Saturday, January 30, 2010

Lovely Weather for a Sleight Ride Together...

Until Thursday we had almost no snow at all, and then BAM! we get 20 cm in one night! I can't say I mind very much, I got a long weekend because Friday was a snow day and there is now enough snow to go cross country skiing and snow-shoeing. Both of which I am really hoping to be able to do sometime this winter but the way things are going on the school and work front, it looks highly unlikely. I don't have a cable to hook my camera up to my computer or else I would have taken some fun pictures, so instead I stuck my lap top out the front door in an attempt to show you guys just how much snow we got (but while avoiding the cold). The picture is basically the view out my front door, the white picket fence surrounds our yard. The picture just doesn't do it justice. I happen to love PEI in the snow; the city stays so much whiter for so much longer than Toronto where everything turns brown within minutes of a snow fall. The downside is that the sidewalks barely get plowed at all, making trudging to school, the grocery store and to work a lot more work in the winter.

Walking home from work on Friday night, I had to walk along University Avenue because the sidewalks weren't cleared and I couldn't actually tell where they were supposed to be. The snow was knee deep and walking along the side of the road seemed a much better option. I was about half way home when I heard this thundering roar behind me, I looked back just in time to see a giant plow booking it down the street. I jumped into the snow bank as far from the road as I could but still ended up narrowly escaping being plowed and got absolutely covered in snow. It took me about 3 minutes to climb out! It was one of those moments when you look around you to make sure no one else saw before permitting yourself to laugh at the hilarity of the whole situation. Hilarious but only because I narrowly escaped death by plow. Not my ideal way to go, I must admit. I think my preferred way to go would be shark attack. At least then I could feel as though I'm giving back to the food chain, and if I did manage to survive I'd have some pretty bad-ass scars and a wicked story.

In other news, this video of the Burloak Canoe Club Sr Woman's War Canoe from Nationals '09 in Sherbrooke was recently posted on Facebook and I thought I would post it here for your viewing pleasure. It was a pretty awesome race, specially since it was very likely my last war canoe race ever. Kind of sad actually, thinking that I won't be racing war canoe any time soon. It is, and always has been my very favorite boat to both train and race, and I think that might be the only reason I was ever decent at it. Adam Vank said in an article once ( I have no idea what article though, or where I read it) that if you're going to be good, you train for hours a day, every day. If you're going to be great, you love every minute of it. I think this is particularly true of war canoe. When you're in a boat with so many other people, it's easy to think you're going hard when you aren't really, and easy to think that you can slack without being noticed (although any one who has ever been coached by Kyle can testify that this isn't true...he notices everyone), specially if all you can think about it how much you hate your life and how tempting it is to bail and swim back to the dock rather than finish the time control. Obviously we've all had those moments, but I really loved that the better I paddled technically, the more I could move the boat with the same amount of effort, so if I could just paddle better, and learn to paddle harder than I could move the boat that much more. Not to mention how awesome it feels to paddle efficiently and well and powerfully and actually feel as though every stroke your taking is making a difference even in such a big, heavy boat. Anyways, enjoy watching the burloak ladies kick some serious butt!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

He Strikes Again...

I am extremely disappointed in how clever this silly mouse is. Doesn't he know it's for his own good to get caught? He has officially expired his second strike, and I have a feeling that by tomorrow morning his opportunity to be set free into the wild far far away from Gerald Street may be dunzo.

Today was awesome. I talked to the internship coordinator and learned that I will be getting a whole month off over the summer! There has apparently been a slight change in placement scheduling which now allows for a bit of time off to enjoy the summer and an opportunity to maybe get some work in to compensate for working for free for three months. I am really excited that I'll get a chance to go home, specially for a whole month. I also get a week off between the end of exams and the start of internship. I think my parents are thinking about visiting that week and I am really excited for that too! They have yet to see my new house or to be on island at the same time as me since I moved here for school. As a bonus I wont have any classes or school work to have to worry about during their visit, I can bum around the island with them and actually enjoy the week.

I also went for lunch with Jessica and Lydia today. I have been hearing for the last few years about how amazing the curry is at Churchill Arms and I was not disappointed. We each got a different type of curry so I got to try a little of everything. I'm not sure if the actual curry was really good or if it had just been so long since I had had curry last that made it taste so good. Either way I recommend checking it out if you're ever in Charlottetown.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

House Mouse: 1, 26 Gerald Street: 0

Last night we were super excited to set up the humane mouse trap that the landlord dropped off. We spread some peanut butter over a cracker and set the trap in anticipation of finding a furry little friend in there in the morning. When we woke up this morning, excited to see if the little guy took our bait, but all that we found was an empty trap. Some how he escaped with the cracker! Pesky little bugger! We've decided to give him three chances to surrender until we resort to the messy traps that won't be supplying him with free food.

