Thinking about 2010...

I can't believe that I'm already planning out 2010 vacation time, but here I am...carefully mapping out my vacation days over a year, trying to figure out how to make the most of them. And how NOT to spend them all in Canada, like this year. No offence, Canada, but I can get to London for the same cost as going home. Um....yeah.

So, that being said, I do need to kiss the soil of my Motherland at least one time next year. We don't know what we're going to do about our postponed wedding, but I do know that I'll be in Ottawa at the end of May and that K wants to be there for the CHEO BBQ in June, so there's a good possibility that those weeks will be our Great Canadian Adventure for 2010. Other ideas we're tossing around:

NYC for a long Easter weekend at the beginning of April. This is all but a done deal. We've been dying to go back since March 2008.

Boston for a long weekend in the Fall. Boston is a city that I have wanted to go to for years, even long before I moved to the Rock, where it is one of the primary destinations for island feverish Rock-dwellers. I hear it's best in the Fall, so the Fall is when we'll probably go. The deals from here are phenomenal if you book early.

NYC in November so I can kick some marathon ass. This is totally up in the air and obviously totally dependant upon me actually training for a marathon. I have a friend here who is running the marathon in DC this November and who had some words of advice for me that made me believe that the training here isn't as impossible as I thought it might be. I'd still really love to do this and it's still very much in my plans.

All of those trips together will still leave me with a week of vacation days left. Hmmmm.

I live for vacations.

Unstoppable Duo.

I got some exciting news on Friday. Shan and I got hired, officially, to shoot a wedding in Ottawa at the end of May, 2010. Well, Shan wow'd the client, and then she hired me to work with her. I'm so excited. I've been the "unofficial" photographer for a wedding before, but I was like the back-up for the back-up. This time around, it's just us, our cameras and someone else's magical day. I'm intimidated, but confident that we're going to make an awesome team.

SO. Excited.

Simple Salads.

A few weeks ago, I came across this brilliant article from the New York Times, listing 101 (very) salad recipes using unique and fun combinations of ingredients that are easy to find and simple to put together. If you haven't done so already, I would print a copy to keep in the kitchen for those times when you're feeling uninspired. Like most days for me, recently. I went through it on Friday and marked the ones that worked with the IBD diet we're currently doing and found lots that will work as is, or if modified just a touch here and there, and whipped up #2 and #3 for dinner on Friday night, to serve alongside our favorite chicken sausages. I added a bit of avocado to #2. Easy, delicious. Perfect.

I'm going to keep working (and blogging) my way through the list.


I finally returned to work today, after two weeks away. It wasn't pretty. I finally finished going through my e-mails at 3:00 p.m. Plus, I still feel kind of like crap. OK...a lot like crap. I have a head cold, on top of my annoying tooth issues...this week kind of sucks.

Photography Fun.

One of my New Year's Resolutions for 2009, which I am just getting to now, was to use my camera more and really take on the learning I need to do if I'm ever going to make a real hobby, or even a business, out of photography. I love taking photos and always have. This is perhaps best evidenced by the four Tupperware crates full of photos in my parent's basement, mostly taken during high school and the first two years of college. Lots of winners amongst those shots. But when I got my first digital camera and really started to play around, I stumbled into something that I really love to do.

I've had some encouragement lately to get more into it, to develop it further and to see where it can go. Where it absolutely can NOT go while I'm on the Rock is a real business, because that would be illegal. But it's a great time to build my skills and start to put together a portfolio and I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by all kinds of people, going through all kinds of exciting things in their lives, and who want those moments captured. And who are generous enough with their moments to let me attempt to capture them.

A few weeks ago, I photographed a couple I know who are expecting their first baby later this week. We went out one evening and took advantage of some amazing light (and strategically placed sunbeams) and I was really happy with how they turned out. It helps that the couple are beyond photogenic and the backdrop was seriously gorgeous, but they were thrilled with the photos, and that's all the encouragement I needed.

