Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas at the In-laws

Just a quick update on the happenings in my life... Had a fake Christmas at home in Calgary in early December.  It was so quick (4 days) and I feel very much like I gypped everyone from a good long visit but that will have to wait for my next trip home, in april perhaps.  We did however get to visit the Zoo in preparation for the wedding next year.  The zoo itself was amazing, so lovely and fun.  We were set on it until we by chance drove by Heritage Park.  I know it's a bit corny but I love history, and I love traditional so we might have there instead.  When I inquired about which venue we could host the event, due to the number of guests our only option is Gunn's Dairy Barn - so yes, I will be having my wedding in a Barn, complete with a Barn dance..... Somehow I never dreamed of doing that, holding a barn dance, but to be honest - as long as my friends and family are there I don't care where it is.

I also introduced Pete to Peters' Drive - In, which you all know is a Calgary must - needless to say he gobbled up his hamburger and fries and of course the obligatory milkshake (we had egg-nog ).

Back in Ontario we just had 2 trips up to Ottawa - we can't seem to stay away from that place... here's hoping to a posting in Petawawa next year then maybe Ottawa... Friends were seen, wings were eaten at minglewood's, trees were viewed at the Chateau (thanks to K for the suggestion )and all in all we basked in the glory that is Ottawa.

I did have to do one quick week at work between the Alberta / Ontario christmases - it was really quick and easy - a lot of schmoozing, dinners, luncheons, a BMQ (basic training) grad to attend, all cumulating with my last day in green combats (working with recruits means wearing CADPAT combats, but as it is the Navy's Centennial Year I have been directed to wear my Navy combats instead).

Now back at the in-laws for my 2 week christmas break means visiting with my new family, pilates / yoga in the morning, going for evening runs with Pete to see the Christmas lights (yay!) and relaxing - lucky me!

So, Merry Christmas to all, I hope your holiday season is just what you wanted it to be.

Friday, November 20, 2009


This is awesome... I have so many ridiculous power cables that I continuously lug around with me every time I move (which stands at a record 4 times this year!) 
It is definitely going on my must buy list.

Chairs are dangerous?!?!

I don't know why we needed a study to tell us this.... isn't it just common sense?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Every morning I am in my office (seems to be less and less these days :) I scroll through my list of blogs I read.  I like to keep up with people back home, and abroad as well a big bunch of people I've never met.  They all write interesting things, stuff that I like to incorporate into my own life.  The list below is from my newest fav - Carrie... on the cheap.  She writes about finances, and as my new career path is taking me down the finance path (yay!) I've really begun to get interested and have decided to pursue my next degree in accounting . finance.  She's listed a financial bucket -list of sorts - I love lists!!  Anyways, I've always kept a list of goals on my computer, financial ones included, but I've posted hers as I think all the points are really quite relevant.  I've added a few of my bits for fun.
  • Pay off my home before I turn 40 (next year Pete and I are planning on buying our first home - we both need to be posted first... thank goodness for inexpensive property near Army Bases :)
  • Open Education Funds for each of my children when they’re born and fully fund their college educations (in cash) (much easier to do in Canada... yay!)
  • Never finance a car again (this might not be a reality just yet, next year we are going to get  a new car and have a wedding and a house to pay for - we'll just try to pay it off asap)
  • Have $3 million in my 401K when I retire (401k = RRSP in Canada, luckily we will both have government pensions, but we still have plans on investing for retirement and using our pensions as a last resort.  $3 Mil might be a bit steep for us, but we'll see)
  • Never pay a cent of credit card interest ever again, or any interest for that matter (except interest on a mortgage) (Good idea!)
  • Retire before I turn 60
  • Stay physically healthy to avoid high costs of poor health as I age (a job requirement actually)
  • Never make a loan to a friend or family member; if they are in dire need, give them a gift of money
  • Never take out a loan for anything EVER again with the exception of a mortgage
  • Always have an Emergency Fund of $10,000 per person in my family (already working on that one - just about there) 
  • Max out a Roth IRA every year that you are eligible until you become ineligible (kind of like our TFSAs but without the retirement addition - mine is maxed for this year)
So there we go, finances are fun!  Gotta go for dinner, ciao!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day


For The Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


This week is the first week that Pete was in the field - for those non-military types think of it as crazy hard core camping - Army style.  Basically they are testing his navigation skills whilst experimenting with sleep deprivation.  I think each day they navigate 32 km through the New Brunswick bush, with (I'm told) swamps on top of hills and killer insects.  Although, the swamps should be pretty much frozen, and the bugs should be almost all dead.   They also have to do some night navigation - which I can tell you from experience that it is both slow going and ridiculously difficult, mostly because you can't see and spend the night being wacked in the face with branches and falling over logs and in ditches.  As for being attacked and fighting off enemies, I'm assuming it will be a nightly occurrence.  The instructors love an opportunity to screw over their instructees... poor bastards!

