Tuesday, May 30, 2006

i wanna be running

i have decided, and am announcing it here in order to commit myself, to run another half marathon. in october. in toronto. this is spurred on by two things: 1) i have not had an organized or consistent work out routine since i ran the half in ottawa a year ago and 2) because of that inconsistency, the weight lost that i experienced back then while training has snuck back on. i am not sure how or why, but it seems to have caught up to me all at once. so, here i go. i am setting myself this running goal because, well, i need a goal to get me out and running. (and by out and running, i mean down and to the tread mill). if anyone should share a desire to run in the over congested city come october, i'd be more than happy to have a running buddy. i've even run early mornings.

so here's the thing. right now, i am sitting in my living room in my work out clothes. why am i in my living room? because the small small gym that exists in my building is full. this pisses me off for a number of reasons. first is that when a girl gets it into her head to work out, she wants to work out right that second. secondly, the condo board spent some ridiculous amount of money redecorating the main entry of the condo (to the tune of $100 000, according to the rumour mill) and yet left the work out room untouched. it needs new treads! it needs more space! come on! (and damn it, if you are going to redecorate, hire a decent interior designer! the place looks worse!)

let me just say one thing: when i do get down there, evenutally, the damn air conditionning had better be on.

Monday, May 29, 2006

the artful podger*

i have turned over a new leaf. this new leaf is one of frugality. see, despite previous expectations, i am not working as much as i had hoped. this should change when i have completed my training, but for now, its been a few weeks since i've had a pay check, so jarrod and i have done several things we've never really done before. such as: we went grocery shopping. we walk places that we normally would have taken a subway to. and i decided to do a few crafts, to add some colour and flair to the place, and because, with no money but lots of time, i needed something to keep my busy.

when he moved in, jarrod brought with him a rather old bookcase. i believe his grandpa picked it up by the side of the road. i decided to re-vamp it. because i have this philosophy: things that hold books are my friends. so i decided to podge it, my finish fix-it for all types of furniture. once upon a time, way back in second year, a friend of mine brought with her to ottawa an interesting book case. it was very attractive with a very unique finish. turns out, this finish was called "podging." podging is basically taking paper and covering it with podge (which itsef is half glue, half paper mache, and the end result is a tough finish that i would venture is even waterproof). shortly after seeing amanda's dresser, i decided i needed something podged. see, i am not extremely crafty (other than cross stitching back in the day), but i knew i could handle podging. so, i went out to The Papery, a very fancy paper store in the glebe. and i bought fifty bucks worth of paper. fancy green paper. and i podged a book case. i decided that i would podge jarrod's old book shelf. so we headed to china town where i bought this very pretty paper, six sheets of it, for eight dollars. i love china town. this is the work in progress:

since i knew i was going to be feeing crafty, i stopped by the inforum in order to coerce another girl who i knew could be coerced. we decided to make these cute little lanterns from Bust magazine. basically, paper mache over balloons. the original instuctions were for string lanterns, but tasha and lorien innovated and added tissue paper. this is the evidence that i have that yes, we spent saturday night crafting (and it was fun!):

however, i unfortunately have a terrible update to add to this crafting night. by the following evening, many of the balloons had popped, leaving caved in, irregularily shaped, ugly ugly ugly lanterns. i am sorry, tasha and lorien, that you had to find out this way. it seems like all of our hard work was a wash. i thought about posting pictures, but decided it would be too painful.

* title suggested by jarrod, rather spitefully, but to which i immediatly was fond. in fact, if i could go back in time, this whole blog would be about podging. bookshelves, crates, chairs, everything...

