Sunday, January 23, 2011

I Scream, You Scream

Friday night, amid a snowstorm, Sam
and I drove out to Nicole's for an Ice Cream Social in honour of Andrea's birthday. It was a potluck, but everyone brought different flavours of ice cream and different toppings to make the most ultimate ice cream sundaes PEI has ever seen. We had quite the spread of goodies! You'd never guess half of us were nutrition students based on the amount of chocolate and candies on the table, except for the pint of blueberries at the end that are negligible considering everything else that was piled on top of them in our dishes. Needless to say I ate way to much (I really didn't need seconds but couldn't resist!) but it was soo delicious! I'm a sucker for ice cream. I could eat it all day every day and not get sick of it. Specially when in sandwich form. I'm drooling a bit just thinking about it. Post ice-cream we played board games all night. We played a round of What's Yours Like? followed by a round of Apples to Apples and then waddle home with full bellies that hurt from overeating and laughing to much.

Andrea, Me, Tuck and Sam! How come my bowl looks the biggest and most overflowing?

Yummm... Chocolate chips, cookie dough, blueberries, reeces pieces, whipped cream and sprinkles with a blueberry on top!

After surviving an ice cream induced junk food hang-over the next morning, I headed to the pool for an AUS Invitational Swim Meet that UPEI was hosting. It was nice to be back on deck! I haven't been at the pool since I got back from the holidays since I'm not allowed to swim. I miss the team! Since I couldn't swim, I got suckered into timing for the weekend. Not nearly as fun, but I think I got as wet as I would have swimming. Our team did super! A handful of PBs despite not tapering for the event and one swimmer qualified for CIS (national championships for university swimming) which will be in Calgary in February.

When I got home from the pool after this morning's session, I was starving and naturally my first stop after getting in the door was the cupboard for some food. It was not a pretty sight! Ground flaxseed was everywhere! Seems as though we have yet another mouse! It's pretty annoying that we can never seem to go more than a month without finding evidence of mice but there are worse pests taking over Charlottetown so I'm not complaining too much! Sam officially dubbed this mouse Malcom and we have set a trap full of yummy peanut butter right on my shelf in hopes of him returning for a midnight snack at some point tonight. Unfortunately, the shelf is right at eye level and Malcom will be the very first thing you see when you open the cupboard. Normally we hid the trap in the corner somewhere so that it's as out of sight as possible, but Malcom seemed to only like to eat ground flaxseed and almonds, aka MY food. He's been ignoring my roommate's Fruit-Loops on the shelf below. He must be in GI distress though, with the amount of flax that he's eaten, the mass amounts of poop on the shelf is definitely no surprise. Hopefully the trap get's him soon, if the fiber overdose hasn't already!

If only I had a frog instead of a turtle! (PS, googling images of "mouse trap" can be quite disturbing an I don't recommend it unless you have a strong stomach"

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In Search of Regan

The other day at work, a customer handed me a Blackberry she had found in the parking lot outside the restaurant. Assuming that a) it being outside the restaurant meant that it was our customer who lost it b) whoever lost it would realize exactly where they lost it and come back and look for it and that c) I was trust worthy enough to hand over a blackberry to without me decided that I wanted a blackberry to replace my crappy LG that has a mind of it's own and turns off whenever it wants. Anyways, the only assumption that was in fact correct was c) because no one came to find the lost phone and the phone happened to be locked to I couldn't even figure out who owned it.

I took it home and did some hard core sleuthing. I mean, Inspector Gadget would be extremely proud. First, please note that I know nothing about blackberry's at all, having never owned one or even really used one (except for the one time I tried to text on Alex's and failed epically). There was probably a way to figure it out easily, but not knowing it I had to get creative to figure it out.

First I took the sim card out and put it in my phone in hopes that it was the phone that was locked and not the sim card, which was correct. However, there were limited contacts saved onto the sim card and none of them were "home" or "mom" or anything that indicated that the phone owner might be tight with one of them. There were only two hints. Two names in the phone were simply nicknames instead of the full first and last name. My options were "skeet" or "Hudsie". I opted for Hudsie and sent him a text indicating that I had this dudes phone and wondering how to get ahold of him. After 5 or 6 text messages with the mysterious Hudsie, the owner dude, who is apparently called Regan, called me on my phone and we arranged to meet on campus to return the phone.

Ok so maybe it didn't involve a tone of sleuthing, and if I had known how to work a blackberry then it probably would have taken me one day instead of three to track this dude down. I did, however, feel that I at least deserve a trench coat and glasses with a moustache attached.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Nails, Movies and Books

3 chick flicks and self-manicured greige nails later I think I'm finally getting the hang of this "recovery" thing. I thought I would go crazy, but I am actually really appreciating this forced time off. I never realized how great having free time was, and how great it is to be able to see an end to my to do list!

I finally finished my book (not a school related book either!) and bought my very first ebook for my new ereader (thanks santa!). I tested out at the gym by reading a Sherlock Holmes short story and am still trying to figure out exactly how to use it properly. I've been reading the manual to figure out all the ins and outs so that I can take advantage of the fancy features and know what buttons to press etc to make reading from it easier. I was originally hesitant about the whole ereader thing, there is something about having a book in your hand and flipping pages and wandering around a book store for hours picking one out that makes the whole book reading process that much better. I'll probably still go to actual book stores to peruse the ailes and pick out a book, but I'll come home and buy it online instead. After reading about 15 books in Kenya, and lugging the books across the planet and back, I'm excited to be able to load up my ereader with 15+ books before I go and not have to worry about fitting books in my suitcase.

