Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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Mon 13ème demi-marathon: Pas le résultat que je l’espérais, mais je suppose que si je vous écris ce titre en français il sonnera plus impressionnant

Translation of the title (assuming that Google Translate translated it correctly): My 13th half marathon: not the result I was hoping for, but I figure if I write this title in French it will sound more impressive.

I was hoping to have called this blog posting “Lucky #13” and to be writing about how I’d finally run the elusive sub-2 hour half marathon that I’ve been aiming for, but alas, it was not to be. In fact, I didn’t even beat my time in the BMO Vancouver half marathon in May, as I clocked in at 2:03:07 in yesterday’s race, compared to 2:02:24 in May.

Those 43 extra seconds, however, are likely due to the fact that I had to take a pee break during the race because I was waiting 45 minutes from the time the race started and when I actually crossed the *start* line. The race started on Pont Jacques Cartier (i.e., a really big bridge in Montreal), so the pre-race portapotties were just before you go on the bridge, so we went pee there and then had to walk eleventy billion miles to get to the corrals. I was in corral number 17 (of 26) – they put runners in corrals by speed, so the fast people are in the first corral, then the next fastest and so on. Daniel was in corral number 2, so we went up to our corrals about 10 or so minutes before the 8:30 am start time.

The first thing I noticed in my corral was The Flash, so naturally I asked for a selfie with him:

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Then I spent 45 minutes looking at this:

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Because that’s how long it took for all the runners in the corrals ahead of me to go.

Also, did I mention that it was eleventy billion degrees below zero? And I was dressed in a tank top and shorts because it was going to warm up to 21 degrees, so basically after waiting – did I mention? – FORTY-FIVE minutes!! I was frozen and I had to pee again!

UntitledSo I finally got to start running at 9:15 am, at which point I was so cold that I couldn’t feel my hands or my feet. It was really weird to be running and not be able to feel my feet! I contemplated whether I could run the whole race without stopping to pee, but I realized that I had to pee so badly that if I tried that, I wouldn’t be able to run as fast and I’d probably end up taking a pee break later anyway, so I should just stop at the first opportunity. I saw a bunch of people peeing in bushes in the first few kilometres, but then I saw a sign in some of the bushes that said “Beware – Poison Ivy”, so I decided to keep running until I found portapotties. At about the 4 km mark, I found some and went pee and I’m pretty sure that it took me 43 seconds (give or take).

After that, I felt much better – not only did I no longer have to pee, but I’d warmed up enough that my hands and feet had regained feeling. The next many kilometres I actually felt good – I was running at a good pace and feeling strong. I was using my Runkeeper app to tell me my pace1 every km, but because I’d taken a slight detour to the portapotty and also because GPS is imperfect, the pace it was reporting was a bit off – it would tell me I’d reached a kilometre about 200 m before I hit the kilometre marker. Which meant that the app was thinking that I had run further than I had and thus, was reporting a pace that was faster than my actual pace. Unfortunately, I suck at math in my head at the best of times, so I certainly could not figure out the correction required to know my actual pace while exerting myself on the run! However, since the app was telling me that I was a bit faster than my target pace for most of the race, I figured I was in the ballpark.

It definitely started to feel harder in the last third of the race and I knew from looking at the elevation map prior to the race that I’d be running up some hills toward the end of the race, including a big one in the last ~1km.

My mom, my sister, my niece, and my nephew had driven out to from Toronto to watch the race, as had Sarah & Dave and their kiddies from Ottawa; I knew they were intended to be at about the 19 km mark and I managed to see my family, who were on the far side of the road, but completely missing seeing Sarah & Dave et al, who were on the side of the road closet to where I was running! Seeing friendly faces in the crowd always gives you a boost when you are running!

The big hill, however, had the opposite effect. It was steeper and longer than I had envisioned based on the elevation map, so it definitely slowed me down, but once I caught my breath after cresting the hill, I decided that with just 1 km to go and being somewhere in the ballpark of meeting my goal, I would increase my speed as best as I could without dying and then sprint once I saw the finish line. So I did all that and when I got across the finish line, I stopped my Runkeeper app and looked expectantly at my time, thinking I was reasonably close to my goal. But much to my surprise, it said 2:03! Wtf? I really thought I was close, but it turned out I’d done worse than my run in May! Not by a lot, but still. This made my very grumpy, as all I could think was “I trained for 4 months to get slower. I should have just sat on my couch eating Doritos for the past 4 months!”

