Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Grocery Shopping, Reading, and Looking Forward

It's official. Sobey's rocks. I'm generally an Extra Foods shopper, mostly due to proximity, but every time I've needed a slightly obscure ingredient I've been able to find it at Sobey's. Every time. It's almost like magic.
Yesterday I was looking for a package of dried Italian dressing mix, and as a last resort (I don't know why I don't just go there first), I went to Sobey's. Slightly holding my breath, I walked down the aisle, and there it was. Magic I tell you.
[aside: I'm trying a new recipe tomorrow and am somewhat of a stickler for following exact directions the first time I make anything, necessitating the hunt for this particular ingredient.]

This year was another good year of reading. I read only 40 books, down a little from last year's count of 54, but there were some definite gems among them. Here are some of the highlights:
1. During the holiday season I read the first installment in the Troy Trilogy by David Gemmell, titled Lord of the Silver Bow. There's something that appeals to me about reading an epic novel during Christmas. Perhaps because the stories of larger-than-life heroes and mythical conquests remind me of the magnitude of the event we're celebrating. This was probably one of my favorite novels of the year.
2. Rowboat in a Hurricane. Fabulous true story of Julie Angus, who was the first woman in the world to row across the Atlantic Ocean from mainland to mainland. During the worst hurricane season on record. After biking from Moscow to Lisbon. And then she biked home from Costa Rica to Vancouver. Yeah, she rocks.
3. Travelling Mercies, by Anne Lamott. I haven't read a book by Lamott that I didn't love.
4. The Little Book, by Selden Edwards. Well-written book about a guy who finds himself in Vienna, circa 1900. And yes, now I would like to go to Vienna. Somewhere, in some notebook, I have started a list of the places I would like to visit, inspired by books I've read. If only I could find that notebook...
5. The Necklace, by Cheryl Jarvis. Girl power! A great book about women and friendship and what we can accomplish when we work together.
6. Well Enough Alone, by Jennifer Traig. A humorous book about hypochondria.
7. Interred With Their Bones, by Jennifer Lee Carrell. Mystery with a dash of Shakespeare. Perfect.
8. The Animal Dialogues, by Craig Childs. Interesting and educational. Did you know there were once camels in Saskatchewan? Or that porcupines quite often fall out of trees?

It would be too hard to pick a top 8 of 2008, but this list is where I would start.

And tomorrow is a new year. I love New Years. My version is not some big, crazy party, but rather a reflection on the past year and anticipation of next year. I'll probably start half-marathon training in about a month and am greatly looking forward to it.
I used to make a list of all the new things I had done the previous year. I like looking back and feeling that I've continued to learn and grow as a person. This year's list would include running 2 half marathons, and learning much about myself in the process, as well as writing book reviews for the StarPhoenix. Dreams for next year include running a full marathon and doing some travelling.

May you enjoy this last day of 2008 with friends and family, and do at least one new thing next year!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Adventures of Gym Girl - Discovering New Muscles

I went to my first weight-training class on Monday, and I'm still feeling the effects of it. My hamstrings got the worst of it so I decided to put some Rub A535 on them last night. Expired A535 I should add. And I learned a valuable lesson - expiry dates mean something, even if it's not food. Not a minute had passed after I put the cream on, and I started to feel a peculiar burning sensation on the backs of my legs. "Oh that just means it's working," I thought to myself. A few more seconds though, and it felt like my skin was going to start peeling off. It got a little better after a few rounds with a cold washcloth, but I fell asleep trying to figure out how I was going to drive myself to the doctor's office the next day (to check out what was surely a monstrous rash from the cream) if I couldn't sit down.
As it turned out, everything was fine this morning, but my hamstrings remain rather sore.