A Little Bit of Everything

I hope this post is worth the wait! I’ve never been to Vancouver before and there were a lot of touristy things on my list. We’re about to head home and I feel like I’ve seen almost everything I needed to!

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Our flight out was at 6:55am, you’re supposed to be there a couple hours ahead and it is an hour drive to the airport from our house. Instead of waking up at 3 or 4am Paul and I stayed up to do as much re-skeining as we possibly could. When I dye yarn, it gets all tangled up in the dyebath, so I have to re-skein it to make sure there are no serious tangles in the yarn. The self-striping is a little bit more of a process because of the way it is dyed. So Paul and I didn’t go to bed, just stayed up yarning. Paul’s parents are accompanying us on this trip, so they were picking us and to drive to the airport. Luckily, Paul’s mom has a slightly nervous constitution and planned on picking us up around 2:30 or 3am to get to the airport. After we had packed all the bags into the truck and started to set off, there was a strange noise as we were backing out of the parking lot. The truck had a flat tire.

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We were very early so the 45 minutes it took the four of us to change it wasn’t a huge amount of time lost. We got to park and take the shuttle into the airport. After shuttle, security and all that jazz, there was only about 20 minutes left before we were to board the plane. I wouldn’t be able to sit and snooze for 20 minutes so I took out my needles and started on a hat that I am making for Paul’s little cousin in Vancouver.

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Our plan was to sleep on the plane because there is a three-hour time difference between Ontario and Vancouver. Leaving at 7am and a five-hour flight, it would be around noon Ontario-time. We were actually arriving at 9am so there is some weird time-shift seeming witchcraft happening there. Our plan was to sleep on the plane and get a full first day in Vancouver. Nothing huge planned, but possibly a small amount of exploring around the hotel; get to know your surroundings and all that jazz. I think this plane must have been smaller than your average tiny plane because I felt extremely cramped the whole time. I even took a gravol just before we boarded to MAKE SURE I slept. I did end up sleeping fitfully for all but the last half hour, but it was actually difficult and I am sure the nice girl beside me would have liked to kill me for worming around so much. Dear Nice Lady, I’M SORRY!! I am usually well-behaved on flights and can sit and knit for hours on end. I plug in my headphones, listen to audio books and don’t move AT ALL! My headphones were being finicky and would stop playing if I touched the cord or moved around at all, which is almost worse than not having them. An audio book provides a constant stream of talking, like white noise. I fall into the story, which calms my mind, then drop off to sleep. It’s much more difficult when all you can think about is ‘Don’t move, don’t move, don’t move.’

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I also forgot to mention that we are packing all the stock yarn, banners, samples etc. into checked bags. I put all that yarn into the hands of the airline and just attempted to NOT think about all the things that could go wrong. Our flight was direct, so not much of a chance of anything getting lost, but STILL! I made sure to plaster my name, phone number and address all over each case. I also tried to mix each case with an assortment of bases and colours, so if one was lost or a day or two late getting there it wasn’t going to ruin everything. I felt like I had done everything I possibly could to make sure the airline would be able to find/contact me in the event of lost luggage. However when we went to pick everything up, there were no issues. I am not going to lie, I felt like a girl who needed to pack her whole closet to go on a weeklong trip. We picked up our rental van and headed over to the hotel to see if our room was ready. It was very early, but the Atrium Inn had a room ready and we were able to bring our stuff in. After this, I realized I was STARVING and we went to eat. There was a place across the road where everything was under ten dollars so we checked it out before I passed out from starvation. Lunch, well… brunch, was alright and after this I headed straight for bed and slept for several hours.

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The next day the four of us trekked up to Grouse Mountain. I did want to see the Capilano Suspension bridge, but someone looked it up and it was quite expensive, so we postponed that to another visit. The day was beautiful and clear so on the ride to the top we could see everything!

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There were a lot of things to do at the top including seeing bears, wolves, watching the lumberjack show, just looking around at the ah-mazing views everywhere. We ended up spending a good portion of the entire day there.

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Friday was show prep day! We needed a lot of things and spent all day running around and setting up at the PNE forum. Set up went really well, by the end of the day I felt like this was the most prepared we had ever been for a show, but I think that is partially due to the fact that we couldn’t go back to our house after set up and continue getting things ready etc.
Saturday morning we woke up, had breakfast at the hotel and headed over to the PNE building.

