Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Reads: The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

For my review of the first book, The Rosie Project, Click here.

This book picks up a year or so after The Rosie Project.  Don Tillman and Rosie are now happily married and have moved to New York for Rosie to study and Don to participate in some research studies at Columbia.  In Don's eyes, their little work is perfect...until the day Rosie unexpectedly announces they are pregnant.

BLAMMO!  Don's world is set into a tailspin.  His brain cannot comprehend becoming a father so, in true Don fashion - he constructs ways for himself to wrap his mind around it...and hilarity ensues - particularly when he ends up getting arrested after observing children playing in a playground.

Unfortunately, he forgot one little thing in this...the fact that this pregnancy is not a science project or something he can control and Rosie is having nothing of it.

Their marriage feels a strain that Don doesn't understand but that Rosie feels is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I can't give away too much without spoiling the book, but let's just say that they learn a whole lot about family, friendships, love and loss...and Don might yet become a socially capable person.  Maybe.  Guess we'll need to see.

This book was just as quirky as The Rosie Project - though I found Don to be a bit much to take this time around.  I still really enjoyed the book and it was definitely laugh out loud funny...Don was just a bit more rigid than I remembered him being.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Three Things Thursday

My birthday was a couple of days ago and I am surprisingly chill about turning 38.  Talk to me in a couple of years when I am knocking on 40's door LOL.   Anyway - that's just an's my three things this Thursday:

1) My efforts at NaNoWriMo have seemingly failed this year - not for lack of content and inspiration...but for lack of time.   I simply do not have time to write this year.  So, unless this coming weekend proves otherwise and I suddenly pump out 30K words - I am going to need to let this one go.  No biggie.  Some years are just like that.  Maybe next year will be better.


2) I've determined that my superpower is buying holiday gifts for kids.  Not bragging - I just talked to my brother last night and every time he gave me an idea for my nephew and niece - I checked it off the list that i had already bought.  I'm just going to call it my superpower.   I just wish I could be with them when they open them.


3) I have had some seriously crazy luck thrifting this week.  Like new wardrobe for $100 luck.  I still can't believe some of the amazing finds I had at 50% off day at Value Village - designer names that fit perfect for a couple of bucks apiece.  It's nice to have some more colour for my winter wardrobe and is doing wonders for my mood.

Have you had to let go of something recently?  If you could say you have a superpower, what would it be?  What is making you smile these days?  Please share in the comments!  I'd love to know! 

Monday, November 17, 2014

MOMday: The Portable Time Killer Purse Pouch

We've all been there.  We're at the restaurant.  We have the kids there.  Those colouring/activity books and 3 crayons the waitress tossed at them just isn't cutting it while they wait for their meals to arrive.  You're just starting to wonder why you thought a restaurant would save your sanity.

Suddenly that meal out is more like hell than family fun times.

I have a little trick up my sleeve for restaurants that I have used for a while, but only recently streamlined it so it would fit neatly into my purse.

Enter: The Portable Time Killer

I'm sure most moms out there carry some variation on this, though usually it involves a second bag like mine used to.  It also isn't very friendly for spontaneous outings unless it is left in the car.  This, on the other hand, just stays in your purse and you have it at all times.  Super handy.

I had this relatively small pencil case that is all kinds of fun, but I was scared to use it for my fountain pens in case I ruined it.  Silly, right.  But - it totally works for this.

Inside, I stowed a really small amount of things.  

Two small notebooks (I made these ones myself out of cardstock and writing paper, but they are the same size as most pocket notebooks), Two 4-colour pens and a package of animal shaped page flags (I got these at Daiso, but I have seen similar ones elsewhere and there are tons on ebay)

Suddenly - my kids had a stage and actors for a puppet show.   Characters to play with their drawings.  A whole new way to express their creativity - neatly and quietly - while we waited for our meal.

Needless to say - this little kit saved the day.  And it takes up next to no space in my purse nor does it add to the strain on my shoulders. I can carry it with me at all times and not even notice it until I need it.

And it makes my kids look like the best behaved, most creative midgets in the place.  What more could a momma really ask for?

