Oh, hi again. This was such a momentous occasion that I thought it deserved it's own post.

I went for a run on Sunday, for the first time in months. MONTHS. Like, 6 months.

Last fall, we were going to the gym all the time. Every day, for 3 or 4 months, we'd get on the early ferry and head straight for the treadmill. We were doing so well for so long and then, as the weather started getting worse and it started getting super dark outside, we stopped getting up when the alarm went off, voting to slam the snooze and cuddle up instead. To stay warm, of course.

So, now that it's like...25 degrees out there AND in our house and the sun rises before the roosters (they are on island time), we really have no excuses. Kurt has been back in the gym for about a month now, but me? Not so much. I've been more focused on getting better, sleeping better, eating better (another FAIL lately) and, unfortunately, have let the feeling better part of the equation slide. On Sunday, on a whim, I dragged my running shoes and intervals watch out of where they had been hiding and took them for a run. And you know what? It wasn't so bad. Considering that I have done basically no physical exercise since late November, I was surprised at being able to run at all. I made it through about half an hour of running/walking and felt OK by the time I got back to the apartment and even felt pretty OK that night.

And then today I wanted to kick the yesterday Me's ass, because my legs are KILLING ME. It was even painful to sit in a beach chair and tan, because even when they aren't moving, my legs are hurting. I'm being punished for months of slothy behavior and I know it.


Loong Weeekend.

It's almost time for bed...the long weekend is officially over. Bummer. Luckily, we only have about three weeks or so until the next one. They "cancelled" the June long weekend last year because the Powers That Be decided that the Queen's birthday is no longer something to celebrate. Instead, they offered a long weekend in October to recognize national "heroes". And then a few weeks ago they realized that Tall Ships is coming for the long weekend in June, and so they reinstated the national public holiday and took away the one in October. And then they made it very clear that the national public holiday in June formerly known as the Queen's Birthday is now going to be known as National Heroes Day. Of course. Effin' retarded, but whatever...I'm all about extra days to tan and frolic on boats, so I'm not complaining.

We had a great weekend. On Saturday, we were invited out on a new friend's boat, which was a great way to kick off summer. With two 150's on the back, we were flying around, wind in our hair, sun on our skin, various rum drinks in our hands. It was awesome. I came back a tiny bit sunburned on my shoulders but all in all, a perfect summer day. It also made me want a boat...until I remembered how much work they are and how much it would suck to own a boat during a hurricane or tropical storm. It was a short-lived dream.

Sunday was gorgeous...the whole weekend was, actually. Sunny, hot, calm waters, and the occasional breeze. Just enough for you not to realize that your skin is burning. I went for a run in the morning (more about that painful mission later) and then we went for lunch on a sunny patio, and for a walk around the local 18th century fort, which was teeming with tourists who had spilled off the largest cruise ship that I have ever seen. It was ridiculous. Straight from New Jersey to our shores, they piled off the thing, mostly inappropriately dressed and mostly wearing fanny packs. I am 100% sure that you will never, ever see me on a cruise until I'm old and rich enough for one of those world cruise things where you see the whole world in 109 days for somewhere in the region of $50K. But to spend $800 on 4 (or, shudder, more) days on a floating amusement park with the fanny pack/Hawaiian shirt crowd? This is about as likely as seeing me at Disney World. Never going to happen. I suppose you could say that it's just not how I roll.

Anyways, after the walk, we went our separate ways, as I had a "girl's night in" with some new friends and Kurt was going to a BBQ where males were more than welcome. I had fun. We watched a seriously weird movie (Happy Go Lucky), ate some junk food and had some girl talk. Pretty standard girl's night.

Today was HOT. Maybe hotter than the other two days, which made me feel very sorry for all of the half-marathoners who had to chug through the heat on their way to the finish line this morning. Suckers. We went to the local beach for a couple of hours and I sat there and wished that I had thought to bring my camera to do my own sociological study like Heather, because it would have been phenomenal. Pitbull puppies on ropes, a six-foot man with dreadlocks down to his knees, some homeboys drinking from paper bags and yelling at some other homeboys about drowning their dogs (they were kidding...I think)...local action everywhere. We didn't stay long.

And then, the icing on my long weekend, a dinner date tonight with my favorite dude. We went to one of our new favorite restaurants and had some Italian food and a bit of cheeky rum punch. The perfect way to end a Monday.

Sometimes I get so caught up in the day-to-day that I forget about the actual fact that I live here, on this little Rock. And then I'll find myself sitting at a restaurant and I'll see a GECKO run across the floor and think holy eff...I live here.

Book Club.

Tonight I had my very first book club meeting, since my VERY first book club meeting in Ottawa which also turned out to be my last because the book club seemed to kind of disband shortly after I joined. I've always liked the idea, but was always just a little bit intimidated by the idea of discussing books after I've read them. It's not that I have nothing to say, but I wonder if there is some big message or theme to the books that I've totally missed. And then to have to have that "OH!" moment AT a book club meeting? Hmmm. Awkward.

