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Sunday, November 28, 2010

I got caught!

Elf Carol, showing up with bells on...literally!

Actually turned out to be a nice year this year...last year the temps were in the -30's, so everyone seemed happy to run in the snow and -6. It did snow overnight...that really fine snow, but it appears to have stopped, so I'll go out and clean up the walks later.

The race itself was a blast...the "elves" were given a 2-minute head start, and we were all picked because we run different paces. For example, former clinic leader Garrath was there, and said he ran the 8km loop before he was caught, while I "pulled a hamstring" and was out of tickets before the 1st km!! Hehehe... I hung out and course marshaled for a while, and then our leader came by with more tickets, so we handed out loads. Won a half pound of Starbuck's coffee (odd prize for me!) which I may have to brew up later...while it wasn't cold for running, it was cold for standing around! Felt is not that warm!!!

Started some laundry, and am going to tackle the great pile of dishes in my kitchen...I think for Christmas, Santa Claus is bringing me a new dishwasher. That sounds like a plan.

That's if for me...waiting on someone to come and look at my empty suite, but he had so many conditions on the phone yesterday, I am not holding my breath that I'll hear from him. I may also brave the walk and go get some chili or spag sauce makings...seems like a good thing to have, comfort food wise.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

I'm getting too old for this!

There "may" have been alcohol involved...

Say, like a glass of Cedar Creek Meritage while I got ready...then a glass of champagne at the Hyatt Regency Grand Ballroom reception...then a gin martini as a pre-dinner aperitif...a lovely Malbec during dinner (salmon sashimi, vodka shrimp tomato shooters, red pepper hummus, pita, couscous, maple roasted root vegetables, turkey, wild mushroom ravioli and a tomato salad)...a cup of coffee (yes, plain coffee) with a pumpkin creme brulee and tiramisu cup for dessert...another glass of red (had to empty the bottle!) and then my cocktail of choice...okay, 4 cocktails of soda with lime. We get 3 drink tickets each, and for some reason people feel sorry for me and give me theirs! Or they think I'm a lush...let's go with sorry, shall we? Anyway, I redistributed, and ended up paying for one drink, which was a good deal. Good food, excellent band, fun dancing, laughing till I cried and generally enjoying myself as I always do at our parties. A night well spent...although I question the existence of girly shoes and why they must be so painful!!!

Since I couldn't get through to the cab companies earlier in the evening, Baby Girl got a special treat and got to stay parked underground at the Convention Centre last night. I very wisely took a cab home, as I shut down the party at 1am...I wasn't alone! There were other revellers still there too!!!
Woke up this morning at 9:30, and after vowing to got up, sucked back a glass of chocolate milk and then grabbed my Starbuck's go cup, walked to Starbucks and filled up on a 6-shot latte (yes, I needed the extra shot!!) and an egg & ham sandwich. That definitely hit the spot and I left there feeling a tad more human. Walked to the Convention Centre, sprung Baby Girl and brought her home, in time to load her up with Epicure product for a party later this afternoon. Hosted the party, loaded her up again and came home, swinging by KFC for some much needed grease. Very, very, very disappointing. I think I actually was served by one of the stupidest people on the difficult can that job be? I told him what I wanted...he repeated it...charged me accordingly...I came home with half of what I paid for!!! Grrr... Not worth going back to fight...ever. Lesson learned. But I did have some grease and that was the point.
Tomorrow morning I will be up and down at the Eau Claire Running Room with bells on. Literally!!! I will be an elf for Chase the Elves, and actually have a complete outfit to wear (go big or go home, I always say!). I will be certain to take some photos.
With that, I'm heading to bed.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

God bless Chinooks!

After a week (sadly, it was only a week!) of super deep-freeze weather, we finally had a beautiful, blessed Chinook blow in this morning. Yesterday morning, I walked in -27C with a windchill in the mid -30', it was -3C. A change of 24 degrees in 24 hours...and it was AWESOME!!! But now all that snow is getting sloppy and the roads are mucky and nothing you wear is safe from the slush and ice and wet and uck. But it was +2C when I walked home, so I really don't care!!!

Up another .8 this least I'm consistent. I need to find my weight loss mojo again...I think I left it where I dropped my exercise mojo. That means it's buried under some snow drift out front! I totally blew off boot camp tonight, with the excuse that I didn't want to be all stiff and sore for my Christmas party tomorrow night. Whatever... I will enjoy my party and then I will purge my kitchen - watching Last 10 Pounds, I realized that I need to up my vitamin C to offset the cortisol that my stressed out body is storing in great quantities right now! And since I like the emergen-C powder, that also includes vitamin B complexes as well, I'll be helping level out my mood too.

I have another Epicure party to host Saturday afternoon - that should help control the drinking tomorrow night - and then I get to dress up like an Elf to be chased on Sunday morning. Returning to the world being about me begins right after that. I have got to regain control of this...I have no desire to start from scratch. No, let me restate that...I WILL NOT START FROM SCRATCH!