In the past few days since the internship announcements were made, I have found out that I will have to stay on the island for the summer. I had anticipated being able to intern in Toronto as I knew there have been previous placements in Toronto for UPEI students. Unfortunately, we don't have the opportunity to work off island until our second work term next summer. The idea of staying on the island was not exactly welcomed with open arms. Winters here suck, super windy, it snows then rains then snows again, its basically miserable. Not to mention there are people I was really excited to see and spend time with over the summer at home. I was bummed to say the least.

The more I think about it though, the more excited I get to be here this summer. Everyone keeps telling me how awesome it is in the summer and now I will finally have the chance to experience it first hand. Plus, I think that having all the interns in one city for the summer will be really fun and I'm hoping we'll all hang out when we're not working. Almost all of my friends have had a summer away from home so far; Rach in the states, JP in Australia and Court in Halifax so I suppose it's just my turn to be missed.

I went for a run around the city tonight and it solidified my excitement for staying here in the summer. It's a crazy warm two degrees today and I couldn't help but take advantage of the weather and get outside. I ran from my house to the end of the board walk (a perfect 6km route!) and then looped around downtown for a bit, not wanting to go home yet. I wasn't running very fast, but I'm ok with that because for the first time in my life I'm not training for anything. Who cares if I chill on a run and just enjoy the fact that I'm running? (Plus, I managed to master the snot rocket in one run!) I did a little mini tour around the confederation building, a whole bunch of historic sites and old churches and decided that this place could quite possibly be awesome in the summer. The board walk runs for about 1.5km along the ocean and has the distinct scent of salty seaweed that comes off the rocks. Plus I found a public outdoor pool at the end of the board walk in which I hope to run to, swim in, and then run home from in the summer. I keep having to remind myself that not only will I be working full time for free as an intern, I will also be trying to work as much as possible on the side to pay the bills! I have a tendency of making extravagant plans that always fall through due to the demands of reality. Psh, reality.

As for right now, I'm trying to keep up with a super busy semester of classes! Which means that I procrastinate by cooking. Tonight after my run I came home and made an attempt at a curried lentil soup. It's decent but not as heavenly as the one I had at the Farmer's Market. I'm going back on Saturday to ask her if she'll write down her recipe for me! I'm crossing my fingers she'll have more soup too!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Mouse Ran Up The Clock...

A couple nights ago, after Age commented on the sound of scurrying that comes from her walls at night, I too heard it but from the insides of my floors. I ignored it after having only ever heard it once and not hearing it again for a few days. Unfortunately, Age woke up this morning to find that her cereal box had been chewed through in the middle of the night by what we can only assume was little mouse teeth.

Having mice (or mouse) in the house doesn't bother me. It reminds me of the time I woke up at home to my cats chasing a mouse around my closet at 3am. I plunked a bucket on top of it, covered the bucket with a chemistry text book (just in case it was stronger than the bucket) and left it for my dad to deal with later. I assumed that at some point during the twelve hours I was gone that day (swim practice, high school, weights at MCC) he would have disposed of the mouse. I got home however, and the bucket was sitting right where I left it. I really, slowly carefully lifted the bucket up a tad to see if he was still in there (no idea where I thought the little guy would have escaped to..) half expecting it to book it out from under the bucket, causing me to round up the cats and start the whole chase all over again. Unfortunately (but luckily at the same time?) the mouse had probably suffocated throughout the day and all I had to do was put it in the compost outside.

I think I would much rather be more careful about what food I leave out and live harmoniously with the mice (or mouse) than set up traps. My roommates however disagree, and decided that immediate action should be taken to rid the house of the pest(s). Luckily, on my walk home from work tonight, my landlord drove by and we chatted about the mice a bit and he knows a guy who knows another guy who happens to be cousins with his cousin and this guy has a bunch of humane traps that he wants to try because he (and I quote) doesn't want to snap their heads off. Not only am I very pleased, it further confirms my theory that everyone on the entire island is somehow related, and if not currently then they will be soon via marriage.

If the humane traps don't work and we eventually are forced to use the traps that are not so humane, I might have to ignore Lynne's advice and sneak nolan's Cheese into the traps overnight while my roommates are sleeping!

For the time being, I am watching the bachelor and finishing up a laboratory report on carbohydrates. In food lab, we baked 4 different batches of muffins, each with a different type of sweetner (sucrose, sucralose, fructose and cyclamate) and I am discussing how the maillard reaction and gelatinization impacted our final products. Interesting stuff, and for the record...NEVER cook with sucralose (Splenda) if you want your product to taste delicious or be nice and golden brown.

