Sunday, August 29, 2010

BBQ's, Movies, Drinks. Oh My!

It has been an incredibly busy week and I've been loving every minute of it. There's been a few drinks consumed, lots of stories shared and even a few breaks in the socializing to go for a run or two. The weather has slowly been turning in Victoria so it seems like everyone's trying to fit in as many last minute BBQ's in as they can!

I went for a very long walk on Tuesday night which ended up being almost two hours thanks to all my starting and stopping to take photos of the beautiful sun set.

From Dallas Rd looking South-West to Albert Head.

Wednesday night was out with a few work friends to the Rooftop at the Sticky Wicket where we experienced some of the worst customer service I have ever experienced in my life. I've lived in places that have a much different opinion of customer service than we do in North America, so when I say worst understand that I know what bad customer service is. Luckily, the company I was with was fabulous and we had a great night. (Please understand that I normally love the Wicket and they have great service. I put the failings of this waitress squarely on her shoulders.)

Friday night was a run with THR which I was incredibly happy with. I felt great the whole time we were out, we kept a good pace, and we got a lot of gossiping done. It was a great way to end the work week and start the weekend. After a quick shower and dinner, it was girl's night with A&S. We were supposed to watch a movie, but we ended up just chatting and drinking which was okay by me. Although the movie we were going to watch was "The Back-Up Plan" which I mostly wanted to watch for this:

I have a little huge crush on Alex O'Loughlin.

Sigh. Another girl's night, perhaps.

Saturday was a fabulous morning stroll for coffee and a paper before heading to an afternoon BBQ at my friend's house which is on a lake followed by going to see "The Last Starfighter" at the Free-B Film Fest in Beacon Hill Park with my friend and her son. I'm a huge sci-fi fan so you'd think I would have seen this movie before, but I hadn't. I was pleasantly surprised. If you ever happen to be in Victoria on an August weekend, you should definitely check out the Free-B Film Fest. Bring blanks and snacks!

Today I took it easy with a walk with THR this morning, a delightful lunch with my mom, and now I'm doing laundry and writing up a contract with myself for my fitness goals (more on that once I have it completed). It's hard to believe that August is ending in only a few days. There's a rather large list of things I didn't get done this summer that I was hoping to, but I'm very happy with all the activities I did get done. Besides, soon we'll be heading into Fall which is one of my favourite times of year so I can't be sad.

Well, I look at pictures like this and I'm a little sad that summer is ending.

Sun set over Glen Lake.

Is there anything you really wanted to do this summer that you never got around to? Are you busy trying to cram the last moments of fun into August?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It Was Worth It

I was going to write a blog post, but the setting sun just looked so nice that I had to run down to the water to capture it on camera. Then my batteries died and what I thought were replacement batteries were repacement batteries for my TV remote. No beautiful picture of the sunset reflecting on the Olympic Mountains. No orange and pinks giving way to blue and purple with Venus reflecting back at me. No Roy Henry Vickers-esque moon caught showing Raven laughing at me. They're all stuck on my dead camera until tomorrow.


Well, I did yoga when I got up this morning, ate really well all day, and the sunset inspired me to walk for two hours tonight so it was a great day even without the photos.

I'll leave you with one of my other favourite sunset photos instead.

Dhow and Sunset, Nungwi, Zanzibar, Tanzania

P.S. When I win the lottery, I'm going to buy a Roy Henry Vickers original.
What artist (or piece of art) would you buy?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My First Foray into Food Porn

I have a love of crazy challenges. Something about the idea that it will just further cement everyone's opinion that I'm nuts makes any options, suggestion, challenge, ultimatum that much more appealing in my eyes. This is how a casual photo taker with a so-so camera that she had never really experimented with decided to embark on the Project 365 just over a week ago. The upside is that all of a sudden, I'm taking pictures of my food because, well, hello, a picture a day! I'm am officially taking photos of my food; I have breached that line between pictures and food porn. Well, it's not true food porn, I didn't take pictures of all my food (I went to my mom's for dinner, not quite ready to explain food porn to her yet) and I didn't really bother making it look nice, I just took them as I cooked. Maybe it's not so much food porn, but more the edible equivalent of those "Baby Blue" movies which used to come on CityTV at midnight. There you go; I'm a soft-core food porn picture taker (or is it soft-corn on the "Baby Blue Cheese" movie?).

Oh, my oven of joy and frying pan of ecstasy... where would I be without you?

I get a lot of gifts tied into Tanzania. I'm not complaining, I know one of the farms that benefits from this.

Paprika is my favourite spice. I wanted to learn Hungarian as a child because a lot of their food contains paprika. I always was an odd duck.

