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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Vancouver to Hong Kong in a Night

Peter and I taken a few minutes ago. We are at the Vancouver airport awaiting our 2 am flight to Hong Kong. We dined on personal pan pizzas a moment ago and Peter had the misfortune of dropping his on the floor. Do not worry--I gave him some of mine.
Leaving Kelowna was difficult as the evening sun rested on the rolling hills and mountains casting a surreal warm light that made Kelowna look like Utopia. In contrast, the coastal mountains were covered in snow and it looked very hostile with sharp craggy mountain peaks and snow for as far as the eye could see as we began our decent. But Vancouver was beautiful and the ocean against the mountains reminded me of Kelowna as we landed (lake and mountains) for a moment my mind thought it was Kelowna--I've flown a lot recently. So far we're hanging in there--we may not nod off until we get on our flight.
PS Miss my babies like crazy already! XOXO

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ogopogo--Spirit Monster of Lake Okanagan

My girls posing on the head of Ogopogo.
Do you believe in the existence of Ogopogo? There have be documented sighting for centuries but more importantly the Okanagan First Nations believe that Ogopogo is the spirit of Okanagan Lake.
We never look at the lake without looking for unusual ripples indicating the perhaps location of our monstrous friend.

Mist and I had the best hike on Sunday morning. We hiked down to Paul's Tomb with Fernando and stopped at the little beach. The water seemed so refreshing that we jumped right in--Mist in her cut-offs and me in my underwear. After we were nicely cooled down, we climbed straight up the mountain on a trail less traveled--on our hands and knees in bare feet for parts of it--it was that steep and slippery.

Yesterday Mist and I accompanied Tabs class to Vernon for a day of watersliding.
The park looked like a scene from Where's Waldo. So crowded--every school in the valley was there it seemed. Hot and crowded describes it. The line ups for a slow slide were 1/2 h. I managed the tube ride with Misty: waterfall, pool, waterfall, pool--all the way down the hill. It was fun but my butt sometimes hung too low through the tube and got banged around. And also it was stressfull manouvering one's tube well out of the way of some big-boys and their antics--If they came gushing down a waterfall right after you, the force of them hitting the pool, flipped your tube. Although I was guilty of flipping some kid on his tube but only because he hung out at the base of the waterfall and wouldn't move!

The girls are both at school today to pick up report cards. Pip and Artemis are playing here this morning and then...the travel begins!

Peter and I drive the 3 girls and Fernando to Grand Forks to meet Auntie T. She then picks them up and takes them to Nelson with her for 2 weeks and then tomorrow Peter and I leave for Malaysia.

I was dreaming this morning that I was in Paris and I kept opening my eyes to find myself in the same Parisian Hotel room. I couldn't believe it--so I kept closing my eyes and opening them again to make sure it was real--sure enough, everytime I opened them, I was in the same Parisian Hotel room. It was real! I was so excited! And then I closed my eyes again and reopened them, sure I'd find myself in the Parisian Hotel room once again. But alas, that time I opened them to find myself at home, in my Kelowna bedroom. I couldn't believe it! I closed my eyes again to make sure Kelowna wasn't the dream! Rats and Phooey!

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Spring Fair

Spring Fair at Tabs school. We brought along Nem and Artemi for the fun. Mistayas was a volunteer--that is her face-painting.It was a fun night for everyone and both Nem and Pip won themselves cakes at the cake walk.
Tabs 3D teddy bear cake turned out to be too soft--he kept slumping over and his head rolling off--learned not to use a cake mix, the consistency is too soft.

Last night we spent a wonderful picnic at the beach with my sis Miranda and her girls. Peter was golfing with work. The lake was very wavy but we all had a dip and the girls each built miniature jetties into the water using drift wood.
Today was Tabs last soccer game until fall and then the entire family spent about 3 hours cleaning the house. It has to stay spotless until we leave for Malaysia/Nelson as I never like returning to a messy house--we got rid of our house cleaner so we are our own cleaning crew now.
Off to Miranda and John's for supper in a little while.

