Friday, May 30, 2008

get well soon

Hi Rupert! Get well soon!

Rupert's the big guy who hasn't been feeling well this past month.
He's one of my sister's cats and is now living in Montreal. I use to live downstairs from Rupert when we all shared a home in Toronto so I spent a lot of time with the big guy getting to know him. Rupert and I have been through a series of vet trips while I was looking after him and there was the time he escaped from the deck and got lost (only to be discovered under the garage). He seemed to have lost all his outdoor instinct once he became indoor kitty. We always wondered if he would have survived much longer on the street anyway because he was so timid and not very street smart. Fortunately, he hung out in our backyard for some time while my sister fed him and made sure he had lots of water. Finally, she knew she had to bring him into the family and Rupert was very happy to not only be inside with a big comfy bed, but also to be nearer to the food source.

He can't get enough love now.

He's got a ferocious appetite, but it as sweet and gentle as they come (except with Ruggles, his fluffy white nemesis). He's an FIV kitty so when health issues come up it's a big concern because his immune system is compromised.
Also, even though he's very loving and fairly social, he can easily get frightened so things like trips to the vet traumatize the poor guy. When he comes home from the vet he will hide under the bed for some time.

Get well soon Ruppie. We're all wishing you well!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

long weeks

I'm just too busy right now to write much. I think about the blog a lot and what I might blog about, but I have little time right now.

My days are filled with:
  • my job (of course)
  • commuting (to and from the job of course)
  • reading (mostly on the commute)
  • running when I can
  • gardening and pruning in our spare time
  • cooking (I have to eat!)
  • I just started a detox as advised by my ND so I've got to think about food even more now since I'm restricted in what I can eat.
  • sleeping (everyday needs this. I wish I could do more)
  • doing the everyday chores (db does half of these too of course) around the house to make our home look liveable.
So until next post the above is what I'll be doing until then.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

long weekends

My long weekend wasn't really any longer than usual since I worked on Saturday. At least db and I had two days off together which is always a bonus. And as it is typically the case for gardeners, the May long weekend was all about the garden.

We started Saturday night when I got home from work, taking advantage of the longer daylight hours, and did some more pruning in the front. That was a pretty physically demanding day for me since I biked to work (11k), spent the day on my feet running around at work, and then came home and pruned a hedge. I was spent, but that wasn't going to stop me.

Sunday I got up early for a run. db came with me! Hurray! He's signed up for the Victoria half marathon now so he has to start building up his endurance again. We did a short 3.5 k and that was plenty for both of us. After breakfast we travelled to a couple of nurseries and picked up just a few things to finish off our planting plans for the season. i once thought that this garden was huge and I'd never be able to fill it, but now we're actually running out of space!

Back at home we dug out the raised bed at the front of the house and put new soil in. It's a lot easier to write that in one sentence than it is to actually do. Let's just say there was several wheelbarrows full of sand and soil being carted to various parts of the yard that involved moving the wheelbarrow up and down some slate stairs and there was also several trips of buckets of earth up and down the front stairs. It was a workout and a half. With the new bed installed, we planted tomatoes, basil, zucchini, and perennials. I put my new clematis in one corner so it can climb up the stone face of the house (I hope).

Sunday I wanted to rest and recover, but we got back out in the garden, in the light rain, and finished up all the loose ends, like tidying up the bulbs, transplanting anything we hadn't done yet.

Our poor kitties were feeling a bit neglected. I'm trying to make it up to them this week. db bought Gigi a beautiful pineapple and she's been happily chewing on the green spikes for several days now. She's very happy. Prima just needs a warm lap and that makes her day. Pretty easy to please really.

Saturday, May 17, 2008 one seems to have received anymore junk emails from me.

db and I bought Norton anti-virus for our Mac. We had it on our old mac, but couldn't install it when we moved into the Mac OSX world and have been doing without. I ran the program and no viruses were detected so that's good news.

As for the rest of the day...

