Cool Runnings
August 10, 2009

In the South.  In August.  Not so much.  There is nothing “cool” about the South in August.  It’s downright tropical, where the humidity levels and temperature are often approximately the same number.  Yet, I still get up (early) in the morning and go running.  I  know that the most miserable of the weather usually only lasts about a month and I’m about a week into it.  However, I’m running some of my longest runs in this weather.  Fortunately, the weather eventually gets cooler, and will be close to 40 degrees cooler on race day, several hundred miles north of here.

So, after returning from this morning’s run (literally dripping wet), I learned some interesting news about the race.  Apparently the last bit of the race will be running through a movie set, the race organizers announced this morning.  I doubt we will be actually “part” of the movie, but I guess I should check out the original movie just so I’m informed.

Sally in Training
July 8, 2009

It’s official, Sally is in training again.  Barbie and I have signed up to run this half-marathon race in October.  This means lots of very early morning runs in the heat and humidity in the South, aches and pains in places I forgot about since my last race, and a potential loss of a toenail.  But that’s the price you pay.

In fact, this is the price you pay . . .

New stick of Body Glide . . . . . . . . . . . $8.95

Race registration  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $60.00

New running shoes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $142.01

Monthly massages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  $280.00

Running 13.1 miles in two
countries with your best friend . . . . . . . . PRICELESS

Sally’s Retrospective
June 14, 2009

It has been exactly one year since Sally decided to take on the world.  There have been ups and downs, adventures and funny pictures and signs.

I survived a miserable job to find one that allowed me to have a life again as well as a lucrative side business.  I also learned how to be a single thirtysomething.  Survived on my own without having my best friend, Barbie, in the same country on a regular basis.  I think those are my biggest accomplishments.

I’ve had many adventures: monster trucks, Canada, searching for weird stuff, Vegas, beach, wining, to name a few.

I have made many discoveries of dinosaurs around my neighborhood.  I feel like a little kid after the tooth fairy comes when I find those!

I started a garden.  Took up hula hooping.  Admitted I have a shoe problem, and learned to swap my clothes.  Discovered a new love of a certain online retailer and their contests.  I attended some great concerts, and saw some really funny signs.

Although, I didn’t document everything here, I have had quite a good time.  I ran one race and have decided to train for another one with Barbie.  I plan to have many more adventures in the next year of Sally.

Got any tips for Sally’s next year of adventures?

Freshness Fail
March 15, 2009

plungers

Courtesy of Barbie and and the Canadian grocery store.  Apparently Loblaws A&P hasn’t fully thought through their new marketing campaign and its application to toilet plungers.  Fail.

Canada pt. 4 (home again)
October 6, 2008

I’ve returned from Canada, but not without a few more adventures.

This morning, I went with Barbie to run a couple errands at her school.  I was able to finally get pictures of the wild Canadian geese.  Not too close, because I’ve heard they’re mean and sneaky.  I also got another picture of campus.

Note the Canadian flag.  It’s everywhere.  Including the following place.  Check out the middle of the golden arches.

We decided to take the ferry to cross the border instead of the bridge or the tunnel.  I documented our brief international waterway crossing.  Note the big tractor trailor that was next to us on the ferry.  No, we obviously didn’t sink.

And naturally the duty-free shop welcomes you back into the U.S.

Now, I’m back home.  And I had already forgotten how warm it is!  But it’s nice.  I had a great trip to Canada and to visit Barbie!  I’ll miss her.  It will be a while before I venture up north again, at least until the late spring or summer!  But I can say I enjoyed our mischief in Canada and will gladly do it again.

Canada pt. 3
October 5, 2008

This morning, we had a proper Canadian breakfast before running errands.  Well, maybe not proper, but definitely typical.  We went to the donut shop, Tim Hortons, for some donuts and juice and coffee.  Canadians love their “Timmy’s.”  The donuts were good, and I’m told the coffee is mediocre.  But my favorite part was the following sign.  Again, Canadians are very precise.  And polite.