Monday, May 22, 2006

i think i hear my lake calling....

the first cottage weekend of the summer is always a little iffy. the bugs are unpredictable, the weather is all over the board, the boat is still out of the water...it leaves one with few cottage activities. so we all adjusted. may long weekend at the larsh cottage is now: watch-movies-read-mulitple-books-eat-a-tonne-of-junk-food weekend. it goes over really well with everyone that shows up. and by everyone, i mean the die hard's that i can count on most of all: jarrod and julia t. both of them are may long weekend survivors, and, their sophomore venture was, i hope, as relaxing as expected.

there were a few hitches:

1) apparently all the grocery stores in bancroft have conglomerated into one large branch of the "no frills" chain. previously, there was a valumart and an IGA, two much more local stores. now, there's just blacked out lettering and "for lease" signs. i am hoping the employees simply shifted down the street. (now, one of the problems with this new development was a personal one. on the way up, jarrod mentionned that he was looking forward to seeing what was new in bancroft. julia and i shared a look that said, "silly, nothing ever changes in bancroft." as we drove up to the mego-centre, jarrod just looked at both of us..."nothing ever changes, eh, ladies?" we stopped with the words and with the looks.) so, we headed into no frills. jarrod was in charge of the meat purchases and managed to score a bunch of deals. i was liking the no frills experience. (we even got m & m's and skittles for $0.97. sweet.) unfortunately, we noticed a terrible, coma inducing aroma emanating from the fridge a few days later...and we realized that all those sweet deals were really "last day of sale items." apparently, there is something to that expiry date. instead of voting him off, jarrod proved himself an invaluable member of the team through excellent work on the barbecue and with the preparation of a giant tuna salad. also, we only had three people to and to lose such a character would have been tragic to say the least.

2) julia was rather rudely awoken one morning by our un-popular male neighbour. i won't mention any names (bud) but his rythmes with "dud." she described his as a "unfriendly, grumpy man," which, in julia-speak, is pretty much the most heinous swear word you could possibly come up with. he informed her that our lovely, treasured canoe had made a break for freedom. sure enough, she was out in the middle of the lake. a quick evaluation of options: swim to it? no way, the water would kill you. plus, both jarrod and i had been previously horrified by my uncle jim's story of a friend who, in order to retrieve a tossed ketchup bottle, had jumped into cold water, had muscles freeze on him, and was saved only because he happened to be able to touch bottom. there was no way i was swimming. should we follow it along the shore and hope that we can grab it? impossible as well. it just wasn't near shore. and there was no way we could physically get from our cottage to a shore anywhere near it. the solution: borrowing said neighbours canoe. jarrod and i frantically canoed out to it. then towed it to shore. and by towed, i mean struggled as we barely made any movement at all (despite furious paddling) for about twenty minutes. fortunately, a neighbour was nearby and she let us use her dock to tip it. (of course, she also asked if we knew how to canoe...i guess this was polite for "you guys are clearly idiots, let me give you a few tips.") it was much easier towing when the beast was not full of water. in conclusion, the old girl is now safe and sound, very very far from the water. how did she end up loose in the first place? well, i have a habit of just pulling her onto the deck. all the way. but yes, it is right next to the water. and yes, i suppose if it was extremely windy AND extremely wavey (okay, so those two go together), it is possible that she could slide into the water. but i never would have believed it if it didn't happen.

3) unable to do anything related to water (boat, cliff jump, swim, tube, etc.), unable to even really enjoy a camp fire, the three of us decided to do the only other thing we do at the larsh cottage. hike. oh yes, we hike. to one destination: the look out point. its not far from the cottage and provides a wonderful view for very little up hill climbing. (i guess you kinda start on high ground. anyway.) but, of course, i couldn't find it. i did find a nice little snowmobile trail. that was pretty wet. and it didn't help that it started to rain. but, in the end, we had a lovely walk. just not achieving the original purpose.

in all though, i think we all had a good time. jarrod and julia are two of my favourite people: the kind of people that you had just relax with, hang out, enjoy a beer and ten hot dogs, sitting quietly, reading, doing a puzzle, whatever takes your fancy. but then something happens, and you all laugh, and you realize just how in sync you all really are. it makes me realize how much time we waste on forcing these kinds of connections: through actions, or words, or whatever, when most of the genuine ones...just happen.

however, this does not let you all out of visiting the cottage this summer. i expect, nay, i demand a visit. because, even with, or especially because of, the hitches, the cottage is simply beautiful. think canadian shield, cottage on a rock face, a large lake dotted with islands, western exposure for brilliant sunsets...but yes, i will forgive you for waiting until warmer weather. and for the boat. (please fix the boat dad!)

just know that the title of "First in the Lake 2006" has already been claimed by jarrod. but only because he cheated and jumped in on 2. i hate being second.

