Monday, April 26, 2010

Confession Mondays

I decided I need to purge a bit of all that is evil about myself.

*blink* *blink*

Okay, so MAYBE a bit melodramatic, but I thought it might be fun to throw out a confession about myself every Monday so that everyone else who is struggling with Monday can feel just a little better about themselves.

See? Aren't I nice? Taking one for the team on Mondays.

So, quick and dirty, here it goes.

Since buying the upgraded HD cable package, I watch WAY too much TLC.

Cake Boss. Yes to the Dress. Little People Big World. 300 kids and Counting. Geckos that can't Climb.

If D is studying, I am sneaking some shows about people's lives. And there are SOOO MANY of these shows. They even branch out from TLC - the National Geographic channel is constantly playing Dog Whisperer. I knew I was also in trouble on the weekend when I was giddy about another show on the NG channel (cause that's what you call it when you watch it more than 5 hours a week) called Dog Rescue Ink or something like that.


So, I'm not sure if this helping or hurting my current mindstate. I will say the fascinating characters often spark some creative juices .. who wouldn't be intrigued by little chocolatiers? cause you know THEY'RE LITTLE and that makes it all the more, oh I don't know EXPLOITABLE!!

Oh yes, the exploitable bit..I would say A&E is king of that game. Hoarders? Horaders Super Duper? Hoarders Extreme? INTERVENTION? "Here is some programming that lets you into the most intimate moment of someone's life ... when its ALL crashing down for them. And....ACTION!"

But I lap it up people. D has taken to making fun of the amount of reality I'm allowing into my life.

So I confess it. I'm becoming a reality junkie. And I'm still not quite sure how I feel about that. Maybe I should go see Stacy and Clinton to see if it's something to do with the sweatpants I wear at my desk every day.

Until next Monday, I hope that made you feel better.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Debut Post of the Fantabulous Flashback Fridays

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I decided that I needed to really give myself a bit of inspiration and structure to get this blog back on its feet.

I have more time, now that I'm not commuting and don't really know anyone so don't really do anything (did I just make myself sound pathetic?) and so I may as well take this opportunity to get as many stories down as I can before I forget that they even happened.

But of course, I have also given myself a safety net so that I will not forget what happened.

This, ladies and gents, is a box which D has come to refer to as 'the box we continue to move around with'. I, on the other hand, have a very different name for this box  - it's the Scrapbooking Box.

Yes, that's right, it's the box that holds ALL of the things that one day I will put into a scrapbook and no longer have the box for. And it's a subtle reminder that if not for D, I would probably have many more of these boxes and need to call the experts at A&E's Hoarders Disaster Extraordinaire or whatever it's called to come and dig me out of.

But, luckily, I have someone who keeps my gathering of things in check and I only happen to have this ONE box. It's big, I know, I get it. But it is currently housing EVERY memento we own from all of our 6+ years of travelling.

And so, I've decided each week, to randomly pull out a piece of said future-scrapbook-material, and try to write down here what this piece means to me and why it should go into the scrapbook. In the end, these pieces may just remind me of stories along the way, but either way, it will make me feel just a little bit that it was ALL worthwhile that we've lugged this thing around a few countries and continents, allowing it to grown in size with each departure.

So, here it goes:

Item: A brochure from Versailles
First thought: Our camera battery that day
Scrapbook worthy?: Probably contains the only pictures we actually have of the magnificent palace.

Paris was actually our last continental European stop before our first trip back to Canada from Europe. So, while I'd like to say that the battery dying was due to 'beginners folly" I do have to admit that actually we had managed to visit over 10 other countries and countless cities by the time we reached the city of romance.

It was quite cold in France at that time of year - November - and we had our layers of clothing: scarves and fleece jackets. I can remember wishing just a little bit that we didn't look so backpacker-esque arriving at what was once the home of the leader of France. Perhaps it was a couple of days into our Paris visit and I was already feeling self conscious about the elegantly but simply put together French women, who could have thrown on even my layered attire and looked ready  for a night on the town.

It was so massive, the palace and I get that I'm stating the obvious. But all that kept going through my mind was that this space was once built for ONE family. One guy. And that he spent all of his country's money to get it.

We had seen a lot of artwork and opulence before we arrived at the palace in other cities and so it was getting to the point where although visiting historic spots was still enjoyable, it was getting more and more difficult to be phased by their extraordinary-ness.

And then came the Hall of Mirrors. And its 12.3 height width. And its 73 meter length. And its 10.5 meter width. And I was stunned.

Everything shimmered and shone, sparkled off each other. The mirrors made the hall look even bigger than it was. The cathedral style ceiling seems to extend forever. And the crystal chandeliers had the sun hitting them st so, twinkling and cascading  the light from one end of the room to the other.

I took out the camera and clicked this picture: 

 and then my camera made a beeping noise and ...went.

My first thought was OH MY GOD NOW WHAT? 

Because we had managed to travel over the course of 14 months, on and off, through country after country, train after train, hostel after hostel and NEVER ONCE did my battery die.

And so, after a few moments of panic an ahhh-this-sucks-ing I realised that I had nothing left to do but just observe. View. Explore. See.

I was forced to take myself from behind the little lens (is it still considered a lens if it's a point and shoot??) and simply just soak it in.

Even almost 7 years later, I can remember weaving in and out of every room in that large palace. I remember the gardens, the steps, the intricate tiling, the extravagant artwork, the enormous rooms, the gigantic furniture. It's still vivid in my mind.

Thanks mostly to a brochure we saved, tucked away in a box, that  helped to bring back all those vivid images back to my mind.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fantabulous Flashback Fridays update

I noticed that it's been over a month since I decided to take a few trips down memory lane and write about some of our travels.

I haven't been slacking, although I suppose it may seem that way since I have yet to post anything Flackback-ish.