However, I had nothing to fear. My first book with them, The Piano Teacher, pretty much left all of us with the same taste in our mouths. Great book. Easy read. Entertaining. BUT...it ended too abruptly and some of the chemistry between the characters seemed to be a little off, and none of us were sure if it was supposed to be off, or if it just wasn't written that way. Anyways, it was a success. Our next book is Katherine by Anya Seton, so I'll get started on that this weekend.

Seen on the Rock:

Dog sunglasses.
I know the picture sucks. I was trying to discreetly take it out the back of our car by trying to steady the camera on Kurt's shoulder, but really...there is just no good way to get a clear photo out of the back of a moving car without being totally obvious about it.
Yes, that is a daschund strapped into what appears to be a Baby Bjorn on the front of that girl, and yes...it is wearing tiny dog sunglasses.

Happy Hour.

One of our more civilized pastimes on the Rock, not to be confused with the uncivilized pastimes in which we also partake occasionally, is Happy Hour. Every Friday night through the summer (starting in April and ending in October - yes, that is summer), us working folk shut down our computers, turn off the BlackBerrys (or at least ignore any work-related calls) and enjoy a cheeky drink or two (or eight) together at one of the local designated Happy Hour spots. For the most part, Happy Hour happens at one of two major hotels and for the past few weeks, we've been making our way to the other one. It involves a 5 minute ferry ride on a tiny catamaran, $5 drinks ($2 cheaper than the original Happy Hour) and...it has an amazing view of the sunset.

A little live music...a cold drink in hand...good friends and a great view...what's not to love?

Cold Food.

The days are getting hotter and hotter around here. The other night, in fact, we had to turn on our A/C for the first time, to get rid of some of the humidity in the air so that we could sleep. I didn't think it was that bad until I noticed that the cover of a book I had laying on the table had curled right up, and that my glass of water had a small lake of condensation underneath it. Last year, I don't think we turned the A/C on until July, so we might be in for a HOT one. Or maybe we had a cooler winter, and now our bodies are having trouble adjusting. I don't know. I just know that my coconut oil has liquified, I don't like wearing long pants anymore, and my pashmina collection has retired for the season.

At this time of year, my diet changes drastically. I think most people experience that longing in the spring/early summer for fresh fruits, vegetables - lots of salads and icy cold drinks. I never get bored of fresh, cold meals when the weather is warm. Plus...they tend to be super easy. This, in itself, makes them awesome. My ideal summer diet would consist of sushi, salads, fruit and smoothies. Maybe some prosciutto and melon...because that is delicious. Or some antipasti - olives, cold grilled vegetables...mmmmmm.
For the past few weeks, we have not been eating very well. Between being busy, overly social (for us), and having guests, there have been a lot of restaurant meals. As a result, I feel like I'm retaining 10 pounds of water right now (I'm probably not that far off) and with our wedding almost exactly 3 months away, it's time to get down to business in the eating healthy department. I would hate to wake up on my wedding day having a proverbial "fat day". THAT is the worst.

Tonight, we got home late, talked about doing our taxes (we have yet to start) and forgot that, again, we hadn't planned our dinner and before we knew it, it was 8:30 and we were still looking at each other, willing the other to come up with some genius, quick, delicious, healthy, brilliant meal idea. Nothing. However, a quick trip to the store and a few dollars later, we each found ourselves with a healthy serving of fresh, homemade guacamole, a stack of "dippers" (chips for him, celery for me), some jalapenos for the side and a couple of chopped mangos waiting for us in the freezer. I love frozen fruit.

Delicious, simple, filling, healthy, satisfying. I am back on the summer food train for sure.

If you have never made guacamole...shame on you. It's the easiest thing ever:

- mash an avocado, or two, or four, up in a bowl.
- add the juice of a couple of limes (maybe only one if you're using one avocado)
- add a diced tomato
- add 1/2 an onion, finely chopped
- add a dash of cumin
- add as much or as little cilantro as you want (fresh, chopped)
- add a sprinkle of sea salt

Done. I added a sprinkle of kelp granules to mine, just for a little extra greens in my otherwise nutritionally lacklustre day.

Dear CRA: Eff Off.

So, guess what I get to spend my evening with? Pencils, Tax Form 45X1123590277-A (and corresponding schedules A through Z) or something like that and a big calculator. Why? Because I made a whole $300 in Canada last year and Canada WANTS TO KNOW ALL ABOUT IT. Talk about overkill. Seriously. I would make more money running a lemonade stand in a prime location. If we owned a whole bunch of houses that made $300 per year, I can see why CRA would care. But we own one. We make X amount of dollars off of it in rent, which we offset by claiming the mortgage interest, maintenance fees, how much it cost us to put a dishwasher that holds wine glasses in...a whole bunch of stuff. And then we end up with our total income...$300 each. Give or take $2. And then we have to spend a few precious evenings working out all of the above (stated simply enough, but Form 45X1123593050277-A (or whatever) doesn't actually allow for things to be stated simply) into complicated equations and honestly...I would just about kill to have one of those H&R Block nerds knock on my door right now and offer to do it. I would even pay them the full $300, just to take this off my plate.

