Monday, March 30, 2009

Earth Hour and the Raw dinner

For Earth Hour we lit our only two candles (I had packed the rest in preparation for the move) and chatted while the kitties slept.

One of our plans was in honor of Earth Hour to prepare a raw meal so that we wouldn't use the stove either. Of course I still needed the food processor so we couldn't actually make the sauce during Earth Hour.

Is that raw pasta in the photo? Yes it is. We made pasta with marinara sauce. The fettucine is made from zucchini, slice by using a vegetable peeler. The marinara is fresh tomatoes, red pepper, jalapeno, sundried tomatoes, basil and garlic all run through the food processor. It was delicious. I'll definitely make this dish again, but I'm thinking about making a cashew alfredo sauce. Yum.

As for Prima...
She's enjoying the packing for the move. If there's a box of paper it soon becomes a bed.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The daffodils have been open for about a week now so I had to post some photos. I do have a lot of bulbs coming up, but I fear I'm going to miss their beauty since I'll be in my new home by the 1st of May. We'll see.

For the long run (Long Slow Distance it's called or LSD - I know, I know it's too funny) this week I was better prepared in a way. While I didn't get to bed early enough and I did have some wine Saturday evening for the first time in over a month, I did feel fairly rested when the alarm went off at 7 and I did leave myself enough time to have some oatmeal before I headed out.

Being a drop in runner at the RR and not a clinic member, I don't get the email notices that provide route descriptions and maps so it's a surprise when I arrive. I don't mind. When I did arrive I checked the board right away and saw that the half marathon group was doing 12 k. Phew! I didn't want another 16 or 18k week. I had seen my physiotherapist mid-week who reminded me that I shouldn't increase my mileage more than 10% a week. Hmm. So I guess going from 10k to 18k was the wrong thing to do. I know these things. Do I always do these things? No. Why? Because I'm foolish. This time I think I'll really do it. Afterall, I could have run Friday after work, but I held back because I knew I'd already done enough mileage for the week. So you see I can stick to it.

Anywho...with 12k and lots of sunshine in the plans I was pretty happy about the run. The group leader read the directions out which made everyone laugh at the end because it was so convoluted with so many turns and over and under bridges, no one could follow it. Once again I thought if I could stick with a small pack, hopefully the same pack as last week, I'd be okay. If I did lose sight of everyone I knew that I'd have to run for about and hour and 10 minutes to do 12k so there's really no worries.

It was cold starting out. It's been such a slow spring. It's as if the temperature refuses to climb above 12 degrees. It's bizarre. It must have been around 3 degrees when we started out. I followed the runners I'd seen leading the pack last week, but I could tell that I'd lose them at some point. As we came to the first bridge and started to go over it, I heard two people behind me say, "I don't think we're supposed to cross the bridge." I remembered the group leader saying that and I did a quick turn and started following those two. As it turned out there were also in the pack I ran with last week (L & S) and L had directions in her hands. If I stuck with them I'd be okay.

They were a little fast for me, but I tried to keep up. I know Sunday is supposed to be the Long Slow Distance, but I always tend to run a little faster and it seems to work well for me. With only 12k to cover, a little faster wouldn't hurt. That reminds me, nothing was hurting either. My calf was good as was my achilles.

Much of the route was trail again and I really welcomed this since I tend to not run trails on my own. After several turns and loop arounds we ended up on the Coquitlam river trail and ran it to David before looping around and running down the other side of the river. It was really beautiful with the sun beaming between the tree tops, filtering down onto the path in front of us.

We did take a wrong turn at the end and ended up going the wrong way before heading back. So in the end we did 11.5 k. I think that's enough for one Sunday.

It was nice to get home earlier as well. So I'm happy to report that my calf feels fine and my achilles was fine during the run and I iced it after. This evening it's a little sore, but nothing like it was. I'm feeling good about running season again. I just have to remember that 10% rule and I should be fine.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

run vegan run

Sunday I managed to get up for the early morning run at the Running Room. Even though I didn't get to bed until at least after 12 I knew I had to get up early. If I didn't, I'd lose the chance of enjoying a run in the sunny weather.

I only had time for a Quinoa sesame snap bar and some water. I chose this because the bar had the most carbs out of all the quick snacks I had on hand. I was still on the detox so I wanted to save the protein shake until after the run since you're supposed to fuel up with protein post-run.

My hope was to run with the half marathon group and start training with them from now on. Last week I ran with the 10 k group which was good, but I wanted to add a little more distance.

