Monday, April 30, 2007
In other notes, Emma and I enjoyed our playtime at the pool yesterday afternoon, and had a snack and a drink afterwards at her house. That was pretty much my workout for the day! Unless you count grocery shopping (and sometimes I think you can).
I'm off now to get my completed tax forms and receipts weighed at the post office (the Canadian tax deadline is today, although they wouldn't mind if I were late because they owe me just a titch).
Sunday, April 29, 2007
In other news:
- I finished my taxes yesterday. Now, I just need to find an envelope big enough to hold all that paper, and post them.
- I had great fun (and dinner) with former and current neighbours on Friday night. I think Miss Madeleine particularly enjoyed going through my AZ bead bonanza.
- Miss Emma and I have a new method of correspondence. Email. We have set up a play date involving some swimming and some tea for later this afternoon.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Friday, April 27, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Some of you will remember my October post about dreams and goals. Of the short term goals I set I accomplished three of the four this season. I am doing block starts, I’ve competed in three local meets, and I’ve joined Technosport. I did not compete in an away meet. I chose, rightly, to go cheer for my brother at IronMan Arizona, and take a road trip with him to see our Uncle. It was a special time I will remember for the rest of my life. And I do believe modifying goals to accommodate life.
The long term goals were to qualify and compete in the Perth world championships, my preferred event the 100 metre breaststroke, any others being bonuses. Judging by the 2006 standards in February I was well on my way, having swum under the times for the 50 & 100 breast, 100 free, and 50 fly. In March my 50 free looked promising. In fact, this year, the qualifying times have relaxed some, so I've qualified in those 5 events!
This, then, brings us to the part where life may or may not intervene. I live with an older exotic animal with special needs. Is it fair to leave her in the hands of sitters for two weeks or more? A question I will bring up with her v-e-t today.
Is it better to compete at the FINA championships (a biennial event with swimming, water polo, diving, synchro and an open water swim) in Perth or the World Masters Games (a quadrennial event with no qualifying times and many sports) when I have aged up? It is being held in Sydney in 2009. (And next year Canadian Nationals are being held close to home in Quebec City in May. I'm sure the team would like to take a run at the title.) Should I think about qualifying for Perth in more events? The 200 IM, free, and breast look achievable.
Maybe I’ll just take a day or two to think about it!
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Now, I lived with a cat for a long time. But he wasn't a counter cat. Although in his younger days he could have jumped up onto the counter, he just didn't. So I lived with the luxury of being able to leave the butter out.
The days of counter butter may be past. After the incident pictured below (please note the deep trough in the pound of butter), I wrapped it up tightly in its tin foil. Today I found the butter, although still in its tin foil, in the sink. And although I absentmindedly put things in odd places, I know I didn't put the butter in there!
Monday, April 23, 2007
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Imagine, then, my reaction the previous afternoon when I wandered over to find an eviction notice on the door. (But ever the uptight white woman, I had a backup plan – I brought the addresses and phone numbers of two other area beading stores with me. From Canada. Hence the car ride to South Priest Drive.) So while Brent put the final touches on things ready for delivering to the race officials (you know, like transition & special needs bags and his bike), I was at another bead store, farther away. Behold, some of my bounty!! (I am now working on making said souvenirs. Right now, tin cup style necklaces with the Sleeping Beauty turquoise ovals and teeny silver oval pearls on sterling silver, for that southwestern made in Canada feel.) I shouldn’t be allowed near a $5 pearl table …
Then I hopped in the vehicle with him to rack up the Poor Little Blue Cannondale and drop off packed and checked bags. Here's a peek at Transition, the volunteers kindly let me scoot under the big balloon arch to take some pictures.
In the evening my former neighbour Rachael (she now lives in Glendale) and I went out to dinner. With a number of trips to the race site under my belt, I knew how to get to Mill Avenue from the hotel, let me tell you! A little bit of Mexican followed by a little bit of coffee at a local establishment, and a lot of conversation made for a great evening, while Brent stayed at the hotel resting and following his nutrition plan.
N.B. During the limited time we had before IMAZ, we really did try to connect live and in person with Comm's. Some things just have "next time" written all over them.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Friday we connected with Myles, and met up with some Outlaws (the clearly outstanding New Mexico based Tri Club) for the Gatorade Swim. What a great bunch!!! (But naturally we wished that Geekgirl and the Dread Pirate could have been there, too.) As nobody had yet registered, the sherpas minded the gear while the racers went to test the wetsuits (and the course).
