Wednesday, October 31, 2007

have a scary halloween

We use to decorate the house from top to bottom, dress up, play scary music. One year I even played Nosferatu in the front window. The kids had no idea what was going on at our house. We went for classic scary stuff and not the wal-mart packaged dancing skeletons with piped in cheesy monster music. We weren't flashy, but we were spooky.

So this year in our little side suite where no kids seem to venture, I've got nothing. I've got clif bars in case some kid can't find the front door of the house and accidentally rings our bell. This is unlikely to happen. My plan is to watch a horror film and call it a night. Now which one to watch...

Friday, October 26, 2007

who killed the Canadian electric car?

After seeing a report on the CBC's the National last night, I too am wondering who killed Canada's electric car? I looked up Zenn cars website (Zenn) and found more reports from CTV and earlier this month CBC's the Current contacted the CEO to discuss why the car isn't available here.

The report last night focused on transport Canada as being the one blame. The problem seems to be its speed. Because it is a low speed vehicle (LSV), predominantly intended for urban use where your speed doesn't exceed 50km/h, transport Canada's regulations are blocking the availability of this vehicle in Canada. I found this on transport Canada's site:
"We found that LSVs in their current configurations cannot be allowed
unrestricted use in all municipalities nor on all road systems, even urban
road systems. However, we believe that LSVs are vehicles that meet both
individual and community needs, can be safely driven in traffic and have
their place in urban communities."

So what's the hold up? If it does meet regulations, but then transport Canada says no it doesn't're reviewing it. What's going on?

Today while on the Zenn website I signed the petition to encourage all provinces to adopt legislation that would permit these electric cars on the roads. Seems like a simple step in our so-called growing environmentally minded world. We are supposed to be trying to reduce emissions are we not?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

small bites

The front garden turned out to be dust. After I pulled back about 6 inches of mulch and found the landscape fabric, I cut into the fabric and pulled out dust. The soil has been completely depleted. Now I know why the three boxwoods at the front are stunted. They're bonsai boxwoods. Why am I telling you this? Because I had mapped out a colour coded chart of my bulb planting plans for this rather drab looking front space.

Plan B? I have no plan b. I started digging into containers and sticking bulbs where I could find space. Plan B is to come up with a Plan C. I will have to plant most of the bulbs in the back yard. That's all I have right now.

I did get to spend a few hours in the garden transplanting, cleaning, raking, doing a little pruning which was very enjoyable.

* * *

I joined a hockey pool this year. This is something I've never done before. I've been in last place (33rd) since the start of the season and had an early morning call (yes another one!) from my brother telling me not to worry. Believe me I wasn't worried and at 7 in the morning it is definitely the last thing on my mind. However, the good news is that today I am no longer in 33rd place (last). I am now 29th on the list tied with my brother's dog (Little Joe). Here's my competition:
Looks threatening doesn't he?

* * *

I'm looking for more work opportunities to try and be more involved in the arts in any way possible. Let's see where this takes me.

* * *

I got this amazing email from a friend from way back (something that's been happening more and more lately) who is a fly fisher (is that what such a person is called? Mr Anchovy?). He takes photos and writes about his fishing experiences and the BC outdoors. A local paper in his neck of the woods published an article on him that focused on his encounter with a Grizzly bear in the Kootenays. He was in his truck and he saw a Grizzly coming down the road towards him. He got out of his truck to photograph the bear. He seen lots of bear and said that bears usually run off when they see him, but this one kept walking towards him and sauntered right past him, coming as close as 6 feet away. He got some great shots. So I'm linking his site here. From there just click on "recent updates" on the left side and it will take you to the photos.

I was so happy to read a story about an positive encounter with bears.

* * *

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

free day

After having a wonderful 4 day weekend, I went into work today ready to deal with the Monday blahs on a Tuesday and 2 minutes after I arrived the power went out. This is the third time in 6 days. We seem to have a major problem in the area with one of the power sources and were told that it would be near the end of the day before we might have power. Apparently Saturday they faced a similar scenario and the manager decided to set up tables at the front door to take and process orders! Huh? Is that not baked?

Staff was sent home today. I guess a Tuesday doesn't promise to be busy. It was like getting a get-out-of-jail-free-card. On top of it all the sun is beaming in a bright blue expanse of sky. The weekend weather was too crummy for planting bulbs so here's my chance.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Margie Gillis at the evergreen cultural centre

Last night we saw Margie Gillis dance. It was incredible, inspiring, and moving. Her opening performance When Skin Separates from Bone set the tone for something unexpected and wonderful as she moved, stopped, moved, stopped, flowed, stopped, etc in a gradual progression across the stage. Each dance was unique and a complete entity of its own, separating it from the others before and after it and yet all of them linked together by Fluid Stability which was the name for the whole performance. Gillis refers to it as an "anthology of poem dances."

