Sunday, April 29, 2007

In the garden

Remember these photos?

Now look what we've done. I'm just adding the final touches to this afternoons work.

While D. was laying out the stone for our future sitting/eating area, I went to work on the planting of a few perennials. I put a blue flowering hydrangea closest to the compost bin because I tried this in our last garden and the effect of blocking the view of the black plastic bin worked quite well.
I also put in a pink bleeding heart since this is quite a shady spot and then the hosta next to that. The larger rocks in the foreground here are just temporarily there while we decide where they are needed. But this next shot shows more of what we're aiming for. I put some irish moss (that someone from work gave me) and some creeping charlie at the front of this newly bedded area so that should fill in nicely to cover the front with some greenery.

While the rocks on the left here aren't necessarily staying, you can get a view of our new patio and where the garden will continue on down past the watering can.

Then I felt that I didn't want the path to end at the compost bin (not a great end to a walk really unless you're getting finished compost) so I opted for a smaller path leading to the grass where I'm taking the shot. The reason for the placement here was that once you cross the lawn there are more stone steps leading to the lower leve and play area so I wanted the two areas to connect and that way you can just cross the lawn and go look at an area of the garden if you wish.
No the pink bucket and yellow trowel don't belong to us. They belong to the 2 and half year old (Gigi) who lives upstairs. She's been digging in the sand here. I'd leave it for her, but her parents are putting in a sandbox on the lower level near her pool. I guess that makes more sense so they can sit on their deck and keep an eye on her and she can run freely.

So between the path and the patio, who knows? If we owned the place I'd invest in a water feature or extend the patio and make it more permanent, but we don't own the place so something else...maybe just some planters with some tasty edibles that can grow in a shadier area (kale, spinach, chard).

To the right of the path in the above shot I expect I'll add more soil and continue planting. The rock wall is just further right so I'd like to get some lilies and ligularia in there, maybe some rudbeckia and cranesbill. Sounds like I'm already making the plan. I'm starting to like the planter idea along the path. Hmm?

We also moved a hosta from a very sunny spot in the front to a side shady area with two other hostas. It's a sad looking little bed, but I'm not sure what I can bring to that right now. No one sees it and it's very dark. Sis will probably have an idea for it.

Finally, I planted some lilies on the downslope in a sunnier area. They will line the path as long as they make it and they're yellow so that could be quite inviting as you walk up the steps to the newly gardened area or to drop off your kitchen waste.


In other news today in whoville...

the big run!
I did 32 k. Phew. The last 4 was tough. We went for flat and paved today, none of this hilly, and pebbly shite. We took the trans Canada trail briefly and it was firm, flat ground, like a narrow country road.

D. took some photos of me running because who knows if I'll ever train for this distance again. We may as well get some images from our Sunday distance tours together.

As we ran (or I ran and D cycled), we were admiring the horses grazing in a field and then lo and behold we surprised a coyote. Yes, another one. It darted into the horse pasture away from us and watched us until we were out of sight.

The Vegan Montreal Bagel Recipe

For those that requested here is D's Vegan Montreal Bagel recipe. I was going to copy it out and put it up sooner, but D. insisted that he should author it and rightly so since he knows the recipe so well now.

This week he's made the Montreal "Cinnamon Raisin" bagel, but because we didn't have any raisins on hand (not a big fan) he substituted fig into the dough. Oh my I've just had my first sampling and they are delicious.

D’s Vegan Montreal Bagels
makes about 20
wet ingredients:
  • 1.5 cups warm water
  • 1.5 tbs traditional yeast + 0.5 tbs raw sugar + 1/3 cup warm water (mix to activate yeast)
  • 2 tbs grapeseed oil
  • 5 tbs raw organic sugar
  • 2 tbs organic maple syrup
  • 1 tbs wheat malt powder/flour
dry ingredients:
  • 3 to 4 cups unbleached organic bread flour
  • 1 cup organic semolina
  • 1/4 cup wheat gluten flour
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt

  1. Combine wet ingredient list and dry ingredient list separately, keeping aside 1 cup of unbleached flour. Add dry ingredients to wet, mix, and knead for 10 minutes adding left over flour a bit at a time or as needed. Let the dough stand in a covered bowl sealed with plastic wrap or bag for at least 1 hour.
  2. Form your bagels by cutting off sections of dough, rolling them out into ‘snakes’ about 8 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. You then wrap the snake around your knuckles and roll the ends together on a counter-top until you get a bagel-shaped ring. Let stand another 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 425 F. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add 1/3 cup raw organic sugar. Drop 4 or 5 bagels into sweet water; when they start to float, boil them on each side for 90 seconds. Remove with tongs onto a rack. When you can stand handling them, dip them on each side into a plate or bowl full of sesame or poppy seeds (or both !). Bake on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes or so, flipping them over mid-way. Keep an eye on them! It all depends on your oven, so cooking time may vary. They’re ready when they just start to turn golden/light brown. Voila !
(Note: For best results bake directly on terra cotta tiles or pizza stone, a must for any serious bread baker !)