Watched Tokyo Sonata last night. OMG if the movie is true to Japanese culture, I must say, it is disturbingly sexist. And men and their need to "save face"--a narcissist and immature practice.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Girl Child

*the pic is Pip as Strawberry Shortcake.

I awoke at 3:45 am this morning to find my mind all ready busy writing poetry. And dang it, if it didn't insist on making me haul my tired body out of bed to write it all down. And wouldn't you know it, paper and pens are almost impossible to find in the dark. So here is what my mind wrote in the wee hours of this morning:

Girl Child


No time for food
No time for drink
No time to pee

Monsters to draw
Poisonous mushrooms to pick
Marching ants to bury
Dolls to swaddle, fold, stuff into small perams
Underwear to toss

Blackened face
Green knees
Purple tongue
Bare Bottom
Hair a nest of twigs, leaves, tangles

Fall into bed


No brush
Teeth like sugar-bugs
Hair wants nest

More choci-milk
Abandon plate


Melissa Mix Hart 2010

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Believe I can Fly

Yesterday my girls were soaring. Tabs jumped over 3 meters at long jump and Pip had a wonderful time in the bouncy castle at her year-end preschool party. After track, I took Tabs with me to Pip's party. Tabs loved being the "big girl" helper and was assigned the job as official tattoo artist. I have a lovely orca on my arm thanks to her tattoo talents ;)

I am kneading my brain for art theory and inspirations. Where is it that my art has come from and where is it I want it to go? With thought, it is quite obvious who my inspirations have been and the philosophy that has inspired my art.

Where have I come from?
My inspirations: Emily Carr, Georgia O'Keefe, Frida Kahol, Tamara De Lempika, Caravaggio, John Singer Sargent, Anthony Van Dyck, Robert Bateman. This doesn't mean that these alone are my favorite artists, but rather the artists who most inspired my style.
 The philosophy behind my work:
Buddhism, feminism, naturalism.
Art philosophy behind my work: realism, modernism, soft-cubism,  post cubism, percisionism, classical realism, naturalism, portraiture.
Where am I going?
 Intimate portraits of natural Okanagan life: realism, modernism, naturalism and portraiture with a little percisionism thrown in for good measure!
And as always the passionate philosophies inspiring my art remain true: feminism, Buddhism and naturalism.

Mist attended a sleep over at a friends last night and is finished exams. This morning she is at a special leadership conference as she made it into being a grade 9 "WEB" leader at her school next year.
Tabs is at school and the Pip and I have a few errands to run. Dog food is in order--a trip to the vets as Fernando only gets the best.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Nala 2009-2010

Nala, the baby beluga at the Vancouver aquarium has suddenly died. I took this picture of her last year, shortly after her birth. It is very sad as she died from a penny and some rocks lodged in her airway. She was beautiful and her mother must be devastated.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Myra Canyon Cruising

 Peter and I got up early on this Father's Day and headed up the Myra Canyon for a bike ride.
We saw this beautiful black bear on our way down from the canyon. Very fluffy and healthy looking--all this rain must have given her a good berry crop.
Next pick is me, biking through one of the train tunnels--I love taking photos in any situation, dark tunnel, cycling, camera in one hand. And the last pic is of Peter biking behind me. I just held the camera behind me and told him to bike in view on the lens--voila it worked.
The Myra Canyon smelled like heaven. The wind was warm and felt like the cleanest air on earth.
Tabs dance recital went well--she was adorable. It was a musical theatre number called "I don't want to showoff anymore."Will post pics soon. She insisted on roses after the performance. I gave her a potted mini rose plant so she can plant it in the garden.
We had a lovely picnic at the park in the forest--because vehicles are restricted, we always have the giant forest park to ourselves--out own backyard. It smelled heavenly too--vanilla poderosas, pine, wild sage and dill. Poor Fernando got pushed on the baby swing by his sisters and vomited afterward!

