Dec 31, 2013

This was 2013

Why is it that we, as people, reflect at the end of a year? How come no one reflects on what they did in July? Or the middle of the month? 

For some reason, the end of a year has a powerful meaning to us human beings. Is it because we will change the date on that yearly number? (Always caused some issues in school.) Do we see January as a fresh start?

Well, let me look back and see what 2013 did with and for me. I'll enlist the great help of Facebook, my baking blog and this blog. Should give me some hints and jog the memory.

January brought us a tablet for me, big change in the technology department. I also wrote about how my husband and I are really good together and I still can support that statement. As always, I also started some new year's resolutions but unfortunately didn't keep them. 
I did some baking in January, which had much to do with events, such as birthdays and there were some requests in there as well. Lava Chocolate Mini Cake, hello, how delicious is that? Also, Spätzle, typical German thing to make for almost any occasion.

February: apparently nothing happened in February. I am sure it did, like loads of snow and cold and stuff like that. But otherwise, nada. Except for baking and cooking of course, like potato gratine and chocolate raspberry truffles.
Oh yeah, on Valentine's Day I had to teach kids German, cause it was a Thursday. And my husband surprised me with some flowers, which was really nice.

In March I realized that I hadn't really blogged well, at least not on my private blog. I was full into going to the gym and I believe my marathon training was just around the corner. There was also a great Easter care package from my mother *love* and I made some epic breakfast along with an epic Easter Wreath. And I bought new running shoes, which is kind of *duh* cause you want to make sure you have good shoes for a marathon.

April was pretty cool because I got to attend my first ever food blogger conference, which was also the first one in Canada. There are many regular food and food blogger conferences in the states but for some reason Canada lucked out so far. So, I took a trip to Toronto and hung out with some pretty cool food bloggers and we had sessions and good food and great conversations.
I also made some really nice supper, stuffed bell peppers, a favourite of mine. Luckily, my husband likes what I cook 99% of the time, so that really really helps.
My training also progressed more and I was able to speed up a bit. Still no outdoor training though because winter held it's grip on Saskatchewan pretty tightly.

May was the big month, with a 42km race at the end of it. Scary to say the least but I had prepped so the worst could have been that I finish so much later than I wanted to. I made it withing 5 hours and 22 min, which was pretty much what I expected. Over 3000 calories were burned during that epic race and I was sore for a week. That was pretty much the biggest focus in May, besides that, I can't recall much. *sad*

Starting in June my blogging started to decline seriously. I was recovering from the run and summer started, which means you do a lot of things outside and life just takes over. I fell of the bandwagon pretty much.
Food wise, I started the Canadian Food Experience Project, which purpose it is to see what makes Canadian food in different areas of the country. It's a pretty good project and I enjoyed the posts I did for it.

July saw, of course, Canada Day, which we spend at Diefenbaker park on a very hot July day. In the evening we went out to my parents in law to shoot of some fireworks instead of waiting for the ones at the park. It was a cute little family and friends things.
There were also several weddings in July, a typical wedding month in Canada and probably around the world. Weather is mostly nice, so who can blame them?
It was also the last month I posted on my food blog. Yes, you read that right. Now that's pretty sad and I really, really, really need to pick it up again.
It was also the month that we found out we are pregnant and expecting our first one.

Which turned into an interesting August because we went on a camping trip with the family to B.C., while I had cramps and some "I don't want to smell this" attacks. But mostly the trip was nice and we got to hang out with the MacLeods as well as having a little break.

In September we made it official although one or two people might have guessed beforehand. Needless to say that family and friend were quite excited about the good news. Pretty much everything since revolves around this topic. How life can change with news like that?
My husband also got to meet the leader of the official opposition, Mr. Mulcair. I am not much into politics so I let him go with his father to that meeting. 

October started with 19 days of presents for my 29th birthday. Thanks darling for being such a great man. It was fun times. We also attended a birth preparedness class, where we met some nice new friends and learned, of course, a bunch of stuff.
Honestly, I have to say that this whole baby deal is kind of crazy. Like the things you are suppose to have and need for the little one. It's crazy. I think back in the old days it was much easier cause you had less choices and that is sometimes a really nice thing. Too many options can be quite scary and you will feel overwhelmed. (Like what car seat is the best? Can we please have like two models in stead of 50? Thank you.)