When I arrived just after 8:30 the groups were already heading out the door. I asked a woman which group she was in. She said "half marathon 18 k." Damn. 18 k. I was hoping for 14 or maybe 16 k. I'm not really ready for 18 k. Or am I? I checked the schedule on the board and the 10 k group were doing 10k (not enough). The marathoners were doing 29 k (have a nice time). I'd have to go with the 18 k half marathoners and just run as far as possible. I'd turn back when I'd had enough.

Outside one of the group leaders was going over the route and handing out lists with directions. They were taking one of the Pitt River trails so that was a plus. The trail would be definitely nice and soft to run on and it would be peaceful. I sort of knew the route and I knew I'd stick with the pack as much as possible so I didn't take the paper with directions.

Off we went. There must have been about 35 or 40 half marathoners in total. I ran my own pace. I didn't know anyone in the smaller group I broke off with, but I followed this small pack not sure if I could keep pace since I was about five or six strides behind them. I didn't know if this was the 2 hour group or the 2:15 or what. I was just running my pace.

We ran along the Coquitlam river trail into Poco where we had our first walk break. I was glad to see that we were taking the 10:1 walk breaks. I was losing some distance from the pack, because I had to stretch. I promised my physio I'd stretch once I was warmed up and I'm going to do it. I'm not going to risk further injury.

By the time we hit the next trail, Hyde Creek park, I was closer to the pack again. Two women breezed past me. They looked like marathon runners to me. By the time we exited the park one of the women had dropped back and I was just behind her. We ran into the Minnekhada park and I met the woman I had been running behind. We introduced ourselves as we ran along DeBoville Slough. I was keeping pace and feeling fine. Along the slough we saw three great blue herons. I also saw an eagle. I love running out there. It's so flat and the mountains are right there. The woman I was running with, D., had just done a mini trial triathalon the day before so she was feeling a little done-in and felt the pace was a bit fast for her. She was trying to keep the pack in sight just like me.

When we left the trail and hit the country road near the entrance to Minnekhada park, the pack had split into the front runners of about 8 or 9 people, the middle group of three or four, and the back two me and D. D was dropping back a little, but was still in view. Now I was tired, but I knew we had already started to head back. My calf was a bit tight but not painful. My achilles was doing okay. Again, no pain so I was okay. I was just tired. One Quinoa bar cannot sustain 18 k. I know that and I knew that going in.

I decided that once we got to the next turn I'd take the trail back instead of going up the hill with the group. The distance wouldn't be that different in the end, but there'd be no hill to tire me out more. I thought maybe I'd jog back and ask D. if she wanted to take the trail back with me since she was dropping further and further back and she didn't even know where we were going.

Of course when we came to the hill to run away from the park I went up the hill with the group. I just didn't want to give up. This was the same hill I had run up last week with the 10k group. However, this week I couldn't do it. I stopped half way to walk. I kept taking water, but I really needed fuel. I can't drink electrolyte drinks, or take gels because they often upset my stomach. I didn't even think to buy some Sharkies. I ran again before we reached the top. Now I had really dropped back, but I could still see runners up ahead so I could follow them because now I was also unsure of the route back.

Along the gentle downslope I looked back for D. and didn't see her. When we got to the next turn I looked back and finally caught sight of her. I waved and she waved back so I knew she'd seen me and would see the turn. I had to take an extra walk break and decided that I'd wait for D. and just keep pace with her for the rest of the run. We had about 4 1/2 k left. I jogged back to meet up with D. and she was so grateful for me having waited for her because she said she had no idea where we were or which way to go.

We ran together. We could still see 3 people ahead of us, one of whom was the woman D. had started her run with. We were able to follow the pack and keep going.

With three blocks left D. recognized where we were and started jumping for joy. She got a burst of energy and ran ahead to the stop light. We caught up with the other 3 there and everyone congratulated each other. It was really rewarding after a long run. Clearly we were all struggling together. One of the guys I had run with previously so we caught up since I hadn't seen him since before the Fort Langley half.

Even though I was very tired I was really relieved that I could go the distance and happy that I'd stuck it out instead of turning back early. My time is still a bit slow, but that will come with more training.

I iced my achilles when I got home and felt a little stiff by the end of the day, but not bad overall. I'm going to run with the group as much as possible, even though it means I don't get to sleep in on Sundays. The motivation is just what I need.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

6th anniversary

Happy Anniversary Prima Primavera. Six years ago we rented a car a drove to Richmond Hill where Prima was staying in her foster home. She was six months old and very eager to see us.
She came out right away and we knew we'd take her home (as if I could ever refuse a cat!).