Friday, April 27, 2007

The longest day of the week rant.

It's actually Thursday twice a month that is the longest day of the week. Friday is such a relief after those Thursday evenings at LV. Yesterday really was the longest day ever!

I suppose it didn't help that I was worried about Prima's recovery since she was so sleepy when I left her and she was a bit subdued. She's fine now of course and back to herself, running around with Gigi and getting in Svetlana's way every chance she gets.

I was quite reluctant to go to work (more so than most days). Even with the gray weather we had outside I still didn't want to be in that place whatsoever. It's quite a different space from the other one I worked in, mainly because there are no windows to the outside world so there's a sense of the same time all the time. It's odd. One of my co-workers finds it "relaxing." I can see her point but I don't feel the same way.

Thursday nights are very quiet. I usually get quite a bit of reading done, but last night I was too tired to read for very long. Reading was putting me to sleep. Everyone seemed a little less energetic so it must have been the weather or the stars or something. No one wanted to be there.

Also yesterday was just one of those days where I didn't have the patience for people's stupidity. So I'm going to rant a little with some highlights from yesterday.
1. No, I don't know which knobs and handles you should buy for your kitchen. I've never seen your place, nor do I have any idea what the kitchen looks like and quite frankly I think the ones you've selected to choose from are some of the ugliest hardware we have.
2. You don't have to whisper to me that you're going to Home Despot. I don't care if you go there. I tell people to go there everyday because no one here cares if you'd rather buy it somewhere else. We don't operate that way. And why are you whispering? What are you ashamed of?
3. I don't appreciate Baby drooling all over the counter, the product, my pen, and the interac keypad (remember that next time you're making a debit purchase). Perhaps baby shouldn't be on the counter and would be safer in the stroller that you've left sitting in everyone's way.
4. Don't call me "darlin'"
5. Don't think that I find "wife" jokes and derogatory sexist comments about women shopping funny. She hasn't spent all of your money so your card will go through and so what if she does? Didn't you agree to "for richer and for poorer". By the looks of it you're lucky to have a wife.
6. Please don't ask me if this is a good place to work and if I get a discount. It's none of your business.
7. Don't call me "darlin."
8. Don't let your child run around a place with saws and chisels on display. We try to keep as much as we can under glass, but the store is called LV Tools. There are tools everywhere.
9. Don't throw your credit card at me.
10. Yup, if you try and dislodge a big rock with a wooden handled spade it will probably break that is why it's called a "transplant spade" and not a "boulder spade." We tell you to use the right tool for the right job. I know it's a shocker, but it's true.
11. It's also true that if you try and cut through a tree with your loppers the blade will break, but of course you're right it is a crappy tool and that's why we sell so many.
12. You came all the way here just for me to show you how to put in the battery?
13. No, I won't assemble your lawn mower for you. Have your very able son next to you do it.
14 Don't call me darlin!

I wish I could say these things, but I'd be fired. Hmmm...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

back from the vet

Our little Prima is recovering fine. She had two extractions (although the vet said that the teeth were falling out). She was quite wired last night, and had trouble eating, but she's herself. She's quite tired today after that ordeal. I've given her wet food but she wants her crunchies! So I've added water to them to try and help, but she's not keen on that either. D's going to pick up some new wet food on the way home. Maybe that will entice her.
Mostly she wants to sleep now which is good. The vet is amazing and so kind. She gave me all the details of Prima's behaviour and the surgery so I feel like she was well cared for. We're all relieved to have her home and doing so well.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Have you see this cat?

This is Ruggles. Ruggles of Red Gap as I sometimes call him. My sis sent this photo. I'm not sure if he's cleaning or licking his chops or what? I wonder...

He's one of the cast of characters that makes up the gang now living in Montreal. I miss them all. Sometimes I feel like the family has been split up. Even though our three girls here didn't really mix with my sister's crew when we shared the house, D, Sis and I saw all the kitties all the time. We looked after each others cats while away or just to help each other out through those stressful vet visits.

Ruggles has certainly blossomed into his own. He was so fearful of the other cats when he arrived and sis kept him in the guest room for a while where Ruggles was quite happy getting special attention. We use to call it the "Ruggles Reading Room" because there was a bookcase and whenever I went in to spend time with Ruggie he would be played with and fed and fussed over, but eventually I'd pull a book off the shelf and start reading while Ruggie and I lounged on the bed. Sis did the same thing.