In other news...I am officially an intern!! I am really really excited but there is a lot of work to do this semester before I start my first placement. I am hoping to intern in Toronto this summer but there is a very big possibility I'll have to stay in PEI for the entire summer to do my first round of placements here. A lot of stuff to figure out between now and the official start date-April 26th! This internship was the only reason I came to PEI, and I've been stressing about it for the past four years so I'm especially glad all the stressing and worrying is finally over!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Today was super unproductive, although I did watch an episode of Glee, buy a new swim suit, swim for two hours and eat the most delicious sweet potato of my life so it wasn't all bad. Despite a fairly uneventful day, I did come away from the weekend having learned a couple of things to note:
  • My sister was right when she said that champagne and pizza was an unbeatable combo
  • More than my three devoted followers read this...shocking, I know
  • After studying enteral and parenteral nutrition (tube feeding hospital patients), it's a) super cool and fun to figure out which formulas you need to use on patients depending on their condition, the severity of the gastrointestinal function, protein and energy requirements etc and b) I never ever want to have a tube stuck down my nose and threaded all the way into my jejunum or stomach.
  • Lastly, that the (drum roll please...) internship selections have been made and are available to candidates at 10am Monday morning. This time tomorrow I will either be strategizing my back-up plan and looking hard core for a summer job, or I'll be officially an intern. it could go either way at this point, but my fingers are crossed.
Speaking of internship, here are some pictures from the FANS "yahoo for interviews being over" party on Friday night:
FANS and Friends before heading to the Olde Dublin

Roommates Extraordinaire

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Officially Out of My Hands....

Saturday mornings are one of my favorite times of the week. Mostly because the Charlottetown Farmer's market only operates on Saturday mornings but also because there's enough of the weekend left to be able to relax and chill out. This morning I woke up early to babysit for my swim coach on campus for a couple hours and took advantage of the opportunity to catch up on my Sesame Street and Thomas the Tank Engine. Lucas is just over a year old and super cute, but also happens to be a snot making machine, I'm still a little bit puzzled as to how it's even possible to have snot running down to your chin all the time. Of course being a nutrition student I automatically think about the impact this may have on his fluid requirements but choose to ignore myself instead.

After, I walked across campus to the Farmers Market for some grub and was really feeling the need for some java after a late Friday night. I ended up getting a big bowl of Curried Lentil Soup and a newspaper and had the most delightful brunch of life. I ended up skipping the coffee and getting a loaf of bread and a cupcake for each Age and Sam instead from this new cupcake place called City View Bakehouse. I didn't try any of their stuff so I can't actually testify to their deliciousness.

The last couple of days have been really great. Friday was my long awaited internship interview. A panel of three people, one prof and two dietitians from the community, interviewed everyone who had submitted a complete application (rumored to be between 14 and 20 people) and are hopefully making their decisions sometime in the next week. I wasn't really all that nervous until the day of. It was really just while sitting in microbio about an hour before the interview that I was freaking out a little bit and feeling really unprepared. To be honest I spent more time stressing about what to wear than I did what to say. Which is ridiculous anyways, but especially because I have had four classes with this prof already and normally show up right after swim practice with a wet heap of hair tied in a knot on the top of my head, reeking of chlorine with giant red goggle and swim cap marks covering my face. (It's a really good look btw, I recommend it) Once I actually got the interview and was waiting in the hallway to see the panel I calmed down a lot despite sweating profusely. The first two thirds of the interview were relatively normal, the typical job interview questions. The last third was dietetics specific scenarios which went questionably. But on the bright side it is officially out of my hands. There isn't anything else I can do to influence the panel's decision.

In celebration of the end of the interviews, a whole bunch of the nutrition girls from my class all went out the the Old Dublin last night. A whole bunch of the girls came over for some snacks and drinks before the pub and most of them brought friends with them. It made me realize how awesome our class is. We don't get very many chances to all get together outside of class but we really need to put in more effort to do so. It's PEI music week so every pub has local musicians playing all week. Last night the Grass Mountain Hobos were playing and they were awesome! Dancing ensued and a great time was had by all. I highly recommend checking out their music, super fun!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Panther Pride

So although my time as team mascot was disappointing and not nearly as awesome as I thought it would be, here is some photo evidence that it did in fact occur:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Eye of The Hurricane

It's the middle of the week and third year is living up to it's reputation. To be honest I didn't even know third year had a reputation until last semester. It was tough, not only was the work load heavier, it was harder too. Between swimming, working, school and volunteering I remember thinking on a regular basis that if I could just get through today, this week, this semester then it would all be ok. Little did I know that this semester would be no better. It seems as though as soon as I think I have a grasp on assignments, quizzes and readings, more stuff pops up that I had not anticipated. I suppose this is the life of a university student, and I shouldn't complain because not only am I here by choice, I'm paying thousands of dollars to be able to leave here in four years with a piece of paper.

After finishing up and printing off two assignments due tomorrow, and baking brownies with Sam (well to be honest I just watched and helped lick clean the batter spoon...good thing Faye doesn't read this or I'd be getting a raw egg/salmonella lecture for the second time today) for Andrea's birthday tomorrow, I decided that I wasn't quite sleepy and that I would substitute the P90X yoga workout with a podcast from Kinndli, and instructor at the Power Yoga Canada studio near my house that I was addicted to over Christmas break. I am so glad I did. The class itself wasn't my favorite, it was the shortest hour of my life it seemed but the sequence of poses seemed a little bit more scattered than usual and we didn't do a lot of the ones I really like and am trying master such as crow and wheel. Actually the class itself was fairly easy. But what I really liked about it was what Kinndli said while we were holding the posses. Yoga is all about quieting your mind and creating space. By quieting your mind you can hold the poses longer and leave your inhibitions, your weaknesses and your negative self talk behind. It allows you to drop everything else going on in your life for an hour to 90 minutes of your day and just be on your mat. Quieting your mind is really hard. Your legs are shaking, your sweating like crazy and all you can think about are assignments that are due, what your schedule for tomorrow is, what needs to get done by Monday and most of all when you can get out of the stupid pose that the stupid instructor is making you hold for way to long just because she likes to watch you suffer.

