Archive | August, 2011

Geeks and Freaks–and Coffee Table Reveal

30 Aug

While sitting in front of the computer this morning, Jamally started to sing. Then he got up and did a little dance.

“I’m a nerd, and I love it,” he sang.

He proudly walked up to me in the kitchen to show me he’d downloaded a new podcast. It’s a podcast discussing the release of Madden 12.

Yes, a podcast about a football video game. For reals.

“They are saying the grass looks grassier in this version!” Jamally exclaimed.

“This is the crap you’re shutting me out with your headphones?” I remarked.

“I’m a nerd, and I love it,” he sing-songed back to me.

I rolled my eyes, sighed and then looked down.

I realized I couldn’t say much. I am, after all, sporting these today:


What’s that? You spotted our refinished coffee table?

You’re correct!

After 454, 645, 656 hours re-finishing the thing, it’s finally done. Except for the hardware.

Here’s the before:


Here’s the After:




I sanded down the wood, followed by using Minwax in Mahogany, followed by two coats of polyurethane. And many hours of drying time.

Is it the most original project in the world? No.

But I’m proud that I came up with an idea, followed through and was satisfied with the outcome.

Even better, I can now hide Jamally’s iPod inside the trunk. And maybe my socks, too.


Glen Tay Block Race Review

26 Aug


The Glen Tay Block Race took place in Perth, Ontario last night, and it was a blast.

Jamally and I ran it the first time in 2008. We loved it, but haven’t run it since.

Last night my new running buddy, Hilary, and I walked to the start line to give it another try.

GlenTay 001

This race has always intimidated me. It’s 14.7 km with a fast group of runners. Look at these guys at the starting line – they are fast. I guess when you host a race at 6p.m. on a Thursday, you’re going to get dedicated runners turning up for it.

GlenTay 002

When the gun went off, we knew we couldn’t get pulled into the fast pace and tried to keep our pace in tact. Once again I found the first five kilometres to be the hardest. It’s still hot with the sun out, and it’s hard not to kick up your speed.

But Hilary and I kept trucking on (both of us completely silent!), and kept our pace going.

When we got passed by two members of the Perth Running Goat Club, one of them commented, “two goats passed me on my run”.

My running brain called out to them: “You’ll be goat carcass by the end of this race!”

Who says that?! I did. And they teased me about it afterwards. Which I deserved since we couldn’t catch up to them.

With three kilometres left to go, we picked up the pace, and I’m glad to have had Hilary with me at that time. It’s the final few kilometres that always kills me, and she kept our pace up.

GlenTay 005

We finished it together, but without chipped timing, they had to put us in order.

My finishing time was 78:59, while Hilary’s was 79:00. Good thing I pushed her out of the way at the end to finish ahead of her.

We jokingly stated we would stay for the awards ceremonies.

“We’re totally going to win our age category,” Hilary said, with a smile. We laughed.

And then we totally won our age category.

Whatever – we’ll take it!

Glen Tay Block Race 2011

We had a great time running the course, and though I’m intimidated by the race, I always question that whenever I complete it.

Here are the things I love most about the Glen Tay Block Race:

– It’s cheap. It’s only a $10 registration fee, or $15 when signing up on race day.

– It’s relaxed. There’s no chipped timing, no crowd stations and a laid-back race vibe.

-It’s a great community event. It’s always fun heading out to local races as you get to see all the other local runners out.

-Its Downtown Proximity. We headed over to O’Reilly’s Pub Perth’s following the race for a chance to have a beer, food and recap the race.

Good Advice from a Good Friend

25 Aug

When you think about getting dolled up for a night out with the girls, you don’t think about dressing like this:

80s night

Do you?

Two nights ago we had a boot camp farewell party for my friend Madeline – 80’s theme, baby.

This is what she wore.

The sad part is you can’t even see the hot pink fanny pack she’s sporting.

She is moving away to Kingston this week with her family, and I’ve become great friends with her over the past two years.

She is funny. Type A. Athletic. Hard Working. Crazy.

Characteristics I value in a friend.

She’s also great at giving advice or providing insight in stressful times. I’ve utilized her advice many times.

Here’s a snippet.

“Everything always seems worse at night.” : this advice really helped me when I first travelled to Australia on my own two years ago. When alone at night, I would get homesick, and remember Madeline’s advice. Sure enough, come morning, I always felt better.

“No one cares how busy you are”: I can’t tell you how many times I catch myself wanting to explain to clients why I’m busy, or why I can’t meet with them immediately. Don’t give a long, drawn out story, just get to the point. So true.

“People should take care of their back sides, too!”: Madeline refers to shaving the back of the legs and properly straightening or curling your hair in back of your head. You think no one notices the back because you don’t see it, but it’s not true. I hate her for this insight, as I now think about that point every time I shave my back hair legs.

“A Bottle of Wine is Better Shared with a Friend” : Ok, I just made that one up. But she and I have shared many glasses of Lindeman’s Bin 45 together, and we always have good conversation and plenty of laughs. I’ll miss that.

I hope Madeline has a fabulous time in Kingston, and I’m jealous she’ll have constant access to spin classes at Good Life Fitness.

I know she’ll easily make new friends, find a great job, and love life in her new surroundings. But, with any new adventure, nerves may creep into one’s thoughts.