Now Ruggles mixes with the others like an equal. Rupert still chases him since his role as the "baby" was disrupted when Ruggles moved in, but overall it's pretty good.

Primavera (Suprima as we also call her since she thinks she's top cat here) is at the vet today. She's got some dental work to be done. Her gums at the back are quite red and puffy and the vet says she made need one and possibly two extractions. Poor Prima. Anywho...I'll pick her up later today with the rental car. She seemed to really enjoy the car ride this morning which was quite the opposite reaction I expected. She panicked on the plane when we flew out here and did circles in her Sherpa bag. D. was with her so that was good, but she didn't make that trip well. Understandably so. In the car though she settled down in her Sherpa bag and looked towards the windshield, catching birds flying by and was quite fascinated when I turned on the windshield wipers to clear away the morning dew.

Hopefully all will go well with the surgery.

Monday, April 23, 2007

I am completely taken with these animals. Coyotes are quite beautiful. I saw another one (total count 3 since March) while biking to work Saturday. While pedaling through the rolling grounds of the R. hospital I saw a coyote standing on a lawn looking into the tall grass. S/he was clearly hunting for something tasty.

It's funny how for the second time the coyote is aware that I'm there, but doesn't look directly at me. Her/his head turned and followed me as I passed as if sensing me, but not seeing me, being also aware of all it's surroundings.

Wild and confident I definitely feel like these coyotes own the land and we are merely in its way to roaming freely. However, they seem to be doing just fine.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Anniversary and Mama Rosa's

It was anniversary # 8 this week. We both worked on the day itself. D. bought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers with some gorgeous lilies that have just opened. We exchanged our cards and rather last minute decided to go to dinner Saturday night.

There's a Japanese restaurant in Port Whoody that we really like and sort of planned to go there. However, we were keen to try something new and fairly close to home. I did some research and heard about a place called Mama Rosa's or rather Rosa's Cucina Italiana. Sounds doable right? I read about it being a busy place that often had line ups since they take no reservations and that Mama Rosa greeted you herself. People rated the food as excellent. So we go for it.

Mamma mia! The place was packed, but we didn't wait long. We were greeted by Surly Mama who looks overworked and suspicious of people she doesn't recognize. There's one very pregnant waitress for about 40 people who starts off to be somewhat friendly with us, but is soon as surly as Mama Rosa.

I didn't expect the menu to be vegan or even that veg. Knowing Italian food and having travelled through most of Italy I know that there is always something I can eat and indeed I find a Pasta Primavera with a "red sauce" option. There's no insalata mista which as far as I'm concerned is a menu standard from Piemonte to Calabria. I order a tomato and onion salad (those that don't know I typically can't eat onions) and figure I can risk eating a few onions (I do love them) and give the rest to D. I double check with the waitress when she comes to take our order to make sure the "red sauce" is a plain tomato sauce. My question seems to have made the waitress more surly.

We get a basket of thick sliced mangia cake bread with a promise from the waitress that she'll bring our water on the next trip (water is very important to me since I spend a lot of time hydrating before going for those long runs). The bread is fine (I guess that makes me a mangia cake). Our "salads" arrive (no water yet, but again we're promised that she'll have it on the next trip. The place is small the tap can't be that far away. We're sitting beneath the bar and I know there's a sink on the other side, but I don't dare get my own water and send Mama Rosa into a rage). The four giant slabs of tomato that make up my salad are sad and pale. I know it's not tomato season, but I think Mama Rosa could benefit from some organic and locally grown produce. The olives are good and the house wine is fine. We're together and wanted to try something new so that's all good. We don't discuss the food because we both know without telling each other that it's as we expected after we saw the menu, very average, actually below average.

The waitress drops off our plates. She's stopped promising watering and I don't dare ask so I give up too. It's not going to happen. I worked in the restaurant industry at one time, I know she hasn't forgotten but has given up instead.

The portions are huge. The Penne Primavera is a heaping portion of penne with more pale looking tomatos to make the sauce (maybe it's the dark and anything but atmospheric lighting). The veg is at least al dente, but is an odd mix of cauliflower, broccoli and carrots. I suspect it's one of those pre-chopped bags from the supermarket. Even though I don't eat cheese, I'd still like to refuse the offer of having some grated on my pasta. D.'s Manicotte with spinach and ricotta caused him to comment is "there's too much sauce." We didn't see the waitress again until she leaned over my shoulder and asked if we wanted dessert. When we said no she zipped away so fast I wondered if she was really trying to get rid of us or maybe she was going into labour. In any case, I didn't see her again. D. did mention that she spent most of the night chatting in a very friendly way with the big table behind us. Anyway, it would seem that the prices on the menu must reflect the portion size and not the content. It really is too much money for what we were served. I thought of D's mom's amazing Italian meals that she's served us over the years and think that Mama Rosa has brought shame to Italian cuisine. It's very sad that she's chosen to go cheap and taken traditional Italian food to a subpar level.