Okay...I should head for bed, as I need to be all rested for tomorrow night. I get to leave work a whole 1/2 hour early to get ready! The joy of being an early bird and starting at 7...most of the department starts at 8:30 and work till 5. So for them, they get to leave early...for me, well it may mean a 20 minute nap!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Global Warming

Woke up to -31C this morning...that was BEFORE the windchill, which topped out at -40C or so. Who counts after that?? All I know is exposed flesh will freeze in 5-10 minutes. Awesome. Yet, on Canada's Weather Network, all they can talk about is how the homeless in "frigid" Vancouver (temp is "plummeting" to freezing or 0C) are going to survive their blast of winter. Seriously?! How about shedding the spotlight on Calgary, where we kick piles of snow just to make sure there isn't a body underneath!

I had to drive into work this morning (I do so love paying $20 to park my car) as I had to go get Mom again for yet another doctor's appointment. On the coldest day of the year...this has good times written all over it. Thankfully, the OkTire store by my house had an opening yesterday, and I got my winter tires put on last night. Made me chuckle, actually, as I asked how long it would take (about 2 hours), okay, I'm going to walk to the mall to do some shopping. Their response??? "ALL the way to the mall, in this cold?!" The mall, by the way, was all of 10-12 blocks from the tire place, and if you are dressed properly and keep moving, it's not that bad. It's actually closer than my usual walk to work in the morning. Besides, what else was I going to do? Sit in a tire store lobby for two hours??? No thank you!

Got to the mall (got to walk over the new LRT tunnel (deep!!)) and found some jewellery and make-up for the Christmas party Friday night. Then I had a latte at Starbucks (half sweet, non-fat, no whip Peppermint Mocha) and headed back. The guys were great...I'm storing my summers there until spring, and they checked my battery and changed a brake light for me. Good service and nice more driving to Okotoks for me.

Left work at 2 today (it has warmed up to -25C by then!) and managed to get Mom and return downtown (the clinic is about 2 blocks from where I work!) by 3. Her appointment went well, and the doctor quickly signed the referral to the Seniors Centre. Mom had a few troubles with the tests, and kept looking to me for the answer, but I told her this was for her and not me. Now we wait for the call from the hospital. I'm guessing that will come sometime in the new year.

After dropping Mom off, and being stuck in traffic for most of it, I once again missed boot camp. I was just seething by then and was in no mood to be around people. After all, for one doctor's appointment, I put over 45km on my car and was stuck in traffic for over an hour!!! Grrrrrrr!!! At least it hasn't snowed more...yet.

I had the last of my salmon chowder (Epicure Seafood chowder mix, fresh salmon, extra potatoes, celery and corn) with some Ritz crackers. I am pleasantly full and ready for a good night's sleep. I think I'm going to lay on the couch and watch some Glee (Carol Burnett guest stars...freaking AWESOME!!!!) and then hit the hay. The cold has taken my energy mojo and tossed it into a snowbank somewhere. But the Chinook arrives tomorrow night, so we should be back to normal by Thursday/Friday. 'Bout time.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Spoke too soon...

I am certain that Calgary is attempting to get all of it's annual snowfall in this week alone. Nothing like getting it out of the way at once! Yes, it is still snowing. Granted, it's really light right now, but that is meaningless when I look at the good 2-3 inches out on the sidewalks again. Oy, my aching back!! Just finishing up a coffee and this post and then I'm going to have at 'er. The good news is I have an appointment to get my winter tires put on tomorrow afternoon, so that should mean no more snow till spring!! LOL!

Friday, I went shopping for Mom. Took my little sports car out and braved the roads, as she was out of the "essentials"...and by essentials, I mean cookies, jelly beans, vodka and cigarettes! Hell, she's 74 years old...if she wants to drink, smoke and eat nothing but sugar, power to her! Although that also meant NINE phone calls from her (5 in a 10 minute period) to tell me she needed smokes (3 calls), word search books (2 calls), vodka (2 calls) and to pick up a pizza for supper (2 calls). Got home from work and after making my own list (for the Epicure party I was having on Saturday), I went out and started the car. My Baby Girl starts very well in the cold, considering she is over 20-years-old. And people laugh that I still drive her. Anyway, off to Coop first, for the food. Then the liquor store across the parking lot for the vodka. The smokes were going to be a challenge, because I don't smoke and I know you can't buy them anywhere pharmacies operate (hence the grocery store)...I figured a gas station would have them, and I was right, although dude didn't have the carton Mom wanted...just got her what they had. Lastly, I drove around in circles trying to remember where the Panago pizza was near Mom's. Finally found it and ordered a New York Deli, because I know that's one she likes. Next time I'll get one with actual vegetables on it!!!! This one was all meat! Good...tasty...but all meat. Got home, and started on some of the stuff for the party, and then went to bed. I had an early start on Saturday.
Up and at 'em and out of the house bright and early, to get my hair cut! It's only been 6 weeks, but my evil hairdresser slipped some kind of fertilizer into the conditioner he wants me to use, because holy long and scraggly!!! It is now short, short, short! I can see my ears, my neck, my eyes! Heck, I can see!!! And all grays have been eliminated once again...take that you ugly silver hairs! I will, by the way, be staying blond for the rest of my life...grew up naturally brunette, have been a redhead of various shades over a great number of years, went totally dark (not quite black, but almost) for a year or two, but this is by far my favourite colour on me. It makes me smile.
Also got my eyebrows done, so I look sleek and sophisticated for the Christmas -oops "End of Year" celebration next week. I've tried to shape my own brows and I suck...I defer to the professionals! She did a lovely job, and then because of a special, I also had a mini manicure yesterday. The nails are cleaned up and shaped, although they are really short due to my rule of "two of you break, you're all coming off" and I hate fake nails. Had them for years and the damage they did to my actual nails has taken eons to correct.

