Archives for the month of: October, 2010

Or more, properly, Happy Samhain – I hope you have a great time celebrating the end of summer and may you be at peace with the universe.

I still owe reviews from this week-end – for the spa, for the hotel, for hotel restaurant and for Voga bubbles. Can I just skip them and write about how everything went instead?

I love SpaRosseau – staff are very friendly, approachable and remembered me from last time! I walked in on Friday before my first treatment and they remembered me straightaway – I was the girl always reading. Yep, that is me.

First treatment – 80 minute Swedish Massage. This massage was supposed to be a treat from climbing and yoga and the gym, What it ended up being was a way to get everything flowing again from the recent bout of illness. I usually ask for a very high pressure massage, as the muscles need it and the body can take it, this time I was around medium. Very relaxing and I’m happy that I went for 80 minutes. My therapist was very professional and we had a bit of laugh together when she explained that I had two huge knots in my shoulders, one at the exact same spot on either side. It is my boy, so of course I knew this already and I’m not too concerned, they are from being so ill recently. So, everything got flowing again and I got very cold and very tired.

The cold thing is a normal after a massage, I think it is something to do with the liquids both relocating and draining from specific tissue and draining out of the body too. Very relaxed. Made use of the hot tub and brief visit to the steam room – until it had some issues. We were given some comp passes for use next time to make up for it, so no worries.

Dinner at Teca, the hotel’s Italian restaurant – my friends each had a pizza and I went for the 3-course special, ‘cuz it was duck.

I won. First course – lobster ravioli with a light cream sauce Second course – duck two ways, roasted and prosciutto over risotto Desert: poached pear stuffed with marscapone cheese. We had a bottle of…some wine, didn’t check the label, my bad…Pinot Griogio from Italy, so in current genre .

Woooooow. The lobster ravioli was fresh, tender and perfectly spiced.   The duck course was incredible – the roast duck was very rare a bit bloody nad very tender, the skin was perfectly crisp and the seasoning was excellent. I’m going to marry the duck prosciutto. The risotto was a perfect balance to the boldness of the duck. Finishing with the poached pear was a coup – more on the mellow side rather than sweet and cloying and light and not rich, whoever designed this 3-course did a wonderful job.

My two friends got a pizza each and the pizzas are huge, which they both forgot! We all had a laugh at that.

Funny dinner conversation – one of my friends made a comment about me and the pizzas that they were eating, both pizzas were very heavy on the meat. Her comment was along the lines of me seeing them as evil for eating meat. I balked and said “Whoa. Hang on – I don’t avoid mammal ‘cuz I think it is evil. My decisions for not eating mammal have nothing to do with morality. If you want to eat it – go away. I don’t eat it. I don’t like it and it isn’t healthy for me to eat.” She looked at me and said “Really! ‘cuz I always wondered why you wear leather.” I laughed pretty hard and asked if I had ever made a moral argument about not eating meat to her, she agreed that I hadn’t to her. She said she just assumed that is was moral as many people claim morals as reason. I had a good laugh about that. It is hilarious to be accused of being more moral than you really are.

Had a few drinks after dinner and slept…horribly! Very tired on Saturday…oh well, it happens.

We managed to get out for a walk in the rain. The walk was lovely and my friend and I both needed the fresh air. I had a bigger breakfast so the cold and wet weren’t so bad, but it was wonderful to back inside.

My second treatment was a real…treat. I chose one of the “Signature” treatments ‘cuz I figure these are the ones the spa makes its reputation on. Hot stone facial with wild flower foot bath. Started off with a conversation with the aesthetician about what I wanted from the treatment. Then the foot bath – so good after being walking in the rain! – exfoliation, light massage and moisturizer application on my feet and lower legs. Very relaxing.

Over to the table – it was warmed, on a cold, rainy day it was perfect. She put on warmed booties for my feet and then put on cuticle oil on my nails and gave my hands a rub. Then – warmed mittens!

Then the facial.

I would explain this in-depth, but I was so relaxed that I zoned out in parts  and I don’t want to say that something happened when I may have imagined it or made it up.