Today, Kinndli said that how we are on our mat is how we are in life; if we are looking for exit routes on our mat, grabbing water, fixing our hair, and fixing our shirt in the middle of a pose, we probably do the same things in life. Meanwhile, my leg is aching and I tuck in my shirt as an excuse to take a tiny break which gets me thinking (probably to much considering I'm supposed to be quieting my mind not get it spinning) is this true? It definitely is. Think of all the ways we distract ourselves from everything everyday! Think of how much more we could get done in a day, how much more space we could create in our lives, if instead of checking facebook and email and doing this and that other useless task in the midst of working, we just buckled down, quieted our minds and just got er done.

This isn't easy of course, if it were than we'd be ten times as productive. My goal is to be the eye of the hurricane. I can't control all the turmoil and craziness around me, but I can be still, I can quiet my mind and create more space in my life. I always complain about being too busy, not having enough time but I should really be complaining about how much time I waste and how I busy myself with silly time wasting habits. I think the world could use a little more calm, and where better to start than with me right now?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Blue Monday

I read an article in the Globe and Mail that today, Monday January 18th, is the most depressing day of the year. The combination of crappy weather and the realization that only 18 days into the year and our new years resolutions have already gone down the toilet is apparently quite the mood buster. I read this article last night, and woke up this morning with the knowledge that today is the dreaded "Blue Monday." But then I was thinking (uh oh), if that article had instead stated that today is the most cheerful day of the year, my mood would be significantly different upon rolling out of bed than it actually was. Considering how many people read the globe and mail every day, I wonder how many people will wake up grumpy, become grumpy upon reading the article, or have the article alter their perception of their day. I would hypothesize that the article itself is the variable that may make the difference between a good day and a bad day. So today I have decided to prove the article wrong out of spite, specially since there is debate as to if today is the TRUE Blue Monday (some think it was last week, some think next week) But for those of you who find yourselves suffering from Blue Monday, this particular article also offers 4 ways to beat it.

Four ways to cope with Blue Monday

Our guide to your life: this week, four tips to handle Jan. 18, the most depressing day of the year.

Welcome to the most depressing day of the year. Jan. 18 has been designated “Blue Monday” – the day when the perfect storm of failing our new year’s resolutions, working through debts from the holiday season and the grim weather make us feel horrible. Here are four ways to get through the day:

1. Skip the fast-food breakfast

Cinnabons and Egg McMuffins are the ultimate comfort foods, but on Blue Monday, fatty delights heavy in simple carbohydrates will provide only temporary relief.

Forget the effect they have on your heart and waistline: Those foods are also bad for your mind when you’re trying to beat the winter blues, says Amanda Watkins, manager at the Wild Oat, a popular Ottawa bakery and restaurant that caters to healthy eaters.

“Whatever you start your day with, if it feels heavy in your body it’s not going to give you a great lift,” she says.

Her staff substitutes simple carbs (which can alter your mood, make your blood sugar yo-yo and cause overeating) for complex ones on menu items such as cinnamon buns (made with whole-wheat flour) and muffins (made with high-protein spelt flour and sweetened with bananas). Try making your own healthier options at home.

Got the winter blues?

Karen Liberman, executive director of the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, answers your questions on battling the winter blues, Tuesday at 11 a.m. E

2. Let the light in

Karen Liberman, executive director of the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario, identifies light therapy as the most effective treatment for the more extreme manifestation of the winter blues: seasonal affective disorder.

Studies suggest that just 30 minutes a day of light therapy from a light box can improve the mood of a SAD patient by 60 to 70 per cent.

Light boxes are rated by lux (light intensity). Sit by a 10,000-lux box for 30 minutes each day or 45 to 60 minutes by a 5,000-lux box. A table-top version is available from Philips.

Ms. Liberman also suggests cheaper alternatives such as walking outside or moving your chair closer to a window.

“Someone bought me half a dozen yellow tulips. Every time I look at them I smile. They’re not emitting light, but they look light,” she says.

3. Have a YouTube marathon

Today may be the only day of the year when you can justify watching substandard footage of a cat swinging recklessly from a ceiling fan.

Toronto family doctor Mel Borins, who lectures about laughter and play, says the first thing you should do when you wake up on Blue Monday is turn to your go-to chuckle-inducing book, DVD or – if you’re pressed for time – YouTube clip.

“Physiologically, when you laugh and giggle and are playful, it improves your mood,” he says.

Decades of research suggest laughter triggers an increase in endorphin levels, which work as the body’s natural painkillers.