How do you keep your kids occupied when they have to wait for something?  Share in the comments :)

And, if you like this idea, please pin it and share with your momma friends.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Reads: The Sketchnote Handbook by Mike Rohde

On one of the notebook/planner groups I belong to, a woman posted this book and it immediately got my wheels turning.  The description basically sounded like doodling my notes instead of regurgitating lectures onto paper and I loved the sound of it. I ESPECIALLY loved the idea of it for journaling.  Next thing I knew - the book was in my Amazon cart and winging its way to my door. (I tellya - Amazon Prime really DOES make it too easy).

The book is filled with plenty of examples of sketchnotes - some easy to understand, some nearly unintelligible - but I found myself glossing over those pages because I knew this was going to end up being something specific to my own style and I wouldn't be copying someone else.

Because of the sheer number of examples - the book took me less than an hour to read.   I feel like it failed to hit the mark as an intructional guide, but it did work as an inspirational one.  I am now working to incorporate sketchnoting into my personal and work notebooks - even if it is just a little at a time.  I Just ordered the Sketchnote Workbook on DVD because I have a feeling it will go more in depth on practical application than I could get from a book.  Guess we'll see.

Monday, November 10, 2014

MOMday: A Day In the Life of the Working Kindergarten Mom

I've never really done one of these posts, but my reality has changed so much in the past two months that I felt a strong need to write down what my days actually look like these days.

4:30am - Alarm goes off

5:30 am - wake up and fly out of bed because I have just lost an hour I desperately needed.  Turn on the lamps in the girls rooms and lay out their clothes for them.  Since I started letting them play on the tablet if they get themselves ready - they actually get up right away.  Before the tablet bribe - I would sleep dress them before we left.

5:45am - Shower

6am - Dry and straighten hair, do makeup

6:15am  - Get twins off tablet and on to getting jackets and shoes on.  I then get dressed

6:20am - rush to make snacks for school, pack backpacks

6:25am - let dog out for one last potty break before he is left alone for 13 hours, send girls out to car to get themselves buckled in.

6:30am - Pick up bin by the door containing all things needed for day, load car and check twins are buckled in properly

6:35am - Everyone is in the car and we are on our way to the dayhome

6:45am - Dayhome dropoff

6:55am - Me and Hubby hit the highway for the long commute.  Scream at idiots in big black trucks who left 10 mins late for work and didn't have to deal with dayhome dropoffs

7:15am - held up in traffic at 16th Ave and 52nd street.  Make last minute decision to just take 52nd to memorial to get into downtown.

7:35am - Drop hubby off at office downtown and head south to my office

8:10am - pull into parkade at my office, grab everything and bolt into the building for my start time of 8:15

8:15-11:30am - Make web magic and drink coffee

11:30am-12:30pm - Lunch...otherwise known as "try to accomplish everything I need to accomplish that I can't because of my 3 hour a day commute and kindergarten twins"  also known as "time to exercise if I remember my gear"  These days alternate as necessary.

12:30-4:30pm - Make more web magic and drink tea

4:30pm - dash to parkade

4:35pm - enroute to Hubby's office downtown

5:10pm - pickup Hubby

5:15pm - start long commute home.  Yell road ragey swears at other motorists.

5:50pm - arrive in Langdon. Rush to get to mailbox in case of parcel cards because post office closes at 6pm

6pm - Drop hubby off at grocery store to get dinner ingredients

6:05pm - pick up kids and try to make sure everything is in their backpacks before we head home

6:10pm - pickup hubby at grocery store

6:20pm - get home and let out dog

6:30pm - simultaneously start dinner and unload bin from car.

6:45pm - Read notes from teacher and find out what we need to have in place in two days time (which amounts to about 5 hours usable time in the full-time worker - out of town commuting momma's life - thereby eating lunch hour the next day to accomplish). Feed dog.

7pm - Family sits down to dinner.  Try to do daily homework assignments with the twins while eating (unless it is something we need to separate them for)

7:20pm - Do separate homework assignments while getting ready for bed

7:30pm - Bedtime story

7:45pm - Tucking in, kisses and I love yous.