After, we had a bit of chat about my skin (oh no, I have dry skin, no, I didn’t buy any of the recommended products) and I got of the bed extremely slowly. I felt…vulnerable. And strong. A bit like how I imagine a newly hatched phoenix must feel – beautiful and ready to catch fire.

I hung out til almost closing time, reading and appreciating the quiet and solitude.

Passed my friend in the hall going back to the room – they left their stuff in the spa lockers earlier and needed to get it before closing. Cracked open the Voga bubbles – finally and…yummy! Bubbly Pinot Grigio – light a bit crisp on the palette and so very tasty.

Dinner was in the room out of the things my friends brought along – cheese, crackers, dips, cut up veggies and some turkey sausage. They flaked out during the afternoon and caught the two Twilight movies and we watched the baseball game. I read for part of it – good game, but I’m not following. And I prefer seeing a live game.

Another earlier night – but I don’t need to stay up late and I certainly don’t need to drink heavily. I’m not sure why we brought all that alcohol – when you are doing detoxifying treatments you shouldn’t really be drinking heavily.

Got up at the eight-hour mark and had another funny conversation with my friend – we were bunking together – she asked why I can’t sleep 7.5 or 8.5 hours or more, why 8 hours. For me, it is the best amount of time to sleep. Less, I feel like I could sleep more. More and my body thinks I’m sick. So, 8 hours is the best.

Got in an hour of reading before heading back to the room and waking her up – then we went to the morning yoga class.

We were the only two there! We had private yoga class. It was great. My sole compliant would be that the instructor did a very long section on auto-hypnosis and it was too long for me to be on the floor on my back. My lower back was killing me. But, great postures and for fun she tried to get us to do Crow, which resulted in me laughing my brains out.

My friend, who is also my climbing partner so this conversation was totally on topic, and I had a chat about yoga and flexibility. She said that she wasn’t at all flexible so she find yoga difficult – she said “And I looked over at you at one part and you’ve got your leg up and hanging onto your toes! You are really flexible.” I admitted that I’ve lost a lot and I find that frustrating, but I do love doing yoga.

We grabbed lunch before heading out – if you love pickles, this place has the best pickles, which come with all the sandwiches and burgers. I asked the waiter for an extra pickle for my friend ‘cuz her food didn’t come with a pickle.

Incredible week-end and the two women that I “got away” with were truly excellent company and interesting to spend time with. Lucky for me we all got time with all three us, two of us together and some alone time for each of us as well. Great week-end and we’ve already been talking about what we would do if ever we make up there again. Golf for them for sure.

And now – we are waiting for out first trick-or-treaters and “Thriller” by Michael Jackson is playing on the radio.

Happy Samhain to all and to all a great night.

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“The Year of the Flood” by Margaret Atwood.

This book is considered the companion book to “Oryx and Crake” by the author.

I back up for a moment to say a few things about “Oryx and Crake” – I first read this book about six months after it was released and around the time it was released Atwood also had another book out at the same time “The Blind Assassin” and Atwood was frequently on our National Public Broadcaster, CBC, talking about one book or the other. One of her interviews featured a long talk about the research team she assembled to prepare to write “Oryx and Crake” . I read “Oryx and Crake” one week-end and after finishing it I didn’t sleep for three nights/days. When I finally got to sleep, I had nightmares for about a month. It wasn’t a scary book – it was terrifying, terrifying as many of the places the book goes, have their roots in real things that were either happening at the time or had happened in the few years previous to the book. This is real science fiction, this book is the first we see as Margaret Atwood: Prophet.

“The Year of the Flood” – this book could also be titled “The End of the Human Race – A Woman’s Perspective”.  Set in the same dark future as “Oryx and Crake”, the book traces the same series of events through the eyes of two different women, their years leading up to the “Flood”, how they survive and find each other.

Atwood builds on the world and lingo introduced and explained in “Oryx and Crake” and adds some new words to the lexicon. We learn the origins of MaddAddam and gain a different perspective on Snowman/Jimmy and Glenn/Crake.

This book is overlaid by an impending sense of doom – the reader knows what is about to happen. The new characters overlap with the older characters, so when offered different perspectives or insights we have a more fully flushed version of all characters, all happenings.

I really liked the look into the cult the two women spend years and how these teachings from the cult assist them in surviving “The Flood”.