Got home for the spa 3 hours later and started on the party fixings...I made (using Epicure products, of course) pumpkin cheesecake with maple pumpkin spiced pecans, turkey meatballs with sage & apple dressing and blanc de blanc wine jelly glaze, extraordinary cheese dip (a lovely hot mash of cream cheese, shredded cheddar & mozzarella, mayo, Cheese Chives & Bacon dip, Lemon Dilly dip and 3 Onion dip), feta and Roasted Red Pepper dip, Pesto Artichoke dip with spinach and parm cheese, Curry dip, French Onion dip and Louisiana Hot and Spicy dip. The hostess supplies the dippers, I supply the dips! The party went really well, considering the temps and roads out there. Going to wrap it up on Wednesday, when the hostess gets to go on a shopping spree! I just make my money to pay for my tires! Good thing I can write that kind of stuff off.
I was thinking of going shopping for a dress for the party on Friday, but instead I reached wwwwaaaaayyyyy into the back of my closet and found a dress from years past. It fits, quite nicely, and will do just fine. Basic black, which I will pair with a burgundy pair of shoes, for that nice splash of colour. So other than having to go to Mom's and actually get my tires, I'm housebound for the day. Going to watch the football game (Calgary vs. Saskatchewan for the Western final and see who goes to the Grey Cup (Canada's version of the Super Bowl)) and think about something nice and warm/homey for supper. I have some salmon thawed, so it will definitely involve that. Just haven't decided what to do with it yet. I will have to figure something out.
Okay...I've wasted enough time. I seriously have to go tackle those walks. Since I chose to sleep in this morning, rather than go to run club, I must get in some sort of cardio for the day.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A reprieve...

It started snowing Monday finally stopped this afternoon. I have shovelled a lot over the last 3 days and my back is telling me so! And I can't even describe it as shovelling, as that doesn't remove everything it was scraping. A lot of scraping. Imagine cleaning the ice off your car window, but the window is over 50' long and 4' wide!!!

My building is right beside another building of the same era, only it is owned and run by different folks than mine. And they obviously pay their resident manager more than I am paid, because they have the professionals come to remove the snow. And let me tell you, they know where the property line stops and starts!!! However, that doesn't stop them from pushing it all over to my side of the sidewalk, now does it?? Nor do they adhere to the "to the cement" clause of the bylaw. So, while I start shovelling at my front door and the snow is only a couple of inches deep, by the time I get to the end of the building, the snow is now a good foot, foot and a half deep and HEAVY! Just a tip, by the way...if you are out walking and you pass someone shovelling and working hard at it, don't say something stupid like "looks like hard work" or the likes...we have a weapon and usually enough snow to successfully hide a body for quite some time...don't piss us off!!! Just saying...

Made it to weight watchers and while I was feeling poo-pooey about another small gain this week, everyone started asking me how I exercise outside and how do I stay motivated. That helped my mood a bit, when I realized they were sincerely wondering how I did it. Quote Nike...just do it. Although I did bail on run club and boot camp so far this week, but that's more because I was working out a different way. And I seriously don't drive enough on the roads (and my winter tires are still in Mom's garage) to risk my life and others for a run or a workout.

Okay...I'm sitting here still sweating (changed out of everything when I came back inside) and now I'm starting to get a chill. I think it's time for a cup of tea and a snuggle under a blanket.

Stay warm,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mid week

My aching back...Mother Nature has been very odd to Calgary this year. After all, we had to wait till the end of September for summer to show up and then no snow until November 15th?! What is really sad is I think she figured out she messed up and is trying to dump all of September, October and November's snow TODAY!! It took an hour to clean the walks last night...yes, I go at it with a scraper because I read the rules that say "to the cement" and tossing a bag of salt on it doesn't count! Happily, it snowed all night and all day again, so I got to go over the whole mess one more time. Felt like I did an hour of dead lifts, scraping the ice over and over and over again. Unfortunately, there is so much foot traffic downtown that as soon as someone walks on the snow, it fuses with the sidewalk and becomes one solid mass. Great cardio though!!!!

Had to drive in the storm last night to take Mom for a haircut. The funny part, after being stuck in traffic for an hour, and finally making our way to Rosanna's, Mom says "good thing you know where you're going"...trouble is I have never been to Rosanna's or even met the lady for that matter! Just really good at figuring out directions! But Mom's hair is all cleaned up and she looks good and feels good. Dropped her off and carefully made her way home. Between all my runs and travels and no snow, I am one of those morons who waited to put her snow tires on. Now I'll get to wait longer, as they say that it's now a two-week wait at most shops. I emailed a place today, so we'll see what they have to say.

Walked over the Running Room at lunch and bought a pair of trail runners, as I'm tired of slipping and sliding while winter training. But by the time I got home (holy wind chill!), and realized I had another hour's worth of shovelling ahead of me, I decided to skip run club tonight. I'll test the runners on Sunday.