Look at that perfectly cooked 'sunny-side-up' egg! Also, if you've never tried fried tomatoes, I pity the life you must lead.

It might not be the best food porn out there, but for a first time amateur, I'm pretty pleased with myself. Now I'm off to bed because I have an interview tomorrow!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gym-less Yoga and A Better Way to Cut an Apple

Today, I am officially gym-less. It wasn't a hard decision to make. Since reactivating my membership to the local Y, when I look at the amount I spent every month vs the amount of times I went... well, I wasted a lot of money. Part of the problem was that I'm not a morning person and that's about the only time the Y isn't stinkin' busy that I'm able to go (my other option is during work hours but I think my work might take issue to that). I decided trying to go after work once it became obvious that the morning idea was really not going to work, but I spent almost as much time waiting for machines and weights that I gave up after two visits. They have told us at work that as soon as they sign our next contract, they're going to put a gym in the ground floor for the employees. I hoping that will be soon but in the meantime, I'm setting up a few 'at home' options (which means a trip out to Wal-Mart for cheap weights which bugs me because a) I have to go out to Wal-Mart on the bus and b) then I have to carry the weights home).

Yes, my fingers are really the part of me I'd like to slim down and tone up!

One of the at home things I'm setting up is yoga. I always really enjoyed yoga but the times at the Y didn't work with my schedule and the class at my work is done on a cement floor with carpet laid over top... no subflooring. I actually found various moves a bit painful on the joints which is not what one wants from yoga (or if you do, I think you're crazy... and so does your body). I've done enough yoga classes as well as dance/movement classes that I feel, with a little help from Mr. Internet and Mrs. Library, I should be able to figure out a set or two to regularly do.

Or maybe more of this would make the calming yoga obsolete...

Two weeks ago, when C passed away, one of the items in my post that was never posted was about a Health, Wellness and Fitness Conference ("healthy living blogger summit" is what I've been calling it) happening Toronto next May called No Limits Canada. There's no definite time that's been set out yet (as far as us peons go) other than 'May' and I'm really hoping I can make it out there for it. At this point, however, I have a wedding in Spain in September 2011 and that takes priority for me as far as my travel budget for next year... here's hoping I win the lottery or find a sugar daddy!

Have any of you done yoga from a DVD, book or website? Do you have any recommendations?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pac-Man Cookies!! Aaaaaand some other stuff about this blog.

I have begun the task of separating Chilkoot-me from real-me just a little bit more for two reasons:

1.) I wanted this blog to focus on creating healthier habits and living and healthier, more active life. Over the last little while, however, I feel more and more of the other bits creeping in. I am, after all, a story-telling, Irish offspring. But does talking about my desire to go to w00tstock really have a place on this blog? Or the fact that anytime I respond to Wil Wheaton on twitter, my 12 year old me who had the biggest crush on him secretly panics and fears he will read the tweet and think 'dork'. Does that have a place on this blog? Not really. (Well, it does now. It has a place as an example. Heck, while we're on the subject of what a dork I am, I think everyone should see this.)

2.) Since the two worlds started to combine bit by bit, I've noticed that I've stopped the focus in my life in general towards making healthy choices. I also know that most of the people who read this blog are friends who are being supportive but don't necessarily care about the actual content so much. It's easy to let your focus slip when you know that's the case. I need to step up the game and I think the best way to do that is to use this blog to focus solely on the healthy living aspects. Not to say that personal things won't pop up now and again (I'm not going to stop having a life and it will affect this blog), but that's not what this blog is about.

I've started another blog for all my long-winded trips down memory lane, I've separated into two twitter accounts, and I'll be pottering around here, changing up a few things. I'm also taking a more proactive approaching towards the whole healthy living thing in general. I spent about an hour this evening going through the blogrolls of the healthy living bloggers I currently follow and adding other interesting bloggers to my RSS reader (seriously, if you follow a lot of sites and don't have one of these set up yet... DO IT!) to test drive them over the next few weeks (and then if I like them, I will do the mature, grown up thing and stalk them on twitter). Mostly I hoping for new recipes and food ideas, but I'll gladly take their workout advice as well!

In short; I'm separating church and state so to speak, expect a few changes around here, and Wil Wheaton is still kind of dreamy in my geeky, geeky eyes.

This picture has nothing to do with this post but I think these cookies are awesome.
Instructions found here!