Did this book need to be written? I don’t know. I don’t even know if I needed to read it, but it was like an access back to this world. Trying to piece together the complete story of our world leading up to this genetically engineered plague – “The Flood” – grabs hold of the heart and doesn’t let go.

Between the two books, “Oryx and Crake” is the stronger read, stronger story and more compellingly written. It is also more surprising and more emotionally challenging. “Oryx and Crake” is the “must read” of these two books, where “The Year of the Flood” is the book to read to learn more.

Interestingly, a friend of mine said this morning that she hated “Oryx and Crake” and is currently really disappointed in Atwood’s recent writing. She doesn’t like sci-fi and is really disappointed that Atwood is embracing this genre.

Me, I think sci-fi is allowing Atwood to fully bloom as not only an author, but also as one of our current-day, living, prophets. Sometimes I think we forget that this a woman who not only has written numerous works and won awards, but is also an inventor and respected commentator on current events.

Atwood pens these two books in classic sci-fi form they serve as warnings, they extend current trends to logically conclusions. They aren’t suggestions of how the world should go, they warn us of where our world is going. Danger – this way there be monsters.

 

“The Value of Nothing – Why Everything Costs So Much More Than We Think” by Raj Patel.

This book could also be called “Economics Light” or “Why The Economy is Great Big Scam”.

I don’t much about economics and economic theory, this book put many things into perspective, including why Ayn Rand is more of an influence than Adam Smith. Very interesting.

The author cites many recent books that can explain different economic happenings – the first few pages he cites “The Black Swan” three times, which I found a bit worrisome as “The Black Swan” is currently waiting in my next pile of books to read, so it was like I was reading them out-of-order.

I hate Ayn Rand, so that so many economists who now weld power are influenced by her is really interesting. The author gave a really lovely, simple view of many of the concepts that economists and bankers cite to explain things and the most revealing things was, of course, how many of them misunderstand the source material or don’t realize that it is meant as parable or warning.

I strongly recommend this book to people who don’t have a background in economics. It isn’t going to restore anyone’s faith in the economy, bankers, corporations, but it will explain a few things – like offer a very clear understanding of the financial sector and how the American financial sector was allowed to do some pretty insane and insensible things that lead to the meltdown.

Greed, obviously, was explored in some depth. As was happiness.

One of the economic theories I will be investigating further is Buddhist Economics.

A good read. I got a lot of strange looks when I explained I was reading a book about the economy, but I think that I live in this world and the economy is a large part of the world that I live in. The current circumstances resulted in my company putting in a two-year wage freeze, so I figure the least I could do is understand a bit of why this happened, what my role (if any) was in it and how it may happen again.

The author had a good style, not too flashy and interesting enough for a topic that many people may find boring.

A good started book if you want to know more about the economy, but need it filtered and put into more easily understood terms.

Very good read. I learned a lot.

Also taking a break from the real world by switching radio stations – except to listen to this morning’s financial report, I’m seriously addicted to that segment – to an all vinyl station.

I do like the sleek, cool audio quality of digital,but my ears and brain perk up and pay attention to those cracks, pops, hisses and warmth of vinyl. This station is a pleasure.

Currently (Don’t Fear) the Reaper is playing. Monster Mash coming up. And, if I’m really lucky I will hear Werewolves of London before I leave to catch my train.

All packed, bags at the door and slipping on a mug of tea.

Does it get better than this?

Eeeee. I love vacation.

 

Today percentages don’t matter.

Gloriously slept in ’til 7am and had tea with breakfast – two cups. Obviously, I’m on vacation!

Today I faced my fear and got my eyebrows threaded. Sounds terrifying doesn’t it? This is some crazy, ancient form of hair removal and I thought it had something to do with needles ‘cuz what goes with thread? Needles!

I imagined that someone took a needle and sewed a thread  around the root of the hairs with a thread and then – pulled on it and took the hairs with it! This made me really nervous ‘cuz I really hate needles and needles anywhere near my eyes is just to horrid to think about.  Wouldn’t someone see the cuts all along my eyebrows from the needles? How long would the cuts take to heal?

I was really scared about it, but I figured I’d give it a shot – you know, just to see how it went and to compare with getting my eyebrows waxed.

So, went in, chatted with the woman who takes care of these necessary things, went into her work area, pay back, did exactly what she told me. I was terrified. It hurt a bit, but it was over pretty quickly. At the end, I asked her about the needle ‘cuz it must have been really small and she was really fast with it – faster that then getting my eyebrows waxed.

What I learned today: there are no needles involved with threading! None.  The thread isn’t even “special thread” – it is ordinary sewing thread! She makes a loop of the thread and, using her mouth and two hands, manipulates the thread-loop to wrap around hairs, tighten and pull them out of the skin. She shapes my eyebrows in this way. No needles!

She had a good laugh at me when I explained what I thought was going to happen.

She also looked at me and said “So, even though you thought I was going to sew along your eyebrows with a needle, you still made this appointment.”

I shrugged and said I did want to compare to getting my eyebrows waxed, ‘cuz you never know.

Verdict – very fast, a bit more painful than eyebrow waxing, but the shape of the brows are lovely and she had a great amount of control. The redness was less and cleared up far quicker when compared to waxing. I am a threading convert – seriously, it was way easier and there wasn’t this whole multi-step process. My eyebrows look great.

It is import to note that me saying “My eyebrow look great” is not a matter of arrogance or vanity – my brows are the result of accidents, good genes and artist who is able to take what is there and give it a refined shape and clean-up. I am not responsible for my brows, aside from keeping them groomed and every day maintenance. So, yes they look great.

And it this isn’t me thinking “Wow! I have kicking eyebrows”, this is from random people – both people I know and strangers – letting me know they like my eyebrows. Most random compliment from a guy in a car in the parking lot near my fav movie rental place – “Hi! I had to come over and say hello to you. You have really sexy eyebrows. They are beautiful. Can I have your number?”

Didn’t give my number – he was obviously only using me to get to my eyebrows.

Next moment of fear – choosing a nail polish colour.

I hate this step most when getting a manicure and/or pedicure. I mean, I’m not there to make decisions. I’m there to relax. You are the professional, find a colour that looks on me and do what you will.  Don’t bother me with details.

Been thinking of a polish colour since Sunday.

Bold red? Pale pink? French? Asking for a suggestion? Dark red? Army green? Gun-metal grey? Silver? Clear?

Too. Many. Colours.

Dark purple-light purple-blue-dark purple-light purple-blue.

When in doubt, do what the man says and “Paint it Black”.

Whoa. Decadence. Black and shiny. My nails and grand pianos. My nails and fast cars. Sleek, spare, modern, classic and lovely.

I refrained from black polish in my younger days, when everyone else was wearing black on their nails – it, didn’t look right. The black looked like they had marked over their nails with crayon. The black was solid, gummy looking and black in the “I’m feeling nihilistic, if only I knew what nihilistic meant…” sort of way. And everyone in my social milieu wore it. Boring. “Different, just like everyone else”.

Here-and-now-black has an undertone of aqua, for some depth, so blue it is black.

She made a bit of allusion to Halloween, but I can honestly say, this had no influence. I didn’t consider, briefly, a ripe-pumpkin orange, but dismissed.

The black is bold and I feel…at home with my decision. It is like, this colour has been waiting for me on the shelf. This is the happiest I’ve ever been after getting my nails done. I don’t look goth, I don’t look immature or silly. Fresh paint job.

Random walking followed. I saw the most beautiful kitten ever. It looked like a tiny leopard. How difficult it was to walk away! Oh, leopard-kitten, I will never forget you! I would have named you Tanabe – which is a great name for a cat.

Random shopping followed. We are now set up for Halloween! No crappy Halloween toffee, no raisins and no lame treats from this house. I’m satisfied.

Ah! This is the life on vacation.

Very excited about the getaway – my friends have now made their appointments, I am confident a good time will be had by all.

 

 

Look at me, only 5% to go and I’m on vacation! Go me! Seriously, I have to be one of the luckiest people in the whole world. The universe, maybe. I mean, probably.

Connectivity is back up, for the time being, two of my favourite people are procreating (again), I’ve got spa time booked for the next three days of my life, two bottles of bubbles waiting, plans with two wildly beautiful and interesting women and I’m on vacation! And. AND. AND! It is almost Halloween!

Ah! Me.

Ah! Life.

And ok, some things could be better. Our mayor-elect, the wanker, is already breaking campaign promises. Does it make me a realist if I never quite believed the specific promise of radically changing the transit plan? He insisted all through his campaign that he would change it and he had the power. Today, he admitted he doesn’t have the power.

Hm.

Well, at least I didn’t get my dreams dashed. And I won’t be spending any time belly-aching about how politicians never keep their promises. I don’t believe them to begin with.

I consider politicians as really draft, harmless lunatics. Who I have to live with. And who are in charge of public policy…So, when they make “promises” that they don’t keep, I figure we can only blame the moon. Or aliens.

I splashed out and bought dinner for us for the second night in a row. Of course I neglected to call home first so, there were two dinners! I laughed my head off.

Tonight’s dinner was a personal fav – and made from that place that is owned by the people who are related to one of my dad’s best friends. Hey, family.

Tonight’s green tea is lovely. I think. I think I can actually taste things properly today.

95%. 5% to go.

Going to try for an extra half hour asleep tonight and yoga in the morning. The muscles seem ready and last night the lymph felt ready to get moving.

I forgot I got a new bathing suit this summer! I’m bringing it along this week-end. It is less sporty and more on the cute side. Perfect for sitting around the pool, ignoring people and reading a book.

Read the first chapter of a new book last night, while trying to patient about the connectivity issue and I’m hoping to finish it off this week-end. Also, there is another book that is currently waiting impatiently for me too…I wonder if I can get two in…it may take a bit of doing, so wish me luck.

 

 

 

“Panic in the streets of London”

Coming home, half-way home and realize – I forget to pick-up dinner! This is why I should never make plans at only 85%. Or when drunk. I can never remember the details!

Ack!

Decide on an acceptable alternate. So, ok.

Panic.

Cable is down. Can’t get to my email! Can’t update the blog! Can’t find the menu or the number for the restaurant. And my VOIP phone doesn’t work either.

The cause – Dad’s very shiny, very new computer. Every time he uses Windows 7 – it knocks everything else off. The machine is pretty sleek.

But, as I told him “Your new computer sucks.” Dad agrees. This proves just how reasonable Dad is.

95% today – event went well, asked to offer some unsolicited advice about an area that I’m an expert in, so crafted a very polite, very…supportive email. Not sure how it will received, but I figure, if you are new to doing a certain function of your job and you know that one of your colleagues is actually an expert in the area – wouldn’t you contact them and ask for some insight? Some help? Some extra info?

I always do. This is how I phrase it: So, I hear you an expert about this. I have this thing that you are an expert in, so will you answer some questions or at least tell me about your experiences?

I have never had some turn me down when I ask for this kind of advice.

Perhaps it is my charming smile?

Booked a pile of spa services for the last days of this week – mani, pedi, Swedish massage and Hot Stone Facial with Wild Flower Foot Bath – which sounds kind of…whatever, but there you have it.  Who is relaxed? That would be me.

Better go before my connectivity cuts out again – I may actually have to read a book tonight…

EDIT: Seriously, his new computer is causing me all kinds of panic – just got kicked off again. I hate being isolated.

Operating at 85% today – a new high since last week-end “before the plague” hit.

So, 10% and the final sweet 5% to go. And baby, I’ll all about the final 5%.

Still, for 85%, productive sort of day, it breaks down:

2 invoice payments before due dates – check

Manager’s expenses from September and first part of October – check

Providing emotional support for event coordinator whose speaker refuses to submit presentation – check

Narrowing the search on “missing” binder – check

Update to website – check

Self-trained on important new employment law – check

Pestering colleague to self-train on same – check

“Gentle” reminder to manage to also do this – check

Draft of performance goals – check

Final confirmations for first event this week – check

Healthy lunch – check

Good conversation with friend during lunch – check

8 glasses of water – check

Tele-meeting with colleague – check

Keeping meeting with colleague on time – oops!

Second draft of new checklist to assist internal content writers for crafting prose for websites – check

Promise to give extra assistance to stakeholder on Tuesday Re: Staying late to keep office open for return of reference materials – check

Problems with logging in to online account – check

Monday computer problems – check

If I’m this productive at 85%, imagine me at 100% – remember: All about the final 5.

Doing over the hot tea and hot bath tonight – I’ve waiting since last Sunday for this and intend to enjoy!

Hot bath and election results – it doesn’t get any better than this…I lead a charmed life…

Oh noes! – our new mayor is a wanker…And spell check doesn’t know what “wanker” is – you blow, Word Press!

 

Lying in bed, thinking about writing about epic body fail of almost six years ago to keep things in perspective about the body’s current failure.  I’m not sure if I should keep thinking of illness as a failure, I guess it is…cultural-thing, ‘cuz I just can’t stop perceiving it like this. So, I add perception fail on top of this body fail…ha, go me, two epic fails and it isn’t even time for Sunday dinner!

That topic will keep for another day. Or I will lose interest. Whatever!

Stupidly, I have not canceled my vacation days for later this week, nor the plans to go away with my friends to the hotel/spa during those days and the week-end. Why? ‘cuz sometimes I’m stupid and I really think that I will feel better and be able to fully enjoy myself. My manager is also one of the most human humans I’ve ever met, when I suggested that canceling was an option, she dissuaded me.  Have I said lately how thankful I am to have her in my life? No? I am blessed to have her in my life, the ways she changes my life, daily, is incredible. I am lucky.

Interesting conversation about raising children today with a dear, close friend who I don’t see and talk to enough.

News! They are expecting another!!

Whoooosh! Some people are very brave.

I’m not brave like this. I admire it. Very much admire. The ultimate expression of optimism. I don’t have this kind of optimism either. I do, however, fully support those who do.

We talked about lessons to pass along to our, haha, her offspring. The right lessons, the good lessons, the lessons that will them danger-free.

I have faith in my friends – lessons, rules and attitudes will be taught, but from there, well it is up to their children to become autonomous individuals who are capable of making their own decisions, mistakes and victories.

There is no such thing as “a perfect childhood”. All childhoods are messed up – they are messed up by definition! There are so, so many ways to mess up a child. But, there are some that my friends will avoid, they will discover whole new ways of messing their children up.

And good for them. They will do it out of love, care, concern, fear and all those other emotions that go along with being parents of human children.

Thought about Lin Yu Tang and that phrase that I can’t remember properly. About how cynics are the most kind-hearted people as they truly understand how truly awful life can be, but keep trying anyway. I am such a cynic. I think many of my friends are cynics like this.

Life can be kind of awful. But keep doing it. Keep hoping and working to make it better. It is, it is so beautiful. It is worth working for.

For me, in capacity as my role as “extra adult role-model” in the lives of my friends’ children, hope that this is the lesson they can learn from me.

An unforeseen hopeful kind of Sunday. Wonderful news and puts this whole body fail thing into a different sort of perspective.

 

With recent health issues, today’s climb was, unsurprisingly, a no-go. Is it possible for the body to mourn losing strength? For the muscles to want to hang on to their mass? For the blood to feel lonely for lymph? The tendons to feel sad at the loss of suppleness?

So, the body failing after so many days, today was all about radio.  Radio shows I haven’t heard in months, catching up on familiar voices, unfamiliar thoughts and focusing some time on things outside the body.

What a welcome relief.

(And a what an odd, scary sort-of world we live in. News stories mingle with the more esoteric and interrupt ideas sparking things off in my brain.)

And new songs, new voices, new ideas and new theme songs.

Some people are all about look – they see truth, they see beauty, attracted to looks. I am all about tiny little bones in my skull – I hear truth, I hear beauty, I am attracted to sound.

I feel, sometimes, somewhat anachronistic – yes, I love radio plays and someone reading a short story out loud. And it isn’t holiday season until I hear “The Shepherd”  as read by Alan Maitland.

I think there are some of us who, returning to an empty home, turn on the TV, me and some like me, it’s still radio, all the way.

Even with all this stuff, the stuff going on with the body, the insane stuff going on in little towns three hours away, the things going on in other parts of the world, there are still simple ways to feel pleasure and feel simply happiness.

I’ll take it where I can get it.