On my end of it (prepare yourself, this is quite sappy) this is probably the longest we've ever gone without speaking to each other.  We tend to talk a few times a day, and text each other somewhere near 20 times... it's hard when you never live in the same province.

Last weekend, I drove up to Ottawa for the weekend.  Jamie was in town for a "field-trip"  She came down a day early and we got to spend the day talking.  It was wonderful to catch up with her again - I haven't seen her since her trip out to Vic last March.  We spent the entire night talking, over sushi, over our favourite dessert and almost all night.  We opted to stay at the Chateau Laurier - after living in military barracks for as long as we have, we deserved the luxury.  The drive was killer though, almost 5 hours each way - I'd do it any day for time with Jamie though.  Meanwhile here in Borden, life is as regular as usual.  I have a few more projects to work on for the head instructor, some more meetings to attend, not much new.   I did just finish a marathon 90 minute Yoga session though... tough stuff! 

Next week is Remembrance Day.  I've been given the option to attend any ceremony I like.  Being that it is the Navy's 100 year Anniversary and we have this "Bring the Navy to the People" theme going, I've decided to attend the ceremony in my in-law's town.  I'm assuming I'll be one of few in uniform but as I was working last year, this year is my first.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Story of Stuff

A must see... seriously, watch it

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I popped off base this afternoon to a cute little town nearby called Alliston.  It is quite quaint, it has a lot of useful stores to shop in when I need to make a purchase and most importantly a Bulk Barn!  I first discovered this lovely shoppe in Ottawa, with Alex - we were off to a movie and made a stopoff in Bulk Barn to load up on fun candies... and I was hooked (on the store, not the candy sadly)!

Today I brought my self restraint with me, I only picked up 2 things - almonds and my newest addiction, Chia seeds... I plan on sneaking them into the galley in the mornings so I can add them to my morning oatmeal - yum!  The best part though was the price - I scooped out almost 1/2 lb of chia seeds and paid less than $6!  Unbelievable!

In the news

Why sometimes I think I would have been quite happy if I 
was born, or lived in Sweden... it's amazing what they have 
created.. In a world where (thankfully) people seem to be 
taking notice of our impact on the environment, it's so 
nice to see that a big city, with a climate much like our 
own here in Canada can create such an effective and efficient 
system. Well, that and the fact that Ikea is like a 
wonderland for me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bon Voyage

So I've moved cross country - I got the call that I had a contract in Borden on my birthday and had to wrap up my visit home. I had thought it was going to be a year long visit but just as I was getting into the Calgary groove I was moved elsewhere. Everyone that knew where I was headed all gave me the same advice - "Drive there, do not fly, bring your car, for the love of GOD bring your car" Nevermind the 3400 km commute....

It wasn't the worst thing I have ever done, but it tried my patience....
From Calgary to Brandon was about 1100 km. I did this in one day... I figured I could drive for 7 hours to Regina or push it to Brandon and be done almost 1/3 of the trip in the first day. It got a bit tedious with the endless fields, but at least there was more civilization than in western Ontario. The gas was cheaper too... As I progressed through each province I noticed that the speed limit decreased by 10km/hr and the price of gas rose by $.10....
The hotel in Brandon was awesome... they gave a government discount, the bed and linen were divine, they toiletries were from Bath & Body Works and the continental breakfast was fantastic.  I departed Brandon at 6:30 the next morning and headed through Winnipeg to Thunder Bay.  Overall the drive was pretty decent, I lunched in Kenora and continued on to see the sleeping giant.  Thunder Bay was a bit disappointing, the hotel was scary and full of unsavoury characters, the room was grungy and the breakfast was pretty sad - and it was the nicest hotel I could find :( 
Anyways, the next day I headed off to Sault Ste Marie.  The drive was brutal.  There was quite a bit of fog but that wasn't the bad part.  It was the trees!  Normally I'm a big tree person but if that is all you see for 6-7 hours and nothing else you might go a little loopy - luckily it was only like that for one day.
My last day was a quick one, Sault Ste Marie to Pete's parent's house near Newmarket.  The scenery between SSM and Sudbury was a lot like what you see when you get off the ferry from Victoria to Vancouver - how weird!