On the plus side, while I didn’t achieve my top goal – run a sub-2hr half marathon – I did achieve my consolation goal, which was to run my first half marathon where I don’t do 10 and 1s. So there’s that. And I suspect from the results of my second fitness assessment, that it was my insufficient zone 3 training that prevented me from achieving the elusive sub 2-hr half. I did do my zone 3 training after that assessment, but it was too little, too late. So at least I know for next time2

The way this race was set up, all the half marathoners and the full marathoners started together. Daniel started at 8:30 and, since I was told I should expect to start at 8:45, I expected to be done around 10:45, which would give me enough time to get my medal, my post-race food, and find my family and friends, and make way back to the finish line to watch Daniel complete his race around 11:45. However, since I started at 9:15, I didn’t finish until 11:18, which was not enough time to do those things, so I didn’t even get to see Daniel finish. He set a new personal best of 3:17, putting him 1 minute better than May but 2 minutes shy of his goal of a Boston qualifying time. So both of us were a wee bit disappointed in our results, though everyone else thought we were slightly crazy because our times were good.

After we managed to find our respective families/friends/each other, the next event was the kids run… I mean, the P’tit Marathon. Daniel’s kids and my niece ran this 1 km race – they all did really well and had a great time!

And also on the plus side: shiny new medal3!

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It’s a big 25 because this was the 25th running of the Montreal marathon. And for the record, the green bit in between the 2 and the 5 is not a crocodile, as one of my coworkers thought upon first seeing the medal. It’s Montreal island, on which we ran a bunch of the race!

  1. As I’d lent my running watch to Daniel, because he forgot his at home. []
  2. I haven’t decided when my next half marathon will be. I’m registered to run the Rock’n’Rock Vancouver 10 km next month, and my tentative plan is to maybe do the Chilly Chase in January (assuming that next year’s medal is like this year’s, which was gorgeous and I was so sad i didn’t do that race once I saw the medal!), the Delta triathlon in the spring, run as part of a relay team for the BMO Vancouver marathon, and then maybe do the Scotiabank half? Or maybe some other half marathon that I haven’t done before? I’m not sure, but I am reasonably confident that I can say that I’ll do another half marathon in the near future. And in the far future, actually, as Sarah has us pencilled in for the Ottawa marathon in May 2017! Half marathons, I just can’t quit you. []
  3. The kids got s smaller version of this for their race too! []

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And now we taper

It has been 14 weeks since I started training for the Montreal demi-marathon. BlissThis training has been quite a bit different than my previous training sessions. Differences include:

  • Over those 14 weeks, I’ve run all my runs straight through – no more 10-and-1s for me.
  • I’ve run the majority of my runs in my zone 1 heart rate zone and done a few zone 3 runs – though not nearly as many as I should have. And I’ve done some zone 2 (which is the zone I’ll run my race in) at the end of some of my long runs, but, as with zone 3, not really as much as I should have.
  • I’ve been alternating between two different pairs of running shoes

One thing that has been similar to my previous training session, despite using a different training plan, my weekend long runs have still increased in distance each week, save for a few recovery weeks where the “long” run got shorter. Yesterday, I ran my last really long run of this round of training – 20 km. Which means now the tapering begins!

Tapering is where you decrease the volume of running you are doing to allow your body to recover from the training you’ve done so that you are in tip-top shape on race day. You don’t get to slack off completely – the schedule I’m using calls for a couple of runs this week where you warm up for 10 minutes, run as fast as you can handle for 30 minutes and then cool down for 10 minutes. Next week it goes to 10-20-10. And next weekend my “long” run is 14 km – so less than this week’s 20 km by a fair margin, but still a long run to be sure!

As you can tell by the photo of my foot – yes that is a blister on top of a blister which has a blister inside of it! – my poor feet sure won’t mind running a fewer kilometers for the next two weeks!