I decided earlier that we need a trip to IKEA in November. So we planned one for the first November weekend and borrowed a van from some friends, as well as asking to crash with family in Calgary. I so so so miss IKEA and wish we would have one in Saskatchewan. Besides some really nice baby stuff, including a crib, we got a new bed and entertainment center for the living room. On the way back though we got into some rather nasty weather and it took so much longer to get home. Thanks to some awesome friends though were were able to unpack the van, which was full all the way, in 20 min. Big thank you, you know who you are.
We also found out what little baby will be, but we are hush hush about it. I am pro gender neutral because I do not agree with the marketing people that girls should be pink and boys should be blue. There are so many colours that work for both.

We also went on a two week trip to Jamaica, which was a November/December affair. Pre vacation I noticed that I had no clothes for warm weather and had to buy some from the thrift stores, as well as borrowing a bit and hoping that some old stuff would fit.
It was pretty nice to visit Jamaica and to meet some more family, from my husband's mother's side, as well as grandma. That lady is over 90 and still kicking it like a 75 year old. No wonder if you've been working your own farm for like ever. Most of the trip was relaxing, which a bit of touristy stuff in between and loads of swimming of course.


Since we were gone half of December, the rest was short work weeks and then off to Christmas. This year we decided to head to Fort Qu'Appelle because the rest of the family was in Jamaica. So we got to hand out with family down there, which was a nice change. We don't get to see them too often and hand 5 days of fun.

So, here we are, on the 31st of December 2013, awaiting the new year. We will hang out with some friends and ring in the year with a bit of firework.

2013, I must say, was pretty good. Not everything is perfect but remembering the small things is important too. People tend to get hung up on the big events but I'd like to remember the small ones as well. Like hanging out with nieces and nephews to get to know them better. Or to enjoy a day with my husband, maybe even an hour. Building relationships with friends and having a good time. It's the little things that count, but we tend to forget them easily. Don't let the big things get into your way and remember to appreciate the smaller stuff you have or achieve. They are the building blocks for the big things.

Wish you all the best for the new year and hope it will bring you whatever you are looking for.

Jun 28, 2013

All Those Pretty Dresses





Now that I am done with running, or at least training for a long run, I thought I should focus on other things. Ah, right, baking and cooking should be one of them. It will, it will. Getting back into the swing of things is a bit tricky though. 

But, for this "private" blog I was thinking more along the fashion line. Not that I am starting to show you pictures of my daily outfits. I am not that interesting and I lack the smart phone for those bathroom pictures. But be sure, one of these days you will see some of those too.


No, I thought I could talk about dresses, a topic which I have a love/hate relationship with. 


Why?

Well, when I was younger, ok, a kid, I had to wear dress. It's one of those "girl standards" and at some point I just didn't like that. I believe that was fairly early on and might had something to do with the fact that I grew up with 3 boys. How can I keep up, as the youngest nevertheless, when wearing a dress? Yeah, that's tricky.

So, for the longest time I only had a dress for certain occasions, like really special ones. Otherwise, it was pants and blouses for me. I didn't pick up dress again until after high school during my year in Oklahoma. And even then it was rare. It took me until university and beyond to actually enjoying dresses.


But that is not the only reason why there is a love/hate relationship. No, much of it has to do with my body too. I know that I have a well pronounced hip and large thighs as well. It's a fact of nature and I know I will never be one of the skinny/slim girls. Even if I lost an unimaginable amount of weight, my bone structure would still not go away.


As a result, I have often issues finding a nice dress. Those hips are just too pronounce and even if I see something I like, it often turns out to be quite, I want to say ugly, on me. Thus, finding a dress with a good cut and a nice pattern it a struggle. Frankly, I am sure I am not the only one who has that problem. The media is, unfortunately, giving us false images and hopes and the industry gives us unrealistic sizes.


It is a struggle to find something I like and I can wear but not impossible. Sometimes I find things in the odd places, sometimes I have to go beyond to get what I need, other times the average store does carry something reasonable.

So, for the next posts I will show you the dresses I have in my closet. I will tell you a bit about the dress, how it makes me feel, a bit of history if I remember it. For some though, I just won't know where or when I bought it.


If you feel so inclined, let me know what you think of course and weigh in on the "how it makes me feel" or "it's sooo difficult to find something nice" conversation.

Jun 4, 2013

The Marathon Run


Finishing after over 5 hours.

So, last time I wrote about the training and things I've learned for that marathon. Lets talk about the actual experience of running one.

It's a little bit of a blur but lets start with hard facts:

We started at 7:33 a.m. (according to my watch) on Sunday May 26. 

Total Distance I ran (according to my watch) was 42.56km. Yes, that's more than the 42.4km I should have done, probably due to corners. 300 extra meters, whatever.