So there we go, my poor little car has now driven from Calgary to Victoria and back, then all the way out here - next year it will make the return trip and with any luck I'll have someone to keep me company.

So far here my life has been pretty normal - I get to eat in a galley (oops - it's called a Mess on an army base) again, get to wear a different uniform (Army Cadpat this time, no navy gear for at least 6 months), and get to commute across 3 provinces to visit Pete - pretty normal for my life.  The great thing is that I have some awesome people to work with, I get to learn a lot on the job with my new supervisor and am able to take loads of important courses - Unit Environmental Officer, Resolving Conflict Effectively, First Responders, First Aid Instructor, plus more office based excel courses (exactly what a junior Logistics Officer needs).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Let the planning begin

Last week after the course ended in Quebec, I zipped off to Ontario to visit with Pete and relax a bit. It tuned out to be a whirlwind vacation, driving everywhere, to Ottawa, to the Cottage (twice) to Wonderland, but it was awesome, and I needed it. Our wonderland trip was awesome! We went with his sister and her boyfriend - perfect ride partners! Since Pete is certified roller coaster maniac we had to ride as many as we could. We started with the Vortex and over the course of the day ended with the Behemoth.... if you haven't seen it you have no idea, it's ridiculous.... the has 6 different drops with the first being 230 feet.... yep, that's 23 stories..... and you aren't even in a car, but a chair on a platform.... with a pole restraint.... it could be the scariest thing I've ever done - ever!

After that it was off to Ottawa.... I wish I could live in that city, it is so beautiful...Pete and I always have a wonderful time there and perhaps next year we can move to Petawawa (closest army base to Ottawa)... fingers are crossed. It also holds a special significance for us as we got engaged there, in the park, near the Parliament buildings with our tummies full of sushi and gelato... yum!

The rest of our time was awesome, we went to the cottage for a few days, met up with loads of family and relaxed.... best vacation ever :)

So there we go, the vacation was a success, we are happier than ever and now we have to figure out where the heck we are going to hold this thing - Calgary or Ontario....

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Three names I go by:
Spence, Spencer
Lady Spencer
Linda Lou

Three jobs I have had in my life:
Logistics Officer (CF)
Optician Extraordinaire
Teacher (France)

Three places I have lived:

Three favourite drinks:
Long Island Iced tea (doubles)
Coffee (fancy or non)

Three TV shows that I watch:
Desperate Housewives
The Unit
NCIS (can we see a trend)

Three places I have been:

Three of my favourite foods:
Nana's cranberry pudding

Three things I am looking forward to:
Having a real place to live (ie: no more military barracks, having a kitchen, not living out of a suitcase)
Getting my second bar (sadly, I need a half one first :( )
Traveling, not for work

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Last night us LOGOs hosted our course weepers event - for those unfamiliar with our weepers tradition it basically involves a group of people hosting a booze fest with a theme at a mess... our theme this year was Jazz & Martini Bar. We were able to book a jazz trio to come for an hour or two and play and we made a menu of different martinis to sample. The whole thing was a huge success. We had HQ people come, almost every officer at the school, and most of the officer students. It was awesome and actually wasn't a really late night as it started at 4 in the afternoon.

The only glitch was the poor bartender. I felt awful for her because there was about 100 people there and the line up for the bar was HUGE. I was in it several times and ended up waiting about 30-45 each time to get my drinks. Also, I'm not sure what language she spoke cause neither English or French really worked. To top it all off, our martinis were awful.... We were trying to drink Cinzano rosso martinis (2 shots Cinzano Rosso and a touch of sprite) but after the first one we coached her through we ended up getting something that would rival Purel (that's right, I mean the hand sanitizer....). Her concoction, from what I can recall, was basically gin, vermouth, lemon juice, an olive, a sugar rimmed glass and a lemon peel... and we had 2 each :( It was so bad, so unbelievably bad...but we persevered and got through the two drinks only to move onto Spiced Rum & Coke.

