Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Wall

Since I have been back at the gym hitting the weights with my 5x5x5x5 program (which is awesome), I have been super careful with my diet.  If I am heading to the Bahamas in November, I want to be in some kind of reasonable shape.  Thus my day to day food has been limited to natural foods, meat, veggies and lots of soup.  I love soup in the fall/wintertime.  I make a mean rice veggie cabbage soup.  I have at least three big bowls a day.  Yum.  (I am not on the cabbage soup diet!!)

Well I guess my body hasn't made the calorie reduction transition yet because in my 120 minute spin class last night, I hit the wall hard.  I was soaking wet sweating up a storm and then all the sudden I started to get a chill.  Then I stopped sweating altogether.  Within minutes I got that dizzy/nauseous feeling and had to pull back on the attacks and hill climbs.  Forget the intervals.  I wasn't going near them.  I scraped by the next 4 tracks to the finish but only at about 30%.  I had nothing left.  Nada.  Even if I wanted to push, my energy output was just not there. 

I never realized that such a small reduction in calories can have such an impact on your levels of energy while working out.  I will have to rejig my numbers to make sure that doesn't happen again.  It did not feel good at all. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fresh Paint

"Earth One"   24x24

Monday, September 27, 2010

Gallery Showing

I was having dinner with a friend of mine who owns a spa here in Ottawa.  Beautiful place.  Stunning really.  Anyway, he offered me the chance of a lifetime.  He wants to know if I would be willing to hang my art in his spa for a few months.  He would do a mini "opening" gala and then I would use the spa as a gallery to promote and sell my stuff.  Free of charge!  He plans on changing artists every 2 months but still...this is a big deal for me.  If I can get in there twice a

Anyway, I said yes of course and drew up some new sketches and pulled out some old projects I had stored away.  I popped in my ipod and started getting creative to a 6hr non stop pop mix I have.  (best mix evah!!)

So I finished a new piece yesterday which was supposed to be my first piece in the collection I am doing for the spa.  Problem is, the moment, I mean within 5 minutes of posting it on my website (, it sold.  Just like that.  Now don't get me wrong, I love a sale but now I have to start all over again.  ;)  Just teasing.  Here is piece number one.  It is called SunSpot.  Sold for 200$ in my fastest sale ever. 

Friday, September 24, 2010


Last week on Facebook, I asked all my friends to post their top 5 books.  After waiting a day or two, I realized that most of my friends don't read....or maybe can't.  Who knows?  I don't judge.  ;)  

A few got back to me with some suggestions and I went and ordered a crapload from Chapters that night.  I ebooked one selection in particular because many people had it on their list.  It took me two days to finish it and I have to say, I wasn't impressed.  No idea how or why it won a Pulitzer.  Anywhoo, what I failed to do was list some of my all time favs.  Just in case anyone cares...

In no particular order:

The Life of Pi. 
I really enjoyed this book, except for a section in the middle which I found had no relation to the rest of the book.  The ending, although brilliant, made me so mad I threw the book across the room.  It tested my beliefs and totally had me thinking.

One (by Richard Bach)
This book basically changed my life.  The concept of it really appealed to me as a 20 something year old and it set the tone for much of how I live my life today.  At times it can get a bit heavy on the "spirituality" stuff but the message is pretty clear.  I went on to read many of his books and found another favorite "Illusions".  Both are worth the read but beware, they are new age style of books.  Much like the Celestine Prophesy.

The Celestine Prophesy
I loved the message of this book.  Although the story was fiction and a bit forced at times, I really invested in the message.  Much like the Di Vinci Code, the concepts are well explained to the point where you are questioning the possibilities.  For example, do you know that the odds of picking up the phone and finding the person you were about to call already on the other nearly impossible.  And yet how often has it happened to you?  Hmmmm.

The Red Tent
This book was recommended to me.  Loved it.  The story of Dinah from the bible told in a way in which you are there with her every step of the way. 

