Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Technology, ain't it something?
Hat tip: Shiny, Shiny. Follow the link for the skinny.
Not quite the Hello Kitty transformation kit for cats, but possibly up there in usefulness.
Monday, July 30, 2007
I had a fine swim, and a great conversation with one of the guards afterwards. That part was good.
However ... the generally accepted practice at the pool is that shoes are left under the bench in front of your locker. On dry summer days it is a bit of a holdover to those rainy or wintery days when footwear is supposed to be left in boot racks. Yesterday somebody stole my shoes!!!! They were my one pair of properly lifted summer sandals (I have a leg length difference, so my right walking shoes need to have their soles built up 1.5 cm — which doesn't make up the whole difference, but evens me out a good bit). I sure hope that #$%^&* gets a sore hip. The sad thing is I expect they'll end up throwing out the shoes.
The only up side was that I wear lifted deck shoes, which I could wear home. If I'd had to walk home barefoot, the blog rating would definitely have suffered.
So now, in the meantime, I will have to switch off my deck shoes with a pair I have on hand, but have equal soles. I do at least have another deck shoe in at the chiropodists for lifting, so one pair will become house/outdoor shoes when I get that shoe back. And ... I have to find sandals that can be lifted, and do so in time to have a broken in comfortable lifted shoe for IM Moo. That gives me just over a month. Don't ask how cranky I am about this!
I guess on the up side I have several months till winter, so I can figure out how to dry boots and stick them in my locker or line the locker.
And, there's always yesterday's monarch. I mentioned in email to the Dying Water Buffalo last nght that I still have to get used to the fancy new camera. I slightly underestimated her wingspread (or how close I could zoom), so although I inadvertently cropped off part of one wing, you can see she's lived. There's a slight tear on an upper wing, and her scales are somewhat battered. I think it makes her all the more beautiful. Click to enlarge.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
I was standing there, camera at the ready, and a young lady walking down the street enjoying the sunny day and her MP3 player startled the butterfly. She flew and the young lady jumped. As the gal continued down the street, she turned to me and said, "That butterfly didn't scare me!!!"
Shutter: 1/160, Aperture 3.5, ISO value 200, Focal length 66.1 mm. Program mode. Feel free to click.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
At my physical this week, Dr. Susan and I discussed limiters (except the ones we can't fix — those we leave to Dr. Chow and the physiotherapy pros). Low iron. Add 300 mg of ferrous gluconate to breakfast. That'll help with ability to carry oxygen. Breathing: Advair is happily keeping the lungs on track for everyday life. Add a puff of ventolin prior to working out. There's a plan! I like it when there's a plan. (Oh, and for those who were following along at home: Happy BP at 110/50. Thanks to the wonders of Avapro. Estrogen, much better. Why Dr. Susan could even do a breast exam shortly prior to my period! Thanks to the marvels of Estradot.) So today I'll toddle up to the drug store and fill those scripts!
Although that's as close as I'll ever come to "performance enhancers", big shout out to the Dread Pirate for the link to Stuart Stevens' article in Outside Online — Drug Test. And if you'd like to read some conjecture on Dara Torres' return to the elite level of swimming, stop in and see Scott at Once More Into the Breach. (It's a three parter, so scroll down to start at the beginning.)
And finally, in particular for Duane and Di, I bring you more of the "super macro" function on the Canon S5 IS. I may well be in love with this camera ... and that's before I've invested in the converter ...
Friday, July 27, 2007
I tried. More than once. It turned out that what I needed (probably in more ways than one) was a new camera. So ...
I've been looking at this camera for a bit, and today I brought it home from the store. Maybe next month I'll get the converter so I can use my filters on it as well!
The manual said I could find information on SuperMacro on page 16. Not so much. So this was me, winging it! The actual flowers are about three quarters of an inch by three eighths.
In other notes, I bolted out of bed this morning at 06:20 to a very familiar sound. You see, I only have a window a/c in the bedroom. I leave it on the "econo" setting so it doesn't run for no good reason. So when things cooled down last night, it shut off. Below my window from the driveway, bright and early, there were Air Raid Sirens!!!!
I threw on a t-shirt and scooted downstairs, out the back door, all the while with images of George and his arch enemy Moo in my mind, to find Onyx and a champagne coloured cat righteously howling at each other! But no sooner had I appeared on the scene, than Onyx abandoned his sense of indignation — time for breakfast! Whew!
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
It includes the oldest object ever displayed at the museum — an early stone age scraper associated with Peking Man. For you numbers people that would be a half million years ago, more or less. You can see a photo of the scraper by following the link.
I would say the show is predominantly pottery and bronzes with some calligraphy, brush painting, rubbings, carved jade, lacquerware and a few examples of textiles. There are also interesting artifacts used to carry edicts, like the one pictured below. These aren't museum quality photos, but as flash free snapshots are allowed at this exhibit, I'll use my own.
