Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Think I Have Too Much Time On My Hands

Okay, show of bloody hand prints: who took a couple of screen shots while watching Shaun of the Dead last night just so they could make one stupid visual joke on their blog?

Riiiiiight. Show of stabbed hands: who then decided to watch Hot Fuzz and also make screen shots 'just because'?

Of course, if you know me in real life then you know that when I watch Shaun of the Dead and/or Hot Fuzz I must eat a cornetto. (Except we don't have cornettos in Canada, we call them 'drumsticks' for some silly reason, but it's the same thing.)

Hmm, perhaps it is this tradition which keeps me looking more like Nick Frost and less like Simon Pegg (well, that and the whole ginger thing). At least Simon occasionally takes a break from the cornettos for a cuppa.

And why could I possibly think spending three hours just doing screen shots would be worth it? Because I wanted to say that despite the length of time it is taking for my hand to heal, at least I know that I won't turn into a zombie as a result of it.

*Spoiler Alert: Pete gets bitten on his hand in the same general area as my injury (except on the left, not right... hold on a tick...)

There we go. So, he's bitten in the same area as my injury. He turns into a zombie. I, after a week of pain in that area and no death of myself of which I'm aware, have yet to become a zombie and there is definite improvement in the pain level. We are safe from the zombie apocalypse for now. Also, it's okay that Pete turned into a zombie. He was a prick.

The great thing about my hand getting better is being able to run again. I know I've said this before but I never ever thought I'd be someone who would enjoy running, never mind, miss it when I can't do it. Whether it's running with a partner so we can get some good gossip time in, or if it's running by myself with my tunes cranked, I love running. Also, it's such a great and cheap way to get fit.

So while I still need to constantly work on making better choices and saying 'no' more often, being able to run makes the occasional indulgence of mom's chocolate-chip-coconut-cookies a little less guilt-ridden.

Oh, how I admire his ability to say 'no'.

If this journey has taught me anything, it's that there's no shortcuts to fitness and health.

(It's my blog and if I want to put in jokes which reference the film I'm taking pictures from, I can do that.)

Two little notes:
1) I have occasionally been asked what my obsession with the writing team of Edgar Wright-Simon Pegg is, and it boils down to this picture. There are two people with guns behind the bar. Read the sign. If that doesn't make you giggle, then I don't know if we can be friends.

2) This post is for Marie who is about to run her first half-marathon in October. She's one of the few people who loves these films as much as I do. Marie's parents are from Wells, where Hot Fuzz was filmed. At the time of filming, this was the only stop light in the entire town. (It might still be, I just don't know for sure.)

And thus concludes this edition of "Andrea Needs a Hobby so She Stops Doing Screen Shots". Cheers!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quick Update

Proper post coming soon tomorrow, but I just wanted to share my exciting news: I can run without my arm tingling!

I headed out for a quick run last night and after10 minutes of running, my arm felt fine. The thumb itself is still sore but much better than it was. Truth be told, it feels so good that I forget and re-injure it by picking up something a little too heavy.

But I can run again!! YAY!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thumbs Up to Running

It seemed like an innocuous event. I reached for my bag and my thumbnail, which needed trimming, hit the wall with such force that I used words which I can't repeat on this blog. If I had been at work, the words in question would have required another 'sensativity training' session.* Still, life must go on so I picked up my bag and continued about my day giving no more thought to the injury my left hand had sustained.

The next morning, I woke up to a really sharp pain where my thumb meets my hand. It was so bad that I couldn't do any yoga poses that required putting weight on it. Downward Facing Dog became Um, I Think I'll Skip That Step.

Still, the pain was gone by Friday evening and I had no problems lifting my glass of wine.

Saturday morning, the pain had returned during the night and when I went to pick up my cereal bowl with my left hand I almost dropped it. I felt a few twinges in my wrist. This is not good.

I used my left hand/arm as little as possible on Saturday. The most strenuous thing I did with it was lift my wine glass, hold my rummy cards and play some piano. Okay, maybe that last one wasn't a great idea with an injured hand. Sunday morning found my whole left arm in various states of numbness and pain. This is really not good.

I returned to Victoria after my weekend up island and tried to return to a normal schedule. I was still modifying my yoga but the numbness and pain from my elbow to wrist subsided. I only noticed my thumb when I picked something up.

I went for a run.