Monday, August 16, 2010

On my feet again

I just got back from my first run in two weeks and it felt so good. Granted, I didn't go as far or as hard as I should have, but I didn't eat proper meals in those two weeks so I'm still getting my 'exercise-legs' back so to speak. I was a little apprehensive given the amount of time off, but I needn't have worried. I did lag a little in parts but that's to be expected even if I hadn't been sick. The extra bonus is that it felt so good to be running, all the little nagging doubts that crept in during my extended illness about the ability to continue towards the half-marathon in October totally evaporated. I will have to make a few adjustments to the training schedule so I can make up for the training sessions I missed without just jumping up in distance and intervals, but I can totally still make this happen. That is a great feeling.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Could It Be True?

I woke up this morning feeling really, really good. I think I might be back to normal. Every morning for the past week and a bit, I've woken up feeling *meh* and achy but not today. The fever that I wasn't so sure I had? Well, I actually felt it break last night. Apparently I did have a fever. I'm very excited because hopefully this means I can be back to the training tomorrow. YAY!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Summer is back!!

After a week and a bit of very questionable weather in Victoria (and Vancouver from the sounds of it), summer is definitely back. I left the air conditioned office for my morning coffee break and wished I had some shorts or a skirt to change into because it was already uncomfortably hot and it wasn't even 11:00am. Of course, part of the reason I found it uncomfortably hot could be because I once again had to leave work early (I don't even know why I bothered going in) and I appear to be running a bit of a fever. I don't actually have a thermometer in my house because I only think to buy them when I'm sick and the last thing I want to do when I'm sick is leave the house to go buy something. One of these days, I will get one... probably when I have children.

Obviously, tonight's exercise involves pilates-type single movements as I toss about the bed in my overly hot bedroom, followed by core work as I try to keep myself upright long enough to make something to eat, some upper arms as I flick through the DVDs to watch and then, to round things out, a bit of yoga. I plan to stay in shavasana for a long, long time.

I'm totally okay with being sick and indoors during the nicest weather of the year. Totally!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Yeah, I remember that

Remember how yesterday I wrote that I was feeling better and I'd be back on track for Friday's run? Remember?

Apparently my body lied to me because someone had to leave work early today and won't be weighing in tonight, and quite possibly, won't be doing anything of the athletic variety tomorrow night.


For my mom, who will have no idea what 'boo-urns' means.

PS. How have I been able to go an entire 13 months without once labelling something 'Simpsons'? I feel like blogger-me has failed real-me.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It's like I'm being kicked while I'm down

They say things happen in threes. I'm not a believer of that theory as I can think on many times when things *didn't* happen in threes, but if they were right (whoever the f* 'they' are) then I would feel that the universe might owe me three good things this week.

The weekend started off with the crummy: C died. Then on Saturday, I noticed that I seemed incredibly tired and my arms really hurt after carrying home my groceries. By Sunday morning, I was pretty much bed ridden. I had caught the flu which was going around the office and I spent an entire 48 hours either in bed sleeping or doing things that didn't involve much thought. To give you an idea about how much thought was too much, a friend had lent me Iron Man on DVD because I had never seen it. After 15 minutes, I turned it off because it required too much thought. Yeah, that sick. The upside is that I didn't really eat much because I couldn't stay awake long enough to make anything. The downside is that I haven't done anything physical in a week. I'm not expecting great things tomorrow. Quite frankly, I'll be happy if I break even.

My third thing happened late last night. I had been giving most of my extra free time this summer to helping organise a BC Tour for Ballet Saamato. We diligently sent off the visa applications in early July and then started the process of waiting... and waiting... and waiting... and being asked to send additional documents... and then waiting... and still more waiting. It was an agonizing situation to be in. We wanted to move forward with the planning, but how can we confirm concerts and sell tickets if we don't even know if they're coming? Ballet Saamato were supposed to arrive tomorrow but two weeks ago we pushed it the flights back to next week. Then last night we got our answer. From my 'things in three', I'm sure you can guess that it was a decline. The Embassy has their reasons (not enough paper trail to prove that the artists will return to Guinea once the trip is over) and we have to accept their answer, but we have already started creating that required paper trail (proof of land ownership, copies of birth records for children, I know it sounds odd but paper trails rarely exist in Africa; when the literacy rate is less than 30%, a piece paper doesn't mean much) in the hopes that we will be able to try this again.

I'm still not entirely back to my usual fabulous self, that will take a few more nights of decent rest and proper nutrition, but I'm hoping to be back to the running by Friday. I've missed a lot of time on my training and although I'm not too worried (yet) that I won't be able to catch up, too much more and I'll have to rethink the run-walk a half-marathon plan. Sigh... perhaps I'll just spend a little more time in the self-pity wallowing pool. Just for tonight; I promise.