When we got her home, she hid inside the couch (it's got a hollow backing so a cat can climb up in there if they're small enough. She stayed in there for hours. Eventually she came out and got on my lap and rubbed and purred. She was very needy and still is.

Now she's the Queen of Whoville and we wouldn't have it any other way (sorry Gigi).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I'm trying to not be angry, but I am. Anger is not such a bad thing really. It's just how you deal with it that can make it a bad thing. How do I deal with my anger? Well in this case since there's been no confrontation I tend to hold grudges. Maybe this isn't the best way to deal with my anger, but in some cases it seems like the only way.

Of course this is all related to us having to move. We were screwed over. I understand that her business has taken off and she wants to keep working at home and needs to hire staff. I also understand that they feel they need to hire a nanny which also requires more space. I get it. Having worked in some of the wealthier homes for the wealthier families in Toronto I've seen the lifestyle and I sensed that we were living in a home on borrowed time. I didn't know they knew this day would come as much as I suspected it would as well.

After they had their second child I thought they would need the space for sure. They said "no, we want you guys to stay as long as you want." That sounded great because we weren't ready to buy and we're still not ready to buy even with the low interest rates and dropping house prices (too bad). Well, of course they wanted us to stay as long as possible, because if you're planning renovations it's a big cost so it's better to have that extra income as long as possible.

When we met in the fall to discuss the lease that had always been a year lease, they said, "if you guys are okay with it then we won't bother doing up the papers." They made it seem like we were all in agreement and that we could stay as long as we needed. So we agreed to just live on a month-to-month agreement so we could move out whenever. That should have been the first warning sign. I'm usually pretty good at detecting when something is amiss and know how to negotiate around such problems. However, everything had always gone so well with them. We had free run of the garden and could do what we like with our space. We seemed to be happily co-existing.

I really want to believe that they were being honest with us in the fall. I really want to believe that they couldn't have foreseen her business taking off...but...I can't let myself believe that.

They said they were so sorry that we had to move and they wished there was another solution. Blah, blah, blah. The night they told us we had to move was all done so very nicely. There was wine (well not for me I'm doing a detox) and chit-chat. We wouldn't be charged for our last months rent and our damage deposit would be returned with interest (as laid out in the initial rental agreement, but really we don't have any agreement now so they don't have to do that. Is it a guilt payment?). It was all so civil as it should be. But over the next few days as the shock wore off I became angry. Since then I can't shake it so I thought blogging might help me gain perspective.

I mean I don't care in a way because we found a new place easily and I'm really looking forward to those big fat windows in our living room, something we lack here. I'm looking forward to living next to such a large park where we can hike and see more wildlife, hear more birds etc etc. I'm looking forward to the quiet street and homeowners that don't have kids running around (not that the kids really bothered us), crying at all hours. However, I do care because I'm angry that they didn't tell us upfront that there's a chance they'd be asking us to move in the spring. Then I'd be prepared a little more and I wouldn't feel screwed over. Surely they knew in the fall that her business was already picking up and that they were already feeling overwhelmed looking after their kids and working full time and sometimes on weekends.

Within a week of them telling us, we'd found a place and now they're ready to go with renovations. Seems like they might have been planning for a while, no?

So I'm pissed off for having been foolish enough to let my guard down. And I'm angry with them because I'm wondering about all the points I've raised and now I can't see them without having those thoughts in the back of my mind. We're not friends with them and once we're gone we'll probably never see them again (well at least until June when I come back and take my bulbs out of the garden) so there's no point in putting up a fuss because we've got no grounds to do so. We got treated shabbily and I'm just angry that's all. I've said I'm looking forward. We've got a new place to make our own and are working to buy our own place in the future. We've also got new homeowners whose attitude is "if there's anything at all that comes up we can talk about it." Their attitude is very open and communicative. They seem like good people and I had my guard up when I met them so I think that's a good sign.

I'm not really going to hold a grudge in this case, but I am going to remember to always keep our best interests in mind when negotiating anything.

Musical Meme

I found this via Wandering Coyote's Musical Meme and thought I'd give it a try.

Pick Your Artist: Sarah Harmer
Are you male or female: I Am Aglow
Describe yourself: I'm a Mountain
How do you feel about yourself: Dandelions in Bullet Holes
Describe where you currently live: Basement Apt.
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Just a Close Walk with Thee
Your best friend is: Around this Corner
Your favorite colour is: Escarpment Blues
You know that: Luther's Got the Blues
What's the weather like?: Uniform Grey
If your life was a TV show, what would it be called?: Lodestar
What is life to you?: Open Window
What is the best advice you have to give?: Don't Get Your Back Up
If you could change your name, what would it be? Oleander
Your favorite food is: Peanut Butter Toast

Thanks Wandering Coyote that was fun to do.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

more of the detox diet

Root vegetable soup. The colour is from the carrots and butternut squash. It also had sunchokes and celeriac as ingredients.
Saturday I was back on other starches other than rice so db made pizza. My crust is rice, tapioca and sorghum flour based. It was a nice treat.

