Saturday, August 25, 2007

I'm back!

My flight home from Lima arrived mid-morning today and in the time since I've taken a hot shower, washed and conditioned my hair (omg, my hair so missed conditioner!!), went out for some much-missed congee and chow mein and unpacked.

I've also put in one of two loads of laundry (whites first) and am also part-way through giving myself a pedicure as my facial mask is working its magic - the dust on the Inca Trail and the pollution in the city wreaked havoc on my skin! And despite becoming fast friends with Ben Gay, I really need a massage as my muscles are still tender from the hike. I would have preferred to have someone else tend to me, but I didn't have the foresight to plan ahead...besides which, I figured I'd be too tired from the travel to get out of the house for any appointments.

I had a fantastic time in Peru and will post about it in the next few days as the urge to nap is beginning to overwhelm me...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Clean Sweep saves the day!

I've been worrying about how I'm going to survive camping while hiking the Inca Trail. I came up with the solution to get around the not being able to shower for 4 days problem by picking up a tube of Wet Ones - with Vitamin E and Aloe, even! - last week. And I figure I can get over the greasy-hair problem that comes with not being able to wash my hair by pulling it back in a ponytail.

But what's perplexed me was how I'd survive without my daily toilette, which involves the usual cleanse, moisturize and make-up. The prospect of not being able to see to the "Princess-y" process of washing my face and applying my creams day and night was actually causing me a low-grade level of stress.

I could get away without the latter - I ususally go sans maquillage on weekends save for a sweep of Benetint on my cheeks for some colour anyway - but not being able to wash my face? That thought sort of freaks me out because I'm vain.

Yup. There. I said it. I am vain.

Since access to running water on the Inca Trail is pretty freakin' scarce, I have these visions of my pores getting all clogged up from sunscreen and sweat and all sorts of other icky stuff and I'll end up with pictures of me at Machu Picchu with one, if not two big fat zits on my face.

But the answer came to me this afternoon: cleansing and make-up removing towelettes!

I don't know why I was so slow to connect the dots from the Wet Ones to the many different brands and products availably. Like, DUH!! So I hopped onto Make-Up Alley to read some product reviews and settled on Pond's Clean Sweep, which cleanses and removes make-up without any water - so I can bring my Benetint after all!!

All this nonsense is to say that I think I'm ready for Peru.

My flight is around 5pm so I'm leaving the office around noon - it should be a full morning as our office is moving to a brand new location downtown so I have to pack up my desk, I have a one-hour meeting scheduled from 10-11am, and I also have to meet with my SVP at some point too. My plan once home is to have lunch with my mother, and finish packing - all that's left is the toiletries - before wL's dad picks me up to drive us to the airport.

So, ready or not, Machu Picchu, here I come!

Monday, August 13, 2007

I plan so as not to overpack

I spent yesterday afternoon trying on different outfits for my trip to Peru. I know it sounds really obsessive-compulsive but my only defense against overpacking, particularly when space is at a premium in my backpack, is to plan my wardrobe for the 10 days that I will be gone.

It seems simple enough, I mean, it's just 10 days, right? What's the big deal about going away for 10 days? But throw in the very real possibility that I may see days with highs in the 20s and nights when the temperature hovers around 0, and I's got issues.

So it's all about LAYERS. Colour-wise, I'm sticking with my usual palette of pink/purple/black/gray with some khaki green thrown in - this way I don't have to worry about things clashing:

I'm bringing 5 short-sleeved T-shirts (yes, the gray one is beaded - I consider that my jewelry, thank you) and 3 long-sleeved ones to layer beneath. Pants-wise, I'm bringing a pair of khaki-green cargo capris and a pair of black pants to hike in. I'll also pack a couple tank tops for additional layering flexibility.

To keep me warm, I'm counting on my black MEC hooded fleece and to keep me dry, a new Columbia Titanium waterproof shell in "Blue Bell" that I picked up on sale yesterday. I'm having second-thoughts about the light blue colour though, and am flirting with the idea of going back to the store tomorrow to exchange it for a darker mossy-green colour that I think is called "Boa."

