Wednesday, July 31, 2013

365 Photo Challenge: Days 45-48

I leave for the UK tomorrow and I will have internet and a phone the entire time I'm away so I didn't bother to schedule any posts after the one for tomorrow since I'm planning to blog all about my time in the UK as I go. While the posting will be somewhat spotty depending on how busy I am, there will be posts (with pictures I think) after this point.

I'm very excited to be going to the UK and just as excited to share my journey with all of you as well!

June 12, 2013 - Day 45

Looking down my street at the storm that was heading our way. I loved the cloud formation.

June 13, 2013 - Day 46

Dress pre-shop. I tried on a few things so that I could buy I new dress for two weddings I was going to be attending this summer. This was one of the dresses that I tried on this day (and eventually bought).

June 14, 2013 - Day 47

Surprise one day only 50% off sale - oh yes. I went whole hog and got quite a few new items for the same amount I was planning to pay anyway!

June 15, 2013 - Day 48

Last time it was lunch and today it was dinner. Homemade poutine. I couldn't finish it all so the dog got poutine for dinner too! Oh, and off to the right there with the curly straw? That was a gingerbeer mojito. Best mojito there is to be had.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Vacation Begins at the Airport

My upcoming trip to the UK will be my first trip overseas and for someone who hasn't done much travelling as an adult I have a few firm opinions on how to handle my vacation. Oddly enough, no matter who I talk to - they seem to agree with my theories of how to make your vacation start off on the best possible note.

1. It begins at the airport
You vacation mindset should begin the moment you make it through security and into the departure lounge. You have to be there ridiculously early so you might as well start enjoying yourself. Choose a good restaurant - one with a decent view of people if you're a people watcher like me. Have meal, have a glass of wine or two. Don't get pissed. Enjoy it. Savour the start of your vacation.

2. Enjoy your flight
I may never have travelled overseas, but I have flown frequently and no matter what I find a way to enjoy my flight. Screaming baby? I just turn up the music and get lost in my own head and the view out the window. Have another glass of wine (actually wine comes with my in flight meal this time!) Make seat pals with the people next to you. In fact, my best flights have always been the ones where I have interesting people to sit next to.

3. Make the waits count
So I had no idea how long customs would take when I got to Gatwick and, to be honest, I wanted the cheapest ticket I could get for my train up north. So I have nearly 4 hours between when I land and when I leave again. Since my sister, who took a nearly identical flight to mine earlier this month, assured me that it only took her 45min to get through customs that means I have 3 hours to kill on the other side. Let's say more like 2 - 2.5 after getting luggage and figuring out how to get my train ticket.

Solution for that much free time? Let's take a little inspiration from the song Home For A Rest and, if I can, I'm gonna break the seal on my arrival in the UK with a pint. If I can't, that's cool. I have a LOT of postcards to send out and I just might find a few good ones while I'm waiting!

And that more or less sums up the first day of my vacation from the early airport arrival (3 hrs) to the flight (9hrs) to another wait at the next airport (4 hrs) and then a peaceful train trip north (3 hrs) - okay that's only 19hrs, but who's really counting anyway? I have a 6hr time adjustment and that mentally takes up the last 5 hrs. (I am good at math, why do you ask? lol)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Days 41-44 of the 365 photo challenge.

So are you finding your peek into my daily life a little boring yet?

June 8, 2013 - Day 41

Got my nose pierced today. Waddaya think? Like it? I do.

June 9, 2013 - Day 42

This is what I woke up to this morning. Someone decided to sledgehammer the doorknob to the apartment building. Nothing else was damaged, nothing stolen. Theory was that one of the residents forgot their key and *this* was how they decided to remedy that problem.

June 10, 2013 - Day 43

Got my new Wii remote. Finally I can play my Gold's Gym Cardio boxing without wondering if I really missed that left hook or was it just the stupid nunchuk not registering the punch.

June 11, 2013 - Day 44

Tuna salad. This was lunch. Yes, sometimes the most exciting thing in the day is lunch.

Friday, July 26, 2013

365 Photo Challenge Continues - Days 38-40

You know, the majority of a life is made up of really small events - most of which seem boring. So some days I just do not know what to take a picture of and sometimes there is that one event that just stands out and you know that this is your picture for the day.