Interview with the Vampire, Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned
If you haven't read these classics, you live under a rock.  This is where it all began.  Anne Rice's ability to set the stage in ancient times is breathtaking.  The stories are rich and creamy with detail and anguish.  Do not base your judgement on the movies.  They were horrible.  Unfortunately, I found that the writing after these books got a bit pressured.  These are a must read.

The Time Travellers Wife
Again, don't judge this on the movie.  This book is unlike anything I had read before.  It tells the tale of a man who uncontrollably time travels to different times in his life...but at various ages. It is a "timeless" story of how love finds a way against all the odds.  It is not a science fiction story.  Believe it or not, it is very much a love story but not a cheesy one.

Memoires of a Geisha
This book was an instant fav of mine.  An amazing tale of a small girl and her journey through the trials of becoming a geisha against her will.  It is page after page of action, love, betrayal and hope.  Another must read.

A Map of the World
A very sad and touching story about two families and how they come to terms with a tragic death of a child.  Bonds of family and friendship are tested, built and shattered seemingly at the same time. 

Deep End of the Ocean
A must for every mother out there.  A heartwrenching story of a mother who's son goes missing in seconds, the sadness that takes over their lives and the unbelievable twist of fate that sends everyone over the edge of happiness and despair. 

Tales of the City (series)
This old classic series is a must read for anyone who likes how small stories all pull together in twists of fate and crazy coincedences.  These books, set in San Fran are the essence of story telling.  It is like a soap opera of characters and scenarios that will have you laughing and crying at the same time.  Brilliant books. 

That is it for now.  I am sure I will add more later.....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sleepless in Ottawa

Let me start by saying that I am not political.  I don't care about Liberal, Conservative, Democrats and Republicans.  I don't even know what most of them stand for when it comes to issues.  What I do care about is honesty and integrity.  Last night I saw and heard a level of dishonesty that had me reeling.  So much so that it kept me up most of the night.  A first let me assure you. 

Before I continue I just want to add that I don't necessarily care about your views on the matter either.  It isn't what I am upset about.  I don't know much about the issue myself and really don't have anything to add to it other than the fact that I think the people in power positions in the US are scared little boys.  ANYWAY....

During yesterdays Senate discussion to repeal DADT, Senator John McCain got up and presented a Filibuster to the bill (a stalling tactic that puts everything on hold for days, months...etc.)(I had to look that up).  Although it seems that everyone was expecting this, what shocked me was that he had to filibuster the entire bill.  In case you didn't know, the bill is the Defense Bill.  It is responsible for the allocation of funds to the branches of the military.  Thus, for the 2nd time in US history, in over 48 years, the Defense Bill was filibustered.  48 years!  It is basically a non issue kind of bill.  But by filibustering the bill, in essence, they are willing to stop the entire Military Budget allocation in order to retain the power to kick gays and lesbians out of the military.  But wait, that isn't even the part that shocked me.  If you are passionate about that fight, bring it.  Whether right or wrong, at least you are doing what you believe in.  My opinions are irrelevant to your passion.

What had me reeling is the fact that John McCain is a hypocrite and liar to the highest degree.  I don't care what his views are.  But when you take a stand on something, stick with it.  Mr. McCain has changed his views on this matter depending on who was in power at the time.  When DADT came onto the agenda, the senator was quoted (on video) saying that he defered the decision of DADT to Colonel Powell.  He went on to say that if the military decided to repeal the policy, he would support them to the fullest.  In fact he explained that he felt senators should not hold the power over the military and their decisions.  Makes sense.  BUT then when Colonel Powell said he was going to move ahead to repeal DADT without the aid of the Senate, McCain jumped up and said that the miliatry should NOT have the power to change such policies and only the Senate should have the ability.  In other words, HIM!!  Holy hypocrite!  AND THEN, in his speech on the Senate floor, he flips flops back and says he wants to wait until the military provides their report later this year on it's findings regarding the DADT policy before the Senate should debate it.  WTF!!  So that was shocking moment number 1. 