Literary Beach Bum.

Beach season has officially arrived, and I'm already two down on my standing Sunday beach date. These involve me, a chair, a towel, a good (or at least mindless) book - the current pick is Under the Tuscan Sun, my SPF arsenal, artistic tan-line avoidance and, hopefully, a friend or two. Or 10. Last Sunday, just three of us braved the elements, which included a bit of a breeze, which made the sand fly around. We left with a nice coating of it on pretty much everything, so it's now all over the floors in the apartment, which will need to be swept AGAIN. Beach season means that the broom never sleeps. We came home, showered off and settled in to watch Slumdog Millionaire, which was every bit as good as everyone said it would be. I'll have to add the book to my summer reading list. Currently in the works/in the queue?

- The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee (a book club pick, and I'm loving it)
- Katherine by Anya Seyton (another book club pick)
- The Amazing Adventures of Kavelier & Clay by Michael Chabon
- Trading Up by Candace Bushnell
- Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
- Mother of Pearl by Melinda Haynes
- Hey Nostradamus! by Douglas Coupland
- My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler
- The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
That's a lot of beach hours.

Estrogen Overload.

Sometimes, living on the Rock is extra-challenging when I'm feeling like hanging out with my girls. Or, just girls, in general. Kurt doesn't "get" how fun it is to paint nails and watch a shitty movie while gossiping and drinking wine of a rosé variety and eating crap. He just can't get into it. Believe me, I've tried. So, over the past few months I've made a real effort to squeeze in some girls time, where these types of activites can happen on a semi-regular basis and I'm happy to say that my mission has been successful.

A few weeks ago, two of my girlfriends here on the Rock found themselves celebrating their birthdays on the same day. Actually, I'm fairly certain that they find this to be the case every year, but this year was special, being a "landmark" birthday for one of them. And for the other, her first birthday on the Rock. What's not to celebrate? We used this as an excuse to sign up for a swank "girl's weekend" at a local five-star hotel, one which I would probably never stay at otherwise because 1) I live here and 2) the rooms range between $450 and $1,200 a night. Ummmm...no. But on a special offer, four of us signed up to go spend a weekend there together, doing girly things like drinking mimosas, wandering around in fluffy robes, ogling the hot "chaperone" we were assigned to, and teetering around in heels after a few too many of the aforementioned girly drinks. It was awesome. Observe:

I left with a hundred photos, freshly painted nails, some golf drills to try out on my own time (right), and some great stories. Some of which we still talk about daily. The room was amazing too. I had thought that they might put us somewhere in the back, away from the tourists who might not actually enjoy us singing about apple-bottom jeans on our balcony at 3:00 a.m. but guess what? We were front and center. This was the view off our balcony:

The room was totally luxurious...I wanted to move in. The best part of the night? When I won the grand prize...a free night's stay at the hotel, including lunch and the spa. Yes. Please. I never win anything...but all that waiting paid off that night. I think I'll save the free night until the fall, after the wedding, when we'll just feel like sleeping and wandering around in fluffy robes. I might squeeze the spa in before that though...I do love the spa. So, that weekend was fairly fabulous.

And THEN...my best friend Izabela and her husband, Kris landed on the Rock for a week of fun, sun and rum. We had a blast with them. Even though we have to work (usually), it always feels like a bit of a vacation when people come to visit. We tend to eat at home less, try new restaurants, and get to see the Island through a new set of eyes. It's refreshing...we always find things we didn't know about before, and it's nice to mix it up and make the effort to go to parts of the Island that we wouldn't normally spend a lot of time. We finally tried an amazing little pizzeria that we've been hearing about for...oh...since we arrived, and had one of the best meals we've had since we moved here.

Also, Izabela was fortunate (?!) enough to attend my second bachelorette party, hosted by my good friend Ashleigh, who's leaving the Rock soon and wanted to do it before she left. It was...messy. I'm not a good drinker in the best of circumstances, but add Jell-O shooters and malibu (UGH) to the mix and bad things happen. I was SICK. Very sick. Most of the night has been pieced together by unflattering photographs and eyewitness accounts and let's just say...I know that every girl has to go through it once (or twice, in my case), but once (twice) is more than enough. Wow. But I survived...and from what I can remember, it was a fun night! Here is the before shot...and the after...and then the final shot of the evening: Kurt and Iza, propping me up on the way to a taxi. Yes, Kurt was in attendance for (part of) the festivities...which just made it that much more interesting, really. For him. I don't remember it.

We spent the rest of the weekend taking it easy, working on tans, golfing and BBQing with other friends. Very, very relaxing. And then they left...which sucked. I hate goodbyes. Though, I'll be seeing them in 3 months, so it wasn't too teary this time around.
All in all...good times around these parts, lately.