Anyways, the moral of this story is that I think I might actually be capable of being a normal human being who exercises and is active but doesn't train. I think I might actually be capable of not feeling guilty if I don't go to the gym or for a swim or for a run at least once a day. I think I might actually learn how to not be doing something at every moment of every day. It might still take some time to get used to, but I'm excited that I've finally figured out that it's possible. I'm hoping to spend the year trying tons of new things (classes, sports, hobbies, etc) that I never had time to try before! First on my list is a cake decorating course taught by one of the girls in my program every week. The next session starts in a couple of weeks and is all about gum-paste!

Water Tanks and Chefs

This afternoon I road tripped to Souris with Tuck and Jen to give a presentation to the committee of the Souris Village Feast about our adventures in Kenya. The Village Feast raises money every year to build cookhouses in Kenya, and all of the new cookhouses at the schools we worked with last summer were built with funds raised at the Feast. They work closely with Farmers Helping Farmers so we were invited to speak to them about the impact of the cookhouses on the school lunch programs.

The presentation went well! At the end of each presentation we always talk about our Apron Project and we brought the aprons with us incase anyone wanted to buy one. We only had about 25 of the 96 left, but we wanted to get them sold so we can donate the money to Farmers Helping Farmers asap. A Farmers Helping Farmers crew is heading to Kenya this coming Thursday to purchase water tanks based on the funds raised during the Christmas campagne, so we were planning on just writing the check and spending our own money until we could reimburse ourselves by selling the remaining aprons.

Before we could even finish explaining the project, one of the committee members just says "we'll buy them all". I wasn't expecting that!! So the Village Feast Team has purchased the remaining 25 aprons to give to donors and to sell at next summer's village feast!

So after our presentation we presented Farmers Helping Farmers with a cheque for $ 1420 dollars, which will buy 5 water tanks for the new members of the Muchui Women's Group!!

As we were wrapping up our presentation, who just strolls into the room apologizing for being later? No other than Michael Smith! I knew he helped out with the Souris Feast but I didn't realize he was on the committee. Of course Jen decides it's necessary to inform him that I won his Scholarship this year, so he congratulated me and I thanked him and blah blah blah and then the photographer decided that we needed to take tons of pictures together. Not that I'm not happy to have pictures of me and the Chef, and it was great being introduced to him and having him be interested in the work we did and asking us lots of questions, but I felt like a lame super fan. I know he gets it a lot but I'm sure he gets sick of it.

All in all a pretty stellar day! Pictures will follow soon I hope!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas 2010

I'm back in PEI gearing up for my last semester of my undergraduate degree after a fabulous 3 weeks at home. I was less than enthusiastic to come back and get back to the grind but knowing it's the last time I'll have to do so for a while was a motivating factor. It feels like I never left even though my trip home was definitely eventful.

My first week in Mississauga was awesome; baking parties, seeing friends I haven't seen in way too long, training with the canoe club and spending quality time with the fam jam. Couldn't get much better! The week that followed was almost the complete opposite. Tuesday, Alex and I had all 4 of our wisdom teeth taken out which wasn't nearly as bad as I was anticipating.
Wednesday, I passed out in my kitchen and, according to my mom who luckily happened to be there to catch me, I seized and was unconscious for about 40 seconds - 1 minute. I was taken to the hospital and stayed over night for observation, and then I was transfered to the hospital where my cardiologist and the HCM specialist is. After a second night in the hospital, it was recommended that I get an Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator given my family history and the genetic mutation responsible for HCM. I was really lucky because the staff at the hospital were unreal and let me go home for Christmas eve and then somehow got me close to the top of the list for surgeries. I had the device implanted at about noon on Christmas Day and was home by 7pm the same day. My family post-poned Christmas dinner to Boxing day so I still got a giant turkey dinner and stuffing and pie and mississippi mud and all the Parkes family Christmas essentials.

I was awake for the procedure. They gave me a sedative and a local anesthetic and threw a blanket over my head so I couldn't see anything. I think I spent the 45 minutes it took dosing on and off but I could feel the surgeon tugging and pulling and testing the device and then stitching me up. Having the device tested was the weirdest feeling ever. I could hear the surgeon tell the tech a bunch of numbers and next thing I know my heart rate is going through the roof! The surgery went well though and the recovery wasn't all that bad. My last week at home was consumed mostly with lazing around which I like to think can be considered "recovering".

I'm not quite sure how I feel about having the defibrillator yet. I'm not sure it's sunk in entirely yet. Already I can tell that I am going to lose, at least initially, quite a bit of the range of motion in my left shoulder. The device still feels like a foreign body in my shoulder, which it is, but I'm hoping that I'll get used to it and it won't feel so obviously bulky and huge all the time. I'm also hoping that my scar isn't noticeable once it heals, as it's right under my collarbone and quite visible in most clothes. I'm not allowed to do much with my left arm for the next month, but once I'm allowed to train again, I'll get a better feel for how inhibiting it is. Until then I'm planning on going to physiotherapy to make sure that I am doing all I can to ensure that my shoulder doesn't get too messed up and that I don't hurt myself when I get back into the pool and the weight room and back to training 3 weeks from now. I have a feeling it's going to be a longer process getting back to where I was pre-surgery than I originally thought it would be, but I suppose only time will tell.