Time (according to chip on shoe) was 5h 22min. 

Time (according to clock) was 5h 23 min.

Time (according to watch) was 5h 21 min.

In total 2900 people had signed up for the event, about 200 for the marathon, the rest did either a half marathon or a 10K. There was also a run for teenagers, who had done some running work during the weeks before the marathon day.

Still having fun.
We started off at Diefenbaker Park, made our way north, then east, then south on Victoria Ave, a little circle around the park, up Victoria again, cross over to Broadway and down Broadway bridge. Then a loop and off towards Circle Drive bridge along Spadina. Turn around and all the way towards the Power Plant. I got to see the new Circle Drive bridge south. *exciting* That was the first 21km, so half way through. 

By that time it was pretty lonely already because all the half marathoners went back over the bridge. 200 people sounds a lot but it gets lonely on those 42km pretty much around 15km. The rest is just you, yourself and the music (if you do music). 

By 20km I did a 1km walk. I guess I could have run for longer but I felt it was necessary to have a break. I also had to nurse my blister, which I felt developing after 10km, well, mentally anyway. Turn around and back to Circle Drive I went, loosing my snack box on the way, which I could have really used about there.

Food, the first thing after finishing.
30km and I did a walk again and felt it really hard. Legs shaking, tummy hungry, blister hurting, sun shining too, surprisingly no knee issues though. It was odd to say the least. The last 10km were pretty much a fight, a slow one too. The first 10km I ran with an average 1km pace of 6:30 min, the last 10km I was at about 8:30 min, if I can. I actually walked 1km and ran the next 2km, again walk, then run.

Fun thing: running up that Broadway bridge. Running down is fun, but as always, what you run down you have to run up too. *sigh* I did it, slowly, I am sure it was a pitiful sight. By the time the last km came around I was happy and then I crossed that finish line and yeahhhhhh.

Lessons learned:

1. Gels are helpful, snacks are probably better. My tummy was like "Are you kidding me?"
2. Next time, tie that snack box to the belt. I had no clue I could loose that clip on box.
3. Water and Gatorade, take it, always.
4. Stopping to fill your water bottle takes less than half a minute but feels much longer.
5. Running marathons is a lonely thing if you are not one of the fast ones.
6. Music helps but counting to the next kilometer is of higher priority.
7. Volunteers are awesome.
8. Police officers are awesome.
9. Propping up the feet after running is even more awesome.
10. Massages are great.
11. Loving husband and family is unbeatable.
12. Next time I will be faster.

Laying down and enjoying family support.
Running for over 5 hours is pretty crazy, I know that. But it's a thing I can tick of my bucket list, if I would have one. It's not something I would do on a regular basis because I am not build to be a runner. But doing it, finishing it, and being able to say I did it, that's something really awesome. I even finished in a time I thought would be reasonable according to my training. 5 and a half hour was pretty much what I thought should be the longest. If I would have run the last 10km all the way through, I would have even finished 10 to 20 min faster. 

But, here is another lesson, pushing too much will do more harm than good. I might have been faster but I would have been more exhausted, maybe even injured. Why do that to you if you can do it a little bit slower. Plus, I wasn't even last.

Next up: Triathlon.

May 29, 2013

Marathon Training

Since mid March I have been MIA, Missing in Action. Missing in running action to be precise. On May 26, 2013 I ran a full marathon: 42.2km or 26.2 miles. Anyone will know that you can't just go and run that type of distance. Unless you are some Greek guy who has to deliver a message but he died after so, yeah. 

Thanks to the Saskatchewan Marathon webpage I was provided with a 10 week training schedule. It included the distance runs and speed runs you need to strengthen your leg and to build up your stamina so you won't die at the end.

Before I embarked on the mission I visited a local running store, Brainsports, and thanks to Harvey I was fitted with a new pair of shoes and some gear stuff as well as training gels. All prepared I set out to do my best to be prepared for those 42.2 km.

Here are some things I have learned:


Training gels are awesome. 

The help you replenish your strength during the run so you won't collapse at the end. Yes, there is scientific word for that but this is the easy I didn't study this way of saying it. I have noticed the difference during my long runs and I am glad I use them.


The right shoes and outfit is important. 

Well, I already knew this but it's more obvious to me now than it was before. It costs some good money to get running shoes and short, bra for the girls, and a shirt. But if there is irritation in any of those you will hate to run and it will be terrible.


Letting go is ok. 