June 5, 2013 - Day 38

This is me at work. I wear a headset because it makes me feel cool. No seriously, I always feel like I'm kinda business'y' when I use a headset. Also it allows me to lean back in my chair and answer calls at the touch of a button. Sometimes I wish it was a fancy cordless one.

June 6, 2013 - Day 39

Sinkhole on my street. Just showed up this day out of nowhere. They filled it in and it started sinking again so then they had to come back and do it a second time. So far, so good.

June 7, 2013 - Day 40

This is my dog patiently waiting for me to get finish getting my butt ready in the morning and take her out for her morning walk. Adorable, isn't she?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Finally an Answer!

This is a continuation of A Lesson in CS. If you haven't read that than this post won't make any sense at all.

So after getting annoyed they finally answered my simple question.

MOBILECO: You can activate it while in Canada if it's topped up but International Charges might apply since it's UK SIM abroad for now.

MOBILECO: If you turn it on before you leave Canada it'll be activated there & then. Your allowances will start then. The calls/text allowances are only for use in UK so you won't be able to use any of the allowances until in the UK. More info on how to get started with PAYG sims can be found at (link removed).

So basically, since activation involves the company texting you, it's not exactly recommended, but it can be done. :D

Lesson? Insults can work so long as they are not personal and derogatory. I insulted with hope and a withheld opinion of their service.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

365 Photo Challenge - Days 34 - 37

You know, the majority of a life is made up of really small events - most of which seem boring. So some days I just do not know what to take a picture of and sometimes there is that one event that just stands out and you know that this is your picture for the day.

June 1, 2013 - Day 34

I debated about even buying any herbs to plant this year because I'll be gone for so much of the summer, but I broke down and bought some mint and basil.

June 2, 2013 - Day 35

Naven got a new haircut today! Cindy and Liz got busy showing me some new techniques to use on her. One day I'll be able to groom her without a worry.

June 3, 2013 - Day 36

I got nothing today. Just nothing. So here is my exercise mats. Yeah, it was that boring.

June 4, 2013 - Day 37

Those are cops on Segways. They were awesome. Seriously awesome. They let us joke with them and then they went and got coffee at one of my favourite little coffee places in Red Deer.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Lesson in CS

So I had a friend pick up a mobile phone card for me so that I have a way of communicating while in the UK without paying an arm and a leg. I just wanted an answer to what I thought was a very simple question. Unfortunately this is the conversation that ensued through their Twitter support account. Although I'm not angry, I am a little frustrated with this company already. I'm reserving judgement on them until I actually try the product itself. Therefore, the company name is protected.

ME: I bought a SIM card to use when I go to England in Aug. Can I activate it before I leave Canada? Will it affect anything?

MOBILECO: Where did you buy the SIM from?

ME: Not sure. I actually sent the money to a friend in the UK to buy and mail to me.

MOBILECO: Is it a Pay As You Go or contract SIM?

ME: Pay as you go.

ME: if it makes a difference she got it from the Carphone Warehouse in Hull.

MOBILECO: ...if it's a contract one then it'll be active from when you buy it. Hope this helps.

ME: I already said it's pay as you go. Can I activate it while in Canada or do I have to wait till I'm in the UK?

MOBILECO: It should just activate when you put it in a phone.

ME: I know that already It doesn't answer the question I asked. Can I activate it while in Canada or wait till I land in the UK?

MOBILECO: If it's a PAYG then it'll only be active once you top up and that's when it will be active. Hope this helps :)

ME: No, it does not. I give up since obviously you didn't even bother to read my actual question. Not impressed.

MOBILECO: It should just activate when you put it in a phone.

ME: At this point I'll be amazed if you actually answer my question. I hope the phone service is better than your CS.

Monday, July 22, 2013

365 Photo Challenge - Days 30 -33

This is my second time writing a post for these days because I accidentally deleted the first one I wrote. And it was good. Why did I got and type over it? Well, at least I am getting ahead on my posts for this so that you don't get left hanging.

Actually, does anyone even pay much attention to these posts?