This morning was a bit tough, thankfully the galley made sure to have enough greasy breakfast bits for all the hungover officers and even made bacon cheeseburgers for lunch - thank god :) After some yoga with our resident yoga expert we all started to feel much better and now we are doing our best to study for our massive test on Wednesday - yay!

PS - it is still raining!!! Unbelievable!

Sunday, July 5, 2009


The sun is shinning! After almost 2 weeks of rain I am so happy to see the sun! Sadly I have to spend the majority of the day indoors creating my presentation (topic: Battle of Ortona) but I think I could squeeze in a run later on this afternoon.

Another Calgary kid and I have decided that we need to get across to Levis and pickup a Starbucks asap. We've been craving a decent cup of coffee for 2 weeks now (the coffee at the galley has lovingly been deemed battery acid). Although yesterday's trip to the mall yielded a Timmie's run, Second Cup could also be a good choice for today - and I've heard there is one rather near to our residence on Rue St. Jean.

When I'm finished with the presentation I think I'll upload a few pics from my recent Ghost Tours Of Quebec Tour that 12 of us took on Friday night... it was spectacular and our guide did a phenomenal job on recreating some of the historical events that helped to create Quebec City's sordid past.

Alright, onto my presentation, and maybe a bit of yoga at 11 ;)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day, or in Quebec, Wednesday


Not sure what kind of celebrations are happening around town, I think they have a concert of sorts up on the plains so I'm headed there for some fun. Hope everyone has a great day!

Saturday, June 27, 2009


For some reason I had decided that it wouldn't rain in Quebec City this summer.... Back when I lived in Montreal for the summer I don't remember it raining - ever so I assumed it was the same here. How wrong was I? This is the 3rd day in a row that it has down poured. Yesterday I was caught in the rain on the way home from MEC, today it was in the middle of my run, and the forecast looks the same for the entire week... very uncool Quebec! However, having said that I did enjoy the total soaking, it was actually quite funny. The group of us drenched and laughing hysterically must have been quite the sight. We were all reminiscing about last year in the field and how miserable we all were, cold, wet, stressed... oh the fun!

Anyways, our first week of course has been really interesting. I never did take accounting in high school or university so this is my first go at it. It doesn't seem too difficult (knock on wood!) but it can be tricky and requires some studying so thank goodness this weekend is a rainy disaster and I have an excuse not to want to be outside. Tonight though we are breaking the study-a-thon for the new Transformers movie - yay!

Running here has also been challenge - the humidity this week was much different than Victoria's levels.... well that and the fact that we are all masochists here in the Navy and enjoy things like what I call the stairs of death, the city's longest staircase, 398 steps of hell. This picture only shows a very small fraction of it, it kicks my butt every time I try it but a group of us on course have resolved to integrate it into our runs at least 4 times a week. Plus, when you arrive at the top you are greeted with such a spectacular view of the St. Lawrence, and of course you are standing on the Plains of Abraham so that isn't too bad either!

Tomorrow is the Défi des escaliers de Québec, a 15km run which hits every staircase in the old town, including my personal fav to the left.... my knee is a bit weird these days so I am not going to run it in the race but I've got the course map so I'll get going on it when I feel my knee can take the 2600 stairs!

Alright, I should get back to the accounting,
à bientôt

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I arrived in QC yesterday with a handful of course mates that I met in the Toronto airport. It was a quick flight over here followed by a huge logistical organization blitz trying to get as many van taxis as we could to transport our menagerie of luggage to the Naval Complex - Good thing that's all of our specialties! After we all got our room assignments - no one had the other as a roommate sadly, which of course meant my roomie from last years BOTC (Munroe) was in a room two down from me. I unpacked my huge suitcases and was pleased to see almost everything in the suit bag was quite wrinkle free - thank god for that!

Dinner was at a pub in the old towne, the atmosphere was fantastic, the food was great, and I remembered why I love Quebec so much. My room itself is awesome, great views of the marina on the St. Lawrence, a nice bed, alcove for my desk, free internet courtesy of someone across the street in the condo complex, and a HUGE armoir! The boy's rooms are pretty ghetto (we joke that they live in the projects) but all the girls have offered an open invitation to visit anytime so hopefully they won't have to spend too much time in their rooms.