8pm - Parents head downstairs

8:15pm - collapsed on sofa smacking forehead while trying to find energy to do all of the things that need to be done so the household will continue to function the next day.  Realize house can't possibly be as messy as eyes tell us it is because if it was, the house wouldn't be habitable by humans.

8:45pm - do minimum necessary to ensure household continuance.

9pm - rush to try to work on hobbies

9:30pm - head upstairs to get ready for bed.  Smack forehead again when realizing lunches weren't packed yet and vow to get up early the next day to do it because I am simply too tired at that point.

9:40pm - get ready for bed

10pm - fall into bed exhausted and lament fact that I didn't go to bed at 9 because 4:30am comes really early and I REALLY need to actually get up with my alarm tomorrow...

So, that is my typical weekday.  I wish I was exaggerating but this is actually a fairly modest account of it.

For the record: 

Time spent in company of my kids: 3 hours
Time spent commuting: approx 3 hours
Time spent in office: 7.75 hours
Time spent scrambling: 24 hours

Lather rinse repeat.

And I have yet to figure out how I actually do it.  Coffee.  It's got to be coffee.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday Reads: The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons that I Run Long Distances by The Oatmeal

I am pretty sure that this book was one of the most highly anticipated running books of 2014.  Seriously.  At least amongst the runners I know.

For months, The Oatmeal has been sharing snippets of it.  A whole race was developed around it that sold out, but when a second day was added it ALSO sold out.  And then they added a virtual race (which I signed up for, but haven't done my miles yet...gotta get on that).

So - I was excited to include a copy of it on one of my recent Amazon orders.  

This is a super quick, super fun read.   I was a little disappointed, however, in that I feel like I had pretty much read it all before it arrived - thanks to the massive blanketing of excerpts before publication.  There wasn't much new in there.  It didn't make it any less funny and I know I will read this over and over, but it would have been nice to have more new material.

Also - the book took me 20 minutes to read so even if you are a slow reader or don't have much time - you'll be able to finish it fast.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Three Things Thursday

It's been a while since I did a 3TT, but I have also been so busy that finding time to blog anymore has taken a bit of a backseat.

and whoaaaaa...two posts in one day....
just saying.

1) I have not run since Ekiden. 

Not for lack of inspiration or want...I just haven't had time and I was sick.  I am hoping I can spend my long weekend this week figuring my shit out so I can schedule in my me time again.  I need it.  When you all read my upcoming MOMday post, you'll understand a little bit better.

2) It's NaNoWriMo month again!

How is it already November?  But yes - National Novel Writing Month is upon us.  And for some godforsaken reason, I tricked myself into believing I have time to write a book this month! HAHAHAHA!  But I'm not writing a novel this year - more of a memoir/brain dump to free up some headspace and clear out cobwebs (and, most importantly, get me writing regularly again.) So far it is going well and the words are pouring out fast and the rate I am going, I might be done pretty early in the month...or I could end up with the longest NaNoWriMo book ever.  Or - I might get too busy and it will end up being pushed to the side (I hope it doesn't)

3) Christmas Goals

I have this crazy goal to be done Christmas shopping by next weekend.   I think I might just be on track for that, though it will be very odd to be done before my birthday.  I just have this strong desire to be way ahead of the game this year.

Ok - a bit random, but there's where I'm at these days.

Race Report: Rock n' Roll Vancouver 10K

Warning:  This one will be another long one with a ton of photos - just to keep it all together in one place. It is really amazing that i have this many photos.  I kept forgetting to snap pics all weekend!

When I registered for this one - on opening day last fall - I spent my time planning on a half marathon.   I registered for the half, I looked forward to the half, I dreamed about the get the picture.  Then the stress fracture happened and took so long to heal (I promise, I'll stop writing that soon.)  and I still looked forward to the half.  I even tried to figure out in August, when I was told I could start running on Sept 1, whether I had enough time to train for the half still.

Ultimately, though, I knew I couldn't and, with my setback in September, I am especially grateful that I scaled back.