D. and I had one bad meal during our three week honeymoon in Italy (thanks again sis!). We stayed in Tropea in the last room available in August which was over the kitchen. There was a reason it was the last room available in the 40 degree weather in August. We couldn't breath in there it was so hot. We ate one night in the hotel restaurant which was full of families on holiday. I ordered a simple spaghetti that was awful. The pasta was way undercooked (al dente x 10) and stiff in a boring tomato sauce that had no freshness to it at all.

Italy is famous for its food and the Italian immigrants have brought so much to North America culturally including its cuisine and here's Mama Rosa with the room to do something unique amongst the pubs, the family restaurant chains, the fast food stops, and the sushi bars in our neck of the GWRD (Greater Whoville Regional District) and she can't even find a chef to make a suitable tomato sauce. It's too bad. I'm thinking she's related to the family that ran that restaurant in Tropea. Maybe I should have asked her. I might have if I wasn't so afraid of her with her surly manner.

Oh, our anniversary was nice because like I said at least we were together and that was what it was really about.

The next morning as I ran past the restaurant on my Sunday run I noticed a well worn sign in the window of Mama Rosa's that was looking for kitchen help. Ha! Good luck.

Earth day run

While it wasn't really planned, D and I headed out for another training session. My long Sunday runs have become a something we do together. While I loved the Trabwholay trail we journeyed last week, I thought we should take advantage of these long distances I'm running and check out a new part of the trans Canada trail in the Greater Whoville Regional Distract (GWRD).

This week I learned:
a.) always check the elevation level of the trail before heading out
b.) running shoes are not trail shoes once you leave the paved paths of the well maintained sections that run through the town's core, a trail becomes a little more...shall we say...rugged.
c.) D is a great coach (even if he is crazy following me out on these journeys).

And...most importantly I learned:

d.) that I am crazy for wanting to run a marathon distance.

We were doing great until we hit the woodsy section of the trail that runs parallel but below the highway and along the waterfront. As a walker it's a lovely trail. As a runner, it's a challenge because it's constant ups and downs and turns etc. For D. it wasn't such an easy bike ride either. His bike had a flat so he was on my bike with the skinnier tires and all those mini hills were wearing us both out. We were happy to reach the pavement on a side road that led up to the highway.

At this point the trail crosses the road and we started to climb and climb and climb and I finally said "I'm not doing this, I have to walk." D was already walking, pushing the bike up the hill. I have no idea how steep the mountain climb was, but it's the steepest trail I've ever been on.

I don't even know how long it took up to climb the mountain, probably a good 25 minutes to a half hour of very steep grade. At the "top" we saw a map of the parked area. The map indicated that the trail we had just climbed was "intermediate." Hmmm. The trail ahead promised to be a beginner trail. I can't imagine the advanced routes.

We kept going because we're just crazy enough to do so. By now I'm walking and running as I see fit. Screw the 10:1 ratio of the run walk, I'm in extreme conditions here.

We saw a cyclist who was all geared up and trekking on ahead. She was struggling too. I spoke to her briefly while waiting for D. to summit a particularly steep curve. She was walking her bike to and said she could usually bike this trail but felt today was enough to just walk pushing a 40 lb bike up the hill. Fair enough. She then asked if we were going up the "Cardiac hill" route. I laughed. She said it was a good route and I'm thinking here are D and I the two stupid newbies from Toronto thinking we can hit the trails like the most seasoned west coaster. How very humbling the hills can be.

The views were incredible.
Up that high we could view across the inlet at the mountains on the other side and the clouds in wisps around the peaks. A few points along the trail the cliffs tapered sharply below us and we looked down into the trees, their spindly tops reaching for light as their long trunks sloped away from us into the valley below. There are some massive old growth stumps left behind from the old logging days with new trees sprouting from them (new as in a hundred years). We forgot the camera so there are no incredible vistas of us at the top of the mountain "looking down on creation." Next time.

Of course we hit every weather system again. There was a steady but light rain and then it was just overcast and still in the woods which was nice because it can be quite cool in the woods. When we completed that section of the trail, the sun came out and it was actually quite hot (I know I was running, but there was no wind and it really was quite balmy).