Finally, although there is not much in the way of bijouterie, I was most enamored with this gold repousse dragon belt (on jade). I could have cropped the picture, but I decided I rather liked the reflection in the case.
If you're in the neighbourhood, or have an interest in Chinese history or art, I would highly recommend you stop in. Price of admission: $15.
Images can be enlarged with a click of the mouse!
Big hat tip to Shiny, Shiny — follow the link to find an explanation of the technology.
Available at WalMart (at least in the States) for $59.99.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
If you'll recall when I first brought up the matter of Cecil Russell's reinstated coaching ban, I used the phrase "gamesmanship within the law". Whether it is ethical, to borrow a phrase Damon Knight used regularly, I leave as an exercise for the reader.
Age group nationals were in Montreal on the weekend, and Mr. Russell was in the stands.
According to this article in The Ottawa Citizen on Saturday: Officially Mr. Russell, 54, is no longer coaching -- he acts as team manager and personal trainer to the Oakville Dolphins. His wife is listed on the team website as the head coach.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Today's post brought Houdini's final veterinary bill, and a letter from the University of Guelph. The Blair Animal Hospital made a donation in her name to the Pet Trust Fund at the Ontario Veterinary College there, to "further companion animal health studies". A lovely gesture, and certainly more than enough to spark the waterworks again.
On the books for tomorrow: my annual physical. Ah, stirrups. It just keeps gettin' better and better, doesn't it?
On the up side, I can see how the other half lives over at my brother's blog. Living in paradise has its issues — amongst them the rumour mill has it that Harry Potter has not yet landed on Cayman soil, and apparently one book store ordered them shipped surface mail!
Sunday, July 22, 2007
I am not altogether sure how much he ate the previous two days, as he basically demolished a 374 gram tin yesterday in only one visit. This feat is made all the more impressive when one considers the size of the feline — he really is very small. Although technically "homeless", he is not one of those cats who will voraciously eat everything you put in front of him as he doesn't know from whence the next meal might appear. Oh, he eats voraciously alright, don't get me wrong. But he walks away from the dish when he's had his fill.
He appears to also favour the finer things in his food choices, and enjoys a digestif after his meals. I have gone as far as to dedicate a bowl to this purpose, thereby minimizing post meal sweeping. Yesterday he demonstrated to KD his fondness for such pleasures by staring mournfully at the cupboard where George's Special Blend is stowed. This generally receives the appropriate conditioned response from me. Luckily for him I am extremely trainable, and this may, in the long run, make it so that 123 suits him.
On another note, we have all, at one time or another, left out an important step in a process. I went to get a little something for KD out of my purse yesterday to find I had left it at home. (I found it in the bathroom. Don't ask!) We somehow get to the pool without suits or goggles or towels. Or in a worst case morning scenario, having put our suits on under our clothes to "save time" in the morning, we find we have neglected to put our underwear in our swim bags. So, I urge you to follow this link over to Timed Finals for a Pan Am Games dispatch by three time Olympian (and ten time Olympic medallist) American Gary Hall, Jr. — and even those of you who are disinclined to read my swimming posts should give this a go, all the way to the end. I think you'll find it worth your while!
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Carter the wonder dog & his person KD.
A black Theory 'Remi' dress more than 60% off at Holt Renfrew's Now or Never sale, a great summer alternate to my DVF wrap dress.
Marc Jacobs black rubber mouse flats on sale (after having had a complete crisis yesterday with record rainfall and no footwear that wouldn't be ruined by the deluge, cause my feet to massively overheat, or that actually squeak at high volume when wet) — rodents really are big this weekend.
The return of the Star Boarder who had been AWOL for two days (he also met KD and took a shine to her).
And yet ...
Unbelievably, Harry Potter was not in my mailbox today!!! I credit the events of the past week and PMS with how this has me teetering on the edge of a meltdown ...
Addendum: 11:54 a.m., Sunday, July 22. Ha! Around the corner from the dairy case at the supermarket this morning there was a display of Deathly Hallows! So I didn't even need to make an extra trip to a bookstore!
Thursday, July 19, 2007
When I left the house to get my pre-physical bloodwork done on Wednesday, my young neighbour Rachel wanted to look for caterpillars. The Star Boarder turned up, as he is wont to do (on his own timetable), and I explained to her, "We call him Onyx."
"Oh," she said, "where's George?"
Yup. Not my week. Not even close. In fact, I feel like I'm up past my bedtime right now. Ugh. I look a little less decimated than when I had brunch with Danielle, though.
Oh, and did I mention that the new physiotherapist I've been conscientiously breaking in is leaving the clinic shortly?