Later in the day, back to the race site to stand in line for the Athlete's Dinner. Somehow we found seats near the front, and settled in to surprising un-rubber chicken and some video on the big, giant screen, and the obligatory patter. (Don't get me wrong, I think patter can be great. But for heaven's sake don't give me all the details beforehand of the upcoming video.) Followed by the Important Details at the Athlete's meeting.
Friday, April 20, 2007
In the morning France and I got a swim in, I came home, had lunch, and headed back to the pool in my civvies (dressed like a real girl). The young lad at the front desk said, "You look great today! I mean it! The hair, the earrings, the jacket, the pin, the bag ... the whole thing!" Of course he never gets to see me wearing a blazer, jewellery, with product in my hair, carrying a purse instead of swim gear ... the purse was the large silver/pewter bag I lugged on my travels, but now holding only my wallet, a small makeup bag, an inhaler, and my deck shoes.
Anway, I went back to cheer Vincent through his second 5,000 metre swim of the day. I spelled off his counter for a bit, too. He should have put in another 5,000 metres last night. Great achievement so far, and he's not done yet! As always, he was kind and cheerful, and told me he appreciated the encouragement.
Last week ...
Our time in Bullhead City with our Uncle went too quickly. We saw everything from The Perfect Wedding Chapel (really, that's what it's called), savoured the meals we shared, toured the big giant WalMart (really, really, humongous -- one of the largest in the States) and got important things like SPF 70 sunscreen to prepare for IMAZ. The Katherine's Landing shot I showed the other day is where Uncle puts his boat in the water. The next thing you know we were on the highway again, destination Tempe! For the gem folks, we chose not to go to Kingman (famous for turquoise) but did drive past the Quartzsite exits. For the fashion folks, I tell you, my Rock and Republic jeans were lived in almost all week, and washable suede may be a gift from the gods. But I still don't like having my picture taken (and it shows), even if I am in front of The Pioneer with family! (Again, all images can be clicked to enlarge. You, too can see the bags under my eyes as we get ready to head out!)
And, now, for a few more views from that window at Harrah's. Sunrise, April 12.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
So, when I arrived in the room, I immediately found the room service menu. No. Wait. I found the two chocolates and devoured them. Then I found the menu. A turkey, avocado and provolone on a croissant with spicey potatoes and a soft drink will cost you $20, but is a small feast presented to the nines. On a cart with a table cloth, brocade runner, vase and orchid and real silver and stemware.
The fellow who delivered my bag was also wonderful (although everyone seemed surprised I had only one small suitcase). The gentleman would have explained all the attributes of the hotel to me had I only the concentration left to listen to him. He did offer to fill the ice bucket for me, and I took him up on that.
The hand blown glass floral ceiling pictured above was created by Dale Chihuly and is quite rightly considered a tourist attraction. 2000 glass flowers are suspended above you near the check in area. I took this picture sitting down, staring straight up while Brent checked out. Click to enlarge.
There is a small indoor glass house complete with live butterflies (including blue morphos), surrounded by oversized topiary, gigantic glass flowers, suspended butterflies. The floral display was spring bulbs -- oodles of narcissi, hyacinths and tulips. Again, click to enlarge.
I'd like to go again sometime when I have time to actually roam the hotel (not to mention the shops)!
I arrived back safe and sound last night to Lise's friendly face and a ride home. A marvellous thing happened on our little plane from O'Hare to Ottawa. About 20 minutes from home the captain turned out all the lights except the glowy ones on the aisle. To our left the Northern Lights were putting on a spectacular display. We had about 15 minutes of absolute wonder. The crew was as excited as I was. The usually fly out of Dallas-Fort Worth, and like me had never seen the Aurora Borealis from the air.
Our flight attendant was a very tall man, and had to duck a lot. He sat in the seat in front of me to watch nature's display. I leaned forward and asked him if this had made the little plane worth it. With a grin from ear to ear, he assured me it most certainly was! I thanked the pilot and copilot on the way out, and they were pleased I did, and you could still hear the excitement in their voices.
I only wish I could have shown you all a picture. Instead, I bring you part of the welcoming committee. (Do try to bear in mind that I don't have a cat!)
Monday, April 16, 2007
And somehow, Myles & Comm's after all they've been through, managed to get race reports up. You guys are awesome.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
No more till Monday.
But today Brent dropped me off at a strip mall where I scored a Beading Bonanza! I cabbed it back to the hotel, dropped the beads (yes, there are enough they add weight to my purse), and went back to Lake Tempe to get the bike and some of the bags to Transition. And shop.