Monday: Tired at gym this morning--those typhoid meds tucker me out. Off to listen to Tabs choir this morning. Then I have 2 meeting at the Uni. Dropping Pip off at her Dad's office while I attend the meetings. I finished my art e-portfolio. It's OK. May post the paintings from it soon for your viewing pleasure ;). Tomorrow Tabs is attending the district track meet for long jump and I must attend Pip's preschool end of year party.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

My Beautiful Girls

I took this pic of the girls the weekend before last, on the ferry crossing the Georgia Straight towards Victoria. It was really raining outside but we were able to see a pod of killer whales just after I took this photo.
A stressful event yesterday. Tabi's school bus drops her off each day at a scheduled time (20 minutes before Mistaya's). I glanced out the front window after about 5 minutes of waiting no sign of tabs but I spotted my neighbour (across the street) driving away from her home, heading down the mountain.
After 15 minutes and no Tabs I started to worry. I put Pip in the stroller and headed down to the bus stop to see if Tabs was distracted by chit-chat with friends.
Just as I arrived, so did Mist's bus. I asked Mist and friends if they'd seen any sign of Tab's bus on the way home. They said no--I started to worry. Where was she? Had the bus come but without Tabs? Had the bus had an accident?
 I decided to walk directly to my neighbour's house across the street (the same one I'd just seen drive down the mountain alone) to see if her son had gotten off Tab's bus and was at home. That way I'd know whether it was the entire bus, or just Tabs missing.
Suddenly a mom (next door neighbour) drove up beside we and rolled down her window, "Are you looking for Tabi?"
"YES!"I said.
"The bus broke down and I'm going to get my girls, do you want me to bring Tabi home too?"
"Yes, thank-you," I said, relieved.
So I continued up the hill to my house. Just then the neighbour(across street) I'd seen drive down the mountain earlier arrived home, with her son and the 2 girls from next door.
I was confused. The 2 girls mother (next door neighbour) had just left to retrieve them and bring home Tabs.
"Where is Tabi?" I shouted across the street. One of the girls said,
"She (across the street neighbor) didn't have enough room in Tabi in the car."
The across-the-street mom then said, "I saw the broken down bus on my home from work so as soon as I got home, I drove back down to get the kids."
I turned to the 2 little next-door girls and said,"Well, your mom just headed down the mountain to find the bus and pick you girls and Tabi up. I guess she'll just have to bring home Tabi now."
The 2 little girls rushed inside their home and called their mom's cell. Their mom said she'd had trouble locating the broken down bus and by the time she found it, a new bus had picked up Tabs and she was on her way home.
Tabs finally arrived, hysterical. Apparently one of the kids on the bus had a cell and called her mom, who called several moms all of whom rushed to the bus to pick up their kids and their immediate neighbor's kids. Tabs was the only one in her grade left without pick up but all her friends and neighbours were picked up. No one called me. 
My neighbour-across-the-street knew the bus was broken down and didn't even bother to tell me--no, she drove down and picked up her son and the neighbor's 2 girls and left Tabs.
  This, after all the neighbourly things I have done for her and her entire family (baby sat, drove her mother-in law for groceries). She didn't even have the courtesy or decency to tell me the bus was broken down, nor bring my little Tabs home.
This, when  I am the only neighbour with a toddler, thus would find it harder pack up the family to drive down to get Tabs, plus Tabs was then left alone on the bus--she didn't have a sister to keep her company like my next door neighbour's 2 girls.
 Most importantly, I was panicked, having no idea where my little Tabs was--you'd think after all I have done for her and her family, she could have walked across the street and told me that she just drove by the school bus, broken-down on the mountain and that Tabi would, no doubt, be late.
I am so disappointed and angry about this. Tabs was so distraught that I kept her home from piano as she also had dress rehearsal to get ready for that same evening.

I am panicked at the amount of work I have to do for school, meetings, applications, the trip, the girl's trip, rewriting our will (as our last one was before Pip was born). STRESS.

I need a macro lens for my camera. Peter say I should wait and get one in Hong Kong--but that means I won't be able to take any super macro insect/flower shots in the jungle.