No, this sign is not outside the donut shop.  It is inside.  By the tables and the bathrooms.  Please folks, do not spend more than 20 minutes eating your pastry-goodness.

Then, we decided to get provisions.  We first stopped at Michaels (the craft store we also know at home) and found some fantastic Halloween and fall cookie cutters and sprinkles.  Then we went to “The Beer Store.”  In Canada you buy beer at “The Beer Store.”  Basically it is the only place that sells beer and they are all called “The Beer Store.”  Once again, Canadians are very precise.  Here you can see Canadians lining up for the store to open.  With their children.  They also like lining up for stuff.

Next, we needed groceries.  There is a grocery store here called “Loblaws.”  Anyone who is a fan of Arrested Development will find this just as funny as me.  Look up the Law Office of Bob Loblaw.  (Yay Scott Baio!)  Anyway, I went around saying “Bob Loblaw” over and over all weekend – poor Barbie!  (Say it out loud, you’ll get it eventually.)  For posterity, here you go.

While in Loblaws, I discovered, once again, that Canadians are very precise.  Even with their generic products.  The generic brand at Loblaws is called “no name.”  See for yourself!

And since it is Canada, everything is billingual.  So, it is also “sans nom.”  (or in lolspeak – without food)  Even Barbie’s appliances are billingual.  The oven and washer and dryer are in both English and French, both Celsius and Farenheit.  I asked if we should be concerned if her appliances are smarter than we are.  Maybe they can learn to cook for Barbie while she’s at school.  If so, I want to import some of these!

So, as you have probably guessed, Barbie and I rekindled our great tradition of cookie baking!  Which involves drinking, giggling, eating, decorating, and oh yeah making cookies.  Here are the fruits of our labor!

So, there you have it, a fun and lazy Sunday.  Tomorrow is travel day.  Then I start work on Tuesday.

Canada pt. 2
October 4, 2008

Sleeping in today was lovely.  But we eventually went to Barbie’s school to work out at the student gym.  We planned to go to a pilates class, but by the time we got down there, paid for me as a guest, and figured out where the pilates class was, the doors were locked and we were a few minutes late.  So, we sweated a little on the eliptical machines until I made the bright suggestion (Barbie loves it when I have ideas!) to show her some of the exercises from my crazy class at my new gym.  I think Barbie hates me now.  Or at least her muscles do.  We shall see in the morning when she goes down the steps to walk the pup.  Here are a couple pictures from campus.  We tried to find the geese, but no luck.  Also, it is homecoming here apparently (yes, Canadians do that too), so traffic was crazy and they write on the cement walls with chalk.  This one was particularly fitting.

After working out, we quickly grabbed some lunch and ran home to change.  It was off to the Labatt Brewery Tour.  This was a lot of fun.  Learned a lot about Canadian beer and then go to have a fun little tasting afterwards.  Yay beer!  Oh and did I mention we got free T-shirts with our tour?!

Then we came home, showered and relaxed for a couple hours.  We discovered Barbie’s furnace wasn’t working-as she suspected-so her landlord brought us an extra heater.  Yes, it is still cold in Canada.  After getting all dolled up, we went downtown for more fun.  We stopped at the Honest Lawyer again.  It seemed pretty dead, but we had some great flatbreads there along with more Labatt beer and great conversation.

Then we walked around looking for a new place to have a drink.  This sign caught my eye and I couldn’t resist.  Canadians are so precise.