So tomorrow afternoon, coffee with AD. Tomorrow night, I'm planning to throw caution to the wind and go see Ratatouille. And Saturday, Carter the Wonderdog!
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
This garage provided my brother and I with hours and hours of entertainment as children. And you know what? It's kind of fun as a grown-up, too.
When Miss Esther asks for cars, this is what she wants. For the record, hers is the yellow, mine is the red, and her mom's is the blue ...
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Or the chocoholics.
Banana french toast with chocolate sauce and some extra dairy for good measure. The Manx Pub, Saturday. Click to make "life size".
This morning's toast was much more mundane whole wheat. But Houdini's sitters came by yesterday with two bottles of jammy goodness. Rhubarb strawberry and rhubarb ginger. Today I chose the latter, being a big fan of ginger myself, and because I'm still trying to chase away general congestion I have brought on myself. It was quite wonderful!
I don't know that there is much more poignant than a 2 year old exclaiming, "Dini! Dini!" and moving towards the now empty room. I told her Dini was gone, to which she repied, "Oh." And a few minutes later we had the same brief conversation again. But the other attraction in this house for Miss Esther right now (besides the plethora of cat magnets on the fridge) is the Lift Garage that recently migrated from Mom and Dad's to 123. Which gets me thinking ... I should try to take a video clip of it in action. Now there's a little project for me ... So the next thing Esther said was, "Cars!!" And that I could oblige her with.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Saturday Danielle from Final Fashion graciously put up with me, and we had brunch at The Manx. I looked then, and still look today, somewhat like I've been a round or two with Ali in his prime, but I'm pushing the limits of modern makeup! For the foodies amongst you Danielle had an omelet with goat cheese, and I had banana french toast with chocolate sauce. (I'm all about carbs and sugars right now.) I cleverly forgot to engage the red-eye reduction feature, though, and just don't have it to go play in PhotoShop, so my apologies to Danielle.
The three movieteers had it in our heads we would go to the Farmer's market yesterday, but had forgotten about the FIFA under 20 World Cup, for which they ban parking at Lansdowne. We ended up at Bridgehead for coffee (or cappuccino, or hot chocolate). Houdini's haiku author and I had nice spicy Chinese food designed to let loose the sinuses for supper, followed by ginger ice cream covered with fresh strawberries and raspberries.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Lise has graciously offered her help to take Houdini and I to see v-e-t Daren one last time this evening. She has been a wonderful and interesting companion to both myself and to her feline friend George who crossed this same bridge in February.
So today I'll leave you with a haiku, written by her friend and neighbour from Elm Street.
long Arborea's dragon,
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
We always laughed when we used that phrase, and it's how I'll remember Honest Ed. And welcoming us to the "Friday Night Club". On Friday nights for many years my grandfather and his lady friend Mathilde went to Ed's Warehouse for a roast beef dinner, and sometimes even some dancing. To celebrate his 75th birthday, Grandpa danced with his granddaughters there. Full of antiques and autographed pictures of celebrities that had passed through Toronto and Ed's establishments. This picture of Grandpa and I was taken over 20 years ago at Ed's Warehouse.
Tomorrow there will be flags at half mast in Toronto, where Honest Ed's is an institution, where the Royal Alex is a testament, and where just about everyone has a story about Ed Mirvish or his businesses.
This is a troubling story about a knowledgeable, charismatic and successful swim coach. The story, you see, has a darker side.
I know this man. At least I used to. In fact I coached age group swimmers under Cecil Russell when I was in university. He was good looking, mischievious, and magnetic. He has been called a divisive figure in Canadian swimming, and this is certainly accurate. His detractors and supporters are equally adamant.
Since the time I knew him he has been involved with trafficking performance enhancing and recreational drugs, has been in custody, had involvement enough to testify about a grisly murder, and in 1997 received a lifetime ban from coaching any sports funded or recognized by the Government of Canada. His lifetime ban from coaching lasted 8 years when in 2005 it was lifted by an arbitrator. He has recently been coaching age group swimmers in Ontario. Last month the arbitrator's decision was set aside, and has been referred back to the arbitrator on the basis that Mr. Russell's reinstatement (document) was obtained by civil fraud; a failure to disclose a conviction for conspiracy to possess ecstasy (with intent to distribute) in Arizona in 2004. (The current decision can be found as a PDF here. Swimming Canada's position can be found here. The story was also run here at Timed Finals. This article from The Star discusses gamesmanship within the law, but outside ethics.)
Last week the controversy continued to fester at the Nepean Sportsplex (here in Ottawa) where children of his were competing. This article appeared in our local newspaper on July 5th. The legal arguments will continue. What the final outcome will be, I don't presume to guess.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
A: You want a tip on your fly?
B: Sure. I'm trying to teach myself.
A: It doesn't matter what your arms do on top of the water, it's what happens under the water that counts. I cringe.