My elf outfit arrived, for my stint as an elf for Chase the Elves at the end of the month. I guess what happens is a bunch of us elves head out, and then get chased by the runners, who try to catch us because we have raffle tickets to hand out! Sounds like a hoot, and I can't wait to go all in, as my outfit has a hat, bells, pointy shoes...hehehehe...go big or go home, right?

Dinner was a simple and warm bowl of cream of tomato soup and a warmed up piece of naan. I added diced tomatoes and dill to the soup to make it more of a meal, and to up the veggies. It was definitely a soup day, as I enjoyed the soup at work today "baked potato w/bacon"...basically a cream of potato soup, but very tasty all the same.'s only 7:41 but I am so ready to hit the sack! Not sure how long I'll last...something about the cold and snow that makes you want to crawl under the covers and stay there.

Warm thoughts out to everyone,

Monday, November 15, 2010

Early day

I was up, showered, dressed and out the door by 6 this morning, and walking to work in the dark. Blah... But it did make the flashing red lights that much more noticable...hmmmmm...are they by my office?? A little closer...yup. That is never a good sign!!! As I approached the office, I could see fire boys climbing back into their big trucks (drat!) and driving away. Sadly, the office was declared safe to enter and I had to go to work after all. Double drat.

I went in at the crack of stupid so that I could leave at 2, in time to walk home, jump in my car, drive to Mom's, get back into the car, drive back downtown (yes, the doctor's office is about 3 blocks from work), park ($11 for ONE HOUR of parking!! And people ask why I walk!), convince Mom to walk slightly faster than a meander, only to have the doctor say "oh, I don't have enough time to do a full analysis for the referral to the place you've already been to, so you'll have to come back." Oy... We now get to play this game all over again next week, and in the meantime, I've got to somehow convince Mom to not eat anything (yes, that means jelly beans and chocolates) so I can take her for some blood work, to test her thyroid levels for the Synthroid prescription (which at least we walked away with). I miss our family doctor!

Lunch was leftover moussaka, which just gets better with age. Yum... It was also going to be supper till Mom decided she wanted a hamburger. Luckily we pass McD's on the way to her house, where she ate a cheeseburger (yes, the whole thing) and half a small thing of fries. That is huge for her!! Dropped Mom off, and returned for home. I had to try and winterize one of the windows for a tenant that wisely moved here from Africa and then can't figure out why she's cold all the time! I did ask, very good-natured mind you, whether she researched Canada before she chose it as home!! Explained that winter, especially by the mountains is COLD! Speaking is comes. The rain has started, which is not a good sign, since that's supposed to be followed by snow. Again...thank goodness I walk to work! Although the 'birks may have to stay at home. I hate

I am going to pack my running gear to work, since I'll miss boot camp waiting for Mom to get her hair done. I ran into "hot man" that I used to run with all the time (again...very happily married...dang it, aren't they all?) who reminded me that he hasn't seen me for a while, although he did say that I was looking good. Blush! Anyway, I've decided it's been too long since I've tackled the stairs, and snow will just add to the challenge...and if it's too snowy, I'll just run a loop.

Since dinner was a burger, my last piece of moussaka (all the rest went into the freezer last night) will be for lunch tomorrow.

Really, that's it for me. Nothing too exciting. Just another Monday.


Sunday, November 14, 2010


But first...Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls. O.M.G. - so.freaking.good! I am with Jaime though, and prefer cream cheese icing over the brown sugar icing the recipe calls for. Mrs. Hines helped out with that! Next time though, I'm going to make even more of the center stuff, so that the rolls are that much goo-ee-er. I do luvs me a good sticky bun!

Had a few too many last night (this made 2 trays) and found out that they just don't make good pre-run fuel. Oh, they're not just need to eat stuff from the other food groups as well!!! But so hard to resist!

I got up and met up with some running peeps down at Eau Claire this morning, but just could not wrap my head around doing a 7km long, slow run this morning. I guess after finishing 42.2, 7 just seems...short. So I decided to head out and do the Long Zoo route, after reading that the City was finally finished the River Walkway. Granted, they failed to mention that the 4 blocks between Centre Street and Langevin Bridge were still ripped to pieces and you had to run on either the narrow sidewalk or the road, but the rest of it is quite lovely, I will admit. There are wide sidewalks for runners/walkers and a separate path for those on wheels. It's brightly lit, there's benches, lounge chairs, promenades, decks overlooking the river. The only complaint I can think of is the recycled, broken glass in the walkway, while pretty, may prove to be very slippery with ice and snow. Guess we'll see what happens when it actually snows. Yes, it is November 14th in Calgary and we honestly haven't had the first snowfall of winter yet. It is scary late...

Sorry...gag moment...dude who has just spent the last 6 weeks of Amazing Race screaming at, belittling and basically calling his girlfriend stupid just proposed and the dumb bunny said yes. SERIOUSLY?!?! Some women make me shake my head.