I also made one more smart move.   I convinced my non-runner best friend from High School to join me.   She lives in New West and it would be quality time to spend together with no time goals or anything - just a walk around the seawall with a medal at the end.

Costume Planning

With this race falling so close to Halloween - a costume was inevitable.   I just had to figure out what to be.  All I knew was that it would definitely be geeky.  When I saw a TARDIS shirt - I knew I had my costume.  I borrowed a royal blue sparkle skirt off of a K-100 team mate and raided hubby's photo props for a blue wig.  It came together so easy for how awesome I think it was!

I didn't want to traumatize Coli by forcing a costume on her at the same time I was dragging her into a race...but she agreed to a sparkle skirt.  Bet I can still find something that has a uniform of a purple shirt and turquoise bottoms....just give me enough time and we'll pretend that was her costume.  Maybe we can say it was an Ariel costume...yeah - that's it.


I planned my travel for this trip far far in advance.  I booked my flight in February and my apartment shortly after.  I REALLY lucked out on both.  My flight (incl taxes) was only $330.  And it was Air Transat so I wasn't even bothered by that annoying $25 extra for checked baggage on the way home (I flew carryon only on the way there...but did a bit too much shopping at stationery stores...extra bag had to be bought...etc...)  My apartment was on AirBNB and was an 18th floor apartment 2 blocks off Robson Street and 6 blocks from the half start line (which I was still planning to run at that point in time.  Total cost for the 3 nights - $300ish.   I couldn't have gotten a hotel in that area for that cheap AND I was able to save a ton of money by not having to eat out.  I'd share a link to the actual listing, but I'm feeling selfish and think I may want to keep this one secret in case I go back next year ;)

The Expo

Looking at the list of exhibitors before attending the expo - I kind of expected to be disappointed.  Hardly any of the big names that you would expect at a race of this calibre were going to be there.

I got in too Vancouver too late on Friday to attend day one of the Expo, but apparently there were more exhibitors that showed up for Saturday anyway.  I decided to hit the expo twice - once to shop and hang with runner friends and then once to pick up my bib with Coli - so I could spare her the inane discussions about the various properties of technical fabrics.

So - I arranged to meet up with Tina and Brandi at the expo at 11.   It was at Canada Place - same as teh BMO Vancouver expo.

Pretty sure I was soaked by the time I walked the 6 blocks - thanks to a catastrophic umbrella malfunction.  Various adventures were had.  I didn't buy much, but I also never expected to.  After 8 months off running - all of my run gear is like a whole new wardrobe again!  So _ came home with only a new headband.

The exhibitors ranged from Brooks and the Running Room to assorted races to the usual suspects of nutrition and pain relief.

I was so happy to have a chance to chat and hang out with my Calgary and Vancouver runner girls...

and to finally meet Kirky, who I have chatted with for years on Twitter but never managed to meet.

I also loved getting to play with all of the medals.  Rock n Roll has the BEST medals...though I only managed to take a picture of the one I was going to get.

Later on, Coli and I picked up our race kits.  I fotrgot to get pics of the package area, but it was pretty streamlined - sorted by bib number.  A table to exchange your shirt for a different size (I ended up sizing up) and a table to change your corral.

Here's the swag:

and my first time with a D tag chip...I really don't like these...

Pre-Race Plans

Tina, Coli and I decided to do our carb-loading at Heirloom Vegetarian Saturday night.  Soooo yummy!

Shuttle Time

We woke up to a much different day weather-wise than Saturday had been.   The ground was still wet from the rain, but no more was falling on us.

Coli and I had originally planned to hoof it to the start line, but in the end figured the shuttle buses to the 10k start would be smarter.  We were totally blown away when we saw what they meant by shuttle buses, though.

We had been expecting a couple of school buses that would rotate trips back and forth.  Instead, lined up for 2-3 blocks were a long line of luxury coaches!!!   Wowza.  One would depart as soon as it was full, so we were able to get to Stanley Park pretty darn fast!  Very impressive.  I tried to get a photo, but to was too dark from my vantage point to catch them all.

They also had more shuttles coming from Scott Road and I imagine it was a fairly similar sight there.