I biked to work which was a pleasure. The last two days I've biked to work. It's an 11 k route that isn't too hilly and the weather has just been beautifully warm and sunny. db has a van from work so he's been picking me up after work for the last two days which has been nice as well because today it was very hot by the time I finished work at 5:30. It would have been a very slow ride home in the heat. Instead db was there to pick me up. We loaded my bike and headed to a garden centre (surprise, surprise) to pick up a few small pots for my herb stand. Of course once there I checked out the clematis and found a beautiful
one called 'The President.'
I'm hoping to guide it along the front of the house on one corner where it can cling to the stone front. I've got four other clematis on the go, but I don't know if they'll all bloom this year. Also, I've discovered a clematis looking plant next to one of the cedar trees in the backyard. I'm pretty certain I didn't plant it. So who did and when? There are all kind of new plants coming up since I cut through the landscape fabric that was laid down last year.

Okay, back to Saturday...

So we came home and went to work. There's a cedar in the front that was in desperate need of some pruning so db and I spent a couple of hours in the front doing more pruning and tidying. There's a very sad looking variegated dogwood that is almost too far gone and I may just cut it back in the fall to see if it can come back next year. We started to work on it, but I realized that it would need a little more research before I could tackle that.

Now, it's time to relax with a little wine and some pizza on the way. Somehow db still has energy to cook.

Tomorrow we're back at it. There's a juniper out of control on one side of the house and we're digging up the raised bed in the front of the house to turn it into a veg and perennial bed. I can't wait to pull up that landscape fabric! Ha!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I hate spam and not just because I'm vegan.

Someone or something is sending spam emails to all of the people in my address book. This is so annoying!!! I have no idea what to do. I've changed all of my passwords (good luck remembering them all sp). I'm a little freaked because how long is this going to go on?
I've received emails from friends who have told me they've received two or three such emails. So if anyone has dealt with this please let me know if there's anything I can do. I suspect there's not much I can do at this point.
If you received a junk mail from me, please accept my apologies.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Shortly after I woke up db said, "what's the plan for today?'
me: plan?
db: yeah plan.
me: I have no plan. What's your plan?
db: I don't have a plan. Aren't we gardening or something?
me: I guess we could. Are you going to make me a tea latte? (Silly question).
db: Yes

So a tea latte, breakfast, and an episode of Trailer Park Boys later we collected our tools and yard waste bags and headed into the front yard that needs the most work.

The backstory:
Recently I spoke to our wonderful homeowners m & d who told me that they had a landscaper come in and assess the workload and give them a quote. My heart sank because I remembered last year watching these strangers tear at the beds and leave nothing behind but a bare patch of earth (the ferns are just starting to recover this spring. Thank goodness). Then our wonderful homeowners thought why not just pay sp and db to do the work they've already started? I accepted. m & d had all kinds of wonderful things to say about us looking after the garden shucks...I was so flattered.

Now not only do I want to clean up the yard, but I also want it to be perfect. Now we're getting paid so there'll be no more of my half-assed ways (I'm not that bad really).

db is amazing because he lets me plan what needs to get done and then I give him a job to do and off he goes to complete it. Plus he's very thorough and enjoys it as much as I do. So we tackled the weeding. Oh, that nasty horsetail is absolutely everywhere because nothing stops that stuff from growing. I read somewhere that you should never pull it out but rather snip it at the base of the plant. That's what we did. There was still quite a bit of leaf debris to remove. We had to take out a small tree that we still don't know what it was. It was growing as part of the natural hedge in the front, but was really in the way of the rhododendron and preventing it from completely filling out on one side. m asked us to take it out and we did. I felt bad as I do any time I remove a plant, but it's done now and there was no way we could have transplanted it elsewhere. I'd still like to know what it was. It had such an unusual bark that grew about 2 cm up and away from the branches. It was probably some rare and expensive tree that is impossible to find and very expensive and now it's sitting in little bits in a landscape bag on the curb.