Ten minutes into my workout, my arm was tingling from my elbow to my wrist and my thumb had gone completely numb. I'm no doctor but I'm pretty sure that is a big STOP sign. So I did just that. I walked the rest of my route and by the time I returned home, my arm had returned to normal.

My thumb is getting better. Every day I have more movement and less pain so I know that it is mending but running is on hold for the week. Again, I'm not a doctor but that sort of tingling can not be good! I've given my thumb an ultimatum: it has until Monday to be able to handle running or I'm going to the doctor. I enjoy the doctor as much as my cats enjoy the vet** so I'm hoping that my body understands this on a molecular level and speeds up the healing.

In the meantime, more walking and modified yoga are in my future.

But this isn't just a post to let you know about my lack of movement this week, it's also a morality tale: cutting your nails is an important step in keeping up your running!

*I have only had to do one of these training sessions after one co-worker accused another of harassment. For the record, I was not involved in the incident but everyone in our department had to attend the session.

**My cats actually like the vet and her friendly, quiet office because there's lots of things to explore and she's very calm and quiet. It's the car ride that they despise. They yowl like I'm skinning them alive. Still, I stand by my analogy because they hate the overall experience.

Monday, August 22, 2011

FMM: The Last Thing

I woke up to some sad news this morning so I need a post to take my mind off of it. Thank goodness for Friend Makin' Monday.

Guidelines are here.

FMM: The Last Thing

1) What is the title of the last book you read? The last book I finished was A Dance with Dragons. I'm currently reading The Origin of Species and Lonely Planet: Ireland.

2) What is the last movie you saw in a theater? Winnie-the-Pooh (and I went to see it on a Saturday night. Feel free to judge me.)

3) Briefly describe the last person you saw today. I'm in a coffee shop as I post this so that's a little hard. Prior to that, I met up with Allison to discuss our upcoming trip. (Insert 'squee' here!)

4) Which store did you most recently shop in? Other than the coffee shop, I stopped at London Drugs for kitty litter.

5) Who’s the last person you spoke to over the phone? My mom. Phoned to tell her I was home safe and sound from the wilds of Nanaimo.

6) Where’s the last place you vacationed? Proper vacation would have been Tanzania in 2007 (well, the two two week holidays I had while I was living there) but I've done a few weekend trips to Vancouver and Nanaimo which feel like mini-vacations (and I'm heading on my next vacation very soon!)

7) When was the last time you kissed someone of the opposite sex? A little over a month ago.

8) What’s the last thing that made you laugh? My pathetic whine while disagreeing with something my stepmom said during rummy which then caused the two of us to laugh so long and hard that we cried. Oh, and Al and I laughed a lot this morning but I don't remember over what.

9) What’s the latest app that you downloaded on your phone? I don't have a phone you can download apps to because I'm cheap but if I did, I'd totally download the app that lets you make a phone call.
10) What’s the last kind thing you did for someone? I gave Terry (the bubble man) computer lessons yesterday when he was having problems with his laptop.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fitting in the Family Time

Once I finally came back from the I'm not 20 and can't drink like that anymore ledge, I had a good week. Conflicting work schedules have left me running on my own but it hasn't slowed me down. I think that's always my biggest fear when I'm responsible to myself... Myself can be pretty f*&#ing lazy.

I was hoping to work in some swimming this week but after being called into the office pretty much all week, I haven't been able to get out to the lake. It's a catch-22: work = money to play but not the time to play.


I think we can all agree that sometimes being a grown up sucks. Still, there's a few more weeks of outdoor swimming weather left. I know I'll make it out there for a relaxing dip!

I've been trying to incorporate more yoga into my routine mostly to help with flexibility. While I wasn't working, it was easy to wake up at 7:30, do a 30 minute session, and still have my day started by 9:00am. When I have to leave the house at 7:20 to get to the office on time, it's a bit more difficult. As a result, I've only had one session this week. I've only been doing it for three weeks but the lack of it on my third week is already making me a sad panda.

Y U No Yoga? And Y U Mix Memes?

In amongst all the working and running and yoga-ing (totally going to call that a word), I've been enjoying my summer. My stepdad's family is visiting from New York. They're originally from Northern Ireland so we enjoyed a wonderful evening of talking about the GAA, Armagh vs. Tyrone, and how we're all distantly related to each other (short story: my uncle's wife's mother is their father's cousin. Did you follow that?)

Apparently Armagh/Monaghan family trees look something like this.