While I was in Ottawa, I had the chance to photograph my friend and her new baby boy. We didn't have a lot of time, so we just went up to the Hill to snap some shots and even though he slept through the whole thing, it was fun and we got some good ones. There were one or two moments where I considered a babynapping, but she was right there, so it wasn't a well developed plan at all.

I have two more "photoshoots" booked for the coming weeks - an engagement shoot for some friends who are getting married in 2010, and a one year-old's birthday photos. And, I was invited to help a friend shoot a wedding in Ottawa next May, which is pretty exciting. A bit intimidating, but I'm looking forward to them. I have a LOT to learn, but I'm inspired and lucky to have talented friends to call upon for guidance, if I need it!

New Look.

Every time I looked at my blog in the previous template, I would cringe. Something about it just wasn't right. Like those little blank purple boxes where the date was supposed to be. And that weird letter A above the first post. So, I changed it again and lo and behold, this template worked on the very first try. It's a keeper I think. For now.

Reading List Update

How am I doing on my "to read" list for summer/fall?

- Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates
- A Reliable Wife, Robert Goolrick
- The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
- Canadians, Roy MacGregor
- Daughter of Fortune, Isabel Allende
- My Life in France, Julia Child
- Julie & Julia, Julie Powell
- Making a Literary Life, Carolyn See
- The Food Revolution, John Robbins
- Possession, A.S.Byatt
- The Tenth Gift, Jane Johnson
- The Post Office Girl, Stefan Zweig
- Hey Nostradamus, Douglas Coupland
- After the Crash, Garth Turner
- Europe Through the Back Door, Rick Steves
- The Hotel New Hampshire, John Irving
- Life is a Verb, Patti Digh
- 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women, Gail McMeekin

Hmmm...not so good. I had ambitions of doing a lot of reading while we were on our trip, but that didn't happen at all. I didn't even crack the spine of a book, much less make any real headway on the list.

I'm home sick today from work, meaning that I will have been out of the office for two full weeks by the time I return tomorrow, assuming I a) no longer resemble a chipmunk (I am less chipmunky than yesterday) and b) the prescription painkillers and antibiotics combo no longer makes me want to barf up anything I ingest.

Have I mentioned that I HATE teeth?


Well, we're back from our trip to Ottawa and not super happy to be, to be quite honest. We had an awesome time. Last year's trip to Ottawa was so rushed and busy that we hardly had any time to enjoy ourselves. This year, we made a point of enjoying every day and spacing the annoying stuff out enough so that we could fit in all of the things we wanted to do and, with a few exceptions, we got it all done. It was great.

The whole time I lived in Ottawa, I was missing Victoria. And now that I'm on the Rock, I miss both. Sometimes one over the other, like now. And surprisingly, it's not my lovely hometown that I'm having a hard time being away from. Ottawa is full of so many happy memories for me, and most of our memories as a couple...special spots, favorite restaurants, stuff we used to do together...I guess after everything that went down this summer, I'm finding myself feeling nostalgic for those times. Not that the Rock doesn't have it's high points. But we had a blast doing "normal" stuff, like wandering around Chapters with hot pumpkin spice lattes, and driving down the Queensway listening to music. Sounds pretty blah, but felt so familiar and nice to be able to live our old lives for a week or so.

We wandered the Market, ate Beavertails, shopped for beads (ok, that was me), did many, many laps of the Rideau Centre, sorted through boxes of stuff from our house that we left behind, had pho at phive (or mid-afternoon, anyways) with Shan and Jaia, BBQ'd some salmon, visited friends, caught up with the ladies of LUNLF over Thai food, photographed KKB and her new main man, Myles, and topped it all off with Mike and Krystal's wedding in Quebec. All in all? An amazing trip. And now we're back, moping around the apartment and wistfully making comments about what we might be doing if we were still there.

We are so geographically challenged. Sometimes, it's just too much. TOO MANY MILES. I'm so bored of airports. I wish we could just have our roots down somewhere and have our families and friends close by. Unfortunately, this is impossible.

I can see us going back to Ottawa, sometimes, if I think really hard and forget about everything that happens in Ottawa between December and April. Our Ottawa friends are a special bunch. I'm hating that we're missing out on so much of their lives, but happy that we're able to get there in 4 hours if we need to.