Big shout out to Inside Out Sports! After discussion of fit issues, they let me bring two pairs goggles back to the hotel to play in the pool and test for plate-rim compatibility. There may be a winner. I wouldn't train in them, but I just might be able to race in them. (Wouldn't it be nice to see the wall for a flip turn??) They didn't even charge me for them first -- they trust me to bring them back.
Caught up briefly with Nytro this afternoon, so hopefully I'll catch up with her (and Iron Benny of course) in the morning.
Next I'll go check about the shuttle from the hotel to the race site for spectators.
Brent's on pre-race liquids now, so I'm meeting Rachael (who once lived across the road from me) for dinner.
We connected with Myles & a band of Outlaws for the Gatorade swim yesterday morning, and some camaraderie through the registration process. A very fine bunch of folks all around! (Pictures to follow.) An Outlaw Iron Sherpa and I babysat the gear as the competitors tested the waters.
As a total newbie to all of this, I followed along the registration process with Brent. Got 'er done.
Then, we tested our Swag Ho quotient. Brent needed cartridges (the airlines frown on bringing those along for the ride), and found a cool evening post race jacket (on sale, even 50% off) and some shorts. Got a souvenir fleecy blanket for me (it will double as a pillow and a lumbar roll on race day) and one for the folks. Then I hope to mail them home to avoid an extra piece of luggage.
The dinner was reasonable for a rubber chicken dinner (the chicken actually wasn't rubber), so hats off to Montis. There was a wonderful touch in that a blessing was given by a Prima-Maricopa tribe leader, and members of his community joined him for a traditional basket dance, accompanied by voice. We thought of Duane during the "Biggest Loser" event -- the gentleman who had lost the most weight training for IronMan were highlighted by elimination & crowd participation. The winner lost significantly more than I weigh! That was followed by the athlete meeting, and we were back at the hotel by 9:00.
Brent's organizing his transition and special needs bags, the Little Blue Cannondale has its pieces back together. The forecast is a low of 50, high of 77, with some winds. Better than the predictions for Boston; we'll be cheering for Tri-Boomer from afar as he does his first Boston Marathon. Go Boomer!!!
Today the bikes and bags get checked ... and with any luck we'll find more posse ... maybe Comm's, Nytro & Benny, Mishele ...
Friday, April 13, 2007
Just heard from Myles over at Studies in Clydeology! Myles is a New Mexico based Outlaw, and our plan is now to meet up with a crew there at Tempe Town Lake for a go with the swim course.
Last night I talked to the Former Across the Road Gang (who now live in Glendale), and we'll firm up a Haven't Seen You in Way Too Long Exploit today, too.
Mishele plans to hit town today, so there'll be another connection made.
Yesterday's wind storm has blown over, and it is a bright and sunny morning.
Let the good times roll!!!
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
The journey was a bit longer than anticipated, and I can safely say I was a complete puddle of goo when we touched down in Vegas. I did know I wasn't in Kansas anymore, on account of the first thing you see when you exit the ramp is slot machines. You'll no doubt be pleased to hear that I got some exercise wandering through large American airports!
The line-up to check in at the hotel stalled badly (it took me 45 minutes to check in), but after that Bellagio was wonderful! If I'd only had firing neurons to truly appreciate it!!! I'd like to try that again when I don't arrive at 3:00 a.m. my time. I actually had a room service meal, so I ate at 4:00 a.m. my time!
Met up with Buck Brentner first thing, and we had a lovely breakfast, and I had a chance to see the interior botany and butterflies in the conservatory. Then, a drive through the desert. It was beautiful. We went straight to Uncle's place in Bullhead City, had a quick tour, then out for a light lunch. Brent & checked in and decompressed. He decided to kick back at the hotel, which is across the river in Laughlin, while Uncle and I had a lovely Italian dinner at the Ramada.
Now we're about ready to kick start the day, hopefully we'll be heading to Lake Catherine. I've been up for 3 hours -- my body simply doesn't comprehend this time zone stuff -- and haven't had coffee, so if I'm not making the best sentences, that's my excuse!
P.S. There is no ground floor elevator button here. No r-d-c either. Nope. It's "casino"!
Monday, April 09, 2007
You can see Brent's progress as he races. Brent's bib number is 1437. Track him at www.ironmanlive.com. Don't be perturbed if it doesn't spit out all kinds of splits. It's funny that way. And if you're up you can watch the finish line action as well.
If you want to track more than one athlete, Myles, over at the Studies in Clydeology is 1184. And you can find his Outlaw team mates numbers as well by visiting his blog.
I'm sure Comm's will post his bib number before long, as will Mishele.