A: Yes, your arms can enter out here, holding his arms at 10:00 and 2:00, because that's where the power is in your stroke. You don't get any power from up here, he says, holding his hands at shoulder width. I can't listen anymore.
I'm kinda surprised my tongue doesn't hurt from biting. I really thought the tip was going to have something to do with timing and the fact that there are two dolphin kicks per stroke not one ...
Monday, July 09, 2007
Mondays I teach calligraphy at a local seniors centre, and sometimes return home with little in the way of brain power. So I bring you this choker length necklace I put together last week. Sleeping Beauty turquoise brought back from Arizona, diamond shaped coin pearls, and blue topaz beads with sterling silver push clasp and wire wrapping. I test drove it today, and it got good reviews. Click to enlarge.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
The cat I'm sitting overturned his water dish and rearranged a cupboard sometime between my visit last night and my visit this morning. He also moved a mouse trap (livetrap at least) into the middle of the kitchen. It looked like he'd had quite a party!
In other news, apparently I still haven't adjusted to the new pool schedule. 10 months of the year I swim from 5:00 to 6:00 on Sunday night. I got a half hour in today and it was a bit on the crowded side — because the time is now 4:00 to 5:30. Ooops. Although I wasn't the only one caught there! On the up side, at least I got a swim in, and I chose to do some higher intensity shorter distances instead of my planned workout. Update: Apparently some of the crowding has to do with the fact that one of the other downtown pools is closed for maintenance.
I set the timer for cookies when I put them in the oven, but apparently I forgot to push the start button. They're a little on the crispy side. Ooops. (At least they're not totally burned.) Although I didn't really earn them, on account of the short swim ...
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Many thanks to Danielle for organizing, accommodating, and preparing this smashing poster.
P.S. I hear Miss Twiss will be there, too! If you haven't been by their blogs before, please stop in and see what wonderful things they do.
Saturdays are usually my day off training. The plan for today is that the Three Movieteers will to go see an early matinee of Sicko. And I will continue to obsessively and compulsively stalk monarchs out of interest and a desire to complete another life cycle photo essay. All the while lusting after a new camera.
Yesterday 3 eggs hatched, 2 minute caterpillars accounted for. The other may have wandered further on its plant, or run into difficulty shortly after escaping the egg. I'll keep stalking. This fellow's habit seems to be to come up to the flower head about noon and snack a bit there, then disappear into the Field of Dreams. Click for detail.
Friday, July 06, 2007
Some of you will recall the Swim Camp debaucle, in which I did not make the Best Choices. Naturally, I was right at the edge of my ability to cope both physically and mentally when it came time for my underwater video. And I am sooo not a freestyler. With the help of a couple of friends I now have a better quality YouTube video for your viewing pleasure. Note the two beat kick and extremely slow motion (yet real time) flip turn — these are excellent clues that I'm really cooked. And yes, I know I'm not "going over the barrel". What I was pleased with was the finish on the stroke, and the rotation along the central axis. And that nobody needed to pull me from the pool!
The value of seeing yourself swim, however, cannot be understated.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Last night I swam 3 x 400 on eight minutes (the time allowed to both swim and rest). The idea was to warm up with the first going nice and easy (6:58), and then build. So far so good. I was pleased with the second (6:38), it felt controlled and easy, and thought to myself, "Self, why not go 6:30 this last one?". Self was apparently completely unclear on the concept. Although my perceived exertion level was higher, I swam exactly the same time over 400 metres. Ooops! At least I'm consistent.
Later I swam 4 x 50 IM order (as always substituting double arm back) on 1:15, 1:00 rest, then 4 x 50 IM order on 1:00. Although the 50's fly felt slow, they were fairly respectable :45's. Again with the consistency. But no time sense.
So apparently my addled little brain is all muddled up about perceived speed. Removing the "Holy doodle, what time is the swim tonight?" panic didn't seem to help at all in that respect ...
On the monarch watch front, I found what I am guessing is a third instar caterpillar today. I have since misplaced it. It was going at caterpillar breakneck speed when last I saw it zippping down the milkweed plant. Click to see the little gaffer more up close and personal.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Monday, July 02, 2007
I do rather like the little embellishment over the rock crystal beads. The stick pearls are virtually the same colour yellow-green as the chrysoprase, and the other pearls echo the colour of the matrix.
It has been a very odd long weekend. Yesterday the grocery stores were open, closed today. But garbage pick-up was still on today. So my Canada Day included: picking rhubarb and making a crisp, taking it over to lunch at Mom and Dad's (along with a spinach and cheese cannelloni from the Home of Fresh Pasta and some vanilla gelato), grocery shopping, strawberry shortcake (red and white) with Emma and family after dinner, and watching the fireworks from the back bedroom.