Mathematical madness

I blew back onto the blog a couple weeks ago…and then my dosage calculations class began at school. Eek. I have been dreading this course since I started school in May – flashbacks from my Grade 12 math exam, which I failed, have been causing night sweats. Wednesday, however, is the last day of this self-imposed trial of (many) errors, and I foresee wine at approximately 1800h.

As you wait with bated breath to find out if I passed my final exam (Mr. Houle, are you out there, laughing at me right now?), here is a bit of what I have been up to lately:

About two weeks ago, I hit the first milestone toward total school completion, and that was the end of my weekly Monday drug quizzes, which consistently ruined my Sundays for 24 consecutive weeks. This picture is a glimpse of many, many pages of study notes.

Last week was Customer Appreciation Day at the pharmacy, and these chocolate chip cookies were my contribution to the smorgasbord of food we cooked and baked for our customers.

Here is what I wore on Customer Appreciation Day – it was nice to see everyone dressed up and without their Pharmasave smocks on!

I wear these boots all the time on the blog, but they never show up very well in pictures, so this picture actually shows a bit more of their shape and length.

Last Friday, Darcy and I went to a Sudbury Wolves hockey game, and, as usual, I spent a lot of time people-watching.

Last weekend, Darcy and I also went to our first of five Christmas parties, and just how pale my skin is becomes glaringly apparent in shots like this.

On Saturday, I participated in the annual Santa Shuffle 5K run, but this year I did it in Sudbury with my co-workers. So far, I have taken part in this race in Toronto, Edmonton, Hamilton, and Sudbury, and I definitely consider the Santa Shuffle a holiday tradition! 

10 days until Christmas…

Boots, Spring; leggings, Dynamite; tube-dress, Spoof; shirt, Old Navy; jacket, closed-down boutique in Toronto; scarf, gift;  purse, thrifted; hat, Aldo.

Christmas is, indeed, 10 days away, but you wouldn’t know it by the weather today – it was 12 degrees in Burlington, and this is what I had on while running errands this afternoon. I made Irish soda bread this afternoon, and had to open the kitchen window because of the warmth of the oven. It was heat upon heat, this balmy afternoon of December 15. Unheard of, dear sir!

Over the past couple weeks, I have been counting down to Christmas by participating in all things festive. The month started out with the annual Santa Shuffle 5K:

Erin and I after this year’s Santa Shuffle. The random person we asked to take our picture told us were were “shiny” after she took the shot. Erin and I glanced at each other as if to say, “That’s rude!” but then we looked at the picture and realized she meant our reflective gear. OK, we forgive you.

Here I am at my staff party, which was was a couple weeks ago. We had a fantastic dinner at Red Canoe Bistro in downtown Burlington, and while this martini looks fabulous, it was not. Tequila and salt overload! I finished it, though, so I guess it wasn’t that bad… I am wearing a one-piece pantsuit from Anthropolgie, a fact that my co-workers thought was hilarious – a one-piece pantsuit!?!?

Last weekend, the girls and I got together at my place to celebrate our seventh annual Christmas gift exchange. We started out with actual presents and switched to cookies somewhere along the way, but we are now fully committed to ornaments. We are also fully committed to our annual Christmas exchange potluck. Oh, food. We crawled from the couches to this position, and then collapsed in unison after the picture was taken.

I also guest-blogged over at Dear Edna today, and if you want to look at some lovely pictures of holiday Pyrex, head over there, like OMG, now! And, finally, this Saturday is Bryony’s annual Christmas party, so I need to stop everything and focus on the big things in life, such as what to wear. Ha.

Tilly-tallying

Blouse, thrifted from Goodwill; necklace and earrings, vintage.

It’s hard to believe, but by the time December 31 rolls around, I will have actually kept track of every single clothing-, shoe-, or accessory-related purchase I’ve made since January 1, 2010. I feel like I want to keep it up in 2011, just so I can compare two years’ worth of spending, especially now that I’m starting to get into buying thrift-store clothing. What do you think, readers? Have you found my experiment interesting?

