Winter cottage life

You know you live in Canada when you say “It’s only minus 18 degrees outside, let’s go for a walk!” (For my American readers, minus 18 degrees celcius is 0 degrees Fahrenheit.) It was cold all week. And I mean cold, even for Canadians. The temperature was around minus 25 all week, with a wind chill making it feel like minus 30, and colder! Like most people, I spent a lot of time indoors.

I had a weird neck issue all week, so I couldn’t even do yoga. I finally went to see a massage therapist on Saturday, and I am happy to announce that I can now turn my head from side to side without making an “ow, this hurts” face. I felt like a robot all week, turning my whole body to talk to people. I don’t think the cold helped my neck at all.

I had planned to go to a yoga class this morning, then out to brunch with a friend, but decided yesterday to cancel, fearing that my neck might not be ready. I was right. I have mobility, but I feel like I got run over by a truck.

So, yesterday, after deciding to go yet another two days without yoga, I went to visit some friends at their cottage. I was planning on staying for dinner, then coming home, but since I had canceled my yoga date, I stayed overnight.

We had homemade pizza and apple pie, then played a game of “Name the country’s capital” (Yes, we are dorks.) It was hard. I’m not as smart as I thought I was.

This morning we went for a walk, since it was so mild out. (And by mild, I am referring to the -18.) I had my new camera with me and I was on the lookout for photogenic trees, as my assignment for my photography class was to take a picture of a tree. I wanted a picture where the tree was in focus, but the backround was blurry. This one is my favourite.

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I was on the roof when I took this picture. It was nice and sunny, so we hung out for a while.

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I’m also really happy with this picture. It’s pretty and it looks the way I wanted it too! I love that I’m starting to figure this out.

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All in all, it was the perfect winter weekend, even with my sore neck and cold weather. There’s always fun to be had, pictures to take and people to laugh with. Winter’s meant to be enjoyed. Next up, skating and snowboarding!

When in doubt, just add glitter

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the classroom, all the students were stirring, driving their teacher crazy. So the teacher thought to herself “why not add glitter, can only make it better.”

That crazy teacher is me, and glitter does make everything better, even if I now have sparkles everywhere, even in my ears, I think.

When I was little, we made Christmas decorations for our tree every year. One Christmas, we covered pinecones in glitter. They turned out great and my parents still have them. They’re my dad’s favourite. (Allô Pop!) A few weeks ago while walking through the woods with my mom, we gathered a bunch of pinecones so I could do the same with my students.

It’s pretty simple. Give the kids glue, a paintbrush and some glitter, then close your eyes so you can’t see your classroom transform itself into a disco ball.

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Add a little sparkle to your day!

Long weekend bliss

In Canada, it’s a long weekend. My friend Julie is getting married in the summer and she asked me to go with her and her bridesmaids to Montreal to look for dresses. Montreal is only two hours away, and it’s a great city, so I said yes! The only thing is that I’m still doing a no-spending challenge, so shopping was out for me. I decided to go easy on myself and spend on restaurants and stuff, otherwise I might as well have stayed home!

The drive there was great. It was nice and sunny, we had lots to talk about and it went by really fast. The first place we went to was a dress warehouse kind of place. I thought this might be my first challenge, but nothing really caught my eye, so it was all good.

Then we went to a grocery store called Adonis to get some food for lunch. That place was crazy! There were so many people and everyone was just pushing around. I felt like I was in another country all together. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough, but we did get some great food. We went to one of Julie’s friend’s place in the city, where we would be staying, to have lunch.

After that, we took the subway downtown for more shopping. Again, not as difficult as I had imagined to control myself. We also took the opportunity to take yoga poses in random places.

Subway warrior.

Funky lamp-shop yoga pose. Be careful where you put those feet. You break it, you buy it.

Not a yoga pose, but a really great picture, also in the funky shop.