Oh, and they just found the mother load of dinosaur bone deposits north of Medicine Hat, Alberta (my old home town) up to thousands of triceratop type dinos that perished together in their massive herd during a torrential storm and valley flood--Wow--I'm taking the girls to Drumheller this summer.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Abraham Darby Rose

These roses are in bloom in my garden. I was truthful when I said I have good luck with roses. Roses  bloom with wild, prolific, abandon all summer long in my garden. This particular rose, the Abraham Darby is my absolute favorite flower in the world. It smells so rich, heavenly and clean--like sunshine and flutes. And as my niece Nemy said, "I never knew any flower could smell that beautiful."
It has been the rainiest spring ever. I feel as though I am living up the North Coast on Princess Royal Island.
Bust times....busy times. Pick up Tabs from last day Piano, run her home, stuff down a supper and then  get her all "dolled up" and then down to the theatre for dress rehearsal. Peter has to pick up Mist from piano.
Fishtank --wow, introducing me to a class/culture in the UK that frightens me to the core--I've never witnessed a more compassionless mother character on film. Well, she really isn't playing a mother, rather a woman who is the genetic mother of the girls she lives with. 

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Citizen of the Year

Mistaya won a Grade Eight Citizenship award. We are so proud of her. The teacher giving the award said these students are the kind of children you'd want as your own--they are leaders, honest, compassionate, hard working, disciplined and kind. That's my girl!  I get teary just rereading this!

Prospects that may change my academic career path are looking very good at the moment--I am hesitantly excited but I may just be realizing a dream goal of mine in the near future--will say more once things are settled either way.

Tabitha has volunteered to make a cake for her school's "Cake Walk" on Friday--the only kid I am sure bringing a cake she baked herself. Usually it is the parents who bring store-bought cakes for the event. But not our Tabs--she is a do it yourself wonder child! So, I bought an adorable "Build a Bear" 3D cake pan for her and she will be making a 3D teddy bear cake today, and icing it Friday. We have to start early because she has soccer and dance rehearsal tonight and piano and dance "dress rehearsal" tomorrow night. And then Friday, after school, is the spring fair at her school and she will bring her cake. We are taking little Nem and Artemi to the event--should be fun.

Mist has 4 or more friends coming over after school to study for finals and eat pizza. I can imagine there might be a total of 5 minutes worth of studying going down tonight. 

I have Zumba and then I really want to rent a movie or go to one with Peter as I really need the wee relaxing break tonight. Perhaps go to Splice or rent the British film Fishtank. I think renting is in order as we won't be home until after eight with the Tabs. Peter and I started our Typhoid meds today--fun

The Pip has a little cold--is hanging with Mom today--didn't want to go anywhere that required her getting into the van.

And darling Doe-Doe (Fernando the pug) had a play date with his cuz the Fozz this morning after a two week break.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC

Mist and Pip at Stanley park last weekend. Tabs was feeling a little under the weather so she rested in the van with her dad.
Tabs advanced in track to the division meet in long jump. So she will take tuesday off next week to attend the track meet. She's quite a little jock. She's tiny but powerful.

First, a heart felt condolence for the loss of my sister Catherine's dear dog Patrick--who died tragically yesterday. A dear little dog.

I had the worst dreams last night: frustration and being ignored, collapsing lifestyle and major unhappiness were the main themes. No doubt from yesterday's horrible time. I spent all day on the computer--wrote up 7 pages of forms--long paragraph style answers, all details about my research. Only to find out I'd done it on sandbox instead of rise and it was all mysteriously erased. I am so beyond mad, frustrated, unhappy. This ethics process has stalled me and lost me so many days, hours--the site is horrible, confusing and pathetically designed and no one offers any guidance--now, someone has access to all the nitty gritty details of my "ground breaking" research. F!

Gotta run a busy, busy day! And I can finally confess (as she is at school and won't read this until after the fact): Misty is getting a surprise award today at her school's award ceremony. Peter and I are to come to the auditorium at 1 pm today to view her getting the award--I don't even know what it is for--it is all hush, hush.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Gold Medal Glory

Tabitha with her gold medal in Math. She came in first in grade four math enrichment. YAY TABS!