In the meantime, I'll meet up with Brent in Vegas. We'll do a SRT (sibling road trip) to hang out with our Uncle in Bullhead City, AZ. Then on to Tempe!!! Many thanks to the team of Houdini's helpers making this possible!!
I'll check my emails for the next couple of hours, and then there will be sudden silence! Like when the cable goes out or there's a power failure. I'm actually leaving the laptop behind ... but maybe someone will take pity on me and let me blog a bit from their computer. Who knows??
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Feeding the fishes - not just for people any more! (Hat tip to Cousin Paul in Toronto.) Kinda warms the cockles of your heart. As this is the third morning in a row I've woken to a light dusting of snow, those cockles need kinda need warming ...
Friday, April 06, 2007
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Oh, well, maybe I can find room in my luggage for these ...
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
I don’t think I’ve seen him happier (in a consult room) than when he read the note from my physio. His first question, “Did you pay her?” When I said not so much, he quipped, “Did you make her jewellery??” Then he got a really big grin on his face and asked question number three. “You’re competing??” When I assured him that was, in fact, the case, he was practically hopping up and down with glee. Okay, well, maybe not exactly hopping. He’s a surgeon. They tend not to be easily excited. But definitely gleeful.
When I asked him if I was a Poster Girl, still grinning, he assured me I most certainly was. “Look how far you’ve come! You’re slim, you’re trim, you’re training!!” The very idea that qualifying for Worlds might be a possibility made his day, and he immediately put in a request for a post card. He remembered I had sent him a post card when I went to Alaska.
After the standard movement tests we discussed turns, Wendy = backstroke avoidance, and the fact that Coach Duane would like me to do more team practices. We are both pretty much committed to the back crawl avoidance (although double arm back is a possibility). Then he asked me an interesting question. Would I be willing to take a couple of Motrin before I train? I decided I would be at my “home pool” but not before club practices, because I have to get home on the bus. There’s too big a chance I’d push it too hard and end up at the not able to walk stage. And we both agreed we don’t want that.
He then took me next door to an antiquated desk and wrote me a referral to the Ottawa High Performance Centre (specifically for athletic therapy targeting trunk range of motion, especially rotation). That would be in conjunction to the physio I am currently doing (which he doesn’t want me to stop!). He thinks it might be a few visits centred on turn dynamics. Dr. Don is not just a fine surgeon and associate prof at Ottawa U, he’s a runner himself, and head team physician with the Sens. So he knows something about high performance.
He then reminded me that it is important for me to eat properly, take my vitamins, and avoid stressing my immune system, in his words "all important things for athletes that we didn't think were so important when we were younger". This last bit in deference to a comment I made about he and I growing older together. In parting he stressed that if I weren’t to meet the qualifying standards for Worlds, I should not be disappointed. Instead I should be pleased and encouraged with all I’ve managed to achieve.
He’s a good sort.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
The great things about self-stick electrodes are probably too numerous to mention. The down side is that if you heat 'em up too hot, or dampen them through excessive perspiration (or possibly some particular combination of the two) they lose their stick. In fact the sticky jelly business slides right off the electrode part. Absolutely no need to ask how I know this ...
Yesterday's Things To Do List has check marks on it! The v-e-t and I, in collaboration with friends and neighbours, are Establishing a Cunning Plan with respect to Mr. Onyx and his Tom Cat Parts. The timeline is to be devised on my return.
According to the weather forecast, I will experience a good swing in temperatures from airport to airport. Would you look at the darned icon that is showing on the Weather Channel's predictions for Easter weekend here????? Why there's 31 degrees difference from the low here to the high in Tempe on April 7th!
Monday, April 02, 2007
- The Houdini sitters will be in twice for their final practice sessions
- I begin sitting my ole pal Tipper the cat (who owns Miss Emma and her family) for a week
- I'm going to try to speak to the v-e-t about our new pal Onyx, and how we should proceed to see he gets fixed
The Onyx issue is challenging for a number of reasons, not the least of which being he is charming but unreliable (he was here twice and spent hours with me yesterday, however as of yet I haven't seen him today) and the fact that I'm going away next week. But hopefully we can get him sorted before he becomes partially responsible for the local cat population ...
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Brian Orser. 8 time Canadian Champion. Two time Olympic Silver Medallist. World Champion. Mr. Triple Axel. And now The Farewell Tour.
"The Story of My Life". First skated as an exhibition number in 1988. I've seen Mr. Orser skate this program live three times. Each time there have been tears in my eyes. Last night was no exception.
Oh, and the rest of the show was great fun as well! On ice tickets give one a unique view and appreciation for the magic, grace, and athleticism that is figure skating. (And nice tight skating butts, too!)