Friday, July 30, 2010

Yup, another boxing post

This week is week three of the five-week summer boxing session.

I'm not taking the summer session, because two of those five weeks I'm on the late shift, which doesn't finish until 8 p.m.

This week I'm on mid-shift (finishing at 6:30), so I took advantage of the school's drop-in program. I made arrangements with the coach in advance, then showed up before class and paid the drop-in fee.

The summer session is different from the regular sessions in one important way - all classes are open to all levels. That means that a given class can have students from level 1 all the way up to level 6.

The last time I did a summer session I had just finished level one, and I remember two things about it:
- it was like a regular session, but with the easy classes taken out, and
- it was nice to see what happens in the other levels.

Now I'm in level 4, and it's a lot easier (because the regular classes get harder as you move up). Also, I've now done most of the levels, so it's not as interesting.

It was still fun, of course, and a good workout. I'm planning to drop in again next week, then it's a break until September.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


When my dad died, I volunteered to make something for my niece to remember him by.

My mom gave me six of his shirts. They sat on my table for a couple of months. I wasn't really sure what I was going to do with them, and I wasn't in a rush.

However, my mom and my niece are coming to visit in a couple of weeks, so it was time to make a decision.

I decided to go with a pillow idea. My mom & sister agreed that it was as good a direction as any.

The next decision was what pattern to use. The defining moment there was when I realized I had 3 plain shirts and 3 plaid shirts. Triangles it was.

I paired up each plaid shirt with a plain shirt and cut 4 triangles from each. Four triangles made one square, so I had 2 squares of each colour combination.

I joined the squares together and sewed them to a pillow case. Here's the finished product:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Where I've been

It's been kind of quiet around here lately.

Part of that is that I've been much more social than usual lately. Last week I thought "Well, at least next week I won't be too social, I'm working 11:30 - 8. So far this week: went to the gym twice (including BodyCombat for the first time in 6 months - ouch!), went to the doctor, went out for breakfast with a friend, went for coffee with another friend, and had a 9:30 conference call. I've also: pulled some weeds, took the car in to get a headlight fixed, cleaned the kitchen and bathroom, read a week's worth of accumulated newspapers, picked (and ate) the first tomato and the first 3 cucumbers from the garden, and iced my elbow at least once a day.

The other part is the fault of my friend Jennifer.

You see, last week she let me the first four Vampire Academy books, with the comment that they were better than Twilight.

That's kind of like being more nutritious than a Big Mac, so I didn't get too excited about them, but I brought the first one to work last week. The books are about living Vampires (Moroi), their half-human/half-vampire guardians, and dead vampires (strigoi) who are basically the bad guys. The first chapters were a little confusing.

On Monday, I got far enough into the book that I was hooked. I finished book one on Monday.

And book two on Tuesday.

And book three on Wednesday. (Can you see where this is going?)

I'm currently half way through book four. (What can I say? It's bigger than the others.)

On the way home, I stopped in at Chapters to buy book 5. I wasn't entirely sure where to look for it - they're young adult books, so that was going to be my first stop, but I wasn't sure that's where they'd be.

I still don't know - book 5 was on a table 3 feet inside the door.

(BTW Jennifer, if you don't have book 5, you can probably borrow it by Monday ... unless I suck Wanda into reading them too.)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Everything's growing

The recent heat wave has done two things:
1) killed off the smaller plants in my garden
2)made the cucumbers and tomatoes grow like crazy. My tomato plants are up to my elbow. The cucumber leaves are big enough to hide a rabbit or two. (This is not hypothetical.)

Today I picked the first cucumber of the year. (It was really, really good.)

The tomatoes are growing as well, but something has been eating some of the green tomatoes. I'm not really sure what - mostly the wildlife leaves the tomatoes and cucumbers alone, although a local raccoon has been known to eat the only ear of corn and leave the cob on the back step (as an insult, I assume).

Sadly, this amazing growth has not been limited to the great outdoors. That's right, the fruit flies are back. This year they like the teakettle, the outside of the fruit fly trap, and the kitchen tap. (Note to fruit flies: none of those things are food.)

As a result, a "no dirty dishes of any type on the counter" rule has been instituted. (Yes, this includes a cutting board that has been used once.)

(Sadly, the fruit flies don't care - they seem to like plastic more than anything else.)

(How do I not have a fruit fly tag? I whine about them every year.)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Trying new classes at the gym (so you don't have to)

Yesterday I had plans to meet friends in Kanata at 6:15.

Rather than come home first, I went to the gym. As I walked in, I was reminded that there was a demo class happening at 5:30.

This was a drum class. (Warning - that link opens up a web page with sound).

I decided to give it a try - I wouldn't be able to stay for the whole thing, but it looked better than the elliptical.

I wandered over to the exercise room, and ... only two people were there. (Well, three if you could the instructor).

We set up our exercise balls - the other student and I each had one in front of us and one behind us. She had one to her left and I had one to my right. That way we could each move left or right and still have a ball in front of us.

We started with technique - how to hold the drumsticks, how to shuffle, how to move left and right, etc.

About 15 minutes in, the instructor turned on the music and we tried it all together.

It was fun, although my drumsticks went flying once and I knocked over a couple of exercise balls. (I always forget how terribly uncoordinated I am until I try something new.)

I don't think I would want to do this very often - there was a reasonable amount of pivoting, and I've hurt my knees and ankles too often to make that entirely safe - but it was a nice change.