A horrible night last night--no sleep. Events started to unfold at about 2 in the afternoon Saturday. I was in my bedroom when I heard a very loud bang/thunk in the living room. I held my breath and listened. Silence--good I thought, perhaps it was the dog or someone dropping a big book. But then... SCREAMING and crying--Pip. I ran to the living room to find Pip clutching her forehead and a huge blue bump forming underneath her hand. She could not remember how she fell or what she hit her head on ( I wondered if it was because she was jumping from furniture to furniture again--something I had forbid her to do after nearly breaking her leg and spleen on other occasions). After about 5 minutes she insisted she play outside with the neighbors and her sisters. I let her go instructing her sisters to bring her inside if she acted hurt or odd. Sure enough, they brought her back in right away, she was crying and saying, "When it stop hurting?" over and over again.  I invented a great ice pack device (elastic headband holding a frozen slushy wedge on her bump--a mango icy treat from the health food store)and sat her in front of a Scooby- Doo video and gave her Motrin. After about 1/2 hour she seemed fine so we left it at that. That night she and Tabs wanted a sleep over on a mattress in the family room. At 2 am they came upstairs--Pip confused and crying that her neck hurt. Then she vomited. I had gotten up so fast I felt like I was going to faint. I had to lie down while Peter helped her into bed. I got on the internet and Peter called the BC nurse line. Of course, they wanted us to take her into emergency. I read on line that if she didn't continue vomiting and seemed coherent, she should be fine. We brought her in bed with us for the night.
And watch over her I did. I got no sleep.
 By morning she seemed fine, just a sore tummy. Head injuries are such a horrible worry! And Pippi is a dare devil--no fear, always jumping off of everything. She is always cracking herself hard.

Mist and Tabs performed very well on Friday night at their piano final concert. I am so impressed with how far they've come. Mist then went to a sleep over party at a friends house.
Peter and I attended a UBC party Saturday night--didn't stay late.
Tabs had soccer on Saturday and dance rehearsal today--nearly forgot until a phone call from an angry teacher wondering how fast I could get her down to the studio.
An absolutely beautiful summer day, the forest smelling heavenly of vanilla scented ponderosa and choke cherry blossoms.
The weeks are full over appointments. No time to work, but work I must, somehow?

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bug Zoo-Victoria, BC

Victoria Bug Zoo: What a cool place. The girls and I loved it. We learned so much about so many insects. Pip and I held each one--my favorite was one of the leaf bugs (top) their faces are like bull dogs with protruding lower jaws and they are dear--they wave their front legs in the air gracefully in front of your face wanting to dance. When you let them hold your finger, they wiggle their behinds gently like they are dancing. I was truly in love. The scorpion (not pictured) was perhaps the one I was most hesitant with because her large bubble of venom was visible at all times--though I enjoyed holding her and she was very calm and gentle. I love insects! It is odd, Peter's father was an entomologist, so naturally he has a knowledge and appreciation for insects and I for some unknown reason absolutely adore them--it is odd we found each other. Insects are fascinating, beautiful and much more intelligent then we can know. 
Thoroughly enjoyed Victoria. We had bright sunny weather and the city itself is beautiful and historical. I enjoyed and appreciated all of the heritage buildings and their stories. And the down town is filled with interesting shops and restaurants. The girls and I sketched Foxes at a local restaurant: The Blue Fox. They placed our napkins under the glass table cover to display them--so if you're ever at the restaurant, look for our napkin sketches. Also the Dutch Bakery--family owned since 1950--traditional baking at great prices. 
We went to "Shrek III" 3D as a family one night--gotta love Shrek. Fiona as female warrior was great and a fat Puss n' Boots adorable. And the witches--who doesn't love a wicked witch?
The next few weeks are enough to make me certifiable. Never again will I decided to do a 2 week trip to South Asia in June. In fact, no June travel allowed any longer--the girls are far too busy this month, not to mention my thesis work is absolutely insane at the moment. 
The Empress didn't disappoint. Our room had 20 Ft high ceilings. The pool was dreamy and the entire hotel smelled so good: like an old, old house--a clean smell of old wood and freshly vacuumed wool carpets.