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YHZ to YUL to, sadly, YYZ instead of YTZ

I wrote the following on the plane flying from Halifax to Montreal on Tuesday, which, as it turns out, was an unnecessary place for me to go.

On a plane, somewhere between Halifax and Montreal. My flight was delayed, so I’m going to miss my connection to Toronto City Centre – though when I got on the plane they told me I’d be able to catch my connection, but then we sat on the plane at our gate for eleventy billion years and as we were taxing down the runway the pilot casually mentioned that we’d land in Montreal at 8:30 pm (instead of 8:00pm, which was when our flight, with its delay, was going to land)… and my flight to Toronto City Centre leaves at 8:30 pm. Rather wishing that I’d just booked a direct Halifax to Toronto Pearson flight and made my sister drive all the way out there to pick me up – I figured flying into City Centre would be much easier for the pickup – didn’t think about the possibility of delayed flights! The flight attendant assures me that the agent will have already booked me on another flight by the time we land (“It’s her job to do that!”), so I’m hoping that’s actually how it goes!

Don’t really have much to report on my time in Halifax beyond what I wrote in my previous posting – Sunday was really my only tourist day – I spent Monday and today (Tuesday) in the conference that I’d gone to Halifax for1. It was a good conference and my presentation was very well-received, which was awesome. Made some good connections too, so very happy that I went there!
Now I’m looking forward to some time visiting the fam. I haven’t been to Toronto since last Halloween, which is more than half a year! As luck would have it, my nephew’s birthday is in May, so I get to be in town for his 4th birthday party. By sheer coincidence, I happened to be in town for my niece’s 4th birthday, six and a half years ago, so it’s nice that I get to do the same for Thomas’. I’ll just tell them that one’s 4th birthday is the extra special aunt visiting birthday!
It actually looks like I’m going to be spoiled with seeing family & friends over the next few months. I got to see Sarah a few weeks ago in Seattle2, and now I’m visiting Toronto, and then my mom and sister are coming to visit me in June3, and then Daniel and I are going to Montreal to run a full and demi-marathon, respectively, and my Mom (and maybe my sister and her family) and Sarah and her family are planning to come out to Montreal to watch (plus I’ll get to see some of my extended family in Montreal, who are also going to come out and cheer us on). So I’m going from not seeing family for more than half a year, to 4 visits in a 6 month period!
Now I’m writing this next part on Thursday at my sister’s place.
So, after landing in Montreal at 8:27 pm, I went directly to the gate agent to see if my other flight had left (I was hoping that maybe they too had been delayed), and she tells me that that flight regularly leaves 15 minutes early because it’s going to Toronto City Centre and the people in the city like don’t like planes flying there late at night, so to they try to get in as early as they can. But we put you on this other flight” and she hands me a boarding pass for a flight to Toronto. “Wait, this doesn’t say ‘Toronto City Centre,'” I say, “It just says ‘Toronto'”. “Oh yeah, the flight you just missed was the last one into City Centre. You have to go to Pearson.” And then my head explodes.
Seriously. If they hadn’t kept telling me that I’d totally my flight – or even if they’d told me that my flight to City Centre was the last flight of the day to go there and there was a chance I’d not make that flight – I would have just asked them to switch me to a direct flight from Halifax to Pearson. Because the *only* reason I’d booked through Montreal was to go to be able to end up in City Centre, which is way more convenient for me to be picked up, given that it’s in the centre of the city, near to where my sister lives, rather than way out in the boonies like Pearson. And had I done that, at least I’ve have gotten into Pearson at a reasonable hour, rather than at 11 pm. So props to my wonderful sister who went all the way out to Pearson to get me4!
At any rate, I’m here now and enjoying spending some time with the fam. Going for dinner with my friends Jen and Tanya tonight, tomorrow we are doing a belated Mother’s Day high tea and then baking an IronMan cake for my nephew’s birthday, which we will celebrate on Saturday!
  1. I did take some notes from the conference, which I quite enjoyed and learned a lot at, on my “professional” blog (Day 1 and Day 2), but those notes are probably of interest to no one other than me. []
  2. Note written after the fact – I totally thought I’d blogged about that, but now as I’m proofreading this posting before I post it, I looked for the posting and discovered that I never did post about it! []
  3. I have to say that the most exciting part of this upcoming visit is that my mom will get to watch me play hockey live, for the first time EVER! I didn’t start playing hockey until I moved to Vancouver and the times she’s visited in the past, I haven’t had games. She’s seen me play on the Internet, as the Longest Game for CF was streamed online, but she’s never been to a game in real life. I’m very excited for that! []
  4. Apparently they are going to be starting train service from Pearson to Union station, which is long overdue. It will cost $30 a trip, which is a heck of a lot more than a Canada Line Skytrain ride from YVR to downtown Vancouver ($9 – or less if you are exempt from the YVR Add Fare), but also a heck of a lot cheaper than a cab ride from Pearson to downtown Toronto. []

