Monday, June 30, 2014

Estela is happy, but my legs are weenies

Sunday, no workout for me. Watched other people working out big time, particularly my buddy Katie doing IMCDA. It was a tough windy day, and I only saw her a few seconds at the finish line. I hope she was happy with her day, but I didn't see her turning cartwheels or anything. I wasn't impressed with the video coverage.

Then there was the dog meeting. Ostensibly it's a book club meeting, but there were more dogs than people. Greyhounds in particular. They contributed nothing to the book conversation, and were bullies about converting the conversation to be about them. It was amusing, especially one particularly pungent comment. The next book is WTF to OMG by my buddy Jenna Sparks.

There was some wine whipping in the evening, along with some stretching and core. There was some patio sitting as well along the way. Linda is getting more plants.

Today I was getting a pump from this great hardware store in Okotoks. I still need to get an adaptor, but holy cow are some of the parts cheap! I think they're foamed aluminum, or plastic, poorly painted. I hope the pump actually works. Linda got yet more plants. They look very nice, but I'm beginning to wonder what the tax treatment is for greenhouses and plant nurseries.

Afterward went for a coffee with a buddy. Scoped out the Road to Nepal on the way home, seeing several cyclists along the way. This led me to looking at Estela, still trapped on the spin trainer, which I haven't been on in months. In fact, I can't remember the last time I was outside on my bike. She was so sad. So that's what I was going to do in the afternoon. For some reason there is only one tire iron. No idea where the other is. No doubt the cats have hidden it after doing unspeakable things to it. No issues getting the road tire on, which I took to be a good omen.

From there I was out. The idea was a nice easy ride around the neighbourhood to see if I could remember how to ride a bike. So far so good. It was a lovely ride, nice and easy, only got nearly run over once. Only a short little ride, covering hardly any distance, and no hills to speak of. This used to be barely a warmup. Now, my legs were knackered or nearly so at the end of it. Stretched out.

Even so, I've been invited on a 35 K ride on Friday. I think I'll try it, though I'll have to warn my buddies there might be some whining on the way back. And I think I'll be a total weenie about the draft.

The new grass is growing like gangbusters. I got a full big garbage bag of clippings. I had to cut it down to size using the weed whacker, then rake and rake and rake. Then relaxing. Look, there is a weed whacker hiding in the grass, see it?

For once in my life we are planning Canada Day stuff. No idea quite what yet, or where, but that's the idea. Probably downtown somewhere. And you? What are you doing Canada Day?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Not so exhausted anymore

Here it is, mid afternoon of a beautiful day, sitting on my patio in the shade, drinking wine, sniffing the breeze, looking at the new grass I really need to cut again. Fair warning, I have no idea where this post is going to go.

We've been pretty busy the last little while, dealing with the patio, getting followup details done, and generally dealing with life. Plant life in particular, though Linda has done all the planting. I've just toted and carried. Work life, in particular, which I don't much talk about here. As most of you know, I work in the oil and gas industry here. Let's just say that this workplace has it's own challenges. I like what I do, and I've particularly liked where I've been doing it, and I've especially liked the boss I had for the last two years. Note the tense there. She was "no longer with the company"-ed last week, along with her boss, and the other manager in our group. To say the herd is spooked is a fair statement.

This happens here. Re-orgs, downsizing, purges, divestitures, whatever the resin, the result is the same, people don't work there anymore on really short notice. It's happened to me several times, though this is a first to have my boss be fired, and me not. In spite of the company hot air about them "needing and wanting us", many of us contractors do not expect to be there in August, though stranger things have happened. We might be kept on. You don't have to be a rocket surgeon to predict the next steps people are taking.

So what with all that I've been dragging my butt for the last week, and the last couple days have been brutal. Friday night I was in bed by 8, after a bit of a nap after work, and I was still in bed at 7 this morning. That's one of my longest sleeps ever, though I was awake a bit in the night. I'm still tired, but not as bad as I was yesterday.

There was nothing fitness related for much of last week. Even the stretching and such has been low key. But this morning, wow! Michelle and I got ourselves sorted out for a run this morning from Glenmore Landing up to Sandy Beach. It was a hair over 10 K, and we had a wonderful run. We weren't in a rush, the weather was warm and sunny without being too hot, there was a nice breeze, and there weren't too many people on the path. The map is boring, and the pace was pretty even so that's boring too, so I won't put them up, unless Julie gets on my case about needing a numbers fix.

I wasn't sure about my legs, but there were no problems, chugging along at our regular chat chat chat place. The Sandy Beach bridge is still out, but at least there were construction workers down there doing construction things. The bike path from Glenmore Landing up to the Heritage Park ax is being twinned, and about time too. Stinky diesel smell for the start of our run. We were trying for an unusual selfie this time. This is what I got, hers is better. She says it's a shoe selfie.

The fun part of last week was getting a laser pointer for the cats. You really need video to see how quick Curtis reacts to the twitches of the light. We also got a couple harnesses and cord for them. They have often wanted to go out, but we want them out only under our supervision. After a few minutes being timid, Curtis strolled around, then hopped up to the fence, then up on the roof briefly. He seems quite accustomed to the harness, so I wonder if it's happened to him before. Celina promptly tangled herself up and needed rescuing several times. So the rest of the post is the cats doing their thing outside.

Now that the blog is done, I think I'll go back to work on the novel.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My brain got lost for a moment

What a day. What a week so far, and there's two more days of potential roller coaster yet. Vacation next week cannot come soon enough.

Monday swim was so-so at best. Water ran with Katie.

Tuesday was massage therapy, spending (for a miracle) most of the time on my traps and low back. My legs were pretty good, though there is lots of achy in there. No running so far this week.

Lots of stuff happened at work today, but we need not get into that. I was off to IKEA to get one more planter box. Linda had thought she got 4, but only got 3, and we needed 4. So I was off. In the middle of the store I had a bad moment where I totally lost my orientation to the world. Normally, I've got a really good sense of where north is. At almost any time you can ask what direction something is, and I can point towards it.

But tonight in IKEA I got turned around, and for a couple minutes I didn't know if I was coming or going. I didn't even know which direction was the parking lot. It was very disorienting. I console myself with the thought that they deliberately make it disorienting so you have to walk through the entire store and look at everything. What you look at, you might buy. Very clever, these Swedes.

It used to be, in the old IKEA store, I could walk through it almost blindfolded. I knew where everything was and where all the shortcuts were. Then they moved to the big store in Deerfoot Meadows, and I've been kind of lost in there ever since. I try not to go there much.

But it makes me wonder if this is how senility and dementia starts. We've all seen people wandering around lost. My one grandfather stopped driving after he took a detour around some construction, on the way to a place he had been a great many times, in a town he had lived much of his life in. He got off track, and couldn't get back on track again. He was found several hours later, driving aimlessly around.

Lately it seems like there is much for me to keep track of. It used to be the idea of simplifying your life was an attractive concept. Now it's becoming a necessity. I've already had to start building systems. My car and house keys always go in the same place. When I started wearing sunglasses, and hearing aids, I had to think about where they were going to live when I wasn't wearing them. I didn't wear my wrist watch to work today because it wasn't beside the computer where I keep it. Today I had to think about it for a moment, but I remembered I'd put it in my pack before the massage. There are times it takes me a while to recover that train of thought that tells me where I've put something.

And heaven help me if I was clever. There is a little counter weight that goes on the BBQ rotisserie. I do not have a clue in the world where it is, because I know I put it someplace after the last time I used it, so I'd be sure to find it again. Not. Sigh.

I sure hope this is just because I'm really tired and not sleeping well.

Have you ever been disoriented, and wonder if you've lost your grip? Parents need not answer, we already know.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

What weekends are all about

It's been quite the adventure! A bit of a recap here, lots going on, and you get played out with a great reflection cat picture. What more could you want?

Friday we collapsed in a heap, except for the stroke of lightning about a mile away that blew up a deck in my neighborhood. That was very loud. Otherwise a quiet evening. I got this great double rainbow shot.

I also got a nice photo of a thunderhead from underneath, and snapseeded the heck out of it.

Saturday started with coffee, nice and easy. The very last bit of eavestroughing was done. They couldn't do anything till the fence was installed. Then off to Black Diamond for an art sale in a greenhouse. I found this great sunflower made from an old taxi that I just had to get. I'm not sure if this is where it's going to live for sure, but this is a good starting place.

Then lunch in Black Diamond at a place we've been wanting to try. The food was excellent, but the service was slow, even if it was just after lunch. I sat in the sun much too long, and ended up with a pink head and face.

I love me an old fashioned hardware store, and found one in Okotoks. What we bought there has to be delivered. Stay tuned.

Bison burgers on the BBQ. Awesome! Worked on my novel a bit while Linda reconnoitered plants.

Sunday I was up bright and early for another trail run with these two. You remember them.

We started from South Glenmore park near where the 37 St trail meets up, then left the bike path and ran through some trails Michelle had scoped out. It was beautiful.

Not all is as it seems, though. How many trail runs do you go on where you have to consider the possibility of UXO?

I'm not sure where these duckboards came from, but they made an interesting obstacle.

Looking at a bunch of swampy bit, near where we were planning to turn around anyway. Discussions.

 The obligatory post run shared selfie.

Tending to our social media fans. The things we do for you guys. Or maybe we were just dealing with our GPS stuff.

It was a lovely run, my legs were happy about it. Not too far, just over 4 K, and nice easy pace. The trail was mostly in pretty good shape, only a few puddles.

Then more shopping for us. Linda choosing plants while I guarded the already captured ones.

Then a deal on a patio table, with some adventures getting it home. Our very first ever lunch in the back yard!

Lastly, the promised shot of a cranky Curtis. He's on a bit of a diet these days. The vet gave me the stern eye, and said he's still gaining weight. So we have to be a lot more strict about how much food he's getting. Plus spending much of the weekend outside means he isn't getting the lap time he wants. I think he's made his feelings clear, don't you?

How was your Solstice weekend?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

OK, so you guys aren't interested in my mojos

But that doesn't bother me. The swim mojo came back happy, but worn out. My swim started really well, then kind of fell apart at the end. This was after a 15 minute water run to let the swim pool clear out. The entertaining part was watching the girl in the next lane practicing her synchro swimming moves.

It stopped raining by the time we got home. I wasted little time, other than being stuck on hold for a while, getting changed and out for a run. I was a bit worried about this. I haven't really run since the half marathon, and the couple of K earlier this week didn't really reassure me. But I headed out anyways. The first K was brutal. I chugged along, out of wind, tired legs, wondering.

But it got gradually better. Everything settled down, and while it won't go down as one of the best runs ever, I'm not going to try to forget about it. I didn't have anyone to keep me on track, so I just ran along. It felt slow, and I was breathing harder than I thought I should be. Missing my run buddies. Since I haven't done a graph for a while, here you go.

My mojos said they were out looking for their buddy the bike mojo who has been missing for a long time. I think they were out partying.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

At least my yoga mojo isn't out for a 3-some

After the almighty thunk yesterday,  I could feel my legs were much happier with me today. I was looking forward to yoga class even more than usual, and not just because our lovely instructor lets us choose the poses. I had a feeling I'd have a good class, after struggling with it much of the year.

Sure enough. Yesterday each side of my butt had a huge knot in it that I could feel as I rolled over it. The feeling was exactly like I had a lacrosse ball in my pocket, or an extra hip bone had grown. That's essentially gone tonight. Doing a forward bend has been a slow, careful process, and often I didn't get anywhere near my toes. Tonight, not just finger to toes, not just fingers to floor, but knuckles to floor. Something in my back has sure loosened up.

The yoga mojo was there for me tonight! Which makes me happy. Last we all heard, my swim and run mojo were off somewhere. Maybe they were looking for my bike mojo, I haven't seen that in months. I'll find out tomorrow morning if the swim love is there. If I get a good night's sleep, I'm thinking so. Pity it's flooding down rain, the temptation is to go for a run. This weekend for sure.

I'm going to miss our yoga class over the summer. It's been a good part of my Wednesday routine for many years now. Somehow I always say I'll do yoga during the summer, and usually I don't, at least not regularly.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Did the earth move for you?

It just did for me. In other news, Linda is home from Ontario.

Monday was a messed up day. Someone scheduled me for an 8:30 meeting that needed a bunch of prep to get my head into the right space. Then they cancelled it at 8. Sigh. So I missed a water run with my buddy Katie.

While it wasn't raining I went out and marked a bunch of rocks with chalk, and then pressure washed them. The elusive last two that had escaped all washing are now washed. Then it rained. There was a break in the rain this afternoon and while not completely dry, they look pretty good. Meanwhile the grass is growing like crazy. I'm gonna have to weed whack it before I can cut it.

I spent a lot of time stretching and twisting, trying to get something to click and relax. No luck.

Tuesday morning I was in the pool, but wasn't feeling the swim love. I think the problem was that I hadn't eaten enough breakfast. After water running 10 or 15 minutes, I sort of mostly swam about 15. My head wasn't in the game at all. Maybe my swim mojo, and my run mojo are off doing something illicit or immoral together.

More time stretching and twisting tonight. Almost. So close. Then while I was shifting position between stretches there was an almighty thunk. A good one from my low back somewhere. I can already feel muscles relaxing. All is good. No, I didn't have a cigarette after.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

How cats think they get points

Well, so much for #coffeechat this morning. After being awake off and on throughout the night, including a longish stretch about 4:30, I snoozed all through it. Sleep was more important.

It's been a busy day, mostly trying to dodge cats determined to be underfoot. Totally determined. Often. Frequently. Over and over. It started with me sitting and having some coffee. Both cats holding me down. At least I had a coffee to drink.

Eventually I struggled free, and started looking for a pair of shorts for a run later. This lead to a bit of a detour sorting through a mound of laundry. With the cats helping. It's funny how they dodge and weave, aiming to go exactly where I want to go, speeding up to get almost there just in time. Or waiting along the path, that's a good one too. I'm pretty sure they think they get points or something, for every time they almost get stepped on.

I managed to excavate a couch that has been covered with stuff, and when I checked it out by sitting down, guess what?

Eventually I did get out for a short run. Really short. At least it didn't rain, though it got cold and windy. My legs weren't really happy about it, feeling heavy and slow. I'm not sure where the run love has gone. If you see it anywhere, please send it back.

Then back to the rocks. More pressure washing. Then after they dried, well, you know. I still missed some. I'm beginning to think I'm going to need to put chalk or something on the ones that need work. At least the cats weren't underfoot for this. While outside I even worked on cleaning windows. The lodge is done, and several in the house. More will be needed, and it's easier in the sun, but at least the worst of it is off.

Even trying to write, it's the cats. Trying to be on top of the laptop. Getting between me and the screen. Sigh. I never

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Colouring inside the lines with a pressure washer

I am first of all surprised at how few readers there were for yesterday's blog, wherein I tell you how to get rich. Maybe I've got an elevated class of readers that are either already rich, or don't care about riches. I'll take that as a compliment.

No workout Friday. Busy day for lots of reasons.

Saturday was a volunteer day. I'm trying to catch up on volunteering. My thinking is to volunteer at a race once for every race I've done. It doesn't have to be that exact race. I only did Calgary 70.3 once, but I've volunteered twice. I've "done" Chinook half 3 times now, but today was the first volunteer experience there.

I ended up spending much of the morning guarding T1. The sassy highlight of the day was telling the lead ATA official to get the heck off the race course as the athletes were starting to get out of the water.  She came back later to chat and we worked it all out. Otherwise it was lots of fun, seeing a bunch of people I know along the way. I have to admit I enjoyed volunteering this race much more than I ever did racing it. For one thing the volunteering was over much sooner.

This afternoon I dug out our pressure washer and used that on the patio stones. This was kind of fun too, though some care and attention is needed. Going outside the rock typically leads to a face full of sand as the high pressure water blasts the sand between the rocks. I'll have another go at it tomorrow and work on more of the rocks. Some of the ones I thought were done, are, in fact, not. It's sort of like washing a car. It looks clean when its wet.

Here's some photos to amuse you. If you look carefully at the first two, you can see a bit of difference in what is getting washed.

 This is not retouched in any way. I love the blues and blacks.

A chance shot of the patio after, as I was watering the garden. I love how the sunlight plays on the wet rocks. Those are not the permanent chairs. I just rescued them from the front so I could wash them.

This is what you get when you don't completely colour inside the lines. I missed some spots. As you can see from the above photos, it's really hard to spot when the rocks are wet. I'll be back at it again tomorrow.

In addition, I think tomorrow is going to be a day for washing windows. I wonder how many people don't know the Tom Sawyer technique for doing this, and would be willing to drop by to learn? I'll even feed you coffee. And will I run tomorrow, or ride? Decisions, decisions.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Are you having a great life?

I am! Occasionally I muse about life, the universe, and everything. Today during my swim was one of those days. The end result was a 29 minute 1.5 K swim nice and easy. The longest and best swim since about this time last year, when a flood closed my pool for several months. What with one thing and another it's taken till now to get it back together. There was a warmup 20 minute water run, and some stretching after.

As I was leaving the pool into a perfect day, I wanted to go home and go for a run. And I could have done so: I have a great boss, and nothing instantly pressing at work. There was a blood donor appointment to give away more of my nearly perfect blood, for the 61st time, they said, but I think I could have made it. Particularly if I'd planned better and brought run gear.

The point is I had a choice. The run could have been mine had I wanted to rearrange my life a bit, but I decided not to. I'm in the fortunate position that I get lots of choices, which is one of the reasons I think I'm having a great life these days.

What's not to like about my work? I have a great boss that loves what I do, and great co-workers. The work is interesting and engaging, although I admit not many other people would think so. I'm learning lots, and contributing lots. Within pretty broad limits I can show up when I want, leave when I want, take as long for lunch as I want. As long as I don't bill more than 7.5 hours a day times the number of working days in a month, and continue to help them pull value from databases, all is good. There are even some days the office doors are locked, and I can't work even if I want to. Like the Friday before weekends where the Monday is a summer stat holiday.

I don't get involved in work politics at all. I think about it this way. Penn West is a great big ship taking a cargo to port. Mostly there is only crew on board. Any passengers are planned, such as injury recovery or pregnancy. Any unaccounted for passengers are slackers and the captain will dump them overboard on discovery. They might or might not get a life jacket.

It used to be that if you were part of the permanent crew, you were safe. But periodically the captain throws some of the crew overboard anyways, though they often get a bit of a lifeboat with some supplies. There is no rhythm or reason to this, it's just one of the incomprehensible fits that strike incompetent leaders. With any luck they manage to find another big ship to pick them up.

I'm not part of the permanent crew. I have my own small boat, and at the moment it's moored off the stern, along with a flock of other small boats. We all joined up, and are helping the permanent crew with some tasks. Eventually those tasks will be done, and there will be no other tasks they can give me, or the offered task will not be acceptable, and I'll get back on my boat again. If the captain wants to throw me overboard for whatever reason, I just get back onto my own boat again, along with whatever bags of gold I've accumulated in my time on board. Then I go somewhere else.

The Penn West boat is going somewhere, I don't really care where. I don't care how the permanent crew get paid, or what their particular conditions are. I don't really care how they organize themselves, or how the chairs on the bridge are arranged. At the end of the day I get back on my boat to snooze. Sometimes I take a holiday and drive my boat elsewhere for a little while. Some of my buddies shuttle back and forth between big boats. At long as I get my regular bag of gold I'm happy.

What's not to like about being fairly fit and healthy? Of course I'd like to run faster, but I can run, and swim, and bike, and do lots of other stuff. Many people my age are not nearly so mobile, and that's too bad. There are some that are much more mobile, and I look up to them, often from behind as they head off to the horizon. Good for them!

What's not to like about having enough money day to day that my choice is usually "Do I want to afford it?" and not "Can I afford it?", while not having so much money I have to worry about being kidnapped. Many people don't have enough money, or think they don't, which is two very different things. There used to be a feature in the Globe and Mail, back when I read paper newspapers, that looked at a family's finances, and made suggestions for improvement. Often their income made ours look small, yet they had outlandish expenses, and a very small net worth.

I blame television and society in general. People think they deserve it all, right now. What some of them deserve is a smack up side the head for being an idiot. Whatever happened to saving up for something? Whatever happened to taking care of your stuff so it lasted longer? Whatever happened to living within your means?

That last is something really important that many people now seem to have never known. They spend money with no conception of how much of it they have. Then they wonder why they never accumulate any savings, and are always paying interest.

Do you want to know how to get rich, in a monetary sense? It's not hard, particularly. You spend less than you earn. You defer your gratification. You don't buy cheap shit for no good reason. When that accumulates you a small pot of money, you invest it so that it starts earning you money. That money gets reinvested. It starts small, but it snowballs quickly.

Learning about how to invest money isn't terribly difficult either. The concepts aren't hard, and there many ways to learn. The library has many such books. Fundamentally it's simple. Buy cheap and sell dear. Or if you've got a bit more nerve, borrow to sell dear now and buy cheap later to pay back the borrowed.

No, the mechanics of investing money is not the hard part. The hard part is to be patient, to wait out the short term market swings, to stick to your plan. To have the courage to invest when other's won't, and not sell when others sell. What was I doing during the great market correction of 2008 and 2009? Buying more. I had double digit returns there for a while. The hard part is seeing that the traditional bedrock investment, real estate, is now grossly over-valued in Canada, and staying out of it for a while.

When you do buy things, you buy the best you can afford. There is an S shaped graph that compares cost and quality. At first when cost is low, quality is low too. This is what you get shopping at Walmart, mostly. As cost goes up a little bit, quality goes up dramatically. Then the quality curve flattens out, even though the cost can keep going up. There is a limit as to how well something can be made, after all. I like to buy at that sweet spot where the curve starts to flatten out.

It means I pay a little bit more for some things, but that's ok. They last longer and work better. They give me less aggravation. In my world, it's often cheaper for me to pay a little more, because the scrambling around trying to find cheaper at an acceptable level of quality takes time. I know exactly, EXACTLY how much an hour of my time is worth. It's often easier, more efficient, and more effective for me to work a few more hours, than waste my own time trying to get a deal.

An example? Painting the inside of the house. I can, and have done this. Paying a guy that really knows how, and does meticulous work was a much better deal. In the time it would have taken me to paint, I could, and did, earn far more than what I paid him. I'm ahead by the difference. Same with the landscaping. Paying experienced people to bring in the right equipment was by far the better deal.

The thing is that you have to know how to do these calculations. Then actually do them, and live with the results. Ignore your idiot brother-in-law who scoffs and says he can get you a deal. It will pay off over time. I rarely think about things in terms of dollar cost anymore. I think in terms of how many hours I have to work to pay for it.

Now, how to get rich in a non-monetary sense? That's easy too. You have to do the things that make your life worth living. Create relationships to other people and nurture them. Build memories of doing things you enjoy doing. Appreciate what you have. Cut out most of the TV, and spend that time having fun with real people, taking care of your money and health, and getting more sleep.

Run from people that say they are bored. Anyone who is bored these days is too stupid to be around. They will suck you dry and drag you under. Hang around with other people with interests similar to yours. Pick something that you think needs fixing, and work on fixing it. Maybe it's something big, like cleaning up all the plastic thats clogging the oceans, or something small, like getting the city to install playground equipment in your local park. Whatever.

I was at an event a while ago when someone said something that has always stuck with me. "If you aren't having fun, it's your own damn fault." Now granted, there are some people for whom it's tougher than others, or so it seems. But if you're reading this blog, you are not likely to be one of them. So get out there, and get on with that great life!

Tell me, what's making your life great?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Now or not for a while

They say time was invented so everything wouldn't happen at once. Yeah.

Swam Monday, back to sub 19 again for a 1000m. It felt good. Now, if I can manage my time, I can start going longer. Water ran with Katie about 15 minutes beforehand, and stretch in the water after.

The last few massages have been brutal almost painful affairs. My legs have been so tight, and my therapist is so good, and, well, you know how that story ends. But a few things have come together. I'm standing at my desk for most of the day. I can feel my posture being better, and lots of other things are better too. During the day I can do subtle stretches.

Over the weekend I was essentially doing several hours of intense forward stretch, and I was wondering how that would end up. Turns out pretty good. My legs were much better going into the massage, and they've felt more relaxed.

Now to find time for a run. I don't like running after a massage, so last night we went to the garden centre instead of me running. Wed is yoga with the lovely and talented and funny FF! Thursday I'm donating more of my nearly perfect blood, so no running after work. Friday. Let's hope it's not raining too hard...

Except for my injured running buddies, and I'm not trying to rub it in, but how's the season going for you?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Run and yard, with lots of photos

Let's get exercise out of the way first. Swam Thursday, very nice. 1 K swim 19:15 nice and easy, another 20 minutes of water running.

Real running on Sunday! Two of my running buddies, (these ones!)

totally showed up, all matchy matchy without advance planning and dragged me out for a nice run in Fish Creek. We did a bit of a trail run from bridge two scramble up the hill and through the nice meadow, then back down and around to the bottom of 24 st where we started. Just near the beginning we met up with a huge, gigantic, enormous 11 month old great dane. It could probably have eaten our heads it was so big. It had to reach down to sniff my crotch. Troll Michelle's blog, she got some photos of it, and may post them. Along the way there was a nice photo of Fish Creek, calm and quiet.

We had a beautiful run with a bit of a scramble in one place. Nice and easy pace, all of us getting our legs back after "racing" last weekend. It was more important for us to get outside, hang with buddies, chat, and get our legs used to moving again. I used the term advisedly, since while we were in a race, none of us were actually racing. Subtle distinction. It ended up being about 4.5 K, and I only know that because I overheard Michelle's phone talking to her about it.

We came back home to find Linda had made these wonderful chocolate chip cookies, and you'd never know they were gluten free. Then we drank lots of coffee, sat in the lodge, ate cookies, and chatted. I can't think of a better way off had to spend a morning.

Saturday I was scrubbing rocks, trying to get the gator dust off them. The rocks are black, but the polymer in the gator dust makes them look sort of whitish. I was using a putty knife to clean off the bits of the dust clumped onto the rocks. Then I was hauling the organic mulch to the back, while Linda spread it around.

On Sunday after the run, I was put to semi-hard labour, toting cedar mulch back to the big flower bed. At least it's light.

Here is planting in progress from last week.

Planting and mulching done! Yay us!

Along the way I was watering the bed underneath the back bay window, and startled Curtis from sleep. He was watching the hose with deep fascination. You have to look a little to see him in the shot. These big orange cats you know, masters of disguise.

Here's the two beds on either side of the steps at the back of the house.

All in all it's been a busy, wonderful weekend that disappeared in a blur of work and happy times with buddies. How was your weekend? Is your garden whipped into shape? Are you all recovered from races and training going well?

Friday, June 6, 2014

There was brutal rollering, and chocolate

Thursday, ready for the week to end. Downstairs on my mat, rolling and stretching and twisting, searching for that elusive click. Still elusive. Of course, I can't quite tell, but my glute is feeling quite tender. I had most of my body weight balancing with it on a little ball. I suspect there is bruising, but Im afraid to look. It hurt so good.

But my hip is still kind of stiff, off and on. There were minor adjustments to the standing desk, so I'm trying that for a while. So far so good. Plus the intellectual effort of learning a new SQL syntax and starting to use TOAD, while writing a complicated query. This made for a Friday that disappeared in a blur. Along with this week. I'm having a tough time thinking this year is almost half over.

More progress being made on the back yard. We've got water barrels figured out. Tomorrow I'll build a little stand for each of them, and after doing that, play with some tiny patio stones for an obscure purpose. Maybe I'll blog about it.

So far no actual exercise this week other than swimming and water running. I had mused briefly about running tonight, but no. There is a run tentatively scheduled for Sunday.

Life in the lodge, writing, is so hard. Look what showed up.

Raspberries. Pineapple. Chocolate sauce drizzle. The wine was already here.

Last thing. If you were thinking of sneaking in a visit to Calgary before the Stampede madness started for another year, it's starting already. There are painted windows. There are guys wearing sloppy plaid shirts untucked. There are short skirts. Shorter than usual. There were horses in the streets of Calgary today, which distracted me from a meeting with my manager. Actually, I call her my enabler.

There was something else that flashed through my mind while tending chicken on the BBQ this evening, but now it's gone. Maybe it will be back, but I'm going to wrap this up.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Hot Dr Seuss yoga

In which we discover why I don't eat out much. My buddy Vince that I used to work with a long time ago is back in town, at least some of the time. After trying many times to get together, we made it happen today. No place fancy, and we had a great catch up chat. But boy did it sit heavy during the afternoon. It didn't help that I was doing some painstaking work on an ERD after deciphering a complicated database.

Yoga was lovely, as almost always. We were delighted with the mixed bag of poses, each done with a Dr Seuss quote, one of which was hysterical, given who was talking. It was pretty good for my legs, though I wanted to go much more slowly through all the poses. We were less delighted at the sauna temperatures of the studio. The thermometer said 27 C (80.6 F) which is raging hot for what is supposed to be a regular class. The studio owner likes it hot, and has been known to turn the heat on during the summer. Just to warm up the room, you understand. I've been threatening to turn the class into naked yoga if she keeps doing that. The poses were fine, but the heat nearly did me in. It's nice to run outside in the heat, what with all the fresh air, but inside? Bleah. Are you a hot yoga person, or a regular yoga person? Or (shudder) not a yoga person at all?

Several times I got that almost click feeling I talked about earlier, but no joy. My legs are back to what I think of as normal these days, meaning I could probably run. Maybe Thursday evening, then again on the weekend. Hmmm.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

So the day I forgot my pants, vs good planning

Thrice upon a time I have forgotten my swim pants, and only discovered this while changing at the pool. Not for a while now, but the memory is still fresh. In what turned out to be several years of foresight, I stashed a spare swimsuit in my pool bag. I knew that sooner or later I'd forget to put on my swimsuit again.

And so it was. Monday I was zooming out the door, eager to water run with my buddy Katie. It was only changing at the pool...

A quick dig in the bag rescued the swim! Yay me!

I'm still sitting at work, and my hips and butt are a bit cranky about it. Can't wait for them to get back to me about modifying the standing desk so it works for me. Tonight I was down rolling and stretching for a while, after racking some wine. I balanced on the baseball grinding into my glute for quite a while, hurting so good. It's better. Some.

I've been musing about Sunday's race. I was completely in my head, barely noticing anyone around me. Except for the people shambling along, getting in the way, weaving back and forth. There was one guy that seemed determined not to let anyone pass easily. I can appreciate we're in a big pack, and adjustments have to be made, but still.

It isn't just this race, it's almost all the races I've been in. What don't people understand about slower traffic keep right? Or checking their blind spots before swerving or stopping? I watched one woman walking along, waving her arms energetically as she chatted to her buddy, and waved them wide like saying "this big", and clotheslined someone trying to pass. Ignorant, I call it. The water stations were a complete gong show, volunteers trying to be helpful, and runners trying to dodge them, people tripping over cups. All to the constant cries of "Water" "Gatorade". Maybe this is just part of the culture, and I don't get it.

I finally broke down and looked at my pace. Assuming the porta-potty stop was at 11.5 K which seems pretty close, and I got there in 1:28, that's a 7:39 pace, which isn't terribly much slower than my regular long run pace. Especially considering all the walking I did. Then the last 9.6 K took 1:14 which is a 7:43 pace. Minus the wait time which I did not track, but I think I was actually running slightly faster. If I was in the line 4 minutes (10 people, two potties) that works out to a 7:18 pace.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Race followup, writing teaser, mouthy cats

So, the day after a race that I thought would be brutal, and turned out to be not so bad. Tough, but not as bad as it could have been.

By the end of the day I was up and around, feeling pretty good. After an easy water run, and an easy 1K 19:30 swim, I actually felt pretty good. Walking was back to normal. Even stairs were fine, through I wasn't going to get carried away and do them two at a time.

Then I sat in my office chair for a while. And got up. That was bad, like just after the race. Even though we have desks that can be adjusted to let the person sit or stand, they weren't designed for someone of slightly above normal height, like me. My boss is checking to see what can be done so I can stand. I think that will be better.

The race photos were dreadful. I look like I'm dragging my butt, because I mostly was, even when I was "running". I'll check later to see if more get added that are any better. Not likely.

So far the best photo of the day is one that Antje took of Michelle feeling very chilled waiting for the race to start.

And here's Antje smiling, ready for her race, her first half marathon, which she totally rocked! Michelle, of course, is attending to her many fans on social media.

Here's the writing teaser. This is the first blog written in the lodge. As you can see, I have all the important accouterments.

The glass of wine is almost gone. The iPad for dealing with Twitter. The phone for taking photos. So far we haven't fired up that central grill. Cushions have started to migrate out. Coffee and wine tastes equally good. Need to look for patio furniture. Any suggestions, what's good, what to avoid?

My choice now is to finish my wine, enjoy the evening, and head to bed early. I'm sure I could sleep. Or I could go down to the basement and rack some wine. Decisions, decisions.

Lastly, the mouthy cats.