May 28, 2013 - Day 30

Okay, looking back on the way things went I may not have taken this picture, but this was our first thunderstorm of the year. Not much of one, but it was a good heavy rain and I do enjoy those.

May 29, 2013 - Day 31

When you have a truck you are a useful person. My friend Cindy needed a new BBQ. We found her one and it was after 11pm by the time we hauled her old BBQ down the winding stairs of her second story back porch and got the new one up there. Good exercise and lots of bruises. lol

May 30, 2013 - Day 32

I finally applied for my passport. And I certainly did not leave it too late. Got it was tonnes of time to spare!

May 30, 2013 - Day 33

Fruit salad for dinner? Yes, I think so.

And thus ends the month of May.

Friday, July 19, 2013

365 Photos - Days 26 - 29

Yup, I am really keeping up this time. I will make it the full 365. And yes, you will see a lot of pictures of my pets because often my life is just that. Me and my pets. And sometimes other peoples pets too. Well, you'll see.

May 24, 2013 - Day 26

This is a Nikko dog. I was babysitting him (and 4 other dogs actually) because he had just had surgery to remove a toe due to cancer. No worries though, he's right as rain. And while you can't tell it in this picture, he's also blind in one eye. Poor Nikko dog.

May 25, 2013 - Day 27

This is not my poodle. This was me getting suckered into bathing and drying my bestie Liz's poodle. Her name is Bella and she doesn't look anywhere near as pathetic as my dog does (See day 9 for a picture of how pathetic my dog looks in the bath)

May 26, 2013 - Day 28

Hiking poles! I spent a week walking past these things before it finally dawned on me that someone was actually throwing them out. I fixed them up easily enough and now I have hiking poles!

May 27, 2013 - Day 29

And as much as I loved my new boxing bag, my downstairs neighbour was less fond of it. So I built this little base all on my own so I could stack mats underneath it to muffle the sound. She says she can't even tell when I'm boxing now.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Year of Living Without

When I read this post on Zen Habits I thought it was such a wonderful idea. It seems like quite the challenge to me. Especially since I have issues with long term goals and planning. I think I would love to give it a try.

For those who didn't feel like clicking the link and reading the blog post this is the deal. For one year you choose something to give up each month for the entire month. It can be anything really, but it has to be something that is a frequent part of your life already. The point is to see if it's really something you need in your life or if you can do without it.

I'm not entirely sure what sort of things I would give up for each month. It's something I would have to think about. I have a few ideas. Coffee, refined sugars, meat, watching TV are a few things I'm sure I should try living without for a month. That is only 1/3 of a year though. Perhaps give up driving for in town trips? Alcohol would be doable as well. Maybe giving up my gluten-free bread and rice cakes as well - do I really need all those carbs or can I live without them?

Suggestions anyone? What can I try to give up for a month? Also, anyone want to join me in this challenge? I was thinking of starting in October or November this year.
Also, just a note that I have posts scheduled to post on a regular schedule till August. M,W,F at about 8AM mountain time. I know, this will be a first for me when I'm not doing a blogging challenge. And of course, once August hits there are no scheduled posts because I'll be posting about my time in England!

Monday, July 15, 2013

More 365! Days 23 - 25.

May 21, 2013 - Day 23

So I was laying in bed and realized that I hadn't taken a picture yet today. I thought my blinds looked interesting so that is what you get!

May 22, 2013 - Day 24

I learned how to wrap my hands so I could kick that boxing bags butt!

May 23, 2013 - Day 25

Played a new game at games night. It was a lot of fun!

Friday, July 12, 2013

101 Things in 1001 days - Update Time!

So way back when I made a post about 101 things to do in 1001 days and I haven't really talked about it since. We're somewhere around the halfway mark (a little past it I think) and it just occurred to me that I ought to post a little update on how all these goals are going.

If there's nothing written beside it than it's just plain not completed yet. In progress will ne in red (and sometimes with a note) and finished will be crossed out.
  1. Get a piece of my writing published
  2. Achieve my goal weight- 20lbs to go
  3. Run a marathon
  4. Get my driver's license
  5. Paint a canvas and hang it on my wall
  6. Take a creative writing class
  7. Finish a story - first to final draft
  8. Go backpacking in the mountains
  9. Learn to play a ukulele
  10. See the Northern Lights
  11. Make an effort to dress better
  12. Travel outside North America (note: Not actually yet, but August 1.)
  13. Save a 3-month emergency fund
  14. Complete a 365 day photo challenge
  15. Go away for a weekend on my own
  16. Make a successful soufflé
  17. Make sushi from scratch
  18. Make pizza from scratch including the dough
  19. Do the 100 pushups challenge (
  20. Do the 200 sit-ups challenge (
  21. Fast for 3 days
  22. Buy (& at some point wear) lingerie
  23. Get a passport
  24. Become debt free
  25. Get my own vehicle
  26. Go cross-country skiing
  27. Plaque mount and hang my favorite photos
  28. Wear all my shoes at least once or get rid of them- I did get rid of quite few!
  29. Learn another language
  30. Attend a cooking class
  31. Visit at least two new provinces and a territory
  32. Get rid of my clutter
  33. Learn how to and create a scrapbook
  34. Get my nose pierced
  35. Go on a picnic
  36. Have an un-birthday birthday party
  37. Get renters insurance
  38. Attempt meatless Mondays for a month
  39. Write down my recipes
  40. Go vegetarian for a week
  41. Donate blood regularly
  42. Do NaBloPoMo again
  43. Pay myself $5 for every task completed (to be added to my rainy day fund) (note: I'm crossing it as a fail because I just didn't have the money all the time)
  44. Find and buy a real watch
  45. Do the Hypothermic Half Marathon
  46. Take a hot air balloon ride
  47. Grow an avocado tree - I did and it died in the move. Time to start over?
  48. Open a TFSA to save for a down payment on my own place
  49. Stick firmly to my budget for one month
  50. Fly a kite
  51. Make my own wine
  52. Catch up on my webdesign work and resolve to stay up-to-date
  53. Take a photo to commemorate the completion of each of these goals (note: harder to do than I thought. This is a fail)
  54. Keep a list of inspiring quotes
  55. Learn to shoot a gun
  56. Organize my spare room so it's useable
  57. Donate $5 to charity for each task I don’t complete
  58. Take an unplanned road trip
  59. Create 5 new recipes
  60. Write 20 short stories
  61. Learn to change a tire
  62. Don't complain about anything for a week
  63. Talk to myself with respect for a week - no name calling (note: it's almost a habit to be nice to myself now!)
  64. Go one week without hitting snooze
  65. Go one week without swearing
  66. No junk food for a month
  67. Buy a dress and wear it
  68. Take myself out for a fancy meal
  69. Write down something that made me happy everyday for 30 days
  70. Run 10K straight
  71. Send out Christmas cards
  72. Dress like a professional for one work week
  73. Organize my paperwork/bills and shred what I don't need
  74. Try snowboarding
  75. Learn to make cheesecake
  76. Follow a strict skin care regimen for 2 weeks
  77. Keep up with ALL my laundry for one month
  78. Get involved in a sport
  79. Take a weekend bike trip
  80. Try 5 new foods
  81. Make homemade marshmallows
  82. Replace my mismatched dishes with a full, nice set
  83. Start taking vitamins
  84. Make my own jam
  85. Learn to make 5 new desserts
  86. Make my own GF bread
  87. Maintain my goal weight for one year
  88. Buy a nice/expensive pair of shoes
  89. Inspire someone else to make their own list
  90. Learn to sew
  91. Pre-plan my meals and actually eat what I planned to for a week
  92. Watch all the movies I am ashamed to say I haven't actually seen, though often pretend I have
  93. Listen to 30 new-to-me artists
  94. Own more than one dress
  95. Find my perfect red shoes
  96. Do the 200 squats challenge (
  97. Have a mole check done
  98. Finish a full first draft during NaNoWriMo
  99. Clean my fridge top to bottom
  100. Clean out my freezer
  101. Post this list somewhere I will see it everyday

Final count: 69 tasks still to attempt. That's actually a lot better than I thought it was. Sure, 31 tasks done or in progress really doesn't seem like a lot, but considering a lot got put on hold when I ran over my leg I don't think it's going too badly.

I'm sure there is a lot that I won't get to and I'll just have to try it another time, but I'm not going to beat myself up over it.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

365 Days 20-22 (I'm on a roll!)

I've got nothing to say here today. Just enjoy the pics.

May 18, 2013 - Day 20

I spent the day helping my friend Cindy choose new flooring for her house. It was quite fun actually. These were the final two she was trying to decide between.

May 19, 2013 - Day 21

Nap time!

May 20, 2013 - Day 22

Got a free standing boxing bag from my boss. Her daughter didn't want it anymore and so she gave it to me! It's fun to have something to hit instead of the air.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

365 Revised - Days 16-19

You know the funny thing about having a good phone with a good camera is that I end up taking some sort of a picture almost everyday. Sometimes it's a pic I take just for this and sometimes you get a pic I would have taken anyway!

May 14, 2013 - Day 16

Just taking the dog for a walk as I do every day - three times a day. 

May 15, 2013 - Day 17

Walked to work today. This is one of the main streets that leads into downtown from my apartment. In fact, my office is really only 8 blocks away from where I live.  

May 16, 2013 - Day 18

Got my first ItWorks shipment today. I was really excited to get my Greens, Fat Fighters and ThermoFit.

May 17, 2013 - Day 19

No, I didn't get to go see the new Iron Man movie (and I still haven't!), but I did go to see new Star Trek movie (loved it) and the movie theater had these awesome Iron Man cups. I enjoyed playing with my little Iron Man.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

OMG, I think I'm organized.

So, my mind has been entirely wrapped up in my upcoming trip to England (postcards sent on request only, just email me your mailing address and you'll get a postcard too!). I've planning and plotting and preparing for my very first overseas trip. I even have somewhat of an itinerary.

Anyway, three weeks to go before I take off and there is just one thing left on my to do list. This, for those who know me, is amazing. Not only that, but I even created a handy little checklist for packing. I am organized. Seriously organized.

I am amazed with myself. I want to confidently say I haven't forgotten anything, but I'm not brave enough for that. I'm even still creating a checklist of things to be done before I leave as well. This is a huge thing for me. I haven't procrastinated. Not one bit.

As for that itinerary? Well, I can give you a breakdown of what my epic (for me) trip will consist of:

Aug 1 - Fly baby and arrive first thing on Aug 2 in Gatwick.
Aug 2 - 10 - In Chesterfield sight-seeing, wedding stuff, just hanging about and having fun!
Aug 11 - 13 - Broadstairs, meet the cousins, see the beaches and have fun!
Aug 13 - 19 - Staying in Birmingham with 2 day trips to London, 1 day trip to Cardiff, 1 day trip to Strathford-Upon-Avon, and 2 mystery activity days! And of course, having fun.
Aug 20 - Time to go home. Not so much fun.

Despite how it looks I'm trying not to squeeze too much into my time. I mean, I took kidnap David Tennant off the list of things to do.

So, so excited.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Aurora Borealis

Have you ever done a road trip at night? If not, maybe you should. Some of my most memorable drives have been overnight trips. And this weekend past long weekend was one of them.

We got a much later start than any of us wanted on Friday. There was just too much to get done before leaving for Saskatoon. We had all been up since early and there was no doubt that this would be a hard overnighter for all of us. We entertained the thought of pulling over somewhere and catching a few Z's on the side of the road, but we were going to haul ass as far as we could before giving in.

It must have been about 1am that I noticed the northern lights. I was exhausted, but I don't sleep well at the best of times and in a moving vehicle it's nearly impossible for me to sleep. So I leaned against the window and watched the sky tell me a story through pictures of light.

At about 2am our fearless driver called it a night. We were just outside of a small place called Unity at this time. It was a more or less empty highway on the prairies. We all got out for a few minutes to stare up at the sky. None of us had ever seen the Northern Lights take up so much of the sky before. I stayed outside as everyone else went back in to sleep.

I laid on the back of the truck and watched the lights dance and flow through the night sky. It was a performance that could not be matched by man. Lights dancing to the song of the crickets and frogs. The mournful howl of a coyote every now and again. It was something incredible to experience.