This morning Miss Monroe and I found a grocery store and dollar store to kit up with laundry detergent, hangers and a few snacks for our night time munchies and had a leisurely walk around the lower old towne. Afterwards we headed to the gym for a run cause it was threatening to rain and then off to lunch it was. I've heard horror stories from this galley - stuff like: The vegetarian option (quiche) had bacon in it, sometimes the only meal choice is Poutine or Pogos (corndogs). However the salad bar is pretty big and has protein options that work when the hot food is awful. The only complaint though is the desert bar... the Navy has a horrendous reputation for being desert gluttons and I see why - it is huge and has the yummiest looking deserts I've ever seen on a military base. I managed to escape lunch without desert and even got an afternoon stair climbing session in which I interpreted to mean I could have a small rice krispy square at dinner, this in going to be a once a week occurrence I've decided.

My roomie showed up an hour before dinner and I was excited to see she was uber positive and so nice. She is three months pregnant and gets to wear the cute prego uniforms to class, plus she is french so I can practice my french to my heart's content. This is handy because I made a goal for 2009 to take the forces french exam and get exempt on all the sections so I can add some umph to my personnel file. Everyone that is on this course so far is just wonderful - I am so excited to learn my actual trade and hang out with them all summer!

After dinner a large group of us zipped out to the Body Expo - an exposition where cadavers are show in various stages - muscles exposed, bones, nerves, tendons etc... it was very interesting and slightly weird but the fetus section really hit most of us quite hard.

Now, I'm just getting all my kit ready for tomorrow, the my high heels are laid out and shinned up, the skirt is pressed, my shirt is hanging up complete with rank insignia and name tag, and the sweater has been delinted... I love being in the military!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Road Trip

So I made it home in one piece from Victoria. Luckily, I managed to catch the first ferry off the island at 7 am and did my best to navigate through the mess that is Vancouver - what a huge city! Then it was onto the interior and through the mountains. I think I would have made pretty good time if it hadn't been for the minivans and tractor trailers meandering along at 70km/hr..... Nevertheless it was a nice drive, I had a great book on tape (or rather CD) to keep my mind busy and the weather was perfect - not too hot, not too cold, and no rain. The best part though was the fact that I only filled the car up in Victoria on the way to the ferry, and again in Salmon Arm, which translates to about 600km for 40L of gas. Apparently my car is pretty decent on gas and I couldn't be happier. The sad news is however that I am only in Calgary for 3 days...I leave again on Saturday. This time flying out so my car stays behind. Hopefully there is a drugstore near the residence in Quebec City otherwise this could be a taxi propelled summer.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Food for thought

Why Are Humans Different From All Other Apes? It’s the Cooking, Stupid

Published: May 26, 2009

Human beings are not obviously equipped to be nature’s gladiators. We have no claws, no armor. That we eat meat seems surprising, because we are not made for chewing it uncooked in the wild. Our jaws are weak; our teeth are blunt; our mouths are small. That thing below our noses? It truly is a pie hole.

I found this article and thought it was interesting... (the title is the link)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ode to Vic

As of today I have pretty much 2 weeks left here in Vic. I'm not really working too much - with the exception of this very last night shift right now - basically my out-routine and packing, oh the packing... I recall slightly mentioning before that I wanted to be as minimalist as possible and clearly this has not panned out very well. Currently I have filled 3 large Rubbermaid tupperware type containers and still have some to pack in my suitcase for the car. Ugh, I'm trying to reason out what to keep from my wardrobe - am I going to have an office type job where a uniform isn't required? Not sure..... most likely not, but I do have to dress up to eat meals at the mess so keeping them is justified. I do think though that all my non clothing items should really be thinned out a bit, that will be tomorrow's chore.

As for missing things here, despite the fact that I live in the ghetto side of the city (and on base) it's been really great. I've been able to visit a lot of friends from BOTC, even the reservist guys from BOTC made it out before I left, and now I get to see the rest of them in Quebec City. Not too bad, plus Pete has been here since January and even though we share essentially a hotel room and work shift work with very random sleeping schedules, we haven't even begun to get on each other's nerves.