A few weeks ago, when I started to compile my first post, I was led down a worm hole of frustrating discovery: we had somehow misplaced multiple travel pictures. I say multiple, I'm talking MONTHS of collection - MISSING.

I leave it to you all to picture just how WELL I took this discovery and leave it at that.

And so I was a little blocked creatively and got sidetracked with running and visitors and general lazy-ness but can now report was was once lost is now found.

D's lovely parents came to stay with us for a couple of days and in addition to some much needed familiar faces, they also brought a couple of CDs that appeared to be travel snaps.

Praise be to the sky - they were!! - and now all is right with the world. Because between me and you, I take pictures because I have a horrible memory, and sometimes, I need reminding that I ACTUALLY did some things. And that's exactly what happened, when I had a look at the CD's contents and discovered HEYYY, I didn't just dream I had a really cute hat from Prague, I DID BUY IT AND WEAR IT AND eventually, LOSE IT along the way.

So, my travel writing mojo is back. And I hope to be able to expand on that first post I wrote, now that I've found all those France pictures that will need to accompany it.

Check back Friday ... or before.... you never know...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Who am I again?

This morning, I set my alarm for earlier than I would to get up for work. That's right. On the 'day of rest' I set my alarm to make me stop resting earlier.

And last night, I sipped caffeine free tea and popped myself into bed at 10pm. Same time as if I was getting up for a hard days work.

One of my biggest fears in life is that I would never stop loving smoking. That I would always like it and therefore always smoke because my mantra is to do what I love to do (within reason, people).

And just as my hate-on for smoking surprised me, so has my desire to get up early.

I don't get up early. And I say this in the Tom Hanks-League of their Own-"There's no crying in baseball" voice.

And yet, guess what? I do.

Not only do I get up early, but I throw on some fitness gear, fill up my running belt bottles and head out to conquer the road, 1km at a time.

This morning met me with glorious sunshine, so much so that I didn't need all the layers I had piled on earlier in the morning when it was just dawn. And my call to NOT bring my sunglasses? Ah ya - bad call.

Training has been a whole different beast this time around. Initially, I was nervous about whether I could do it. I decided to train on my own this time, choosing to let my tunes be my motivation. Last week, I realized I was getting bored with myself.

And so, with a Running Room nearby, I decided to join the rest of the real runners and get my long run in, first thing in the morning.

Which brings us to the early rise. Last 1/2 marathon training, I dreaded trying to get up early to run. And today? Well, it seemed the like the most natural thing to do first thing in the morning - run for 2 and half hours.

It was a tough slog, but a glorious one, filled with feet thumping and mountain staring, idle chatter and re-hydrating..

So the best part about this self imposed wake up call? It wasn't hard to roll out of bed and it didn't seem out of the ordinary - at all.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Another Mountain Shot Attempt

I'm not really sure I can describe the awesome-ness that is seeing mountains towering behind a beautiful cityscape and after once again this weekend taking the camera out, I'm not sure that I'll ever get to SHOW it either.

I'm sure one of you savvy picture taking peeps could probably enlighten me on how to pull the mountains out of this shot and make them 'pop' in the way that it makes my readers feel like they're RIGHT THERE with me.

But then, perhaps that is more Mother Nature's point - you actually have to BE there. Because as hard as I try, I can never get those mountains to look as spectacularly LARGE in a picture as they do when I stare at them. I mean, they're awe-inspiring. I just can't stop staring at them.

And so, spent another weekend saying, "Oh my god will you LOOK at those mountains?", so much so that D finally huffed as I was midway through the sentence for the 2034th time and said YES YES  I SEE THEM and I've been hearing about YOU seeing them ALL FRIKIN DAY.

I just can't help myself. I just...really...can't.

I mean, maybe when you come from a flat, mostly landlocked (I get it, we have the Great Lakes but hey, I'm talking ocean side here) province, you can't help but just be in awe of those big white capped monsters.

I hope I never take that view for granted. And well, I guess everyone around me hopes that I will get to a place where I don't have to mention them with every breath. Surely some where in the middle? Perhaps I'll compromise and meet it somewhere in the middle...

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Positive Energy

I have had quite a few people surrounding me - online and offline - who are in need of a whack of positive energy. I figured I'd throw it out to the Internet-verse to see if I could muster up as much as I possibly could to help them along the paths that they are currently facing.

I've been going through a bit of a transition myself lately, one that I'm quite familiar with and one that is not all that great to weed through but always leaves me feeling much stronger as I get out the other side.

I've talked about the 3 month hump before - the strange period that seems to hit after I've lived somewhere for 3 months where I feel just at a bit of a loss - missing those things I left behind, perhaps eager to discover more about the place I am currently and the general sense of uncertainty, unknown, insecurity.

I find it painfully hard, mostly because I AM a very confident, outgoing person and feeling hesitant makes me irritable.

I think it also stems from coming from a large family, 1 of 4 siblings, growing up with lots of busyness and things going on around you. Loss of a comfortable, familiar social network is hard even if building and discovering one in a new surrounding is incredibly rewarding.

I have also been sinking a bit into myself, becoming reflective, examining all that exists in the layers of experiences I've had over the past few years.

This is not always a good thing but it's a necssary thing. And now that I feel a bit more on the other side of it, I realized that it was simply just a means to an end. A section of a mostly colourful and fantastical road that feels all encompassing and a little bit frightening.

Each time I face it, I learn more about myself. And that is what I cherish about adversity - large or small - there is always a hindsight sense that you would be less if you had not faced it.

And so I'm taking my positive energy and throwing it back to the universe for those who need it and returning the favour of all the positive-energy-sucking I did in the last couple of weeks.

Thanks. I needed it. And hopefully, it will be there for you when you need it to.