Anyways...I digress. I'm going to move on from my Ottawa love fest. The goodbye is still somewhat raw.

Speaking of raw, remember my root canal retreatment? Well, that was fun. Yesterday morning, I made my way downtown from the Toronto Airport on the subway (an experience all on its own), found my way to the endodontic specialist I was referred to, and spent 3 glorious hours in the chair, having my tooth fixed by the best of the best. Or so I've been told. And according to the internet. I felt pretty confident, but woke up today with a chipmunk cheek so I'm feeling sorry for myself now. Mostly because I look like I took a punch to the jaw. But, I suppose it was a pretty big infection and I'm not in any pain, so I'm feeling pretty good about it all. I'm hoping that this is the last I hear from this effin' tooth. If I have to go to work looking like this tomorrow, I'm not going to be very happy.

OK, I have to get to bed ASAP. I had a fab sleep last night in the most comfortable bed either (thank you, Hilton Toronto Airport), but it was cut short by my flight back to the Rock, so I'm more than just a little bit exhausted!

See that little purple box next to this blog post? Yeah. The date is supposed to be in that box. And I can not, for the life of me, figure out why it's not there. I have exhausted Google. I've tried to translate Spanish instructions. I'm stumped. And annoyed.

September 1: FML.

I went to the dentist this morning. It was a lukewarm affair. On the bright side, one of my three hygienist friends cleaned my teeth and did a great job. Now I will have to compare her to my other two hygienist friends and see who is the best. Even though I'll have to fly around a bit to conduct my comparison. On the negative side? The dentist suggested, nicely, that perhaps I should be hesitant to return to the dentist in Canada who did the work in the first place. Yes, THAT dentist with the last name that rhymes with "Doctor" and with the office in the bottom of the large complex with many law offices and such located within, who is so NOT desperate for work that he skimped on my root canal and did a fantastic job...of effing it up. Royally. I repeat: that dentist is crap.

And the specialist on the Rock is backed up until next June. Or maybe not that long, but long enough that waiting for an appointment isn't really an option for me. So, I've been referred to a Canada. FML.

On the negative side, this effin' tooth will cost me an extra $500 (non-reimburseable) in plane ticket change fees and hotel charges to do an extended stopover in Toronto on my way back to the Rock. Fine. Annoying, but fine. This on top of the $2.5K that it's going to cost to have the work done (mostly reimburseable). Fine. FINE. What are my other options?

On the plus side, I should be out of the chair by noon at the latest and since the office is right downtown, I should be able to drool my way around the Eaton Centre before heading back to the hotel to sleep it off and fly back to the Rock the next day.

OK, enough about this horrible tooth, the bane of my existence. I think it has just ousted Miley Cyrus from the role of my nemesis and installed itself, in all of it's infected, abscessed, aching glory.

To add trial to tribulation, K had an appointment with my naturopath last night and was put on a diet to try to combat the horrible headaches the poor guy has suffered from 24/7 since March. Before the appointment, and without much thought, I told him that no matter what he was told that he had to do, I'd do it with him to make it easier. I did this thinking that he would be taken off of gluten and/or dairy, which I've gone through before. He forwarded me a copy of the diet this morning....check this:

- no grains of ANY kind (including rice, corn, etc.)
- no dairy at all
- no tropical fruit (fantastic, since K is allergic to all non-tropical fruits except berries)
- no sugar, in any way, shape or form including maple syrup, agave, honey...
- no salt
- no alcohol
- no caffeine
- no potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, or starchy vegetables
- no cooked carrots (?)

...and a variety of other no-no's. I honestly am stumped over what is left, besides meat and some vegetables. Especially for a guy who doesn't eat eggs, is allergic to nuts and can't eat most normal types of fruit, like apples, peaches, pears, plums, nectarines, etc.

This should be fun. I'm so glad I agreed to join him. For a month. I mean, I want to be supportive, but this is VERY restrictive. Yikes.

2009 has been FULL of annoyances, troubles and stress...both of the small and large variety...and I, for one, am done with it.