The results of a 2002 study published in Humor: International Journal of Humor Research (yes, there is such a thing) tested two groups: one that had a lower than average sense of humour and one with a higher than average level. Both participated in stress assessments, and researchers found that the group with the higher sense of humour was better equipped to handle anxiety and stressful situations.

4. Sweat, baby, sweat

If the marathon of kitten-fight videos fails to raise your spirits, try another endorphin booster: Work out at higher than normal intensity. Numerous studies have shown that exercise can help in the treatment of mild to moderate depression.

Pushing yourself to go to the gym is often difficult when you feel listless, but Ms. Liberman says the payoff is worth it.

For those who are more sedentary, she suggests escaping for a brisk walk outside during your lunch break. If you’re more active, she recommends upping the ante from mild to moderate during your regular workout.

“On Tuesday you’ll be a little sore, but I think there’s real merit to … pushing the endorphins past the level that they would more likely be at.”

And don’t do this:

Ignore symptoms of serious depression. Learn more at

Reality check

The general idea of the winter blues is widely accepted, but the notion that one specific day is worse than all the rest? That’s dubious.

The concept of Blue Monday was created by British psychologist Cliff Arnall of Cardiff University in 2005. Dr. Arnall created a scientific formula that considered the weather, one’s monthly salary, debt from Christmas, time since failure of a new year’s resolution, levels of motivation and a need to take action. All highly subjective variables, of course. As a result, number crunchers arrive at different results for which day is the true Blue Monday. Some say the most depressing day of 2010 happened last week on Jan. 11, while others insist we have another week till it hits on Jan. 25.

While we’ve arbitrarily chosen today as Blue Monday, feel free to wait another seven days to unleash your melancholy if you’d like.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Alex Visits!

This weekend has been one of those "im really busy doing nothing" type of weekends. I worked Friday night and then we had a swim meet at home on Saturday. Saturday morning went by fairly quickly. I was basically head cheer leader and got to watch everyone race. For the most part I think everyone raced well and seemed to be pretty happy with their results. All of the really little kids were hilarious, with saggy swim suits, goggles that covered their entire faces and swim caps covering their eyes. Our swim coach from last year was there and it was nice to see him again. In between heats and finals, there was a 4 hour break. The team went for a team pep rally lunch and I picked Alex up from the bus stop.

After lunch we were lucky to have borrowed Sam's car and did a whole bunch of running around picking up groceries and stuff for dinner. When we got back to the pool in time for finals, I put on the UPEI Panther mascot costume and danced around the pool deck for a while. I think I lost about 5 pounds in sweat! It was soo hot in that thing! There were a couple of little girls that decided that pulling my tail, tickling me and following me around would be a really great way to spend the entire afternoon. Alex and I ended up having to sneak into a storage closet to take a breather. Surprise surprise they were waiting at the door when we came back out! When they asked why we were in there Alex said it was a secret short cut to the Panther's washroom haha. The girls spent the rest of the afternoon in the storage closet looking for my 'bathroom'. I was really pumped to be the mascot but it turns out that swim team crowds are not very receptive to 6ft panthers in basketball uniforms and yellow sweat bands. There was a very small crowd of spectators and all the athletes were getting themselves pumped to race finals, so I can't really blame them. I made one little girl cry and sob uncontrollably though, I felt bad but it was really funny at the same time.

We came home after the swim meet and made dinner, just pasta, nothing special and ended up just watching crap tv all night. It was kind of nice to sit and just hang out and not feel guilty for not doing school work. That very rarely happens. This morning we slept in and then went to Cora's for breakfast and then to the Cows Creamery to go on a creamery tour. Unfortunately the tours don't happen except by group appointments in the winter. So we settled for an ice cream cone, a couple of post cards and a drive out to Victoria by the Sea instead. Alex had yet to see the little town or our property so we went and took pictures of the lot sign and everything. The place is a ghost town in the winter, they even take down the "Welcome to Victoria by the Sea" sign in the fall. But I hear it's awesome in the summer.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Phew, one more week done and gone already. I like to think that this was really the real first week of classes since it was a full five days and labs started this week. So far I think I am going to really like this semester, but am going to have to work my butt off to stay up to date on all my assignments. I say this while writing this blog instead of working on one of three assignments I have due next week.

This week was fairly uneventful, although I did officially booked my spring break trip! (Thanks mom!) Every year for the past 6 years (ish?) I've spent my spring break at training camp in Florida. This will be the first time since grade 10 that I haven't been going south at some point in March. I decided that the best way to get over this was to book a super exciting trip of my own while everyone else is at training camp. So on February 21st, I will heading to New York City for the week. My friend Rachel (who also used to go to Florida with me) goes to school in Hoboken, NJ and has an apartment and she's letting me stay with her. I figured it would be fun to visit with her since we never get a chance to see each other over the school year, and what better opportunity to see NYC? I'm very excited, and am counting down! I have been saving all my tips in a jar since last spring so I am hoping to do some shopping, see some shows and check out a whole bunch of famous bakeries and eateries.