Anyway, back to the program at hand. I treated today's run like a steady, just wanting to hit a good pace and maintaining it, so I ran it alone. I hadn't decided if I wanted to just do 7 or 10 or whatever, but I figured when I got tired, I'd stop. I ended up running a nice 7:37/km pace and came back over Prince's Island and finishing, oddly enough after 7.37 km. Funny. Had coffee with K. and G., after cheering on the two D's running the Last Chance Half. It is the last race of the season, other than the odd 10km fun runs, so a lot of Calgary runners partake. I think it sells out quite early. The Marathon Quest 250 dude was there as well...he has committed to running 250 marathons in 2010, to raise money for Right to Play. Amazing man, and outstanding cause.
After coffee and breakfast, I stopped at work to pick up and bring home my 10 year service award. I swear it's bigger than my sports car! I pushed it through the halls and downstairs at work (it only weighs 40 lbs, but it is the most awkward shape and no handles) and managed to get it into the car. The hike up the 3 flights up stairs was a treat, but Daddy didn't raise no girly-girl!! I will unpack and set it up later.

After loading the stereo into my house, I changed, grabbed a tray of cinnamon rolls and headed back down to Mom's. Turns out my cousins, who I haven't seen in about 20 years for one and 5-6 for the other, were in town and wanted to visit with Mom. Since Mom's memory isn't the best, both my brother and I thought it best if we were there too. Had a nice visit, shared my rolls (grudgingly...hehehe), and after cleaning up and running a load of dishes for Mom, came back home to start on my Moussaka, finally.
I sliced 3 eggplants, put some oil, S&P on them and roasted them in the oven, to help with the flavour base. I also roasted off about 4 little zucchinis too. Boiled the potatoes and once cool, sliced them off. In a pot, mixed onion, garlic, ground lamb, ground pork, crushed tomatoes, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, red wine, bay leaf and some more S&P. After letting it meld together, I did add a shot of w. sauce (so don't know how to spell it!) for depth. It was perfect. Lastly, I made the cheese sauce to go on top...a basic white sauce (butter, flour, cream) with a touch of nutmeg and a handful of shredded Kasseri (Greek sheep's milk cheese - YUM!) and Parmesan stirred in. Finally, mix in two egg yolks to help bind it all together and I am ready to put my Moussaka together.
Moussaka production line:
First layer: eggplant

Next layer of zucchini, meat sauce and then potatoes.

Finish with the last of the eggplant and then top with the cheese sauce.

Bake in a 350 oven for 45 minutes, or till the top is nice and golden. Let it sit for about 20 minutes to set up.

In a word...PERFECTION!!! Teamed with a simple Greek salad of feta, olives, cucumbers, green peppers and cherry tomatoes, evoo, lemon juice, spices and red wine vinegar.
I have a very happy, very full belly right now.

I've already packed up 6 foil containers with moussaka and they are in the freezer, waiting to be eaten another day. I have one piece for lunch tomorrow and one last piece for dinner tomorrow night.
I am a good cooker!
With that, I'm signing off. I have to get to work even earlier tomorrow so that I can leave at 2. I have to get my car, drive to Mom's (yes, again) and then back downtown to the doctors, to get her prescription refilled and a new referral to the Seniors Centre ("just call us back", my ass) and then take Mom home so I can return downtown. I had better make sure my gas tank is full!
Hope everyone had a great weekend.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Jaime inspired me...I don't bake often, as that's usually a dangerous thing for a single woman who is constantly fighting weight demons to do, but the Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls sound far too good to resist!

The very easy yeast dough (nothing smells better than yeast, I tells ya!) is resting and doing its thing even as we type. Took all of 10 minutes to mix up.

And the pecans are gently toasting, so that they taste even more delicious. Mmmmm...toasty nuts.
Just went to give them a shake and stir, since I can just start to smell them. That's the sign when they're toasting nicely. I am notorious for putting nuts (or even other stuff) to toast and then walking away and getting preoccupied with something else. Adult ADD sucks! But I am fun to watch!

Thursday night at the Hitmen WHL game was fun, despite many of the fans walking in and saying they didn't know to bring food. We still managed to walk away with 6-8 large boxes full. All the food and money collected that day was going directly to the Veteran's food bank, sadly which is much needed. Breaks my heart! I was good at convincing some people into forking over cash (money is just as good as food, as many of the food banks have a better buying power than we do), although I was joking with the group leader that he should have put me by a beer stand. I'm really good at making people feel like heels for enjoying a beer while the old man who made it possible for him to enjoy said beer is languishing at home alone, hungry. How's that beer tasting now, dude??

Our corporate mortal enemy was at the game as well (not sure if they were sponsoring something or what) but they MADE us change out of our Together is Amazing shirts, as they didn't want us "advertising" ourselves. Seriously?!?! You don't want us there, advertising that we're collecting food for hungry Canadians, and veterans to boot????? See...very good at the guilt thing!!! I don't care...I know who I work for, and am immensely proud of the awesome thing we are doing (well over a million pounds of food raised so far, and that is BEFORE Shaw and Campbells match), and I got a Hitmen t-shirt out of it.

Yesterday we took down the pyramid of food in our building's lobby and started packing up all the flats to go to the food bank. We wanted to make sure that they had the food for the weekend. Wish I had remembered my camera, as it was pretty impressive to see all this food lined up, waiting for the moving van to haul it all over.