Anywho...we had a good day cleaning, weeding and doing some light pruning. However, we still have another cyprus to prune in the front and there's this really rangy looking variegated dogwood that I'm not sure what to do with yet. Three of the four rhodendrons are in full bloom (pink, white, and red) so they will have to wait until summer before I cut out any dead wood there. The rhodos really are full this year. They look amazing (alas I have no photos because the card is full on the camera). You'll have to take my word for it that they are fuller than they were last year. There are also some Portugal Laurel shrubs dotting the property that desperately need some pruning, but I just read that it's best to prune in late winter. So that will have to wait. I guess the gardeners work is never done.

One side of the house is not being used at all. It's not a path or garden space or anything. Right now there is some wild plant that looks like a phlox flower, but the leaves are too round for phlox. I don't know what it is. It's in bloom. It looks nice enough, but I'd rather clean out the space and plant tomatoes there. The sun hits that spot first thing in the morning and stays there most of the day so I think it will be a good location.

Okay, I'm rambling on about the garden, but I'm always happy when I'm in the garden. I could stay out for hours (and did). Even after db went inside, I stayed out and planted some lilies that a friend gave me. I can't wait until the long weekend when we can get out there again!

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day, mom!

Yes, that is a picture of my mom on Long Beach in Tofino. This is from our trip we took last year with the whole family. I didn't want to upload a closer photo because I know my mom, and I know she wouldn't appreciate that. So I thought this photo was appropriate since it kind of reminds me of the distance we are apart, but it's only a geographical
As I've said before, my mom has been very supportive of anything I've chosen to do in my life. She's been an incredible mom while I've gone through all the good and the ugly bad stuff. She's helped me many times and has stuck by me no matter what. I'm grateful for all of the positive influences she's had on me as a person. I know I get my passion for the arts and the creative process from her and my compassionate self also comes from my mom.

As a person, mom always amazes me. She's never been afraid to dive in and take on new challenges in her life. She was a radio sportscaster in a male dominated profession at a time when women were rarely seen to do such a job. She lived and worked as a potter with my step-dad for several years. When I was just starting university at 19, she decided she wanted to go back to school and dove in and excelled in no time. This led her to teach English as a second language. She is adored by her students and she always keeps her classrooms fun and interesting. She's always been a writer and recently wrote a play that made it into the Montreal fringe two years ago. Recently she has taken up walking through the Running Room and completed her first 5 k last month! She's doing a 10 k in Ottawa this month with her walking group and I know this is just the beginning for her.

So here's to my mom on mother's day. I raise my decaf green/chai tea soy latte to you mom!

Friday, May 09, 2008


I'm contemplating a full marathon for the fall, but I have so much doubt. Why? I'm unsure really. It's that big commitment in training that I'd have to take and there's so much I want to work on like strength training, more yoga etc etc. How can I squeeze this all in to my schedule? I've done it before so why not again? More thought is needed on this.

db seems to be thinking about a half marathon at the same time. Actually that would be very cool to have those training sessions together again. I enjoyed running with db last year and was so proud of his effort last year.

Like I said I'll have to think about all of this some more. However, I suspect that already I'm leaning towards a 'yes' on this one.

Monday, May 05, 2008

the official results reach whoville

rank: 1359
place in gender: 504/3583
place in division (ages 35-39) : 85/570
chip time: 1:54:54
km pace: 5:27

I am thrilled with this result!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

half-marathon in the park

Even though it was foggy when we left home, by the time we drove out of whoville we were out of the fog. The weather was perfect: cool, sunny, barely any wind. I decided to wear my event shirt (the freebie shirt you get with your race package) even though this is a bit of a no-no because those wiser than I suggest that wearing a new shirt you’ve never run in before is risking chafing or other such uncomfortable annoyances that could affect the joy of the race. Normally, I take the advice of more seasoned runners seriously, especially after running in a new pair of shoes on a race day and feeling uncomfortable the whole way since they were still fairly stiff, but today I decided to wear the event shirt because it’s one of the nicer ones I’ve received and it fit well. There’s also an Aboriginal design on it that is the Guardian Spirit. Plus I thought it would be cool to have a photo of me crossing the finish line in the even shirt.