I will really miss being so close to a lot of my navy friends. They really made the year here and I am sad to say adios for the time being. I will also miss the yummy sushi here, I don't think I even made it to all the restuarants, and of course my car, I will miss having my car, although the gas prices here are getting pretty awful ($1.07!) I think one of the only things I will miss about my job here is the view. My office has a great view of the harbour and all the warships, very large and cool looking warships... and on a night like tonight where the sun is just setting and everything has a warm glow it is quite beautiful!

For the drive home we had originally decided to depart on the Saturday, overnight in Vancouver (all you can eat Sushi and Korean BBQ) and then again in Kelowna and then onto Calgary for a few days before we both head east. However, Pete has surgery scheduled for the 10th, and won't be out of hospital until the 14th or so, plus now the poor guy can't fly home from Calgary but has to train it from Edmonton..... Yep, almost 3 days on the train - yikes! Well this way his lung won't collapse again and he can have all sorts of crazy fun in Gagetown throwing grenades, and shelling stuff without worry.

Anyhoo, I should get back to the harbour and my paperwork. Night!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tree hugger?

Being that I am in the new "Green Navy" and living in BC for the past year I feel a bit more in tune with environmentally friendly practices. Not to say that I wasn't like this in Calgary, I recycled as much as I could, but it is nice to read something like this... bravo Alberta, Green looks good on you.

On a completely unrelated note, I ran my first 1/2 marathon today. A month ago I ran my first 10 km therefore this was quite the leap. Originally I made a 2 hours 45 minute goal for myself and I am happy to report I made it in 2 hours, 30 minutes., give or take a few mins. It was awful, the two hills in the last km almost killed me but I did it and now feel a lot more motivated to run the 15km staircase challenge in Quebec City in a month, and even more so for the half marathon in September. Pete also kicked butt... he ran 1 hour 49 min, and on a newly repaired collapsed lung which prevented him form actually training for this thing... he is amazing and I'm uber proud of him - Good Job Pete!

I'm pretty sure, inspired by dooce also ran a race this weekend, and Heather has a sprint triathalon next weekend... so well done / good luck to the them!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Survey fun on a sunday night

4 goals I have in the next 5 years:
1. Make Lieutenant(Navy)
2. Own a house
3. Run a marathon
4. Become uber organized

4 places I will visit someday:
1. Scotland - to walk the Great Glen Way and research my roots
2. Russia - to see the history
3. India
4. Vietnam

2 interesting places I've been
1. Sahara Dessert
2. Turkey

4 of my favorite foods:
1. Indian anything
2. Afternoon Tea
3. Veggie Platters
4. Christmas Pudding (ala Nana)

4 jobs I've had:
1. Aupair - most spoiled and misbehaved children I've ever met
2. Optometric Assistant - it helped me get to Africa and paid
for university
3. Teacher - grade 10 boys are awful
4. Anti-terrorism Officer of the Watch

2 places I've lived:
1. France
2. Montreal

2 places I'd like to live:
1. Ottawa
2. Anywhere else in Europe

4 things I'd do with my spare time, if I had any:
1. Learn another language - Arabic I think
2. Read more history books
3. Learn how to swim (or rather learn how to swim properly)
4. Perfect the art of conversation

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


So since I last posted I've been getting into my running, mostly because Pete has encouraged me to sign up for races. Also because, for the moment, I live in Victoria and can run outside most days of the year.

I managed to get through the Times Colonist 10km run - after a night shift no less - which did make me feel pretty happy. Although running with 11,000 other people was awful, and all those people who started before me and walked from the beginning were frustrating to navigate around, I did feel like the run went well.
Fast forward a month and I am running my first 1/2 marathon. Not sure if this was the smartest move, having only a month of extra training in between the two but I have come up with a plan. I originally was going to run it as a 10km and then walk run the rest until I was finished, however now I think I'll do a 2km run then 1 km walk and see how that goes. Pete is also running this one, not beside me, but he will be on the route roughly around the same time. He is running on a newly repaired collapsed lung but I have no doubt he will be just fine, he lives for this stuff.

I have another race in the fall to train for which I assume I will be more prepared for. Plus I am spending the summer in Quebec City and one of my classmates has decided that we are going to be running this exciting race..... so who knows I might just do well.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

How Many

The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 books from this list. Copy the list into your own note. Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read.Delete 'x' from any you have not read.