It was a pretty quiet day at the office though, as many people took the day off for an extra long weekend. I was not one of them! Did whip over to WW, forgetting that I was wearing jeans...crap. Up again. Can I totally blame the jeans? Probably not. I need to sit down and focus! Although I already missed two of the three boot camps this week, due to scheduling and now that I have to take Mom for a haircut on Tuesday (she's forgotten how to get to the hairdresser...sigh), I'll most likely miss that class too. Need to come up with a back-up plan, since Josh only has the three classes a week this time around, rather than his usual five. I will be going for a run in the morning, and I think I'm going to do a nice 10km tempo. Just can't wrap my head around doing a 7km long slow run! Meanwhile, I came home and was a slug (last night's boot camp was changed to Wednesday, when I went to running clinic), enjoying black lentils in curry, naan and potato samosas. I was very full by the end, but full of carby goodness! Must be getting colder out.

Heading down to Mom's shortly today, as she's out of cat food, and while remembers how to get to the vet's, can't remember how to get home. Claims she ended up in downtown Calgary last time she tried...why am I just hearing about this stuff now?!

Dough is rising, so soon my house will be filled with the smell of fresh baked cinnamon rolls...and then I also got in the mood for Moussaka (our deli made it last week, and I thought (of course) I can do better!), so that will be whipped up later today. The ground lamb is thawed, I have many, many eggplants and zucchinis, potatoes and I'm making a real bechamel sauce for it...none of this low-fat stuff for me. I'll also pick up some freezer containers, so that I can divvy it up and have some ready for lunches/dinners in a hurry. Just realized that I should have picked up salad makings as well. Hmmm...guess it's a trip to the store for me. Maybe the Farmer's market instead. We'll see what Mom is in the mood for.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest we forget

For me, Remembrance Day sort of started last night at running club. Admittedly it was strange to show up for a run when there is no clinic, and therefore no distance or hills or tempo or speed work to be done. I could just show up and run...not sure how I felt about that. But we all showed anyway, bearing food items for the Veteran's Food Bank (Shaw will be collecting at tonight's Hitmen WHL hockey game). We then took off on mass and ran across Prince's Island to this point. A memorial set up to honour those soldiers lost during the war, many of whom are still buried overseas. Kind of brought them home this way. Almost 1,500 crosses line Memorial Drive (hence it's name) and where all of us runners stopped first for a minute of silence and quiet reflection, before heading off for a run.

Because I had wandered all the way to the end, I missed the group taking off, so ended up running on my own. I decided to stick to the main pathway (it is pitch black by 6:30 nowadays) and ran just over 4.5km in 32 minutes. Legs were a little tired from Tuesdays squat / burpie-a-thon festival at boot camp, but felt good at the same time. Ended the evening in our usual manner, hoisting a pint at the local pub and having an all-right (not stellar) turkey burger for supper. Good thing the Guinness was up to it's standards!

Got up this morning and decided that since I live so close, I had no excuse to miss the memorial at Central Memorial Park, where the Cenotaph and Eternal Flame are.
This park had sadly fallen into disrepair of the years, and had become a hang-out for drug-dealers, addicts, street people, skater kids, etc. But this year the city poured a lot of money into it, making it brighter (more lights = less places for drug dealers to hide and do their biz) and building up the gardens and pathways to make it more inviting for people to come down and enjoy. Hope it works.

Quite a lot of people came out for today's memorial, which was nice to see. And it was nice to see all the younger people there, not necessarily children bundled up and dragged out by their parents. However, someone needs to explain to the boys (and some men) that it is a sign of respect to remove your hat! It wasn't that cold out. Oh, and all the Crackberries and iPhones could have been left at home was just an hour, people!!

The dignitaries made their speeches and then the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month hit. After silent reflection, Taps started. I don't care when, I don't care why...I hear the lone bugle and I lose it. While both of my grandfathers and one uncle served in the wars, and Mom's dad did pass away during (tuberculosis or mustard's up for debate), my family doesn't really have strong ties to the military, other than I am appreciative of the men and women who fought/fight for me to have the right to walk to a memorial on a bright November day and reflect the way I choose, not am dictated to.

After a little wandering (mainly into the sunshine to get warm), I left my poppy with all the others and headed for home. Almost lost it again though, when I witnessed a gentleman, probably my age, place his poppy, walk away a bit and then salute the Cenotaph. Tearing up just thinking about it now.

I was going to swing by Starbucks but decided to come home, have a coffee here and some eggs and toast (passed a breakfast place on the way that suddenly had me craving dippy eggs!) and then figure out the rest of my day. I am heading down to the Hitman game this afternoon to represent Shaw and help collect any food brought down to the game. All food collected today will go to the Veteran's Food Bank. Very sad that they fought for us, and now fight to not be hungry. Shame on us.

But HUGE shout out to the Shaw employees/friends/family and everyone, as we have surpassed one million pounds of food raised across Canada, and that is not yet including the match by Shaw and Campbell's (another 650,000 pounds!!). Awesome job, everyone. Together really is Amazing.

I need another cup of coffee to try and beat off this chill I have, and then make my dippy eggs. Hope everyone enjoys their day, wherever they are.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Not much to say...

Really not a lot to say tonight, but as always I've left this till late and should just go to bed. Of course, it doesn't hurt that my arms and shoulders are starting to seize from Boot Camp and it hurts to type!

Maybe here is where I will live...if you dream it, you will be it.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Sleepy thoughts

I always seem to forget how long it takes me to get used to it being dark so long in the morning and so early in the evening...times like this, I just want to be a bear, all snuggled in my den with a full belly, snoozing. Instead, reality insists that I work and such. Blah. This too will pass, as I just need to adjust.