Yesterday I could introduce legumes back into my diet and I was craving chickpeas. I requested spicy chickpeas with basmati rice. I chopped up some fresh chard for the top.
Wait a minute, this isn't part of the diet. Gigi stretched out on the floor for a nap. What you can't see in the picture is the heater she's flaked out next to.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Day 9-13. This is the last day of the fruit, veg and rice only days.
Monday we had risotto with asparagus and lemon.
Tuesday it was steamed veg (broccoli, carrots, asparagus and kale) with brown rice. I topped the veg with a mix of olive oil, apple cider vinegar.
Wednesday I made a veggie & rice nori wrap and had a side of avocado, sprouts and carrots.
Thursday we enjoyed root vegetable pureed soup (it kind of looked like baby food, but it was delicious).
Tonight? Maybe a pilaf? More steamed veg? We did get some beautiful looking red chard in our fresh organic delivery box this week so I may do something with that.

A surprising thing is that I haven't had the ticklish pain when I run. Mind you I haven't run much lately because I've been looking after my injuries. However, I did just come back from a run and I felt fine. I'm not sure what the difference is this time. I'll have to ask my ND.

So I just made my ultraclear protein drink with some mango juice. I was just about finished it when dear sweet Prima took a sniff in the glass and sneezed in my glass. Aw. she's so cute. Just in case you forgot how cute she is. Here she is in her basket.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

20 more days

Day 8 of my detox. It's going pretty well. I can definitely tell that my sugar cravings are gone. Now when I see db eating cookies I have no interest at all.

Day 6-13 requires that I eat only fruit, veg and rice from the starch group while I up the dose of my protein powder. I was a little unprepared since I hadn't really read ahead on my chart, so db and I did a little grocery shopping to pick up more variety of veg.

I had leftover rice from last night and tossed this salad together using avocado to bind it all together with some olive oil and apple cider vinegar. It was delicious. Rather than feeling limited by my diet, which is how I felt at first, I am feeling more creative. I rarely use rice in a salad, but I think I'll do it more often.


A new wool shop opened in our neck of the woods, which makes it the only wool shop in our neck of the woods. I feel a bit like I missed my opportunity to do it first, but then I would actually have to have a plan and work towards that business wouldn't I.

The shop is small and carries some fine wools. It's mostly wool as I expected (too bad) but there were some nice cottons and cotton blends with soy and bamboo that looked inviting. There's not a huge selection, but hopefully they'll start to carry more. It also looks like it's set up for courses to be held there so I may look into that. It'd be fun to fine tune the skills I have and learn something new.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

New home

I saw the place up the hill from us. It was nice and bright with a backyard, but it was a little cold. It was very modern looking, but that also made it a little sterile and I felt like it was just a box with no character. There was a suite next to it that they rented with a young mom and her six year old boy and that coupled with the homeowners upstairs with 2 kids and 2 dogs seemed like a very busy place where it would always be noisy. I expect the backyard wouldn't be very peaceful at all.

The woman renting the place was quite nice, but she seemed a little high maintenance. She also told me that her business was importing lamb from New Zealand and I know that shouldn't make a difference on my living space, but it did and I thought having a positive relationship with her would be a struggle. She seemed to be encouraging me to call back and was very eager for me to come back and see the place with db. I get the feeling that db and I could have posted ourselves on craigslist we could just wait for people to make us an offer.

Anywho...we went to the suite on the park and signed a lease! The nice older couple will be our new landlords. They were open to us starting a compost and are going to pay for the paint for our place and in general seemed very pleased that we agreed to live there.

Of course I dread packing and the boxes stacked everywhere, but I am excited about making the place our own, putting our own mark on it. We take possession on the 15th of April and will move boxes over the week, paint on the weekend (our anniversary weekend -- how romantic), move more boxes and then have movers come in to move the rest of our furniture the last weekend of April.

So April should be a little hectic to say the least.

Friday, March 06, 2009

What a week!