My little sister is coming to visit tomorrow for the weekend. She goes to school at Mt. A, which is only about an hour and a half away but we still hardly ever see each other over the school year. It's hard with assignments, working, swim meets etc. The UPEI swim team is competing at home this weekend for the first time of the year. It's simply an age group meet, and doesn't include any other Univeristy but we are using it as a mock AUS meet which is only a few weeks away. hard to believe that the swim season is over in only 3 weeks! I'm really excited but a little bit nervous tomorrow-although I'm not racing, I am going to be the school mascot! Dancing around the pool deck in a giant Black Panther suit. I'll be sure to post a picture, should be a hoot!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The first weekend of the semester is officially over and it's back to reality. The weekend itself was pretty uneventful. Saturday I worked all day; it was nice to get back into the routine of working and see everyone. I didn't work much over exams and I went home for Christmas so it had been a solid 3 weeks since my last shift. Nothing new and exciting is going on at work, same old. On Sunday, Sam and I ventured out of town to check out the dresser I found on Kijiji. It belonged to this really nice older couple, (who happened to be eating a delicious breakfast of hard-boiled eggs and toast at the time of our arrival) and was basically in perfect condition. It's super old-school and not exactly the prettiest dresser in the world but it fits perfectly in the nook behind my door.

Sunday afternoon, we did a lactic acid swim set. It was tough but really fun. At the end of the second last set we did what was called a 'hero swim'. The coach wrote one of our names on the white board, with a time beside it, neither of which we could see. If her chosen 'hero' swam the 100m in the time she allotted or less, the entire team would get to be finished the workout, if the hero did not succeed, then the whole team had to swim the last set. Alexander was our hero and rocked his 100 IM. It always surprises me how much more you have to give when something is on the line. I think 80% of the team would have succeeded had they been the hero. It was a super fun practice and made me remember why I love swimming so much.

After practice I came home and did my very first day of P90X. I have decided to go all out and just go for it. I wasn't planning on it at first but I figured why not right? I'm due for a major switch up now that I'm not training for paddling anymore. I've been doing the same types of weights and workouts for years now, and to be honest, feel a little lost at the gym without a program to follow. Worst case scenario, I lose 90 days of my life and see no results. But what's 90 days in the grand scheme of my life? Practically a blink. So 90 days from now, my fingers are crossed that my transformation will be infomercial worthy. I had to work again tonight. There are 3 of us that have all recently started the work out program so it was definitely a topic of conversation.

I am currently chilling out watching the bachelor with Sam. A nice chill evening before another jam packed day tomorrow.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Adventures in Cooking Part One

It's surprising how exciting Friday's are even after only 4 days of class. It's been a pretty uneventful week but getting back into the swing of classes and attempting to develop a new routine that includes school, homework, swim practices and working out, volunteering, a part time job and if I'm lucky some down time, is always difficult. I wasn't as successful as I would have liked at fitting it all in but hopefully the further we get from the holidays the easier it will get. I didn't have any big Friday night plans, but I have decided that instead of doing a lot of baking like I have done in the past, this semester I would attempt to push my boundaries cooking instead. I decided that every week I would make one new recipe that contained at least ingredient that I have not previously used. This week's recipe was courtesy of Martha Stewart and her "Whole living" line:

Roasted Sweet Potato Soup with Curried Apples

Serves 4 (makes 6 cups)
  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (3 or 4)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced
  • Coarse salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, thinly sliced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, ribs and seeds removed, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry (optional)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth, homemade or canned
  • 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 small tart apple (4 ounce) peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and roast for 1 hour, turning once, or until potatoes are very soft. When cool enough to handle, scoop cooked potato out of the skins. Discard skins.
  2. Meanwhile, in a 5-quart Dutch oven or large soup pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add bell pepper, jalapenos, and garlic; cook for 5 minutes. Add sherry (if using), sweet potato, and broth; stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes, until flavors have blended.
  3. Working in batches, puree soup in a blender. Combine batches in a clean pot. The soup should be thick. (If you prefer a thinner soup, add water or a little more broth.) Taste and adjust seasoning.
  4. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring vinegar, honey, and curry powder to a boil. Add apple; stir for 1 minute and remove from heat. To serve, ladle the soup into warm bowls, add a spoonful of apples, a spoonful of yogurt, and a sprinkle of mint.

It was really really good. I had never used jalapeno peppers or curry powder before today. Turns out that forgetting to wash your hands after chopping jalapenos is a bad idea. Specially if your eye is itchy or you bite your nails, both of which occurred shortly after the chopping was complete. On the bright side my sinuses are now completely clear and I probably wont be biting my nails again anytime soon.