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Empress Victoria

Pip and I in our hotel room, enjoying morning tea.
Having so much fun in Victoria. Who knew it was such a cool city? I've been here before and enjoyed it, however, the gals and I are enjoying ourselves royally at the Empress Fairmont. Last night we attempted to hunt for ghosts in the hotel. Didn't find one yet...
This morning we had breakfast at Murchies and I purchased some tea--Japanese green and Queen Victoria green and black blend. Next, we stopped at the best book store--Munro's. We each purchased a book and I,  vintage style maps of Paris and the world. Wee break at the hotel and then we're off to the Royal British Columbia Museum.
The pool at the Empress is great--we'll relax there this afternoon. Peter is conferencing for the next few days while the girls and I play.
Books from Munro's:
Harry Maclary by Lynley Dodd-Pip
UK addition "Cherry the Cake Fairy"-Tabitha
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery--Me
Bogus to Bubbly by Scott Westerfield--Mist

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Downtown, Vancouver BC

Arrived at Hotel Vancouver. Pool empty, closed for repairs.
So far we've done a little shopping, toured the UBC Anthropology museum--wow, amazing collection of aboriginal artifacts from around the globe--especially BC west coast masks and potlatch serving dishes the size of canoes! You know the tribes lived well when you see the size of their food serving dishes.
Toured around Stanley Park in the sunshine--the girls played at a few parks. A beautiful day to be in Vancouver. I made the connection between San Francisco--Vancouver. The cities have a similar vibe. I love visiting them both. Supper at Earls and then a family movie in the room as Peter was feeling unwell. Now we're off to Victoria.
It is good to get away--forced to see oneself in a new light--for better and for worse. Decided my hair is a fright and I must try to improve it. Although I have really been trying, it still looks like crap. I'm going to get 3 inches chopped off and perhaps return to salon high lights--I hate it as it is now, so anything will be an improvement--considering shaving it all off to match my Mist.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Soccer in the Rain

Tabs playing on Saturday. I got soaked right down to my underwear just watching.
Tabs placed first in her class in a school wide geography test--so now she advances to the school final on Friday morning.
As soon as she is finished we are all leaving for a five night holiday to Vancouver and Victoria. We'll be staying in the historic Hotel Vancouver and then the Empress in Victoria. It will be a great little family get away.
This month is proving to be quite hectic. Track meets, piano concerts, dance recitals, band concerts... and I just today officially changed my thesis advisor. Now I have less than 2 weeks to get three strangers to agree to sign on to be on my thesis committee, meet all together with me and my advisor and finish my ethics review application and submit it! YIKES
All of this before my new supervisor leaves for Finland and then I, in turn, leave for Malaysia for 2 weeks on June 30th. Before that we must drive the girls and Fernando to Nelson to where their Auntie T will be waiting to babysit while we're off exploring the jungles of Asia.
My mom stayed last night and I drove her to the bus station where she caught a bus to Nelson for the week.
Tabs is at a friends, Mist at the mall with friends and Pip just returned home from Energy-Plex after an afternoon with Artemis and Hilary (the nanny).
Tonight I have Zumba but I really want to go to a movie instead! Hmm...date night tomorrow may be cancelled as I have to pack up 4 females for our trip and arrange for the doggie sitter.
Tomorrow morning the city is helicopter spraying our mountain for Tussock moths. So I have to barricade the house and none of us can go outdoors for 24h. I did my run this morning instead of tomorrow.
Pip and I just made our famous pumpkin brownies. Must go and ice them.
*Decided my personal essays are too time consuming for this blog. I will try to do one each month for practice though.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Gym Nemesis

You know the one. That bully that keeps a silent eye on your workout, waiting for the best time to dash ahead of you a steal the equipment you’re headed for before you can get to it. In most instances it is a silent battle. In my case it started out with verbal words exchanged and then simmered into a “cultured” silence of distain. He was on the bike. I made my way to the next equipment in my weight routine and unloaded the over100lbs of heavy weights left on it—PO’d at the imbecile who’d left them on just ahead of me. As I’d loaded up my impressive 70 lbs, a big guy arrives “Hey! I had one more set.”

I ignored him and as I placed my last weight on, then, looked up innocently, “You had one more set?”