This weekend, I'm heading up to Nanaimo for more family socializing. I debated bringing my running gear for all of five minutes before deciding against it. My stepmom lives in a very hilly area so my runs always turn into walks. I'll just plan on a longer walk, followed by a cuppa and a round of rummy.

My stepmom and I take our rummy games very, very seriously. There's a good chance at least one of our games will end in blood and gloating.

How dare you go out while I have two aces in my hand!

All in all, the summer has shaped up to be pretty awesome.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I Hurt And Not From Exercise

I had plans to blog today. I also had plans for three blog posts over here.

I also had plans to leave yesterday's BBQ no later than 8:00pm.

Some how I found myself doing the running man in the middle of the road at 10:30pm as I made my way towards the bus stop.

And the only true blog post I succeeded in getting up was the pre-written post.

There may or may not have been alcohol involved in causing my plans to go astray.

I'll leave you to figure that out for yourself.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Forever Part of Jackie's Army

For the past two months I've been getting cravings for McDonald's. I've never been a big MickyD's eater so it was really not big deal to stop eating it altogether almost five years ago. Since then I've had it once (because it was that or a 15euro eggs, toast, and bacon at Schiphol Airport at 8:00am). I've occasionally lamented the lack of their no-nutritional-value-probably-laced-with-cocaine fries but then I cut up a potato to make oven fries and I'm just as happy.

Plus, if I eat at McD's too often, Mac tells me I'll remain a fat chicken forever.

This most recent craving, however, kept coming back. About once a week I'd find myself saying "but you'll like the dinner I made for you once you eat it" and like a resigned child, my craving would huff off into a corner until it was ready for the next round. Last night, I finally caved.

That's pretty much how I ate the fries.

I walked to the Raunchy Ronnie's closest to my apartment and ordered a meal. I sat down to eat it, realizing that the burger was so dripping with fat/oil/teenagelinecooksnot/grease that my fingers almost became translucent. Ugh. But I had ordered it and, I have to admit, it tasted good going down. It wasn't the most satisfying meal but it shut up my craving so I'll take it.

Actually, I think my burger had even more grease.

About 20 minutes after I got home my stomach felt awful. I still pretty much felt like ass this morning. Thank you, Golden Armpits, for reminding me why I was never really that big of a fan in the first place. And now I have a blog post for the next time I have a craving and the passage of time leads me to think how bad could one meal there be?
Note to readers: Guess who suddenly realised she can make
her own screen caps when she watches movies on her laptop?

Over on Healthy Tipping Point today, Caitlin asked another round of 10 personal questions. The last question was about your three happiest moments. One of my moments was when Ireland beat Romania in 1990. The funny thing is that I almost didn't include it as a memory because I didn't think a sporting memory from when I was 10 should really be one of my happiest moments. But you know what? It is.

I wrote about the game on its 20th anniversary but I know I've picked up a few new readers since then so while you can find the full post here, I'm reposting a shortened version of it on here. I will fully admit that just reading the post again made me cry.
Italia '90 is the first World Cup I really remember watching. I have vague memories of a World Cup party prior to that, but I couldn't tell you who was playing or what the score was. Italia '90 was so burned in my memory partly because I was 10 and finally able to actually follow sports and partly because it was Ireland's first time at the World Cup. As I have mentioned before, my dad is an Irish immigrant. As much as I love Canada, when it comes to soccer (and rugby), Ireland is my team. Italia '90 made sure of that.
...Ireland made it past the Round Robin stage. They were slated to play against Romania, at that time a dominant force in the soccer world (not so much now) and the general agreement was that 'the boys in green' had had a good run but it would be coming to an end.
My dad had invited a few friends around to watch and to follow it up with a BBQ.[...] It was a tense game, Romania attacking aggressively and Ireland building a defensive wall which rivaled the Berlin wall. Despite Romania's best efforts, not a single shot made it into the net and the teams were forced into extra time. [...] After extra time did nothing to change the result, a penalty shoot-out was inevitable.
Romania was up first. [...] The players would walk from the centre circle were they had to stay between kicks, place the ball where they wanted, and then score. [...] The score stood at 4-4 as Packie Bonner, Ireland's goalie, took his place on the goal line. He dropped his head and said a prayer (I know because he crossed himself when he was done) as Daniel Timofte strode up to the ball and got ready.
... Packie guessed right on that last ball and he stopped it. My dad let out a loud yelp of joy as he jumped out of his seat. I remember being on my knees, not fully believing what I was seeing. I was waiting for the referee to call back the penalty shot for some unknown reason, to give Daniel Timofte another crack at it. Thankfully, my imagined doom was just that, imagined.
As David O'Leary walked up the field towards the goal, I got to my feet never once taking my eyes off the screen. This was it. This was our moment. [...] He ran on the ball and kicked it straight into the back of the net. A cheer erupted from our living room, and in the moment of celebration, my dad took his full glass of red wine and threw it at our freshly-painted white wall. There was jumping, screaming, hugging, singing, dancing, yelling, laughing, and a couple of toasts. Ireland had done the impossible. They were going to the quarter-finals.
June 25, 1990 was the day I became a soccer fan. I had played soccer and I enjoyed soccer, but I had never loved soccer like I did that day and have since. I watched Ireland lose the next game to the host team, Italy. I watched in USA '94 as Ireland lost to Holland in the Round of 16 and as Roberto Baggio (Italy) placed a penalty kick so high above the cross bar I wondered if he needed glasses. I watched the final of France '98 while having lunch with my mom when France beat Brazil. Ireland had failed to qualify so I was cheering for the host country (this, of course, was prior to the Handball Henry debacle which will now ensure I hate France for the rest of my natural life). I watched Manchester United win the Treble on the world's tiniest TV while befriending the front door staff at a hostel in Paris. I watched Thun almost hold Arsenal to a tie in a pub in Thun. I hosted a pancake breakfast for the final game of Germany '06 and felt my jaw drop as Zinedine Zidane did the unthinkable to Marco Materazzi. All these memories in my life, all these important moments, tied into the beautiful game all because Ireland beat Romania in penalty kicks. What would have happened if they had lost?