(And yes, I was late getting to Kanata.)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Toy Story 3

Today was busier than I like my Saturdays to be.

In fact, this whole week has been remarkably busy - between BOLO and socializing and the gym and appointments (dentist, insurance, hair), it seems like it has been ages since I've had a chance to just sit. (This is inaccurate, of course. Most of last weekend involved not doing much.)

When Toy Story 3 came out, Wanda and I wanted to go see it. Tonight is the first time we were both free.

Before I saw it, I heard that it was good but everyone I know who saw it also said that they'd cried.

Now, I've been known to cry at cell phone commercials, so I was kind of expecting that I might have a similar issue.

The other thing I'd heard (from my niece) is that she liked the part with the potato head. That ... kind of puzzled me. Potato head has been in all of the movies - what could he do in this one that was so special?

Anyway, tonight we went to the theatre, bought our tickets, received our 3-D glasses, and took our seats.

The movie started, and I was ... kind of confused, at first. Eventually I figured out what was going on and started to get into the movie. (I should mention that it's a darker movie than the others - at one point, I compared it to a toy horror movie. Definitely scary for younger kids.)

Once the horror movie part was over, things started to resolve themselves. That's when we got to the crying.

Now, there have been a lot of movies were I might have been a little teary, but this one - I was crying for minutes. Tears running down my face, the whole works.

With, might I remind you, 3-D glasses over top of regular glasses. At that point, one or both of the glasses started fogging up.

It would have been funny to watch, let me tell you.

Luckily, they did some funny stuff over the credits, so I had time to compose myself.

(And the part with Mr. Potato Head was hilarious.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010


So last night was BOLO. This is the second (?) annual Blog Out Loud - dozens of Ottawa bloggers getting together to listen to volunteers read one (or more) of their entries.

I was pretty amazed at how many people showed up. Twenty-four people read, and I'd guess there were 60 or so people crowded into the room.

It was kind of like picking a link from someone's blogroll at random. Some entries I loved, some weren't my thing. I have a lot more blogs to check out soon, though.

I didn't stay through the whole thing - I needed to get the car home so Wanda could go to work, and I also needed to get some sleep so I could go to work today - but I enjoyed it (although it has been a long time since I've walked into a room where I didn't know anyone - man, that's hard to do).

I will say that everyone I talked to was very nice, and I wish I could remember more than two names. Alas, that's not how my brain works.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


This weekend was perfect for camping.

We drove out to the campground on Friday night. We didn't go far - Rideau River provincial park is about 30 minutes from here. There were three of us + our gear in the car, and it was packed. I was driving, and I couldn't see the backseat passenger.

We got there around 6:45 and were unpacked and set up by about 7:15. We wandered around and explored a bit, but mostly just sat around the fire.

Saturday morning, we - you guessed it - sat around some more. When I'm at home, that's not something I do at all, but when I'm camping I'm content to just sit. After a while, it got pretty warm, but the dining tent provided enough shade that we were comfortable.

After lunch, we went to the beach for a while. The water seemed incredibly cold, but I think that was because of how hot the air was - once I was in the water, it was pleasant. I managed to drag myself out of the water before I got burnt to a crisp.

Later, another friend came out to join us for the rest of the day and we all had a good time chatting and playing games. We also made bush pies (like grilled cheese sandwiches, except with apple pie filling instead of cheese) in my new bush pie makers.

The weather was beautiful, and the bugs were kept to a minimum, although as usual I did get a mosquito bite right where the strap of my sandal sits.

It has been a few years since I've been camping, and I'd forgotten how much I need this type of weekend.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Red & White

Happy Canada Day, everyone!

I worked today - in my job, we work stat holidays. The good side of that is that we can take the days off at other times.

There are some nice parts to working on a holiday - there is no traffic and the floor is quiet because our department is the only one working.

Also, my manager told us all to leave early today. I did not object in the slightest. I left 45 minutes early and drove to a local pick-your-own strawberry place. This is the first time I've been this year, and the season is almost over. I picked two baskets. Man, there's nothing like the taste of strawberries still warm from the sun. I swear they're 20% less tasty by the time you get them home.

Besides Canada Day, today marks the 1/2 way point of the year. It seems like a good time to go back and revisit my resolutions. Let's see how I'm doing (and which ones I've forgotten about).

1. There are currently 4 different types of body lotion in my bathroom. By the end of the year, I want there to be no more than two.

>> Done. As of this morning, there was one type of lotion (but two containers of it).

2. Get a job. (This is actually more important that the lotion resolution.)

>> Done. I started my current job Feb. 23. OK, it's a contract, but it counts ... right?

3. Make it to level 4 of boxing.

>> Done by the end of April.

4. Go on a road trip.

>> Um, no. Forgot about this one.

5. Clean out my closet and get rid of clothes I don't wear anymore. Drop them off to a charity that will use them.

>> Half done. I've done the cleaning part, just not the dropping off part.

6. Take a first aid course.

>> Forgot about this one, too. I want to have taken a first aid course, I just don't want to give up a weekend to do it.

7. Go camping (not counting Spark camp).

>> Half done. The trip is planned, it's just not completed yet.

8. Go cross-country skiing twice.

>> I only made it out once. Maybe it'll snow before Christmas?

How are you doing on your New Year's resolutions?