 He backed down “Well…since you’ve switched the weights….” He couldn’t let it go at that. No, as he walked away he mumbled, “It was obvious. I wouldn’t have left all the weights on it like that…”

The gym I go to isn’t one you’d pick if you like eye-candy. Scratch that. I am the eye-candy.
It has developed into being something of a senior’s hangout. I’m not convinced this is the case 24/7. No, I tell myself that after 5, when the young’ns get off work, that’s when the eye-candy alert must begin. That’s when the sport cars arrive and the chiseled-rock bodies strut their way through the front doors and onto the weight room floor—or so I like to imagine.

However, bright and early, at 6 AM all of my fellow “athletes’ who still have their hair, are various shades of grey.
But I don’t mind. Sure a little eye-candy would be nice, motivational even. But in my gym, I’m the young’n, the closest thing to an ingénue you’ll find—until 5 O’clock that is.

The bully arrived last Friday--some new guy. No eye-candy alert there. He was heavy (ya it’s true, I called him fat in my last blog), tall, semi-bald and grey. Although in my gym, he’d be considered on the young side—a young buck--probably just shy of 50.

As luck would have it, he was there bright and early Monday morning, rising for a little workout with a few of the seniors in town and me… Damn.
 I hop on the bike, jacking the resistance up to the top—25 little lights of pure power. Not sure what 25 means but it is the top resistance setting.
 That will show him. No way he’ll tangle with a woman biking 25 lights! He is positioned conveniently on the treadmill behind me—good he’ll have full view of my impressive setting. As I bike for the full 20 minutes, I watch in worry as he finishes his treadmill and begins to mill around the gym floor, moving slowly from equipment to equipment--pausing to hop on the treadmill between sets.

Damn. He’s at it again. Thinking he owns the floor. Who does he think he is, pausing to do cardio between sets without removing his weights?
Well he’d better be well out of my way when I step off of the bike and start my weight routine…
Off the bike. So far so good. Time for my squats. I don’t need to change the weights. Tee-hee--I mean, he’d just been squatting the same weight ahead of me—him at about 300 lbs, 6’3, and little old me—5’7” woman, 120 lbs--180 lbs on the machine—that outta intimidate him.
 I’m sure he’ll notice how I squat the 180 lbs with ease and decide to stay clear. I may look small but watch out, I’ll say with each squat.
But I never get the chance. Just as I head to the machine he inconveniently places his water bottle, towel and other personal gym-toys on the floor of the squat machine. Resting one hand on them as he bends down to “help” a gym employee adjust the weights of the broken machine beside the squat machine.
 Man…do I ask him to move his stuff or appear patient as the knight in shining amour helps the gym employee fix the equipment? All my toughness evaporates and I move to the next machine—gonna come back to squats as soon as he moves his sweaty hand off of it.

The rest of my workout takes place in a panic. Can I make it to the machine of our first altercation before he takes it over? I attack my workout hard, with a bit of a self-satisfied strut between equipment—think Travolta in Grease. Intimidation factor nearing 25 little red lights.

And then the unthinkable. One step ahead of me he arrives at the machine in question. He starts loading it up with weights I cannot lift on my own. Don’t you dare leave those on…fat-boy!

I retreat to the last machine of my routine, waiting to come back to the final altercation machine when he’s finished. But if he takes a break between sets and heads for the cardio equipment, I’m gonna loose it.

The break between sets. He’s pacing the floor, circling the equipment. Good… don’t you leave buddy because if you do….well, I’m gonna be too scared and too weak to take off your heavy weights and teach you a lesson…so just don’t do it….please don’t walk away from the machine. I don’t want to have to face my own beast that says: man, for all your strutting and bravado you’re too chicken to take this guy on.

The second set—wahoo—don’t be one of those guys stuck in the eighties that still insists on three sets…good news, he’s unloading the weights after 2 sets—wahoo! Maybe the intimidation factor really is 25 lights high.
But still…6’3”, 300lbs…
“Are you finished with this machine?” I ask as I begin to load it up, all 70lbs worth. Sure, the voice sounds distinctly feminine, perhaps even sweet--but with a strong foundation of tough.

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