We headed for the highway and as crazy as it is, we ran on the bike path on the highway. There was no way we were getting on any more trails and I really wanted to be on pavement again and get in a good steady run going.

At about 6 k from home I started to stop a lot more and walk through a lot of it, but I kept running. We had a tough hike in the middle of the run so I'm not going to sweat it. Although I admit I still am uncertain about whether I can complete the full distance on race day. D. said he was astounded that my form didn't change through the whole ordeal. He said my form looked the same at the end as it did at the beginning. That's encouraging. I was on auto-pilot at the 28k mark so it's good to know the form holds up.

So all in all it was a run with an intense hike in the middle and then another run.

Glad to be home and rested and awaiting D's Sunday night tomato sauce with pasta. I made a tomato, cucumber, basil salad (all local veg) that I hope tastes good.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Mauricie National Park

While on my way to work today I thought about the Mauricie. I'm not sure what triggered the memory. Perhaps I was thinking about camping as a holiday that would be missed this year.

D. had been camping in the Mauricie for about 10 years before we went together. I had never been camping before I went with D, his brother, M, and their best friend A. What an amazing introduction to camping to go with these three. M and A liked to fish so it was all about the fishing for them. D's favorite thing was to lie at the edge of the lake on a rock and look up at the stars, watching for shooting stars. I wasn't even sure if I'd like camping when I first went, but I grew up in rural NB so I knew I'd be happy to be away from the city and near water.

We portaged to Lac Dauphinais, and then on to Lac Des Cinqs,the two big lakes on the map. We started (I think) at Lac Giron and spent the whole day canoeing and portaging to our destination, one of the most remote campsites. Since you can only get there by portaging for a whole day there are hardly any people out there. I think our first night, the first year we went, we shared a site with one other tent for one night, but that was it. With us having two tents it definitely worked to our advantage when each site generally only holds three tents.

I loved following M and A's canoe as we wound our way along the lakes. We stopped just over half way on a rock outcropping to eat our lunch and M and A often went in for a quick dip before we moved along. I was learning their traditions as I went along. They knew how to pack properly and which sites were the best ones to stay on for peace and quiet. It was a lot of work to get to Lac Des Cinqs, but it was well worth it.

Lac Des Cinqs is stunningly beautiful and we often witnessed small weather systems moving through. The sky changed throughout the day and the lake was a new experience every day. I loved jumping off the rocks into the cold water. The lake was fairly deep at our two campsites we stayed at so we could always dive in just meters from our site. Swimming in the lake was the most enjoyable.

My first year there the mosquitos were quite bad. We just seemed to hit the season at the wrong time. We ate dinner before dusk just so we could flee to our tents once the mosquitos came out at night. Even in the day though I found it to be unbearable, spending my days in long sleeved everythings. D. and I started taking the canoe out. Out on the lake there was more of a breeze and no mosquitos. We'd just drift along on the lake. I'd read or just lie in the canoe enjoying the sun. D always sleeps. He can sleep anywhere. The next year we went there were no mosquitos, but I continued the canoe tradition simply because it was so peaceful to drift on the lake with no sound of anything but the wind in the trees, the ripple of the water lapping against the canoe and the birds flying past us.

I don't know if we'll ever get back to that lake. I'm not sure I could portage that distance again and now we're on the other side of the country. At least I got to experience the Mauricie and discover how much I love camping at the same time.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

I ran forever.

Ran forever today. Seriously I felt like I had been running all day. With 29 k as my goal, D. and I headed out around 10 am after I mapped out a route along the Poco whotrail (also known as the Trabwholay). The trail is amazing. D. followed me on his bike which was great. He really motivated me, especially near the end. I felt spoiled having D. coaching me along, carrying my water bottle and all. I guess I was. I saw another runner along the way and he had someone biking alongside him as well. What we do for the ones we love right?

We went along the streets, through the woods, past some farmland, and along the river. D. took photos along the way.

I started to fade approximately around the 24 k mark. I took more walk breaks. I felt my legs starting to give up. But I made it. I did ask D. to go get the van (he had borrowed the van from work so we could take the kitties to the vet and pick up some gardening supplies on Saturday) because I did not want to walk anymore. I did and then walked some more and then I was almost home when D. arrived with the van. I was deliriously happy to see the van and couldn't stop laughing when he pulled up. Fatigue, relief, delirium or whatever you want to call it had set in.