Rushing to the start line was not the way I wanted to begin my 2008 Vancouver half marathon, but the marathon and half marathon runners were all in the narrow passage towards each start line (the marathon starts a half hour later than the half).
The announcer was telling people to hurry towards the start. I ran when the pack opened up and tried to find a comfortable starting point about a third of the way back. I didn’t want to start at the back and get jammed up with a lot of people. I was barely into place just in front of the 9 min. mile sign when the race started. I started my watch and away I went.

It took me a while to settle and realize what I was in the midst of: all of these runners each with her or his own goal, running together. Like I’ve said before I like the group run. I didn’t feel as relaxed as I usually do and by that I mean that I was more focused and driven on this run. I didn’t look around as much or let my thoughts wander too far from the task at hand. I checked in with myself after 10 minutes and asked: am I having fun? (Yes) Do I believe in myself? (Yes) Am I going for it? (Yes). Easy enough to say 10 minutes in though isn’t it.

Along Cordova St. I saw db and that would be our one meeting point until the finish. I stopped, dropped off my long sleeves and kissed db before taking off again. I felt pretty good, but was nervous because I felt I was having trouble finding my rhythm.

Stanley Park was next and I was really looking forward to running in the park, big hill and all. I kept looking for that 10k mark and I’d already hit my 52 minutes. This concerned me, but I reached the 10 k mark at 55 minutes. Three minutes off my pace and a big hill ahead looked like a big challenge. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to run up the hill and hoped my walk break would be timed half way up (I run 10 minutes and then walk 1 minute; the idea is that your body recovers better from this kind of training/running). The hill looked worse than it actually was. Once again I asked: am I having fun? (Yes) Do I believe in myself? (Um…I wavered and then, Yes!) Am I going for it? (Definitely). I switched gears and was about 50 meters from the peak before it was time for my walk break. This push up the hill seemed like a risk, but I had to keep running and stick to my plan (10:1). Then just like last year I went for it on the downhill because I knew this was a perfect opportunity to make up some time. After we exited the park I really didn’t know how I was doing because the markers along the route were so few I could only go by my memory of last year’s race.

I kept focused and pushed on. I started to see runners I hadn’t seen before and new I must be progressing. Then it came…the 1 mile to go sign. I checked my watch and I knew I’d make it under 2 hours and beat my time from last year AND could run a personal best if I kept doing what I was doing. Then I could see the spectators lining the fences towards the finish. A woman faltered next to me. A police officer was there to help her. I kept going. Then I was in the chute. There would be no way I could see db. I heard my name be called out. He was there and there was the finish ahead. I sprinted and crossed at…
I’m still waiting for the official time results, but I stopped my watch at 1:54:55. A personal best! I’m elated.

Later, I was back out there as a spectator looking down at the finish line from an overhead walkway and was there in time to see the first woman cross the marathon line in 2:36 (I think her official time was 2:37) and get surrounded by cameras and media while others continued to finish behind her. It was very cool to see her cross.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Almost here

Today I picked up my race package, activated my chip (the little timer that you attach to your shoe so it records an accuate finish time), and did the rounds at the expo.

We drove in to meet up with red jane and missed the turn off to her street that landed us in Stanley Park, which worked out well since we had to drive much of the route I'll be running tomorrow. It was nice to see the park and gave me an opportunity to start visualizing what i have to do tomorrow: have fun, believe in myself and go for it!

The weather promises to be sunny and with a 5 k wind so I'm not worried about rain. It'll be cool so it'll be like most mornings I've been running.

Now I'm off to bed, reminding myself that if it gets tough during the run I'm going to think of my mom since she helped me out by paying for my registration and she has cheered me on since I started running.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Dove Onslaught(er)

Take a moment to sign the open letter through the Greenpeace website.