked goods, bonbons, etc, and it was no wonder my pants were straining when the New Year rolled around.As if I hadn’t already consumed enough to feed a small starving African nation, January kicked off with a big birthday bang as I have had two separate lunches with friends, a great steak dinner with Mommikins, drinks at a musical, drinks and nachos with the bosses, drinks and dinner with the peeps from my previous office (double birthday celebration), and cake with the current office gang.  On top of all of that, there were the occasional (*cough cough*) days where I bought lunch at work because I was in such a food coma, I couldn’t be bothered to throw something together before I left the house in the morning.I have mixed feelings about the end of the celebrations. On one hand, I can’t remember the last time I felt so included, blessed, appreciated and loved. It was wonderful to connect with people I don’t get to see very often. I don’t have a lot of close friends that I hang out with so this was a welcome change in my usually subdued routine. However, the caloric cost of all that socializing and celebrating…yikes. However, I shall not dwell on that – I would rather risk ordering dessert if it means spending a few more precious, wonderful moments with friends and family.The past two months have shown me how much I miss having people in my life to do stuff with. Despite living in a digital, wifi-enabled, find everything online sort of world, I miss the human interaction of yesteryear (feel free to mock my nostalgia). I admit that I have not always been the best at maintaining relationships, both platonic and romantic, and there have been times where I’ve been an outright bitch in terms of how things have ended (yes, that’s me admitting blame). Regret is not a word I use – if I regretted anything about my past, it would mean I’m not happy with the person I have become as each individual experience has shaped the current “me”. We can all look back and realize we probably should have done things differently given the knowledge we have now but I wouldn’t change anything if I could (ok, MAYBE I would have invested in Apple instead of going to University…).Earlier this month, my cousin Dan posted a link on Facebook about a friend of his in Toronto who, after a rough year, decided to reconnect with different friends from his past over a Caesar at a different location every Sunday for the next 52 weeks. He learned three very important lessons after his year of Caesars:  (1) variety really is the spice of life, (2) rituals are powerful things that build momentum, and (3) Sundays are always better with friends. This couldn’t have come at a better time. To me, this is a wonderful idea. Caesars are my mixed drink of choice (and a family fave) and I’m looking to re-establish or revive some of my relationships.I [...]

2016 Has Begun


OMG. Blogger is slowly becoming more user friendly. I know I haven't posted much over the past few months so you'll forgive me if this is old news to the rest of you. They now allow you to just drag and drop photos into the post you're writing! No more having to use the uploader feature. Suh-weet. I know - it doesn't take much to make me happy, does it?Well, the New Year has arrived. No big celebrations for this gal; I'm pretty low key. Yeah, that's what you call people who go to bed at 730pm - "low key". Christmas was nice and quiet. Big Brother and family came over for dinner on Christmas Eve. As usual, we exchanged our gifts that night. I ended up with a gorgeous new bundt pan from Sonoma Williams. I'm thinking it might be a hint that they want me to bake more. That's fine with me! Christmas morning was spent with Mommikins and the cats, opening presents and relaxing before heading over to Big Brother's house for dinner with extened family. For the first time a long time, they kept dinner to just family (and longtime friend Rudi) so we were all able to fit around the table. Typically we have about 15-20 people running throughout their house for holiday dinners so we split the group between the living and dining rooms. It was weird (but pleasant) eating with the grownups again.In addition to the bundt pan, Mom gave me a new slow cooker. I was in heaven. And yes, all my presents this holiday season DID seem to revolve around food... I wracked my brain as to what I should try to make first - buffalo chicken meatballs? Some kind of stew/soup? Nope. I decided to go with scalloped potatoes. Now, I'm not usually a fan of cheese on potatoes but this recipe just sounded too good to pass up. Unfortunately my local Safeway does not carry Gruyere cheese so I went with Emmental (still yummy), and I dislike Fennel so I swapped it for onions, and...instead of thyme, which sounded soooooo wrong for scalloped potatoes, I added chives. Also, no bacon. Please, pick yourself up off the floor - you read that correctly - I omitted the bacon.Oh my sweet bejeebus.I cannot begin to describe how delicious this was!!!! Unfortunately the cooking time wasn't right but I think it is because my potato slices were too big. I had the right thickness thanks to my mandolin but I should have cut the potatoes in half lengthwise first to make the pieces a big smaller. Regardless, they were still fabulous. Next time, I'm going with the Gruyere and longer cooking time. I want some. Hmmm.The holidays are now over and its back to work for me. There are still a number of people on vacation this week so our office is fairly quiet. While its nice and I get a bit of free time to do other things (read my book, blog, Facebook ... um ... organize my desk, clean up), it makes for a long day. Hopefully things will pick up next week. In the meantime, the birthday celebrations have begun. Mommikins treated me to a fabulously overindulgent steak dinner at The Keg last night and tonight we're off to the Jubilee Auditorium to catch opening night of Dirty Dancing. And if that wasn't enough, Big Brother and family are taking me out for lunch this weekend. Woot! I feel spoiled this year.Finally, while grabbing the link for Dirty Dancing, I discovered that Bill Maher is coming to Edmonton in June so I treated myself with two tickets! Now I just have to find someone that wants to go with me! FYI Calgary peeps, he'll be in your neck of the woods June 25.Happy New Year everyone![...]