In my 5th week I ran myself a blister and in my 6th week I ran myself another, bigger, more painful blister. I also had some issues with my knee. Due to that I was not able to train for a full week, which is pretty awful when you only have 3 weeks to go until the marathon.
However, not running was better than struggling through the workout, not letting the injury heal. It would mean I am not fully healed when marathon day would come. Letting go of the "I should train" is the best I could do and it helped me physically and I guess a mental break wasn't bad either.


Getting help is important.

Since 2003 I had issues with my right knee, sometimes pain, sometimes a throb, sometimes nothing. I came back at the same times as the blister so I decided to go and get some physiotherapy. Craven Sports in Saskatoon are pretty awesome and the staff is great. My therapist Lee check out my issue, we spoke about my history, he looked at my movement and helped me to do better. I believe I will be with him for a while so that I may have little to no pain in my knee anymore. It will make my running experience that much better.


Enjoy the journey.

Above all those things is this: you should enjoy what you are doing. If you don't like running, don't do it. There is no point in pushing you through something you do not like. 
I wasn't a runner before but over the past years I have discovered my love for it. Ok, it's not a love affair but I enjoy it enough to do it on a regular basis. I feel good after a run.

The goal was to finish the marathon. I admit that I have had a time in my head but foremost I wanted to finish it, without injury and the enjoyment of the race. The goal was achieved and I am happy with the result. Read more about the marathon experience in the next post.

May 15, 2013

Tagged by Caro

My good friend Caro over at this blog tagged me to answer some questions. I always find this amusing and informing. 1. You have to think a bit about yourself. 2. Others might learn things about you they didn't know before.

Here we go. (Btw, she asked in German, but I will translate and answer in English.)

1. Wie stehst du zu Falten, grauen Haaren und Co.? 
1. What do you think about wrinkles, gray hair and co.?

There are worse things in life. I'd like to age with grace as they say. Wrinkles, like scars, tell stories and gray hair, well what can you do? I have no intention of using special creams though I admit I like to colour my hair. (But not to cover up gray.)
 
2. Guilty Pleasures: Von welcher TV-Sendung, Serie o.ä. lässt du dich insgeheim gern berieseln, auch wenn es dir eigentlich peinlich ist?
2. Guilty Pleasures: which TV show do you watch on the side though it's a bit embarrassing?

I love food shows, especially when I am running, which is odd and I guess a bit embarrassing. I also like Star Trek and a lot people find that weird. Most shows I watch these days I watch because I want to see it. I don't really turn the TV just to have it on.

3. Welches Tier jagt dich Stühle oder Bäume rauf?
3. Which animals will drive you up the wall (or chairs)?

I am not a fan of spiders, especially when it's a surprise visit on my arm. And I am not a fan of fish or jellyfish when swimming in a lake or ocean. 

4. Die Wombattante hat sich zum Abendessen angekündigt (die olle hat sich ganz frech selbst eingeladen): Was wird's bei dir geben?
4.  Caro invited herself for supper: what will you serve?

That depends much on what I have in my fridge. I know she is vegetarian so I won't serve steak. It also depends on the season I say and the weather. Maybe something with shrimp, or a soup, maybe stir fry, or I go crazy and make Sushi.
 
5. So wird dein (zukünftiges) Kind garantiert NIE heißen:
5. This is how I won't name my child, EVER:

Chantal 

6. Du hast 100 Euro zu deiner freien Verfügung, was würdest du damit machen?
6. You have a 100 Euros (or D0llars) to spend, no matter on what. What will you do?

I probably would go and buy some more baking things. I might buy some new clothes. Maybe throw a BBQ party for family and friends or, if I have a good day, I will invite that husband of mine to a fancy dinner.  
 
7. Welche Farbe herrscht in deinem Kleiderschrank vor?
7. Which colour is the most prominent one in your closet?

None, at least not that I can see. I can tell you though that I only have one pinkish sweater and that was a gift. (It's nice, no doubt, but pink is just not my colour.) 
 
8. Dein Leben wird verfilmt: In welches Genre gehört der Film? 
8. Your life will be made into a movie: What genre will it be?

I like horror films but my life is not horrible. I think a rom-com is appropriate. Meeting my husband was quite the thing and there are many funny moments. Ask the MacLeods, we make them laugh all the time.
 
9. Und wer spielt dich? (gerne mit Begründung ;)
9. Who would play you? (With explanation if you want.)

Gee, I don't know. Any loudmouths out there? I can't really think of anyone particular.  
 
10. Was war das Letzte, was du gebastelt hast?
10. What was the last thing you made/crafted?

Uhm, it's been a good while. Really full-on hand crafted: that was a gift for Caro, giraffe earrings. 
 