Because we were so early - we had ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEM finding the rest of our group. I had never met Krista in person, but in her pregnant pumpkin costume - she was easy to spot. Plus - Brandi had decided to wear her pink skirt so Coli and I had only to follow the allergic discomfort (since we are both allergic to pink) to find them in the lot.  Krista's mother in law, Cindy was also with them.

Bag check was in a series of three school buses and was organized by last name.  It was pretty quick to check the bag Coli and I were sharing with warmer layers for post-race.

There were also porta-potties a-plenty to be found.   I made sure to clarify that if people were guessing porta-potty from the photo I had posted of part of my costume - they were sadly mistaken.

And we took some pics of us waiting around...

Because we had all put various anticipated times on our registrations - we had all been assigned different corrals.So we decided to just go slot ourselves in wherever.    As we were lining up and taking start line pictures - someone called Brandi's name and Suzanne, another runner who scaled back, joined our merry walking crew.

The view toward the start.

The view behind us.  That's A LOT of people.

We then found a new boyfriend for Brandi in the crowd.  Isn't he dreamy?

The race was a staged start but they managed to work their way through the corrals pretty fast and were soon at corral 12, where we were.  We made sure to stay to the side so we wouldn't be holding up any of the people running it and we started at what was probably the most consistently paced race to date for any of us - though definitely the weirdest start - since I think we all had trouble holding ourselves back in the excitement of the start line.

The race started out on a roadway in Stanley Park, but at around 2k, it moved onto the actual seawall.

I truly believe that this is what made the 10k course the better of the two distances.  The 10k participants got to run the majority of their race on the actual Stanley Park Seawall, while the half marathoners were running on a roadway adjacent to the seawall.  Still a pretty course, but it wasn't the seawall.

The rest of the race report could play out like this - we walked and talked.  Sometimes we danced.

And dancing is happening at 3k #rnrvan

A video posted by Cori Nicholls (@khourianya) on

I had a porta-potty break at 6k that caused a 5 min break, but plenty of time to do jump shots in front of Lions Gate Bridge.

It also meant that I got to see the front runner in the half marathon zoom by chasing the time clock on the back of a truck.

The only downside of the seawall course was, of course, the fact that it was not wide enough to HOLD many bands.  The race planners put them in wherever space allowed, but I think the half marathon definitely got more music.

Towards the end of the 10k, my muscles were aching from being used in ways they hadn't been used for the better part of a year and poor Krista's pregnant belly was aching from the weight.  We were having fun but it was definitely time to be done.

Brandi got this tablespoon of water from one super enthusiastic volunteer

And the energy picked up the closer we got to the end.

We pushed hard for a sub-2 finish.  And we got it, crossing the line in 1:58.  Take that all you speedy half marathoners.  We can go sub-2 as well!

I got my medal

and the race was done.  Now to enjoy the afterparty.

I was very excited to get to meet my very first Daily Mile friend, Courtney, after she finished the half.  I just wish we'd had it together enough to snap a photo.

We grabbed our checked bags from the buses and headed to the costume photo booth to get our pictures snapped.

Spoiler - I didn't win - despite being awesome.  I think it was because I fought with the booth guy to not have the finish line or Vancouver skyline as a backdrop.

BUT - Tina and I were featured on the RNR facebook page with this pic Coli took of us:

and Check out Tina's awesomekly geektastic Loki costume!  She ran in those horns!

As for the afterparty - I didn't hang out long.  The entire field was so muddy from the rain on Saturday.My poor white shoes didn't stand a chance.  I was planning to go for lunch with Nikki and Solana, anyway, so we took off pretty quick after seeing people.

and then I forgot to take any photos at lunch - though I did get this cutey-pie shot of me and Guinness after, when Solana dropped me off at Granville Island.  He is such a little snugglebutt.

The Geekery

Spot the bathroom break...

All in all - I LOVED this race!  It was so much fun!  I hope I can come back and actually run the 10k or half some year.  Maybe next year - guess we'll have to wait and see.  Thank you so much to everyone who made my weekend in Vancouver so very very awesome!