Didn't really do much exciting at work...same old Monday routine. Came home and threw some chicken in the slow cooker for a quick meal. Was that just an oxy-moron?! Anyway, after searing a couple of chicken breasts in a frying pan, I put them in the hot slow cooker. Then I deglaced the pan with a can of cream of mushroom soup and a couple of good tablespoons of Epicure French Onion dip mix (way more better for you than the powdered soup versions) and some S&P. Dumped that on top of the chicken and let it burble away while I puttered around the house. Finally got hungry enough to boil up some egg noodles (the yolkless ones) and poured the now very well cooked chicken and "gravy" on top. It was quite delicious and oh, so simple!

I am fighting to stay awake, so I think that means I'm going to go to bed. One of my greatest battles is getting enough sleep, and it is completely starting right now...if I am tired, I am going to bed. Period.
And dream of being here full time.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Winterstart Weekend Photo Review

The town of Banff, from Norquay Mountain (north side of Highway 1).

The Fox Hotel and room is on the left side of the arch, right above the silver SUV.

SWEET suite!

Yes...that is SIX pillows on the KING SIZED BED!!

Just before the race Saturday night...whee...

(During daylight) - this is the starting point.

1.5 miles down this road...the main road in and out of Banff. We ran down the shoulder.

Then we ran 1 mile UP this road...took us around the bend waaaaayyyy at the top. Turn around, and return.

This is all I saw!! It was very cool...perfect night for a run, despite a light drizzle.

After a nice lay-in this morning and coffee, I went for a "hike".

My very own Birken-hiking-stocks! Limited where I went, though.

Above the Bow Falls, looking at the Banff Springs Hotel...I always thought this was where the Queen lived, growing up. I know...I was a goofy child.

Looking down onto the river, before the falls.

Watching "winter" blowing snow at the town level though. Just rain. I got very wet at one point...must remember rain coat next time I go for a hike in the mountains in November!

Cool looking tree...I liked it.

There is a view, regardless of where you are in Banff...this is from the parking garage!

Same mountain, a little while later...I love watching Mother Nature do her stuff!!


Banff Winterstart Recap

In brief:
- The Fox hotel rocked! Loved, loved, loved my room and will definitely go back there.
- Winterstart Race was totally fun!! And I had a good time of 57:45 for the 5 miles (8km)...not bad, considering it's run at 7pm and is pitch black and the first time I've run it. Very cool to only see marker lights, reflective tape on jackets and colourful glows sticks, all bobbing along in the dark. The bears must be so confused each year! I will run this again...the party in the parking garage of the host hotel was crowded and loud but fun when you end up there with a whole bunch of running friends. And free beer and cookies...there is nothing wrong with that!!
- Good fun at the Rose & Crown afterwards...I "may" have had a few pints of Guinness and I totally devoured one of the best lamb burgers ever.
- Daylight Savings rocks, as I totally needed that extra hour of sleep this morning! So does late check-out from the hotel!!!
- I HEART the mountains...have I said that?! Spent the day wandering into new (for me) areas of Banff, snapping pictures and walking in the rain. Lovely.
- home now and doing laundry. Reality sucks.


Flashback to Thursday

Realized that I didn't talk about the Rethink Breast Cancer Romp that I attended Thursday night. The wife of one of coworkers asked that I donate an Epicure basket of goodies to their silent auction, and for my efforts, they gave me a ticket to the event. I got dressed up, but not as a Superhero (which was the theme), and went down to O Haute Cuisine, located by work. It was a little unnerving to go by myself, but I knew that T. was going to be there, and then I would get to meet his wife as well (so far, we had only communicated by emails). I felt like I had walked into a life taping of "Real Housewives of...". There were quite a few ladies with way too much hair, way too much make-up, way too little outfits and way too much alcohol. All I can hope for is that it meant loads of money spent on the auction, therefore benefiting the cause!! It was crowded and HOT! But I did bid on a couple of items (I had a budget...sadly missed out on a beautiful painting) and came home as the proud owner of a bunch of Starbucks stuff...I know...completely out of character for me!! LOL!!! Had a couple of glasses of red wine, watched the cartoonist turn everyone into a superhero, realized that I didn't need to waste time getting ready, as I could have had both my hair and make-up done there (details, T!), and enjoyed some nice little appies (mini-quiches that I would have mud-wrestled someone for, cheese stuffed tomatoes and some sweets as well), and after I paid for my "winnings" I took my leave (around 10pm). Came home with a nice swag bag as well, with some coupons, more treats and such. A nice night...I'd go again next year, but hopefully will be able to go with a group...more fun when you actually know people there.

The good news is I went after boot camp, which I really need to focus on, as my weight was up again. Tried to buy a tracker book, as my spreadsheet seems to have gone the wayside, but with the new program pending, Weight Watchers has nothing to sell right now. This truly pisses me off...if it ain't broke, stop fricking fixing it!!! Argh!!! And of course, it's all got to be a big secret...ooooo...there's a change coming December 6th but we're not allowed to breathe another word about it. What.the.frick.ever!! It's going to be the exact same thing, just called something different, so we can all run out and buy all the new books (again) and the new programs (again) and the new everything (again)...till the next time!!! If I didn't heart my leader Faye so much and I wasn't such a stubborn boot, I'd be out of there so fast. Grrrr...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Saturday morning in Banff

Ahhhhh...have I mentioned in the past that I am at peace when I am in the mountains?? I LOVE it here. Despite the rain that is coming down right now...this time last year, the roads were covered with snow, so I guess we can't complain.