Do you guys ever have a week that makes you think 'ugh, why bother'?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Permanent Weekend

I wrote a blog entry on Thursday night but decided to wait and post on Friday so I could read it with eyes that weren't tired and hadn't spent all day staring at a computer screen. I talked about the last West African Dance class until September, how I was finally caught up on my Doctor Who watching for the new season, and I mention a few other topics related to my goal in general.

I hit snooze a few too many times on Friday morning so the post was going to have to wait until Friday after work. I wandered into work, coffee in hand, and sat at my desk to start the day. It was Friday; I was happy. Due to illness and holidays, I was the only person in my mini-unit (we have two different units which make up one unit although we do completely different jobs) who had been doing her job for more than a month, so I was filling in with other people's jobs that I don't normally do anymore. It was a nice change of pace and I settled into was should have been a relatively easy day. Then at 9:30, our manager's manager called the entire department to the floor.

"I wanted to let you know that a member of our organisation was killed in a car accident last night. I don't think many of you would know her because she's a completely different department. It was C." I knew C. My mini-unit worked with her unit all the time. She was part of the call center that made up our Help Desk for the pharmacies. I remember stepping back into the wall and saying 'no' loud enough for people to turn and look at me. Then all I remember was tears.

C and I weren't great friends, it's not a huge personal loss directly to my life, but she was one of those hundreds of people you see every day who helps make life a little brighter that you just start to take for granted. The Friday before, C and I were in the lunch room at the end of our shifts and she commented that I had a big smile on my face.
"Of course I'm smiling. It's Friday! Bring on the long weekend!"
"What does that say about us that we live for the weekend?"
"That we need better jobs that we like."
"True, but as long as you're enjoying the life you have outside of work, isn't that what really matters?"
"A fun life outside of work helps you enjoy work until life becomes a permanent weekend."
"I meant retirement, but sure, death." She laughed at the misunderstanding.
"Death: the ultimate permanent weekend. Anyway, enjoy your long weekend."
"You too, C."

That was it. That was our last actual interaction with each other other than quick smiles and waves in the hall. The conversation kept coming back to me on Friday. I took a walk to compose myself and I kept thinking about it. It was nothing profound, nothing that we haven't all said to ourselves, our family, our friends, our coworkers a million times before, but I've never encouraged people to live like each day's their last actually thinking that it might be. At one point, I found myself staring at our new automated towel dispenser in the bathroom remembering another discussion about how the five years of crappy towel dispensers which were always breaking were to ensure we really appreciated the good ones once we finally got them. 'At least she lived long enough to use the new dispensers' I thought, and then I started crying and laughing so hard that someone came to see what all the noise was about. I don't know how I made it through Friday but I did albeit with a puffy face and red eyes.

C was good at her job, friendly and always up for a laugh. You couldn't ask for a better co-worker. I didn't know her family, but I know that she leaves behind a husband and two teen aged children. She will be dearly missed by so many of us now that she is on her ultimate permanent weekend.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Fröhliche Am 1. August!

Today is the national day for Switzerland, my lovely adopted country of cheese and chocolate. I am always a little sad when I can't be in Switzerland for the holiday but I couldn't be in Ireland for St. Patrick's Day either. Sometimes you just have to accept that until you hack Bill Gates' bank account and steal a few million that he'll never notice, you won't be able to just jet off for Rösti, village bonfires and fireworks. C'est la vie. The whole past week, actually, has been one big long trip down memory lane which some how ended up with me watching Swahili music videos on YouTube at 11:00pm on Friday night. I'm living the life, I can tell you that!

What I wouldn't give to walk across this bridge again...

The running hit a bit of a snag on Friday night when both THR and I ended up nursing sore joints/muscles so our run turned into our recovery walk which is scheduled to happen on Sunday. "We'll run on Sunday instead," we decided. Well, today's Sunday and we didn't even walk. Of course, our completely legitimate reason for this is because we attended a friend's birthday BBQ the night before and one Palm Bay led to another and before you know it, THR and I were staggering home at 1:00am. I haven't done that in years! I also have to take a moment to say how much I love my friends. Drunk-me thinks she's funny but really she's just very, very inappropriate. My friends, however, not only still love me but they take me out in public and let me interact with other people who may potentially become very important to them. It takes a certain type of friend to be willing to do that, so I just wanted to say 'thank you' and that I love you guys.

Susan over at The Great Balancing Act wrote a fabulous blog entry about living the life you want. I thought it was great and I wanted to share it with everyone. As much as this blog is about getting healthy, it's also about setting a goal and going after it, engaging myself in my life so that I make it happen and not just let it happen to me. In the words of Danny Kaye (known to most people as 'Bing Crosby's sidekick in White Christmas but an amazing actor/dancer/singer/comedian in his own right) "Life is a great big canvas; throw all the paint you can at it."