An unfortunate costume mishap (it got left behind in Calgary) meant that one of the planned dances would be scratched from the program. In its place, Gillis performed Bloom and unbelievable dance set to and excerpt from James Joyce's Ulysses. The text and dance went beautifully together and I would love nothing more than to see some of my favorite pieces of writing performed in such a way.

My wonderful and fabulous sis gets the big thank you for getting us these tickets. She's had the good fortune to have worked with Margie Gillis and she told me to stay after the performance, identify myself, say hello, congratulate etc. However, after waiting around in the lobby for a bit, my shyness got the better of me and I left before waiting to say hello. Sorry sis. She was fabulous. The audience gave her a standing ovation and the appreciation was reciprocal.

Friday, October 19, 2007

and then it rained

By the time I'd run 2k the rain had started again. I headed to the track to see if it was not being used by anyone else. It was nice to be on the track for a change. With only one lap to go to complete my 5k on the track, a dark cloud moved over whoville and it started to really rain again. I grabbed my jacket and started to jog home. Just before I left the park, it started to pour as in torrential downpour. The trees are almost devoid of leaves now so there wasn't much shelter. I scooted over to a bus shelter and waited a couple of minutes for it to lighten up. I didn't want to cool down too much so I kept running through the rain and it was fun.

Through the rain I thought about how this is my Fall Running Challenge. There are new hazards in the midst of fall such as, wet leaves on the sidewalks, falling leaves in blustery wind, muddy trails, puddles on uneven sidewalks and pathways, and clusters of school children unaware of anyone else in the world. Hazards aside, I'm now working on improving my running ability. The track certainly helped, but I was pleased to complete 5k in 25 minutes! That's a great time for me.

where'd that sun come from?

We were promised nothing but rain, rain and more rain and now the sun seems to be breaking through. I'd better get my running shoes on.

recent Afghan poll

I admit that I refused to watch the results of this poll on the National last night because I was angry at the whole idea. db asked why I didn't want to watch and I (perhaps flippantly) replied "because it's a poll that is self-serving to the government so they can continue to sell this war to Canadians." That was my gut reaction.

After sleeping on it, I browsed the headlines this morning and decided I needed to read the results. It confirmed what I thought that the purpose of this poll is another way to help endorse a Canadian military presence in Afghanistan. Peter McKay comments "Afghans are now able to take part in democratic processes like polling." Oh please. It's not the first time a poll of Afghan opinion has surfaced in order to serve a continued military presence in their country. Here's an link with poll results from 2005. Here's another link with poll results from 2004. The polls emphasize a majority, however small, recognizing that their lives are better than previous years.

After reading the headlines, I'm sticking with my gut reaction on this one.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

vino time part 2

This on is for P.

Take one wine press (the same one P gave you for Christmas).
Take your fermented crushed grapes that have been sitting doing their thing all week.
Get into that barrel and go after those grapes.
Add the grapes to the press.
Start pressing and keep pressing. You've got to work for that vino.
Keep a demi-john (now what is the etymology of that word!) handy to transfer your newly pressed juice. Make sure you strain it through a fine sieve as well.

Open up the press to reveal the "cheesecake" (as sis calls it).
Have an inspector look it over.

Remove all the skins, seeds, stems from the press and loosen it all up.
Have the second inspector look it over before putting it back into the press.
Press it again. Yes, again! You need that extra bottle to be squeezed out of those grapes. You'll be glad you did later.

Watch it trickle into the container. Let it rest. Crank it again. Let it rest. Have a beer. Finish filling the demi-john(s) and six months later open it up and drink.

Fall Reading Challenge

I've posted another book review over at the Fall Reading Challenge

It's a review of Katrine Switzer's autobiography Marathon Woman.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Nobel Peace Prize

Al Gore wins the Nobel Peace prize. Shocker? I think not. Hopefully this will bring further attention and please, please some action on climate change.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

it's vino time!

What do you do after you run a marathon and your partner runs a half? You make wine of course!
Last year we didn't get the opportunity to make wine because we were doing the big move. Over the winter db made wine from a kit which actually wasn't too bad. However, nothing compares to making it from the grape yourself. db is very knowledgeable about winemaking. Not only is it a family tradition for him (I made a film about it once) but he's also read tons and has always experimented with technique to get a particular flavour from his wine. Since we've been together I have to say that his wine keeps getting better each year.

It took a bit of work to find a good supplier here. We thought grapes would be a little easier to find being so close to California. db eventually found a supplier who happened to be marking down all the California grapes to clear them out making room for the incoming Washington grapes (we'll have to try those next year. MMmmm Pinot). No grapes seem to come in from the Okanagan and I'm not sure why. Anywho...we got some old vine Zinfandel for next to nothing and some quality Merlot.