We came across a great English pub, ordered ciders, and were enjoying ourselves.  Soon a loud band kicked in and a big homecoming crowd came in.  We figured it was probably time to head out.  Then a very loud girl, excited about homecoming, screamed next to me.  When she apologized, she gave me about $5 and told me to buy a drink.  So we finished our drinks and headed home with the cash (all in change – it’s Canada).  On the way, we stopped at Starbucks, each ordered one of their new hot chocolates, and went home to add some vodka to our yummy treats.  It was a great day.  Sally and Barbie are pooped.  We’ve got more gallavanting and goofing off to do tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

Canada pt. 1
October 3, 2008

Today I accompanied Barbie to school.  She had to teach some undergrads for an hour.   As thrilling and exciting as that sounds, she did a good job.  We then went to the “Grad Club,” a restaurant/pub for graduate students.  After lunch and a beer, we attended a lecture about Freddie Mercury, of Queen fame.  It was pretty good, despite the academic nature.  I forgot my camera this morning, so pictures of school (and the wild, Canadian geese – yes the real thing) are to come later.

When we got home, we took Barbie’s pup out for a walk.  That is where I discovered that Canadian squirrels are not like anything I’ve seen before.  I’m familiar with the regular gray squirrels, the crazy squirrels at my magnolia-league undergraduate college campus, and even the funny European squirrels.  Here, they have gigantic black squirrels (about the size of a small cat) that are really fluffy and very brave.  They have no problem coming right up to you and taunting the dog on the other end of the leash.

By the way, they also have the plain gray ones too, but they seem to be in the minority or at least not as outgoing.  Also, on the walk I discovered the Canadian sign for “Dead End.”

After running a couple errands, we headed to downtown London.  That is where Barbie introduced me to the bar, “Honest Lawyer.”  She thought it only fitting.

Turns out, it’s a great bar with great specials and a some great drinks.

We asked the waitress why it is called Honest Lawyer, because the closest thing we could find in this sports bar related to law or lawyers was just a couple rows of old Canadian and British law books.  She told us the owner is a lawyer and he thought it was a funny idea.  Well, it worked.  We loved it and are seriously considering going back tomorrow!

Before heading home, we hit up another pub and had coffee drinks and fabulously decadent desserts.  After all that excitement, we decided to stopped by a neighborhood grocery store for a couple provisions for the morning.  That means I got to get a picture of the ever-famous milk in bags.  Yes that is correct.  Canadians sell their milk in bags.  They think it is quite rational, while we are baffled by it.

Tomorrow we plan to do a full grocery shopping experience at another store.  And stay tuned….tomorrow’s edition includes a tour of a brewery and other adventures!

Freedom, Clutch, and International Travel
October 2, 2008

It’s official I’m officially free of the old job.  Yesterday was my last day at the firm.  There are several people I will miss, but staying in touch isn’t hard.  And there are several people and things about my old job I won’t miss at all.  I look forward to reacquainting myself with freedom.

Last night I went to see Clutch with Bama.  I love this band.  Although they don’t have the most rockstar looks for a band, they definitely rock out!  The lead singer is incredible, great voice.  He also has an extremely intense stare.  It’s a little unnerving, but their sound definitely makes up for it.  I think Bama enjoyed it for the most part, even if the singer’s looks were even more spooky for her.  Also, we got to witness a very large man take down another guy.  The jury’s still out on whether the large guy was a bouncer or it was just a fight.  Hopefully he was the bouncer, because I don’t think anyone could bounce him.

And it’s official, I’m out of the country!  I flew to Detroit today and Barbie picked me up at the airport.  We stopped at a Coney’s diner and had some cheap diner food to get the Michigan experience.  Then she took me across the border to Canada.  Border crossing was way simpler than I thought.  They didn’t even look at my passport.  So much for stressing out about it.

When we got to town, she drove me to the university so I could see when she works and studies.  Also, I may be riding the bus all by myself tomorrow to meet her over there, so hopefully I can do it in the daylight.  And to answer the question on everyone’s mind…Yes, it is cold here.  It’s not freezing, but it is certainly not warm.  But as everyone back home knows, it turned pretty chilly there today too.

More tomorrow.  We have some great things up our sleeves….I mean planned.  Stay tuned!