11. Da ich grade mit 'nem Haardonut rumspiele: Was ist deine Lieblingssorte bei Donuts?
12. Since I am playing with my hair donut: What is your favourite doughnut flavour?

Plain doughnut with real chocolate. Not the weird glaze but full on melted chocolate.


Ok, those where some weird questions. But there you have it!

Apr 11, 2013

Conversation

Seriously Andrea? A full month and 11 days since you last post? What are you doing? What's going on with you? Are you no more fun? No more stories to tell? Did you finally grow up and became boring?

Oh blog, I am sorry! I really am. But life is happening to me so much that I barely have the time. You should ask my baking blog. He's feeling it too. *sigh* I am sorry, I promise to do better.

Wait! You said the same darn thing last time. And look what happened to me! NOTHING! Nada! Niente, uhm, I don't even know how to spell that. But girl, that's how I feel like.

*sobs* But I really want to take care of you. Really do! But lately I have been distracted by other things, and by lack of energy. I can't be bothered. Dude, I haven't even sorted my October pictures yet.

Wow! What? Those October pictures? You mean your Germany trip? Your going home, seeing awesome people trip?

Yup.

Shame on you! How dare you! You used to be so good with all that. When you took pictures you got them off the camera right away and sorted them. Posting and all. What's wrong?

As I said, life happens. I got busy, with other things. Like Christmas preparations and helping with fundraising and then new years. There was some January blues and February lack, and March was Easter and my marathon training started. Now it's April and I have a Food Blogger's Conference.

Gee, I hope she will post those pictures to me....

Shoo Baking in Saskatoon, it's my time to rant here.

Uh, I was also on lent.

Well, you could have written about that. No?! How did that go anyway?

Oh well, it wasn't half as bad. But I broke lent.

Really?!

Yeah, I know. I really tried and most of the time it worked. But "no chocolate and dessert" lent is tricky, especially when you have things at work and such. However, in general it went really well and I felt pretty good.

And since then?

Errr, Easter, loads of chocolate from mommy, filled with liquor...Ask my father in law, he can tell you how awesome those are.

Yeah, I figured. What else? Oh right, marathon. Are you nuts? 42 km, that's like, far.

Haha, I know. But I figured last year was half, might as well do a full on this year. Before I started I went and bought new shoes. That was pretty fun cause the sales guy, Harvey, was really nice, and knowledgeable. This year I am also using gels to train.

Gross! 

Naha, it's energy gels that help you to run longer. It's pretty cool cause the have loads of flavours. Unfortunately, I like the chocolate ones the best. And peanut butter.

You are so German.

I know, I know. Husband says the same. But the Tri-Berry one is good. Haven't tried the Banana-Strawberry one yet though. Well, anyway, it's going pretty good. I get faster and I do my cross training...

And you skip once in a while.

Gee, you know everything, don't you?

Eh, I'm your blog. I am you, I know what you know.

Sigh, you do. You know me well. So far though, it's been only 3 skips and that was due to bad weather, like blowing winds and terrible snow fall and just yucky stuff. And the second time I don't remember and the third on my tummy was not happy. I will miss some more due to that blogger conference.

And you will eat a lot.

Probably.

Feeling bad already?

I try not to. Besides, I will take your buddy the Fitness App with me. He should keep me on track and I will try to restrain myself. I'm also going to shuffle that workout schedule around a bit so that I can do my runs.

Alright, alright, you try. I can see that.

Yep.

For the future though, get your butt over here more. You have stuff to talk about, your friends like to check once in a while to know what going on with you. It's not that hard to fine like 30 min for me. Otherwise I feel lonely, and sad, and...

I will! I promise.


Mar 1, 2013

Schitkram

To use a German word my grandma uses once in a while: Schitkram! Actually, I am not sure if there is a correct spelling but roll with me here.

I haven't posted for a full month. Why? Uhm, I don't even have a valid excuse. I am busy I guess.

Frankly, I have been going back to the gym more regularly. Mr. is coming along too, which is fun. (See last post for that.) This results in less time in the evening though. I barely have made anything in my kitchen either because of it.

Ergo, I need to pick it up. Like big time!

Do you remember when I told you I want to be more organized, more workout, more of everything. That energy got left behind a bit bit I really should pick up on it again. I know I can do it.

But when I get home I am more like: nap, now, then, lets me creative, lets clean the bathroom, lets organized the freezer. *sigh*

Anyway, I promise to be better, really. Stick with me, ok?!