Going back to thrifting, though, I haven’t been able to make the leap into used shoes (I feel squeamish), but when I see other fashion bloggers wearing second-hand shoes, I feel jealous because what they’re wearing looks so great! I mean, it’s probably safe to assume they’re all not suffering from a frightening trifecta of plantar warts, corns, and athlete’s foot, right? I just have psyche myself up to cross this hurdle. Maybe when I find the right pair of shoes, and they call out to me from underneath the piles of cracked, misshapen, sorry-looking reject soles, I will take the plunge. Maybe.

In the meantime, I will continue to buy tops like the one above, whose pattern and colours I am in love with! And for $5.99, it was a steal. I also recently bought an old brown-leather Minolta camera bag (from The Reuse Centre) that I plan to use as a cross-body purse. It was $5, the camera was still inside, and Darcy actually liked said camera, so now it’s on our bookshelf. Five dollars for a purse AND a home decor item? Sign me up!

In other spending, two weekends ago I hit up a few of the “outlet” big-box stores in Cambridge, and, of course, I managed to scrounge up something. I found a navy, green, and white striped long-length T-shirt at Esprit that came to $8.46, and a pair of beige-coloured knit knee-socks from Mexx that were on clearance and cost me a grand total of $2.25. Whoot, der it is.

So, total spending in this post? $21.70. Total so far in 2010? $656.52.

And now, in what must surely be considered real-time blogging (come on, it practically is!), a picture of and Erin and I at the Santa Shuffle 5K this morning:

Dear Edna and De Facto Redhead about to get jacked on adrenalin.

We haven’t run this race together since 2006, so this year was a special treat, as well as the renewal of what is well on its way to being a time-honoured tradition – a tradition that ends with a hug and a knowing look that translates into “Let’s get us some food in our gullet, yo.” Today’s hit: french toast stuffed with Nutella, and that ain’t no lie.

Santa knows

Just back from a run. Shoes, Saucony; socks, Kodiak; pants, Puma; shirt, Nike; hoodie, Denim & Blues via Giant Tiger; packsack, Asics; MP3 holder, Roots; MP3 player, RCA; sunglasses, Mango; hat, Adidas.

My running packsack!

My first mention of running since May! Sad, I know. I did a Mother’s Day run the morning Darcy and I left for Ontario to come and check out apartments and such, and after that there was nothing. From May to September, I lost every ounce of running power that I had, and was humbled into starting all over again when it came to my stamina. How did I ever run a marathon?! Consistency, that’s how, and after a boring running year in which I will have run only two professionally organized events (both 5Ks), I want things to be different in 2011! Erin and I were out last Thursday, and over dinner we bored her boyfriend to tears, moaning about how little we participated in this year, race-wise. But we do have our annual Santa Shuffle 5K running tradition to look forward to and train for, and if you’ll remember, the Santa Shuffle was one of the first things I wrote about when I started my blog last November.

I mentioned then that Erin and I still did the run every year, even though we weren’t together, because, conveniently, there are Santa Shuffle events across Canada. Fast-forward to December 4, 2010, and who could have guessed that I would be back in Ontario and running the race in Hamilton alongside Erin? Wheeeee!

In getting back into the running groove, I have been taking it easy with 5-6K runs for the last month or so. I’m feeling pretty good about that distance right now, and my new brainwave of running errands while, well, running, is proving be an effective time-saver. When I have to pick up something for dinner, I just strap on my little running packsack and take off running. It’s much better than waiting for Darcy to get home from work with the car! It also makes me feel like I’m power-woman, kicking up dust and ticking off one errand at time!

Darcy wasn’t home when I went for my run today, but he usually likes to make fun of my full running gear (pictured above) with cracks that I actually do look like some sort of serious-business super-runner. Oh, how he jests! Upon closer inspection, however, there are definite chinks in my armor. For instance, there is a hole in one knee of the pants I have on (it’s been there for at least five years). Safety pins are holding together the strap of my MP3-player arm band. There’s also a bloodstain on one elbow of my grey hoodie. Oh, and instead of a screw holding one of the arms of my sunglasses intact, there’s an earring and its back doing the job. And if you think I bought all this stuff, think again, because I hate spending money on workout clothes. (So expensive!) A portion of the cost of my shoes was a gift, as were my socks, shirt, watch, packsack, MP3 player, and MP3 holder. The pants are from high school, so my mom probably bought them, and the hat was free, obtained from a pre-race expo a few years ago. I bought the sunglasses.

From this rundown, I can surmise that if it were up to me, I would still be wearing sweatpants with elastic ankles and a high-school pinny, and I would be carrying a Discman with a homemade CD spinning my wicked tracks…

On the run

The running shoes of lore.

As you can see in the side column of my blog, I have a “running” category, but there isn’t much in it. I’m not a fake runner, I swear! It’s just that I haven’t signed up for anything major, i.e. a race requiring training, since I started blogging. But, those carefree days of short 30-minute runs might be winding down. As I’ve explained, EM and I try to run our races together, even though she’s in Ontario and I’m in Alberta. I’ve travelled there, and she’s flown out here, but it’s just not feasible every time, as I’m sure you can understand. So, in keeping with tradition, while she’s soon running  the Hamilton Spring Sprint 5K, I’ve signed up for the Sport Chek Mother’s Day Run and Walk (5K), with all proceeds going to the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation. Both runs are in May, but following that, EM and I are probably putting our synchronized running schedule on hiatus until the fall. She’s going on an amazing extended trip to Europe this summer, and to be bothered with the training for a marathon or half marathon while on vacation is just, well, extremely unappealing!

I, however, am not going to Europe, and therefore have the mundane time to train for a race. And, deep breath…am considering signing up for the Intact Canadian Derby Edmonton Marathon at the end of August. I haven’t run in a marathon for over a year, so I don’t know if I want to jump into the training required, knowing how many hours and the amount of dedication it takes, but, at the same time, I don’t plan on being in Edmonton forever, and I do want to run the marathon in the city I’m living in. What to do, what to do? Readers, what do you think?

But, if I do sign up for this summer’s marathon, I definitely have the running shoes for it, as pictured above. The last time I bought running shoes was August 2007, and they lasted until April 2010. What is this mystical shoe, you ask? The answer is the equally mystical-sounding Saucony ProGrid Omni 8. I bought my first Sauconys, not aware of their strangely long staying power, and then, because of it, bought them again in 2010, old and wise to their extreme durability. (Note to other runners: I’m a street/pavement runner, so while these work for me, trail runners will probably require a different shoe.) Now, on with the show. My 2007 Sauconys have supported me through the severe ups and downs of the following:

2007 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon – 3:52:33

2007 Santa Shuffle Fun Run and Elf Walk (5K) – race not timed

2008 Scotiabank Calgary Marathon – 4:15:16 (Um, I went out to the Calgary Stampede the night before, as well as ate pizza and mini deep-fried doughnuts. I don`t recommend this tactic.)

2008 BMO Nesbitt Burns Prince Edward Island Half Marathon – 1:48:35

2008 Santa Shuffle Fun Run and Elf Walk (5K) – race not timed

2009 Theatre Calgary Big Run (5K) – 24:23

2009 Edmonton 21 Half Marathon – 1:51:30

2009 Santa Shuffle Fun Run and Elf Walk (5K) – race not timed (Thank god, since I was in need of, shall we say, a little hair of the dog…see why here.)

Between all of those races and the training required to run them, I can`t even estimate how many kilometres, weak legs, near vomits, and aching muscles my original Sauconys experienced.

Admittedly, this is an expensive shoe, but most higher-end running shoes are, and I don`t think it`s easy to keep your joints cushioned, as required, without paying up. Lucky for me, though, my mom sent me a gift card from The Running Room as part of my Easter present (yes, KW, you can laugh at that if you want to! I got chocolate, among other things, too! Haha!), and I was able to cut the price down a bit, as well as the total from the Tally It Up Experiment of 2010. Final answer for the shoes was $146.99, and then minus my $75 gift card, I paid $71.99, which brings my 2010 spending total to $181.22.

I`ll let you know when I buy my next pair…in 2013.

Not doing the Santa Shuffle

An unfortunate series of events

From top left, clockwise: All bright-eyed and unknowing beforehand; I should have been at the starting line at this time, but instead was driving myself home; traffic moving so slowly there was time to take pictures; running gear neatly discarded in a tantrum.

So, after spending much time cleaning off and warming up the car this morning, I got to the Santa Shuffle at 9:45 a.m. sharp only to find that the run was cancelled! I drove up to the park gates and I thought it was weird that the Salvation Army had all their trucks by the entrance, but even the waving lady standing outside of the truck convoy didn’t stop me from driving right into the park – come hell or high water, it was Santa Shuffle time! Well, apparently come ton ‘o snow, it was not Santa Shuffle time. And, for the record, that lady’s waving was extremely passive and seemed more like a friendly “Hello, welcome to the Santa Shuffle!” kind of wave, rather than a “Hello! Roll down your window, I have something important to tell you!” wave.

So, after driving into the park, I saw one lone person. I asked her if the run was cancelled. And … confirmed.

It snowed all day yesterday, and overnight, and I guess it was just too much for the Santa Shuffle to handle – they didn’t get the park path cleared off in time for the run’s start time of 10 a.m. It was time to admit defeat and turn around and go home. I felt kind of bewildered at how these last 15 minutes had just turned out – I was ready to blast that Santa Shuffle right out of the stratosphere! I did manage to hold on to two traditions today, though: 1) I texted EM after the “run” was over; and 2) I made chocolate chip pancakes for myself as a “post-run” breakfast.

Apparently the run might be rescheduled but it just won’t be the same if it is. Note: the time on that news release I just linked to is 9:20 a.m.; if I would have done just a tiny bit of research before leaving the house, I wouldn’t have had to venture out in the first place!

Oh well. I guess I can cry into my free root beer float from A&W.

This coupon is what I got in my race kit.

Doing the Santa Shuffle

Me (32610) crossing the finish line ahead of serious-business woman in blue who had her husband rubbing her down pre-race.
Me (#2610) crossing the finish line ahead of serious-business woman in blue who had her husband rubbing her down pre-race.

In a little less than two weeks, I am going to be running in my fourth consecutive Santa Shuffle fun run. It’s a five-kilometre run-walk that happens every year on the first Saturday in December, and proceeds and go to the Salvation Army just in time for Christmas. But, one of the best things about this fun run, to me, is that it takes places on the same day in 34 cities across Canada, from Victoria, B.C., to St. John’s, N.L. I admit, the first year I did this race in Toronto, I didn’t really think about this aspect because I was already running the 5K with one of my best friends, and I didn’t know anyone who ran in any of the other cities participating. But, then, I up and moved on that best friend, far and away to a land called Edmonton.  Now, for the third year in a row, I will run the Santa Shuffle here, and she will run it in Ontario. If we can’t be together to run our races, she and I always try to sign up for events on or around the same day, but every year, we are guaranteed the Santa Shuffle will be there for us, and it is well on its way to becoming a tradition. I love to run, I love Christmas, I love traditions, and I love my friends, so EM, here’s to this year’s Santa Shuffle and its inevitably lacklustre race kits!

Key memories from my Santa Shuffle experiences:

SS 2006: EM and I scored one of the best race kits EVER—chocolate, gum, a stuffed bag. We likey. I remember laughing with EM and eating our pop-rock-filled chocolate elves on the way home on the subway—we were giddy on sugar and the exceptional-race-kit high.

SS 2007: My first official run of any length in Edmonton, and it was COLD! What had I gotten myself into, moving to this Canadian Siberia? It was so cold, Boyfriend DN exclaimed at the end of the race that he could see my “whiskers”—all of the tiny hairs on my face had frozen, making me look like a National Geographic picture of a scientist working in Antarctica—the race clock froze solid as well, and my thighs were burning not because of exertion but because they were probably close to turning black from frostbite.

SS 2008: Boyfriend DN decided to participate this year, and he and I walked the race together. We saw Santa along the way and he even got a little fresh, taking liberties by putting his arm around me. What would Mrs. Claus say!

SS 2009: Upcoming on December 5! I am not hopeful for a race kit that will even come close to rivalling that special year in 2006.