I'm here for Winterstart, a 5-miler taking place at 7pm. Yes, a race for night people like me!! I have my headlamp and my glow-sticks and I am ready to roll. I know loads of people running it this year, with a lot from running club coming up for it. It should be a blast. I came up yesterday after boot camp (yet another killer class...I'm surprised I was able to get out of bed this morning without assistance!). Yes, I packed up Thursday, got home from work on Friday, changed for boot camp, loaded the car, worked out, stopped at McD's to change (and eat) and drove out. It's not the same driving in total darkness, as you can't see the mountains, but you still know you're in them.

Checked into the hotel...OMG - this is where I want to stay from now on. The suite is gorgeous (I got upgraded because of renos at the original hotel, and they're all together). Walked into town to pick up some munchies and sat and waited to hear from another couple that were supposed to be here last night. Still haven't heard from them...rude. I finally crashed at 11, into my glorious pillow-top king sized bed. This is living!!

Had breakfast and am now heading into town.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Didn't make it down for running club tonight, as I wanted to make sure Mom had groceries, and dropped off an Epicure order to a friend I haven't seen in eons. Had a nice glass of wine and a gab, but sadly I am very allergic to her very friendly dog, and had to bail early. Face is now clean, drops in the eyes, sinuses cleared out, although I do have "puppy head"...feeling kind of foggy and fuzzy 'round the edges. I'll take an antihistamine if need be before I go to bed, but things are settling down now that I've moved away from the source. It's silly really...I am technically allergic to everything I inhale, making spring, summer, fall and winter oh so much fun, and yes, that includes cats, but I am used to mine. Dogs, sadly, I am never around that much, so when I am...yikes.

Yesterday's boot camp was another hour of pure torture. I did dress more appropriately this time, so I was only half soaked to the skin with sweat!! Started with a couple of laps around the block before moving inside. There, Trainer Josh had his "super number 1 good times" circuit set up! Think Spanish rings...outside ring - sets of 15. Start with swing squats, lunge walk to lat raises, lunge walk to drop-leg flies, lunge walk to squat presses...repeat two more times. Move to next ring...quick feet down ladder (in/out), then skaters over next ladder (think speed skating on dry land), then hop or high knees over hurdles. Repeat 3 times, then drop and do 15 push-ups. Repeat this whole mess 2 more times! Finally the inner ring...15 squats, 50 jump ropes, 15 biceps curls with bands, repeat 2 more times. If you finished them all, start all over! Are you nuts?!?!

After a quick rest (we went hard for a good 30+ minutes with this routine), we did some more shoulder work, triceps work, core work, abs...I wanted to just lay there and wait for someone to sweep me out to my car! But sadly, I had to get up and come home.

Dinner was a simple grilled cheese, as I went for a grocery run right after boot camp, and by the time I got home, I really didn't feel like eating much. Tonight...honestly I can't think of what I ate. Oh, yeah...crab & corn salad. Okay, so not crab, but fake stuff (pollack), tossed with corn niblets and mayonnaise. That's salt, no pepper, no spices. There's a restaurant down the road that serves this, and I love it, and this is what I have figured out to be in it.

That's it for me...the itching is returning, so I'm going to medicate and head to bed.


Monday, November 1, 2010


Where has the year gone? Seriously???

Work was...same old, same old. I think I need to start thinking of other things to do with my days. I do love my spreadsheets and figuring things out, but at the same time, it's the same thing day in and day out and month in and month out, and I need some challenge or something to keep me interested.

It felt weird to just come home after work. With Boot Camp switched to Tuesdays and no running clinic, I am at a loss with what to do with myself. Don't get me wrong...I could be doing dishes or the like...just don't want to! I will return to Wednesday run nights though, and probably run with the Half group that is starting tomorrow night. Their goal race is the Hypothermic Half, which is in February and opens in a week. I'll make sure to sign up for that one...good brunch afterwards! And of course, I'll be up and at 'em for the Sunday group runs as was very enjoyable to go for the run, with no pressure to meet times, and then gab over coffee and breakfast afterwards. I never thought running was so darn social.

Dinner was a hodge-podge as I came home hungry, and just noshed my way through. A couple of slices of rosemary bread with sliced Swiss cheese, followed by two vegetable samosas and a half a cup of spiced basmati rice - I was leaning towards a curry dinner...just didn't end up making the rest of it! I had sort of the same thing for lunch, as I hit up the local buffet deli and came away (my cheapest yet from them, too) with crab salad (fake crab, corn and mayo...yet it works!), 3-bean salad, some mac & cheese and steamed veggies. Like I said...hodge-podge day.

All right...that's it for me. I need to be up and at 'em bright and early for Day 2 of month end, and then first official Boot Camp of the new session. I am going to push myself extra hard this round, as I really want to show some results before the end of the year. And let's face it...I think I like the pain!