The challenge is making this stuff in your laundry room instead of the garage we use to have. It's a challenge, but we're managing. It should be interesting to see how the pressing goes next week.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

trip photos

We did see mountain goats, but we weren't quick enough to get photos of them. D'oh!

The pumpkin festival just happened to be on while we were there. It was hard to get a shot of this mighty gourd since people were lining up to get their own photo snapped next to the pumpkin.

Beautiful grapes

Summerhill is known as the pyramid winery.

As it turns out it is also a good place to take it easy after a few tastings at the winery.

We stopped in Hope on the way to Kelowna and I had to include this photo because Hope is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the film Rambo which was shot there.

race meditations

I’ve been thinking about the race a lot. Of course when I went back to work yesterday I had the post-holiday blues, but I think there is also a post-race blues that I experienced as well. I train and train and train and boom it’s race time and I nearly die getting over the finish line and then it’s over. It's a bit of a let down when you're not sure what your next race will be.

I went home thinking about how can I be a better runner?

I felt good in the Okanagan run and I enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed starting out with db beside me and the two of us running together for the first 10 k. I felt good until around 28 k when the fatigue started to get the better of me. I took 8 minutes off my Tofino time, which is amazing, but I know I can do better. I know I’ve got it in me to bring my time way down. It’s not enough to finish anymore. Of course I’m relieved to finish, meaning that I don’t trip or twist an ankle or injure myself beyond crawling over the finish line, but some of my disappointment at it being over is that I know I could have been better prepared for that race.

Yes I’m thrilled to have done it and I was overcome with emotion again at the finish line. Just to have achieved this at all is a huge deal to me. I am proud of myself.

Okanagan was strange though. For some reason I thought this is the race where it will all become clear to me and I’ll know what I want from this running stuff. I’ll know what my running goals are. I’ve got the time out there to let this stuff come to me so by the end of the race I’ll know what kind of runner I want to be. The long distances often make previously unthought about issues become clearer so I thought this would happen again. And then…I felt not so good. I was out there struggling in the last 8 k just trying to keep myself positive and instead of knowing exactly what I wanted I started to question if I wanted to be doing this anymore at all! That scared me.

Maybe the running is a parallel to my own life and how I feel about it. I often expect that I’ll get a clear message one day and I’ll say “ah-ha, that is what I need to do.” This doesn’t happen and it didn't happen on race day. Perhaps I’m no clearer in my life goals than I am in my running goals. This is the only thing I took away from this race.

In the chute to the finish I felt this burst of energy propel me to pick up my pace and run like crazy to get over that finish line. Where did that come from? There was db on the side with his hand up and we high-fived as I sprinted for the end. Then the relief and joy surged to the surface and I knew I wanted to do it all again. This wasn’t my final marathon. This was just the beginning of a long journey.

Each moment is the moment. There is no one big event or moment in life, but rather a series of events and moments that string together...well...a life. It's how I experience those moments and the quality of those runs that matters.

* * *

the race event itself.

First, when I picked up my race kit I noticed that my bib number was exactly the same as my last bib number! What are the chances? I thought that was weird and took it as a good omen, but didn't think about it too much.

When db and I scanned our chips to activate them and make sure they had the right personal info, db noticed that he was listed as being from "side door" BC. He often notes on our address that we're the side door (for the mail carrier to drop the mail on the side -- which the mail carrier never does) so I guess that's how he ended up being from side door. He didn't say anything and we had a good laugh.

Like I said it was amazing starting out with db. Standing at the start line with him in the middle of this packed crowd was quite comforting and it calmed me so I felt less nervous than usual. I'm so proud of him and his achievement. He let me set the pace for the first 10 so that was cool too. He later told me that after we split off on our different routes, he did find his own rhythm and then went for it. He crossed the finish in 2:09!

The promised rain never showed. It was partly cloudy and almost hot at times, but overall the conditions were just about perfect. The last half hour of my run was tough enough, but the wind had also picked up and by the time I hit the lakeshore in Kelowna’s city centre, the wind was blustering across the route. I blew aside a couple of times, but kept moving forward.

The marathon route was two passes of the same loop with some variation from the half marathon runners so that we spread out a little more. While I liked running past the same runners and we crossed one another’s paths on these loops and turnarounds, I did not appreciate having to run the same route twice. To put it bluntly it sucked. We ran down a bit of an incline and a hill towards the town centre and then had to veer off on another road, to another turnaround, run back and start the whole route over again. That’s mentally tough to deal with because you know how you did the first time around and when you loop you like to run “home.” When I'm training I always say to db that I can’t turnaround and run past our road as part of my route because I’ll want to go home. I have to run out and back. Most races do this or they vary the route back or have another finish line all together (like Toronto – which is this coming weekend by the way).