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Montréal, You Fatten Me So

If I lived in Montréal, I would surely weigh 1,000 lbs. The food here is so freaking good, but so freaking not good for you.

Last night after my day of traveling, I arrived at the hotel have only had a bagel and a coffee, a muffin and a tea. After sitting on planes all day, I felt the need for some movement, so I hit the hotel gym for a run on the treadmill, but it ended up being very short because (a) I was soooo hungry and (b) I kind of hate treadmills. After that, I headed out to Old Montréal to find some grub. And find it I did, in the form of this well-rounded meal:

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Braised pork poutine, bread, and beer. All of the food groups!

The beer in that glass was a Griffon Extra Blonde, which was freaking fantastic. To be honest, I mainly ordered it because of the name – I have Griffin ancestry, and I figured that Griffon was close enough. Though I did do a quick Google search and found that it got pretty high reviews. I’d highly recommend it if you like light beers – it’s 100x better than your average light beer!

And then tonight I hit Schwartz’s for a smoked meat sandwich and one of my beloved spruce beers!

Schwartz's Charcuterie Heraique de Montreal

Spruce Beer

This spruce beer was actually by Colt, which I’ve never seen before. It was delicious, but I still think that the Kiri one that I had at La Belle Patate was better. It was just more sprucey. More sprucey = more delicious.

Schwartz's smoked meat sandwich

Smoked meat. Ever so much meat.

Likewise – and I’m probably going to get shot for saying this – I think I liked the smoked meat sandwich that I had at Reuben’s when I was here last November even better than Schwartz’s.

At any rate, I’m very lucky that the meeting that I’m here for is feeding us lots of healthy foods, so I’ve been loading up on fresh fruits and veg during break, lunch, and breaks. Which is good, because I’m pretty sure I can actually hear my arteries hardening thanks to my dinners from the past two days!

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En Route To Montreal

As I write this, I’m on a plane somewhere between Vancouver and Toronto, on the first leg of my journey to Montreal for a 2-day workshop where I will share my research progress with, and learn about the research progress of, other researchers who are in the same funding cohort as me. I had grand plans to put together my presentation1 on this flight, but I have been thwarted by the fact that while I downloaded Prezi Desktop to my computer last night so that I could create a prezi without being connected to the intertubes2, I didn’t realize until I just tried to open it that I need to activate it, which requires the ‘tubes. Instead, I’m writing this blog posting, which I’ll post when I get back to the land of connectivity.

Happily, our profs decided to make our core final exam, which we were originally scheduled to be writing this morning, a take home exam, so I was able finish it up and submit it last night and will be arriving in Montreal at a reasonable time (4 pm) rather than midnight, as I was originally scheduled to when I thought I was going to be writing an in-class exam right now. With the core final exam under my belt, the only thing remaining in the core (read: nightmarishly busy part of the program, as opposed to the just very, very busy part of the program) is a presentation of the business plan projects that we submitted last week. My group has some kickass ideas for our presentation, which are remaining top secret as we don’t want any of the other groups to scoop us!

Looking at my massively complex spreadsheet that I’ve been using to track my grades3, I see that over the past 10 months since my MBA program started, I have completed:

  • 2 major reports4
  • 30 assignments5
  • 4 quizzes
  • 10 exams

No wonder I’ve been so exhausted! Happily, despite the accompanying sleep deprivation and exam-related nightmares, I’ve learned an insane amount about things that I didn’t know before, many of which I can – and already have been – applying in work and in life6.