In the evening we met with our homeowners. They dropped the bomb. We would have to move. She works at home and her business is doing so well she needs to hire a staff also they want to get a nanny for their two small children. The nanny will probably be a live-in nanny so they need our space.
Yes we were in shock. They have always said we could stay as long as we like. I guess they forgot to say "or as long as we like." We thought we'd be here until we bought our own place, but I guess not. They said we could move out any time in the next few months and our last month here will be free. Here's to never agreeing to a month-to-month scenario again.
I'm mostly upset on having to leave the garden sooner than I anticipated. I did tell them that I would have to take some of the garden with me. They don't care since they don't garden so that's okay, but who knows what I can and can't take.

The immediate shock has subsided and I'm just kind of numb at work. I actually work very little that day. I may have looked like a somnambulist.
That night we start browsing craigslist and make notes.

I went for a run to help clear my head. My calf is bothering me again so I can't run too far or downhill (a bit of a problem here). My day off and I email and phone people to make appointments for Thursday and Friday. I book two places for Thursday evening after work.

db borrows the car from work and picks me up. We visit our first place that is offering a reduction in rent if you look after the garden. It seems like a good deal and it's just on the other side of the park from where we live now. The place is okay. It's ground floor with lots of windows. The woman is very nice and has three cats and two kids so we know it'll be a friendly and lively place. My gut says, "nope" and I sense is that it's going to be a long hunt for a place to live in if this is what's out there in our price range.

We see our second place, closer to where we're living now and right next to a large park with lots of hiking trails. The older couple renting the suite are very nice. db and I both really like them and the suite is quite nice as well. It's got lots of storage. They described it as a "1 bedroom + den", but it's really a one bedroom with an alcove. I'm not sure what the den was in reference to. However, the main living area is similar to where we are now with a big living room kitchen open space. It has big windows and patio doors that open onto their shady backyard where all you can see are trees. It's like looking into a west coast forest (oh wait it actually does look into a west coast forest). There's a covered patio where we could sit out. The view is what sells me on the place. It's very cozy feeling. It's a quiet street and I can imagine us sitting in the living room and looking at the trees. It's a little funky in the layout otherwise, but I know we can make it work.
db and I are pretty sure and we can tell that they are really keen to rent it to us. However, I don't want to make a decision until db and I can talk about it.

We drive past another place where I booked an appointment for Friday night, but it's so far up the mountain there is still a ton of snow up there. I can imagine hellish commutes so we axe that idea. It would be beautiful up there, but we don't own a car and I don't want to spend half my life waiting for a bus that may or may not show up when the snow falls.

Back at home we talk and I can tell db is just waiting for me to agree. It doesn't take long to make up our minds. I'm already deciding where to put things in there and thinking about painting it. db calls them to confirm that we'll be by Friday to make a deposit on the place.

It all seems too easy. I've never found a place so easily.

Friday (today)

I wake around 4:30 am and cannot sleep. What if we jumped into an agreement too quickly? What about all the little things that I keep thinking about that I didn't ask when we were in the suite? Doubt tosses around in my head and keeps me awake. Am I settling for something that's not ideal because I'm in a panic about having to move?
Prima seems quite content sleeping on my head. She doesn't seem to mind me tossing and turning. She sleeps peacefully until db gets up for work. I tell him all my doubts and fears and then somehow feel better. Until...

I see new pictures posted on one of the places we were interested in and instead of it being listed as Westwood Summit (which suggested to us that it would be too far of a commute and up in that snowy area again), it's listed as being just up the street from us. And it has another photo that is selling me on it. There'd be a lot more light and I think the cats would really like that as well as us. We could grow tomatoes in the back (I think). I guess I should see it first. Uh-oh. So now I'm waiting to hear back to see if I can view the place this afternoon and I'm feeling horribly guilty for having arranged to meet with the other renters, the nice older couple, and sign a lease. Oh what have I done?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Rick Mercer Report : Special Report

and this one is for my sister and red jane who lived through the snow with me in Toronto.

RMR: Full Contact Curling

This one's for my brother who has taken up curling and is loving it.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Detox day 1

So far so good. I'm glad I started on the first of March. It's the first it's the beginning of a new month and the signs of spring are back.

It's not a big shift for me since I'm vegan and have been decaffeinated since the last detox (last May?).

I thought I'd try to keep track of my menus I come up through the week. I'll try to take some photos to make it a little more interesting.

So on today's exciting menu:

  • protein shake
  • chai tea
  • rice cakes with almond butter
  • veggie & avocado rice wrap
  • another protein shake
  • rice pasta with tomato basil sauce
  • green salad with apples and radishes
  • lots of water
Don't get too excited by the menu. Tomorrow? I'll wait and see.