Another unsettling thing about the run (and I know runners won’t like me saying this) was it’s businesslike feel. The events I've run previously have been pretty friendly and everyone talks to each other and there's a feeling of a shared experience. The Okanagan run wasn't like this. I know it’s a fast course and a Boston qualifier so people are serious about their times, but c’mon most of us aren’t even thinking about that and Vancouver was a qualifier and it didn't feel that way. So the race felt a little cold. Oh well, I guess they can’t all be warm and fuzzy.

I did love the countryside that we ran through. There were apple orchards and bales of hay across rolling farmland. There were lots of horses out in their pastures and enclosures looking at us runners like we're nuts and we are.

For most of the race I felt good. I had no pain, no cramping in the calf like Tofino and no waiting around port-o-potties like the Trail River Run and Vancouver. I took my gels and clif bloks and that was all going well. I took water at almost every water stop and for the most part I really felt good until…
Then in the second loop, somewhere around my 28 k mark, I started to hurt. (That reminds me the marking along the route was awful. I often had no idea where I was in the run and near the end of the race the markers were all off. There were very few marathon markers, which makes it difficult to gauge how you're doing. After 38 k I didn’t see another marathon distance marker.) I knew I was making good time, but I was fatigued. I paced a woman ahead of me and I thought I’d start using my Trail River Run tactic and look at people ahead as a goal to try and catch. 2 k later I gave that tactic up and realized for a marathon distance that won’t work, you have to focus on your own run and trying to finish your race. I had to forget everybody else. I hoped I was just hitting a wall and would get over it soon, but I didn’t. The only thing that made things easier were the descents, but then as soon as we leveled out I trudged along hoping to summon strength from somewhere. That didn’t happen either. So I kept going. I kept telling myself to just keep running.

Like I said before, the lakeshore was windy and there were very few orange cones marking the route so I did find it hard to even find the right path to follow at times. This was somehow poorly organized at the end. There were lots of volunteers along the route until the end and then it just got sloppy and I found the route on instinct at times. Fortunately we had started in the park so I knew where I had to end up.

My time 4:22.
Rank: 394
Gender Rank: 175/307

* * *

the trip

As for Kelowna and that part of the Okanagan in general…it’s beautiful. What a beautiful part of BC. I’m starting to wonder if there isn’t a beautiful part of BC. We loved it. We went to an organic winery (Summerhill) that was very busy, but also quite lovely. We splurged and had lunch there and brought back a few bottles of wine after tasting. db said looking across the lake at the desert landscaped mountains reminded him of Reggio, Calabria where you can look across the water at Sicily. It’s true it did look like Calabria.

There was an abundance of food. We went to the farmers market and bought organic peppers, eggplant, apples, garlic, fennel, purple carrots. There was so much fresh and locally grown food. We were in heaven. I even bought a plum cake that happened to be vegan and picked up some local spelt flour (what are the chances of that?).

We stayed in a cute little guesthouse off the lakeshore drive that is run by this older woman and it feels like she’s sharing her home with you. It was a funky little guesthouse all decked out in the comforts of home. She stocked the fridge with tons of food. I couldn’t eat much of it, but the fruit was a nice touch and there were lots of juices and breads for us. She even left us the info on the marathon on our kitchen table along with info about the surrounding wineries and local sites to see.

I’d love to go back. I hope we do.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

second book review for the Fall Reading Challenge

My review of the Omnivore's Dilemma can be read here.

The book is a good one.

results from Trail River Run

I had to know how I finished overall in the last race. The results were posted on my running room dashboard, but it just showed my time and not how I placed outside of my age group.

So here are my results:

Time: 1:59:27 (I thought this was a personal best, but as it turns out my Toronto Run in was 1:59:10 which is unbelievable really because that was a tough run with lots of hills and I was pretty fatigued and in serious need of a break from running. Go figure)

overall: 34 out of 86 runners
Gender Rank: 12 : 47
Division: 30-39
Division Rank: 7 : 15

Ndereba wins second world marathon title

So here it is. This is what I've been thinking about while training the last few weeks and I know I'll think about it when I run this Sunday.

Monday, October 01, 2007


The countdown has begun. We're just days away from Kelowna now. Another marathon? I'm still not sure I completed one, but there were witnesses so I must have finished.

The toughest part of training is over and my favorite "taper off" week has begun. While I enjoy the extra rest and extra food, I can't help but feel a bit anxious wondering if it's too much rest or maybe not the right foods. I know it will be fine.

I'm going to keep track of my food intake for the week. I never put this info in my runner's log and it is an important component of my training.

Just a little inspirational photo as I start thinking about Kelowna this weekend. Ndereba, a 35 year old Kenyan runner is at the top again. I recently watched her win gold at the worlds and if that isn't inspiration, I don't know what is.

Well...there's also Asha Gigi (34) who just won the Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Speaking of Gigis...Here's another Gigi I'll be thinking of.

I'm not sure she'll help me run any better, but she sure is cute and fun to think about when I'm going a long distance.