But enough about that for now – this blog posting was actually supposed to be about my trip! After my workshop in Montreal, I’m hopping a Porter Air flight7 to Toronto to see my family. I haven’t seen them since the spring, so I’m super excited to play with my niece and nephew, spend time with my Mom and sister, and see some friends. Plans for my trip include:

  • belated Thanksgiving dinner8 has been extremely busy, so she didn’t have time to do a Thanksgiving dinner this year. So my Mom and I are taking over my sister’s kitchen to make a feast so we can celebrate T-giving, if somewhat late.))
  • the Hoot & Howl – a Halloween fair at my niece’s school9.
  • the CN Tower Edgewalk10

Plans for Montreal, aside from the actual workshop I’m going to which will take up the lion’s share of my time, include:

  • poutine
  • smoked meat sandwich
  • spruce beer
  • going for a run on the treadmill in the hotel gym, followed by some hot tub time11!

Two other things:

  • At the start of this flight, I fell asleep while holding my coffee and didn’t spill it, which is kind of a miracle. To re-balance the universe, however, after I woke up, discovered that I was precariously holding my coffee, I put down my tray table and put my coffee on it, fell back asleep, only to be woken up when the guy in front of me slammed himself repeatedly against his seat back (presumably “trying to get comfortable”), which spilled my coffee all over me. Fortunately, I had brought a blanket to keep me warm on the flight which I had on top of me, so it took the brunt of the coffee.
  • The lady who is shushing her baby in the row behind me is way more annoying than the baby babbling that she is trying to shush.

Posted from Toronto International Airport, where I’m waiting for my flight to Montreal. Have activated my Prezi desktop so that I can work on my presentation on the next flight. Hooray for free wifi!

  1. I haven’t had a chance to put together my presentation because I was just slammed with a million and one other deadlines at work the past couple of weeks and just slammed with homework in the evenings/on weekends for the past, oh, 10 months. []
  2. Why is it that in 2012 we still don’t have the intertubes on aeroplanes?? []
  3. Even though I said my focus is on learning and that I don’t really care about my grades as long as I pass and don’t look like a total moron, I am compelled to put all data I can get my hands on into spreadsheets, especially data that can be sliced and diced and analyzed every which way! []
  4. Where by “major” I mean reports based on big group projects that lasted a few months each. One was a report on the running of a simulated business, the other was a business plan for an innovative new product. []
  5. 7 of which were case study memos. []
  6. “Stuff I’ve Learned in School” will be the topic of an upcoming blog post! []
  7. Dear FSM, I love Porter Air! []
  8. My sister, who has gone back to school to get her Master’s ((Boy, we are cut from the same cloth, aren’t we? []
  9. Every year I hear about the Hoot & Howl from my sister and I’m super excited that I get to go this year. []
  10. I’m completely terrified but also very excited to lean over the edge of one of the tallest buildings in the world! It kind of makes me want to throw up just thinking about it, but omg, it’s going to be awesome! []
  11. Running will be required to atone for the aforementioned poutine, smoked meat, and spruce beer. And hot tub is just because hot tubs are awesome! []

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Montreal

I can’t believe my trip to Montreal is over already!

On Saturday, we started the day with breakfast at Cora’s and then did some more shopping. Did I mention how freaking fashionable everyone in Montreal? We looked at lots of stuff, but didn’t buy a tonne – I only bought a few accessories1, as I didn’t have a lot of room in my suitcase and had to leave room for Christmas presents that my family brought for me so they wouldn’t have to ship them, plus a case of spruce beer, which, as far as I can tell, you can only buy in Quebec. Mmmm, spruce beer. But I’m getting ahead of myself. My mom bought some clothes and my sister got a hat at Ogilvy’s and stuff for my niece for her birthday and a few other things at Forever 212.

Sleeping ThomasMy poor nephew – he was so tired out from all the shopping!