Here’s some advice I hope she uses when taking on this new adventure:

“In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors.”
William Blake

Madeline always opens doors for herself as she works hard and puts herself out there. I have no doubt she’ll have an amazing new adventure.

Let’s just hope she doesn’t flaunt the fanny pack around her neighbourhood!


Today’s Question: What is some advice a friend has given you that you’ll always carry with you?

Today’s Second Question: What do you think of Madeline’s Glasses?

If you Can’t Laugh at Yourself…

23 Aug

….then pull the entire threading from the bottom of a curtain.

And then laugh at yourself.

Or be embarrassed.

And then laugh at yourself.

The weekend saw me in Canadian Tire searching for a sheer window covering for a living room window.

When I got home, I tried to fit the rod through the insert. But the insert was too small.

There was, however, a thread running horizontally below the insert. If I pulled the 54-inch-thread out, then it would make enough room for the rod.


45 minutes and two episodes of “Selling New York” later, the job was complete.

As I happily pulled the rod through the insert, I stopped.

My face got grim.

If I would have looked at the OTHER end of the curtain, I would have seen that it was the end where the rod is to be inserted.



How do I survive?

As I said, if you can’t laugh at yourself….

Coaster Cuteness

19 Aug

A few years ago, we received coasters at a wedding as a gift.

There are four, with a place in the center of the coaster to insert a photo. Since we’ve had them, we haven’t done anything with them. In all honesty, I was too lazy to get photos small enough to fit into them.

We recently received a really nice Thank You card from my aunt. Not only is it a nicely written note (asking if there would be a Katrina or Jamally on the way – her words, not mine!), but the card itself was gorgeous. I love me some nice stationary.

I hate filing cards away and always feel bad if I throw them out.

So I coasterized them.


(ok, the one on the right needs fixing up).

Last night I cut the card to fit into the four coasters. The patterns are wicked and the card’s note is still in tact.

coaster 2

I liked how we utilized something personal while also making it visually appealing. Jamally raved all about them this morning. Obviously.

Have a great weekend!

Today’s Question: Is there a household item you have that has a personal meaning to it?

Re-finishing Furniture Report

18 Aug

When I started to re-finish our blanket chest, I was sure it would take only a day. Perhaps two.

One week later, it’s still sitting in the kitchen, laughing at me each time I walk by.

It required cleaning, sanding, cleaning again, staining, drying, pulling off stuck on dog hair, top coating, drying, top coating again and drying.

Now I have to spray paint the hardware.

Then I’ll have to have a drink.

I spoke with my former boss at a function last night who shared his re-finishing story. He wanted to strip his patio of the old paint job, and figured he’d be done in a day. Four hours later, he had only completed the top railing.

I often visit the website, Better After (Warning: It’s addictive!), and was inspired by the re-finished hutches, lamps and bedrooms.

And then I worked on the blanket chest.

Re-finishing furniture is like a bad infomercial – it’s misleading. It’s not an easy job, and many times I figured the money I put into the products, plus my time, would have gotten us a brand new table. So hopefully the end result will be worth it, and my labour of love (and anger) will pay off. *Fake Smiles*

I hope to post its completion tomorrow.

Xerox 10 km Race Review

17 Aug

Hellooo, Highlight of the Summer!

Two months ago we were at Jamally’s Aunt R’s house for a gathering and she mentioned she had signed up for the Xerox 10 km race. It would be her first race.

We asked if we could tag along for the run, and she agreed.

Xerox 10 km

It took place last night at the Experimental Farm in Ottawa. It’s a 3-km loop, and for you mathematicians out there, we had to run it three times.

For you real mathematicians, each loop was just over three kilometres.

The loop starts off with a downhill slope, slowly zig-zagging its way down to the water. You have a straight stretch along the bike lanes, making for some gorgeous scenery.

That’s when the hill starts. I ran this race six years ago, and remember the hill. I thought maybe my memory was exaggerating the hill’s difficulty. I had hoped. But nope. It wasn’t dope (poet, don’t know it, etc.).

It was a three-part hill which began with a gradual rise, followed by a steep jerkstore of a hill, finishing off with a long slow climb to the end of the loop. Times that by three and it makes for a challenging course.

I finished the first loop in 19:48. Number two at 36:44 and ended with a time of 53:52, making it an official personal best for a 10 km!

Jamally did well, too, especially since I consider him a racer, as opposed to a runner. How he pulls off these runs, I’ll never know. Smile

But the big story of the evening was Aunt R. As her first race, she had trained hard and read up all everything running. She was ready for this race and it showed. She was smiling at the end and finished the race 1.5 minutes below her goal time.

It was amazing to be able to be there for her first race.

How do we know she liked the experience? Five minutes after finishing, she started talking about her next race. I think we have an addict!

Of course, I’m brutal, and forgot my camera. So here’s last night’s running roster:

Aunt Rosemary

Here’s a collective summary of our thoughts on the race:

  • It’s a nice, quiet race with only 230 runners;
  • It’s cheap at $25 a pop, with t-shirt and chipped timing included; and
  • It’s a tough course, but with a nice backdrop.

Our summary: We would do it again!

As we left Ottawa following dinner, I told Jamally it was the Highlight of my Summer. Great job, Aunt R!