I have come to believe that there will never be a sport moment in my life as sweet as Ireland's win over Romania. Soccer, hockey, rugby, there will be no game, no matter how important, that will stay with me the way that game did. Twenty years later, I watch a video about it and I tear up with pride at that moment. I talk about Italia '90 the way older Canadians talk about the '72 series. I reference that game like it was somehow pinnacle to the entire game of soccer and not just the island nation of Ireland. My children will know how important that game was, and likely my grandchild will too, because it really was that important.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summer Weekends and Belated FMM

I had a wonderful summer weekend. A day spent up island and Shawnigan Lake and another day spent lazing in my friend’s sunny backyard while we celebrated her 30th. As much as spring and fall are my favourite seasons, summer definitely does have its moments.

I made sure to go for a swim while up at Shawnigan (in amongst drinking the incredibly strong drinks our family friend poured. I don’t think the man knows what a short glass is) and it reminded me that a) swimming really is an awesome workout and b) I really love lake swimming. There’s not much left of summer but I’m motivated to try and make it out to Thetis for a few morning swims. (Early is the key for Thetis before the crowds descend on it.)

I was back to my scheduled workouts this morning and got a rude reminder halfway through my run why you should always make sure you're well hydrated. Both my calves cramped up and felt like they had turned into rocks. I stretched them out by walking the second run section but let this be a reminder to you: as much as you feel like hitting snooze, get up and drink that pint of water you planned on before going for a run!

Yesterday was Friend Makin’ Monday (guidelines here).

The theme was letter to your future self and as much as it made me giggle to contemplate leaving:
Dear Future Self,
I hope you got your shit together.
I figured a proper response with some thought behind it was the appropriate thing to do (no matter how much I like to giggle). As a result, I’m a day late but some thought actually went into this so I guess it was worth the wait.

Dear Me-Sometime-In-the-Future (let’s say 10 years),

I’m not going to lie, I’m struggling to be the person I know you deserve me to have been but I hope that you’re happy with where we ended up. Remember that 10 years ago from when I write this, this is not where I thought I would be either but the journey’s been awesome so I’m happy with it.

I hope the adoption went relatively smoothly. What country did we end up deciding upon? I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a West African Country to open up their adoption laws so you can keep the child immersed in their culture through Mohammed, Manimou, N’nato, Abouboucar and the extended MoonDance family. How about the possible plans for a second adoption? Yeah? Nay? Still debating?

I hope you’re the regular multi-day hiker that I want you to become. That’s something I always assumed I would become as a child, and it’s a dream that I don’t want to give up on. Not yet. Not until my knees give in. Or my back. Or some other required body part. And have we climbed Meru yet? Or at least made plans to head back that way?