After shopping, we headed out to my mom’s cousin’s Susan’s place in LaSalle, where we got to see my Auntie Maureen, Auntie Barbara, Uncle Michael, and my mom’s other cousin, Leanne. It was great to see them – I haven’t seen my aunts and uncle since my last visit in 2005, my mom’s cousin Leanne in many, many more years than that, and we think I might never have met my mom’s cousin Susan before! If I have, I would have been very little. We had a tonne of fun – had a great time catching up, ate a delicious meal from a Greek restaurant, the name of which I must have asked 16 times but I still can’t remember what it was, and had a super delicious birthday cake that my Auntie Barbara made for my mom. I’d love to show you a picture of it, but my camera batteries died, so we were taking photos with my mom’s camera, but it uses some sort of proprietary Sony card instead of an SD card, so I couldn’t get the photos off the camera. My mom said she’ll get my dad to email them to me when she gets home, so I’ll post them once I get them. In the meantime, picture a cake shaped like a book, with little mini books on top, plus two bookworms in the shape of a “6” and a “5.” Adorable! And did I mention delicious?

While in LaSalle, we also picked up some spruce beer at the grocery store. Spruce beer, for the uninitiated, is a type of pop that, as far as I can tell, you can only get in Quebec. I remember my Grandpa Snow making us spruce beer ice cream floats when we were kids3. It tastes like drinking a spruce tree and I’m sure it’s absolutely disgusting to anyone else but I *love* it so much!

Spruce beer!

The next morning, my mom, sister, and nephew were going to leave mid-morning, as they had a long drive back to Toronto ahead of them. But I may have pointed out that we hadn’t yet had a Montreal smoked meat sandwich and that I’d just go get one by myself before I headed to the airport for my 3 pm flight. And my sister may have taken pity on me and so the stuck around a bit longer! We had a lovely coffee at Cafe Java U and then went to Reuben’s for smoked meat. I have “Have a smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz’s” on my list of 101 things to do because I’d mistakenly thought that Schwartz’s was the place we used to go to get smoked meat when I was a kid. As it turns out, we used to go to Adam’s in LaSalle and Gregory’s in Verdun, neither of which exist anymore. And since the sentiment of the “smoked meat” item on my 101 list was to go to the place we used to go for nostalgia reasons, it makes the Schwartz’s part less important and so I’m counting “having smoked meat in Montreal” as “achieved” on my 101 list!

Beth & her smoked meat sandwichMe and my delicious Montreal smoked meat sandwich.

My smoked meat sandwich was exactly as I remembered them to be. Giant and delicious. The fries were a bit of a disappointment – I remember the fries we used to get with the smoked meat sandwiches when I was a kid were chunky and freshly made, whereas these were thin and clearly from a bag in a freezer – but the sandwich itself more than made up for that. And the coleslaw and the pickle totally completed the meal! My sister ordered a slice of cheesecake which was insanely huge and we shared it, plus she had some left over to take home. Also, freaking delicious.

And after that, it was time to hit the road. My family dropped me off a the airport, which was on their way home to Toronto, and I hopped onto my plane, which also happened to be going to Toronto, as I had to catch a connecting flight to Vancouver from there. And I nearly missed my plane in Toronto, because there were so many people with too much carry on luggage4 that the flight attendants took a good 15 minutes to figure out where to put it all and I only had a 45 minute turnaround time at YYZ! I ran from the gate where my Montreal flight landed to the gate where my Vancouver flight was leaving from and, happily, arrived just as the last of the passengers were boarding. We had the same issue of too much carry on luggage on this flight, so we were delayed about 10 minutes while everyone tried to stuff their luggage in to the overhead compartments, so I hope that gave my checked bag enough time to make it’s way on this plane! (Oh yes, I’m writing this on my flight from Toronto to Vancouver and will post it when I get home)

Anyhoo, I’m home now and I’m freaking tired! I’ve been fully adapted to Ontario time (i.e., living in the future) since I got to Ottawa and went to bed super duper early, so it feels like it’s three hours later than it is here in Pacific time (a.k.a., the past). I’m hoping that being on Ontario’s future time will help make it easier for me to get up early in the morning!