[ ] 1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
[] 2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
[ ] 3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
[X] 4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
[x] 5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
[] 6 The Bible
[ ] 7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
[X] 8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
[ ] 9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
[ X] 10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
[] 11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
[ ]12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
[ ] 13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
[ ] 14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
[ ] 15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
[] 16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
[ ] 17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
[ X] 18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinge
[ X] 19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
[ ] 20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
[ ] 21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
[x] 22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
[ ] 23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
[ ] 24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
[] 25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
[ ] 26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
[ ] 27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
[X ] 28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
[X] 29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
[x] 30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
[ ] 31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
[ ] 32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
[x] 33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
[ ] 34 Emma - Jane Austen
[ ] 35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
[x] 36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
[ ] 37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
[ ] 38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
[] 39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
[X] 40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
[x] 41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
[x] 42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
[ ] 43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
[ ] 44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
[ ] 45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
[X ] 46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
[ ] 47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
[ ] 48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
[X] 49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
[ ] 50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
[ ] 51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
[ ] 52 Dune - Frank Herbert
[ ] 53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
[ ] 54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
[ ] 55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
[ ] 56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
[]57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
[ ] 58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
[] 59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
[ ] 60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
[ X] 61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
[ ] 62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
[ ] 63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
[ ] 64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
[x] 65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
[ ] 66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
[ ] 67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
[X] 68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
[ ] 69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
[ ] 70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
[ ] 71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
[ ] 72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
[X ] 73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
[x] 74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
[ ] 75 Ulysses - James Joyce
[ ] 76 The Inferno - Dante
[ ] 77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
[ ] 78 Germinal - Emile Zola
[ ] 79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
[ ] 80 Possession - AS Byatt
[x] 81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
[ ] 82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
[ ] 83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
[ ] 84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
[ ] 85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
[ X] 86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
[X] 87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
[ ] 88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
[] 89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
[ ] 90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
[X] 91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
[ X] 92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery - In three languages!
[ ] 93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
[ ] 94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
[ ] 95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
[] 96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
[x] 97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
[X] 98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
[X] 99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
[ ] 100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Uh oh, I only got 30 - better get reading!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Wow, so I completely failed to notice that my last post was actually my 500th. Quite the milestone, and I'm amazed that I didn't know it. Anyways, onto something else... I found these stats on the net, they are a few years old but I am certain that things haven't changed that drastically since their publication. I've always had a weird preoccupation with population rates and these rates come as a bit of a surprise to me, and I'm not sure why.

The latest data from the Population Reference Bureau shows that
there are twenty countries in the world with negative or zero
natural population growth. This is unprecedented in history!
This negative or zero natural population growth means that these
countries have more deaths than births or an even number of
deaths and births; this figure does not include the impacts of
immigration or emigration. Even including immigration over
emigration, only one of the twenty countries (Austria) is expected
to grow between 2006 and 2050. The country with the highest
decrease in the natural birth rate is Ukraine, with a natural
decrease of 0.8% each year. Ukraine is expected to lose 28% of
their population between now and 2050 (from 46.8 million now to
33.4 million in 2050). Russia and Belarus follow close behind at
a 0.6% natural decrease and Russia will lose 22% of their
population by 2050 - that is a loss of more than 30 million people
(from 142.3 million today to 110.3 million in 2050). Japan is the
only non-European country in the list and it has a 0% natural birth
increase and is expected to lose 21% of its population by 2050
(shrinking from 127.8 million to a mere 100.6 million in 2050).
The streets of Tokyo won't be as crowded in a few decades as they
are today! Here's the list of the countries with negative natural
increase or zero negative increase in population... Ukraine: 0.8%
natural decrease annually; 28% total population decrease by 2050

Russia: -0.6%; -22%
Belarus -0.6%; -12%
Bulgaria -0.5%; -34%
Latvia -0.5%; -23%
Lithuania -0.4%; -15%
Hungary -0.3%; -11%
Romania -0.2%; -29%
Estonia -0.2%; -23%
Moldova -0.2%; -21%
Croatia -0.2%; -14%
Germany -0.2%; -9%
Czech Republic -0.1%; -8%
Japan 0%; -21%
Poland 0%; -17%
Slovakia 0%; -12%
Austria 0%; 8% increase
Italy 0%; -5%
Slovenia 0%; -5%
Greece 0%; -4%