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This was RIGHT across the street so it was really REALLY convenient. We didn’t have to drive at all, just walked over and managed to not take up any of the parking. As soon as the doors opened there were a lot of people roaming around. The whole first day was an absolute mad house, trying to answer questions and give each customer the attention they deserved. Our self-striping rainbow yarn, Psychedelic Onyx, sold out in 2 hours. There were a lot of people doing the ‘first lap’. I always do this at shows to prevent me from buying EVERYTHING! I tried to warn everyone I could that we only brought limited stock to the show. There is always next time though. Everyone LOVED the pattern markers; they were a really big hit.

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I didn’t really manage to talk to a lot of other vendors or people that were teaching because I was so busy, but I will tell you more about day two of the show next post! There is plenty more to tell!

TO Island Give-it-a-Tri Recap

Well… I survived!!! Yaaaaay!

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A couple days before the race, I was starting to become alarmed that I had not received any kind of notification of my wave time. When I went to try on my wet suit, I was telling the person helping me out. He said not to worry about it and just proceed as though I was going to be in the first wave. Considering that the wave times were every 15 minutes and between 8am and 9am, this seemed like a good idea. A couple days before the race I got my email with all my info.

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I picked up my race packet and got body marked on the main-land then Alanna, Paul and I took the ferry over to the island. Those would be out bikes, just chillin’  out. The body-marker people wrote your bib number on your arm and your age on your calf. I feel like this engendered a strange sense of honesty and intimacy that you don’t usually find in races. PS that person in the background of the photo above did NOT look 53. I found a lot of people did not look their age at all. I kept thinking to myself, ‘they wrote their numbers the wrong way around!’

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Yes that would be the rising sun hitting our faces! We took the 6:30am ferry so we were there almost two hours before our wave time (8:20am). When we got to the island, Alanna and I headed over to sort out our transition area. I didn’t realize that all the transitions were happening in the same area; when Alanna tried to explain this, it took much longer than it should have to sink in… I hadn’t had all that much coffee, sue me. I didn’t have to worry about making sure all my stuff was in the right place because there was only one area.

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One of my biggest concerns for the upcoming race was nutrition. I had been having problems with low blood sugar crashes and in the days leading up to the race I wasn’t feeling properly. Since the Wednesday before, when Chloe passed, I had been too upset to eat much. I was completely justified in my concern that I was just going to pass out cold on the ground. To make sure this DID NOT happen, I brought four gels with me. For such a short race this was definitely overkill, but better to have it and not need it.

TO Island Race Recap-3621I had watched a lot of videos about transition areas and what to put where. I wrote down a list and carefully packed everything that was going to be in my transition. There is a neon green towel that held my run stuff, but you can see it better in my first transition area photo. I shoved my sunglasses in my helmet to make sure I would have them for the bike. I don’t normally wear, or like, sunglasses. Something about them being over my eyes and semi-inpairing my line-of-sight really bothers me. I was really glad to have them on this bike because the sun was shining directly at eye level; and it was useful to protect me from the wind.

TO Island Race Recap-3624The race was having little info sessions down at the beach before your wave time. Just important safety information and basic race course directions. After figuring out where all the in’s and out’s were, we put on our wetsuits and sunscreen and headed down to the beach. The timing anklets were to be picked up on the beach so we grabbed those and then got into the water. I don’t remember what the exact temperature was, but they announced it and used the word ‘balmy.’ Under no freaking circumstances was that ‘balmy!’ I know what you’re thinking, but you had a wetsuit on! The wetsuit lets in a bit of water next to your skin and your body heat warms up that bit of water. It is still freaking cold when it hits you!

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So that is me attempting to claw my way out of the wetsuit that attempted to coke me to death in the water. I am not sure what happened, it may or may not have been me just having a small anxiety moment, but it felt like the collar of the wetsuit got tighter and tighter as I was swimming. I feel I should mention that I have some kind of irrational fear of open water. I have no idea where it came from, but I get nervous in open water. I swam most of the 400m on my back and seeking a happy place that was not the water. When I was finally close enough to shore to stand up, my head started spinning and I was just trying not to fall back down. I find that this usually how it happens with swimming though, you don’t realize how hard you’ve been working until you get out of the water.