We walked around, drank iced drinks, people watched in cafés and enjoyed being away from home. There are no thoughts of all the things you have to do when you get home when you’re not actually going home. We went back to our home base and ate a wonderful meal. Thankfully, we got enough food at the crazy grocery store earlier, so we didn’t have to go back.

After dinner, we felt really stuffed, so we went for a walk and saw the sunset on Laval, the city across the river. We also had chocolate cookies.

Some of the girls hung out by the water a little longer, but Steph and I had discovered a tree that really needed climbing. Did you know it’s quite possible to climb a tree even while wearing white pants? So much fun too.

Tree pose in a tree.

Sloth pose. I highly recommend it.

The other girls joined us and we had a little tree party.

The next day, we went shopping some more. We found the bridesmaids dresses easily enough. In the same boutique, however, I saw it. The perfect dress. The one that had my name written on it. Up until that point, it hadn’t been too difficult not to shop, but this took all the willpower I had. I didn’t buy the dress, which I am very proud of, but after that, I’d had enough shopping.

Three of the girls wanted to keep shopping, but in different parts of the city. One girl wanted to visit a museum and I wanted to do anything that was free. We decided to split up for the afternoon and meet up later. I had a wonderful time walking along the old port and having a beer while listening to street performers.

By the time we all met up, we were tired, sweaty and happy. We were all ready to be heading home. We stopped along the way for some ice cream, but they were out, so that was disappointing, but we did have time for some truck stop yoga.

The trip ended with a Mamma Mia sing along in the car. Good food, good friends, good times and a surprising burst of willpower. Bliss.

Running with my camera

Today was a gorgeous day! The nicest we’ve had this spring since that freakishly hot week in March. I decided to go for a run. If I want to be a real runner, I have to run.

I drive across a bridge every time I go to yoga, and there are always people running along the water. I wanted to do that too. I discovered that my camera fits perfectly in one of the little elastic pocket things for the mini water-bottles on my fuel belt, so I swapped out one water bottle for my camera. That still left me 3 bottles. That’s 24 ounces of water and let’s face it, I wasn’t going to run a marathon here.

I didn’t time myself, or even check to see how far I was going. I ran, I walked, I took pictures. I kept wandering off the path to get closer to the water. I made friends with a blue-eyed husky. I heard bits of conversations as I ran past people. My favourite was the girl telling her running partner how much she really wanted sweet potato fries.

I encountered quite a bit of wildlife for a run in the city. The first was a groundhog. I named him Juan. At first, I thought he might be dead, but he was just sleeping. He woke up and smiled at me. Actually, I think it was more of a go away and leave me alone look, but whatever. He was cute.

I ran a little more, then I met Dolly and Daniel. They’re ducks. For some reason, they were swimming against the current. Dolly was doing ok, but Daniel kept getting swept away. It was pretty funny and I laughed at him untill I realized it might be bad karma, so I encouraged him instead. He finally caught up with Dolly.

I started running again, only to stop and look at a tree. He didn’t have a name, that’s just silly. But it was a really nice tree. Also, I wanted another little break, so I took a picture.

After my tree break, I ran until I saw some pretty purple flowers. Obviously, I needed a picutre. I’m pretty proud of this picture, because the backround is out of focus. I’ve been trying to figure out how to do that. I’m actually not sure how I did it though.

I was looking for a photogenic bird, because that was the word for my photo a day challenge today. I saw this flighty little thing on a branch. Her name is Raven, even though she’s not a raven. Kind of like when people call their child Apple or Dallas. She kept moving around, but finally she stopped to pose.

I ran some more, then decided I wanted a picture of myself. Let’s hear it for self-timers. I had a scary few seconds where I thought my camera was going to fall off the rock and into the water, but it all turned out ok.

All in all, it was a great day. There was more walking than running, I think. But since I haven’t really been running lately, I feel pretty good about running at all. I had a good time taking pictures and I think my new friends liked having their photo taken. Well, except for Juan, but that’s just the way he is.