A Year in Review and Looking Forward


Well, here we are, at the ass-end of 2015. Following the lead of countless others, I thought I would do a "year in review" post, not that there will be a lot to cover but I'm a follower so ... Let's start at the beginning, shall we?January started off as usual - I'm unhappy with my weight, have big plans for the year, blah blah blah. Not much changes. However, one bright spot was the start of a 10 week pottery class. I treated myself to the course as a Christmas present and ended up loving it. While I didn't turn into a master craftsperson overnight, and many of pieces were questionable in terms of what they were supposed to be, it was fun. It also got me out of the house and interacting with other humans (shock! horror! gasp!). My chest problems continued and changed and continued to change - a common theme throughout the past year. No definitive diagnosis and no solution. The quest continues. Speaking of quests, Mom took me to see the Indiana Jones exhibit at the Telus World of Science for my birthday. As a child of the 70s and 80s, this was a must see for me and didn't disappoint. February through May was fairly quiet. I finally bought myself a stand mixer and then proceeded to bend one of the attachments the first time I used it. Robyn continued to prove she's a fabulous friend by inviting me over to her home and serving tea. Grandma's china and handmade jammie dodgers - that girl rocks. I made over the look of my blog. I joined Instagram. Mom and I moved out of our apartment with the great view to a townhouse on the outskirts of downtown.In June, I applied for another position in my current office but didn't get the job. One of my two bosses thought this was the wrong decision and my other boss...I think somedays they regret it too. However, life is like that and so we move on. June also marked the start of a new "Learn to Run" clinic through the Running Room. Unlike previous attempts, I had an instructor who didn't make me feel completely worthless for my slower than snot speed and back of the pack position week after week. To top it off, the group who joined this particular clinic were fabulous and I was once again enjoying running.By July, I was experiencing tightness and pain in both my calves and bottoms of my feet. Nothing seemed to help, even returning to the physiotherapist. I made it through the halfway point of my clinic before I could no longer run with the group. In August, Mom and I walked the 5K portion of the Edmonton Marathon and I ran up the chute to finish my race and into the arms of my running group. I love those folks.And that was it. My last post was August 25. To say I've been neglectful is an understatement. It wasn't that the remaining months of 2015 were bad and I didn't want to share with the few of you who still visit. I just reverted back to my usuall laziness. Nothing to say of any consequence so why bother? Plus I still hate my Dell laptop that can't hold a f*cking wifi signal for longer than 30 second and to use my desktop computer is not inspiring. However, I'm hoping to turn that around for 2016. No, I won't be replacing the laptop but I will be making a more concerted effort to blog a bit more often in 2016. I wrote a whopping 28 blog posts in 2015. That's not even one per week. I miss the act of writing these posts, even when I don't have anything important to say. Words are amazing and I hope to share more of them again in the future. In the spirit of s[...]

The Good, The Bad, and The Very Ugly


This weekend was a bittersweet one for me. I completed the Edmonton Marathon’s 5K race, walking it with Mommikins and we finished it standing tall and smiling (and having passed a couple or 6 people along the way). It was also great to see three of my clinic buddies (the only three to finish the clinic in the end) show up and run the 5K course. It was the first time racing for all three and they all did amazingly well – they all had times under 40 minutes which was great! And it was so uplifting to see their smiling cheering faces as Mom and I crossed the finish line. Hugs all around! However, it was a reminder that I wasn’t able to run as I had originally planned and that any plans for running have to be put on hold. A big low moment for me was seeing the pictures that all of us took of the team together both before and after the race. It’s very apparent that I have gained weight, even since I stopped running, and it all seems to have gathered in my middle and my neck. The middle I’m used to but the huge neck that stared back at me from every picture I was in? Depressing. I don’t see it in the mirror or in pictures I take of myself but I certainly see it in pictures other people take of me. It was extremely upsetting.Shortly after leaving the running clinic, I joined a gym. I figured if I couldn’t walk/run, I had to do something and I have rarely ridden my bike since moving. I’ve only been a few times so far but part of me regrets not joining the Y downtown. From the sounds of it, Mom (who joined the Y) gets unlimited trainer sessions, or at least more than the two measly sessions my gym offers. And one of those two is the intake where they weigh/measure you and you really don’t do any exercises. The couple of times I’ve talked to my trainer she’s told me how most of her ladies train with her 2-3 times / week. Some of us don’t have that kind of money. I have a feeling I’ll be figuring out a workout plan on my own. Plus, if I want to go right after work, it takes 45 minutes by bus and at this time of year it’s hot, stuffy and sweaty. Sigh. I’m going to go to yoga tonight after work and see what their class is like. I need to get more bendy.Yes, I’m fully aware that is a horribly constructed sentence.I’m also cutting way back on the soda. Since moving, and having access to a grocery store that offers cheap cases of my dark bubbly elixir, I have been going a bit crazy. Combine that with heavy snacking at work (almost always with a Coke nearby) and it’s no wonder the pounds have been piling on. Portion control, eating healthier and an overall better awareness of what I’m doing to myself is vital moving forward. Speaking of moving – I must do more of that (hence the gym).Sigh. How many times have I said all of this before?[...]