Did we ever run that marathon? Even more important, did we travel somewhere for a really awesome marathon? I'm keeping my fingers cross that we've done the Drei Laender marathon. I mean, come on. Three countries in one race? Kind of awesome! Built in excuse to hangout with the Hostettlers, Fuchs and Villigers? All awesome!

This is Bodensee (or Lake Constance) that you run part way around for the Three Country Marathon.
My friend's adorable boys are not included in the race package.

And you know how much I love the apartment I’m in right now but please, please tell me you’ve got yourself sorted and have a house (rented or otherwise) with a yard and that you’ve gotten a chocolate lab from the SPCA and named him (or her) Murphy. Because Murphy is just the perfect name for a chocolate lab and beer drinkers will get the joke. Scratch him behind the ears for me. Oh, and maybe make some of those treats that Ian said Thompson loved so much. Don’t argue with me, just do it. And don’t let him terrorize the cats too much (if they’re still around in 10 years).

Doesn't the Chocolate Lab look like a tall pint of Murphy's?

Please don’t have lost your amazement at the wonders of the natural world. Does thunder still make you smile? Do pictures of lava flows still excite you? Does a starry night still take your breath away? Please say they do.

And please tell me that you still sing to yourself when you think no one can hear you and that you bust out the dance moves when the feeling strikes you. Don’t worry about embarrassing your children when you do this in front of their friends. You grew up with your dad doing that and you survived. So will they. In fact, it might even help to make them even more awesome.

Also, have you single-handily negotiated peace in the Middle East yet? No? You should get on that. I’m too busy to deal with it right now.

Me (from 10 years ago, which is really right now when I write this, but not when you read it, you know what? I’m just going to assume that we’re all on the same page with this and close these parentheses.)

Thursday, August 4, 2011


I’ve been waking up with the sniffles since Monday morning. A quick shower and a cup of coffee and the sniffles are usually gone but when I woke up Wednesday morning, the sniffles were there as well as a dull ache in my left ear. Along with the dull ache was a dulled ability to hear from that ear. I was supposed to go for a run at 9:00 but the idea of jostling my head around really didn’t appeal to me. I texted my running partner and we turned our run into a walk up and down a large hill instead.

I was proud of myself. Once upon a time, I would have just cancelled any sort of activity if I feel like I did that morning. But I didn’t. I changed what I was doing but I still got out there and worked hard enough that I was satisfied with my effort. I was also very happy that my ear cleared up by noon. One of my biggest rational fears is hearing loss. I will take losing my sight over losing my hearing any day of the week and twice on Sunday.*

I’ve been trying to take the stairs as often as possible in my apartment because four flights of stairs adds up, but sometimes you just don’t want to. Like last Tuesday. I took the elevator and ended up flirting my way up the four flights with an attractive young man. For the record, flirting with hot men is good motivation for getting in shape. Okay, so it wasn’t so much that he was hot but that he was observant enough to know that I must have had a stressful day at work.

(“Is it really that obvious?”

“Yes. You look like the day beat you down.”

Well, he was right. My unit is undergoing a re-org which means desk moves to a less than ideal location and leaving behind some wonderful friends, so Tuesday was a wee bit stressful. I would like to point out, however, that he told a complete stranger that they looked tired. Tact is obviously not his strong suit.)

I want to put his observation skills to the test and see if he can notice a change in my figure next time we meet (as we seem to ride the elevator together every few months). Also, he seems like a hockey guy and now that I don’t have cable or the Internet, a hockey guy just down the hallway who works roughly the same hours I do would be really convenient.

Just putting that out there, universe.

And did I mention that he’s easy on the eyes?**

*My biggest irrational fear is that a scarecrow is going to come through my TV screen and sing to me. Don’t laugh! I know it sounds silly. That’s why I called it irrational.***

**Plus he’s in construction which is a bit of a *rawr* factor for me. He can build and fix things! How attractive is that?

***I’m not making this up. There is a certain Doctor Who two-parter which I have to watch with all the lights on and my teddy bear held strategically in front of my face.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Falling Off the Face of the Earth

My lovely neighbours who left their wi-fi unlocked appear to have moved out of our apartment building.

I'm hoping that one of the new people moving in also leaves their wi-fi unlocked but in the meantime I'm going to have to up my coffee budget in preparation for regular trips to the coffee shop to post.

Still, I can't really complain. In the four years that I've been "borrowing" their internet connection, I've saved myself roughly $2000 in monthly fees.

So, a big thank you to my neighbours I never met. You've been awesome and I'm going to miss your unlocked wi-fi.