Wednesday, 27 January 2016

I'm Sick; Thinking is Difficult

I spent my weekend wandering between my bed and the couch while fighting a slight fever. Now I have a lovely cough and nose faucet to go with it.


The best part? Our department is down to two people - my supervisor and me - due to the other two members being off on Short Term Disability. Two people: four projects. Working when you're sick is the worst!

I'm pretty sure I've got my supervisor in my pocket for any upcoming favours I might need to ask.

Despite the sickity-sick, I did get my tickets to Tanzania sorted and booked.

The foreground is the backyard (during the dry season). The row hedges marks the border with Arusha National Park. Yeah, this trip is going to suck ;) I am incredibly grateful that I have a job which can afford me the time and opportunity to do things like travel to Tanzania for an extended period. I really am very lucky in that regard.

Due to being confined to the apartment the entire weekend, I finally got around to watching Ex Machina. About bloody time!

I've had multiple people tell me that I need to see this film... now I totally get why! It's a bit slow moving in parts so I wouldn't recommend it if you can drift off easily in slow movies, but the slow also serves as a foil to the frenetic ending. I got sucked down the rabbit hole of YouTube fan theory videos after I watched it. There are some incredibly smart sci-fi fans out there that picked up on things I completely missed.

I also rewatched Inside Out. Because when you're feverish and emotionally compromised, you should totally watch a children's movie that made you cry when you saw it in theatres. Yup. Great idea. Really helped with the faucet nose.

If you watched this movie and didn't cry, you're dead to me. You and your cold, black heart can go sit in the corner!

The dreaded lurgy has also made the gym a no-go location this week. I'm a little bummed about that but when every walk causes a coughing fit... working out isn't exactly enjoyable. Still, I did manage to touch base with my trainer and we have a game plan set for how we're hitting the ground running once I'm able to breath again. It makes me feel like I haven't completely fallen off the workout train.

Have a great Wednesday, folks!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Award For Most Depressing Start To the Year...

Much of 2015 was what I have referred to with friends as 'a holding pattern'. However towards the end of the year, things had started to pick up. I entered 2016 with the feeling that this was going to be a good year. Nay, a great year.

Then there was a surfeit of celebrity deaths.

Damn you, 2016!

But before we start talking about 2016, let's backtrack a bit to 2015.

I was semi-consistent with my gym attendance in the last two months of 2015. I say semi-consistent because with her family visiting from Brazil, holidays, and her getting sick, we were consistent in changing at least one session every week. There were a lot of Saturday sessions to make up for a missed/changed session during the week. Despite that, I lost 5lbs in the month of December. Happy Dance!

At my size you don't really see 5lbs, but you definitely feel it. Clothes are loser and my energy level is increasing. I mean, nothing crazy - I still like to spend the end of the day sitting on my couch watching Netflix - but waking up is easier and I'm more likely to do something active on the weekends.

At the start of January, my trainer made a deal with me. For every 3 lbs I lose between now and when I leave for Tanzania, she will donate $15 to Jifundishe. (That's the NGO in Tanzania I work with. So it's not like she choose some random group.) As a result, I've given up booze for all of January.

I know! The only time I've really missed it was after a day of snowshoeing. My friends were drinking beer with their taco dinner. Man, how I would have loved to have consumed a cold one with them.

Speaking of snowshoeing...

It was a very foggy day. We were up in the Kludahk area (above Jordan River) which has trails which follow old logging roads and a couple of huts. We sent out a detailed email with our itinerary... and then completely ignored it because the road was too sketchy even for the 4x4. Because of that, we didn't go off the logging roads. We followed a lot of dead ends before calling it a day. Good thing too, because it started to pour with rain within 15 minutes of us getting back to the truck!

Snowshoeing season is very close to an end unless we get another cold snap.

I set a goal at the start of 2015 to improve my Swahili in preparation for my trip to Tanzania this year. I worked diligently at it for two weeks... and then did nothing. That's not totally true. I'd pick up the books from time to time and look at them.

At the end of the November, I joined the Add1Challenge as a way to motivate me to study on my own. I plan to do an entire post about the Add1Challenge (I'm aiming for after Day 60 because I just might be rapping in Swahili for my Day 60 video and I'll share that here) but it will be day 45 on Wednesday (I think) and the challenge has done exactly what I wanted it to do. In fact, it has done a lot more.

It has not only provided me the motivation to study, but it comes with its own built-in support group. We may all be learning different languages, but that doesn't mean that many of our struggles don't overlap in some way. If you need to self-study a language and are looking for a supportive group of fellow language learners, I cannot say enough good things about the Add1Challenge.

Kind of what the Add1Challenge feels like.
Inspired by what the Add1Challenge did for my language learning, I joined Karen's accountability group. Much like Add1, it's nice to have a place where we can celebrate our successes with food and working out, and virtually hug each other when we have crap days.

And that's where I stand just over half-way through the first month. Personally, 2016 is setting itself up to be a pretty awesome year.

(What ever you say, Tom Burke.)

But I'm still a little shocked that none of my Facebook statuses in the past week and a half weren't just the word

You know what he's saying. Don't pretend you don't.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish

As I layed in bed Sunday night, unable to sleep while due to the Swahili tense markers, I did what I often do when I can't sleep: I checked Facebook. It informed me that David Bowie had died. 

This morning, on my way to the gym, a look at the news told me Alan Rickman had died.

Both men were 69 and died as a result of cancer.

It's a strange thing when someone famous dies, especially artists. Music, movies, TV shows, plays; these things can have such an impact on our lives. They are part of the moments that make up our lives. When the people who give us these moments die, it feels like we're saying goodbye to a friend.

The following is something I wrote about two years ago. It has been sitting in my 'memories' folder ever since. I never really felt like to was worth sharing because it doesn't really have a point, but it seems like this is the right time to post it.

Kristen, Amber and I sit on the couch wrapped in our blankets watching Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. We were obsessed with the movie as was every other 11 year old girl I knew. We had already watched it before crawling into bed the night before (where we had discussed it at length before we actually fell asleep), but what better way to enjoy our Sunday morning bowls of cereal than with a repeat viewing?

As we eat our breakfast and stare intently at the screen trying to memorize every detail, my dad wanders in and gets a fire going. The drafty house is cold in winter and a fire is an almost daily occurrence. As the larger logs catch flame, my dad turns to the TV.

"This movie? AGAIN?" My dad is not a fan of Hollywood movies at the best of times - the man still prides himself on the fact that he's never seen E.T. - and my ability to rewatch the same subpar movie over and over astounds him. The irony in this is that I picked up my love of rewatching TV shows and movies from him. I just don't limit my rewatching to BBC movies and Irish soccer games.

"We like it, dad."

"Okay. If you say so. Do you need anything? Any food? Anything to drink?"

"No. Thanks."

"I will never understand how you can rewatch a movie the next day."

"Shh, dad. We're trying to watch it."

"But you've already seen it. You know what happens."


As Alan Rickman's Sheriff of Nottingham starts listing all the things he was going to cancel, my dad sighs and starts towards the door.

"And call off Christmas," Alan Rickman shouts from the screen, My dad turns back to the TV and smiles. My dad's most prevalent Christmas tradition is telling everyone that Christmas is cancelled. Even children.

Especially children.

"I like this guy." My friends giggle at my dad being, well, my dad. I, familiar with this routine, roll my eyes.

"Dad, he's the Sheriff of Nottingham. He's the bad guy. You're not supposed to like him!"

"No one who wants to cancel Christmas is a bad guy," he calls as he heads back to his bedroom.

I walk into my room to get ready for bed and spot a piece of paper on my pillow.
Christmas has been cancelled.
Sheriff of Nottingham

My dad pokes his head in,

"Did you hear the news? A special memo has been issued but the Sheriff of Nottingham."

I crumple up the paper to throw at him, but he's back into the hallway and chuckling to himself before it even leaves my hand.

"He's a great man, that Sheriff of Nottingham," he calls as he walks away. "I wonder if we could invite him round for tea."

Goodbye, Mr. Bowie and Mr. Rickman. Thank you for the all the parts your music and acting roles played in my life. I am forever grateful. 

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Hockey > Blog Post

I have a blog post that I have slowly been working on since New Year's Eve which is not finished. It is now January 5th and as I'm going to a hockey game tonight instead of finishing the post, I wanted to get in a "Happy New Year" while it was still a valid greeting.

Obviously, I can't talk about hockey without a nod to Canada's unofficial hockey game. Have a good night, folks!