Shocking moment number #2 was last night when after the Senate debate, he provided an interview where he angrily and sternly kept repeating that the DADT policy does not "seek out" soldiers in order to prosecute them.  He must have said it 20 times back to back.  That did it!  Has he not been paying attention?  Hundreds of now discharged officers, men and women share the same story whereby the military actively hacked into their private lives (and even emails) in order to use the policy to discharge them.  There are hundreds of confirmed and documented cases.  As the leader of this fight, whether a just one or not, McCain should be the most informed...would you not think?  From my standpoint there is only one word to describe his technique.  Lies!  He is a liar.  Blunt, deceptive, unapologetic and seemingly uncaring.  He is now on record (video) many times flip flopping his opinions and views when it serves his purpose. 

Again, this isn't really about DADT, I have my own views on that but that isn't the point.  The point is Americans, do you want someone who is soooooo comfortable with lying and deception holding a position of power in your country?  How do people justify this guy? 

So that is what kept me up all night.  I was asking myself how our Southern neighbors could be so blind or plain stupid to allow such things to continue.  It blows my mind. 

Here is some background.

Monday, September 20, 2010

This weekend in annoyances.

What a great and beautiful weekend here in the Nations Capital.  Sunny, warm with a nice breeze.  Perfect for anyone who likes being outside.  Except for those of us with servere allergies who were stuck inside crying at the window.  Ya, that would be me.

No worries, I endeavoured.  I went and did errands and the sort.  It started fine but ended with me being super grumpy.  I give you once again, some stupid people habits...

1.  Do NOT decide to stop and have a conversation with your long lost yoga buddy at the end of a grocery isle with the both of you leaning on your carts.  And don't get snotty when people point out that this isn't really the best place to be holding up the people traffic.

2.  Continuing the grocery theme for a minute....WOMEN, why do you wait for the last possible minute to pull your wallet out of your purse and dig for money.  You know you have to pay, be prepared...get that sucker out and ready to go.  We do not like to wait while you count out 73 cents in change. 

3.  Does anyone ever really sing along to the super loud music you are playing in YOUR car.  Has anyone ever leaned over and said "I love that song".  Ya, didn't think so.  Turn it down Car DJ.

4.  Why wouldn't I wear spandex shorts to my spin class?  Duh.  You sit there and enjoy your class in your satin soccer shorts and we'll talk in 60 minutes.  I am sure your opinion will change.

5.  If you can talk or text while on a cardio machine at the gym, you are NOT working hard.  In fact you are working harder than ever at annoying the shit out of those around you. 

And I am not writing to be negative.  I love being positive, it is just that stupid people are ruining my ability to be as positive as I could be.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Another Elite Upgrade

Every once in a while I get a glimps of someone else's reality which inevetably throws MY reality into a tailspin.  Case in point....

On an almost daily basis, I will post my fitness achievements for that day on my Facebook, or here (locked for private) just so that I can remind myself of my accomplishments.  (People don't do that enough in my opinion).  For example, on Tuesday I posted about my awesome 60km cycle around the Ottawa/Hull region.  Nice and fast cadence...about 37-40kph.  I pat myself on the back and continue to surf.

I eventually move on and read some of my fav cycling blogs like "SkiBikeJunkie", "Fat Cyclist" and "Dug" where they describe THEIR training.  So just the other day SBJ wrote about his latest cycling adventure in the Lotoja race in Utah.  An awesome race report with tons of detail and some nice pics. 