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The transition went well, by the time I had wandered back to the transition area and peeled off my evil wetsuit I didn’t feel like I was going to pass out. I walked my bike out and took off. The biking portion was easily the strongest section of the race for me. I pushed myself a little bit and passed a couple people, then all of the sudden was over taken by a lot of women from the wave after mine. It was humbling to see these women 20 years older than me totally kicking my ass. I really hope I am in that kind of shape when I get there! When I finally got back to the transition area, I did the sweetest rolling dismount you could possibly imagine. I used to do this as a kid all the time. Living on a farm, you ride your bike a lot and I  am well practiced. It still felt good when the race volunteer said ‘nicely done!’

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Last but not least! The run! This was difficult for me because you’re not allowed to listen to any music. I usually try to loose myself in the music for the first 2K of a run, that is just how long it takes to find my groove. Unfortunately, this was a majority of the run for this race. I feel I can say with certainty, I am a distance runner. I tried to keep myself occupied by yelling encouragement to others, good-naturedly heckling the people who were watching (but not cheering) and making sure I was going the right way. You had to do two laps of the running course, which kind of sucked because it was the same view as the first time, but I understand they can’t book off the whole island. By the time I was doing my second loop and coming to the end, I was finally hitting my stride.

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The best part about this race in particular was the chocolate milk after. This triathlon series was ‘recharge with milk’ by Multisport Canada. There were photos and also free food for the athletes. No medal though. There are fewer and fewer events handing out medals and I would TOTALLY pay extra just to get one. We got t-shirts along with the various kinds of swag and samples the sponsors hand out.

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All the photos from the race are free, which I thought was a REALLY nice touch. I’ve done other races where the photos cost an arm, leg, pound of flesh, first born and you had to guess what the race co-ordinator’s third cousin, on their mother’s side, was named.

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Not too terrible for a first tri. My goal was to come in around an hour and I made it!

Awesome Etiquette the Podcast!

I was listening to the Knitmore Girls a podcast that is, unsurprisingly, about crafting. Jasmin happened to mention that she was listening to a new podcast called Awesome Etiquette. I was intrigued by this and decided to give it a listen.
The hosts, Lizzie Post and Daniel Post Senning, are fantastic! They’re both passionate about lubricating your way through interesting social situations. We’ve all had that experience of a circumstance where there is not a clear way forward. We’ve either managed to put ourselves there, or have been placed there by another person. Whether it is your own fault or the doing of another, Lizzie and Daniel have a solution. They’re associated with the Emily Post Institute. I will confess that I had not heard anything about Emily Post’s life or career. This is quite embarrassing considering she is a famous author and I have a degree in English Literature. I guess we can’t read them all, right?
A quick synopsis of Emily Post, she was born in 1872 as Emily Price in Baltimore, Maryland. She was educated at home as a young child and attended Miss Graham’s finishing school when her family moved to New York. Emily was married to Edwin Main Post and had two sons. She started writing when her sons were old enough to start boarding school, but after her divorce. Emily Post became a name synonymous with good etiquette as her first book, Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home, became a best seller. She continued to write and founded the Emily Post institute in 1946. The institute is carried on today by her descendants.
One of the most vital things I have drawn from this podcast is, you cannot control the actions of others. They never explicitly say it and always give advice on how to handle the actions of others, but I find myself thinking if everyone were just a little more accepting it would make life so much easier. When you have to tell that person they have BO, when someone is unintentionally hurting your feelings or dealing with well-meaning strangers; it all goes a little smoother when the other party is accepting.
I definitely suggest you check it out because it is A) awesome and B) seriously informative and entertaining! If there is one thing we could all use more of, it is common courtesy.


What I’ve been finding Pinteresting lately!

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The sheep cupcakes are possibly the cutest thing ever! I don’t think I would be able to actually eat them. The parmesan sliders are going to be a must-try!

Chicago Vacation

For the past five days I’ve been in Chicago with my friend Marainne! I’ve been to Chicago a couple times before, but this was a first time for my partner in crime. We had a long list of sights to see and only three real days of sight seeing.