We had planned to install the compost and that's it for Sunday. I didn't even think I had the energy to do that, but after showering and refueling with a vegan bagel, and some toasted fig and anise bread (amazingly good) with a hemp maca flax smoothie and coffee I felt pretty good. The compost bin took all of 10 or 15 minutes to set up and get started. The sun was shining down through the trees and I was enjoying being in the garden again. I placed a couple of stones and the next thing you know, D. and I are collecting slate stones from the retaining wall that's coming down and laying them out as a path to the compost bin.
D. discovered that the two year old (also named Gigi) who lives upstairs from us had left her shovel in the sand. He found it to be a suitable trowel even though I have two extra trowels from LV. Even though I offered to go get him a trowel, he kept working with the bright yellow plastic one and I must say he worked very efficiently as well.

I continued on with my cultivator raking away bits of sand and rock to place another stone. I used my hands to fill in around the rocks. We each have our methods. We only planned to lay a few stones, but then really wanted to finish the path and we did. Here's the result.
If you remember my earlier photos of this spot it was simply sand and nothing else. It's already a big improvement. I hope our homeowners like it! The steps run up to this spot (also made in the same stone) and curve along the line of the (future) garden. To the left of the path we added some soil, mushroom manure and coir to start a raised bed. Now we were really into the process and realized we would need more rocks and we would need the van to get them. Into the van we got and drove around, up the mountain until we found a spot where D. found some beautiful rocks. By the time we got home we didn't have any more energy to carry them all the way to the garden so we left them just outside our door.

Tomorrow someone is coming in to remove the tree stumps. It's all very exciting. I just hope I can walk tomorrow after all of this.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday the 13th

Happy Friday the 13th! Anything strange happen to anyone? So far my day has been uneventful. My bus never showed, but that's nothing unusual really.

It's been ages since I've seen the film Friday the 13th. I revisited it when I was studying horror films. It amused me more than anything and I may have fast forwarded through parts of it. I was watching a lot of films at the time, especially horror -- not really an excuse though because I would sit through a lot of films and not feel the need to fast forward -- but Friday the 13th did make me hit that button just like The Amityville Horror caused me to fast forward. The original was dead boring. Again, it seemed scarier at the time it was released but it doesn't last while other films from that era are still creepy.

Friday the 13th was a big deal when I saw it on video as a teen. It seemed so scary at the time and now it seems so tame (at least the original). The character of Jason evolved and that character's lasting effect is significant and probably there's an essay out there somewhere on that character. Here's a link that shows the film being referenced on t.v. and that's just one form of media. There are other references on the site as well that demonstrate this films lasting effect.

A new plot

All right I've calmed down since the landscapers came and went. This is what we've got to work with now.

I know it's hard to tell what's going on here as in an overall view, but this is only one side of the backyard. I took the photos from the lawn that will remain, but what you see is where we'll garden.

The two tree stumps are going to be removed (not by us, but rather someone competent) and there's a third one not shown that will also be taken out. The stone that is part of the "wall" will be ours to use for whatever (pathways, sitting area...) and they are going to install another retaining wall. I suggested to deb. that they do a two level wall so there'd be one ledge for planting followed by more wall and then more planting above that. She seemed to like the idea. I hope they go for it.

I guess I'm looking for suggestions. It's a completely shaded yard so think hostas and bleeding hearts sort of thing.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

When the Landscapers were through...

I couldn't look. Part of my desire to go out for the bike ride yesterday was to get away from the house and the knowledge that the landscapers our landlords hired were out in the yard and I could have no control over what was going on. It's not my garden after all and it's not my sister living upstairs so I don't have any input.

My hope was that the landscapers would be gone by the time we got home, but they were still at it. I checked out the back yard and gone was not only all of the ground cover, but also all of the moss and all of the ferns. The ground under the huge pine and cedar was bare earth. I saw one discarded fern on the walkway and picked it up and put it in a planter, but it looks bleak. It's a yard with a lot of shade and ferns and moss beneath two glorious trees is very natural. Without this greenery below it looks quite stark. I did go out at one point and ask the workers if they could leave any sizeable "stray" rocks since I wanted to use them for the perrenial garden I'd be putting in. They said they would, but I haven't checked to see what's left yet.

As for the front yard, my fears were that while removing the ivy (a job which I had started a few days ago) the near concealed smoke bush would be torn away with the rest. There is a large gaping hole, but the smoke bush survived with some pretty severe pruning. I know it can take this at this time of year, but it looks so exposed and some of the cuts have taken away its full shape. So the line of mixed shrubbery following the walkway up to our house has a gaping hole in it.

I had trouble sleeping last night because I was thinking about the back yard. It looks so barren and I know that upstairs they are fans of the cedar mulch any surface that isn't grass. When did it become about the cedar mulch? i hate that look, it's so shopping mall. I tried to calm myself by imagining all that D. and I can now do with this empty canvas.

First, I'll take pictures and then go from there. I am feeling a bit better today. It does raise some questions about whether or not my landlords will like our type of gardening since some of it was ripped up yesterday. I mourn the loss of ferns and it's ridiculous to go out and buy some now. I'll have to find a wooded area and dig some up while I'm searching for some moss to transplant as well.

Monday, April 09, 2007

A dinner to remember

Sunday dinner is usually pasta night.

This past Easter Sunday was no exception. D. mixed up a pasta dough of roasted garlic and fresh ground pepper and we pressed and cut the noodles for our dinner while the tomato sauce cooked on the stove. He also made steamed asparagus with roasted red pepper and lemon mustard vinaigrette. The wine? A Bandol that he bought at the LCBO and made the trip across country with us. The meal was divine and it seemed very impromptu since we hadn't really planned anything special. I guess D. had be planning all along.

Later we had organic strawberries with a little balsamic and some Soyatoo whipped topping on them with a little Denman Island chocolate to go with the wine.

Happy Easter.

Trail biking

In the middle of doing our taxes today I suggested we get outside and enjoy the sun. I could tell that it was going to be yet another temporary break in the rainy overcast weather and if we didn't go out and enjoy it then we'd miss it. It took a little convincing. Once D. is on a project he doesn't like to stop (Virgo!) and we were well into our Schedule 1s when I threw a wrench into the plan.

Once we were outside we knew it was worth it. We biked to the trail that runs along the Whoville river and meanders through a couple of towns. The river was flowing quite rapidly and the ducks we saw floating downstream seemed to really be enjoying themselves riding the currents. Of course I have no pictures to show because I forgot to take the camera. I'm just not in the habit of having my camera on me and thus there are no scenic shots for the blog. Oh well. You'll have to take my word for it that it's a lovely trail and some of it is very narrow with large moss covered trees reaching up overhead.

There were quite a few people on the trail. I said hello to everyone and everyone says hello as well. It seems necessary for some reason. What's the etiquette on this anyway? I never said hello to people in High Park except for the runners since most runners always say hello to other runners. It's understood that this is done. D. and I biked past a couple and their boxer dog and we all exchanged hellos and I thanked them for stepping aside to let us pass. Then we did a little switchback and encountered them again, but this time no hellos were exchanged. They didn't even make eye contact with me. Can you only say hello once? Again what's the etiquette here? I'm not worrying about it too much, but I'm a little more aware since Whoville is a smaller town and people do tend to say hello to one another. Or at least it seems if you're on a trail or a small side street a hello can be used, but if you're on a main street forget it. is rare that we have two days off together and while it seemed practical to take advantage of this bonus time and complete our taxes, it also seemed like a waste of a perfectly lazy day. In the end we achieved both and we both learned that we're getting refunds. Woohoo!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

More bagels!

D. has a long weeked. I worked Saturday and while I was running around L.V. getting fed up with pointless questions about gardening products, D was home making bread, bagels and calzone dough. When I arrived home he was in the middle of boiling those bagels, prepping them to be baked in the oven. This week he made poppy seed and sesame. As expected they're delicious. He also made calzone filled with roasted parsnip and garlic, kale and tomato (sorry I don't have photos of that).

18 k! My goals can be reached!

Ran a new route today that took me into an area of Whoville I'd never seen which was interesting. Since Sunday is typically the day of my longest run and I knew I'd be aiming for 19 k, I decided that new scenery would keep me having fun since there would be lots to look at.

It was raining when I got up this morning, but I knew if I waited it out I might get lucky and have a window of good weather. At least it's a lot warmer now. I don't dread that initial shock of cold when I step out the door that of course goes away after 10 minutes of running. Anywho...just as I had hoped the rain let up, the sky broke and we even had a little sun. I made sure I was well hydrated and dressed for the long run.

I walked down the hill to warm up and then started off slow. Soon I was over the bridge and the Whoville river and into new and undiscovered terrain. I saw a bunny along one road. It was scampering down the roadside, delivering Easter eggs I suppose. Eventually the sidewalk ended and I was running on a pretty quiet roadside that was quite pretty. When I turned back I realized that the route intersected with the trans Canada trail. Next time I'll run the trail. Once my Achilles feels 100% I'll try the trail.

As I made my way back I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe how good I was feeling and I felt like I could keep going. I considered this briefly, but knew it'd be better to go home and take it easy. I don't want to do too much too quickly.

In the end I completed 18 k. I have a half marathon in four weeks so now I believe I can achieve this.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Along my bus route is a hospital, most of which is not used anymore that is evident by the broken windows of the large, cavernous brick buildings that identify the hospital for what it once was, an institution. I imagine polished wood floors and dully painted plaster walls with harsh lighting and impersonal spaces. Some of the newer buildings are still operating and appear to house many people dealing with mental illnesses. These newer buildings are called "cottages" but look like very standard 70s two-storey houses and, on the occasion when I can see through the windows as the bus passes by, seem to be no more inviting inside than the brick buildings. At least the hospital is there and exists for people who need it.

Anywho...the grounds on which this hospital exists are stunning. There are trees there that seem to exist no where else in this area, probably because it's one of the few areas that have remained hospital property and thus not part of the heavily logged regions here. While the bus travels through the grounds I am usually taking advantage of the travel time to read. However, yesterday I took a pause from my book to look at the trees again since they are changing rapidly now as the leaves are starting to come out and the cherry blossoms are in full bloom now. Along the route I noticed two massive Magnolia trees, the size of which I've never seen before. They must be at least 40 years old. Imagine a maple tree of that age that you've seen and then picture that with Magnolia blossoms about to open on it. It made me quite eager to bike through the grounds and really take the time to enjoy it almost as a park. I expect there will be photos to follow soon.


So, I'm headed out in the heat for my run today. It's unbelievably warm. I'm going to try a new route that seems to roll a little more. I've been sticking to the fairly flat surfaces as much as possible to not stress out my Achilles too much. Every run I'm taking one step at a time and if at any time I feel pain, I reassess and figure out if I can and should continue running. Hopefully I'll have another great run today.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Visual DNA

I came across this via Red-Letter Day. I love visual over text...

...and here I am blogging.

Oh I should add that I find it odd that I've done another q & a test to find out what film I was and as it turned out I was "Easy Rider". Is that not odd?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Happy Belated Birthday Gigi!

We didn't forget her birthday but I did forget to post a happy birthday to her on the blog. We decided on April 1st to be her day because her full name is Gigi Buffon. She's definitely a clown and prankster. We love her and celebrate her everyday. Happy Birthday Buffon!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

I run therefore I am.

I did it! This morning I ran with no plan in mind. All I wanted to achieve was getting outside to run and run I did. I was quite fearful when I woke up and had all kinds of reservations about going outside for a run. The last long distance I had done wasn't a good run and I struggled much of the way, wondering if I should quit or not. That was a sign at the time and shortly after that my Achilles started to ache. So this morning I talked to D. and tried to get over my fears, but the only way to get over the fear was to go out and do it.

With a nice, easy walk to get me going, I started to run just to warm up a little since the air was fairly cool and I was wearing shorts. Then, I just kept going at a slower than normal and easy pace. It felt really good. I didn't even think about my run/walk system. All I thought about were the last words D. said to me at the door "just have fun" and I did. Next thing I know I'm 45 minutes into a run and wondering if I should head home or not. I did because I didn't want to overdo it and then around 55 minutes I started to feel the Achilles pain so I was glad I was on my way home.

Any event I participate in I want to run with this attitude. I just want to have fun and finish the race. It's so much fun to run a race with so many runners with so many different goals and reasons for running. I want to be a part of that. I love roads being shut down so people can run simply because we enjoy it. I love those quiet moments when the "pack" thins out and I can hear my breath and the rhythm of my feet. I love the moments when I'm not even aware of my body and I glide along in an even pace without having to worry about form, breath or the hill up ahead. Those are the moments I run for. Those are the moments I race for.

I ran over 10 k this morning. While this wasn't my scheduled distance, it was the furthest I've run since the injury. The cross-training and strength training have definitely helped. I felt fit going out today. I was also trying out a new electrolyte replenishing drink called Refresh. I found it at MEC as it was recommended by one of the staff there. I was drawn to a product called "Rain". I guess I have rain on the brain out here so it seemed like it might be a good fit. The MEC staffer suggested Refresh. Red jane was with me and pointed out the order of ingredients was a better option so that was a good thing. Then when I read the label I saw that it was made here in whoville so I was sold. It's so nice not to use Gatorade (yuck) or it's other drink Propel. I had tried another electrolyte replacement drink that the Running Room was promoting, but then found out it had aspartame in it. Double Yuck. So I'll stick with the Refresh for the long distances.

Anywho...once at home, I did my usual stretching and a little core work before showering. We finished off D's bagels and he made me a beautiful coffee. Then I just put some heat on the Achilles and rested it until Svetlana came along and decided she needed to sleep on the heating pad. She's 18 and I'm not going to argue with an old kitty like her. She can have whatever she wants at this point. I just want her to be comfortable.

Now I'm excited about my running again. As long as I continue to listen to my body and build up my distance again gradually I should be okay.