Monday, May 15, 2006

my life with me

j. and i ventured to windsor this weekend past. my auntie moira (the only auntie that i have though i have many aunts) turned eighty. my aunt beth hosted a delicious dinner. grammy bought two balloons, a thirty, and a fifty, because there was no eighty available. i am not sure if this is becasue it was sold out or because they assume that by the age of eighty a balloon is no longer appreciated. i myself, believe this to be some kind of blasphemy, as balloons are somehow inherently cheerful and wonderful.

this is the extent of me being interesting. lately i have been feeling extremely lazing, extremely boring, and extremely dull. and yet, very very enjoyable.

these are things that make me feel a little bit more content:

1. i recently bought the new steven erikson book, entitled, the bonecollectors. this series is now five books long, each of a thousand pages, and is easily the best fantasy novel series ever written. yes, there are others worth reading. but this one kicks ass. its complicated, sophisticated and requires a deep committment from the reader. all things that i appreciate in my reading.

2. i got two new tables. the first is a little end table that i bought at rona with gift certificates. the second is an over-the-bed number from ikea. the reason that this table is so perfect is because i spend a lot of time in bed. reading, doing homework (who are we kidding?), eating dinner, watching movies...the bed is the centre of it all. even when j. comes over, the bed is still the centre of it all. the amount of times all those things that i just listed occur simply doubles. and now we can happily set up ship with plates, computers, speakers, etc. and still be comfortable and organized. it is very appealing.

3. julia t., j. and i are heading to the cottage for the long weekend. its our first trip up for the summer and i am extremely excited. i am looking forward to a daring jump into the water, nice campfires, a lot of barbecue-ing (burgers, hot dogs, sausages), a nice walk, maybe a run, lots and lots of relaxing.

now, for today, i am going to eat some frozen entree for dinner, watch a movie, and then head out for a friend's birthday. j. will be here by the time i get back (counting down the days until he's here every night) and i shall sleep like a baby.

hey, i warned you: boring.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

i'm a miserable creature

i'd like to submit the above picture to demonstrate that i am a completely self-absorbed spoiled brat. see, i feel like this blog has a tendency to bring out the best in me. i get to wax poetical on any topic i so desire, and most of the time, this turns into semi-dramatic, yet wholesome, yearnings for love, life and home. but this thoughtful girl is not the alli of real life. the alli of real life, is, quite frankly, a bit of a bitch. i am pretty annoying, bratty, and obnoxious. now, i'll admit, i have my moments. sometimes i can be hilariously funny. sometimes i can be insightful. a lot of the time, my girlfriend's and i sit around and discuss how terribly others are dressed. i can be pretty spiteful. i also have a tendency to freeze up or crack a joke when something emotional is going on. i make myself the centre of everything, even when, obviously, it has nothing to do with me. this is only a selection of a much longer list.
but, every once in a while, photos such as the above slap me out of oblivion and shake me out of my ignorance. i get a full blown glimpse of myself as others see me: such as my mother, who is snapping this photo. terrible isn't it? do you see my face? what a grump.
fortunately, there seem to be some people who can put up with me. i should be nicer to these people. if i was the type to keep new year's resolutions, and say, if it was new year's, i would make it a resolution to me nicer.
unfortunately, those same people who i should be nicer to also know that i just don't have it in me.
oh dear.

Monday, May 01, 2006

the call of the highlands

seeing as how it was a bank holiday weekend (may day), my dad had today off. with this in mind, mom decided we should jaunt off somewhere for the weekend. the plan was to see stonehenge and avebury, but we thought the roads would be mayhem. and well, we know firsthand how the three of us do in traffic: on our drive back from paris to leuven, we almost all died. mutual murder. if that's possible. we are all too opinionated. and controlling. so, instead, we decided to take the train to go to edinburgh. mom booked us a few trips, a bed and breakfast, and a train ticket and we were all set to go.

on saturday, we did a day bus tour up to loch ness. unfortunately, while we passed all kinds of wonderful sites, such as stirling castle, we did not get to stop very often. of course, we did get to stop at hamish the scottish cow. pronounced "coo." because, well, because they don't really look like cows, so they call them "coos." seriously. straight from the tour guide's mouth. which is practically gospel.