First of all we decided to drive because the flights were quite expensive. It was only supposed to be around 8 hours, but with the stops and traffic right at the end it ended up being 9-10 hours. We still managed to walk 7K to a restaurant; my favourite place, Vapiano.

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Day two was intense we got to the cloud gate (the bean) and the Shedd Aquarium. We spent a lot of time in the aquarium so by the time we got out we just headed back to the hostel. After relaxing for a little bit, we looked around the neighbourhood. The other times I have gone to Chicago I stayed right downtown, this time we stayed in Wicker Park. It is a nice place with a lot of little shops and a few restaurants. We milled around a bit then stopped at a place, I cannot remember the name, but it had ‘Brewery’ in the title. I can’t seem to find it on a map either. I got a pulled pork quesadilla, which was fantastic! The rest of that night was kind of easy going.

The next day we took the car around to a couple places that weren’t easily reached by car. We stopped at REI to take a look for outdoors things and triathlon gear. There was a great deal of outdoors-y things, but not much of the triathlon gear that was online, but I did find one suit that I got to try on. It was in the clearance section but it turns out it is actually full price. Then we went by St Mary of the Angels church. It’s in a few of the books I read and the last time I was there it was raining, so I got some nice sunny pictures!

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Then onto Downers Grove to Knitche, where a yarn crawl had just started! I bought a yarn crawl t-shirt, even though I wouldn’t be going to the other stores. It was good to be there again! I also had the BEST potato soup I’ve ever had at the Irish Pub down the street.

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From there we went onto Navy Pier, and had dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. The last stop was at Willis Tower, were we watched a lightning storm move in. We got back to the hostel just in time to avoid the storm.

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Last day we walked down by the river, along Wacker, to do the Magnificent Mile. There were a lot of stores to go through and we stopped for some deep-dish pizza along the way, of course. I brought home the second half of the pizza for Paul. There were two whole slices left and I didn’t want to carry around a pizza box, so I asked the waitress to put it in the smallest container she could. When she looked at me with confusion, I said “just take it as a challenge.” She came back with a container the size of a Bath and Body Works three-wick candle. I would say it was about 600ml? I didn’t manage to get a photo, as the pizza was consumed as soon as I got home.

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After shopping, we went over to Buckingham Fountain. It was previously blocked off because of a huge music festival, lollapalooza. It was open on Monday though and we were able to walk through to see it in all it’s glory.

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The drive back on Tuesday was quite long and the best thing about it (or perhaps the most terrifying) was seeing a truck that was supposedly filled with ‘Molten Sulpher.’ I immediately pointed out that of all the ways to go; that would make the top of many lists. I think it was praying on Marianne’s mind too because slightly later in the trip she pointed out a refrigerator truck and theorized that if the two were to crash, they might cancel one another out.
Maybe it was all the driving and the tired-ness that happens with that kind of long trek, but we found this absolutely hysterical. Overall I say it was a good trip, there was a lot of walking, but all worth it!

The Parasol Protectorate

The latest books I am listening to! I stumbled upon the Parasol Protectorate Series purely by coincidence. They were mentioned briefly at the end of another audio book series. The only thing mentioned was the name of the first book and the author, Soulless by Gail Carriger.

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These books are set in Victorian England; an alternate reality were werewolves and vampires are accepted into everyday society. The main character, Alexia Tarrabotti, was born without a soul. Her soulless state leaves her unaffected by other supernatural’s powers.

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This complicates things in the very beginning when Miss Tarrabotti accidentally kills a vampire. Queen Victoria sends her lead investigator, a werewolf named Lord Maccon.

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Unlike most of the books I read this series has concluded with five books. I am usually finishing off a last book and waiting forever for the next one to come out. I guess that will be true with this one, because no more will come.

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The thing I like most about these books is the humour. Miss Tarrabotti is unfailingly polite to everyone, even in the most ridiculous situations. Even though this is Victorian times she is not submissive at all. Miss Tarrabotti prides herself on being an intellectual woman with a sharp tongue, mostly aimed at Lord Maccon, but who’s counting?

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I haven’t finished the last book yet, but if it is anything like the other ones it will not disappoint. I’ve been texting my friends with quotes and passages trying to lure them into reading all the books!! Lets hope I can succeed!