My two new ingredients were both super easy to work with, and I don't really have anything exciting to write about them. Now that I have curry powder in the house, I am looking forward to using it more often and experimenting with it a little bit more. I want to try roti, but I'm thinking that might be a little bit to ambitious for the time being. The above recipe calls for optional sherry, but I didn't have any and didn't want to spend a million dollars on dinner, so I looked in my handy dandy Food Substitutions Bible and it told me to substitute 2 tbsp sherry with 2 tbsp unsweetened orange juice and an 8th of a tsp of vanilla extract. Since this soup made a fairly large batch (pretty sure it was more than 6 cups) and had so many other flavors in it, it's really hard to tell how the substitution faired and how it impacted the taste. It would be really interesting to go through the whole book testing all the substitutions to determine when it is worth making the inconvenient trek to the grocery store. I also substituted white-wine vinegar for red-wine vinegar for two reasons: a) the book told me I could, and b) the grocery store did not have any of the generic brand white-wine vinegar and I am on a student's budget. I am not convinced that these two small tweaks to the recipe made much difference though, specially considering the proportion of the recipe that these ingredients consisted of. After writing this and reflecting back on cooking the meal, I realize how much faith I have put into this book. (Note to self: check the credentials of the authors and reassess level of confidence. If my research methods course taught me anything last semester, it's to be skeptical of everything I read.) I did however learn not to fill the blender too full of scalding hot liquids. The lid was on, and I was holding it down with a cloth but somehow when all was said and done I turn around and there is orange pureed soup all over the floor on the other side of the kitchen. To be fair it's a small kitchen but I'm still scratching my head over that one.

I do recommend this recipe though, and would definitely make it again. It was really easy to follow and didn't involve any crazy skills or equipment. The curried apples alone are beyond delish and a little too easy to eat right out of the frying pan. The jalapenos add just enough of a kick to the soup to balance out all the sweetness from the sweet potatoes and the bell peppers . It's still a very sweet soup though, its sweetness left me satisfied after just one bowl but at the same time I really want more. I am going to freeze the rest in individual sized portions and am looking forward to stumbling across it in my freezer in a few weeks time.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

One Step Closer...

Today I received the exciting news that I have been granted an interview for the dietetic internship here at UPEI. I am pretty sure that everyone who applied is going to be interviewed but regardless I am officially one step closer to being an intern than I was yesterday. I'm not nervous yet, I still have two weeks before the interview. At the moment, I'm actually more stressed out about what to wear than what to say in the interview. A final decision regarding the internship should be made by February, which is nice and soon and means no long, dragged out waiting process.

I did my first P90X workout today, consisting of mostly push-ups and chin-ups. Age just bought the dvds and the chin-up bar and I am very excited to start using it. I don't plan on being hardcore and doing it everyday like they say, but I think it will supplement swimming and such quite nicely. I'm not sore yet, although I had some issues doing fly in the pool today so I'm expecting to hurt tomorrow. Should be fun! Age did this plyometrics dvd today which was basically just her jumping around the living room for an hour but since my jumping skills are so abysmal, I think it would be a good one for me to try next. Rach said the swim team does the 'Ab Ripper' dvd and apparently it's killer. That one is scheduled for tomorrow...6 pack here I come!

I made my first Kijiji purchase today, and am a little bit excited about it! I have an Ikea clothes drawer contraption but it disintegrated last semester and consequently there are now clothes all over my room. So I found a dresser that conveniently fits nicely inside my closet. I am hoping to road trip out to the boonies to pick it up on Sunday. I am contemplating buying some fun colored spray paint to make it awesome. Either way I'll make sure I post pictures once it's home.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Whew, so it's been a really busy few days but I think I am finally pretty much settled back at school. After my flight was canceled, I went back home and got to spend some more time with the fam jam and got to hang out with the girls one last time. We had been planning to all get together all break but all of our plans fell through. There were only four of us left at home but it was still nice to have more than two of us in the same place at the same time to hang out and catch up. I always forget how much I miss everyone.

After a 2 and a half hour delay at Pearson, I finally got back to the island the afternoon before classes started. Conveniently, Sam, Age and I all arrived back at roughly the same time. But when we got back into the house, it was only 7 degrees Celsius! We quickly learned that the heater was not working and so the landlord came to check it out. We live in a heritage home in PEI, so the heater is in the basement, which is only accessible by a staircase that is in the closet and covered with a piece of plywood. The basement itself has a mud floor and walls and, quite frankly, is extremely scary looking, I have yet to be down there, and doubt I will be anytime in the near future. Turns out a part was missing. How a part from an oil heater randomly goes missing still leaves me slightly confused, but the repair guy was called and by midnight we had heat again. Not exactly the ideal first day back but it could have been worse, at least none of the pipes froze.

The good news is that Earl is still alive! I was a little worried by some obscure texts from the twins who were feeding him over the break that read "is it normal for him not to eat or move off the bottom of the tank?" Anyone who has ever had or knows anyone with a turtle knows that they will eat everything and anything you put in the tank, so I was prepared to see him floating belly up when I got home. Not to mention that due to the storm and the flight delays and such he had not been fed for two days. He doesn't seem to have minded very much though, and back to his usual self tried to eat my fingers when I was feeding him some apple today.