Other random stuff:

  • There’s a place in Montreal called “Club Super Sexe.” True story. Here’s a picture to prove it:
    Club Super Sexe, Montreal
  • Did I mention how fashionable everyone is in Montreal?
  • Did I mention how excited I am to drink my spruce beer?
  • I did, in fact, convince my mom to have a Caesar so that I could try it. Verdict: delicious!
  • I really do love Montreal, even in spite of its frigid temperatures. I hope I don’t have to wait another six years before I go back!

Aunt Beth & Thomas Thomas and I came prepared for the cold Montreal weather with our matching hats!

  1. Two pairs of earrings, two bras, and two headbands, to be exact []
  2. Yes, we realize that they have Forever 21 in both Toronto and Vancouver. Minor details []
  3. Both my parents grew up in Montreal and we have relatives from both sides of my family who still live there, so whenever someone would go back to Montreal to visit, they’d bring back spruce beer []
  4. Which ticks me off, because I had to leave behind some of the Christmas presents my sister brought for me because I couldn’t fit them in my bag, what with all the spruce beer and the other Christmas presents. But if I’d known they’d let me walk on with three giant carry on bags despite the rules saying you only get two carry on bags, like I saw another lady do, I’d have done that too! []

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11/11/11

Since we happened to be in Our Nation’s Capital1 this morning, which just so happened to be Remembrance Day, we went to the ceremony being held at the War Memorial2. The ceremony was very cool – there were fighter jets and helicopters flying by and cannons being fired and all sorts of wreathes laid upon the War Memorial monument. It really was quite a cool experience – if you ever get a chance to be in Ottawa on Remembrance Day, I highly recommend it.

Next we headed off to Montreal, enjoying some delicious scones from the Scone Witch on the way. Our Montreal adventures so far have included enjoying a fine dinner of burgers at Mister Steer, doing some window shopping (everyone in Montreal is so freaking fashionable!), and now we are relaxing in the hotel, enjoying a glass of wine to celebrate my mom’s last day as a “regular” citizen (as opposed to a “senior” citizen, which she’ll be tomorrow).

And now, in a very not surprising turn of events, I’m going to head to the hot tub!

  1. Nancy insisted that we all refer to Ottawa as “Our Nation’s Capital” for the entire time we were there. And it had to be pronounced in a big, important sounding way, such that I feel she was pronouncing it capitalized. []
  2. Props to Sarah for pointing out to me when we were talking on the phone the other day that it would be Remembrance Day while we were in O-town and thus, we totally needed to check out the Remembrance Day ceremony []

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Ottawa/Montreal

I can’t believe that my trip to Ottawa & Montreal is almost here! I’m going to Ottawa for a two-day workshop on Wednesday & Thursday, but due to the length of the flight, the three hour time zone difference, and the fact that my workshop starts at 8 am sharp, Tuesday is my day to travel. I get in to O-town around 2 pm, which gives me time to check in, enjoy the hot tub, grab dinner and go to bed early, since 8 am Eastern time is going to feel like 5 am to me! Wednesday and Thursday are full days of workshopping, and because Friday is a holiday, I decided that I may as well stay out east for the long weekend. My mom, my sister and my nephew are going to join me in O-town on Thursday night, where we’ll have dinner with our friend Shelley1 and then we are going to head to Montreal to visit some of my aunts, uncles & cousins that live there. Also, it’s my mom’s 65th birthday on the 12th, so we’ll get to celebrate it in Montreal! So. Excited!

And now – a list. Because who doesn’t like lists?

Things I’m Excited About For My Upcoming Trip (in no particular order):

  • hotel hot tubs
  • learning a whole bunch about Outcome Mapping (the topic of the workshop)
  • seeing my family
  • going to Montreal for the first time since ’05
  • eating a Montreal smoked meat sandwich at Swartz’s for the first time since my childhood!
  • poutine
  • drinking some spruce beer!
Also, for any potential thieves out there, my landlords will still be here so my place will be watched. Just so you know.
  1. Sadly, Sarah & Dave will be on a cruise. Well, not sad that they are enjoying a nice cruise, but sad that I’ll be in their town and won’t get to see them []