which, in my opinion, is ridiculous (so ridiculous that i had to take a picture). i don't need to see cows. i need to see castles. we did get to stop for quite a while at loch ness. we had just enough time to run into a grocery store, grab a sandwhich, and get on to a very busy boat for a one hour tour.

here is my proof that i saw nessie:

it was actually pretty cute. they had this decal on the window and if you lined that camera up just do, it kinda looks like the lock ness monster. with baby. you can't really see the baby in this one, but its there. apparently there was a movie filmed, years ago, about loch ness. the hilarious part: they didn't film it at loch ness. i now know why: its pretty unremarkable. its a lake. in scotland. nice scenery, but no ruins (there is an abbey), no old castles, nothing. its beautiful, as are most of the lochs and the highlands, but its not "special."

the tour guide makes the tour. this is a fact. in greece, mom and i had to suffer through seven days of this horrible old woman named "effie." i have no idea how to spell it. it was pronounced "F-ee." she was sour and boring and lead the group around by holding up an umbrella. if i could trace my resistance to authority back to one moment, it was would be the first time she uttered, "this way group."

on our saturday tour, we had both driver and guide. it was a long long tour, with too much driving. it was kind of how i feel about churches now: you've seen one, you've seen them all. this is absolutely not true, i just suffer from church overkill and now can no longer feel that sense of sacred space. though i do not consider myself spiritual, i do believe that churches are hallowed places. and i used to be able to feel it. now, i am just terribly desensitized. after six hours on the bus, i was desensitized by the highlands. i could feel it happening, and just like churches, i hated that it was.

the best tidbit of scottish trivia gleaned from the tour was not from the guide, but from a reference book of the various clans. as i looked up mackinstosh, my grandfather's name, (both my maternal grandparents are scottish) it listed the typical: flower, motto, and a brief history. which included our feuds. we mackintosh's love to feud. especially with....the cameron's! (my boyfriend is a cameron) jarrod and i are freakin' modern day romeo and juliet's. tristan and isolde's. the main characters from west side story.

our sunday tour, then, was in every way better than the first. we were not traveling as far, so we did not have to spend as much time on the bus. get this: we had a whole hour and a half for lunch! holy moly! second, the tour guide/driver was a young-ish scottish man, who, unfortunately had the habit of sounding like mrs. doubtfire. now, i didn't notice this myself: my mother did. actually, her pointing it out ruined him for me. he was just so soft and gentle. like mrs. doubtfire. damn it.

we also got to visit stirling castle. we had one of those audio tours.

it was lovely. i could have stayed there much longer than the time allotted. indeed, we were even late getting back to the tour bus. which is crazy. because i am absolutely insane about not putting other people out. this means, not being late. not talking on cell phones. not putting my seat back on airplanes when i am not sleeping. moving seats if i am by myself and a twosome wants to sit together. (i like to believe that what goes around comes around).

on the way home, the tour guide (also named alli) quizzed us: who was the author of chitty chitty bang bang? i answered: ian fleming. now, the thing is, i knew the answer because the tour guide the day before had told us. (he also wrote the james bond stories and the school he set them at is in edinburgh) the tour guide was astonished that someone knew the answer. and one of the other ladies on the tour that we had been chatting with hollered out that i was studying to be a librarian. victory to alli (as in me). no one had to know where i really got the information from. but of course, mom, being honest, told the bus driver where i got the information from. no, she couldn't let me have one. nope. honest honest honest. the bus driver laughed and told us that Gavin (the previous bus driver) was the one who told him as well...i am comforted by the thought that perhaps he would have put it together on his own, in one forehead stamping moment.

i am sad to have left scotland. mom asked me at one point how i felt traveling through the highlands, this being the land of my ancestors after all. i said that it was just scenery, but that isn't really what i was feeling. i was more just feeling crabby and not sentimental. but the truth was, i did feel something in the highlands. something that i certainly do not feel in england. can blood really call out to blood? well, if a atheistic twenty four year old can feel humbled in a churched, i am willing to believe that something inside of us can recognize what our minds cannot. or, maybe, i just think it would be wonderful if that could be true. but that is a whole other posting and i think my mom wants her computer back.

one last picture: edinbugh castle, from afar.