Shoes-wise, I'm going to be super-efficient - just a pair of hiking shoes that the ex gave me for my birthday a while back, a pair of birkenstocks and a pair of flip-flops.

For the flight, I plan on wearing a pair of long khaki-green cargo pants and a couple layered tank-tops. With this wardrobe, there will be no fancy nights out on the town, that's for sure!

I'll have to pack mitts and a toque for the early morning and nights, plus long underwear to sleep in. I think I just might be able to handle sleeping in a bag in a tent, up on a mountain since I'll be too tired from hiking during the day to care - but if I'm laying there sore, crusty with greasy hair from not washing it for a few days and cold, then all bets are off.

It's a girl!!

My sister called just before dinner tonight to tell us that we'll be welcoming a baby girl into the world December 10!

Here she is safe and secure in T's belly on the 4th of July. My crazy sister loves to camp and had just returned from a week roughing it amongst vicious blood-sucking bugs, hence the angry red bites on her arm.

I'm so excited that it's a girl! They're so much more fun to shop for - all the pretty dresses and accessories! Can't wait. Too bad they're so far away on the west coast! : (

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Oh, the anxiety...

I leave one week today for Lima and the reality of my trip is finally beginning to take hold.

Normally I plan and research and create spreadsheets to organize myself for trips at least a month in advance. But I haven't done any of that this time around. I browsed a few forums early on but that was it...and now I'm beginning to freak out because I'm feeling woefully unprepared...and this does NOT sit well with me. The only explanation I have for my lackadaisical behaviour is that I'm going on a guided tour - everything is planned out for me and I just have to show up.

So I've been getting ready slowly - I finally filled my month-old prescriptions from the travel clinic this past Sunday and picked up some water purification tablets today.

But after spending the last couple hours browsing various travel forums online, it occured to me how very little I know, so I bought a guide book in a fit of anxiety - it's in stock, so hopefully it will arrive before I leave. And I'm seriously think of getting another waterproof jacket because the one I have is more than a decade old and too big for me as it was a hand-me-down (or up?) from my kid brother. I'm thinking perhaps this one in Raspberry as it's on sale and in stock too! Not very stylish, sure, but certainly serviceable.

How's that for retail therapy? I should really calm down.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Lovin' The Feeling

I'd never heard of The Feeling until I watched them perform live on the broadcast of the Concert For Diana on July 1st. If this isn't catchy, happy pop music that's sure to lift anyone's spirits, I don't know what is.

Here's the (really cheesy) video for Love It When You Call, one of my favourites. :)

Two things

Two things - the first just irks me and the second is sort of random or maybe not:

I skipped my running clinic tonight since I got home late from work and it was raining to boot, so instead, I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill (almost 5.5K tonight!) On my way there, I noticed something that bugged me. What's that? Well, the sprinklers. The sprinklers and the rain.

My usual gym is located in an office building that's surrounded by green lawns. Building management has these signs right by the door announcing how they conserve energy by dimming the lights so as not to stress the power grid, yet they continue to program the sprinklers to water the lawns like clockwork when it's been a dry summer and some areas have been calling for restriction on lawn watering. If they went to the trouble of putting in a sprinkler system, shouldn't they have considered putting in some kind of smart sensor that detects whether there's been rainfall so the system knows not to come online? We have an automatic sprinkler system at home and it's smart enough to do that. Inconsistencies like this bug me.

And the other thing is that I've noticed for a while now that say, 85% of the spam I get in my gmail account is Chinese spam, which isn't at all the case for the spam I get in my Yahoo account. Why do you suppose that is? I usually delete all spam without looking at it, but out of curiosity today, I opened one of the messages and my guess is that it's from Hong Kong or Taiwan because they've used Traditional Chinese characters as opposed to Simplified, which would signify a message probably from China.

And speaking of Chinese, my final is this Saturday and I haven't opened my textbook nor listened to my CDs in a couple weeks. I'm pretty much resigned to losing my 4.0 average since my teacher this term has had unrealistic expectations from the start for her mainly Canadian-born students and despite us speaking to her about these unrealistic expectations, she's carried on instructing us as if we could all read and comprehend Chinese characters fluently, which has been beyond frustrating, and de-motivating.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

I blame public transit

So I blame the TTC. It’s all their fault.

It’s the Civic Holiday long weekend, as well as Caribana weekend. As such, my subway ride downtown, one which is normally fairly quiet and allows for focused reading, was rather loud and distracting, filled with excited superfluous, annoying chatter.

Anyway, I was heading downtown to shop some beads along Queen West before meeting W for dinner, so I got off at Osgoode station with the plan to take the streetcar across but when the street car came after about 10 minutes of waiting, it was so packed that I couldn’t get on. So I decided to walk after all.

And that’s when I got into trouble because it started with a bag that caught my eye so I walked into the store for a look-see and walked out with a great transitional bag – transitional in the sense that the naturalistic pattern works for late summer but the colour and hardware can carry the bag well into fall.

Further west along Queen, summer sales abounded and it was in one such sale where I found a cute little skirt – another transitional item that was 50% which I could wear in the summer, but paired with, say, a brown cashmere sweater, it would be perfectly fine for the fall. So I bought it.

It's hard to tell in that terrible lighting, but those flowers are a lovely eggplant - and I've always liked the idea of brown and purple together...charcoal would work too...

I managed to buy only what I needed at the bead store (a first for me!) and wandered about some before meeting W back at his place. He's left to his own devices until he leaves Wednesday to join S in Japan for the next couple weeks so we went our for dinner and shot the shit over 3 pints of beer for him and 4 glasses of wine for me. If I'd known we were going to hang that long at The Roxton (their grilled chicken and brie sandwich is AWESOME by the way) I would have ordered a bottle of wine all to myself from the get-go. Oh well. Live and learn.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

On Becoming Jane

I went to a special advanced screening of Becoming Jane tonight, the bio-pic of Jane Austen which opens in theatres next Friday.

The year is 1795 and young Jane Austen is a feisty 20-year-old and emerging writer who already sees a world beyond class and commerce, beyond pride and prejudice, and dreams of doing what was then nearly unthinkable - marrying for love. Naturally, her parents are searching for a wealthy, well-appointed husband to assure their daughter's future social standing. They are eyeing Mr. Wisley, nephew to the very formidable, not to mention very rich, local aristocrat Lady Gresham, as a prospective match. But when Jane meets the roguish and decidedly non-aristocratic Tom Lefroy, sparks soon fly along with the sharp repartee. His intellect and arrogance raise her ire - then knock her head over heels. Now, the couple, whose flirtation flies in the face of the sense and sensibility of the age, is faced with a terrible dilemma. If they attempt to marry, they will risk everything that matters - family, friends and fortune.

It was satisfying and enjoyable in every way save for the fact that I was a bit unconvinced about Tom Lefroy's turn from arrogant cad to desperate lover. Despite this minor flaw, I was touched by how romantic and bittersweet was the ending and was moved to tears several times near the end.

Anne Hathaway does a credible English accent and I was tickled to see Julie Walters play Mrs. Austen since I know her better as Mrs. Weasley in the Harry Potter films. The writers did a great job of weaving in shades of Pride and Prejudice and I must say that this has got to be one of my favourite movies of the year.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Why do you run?

My 5K running clinic started last night. I got there a little early and caught the tail-end of a discussion in the marathon running clinic held before mine starts. The instructor was talking about motivation and she shared the story about a man she met when she first taught him in a Learn to Run clinic several years ago. He was in his 60s at the time and could barely run 30 feet down to the light from the store entrance but when asked why he wanted to learn to run, he said he was training to run a marathon.

She was surprised by his lofty goal but soon learned that he was running to fulfill his wife's dream of running a marathon. He cared for her at home and for another 5 years after that when she was in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimer's. She's passed on now, but he's since qualified for the Boston Marathon next year which is pretty damn cool.

So why do I run? When I first started, I ran because I thought it would be a good way to lose weight and get in shape...but I've since found that I like the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction after I've finished. I love how strong and capable I feel because I didn't think I'd be good at it and I've since proven that I am completely able. Getting healthy and fit is a lovely by-product.

Having said this, it's still a challenge to get my butt out the door most days - particularly when it's so damn hot outside!

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