So after reading his post, let's just say my days of patting myself on the back for a 60k ride are over.  This crazy bastard cranked out a 332km race over the course of just over 9 hours.  Umm ya, you read that right.  It is the longest one day race offered by the USA Cycling Federation and is about 7 hours too long for me.  I can't even fathom doing anything like that.  It would never enter my mind.  I can't stay awake 9 hours without needing a nap on an average day for god's sake.  Oh ya, and he describes some of his straight away attacks doing 50kph+.  I can't even count that high without making the Cookie Monster laugh. 
Alas, I used to think this guy was one of know, the normal guy....but alas, that ideal has been shattered.  No more relating to him.  I will have to upgrade him to the elite category where I hold people I admire.  Crap, that group is getting pretty full.  Are there any average Joes and Joannes out there anymore?  Sheesh.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Remind me later

The one thing I should have thought about before buying my new place in Quebec is the location of the nearest gym.  In my old place, the gym was a 2 minute drive.  Awesomeness.  At the new place, I have to drive about 20 minutes back onto the Ontario side to hit a Goodlife.  This sucks.  I fear it is going to create an obstacle in my delicate mind where I will use it as an excuse not to go.  Grrr

So if I move again in the coming years, remind me to look for the nearest gym before committing to a new place. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Funny but True

This is not directed at anyone.  Just a funny pic I came across.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Reality's a bitch

I think one of the hardest things for an athlete to accept is that moment when they realize their former glory is over.  I realized it about 8 years ago when I "retired" from competitive tennis.  But then last year I decided to take another stab at it and play in some USTA and Canadian City Championships.  Well I was reminded yesterday that 40 year olds do not have a solid place in a field where you are coming up against 22 and 26 year olds.  Yesterdays semi final match was horrible.  Not because I was outplayed, but because I couldn't find my game.  It was as if I had forgotten how to play.  My serve was fine but my groundstrokes just simply failed in every way.  My bread and butter shots were reduced to frail attempts to keep the ball in play.  To top it off, I double faulted on match point.  The most embarrassing way to end it. 

I wasn't necessarily upset that I lost the match, I kinda knew I was going to, but I felt really embarrassed when it was over.  I don't want competitors thinking I don't deserve to be there.  I've put in my time and paid my dues over the past 30 years.  I have a house full of trophies and such which almost makes it worse.  I feel like that washed up senior trying to relive his youth.  Maybe?  I just know I feel at home on the tennis courts.  There is nothing I would rather be doing.  So not sure how to approach this dilemma.  Do I bow out now and just focus on the fun aspect again or do I keep putting myself in these situations and open myself up to being a walkover each time? 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A first.

So here I am sitting at a kitchen table grumpy as all hell.  Lost in the first round of a doubles match for the first time in my life (one without a bye)...I think.  Seriously.  6/4 6/4.  We were totally confident going into the match and seeing the opponents.  Maybe too confident.  Two tiny asian men not all that powerful.  However, how wrong did that end up being.  They were awesome at the net.  The net ninja on the other side had the most amazing touch on volleys I can honestly say I have never seen anything like it.  Either way my serve failed me and I only held 3 times out of 7.  Horrible stats.  Everything else was good.  Hit solid strokes, returns were fine but the serve just didn't do enough damage.

Still have my semi final singles match.  Here's hoping that goes a bit better.


So here I am in Montreal to play in one of the last tennis tournys for me in the season.  Normally I am calm and relaxed just chillin waiting for my matches to come up.  This time around, I have a pretty intense case of the jitters.  Not sure what is going on.  Butterflies, bathroom trips ;), and all around nerves.  What is going on?  I have been competing in this sport since I was almost 12 and can't remember many times when I felt like this.  This isn't the US tour, it's not the European tour....THOSE I had reason to be nervous.  Not sure what is up with me this time around.  The weather here in Montreal is cool and cloudy.  Seems everyone is getting a bite of that storm in the US.  I hope they vent out the venue.  I heard last night that the indoor temp on the courts were over 38 degrees.  Not fun when mixed with almost 100% humidity. 

Anyway, my matches don`t start until noon but I feel like I need to be at the site.  So I am going to enjoy my coffee and then hit the road.  Maybe if I am there watching other matches, my nerves will calm down.  Can`t hurt.