Still inspired by all the yoga I was doing over the break, I tried out one of the podcasts that one of the studio's instructors has on itunes. It's a lot harder to do yoga in your bedroom by yourself than in the studio with the heat and the instructor and classmates. I wasn't really into it and was disappointed by how unfocused I was while doing it. I am hoping that I will get better at being able to practice by myself. On the bright side, I think it may have been the first time I have ever broken a sweat in this freezing cold house, so I must have been working harder than I thought. I also had my first swim practice since I've been back from the break today. We ended up doing a kinda boring set, but it was a decent intro back into swimming after almost 3 weeks off. The set consisted of a little bit of everything; 800 w/u, 7X100, 600, 6x150 and 10x200. We did a solid 5km and it felt great to get back into the pool, even though my skin is already burning off from the chlorine.

Classes have started and this semester is looking like a lot of work so far. Luckily I'm taking 4 nutrition courses, so I will hopefully at least like the material. The internship applications were due yesterday, so an announcement regarding who is being asked for an interview should be sent out within the coming week, so my fingers are crossed!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

I am sure that with 2010 officially underway, as are many more blogs such as this one. I've been meaning to start writing a blog for a while, I created this page in the summer, but there never seemed like a good time to start. I'm not sure why I was waiting for one but it didn't feel right to just randomly start writing one day out of the blue. So here it is, January 2nd, and embracing the new year and a chance for a fresh start, I begin my adventures in cyber space with this blog.

My new years eve was fairly uneventful, I went to see Avatar in 3D with Geoff, his friend Ben and Ben's girlfriend Nika. The theater was packed and we ended up having to sit at the back of the front rows, and with the intense 3D animation it was a little nauseating at first until I got used to it. The movie was pretty good, definitely worth seeing, specially if you're into the whole animation and effects aspect of movies. (I have to admit though, if you are only going to see one movie this season, my recommendation is Invictus) After the movie we split 6 pounds of wings between us and a pitcher of beer before heading to Courtney's to ring in the new year. It was just the five of us at Court's, one of the most chill new years eves I have had but it was kind of nice not to have any expectations going into the night. In my experience, New Years Eve is one of the most over-rated nights of the year, so my goal this year was to have no expectations and just lay low, which I think I accomplished quite nicely.

Over the Christmas holidays, I have become addicted to hot yoga at a new studio near my house. Yoga and I have a love hate relationship. While I'm practicing, I spend a significant amount of time hating my life; I'm dripping with sweat, my legs and shoulders are burning, and all I want to do is get to the part of class where I can lay my right ear on the mat, catch my breath and relax a bit. But since I have been going fairly regularly (almost every day for the last 2 weeks) I can feel myself getting better at it. Today I had an epiphany in Wheel and was able to increase my range of motion and my endurance in the position and it pumped me up big time for the rest of class and I am now anxious to get back on the mat tomorrow. The love comes after I'm done the class. I feel so tall, lean and my posture is improved. There is enough challenging strength moves that I feel strong and tired as though I have had a good workout. My legs are shaky but my head is clear and I feel motivated. One of the owners of this studio has podcasts on itunes that I have downloaded and am excited to try out when I get back to school.

I was supposed to fly back to school today, but a major winter storm is currently hitting the Maritimes and all of the flights to Moncton, Halifax and Charlottetown airports have been canceled. I arrived at the airport a couple hours early this afternoon to ensure I didn't get stuck in any crazy airport security lines since the airports are reporting major delays and long lines due to the attempted attack on that plane going into the states. I didn't anticipate too much of a wait because I was only flying within Canada but thought I'd rather be on the safe side. I got through security no problem and had to wait at the gate for a little over an hour before we were supposed to board. A girl sitting at my gate passed out and was surrounded by airport paramedics, eventually being taken away in a stretcher to the hospital, complaining of double vision, dizziness and balance issues, as well as feeling disoriented. She was about my age and traveling alone to BC, and the airline actually offered to send a westjet staff member with her if she wanted but she declined. I don't blame her, being in the hospital is bad enough, having a random stranger to make conversation with the whole time would be even worse. I always get enough of that in the waiting room anyways. The airport was a bit of a zoo in general. There were police escorts for the passengers coming off flights to baggage claim, there were extra security check points that US bound passengers had to pass through and a sense of heightened anxious energy throughout. After about 2.5 hours waiting at the gate, they finally announced that the flight was canceled and that we would have to go to baggage claim, pick up our luggage, then troop all the way back up to arrivals and wait in a "special" line in order to rebook the flight. They failed to mention that it would be another 40 minutes before our baggage arrived at the carousel, and that the line would take an hour to get through. I was lucky though, my parents only live 20 minutes away and were able to pick me up. There were many people who lived hours away from the airport and were unable to go anywhere except a hotel for the night. Since so many flights were delayed, and the increased holiday traffic within the airlines, I have to wait 2 days before I can fly out. Not a big deal, I get to spend an extra day and a half at home, I can get in a some more yoga and shopping before heading back to the island and I get a last chance to see friends and family before being back at school for another 4-5 months.

I have had a song from yoga class stuck in my head all day, hence the title of this blog post (although I figured it was also quite fitting since it's officially a new year and such). I couldn't find the music video, but here's the link to the song on youtube: