Monday, May 30, 2011

Life is keeping me busy!

It's been a while since I posted, for which I apologize... Life has definitely kept me busy, but in a good way! As I mentioned before, we had a long weekend, and instead of getting a cottage ready for the summer, which is what the majority of Canadians is doing but since we don't have a cottage, we spent the Monday in Brockville with Nolan's parents. It had been a while since I had seen them, and we had a really nice time catching up and just hanging out. Perfect!
Wednesday I was up at the PRF again, to attend some site visits for a new biomass study that will hopefully be put in and harvested later this year. It's very exciting and includes some leading edge harvesting equipment and other technologies. I actually spent the other days in the office, which doesn't happen very often anymore these days!
The weekend was great. Well, it started with a visit to the vet which went well for Murphy, but unfortunately Fertile might need some more dental work done. But first we have to wait and see what her blood tests will say, since there is also a chance she might have hyperthyroidism. But besides that she is very healthy! On Saturday we had our running friends over for a lunch and birthday cake for Debbie. Lots of food and lots of sun. Tom decided to stay home, since Nolan has been nursing a cold for the past few days, and he had his hopes on a Boston qualifier time the next day during the Ottawa Marathon. Saturday morning was quite chilly, we even had the heat on since it was so cold and damp in the house. However, by the end of the day it got really humid, sticky and warm. I went for a 9k run at the end of the day, and got back completely soaked! Strange how it can change so quickly.
On Sunday we ventured downtown to watch the Ottawa marathon and half marathon, which was somewhat strange. We both have ran it so often that it felt weird to be on 'the other side'. But it was fun cheering people on, and it was quite impressive to see how many runners in as many shapes and form are participating! I knew several people who participated, but missed half of them just to the sheer number of people. The half marathon had about 11,000 runners, and the full around 5,500 runners. Quite a few!! It was really fun to watch, although the steady rain did make it a bit tough. By the end we were soaking wet and cold. Especially for Nolan, who still didn't feel great, the rain didn't help. But we still had a great time!
Tom did manage to get his BQ, which was very exciting! Now it will be a challenge to actually sign up for the race. Last year it sold out in about 6 hours... JoAnn was the only one running the half from our core running group, and she did really well and finished strong. So proud of her!
But I'm also proud of all my other friends that ran a race (there were also a 5 and 10k) that weekend: Debby, Julia, Ann Marie, Julie. Did I forget anybody?? Well done ya'all!!
I am currently back in Petawawa. I spent the day in Mattawa at the Canadian Ecology Centre, to meet up with some of my FRP and CIF colleagues. It was nice to see everybody again, had some good meeting, a great bbq lunch and nice walk (despite the mosquitoes...). The weather has also greatly improved. After all the rain we had last week, this week proves to be more sunny and also much warmer! Tomorrow they're expecting a high of 32...
I have to admit, I'm a little nervous for tomorrow. Our new ADM is visiting the PRF, and Pete and I will be presenting. It is a great opportunity, but I am also a little scared. I know he is a nice guy, but I don't know him well enough to know what to expect. But on the other hand we'll be talking about something that is dear to our heart, so it might come naturally! We also planned a field tour for the afternoon, so hopefully the bugs will behave themselves...  I will let you know how it went!
This evening, so distract myself from the presentation tomorrow, I went for a great run along the Fish Hatcheries in Petawawa, a great trail system. I guess I did have some energy left to burn. I felt really good, and I have good hopes that I might actually get back into our running routine. At least it's going into the right direction!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Colourful garden and nice couch!

We finally had a beautiful Saturday and we took full advantage of it! We got up early and hit the garden centre before it would get too busy (trip #1). We bought mainly annuals, since we would like to do some more serious work in the garden next year, with perhaps the help of a landscaper. All the colours make such a difference! The first two pictures shows the front, and you can see that there are a lot of grape hyacinths in there, which will hopefully come back next year. 

Below used to look like a massive litter box. Perhaps an old san box from the previous owners? We're not sure how this will work, since it was pure sand. But hopefully with the help of some top soil, it might actually turn into something (this was trip #2 after we decided that we need much more top soil to fill this box)!

Right behind the house you can still see the magnificent tulips. They've been at it for almost two weeks now, but still going strong! They are absolutely beautiful. We planted annuals around them, so if they tulips go, there will be lots of colour around it. On the far left, we planted two basil plants, and parsley, and in between four tomato plants. Yum!

The planters are hard to see, but we put several different plants in there as well. Hopefully they will all grow well and fill in nicely. I guess time will tell! But needless to say we feel very satisfied and proud. It turned out really nice and we love our house even more. As Nolan said, it looks like a show home now!

On Friday night we finally got our couch that we had ordered back in January... It took a while to come, but it was worth the wait. It's beautiful! And yes, you see it right, it's white... We had to have a shower after all our hard and dirty work in the garden before we could even get close to it! It fits in really nicely with the curved stair case, and it also makes the TV room more like a separate room. It's big, which we might have to get used to, but it's comfy, big and totally ours! 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Loooooong weeekend coming up!

We have a long weekend, and boy am I looking forward to it! Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and life, and all the extra curricular activities that I tend to get busy with, but this long weekend, with one extra day of sleeping in is very much appreciated! The other thing that would be much appreciated is day without rain. We have had so much rain in the last little while, that I’m sure we must have broken some record here or there. Spring is still struggling to really come to full life, although it is definitely looking greener outside, and even the black flies are starting to appear… They are currently calling for a gorgeous Saturday, which we will take full advantage of by finally planting some annuals in our garden, and perhaps start cleaning up underneath our deck… So nice of the previous owners to leave a s#$%-load of junk underneath the deck. No wonder raccoons like it there. We’re also hoping to finally get our bikes out, and start preparing our behinds for longer bike rides this summer. And to end this weekend with a bang, we’ll be heading to Brockville on Monday to spend the day with the in-laws. Good times, good people and good food! So perhaps we should try to get out for a run as well, otherwise we’ll never lose those 10 pounds…

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Look at the sky!

This is what we saw tonight:

Friday came, and went...

Friday came much quicker than I had expected, and the week ended on a very good note. Why? Even though I came home late on Thursday, and managed to get about 6 hours of sleep, Friday turned into an extremely productive, successful and rewarding day. Time flies when there are lots of things to do with a tight deadline, and I love it!
The next few weeks will also be chaotically busy. I'll be at the PRF quite a bit; on average 2-3 days a week for the next few weeks, plus a tonne of meetings for the OWA. Both provincial, our chapter, and for the business development committee I lead. So no reason to sit still for too long!
In the meantime, we're also trying to get our garden in order, continue the fight against dandelions, and also enjoy it. The rainy weather has returned, but hopefully spring will return shortly. It was too nice to let go of already!
Besides our busy lives (Nolan is slightly less busy, but also has no problems keeping himself busy with work and the house), we also take time to do other things. We went to the NAC yesterday to say 'i think i can'. A dance performance by the Toronto Theatre for Young People. Very impressive! We also watched a movie last night, Zodiac. I hear you think: big deal. Well, actually it was. We realized it was the very first time we actually watched a movie since moving into this house... We normally watch shorter shows; especially I have a really hard time staying focused (or awake...) during movies. But this was an evening well spent!
In other news, we might be going to Salt Lake City this summer!! Well, it depends on whether Nolan gets approval to attend a conference. But if he does, our summer vacation destination has been decided!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Is it Friday yet?

This week feels long. Already. I also know that this week will be long. It started Monday evening with a meeting in Renfrew. Luckily it didn’t run late, and I was home before 11pm. Tomorrow night I have to go to Belleville for a meeting. I don’t have to drive, so that will make it easier. Hopefully I can sleep part of the three-hour-drive-home. Just to be clear, I am not complaining! I’m just not doing very well when I don’t get enough sleep, and it doesn’t happen very often that I have two evening meetings in one week.
But tonight should be different. JoAnn is training for the half marathon in Ottawa this month (did I mention we did too but decided to sell our bibs due to a lack of training?), and she asked if we wanted to come out with her tonight. The plan is to run along Dows Lake (yep, lots of tulips!), and then loop through the Arboretum. Chance will that we enjoyed a tour of the Arboretum last Sunday, and the Magnolias are blooming and look magnificent! So something to look forward to! It also helps that the weather is finally starting to look more like spring. We spent all day Saturday in our backyard, fighting the war against dandelions and other weeds. We even had to cut the lawn for the first time! It’s definitely rewarding, but also frustrating if you see little yellow flowers popping up again.
In the meantime we’re starting to feel like a zoo… We have birds now nesting in our bathroom vents, there is still some evidence of mice in our house, we probably still have raccoons in our backyard, there are a lot of bunnies around, and of course our own two cats. Never a dull moment for sure. So far we haven’t seen any damage, so that is good. We will have to do some work this summer though. Once the birds are gone, we’ll put a mesh cover on the vent, we’ll try to scare the raccoons away and then prevent access underneath our deck and shed. And those mice… Well, that’s why we have cats, right?

Friday, May 6, 2011

More photos!

 If you're just like me, you like looking at other people's photos. Am I right?! I finally backed up my BlackBerry today, and also downloaded the pictures I took with it. Some of them might be worth sharing so here we go. The past nine months or so in photos:

Our finishers medal and bib number from the Montreal Marathon, September 2010

Fertile loves boxes...

And so does Murphy.

Jasper, AB. September 2010 during the CIF AGM.

It doesn't happen very often that our cats sleep close together...

Especially this close!

Murphy learning from Fertile: how can I sleep on the smallest bag...

Winter wonderland at the PRF. Needless to say I love my job!

Me, severely jet-lagged.

My brother Gijsbert, aka Max

Willem (my parents cat)

Sien (my parents other cat)

Willem trying to type some emails as well

And this happens when we're not home

Our cats love our house. So do we!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A couple of photos

Before they got covered in dust, here are a few (literally the only ones we took) from our trip to the Netherlands. Unfortunately no people-photos (well, except for the ones of Nolan), but that just means that we have a good excuse to go back! And yes, I like trees, ok!

Is that the sun I see??

It sure is! After days of rain and grey skies, we finally woke up to some sunshine this morning. It's amazing what that does to your overall perception of life. Ok, maybe that's a bit too much, but I can't deny it's making me feel so much more positive! The fact that the bus this morning again, was really fast also helped. I'm still struggling with the bus in the afternoon, it takes me 45 min in the morning, 75 in the afternoon, but hopefully I'll get that figured out as well.
This afternoon I have another dentist appointment and will get my 4th set of trays as part of my Invisalign treatment. So far so good. I can tell a slight difference and the pain has been pretty much non-existent. On the 'down-side', they are so easy to take out and put back in, that it hasn't really affected my coffee intake, which I was secretly hoping for. However, it has helped me snack less, since I really have to brush my teeth every time I eat something, so at least that has been good!

We went for a run last night. Big deal you might think. Well, actually it was. I think it was our first run in about three weeks. Yikes! But we did it, and I think the first one is always the hardest. Now we have to keep it up, and keep getting out there. However, with the nicer weather in the forecast, it might become a bit easier. We both pledged to lose 10 lbs by July 1st, so we need to start doing something! Oops, I guess I just made ourselves accountable! There's quite a bit of travel in the near future for me, mainly to the PRF, so hopefully that won't derail my efforts too much...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Flying over Amerongen

This past Saturday we returned, once again, from the Netherlands. This time it was a trip that we had planned a long time ago. But the timing was well suited, since we had a chance to see everybody again, were able to witness the slow but steady improvement of my dad, and to meet my sister’s new boyfriend for the first time (approved!). The trip really felt like a vacation. Sure, we spent quite a bit of time around Amerongen, with my parents, but we also had lots of time and opportunities to do our own thing. We spent a day in Arnhem, had lunch with Anja and Susan, and absolutely enjoyed the wonderful weather: mid-twenties for the most part, lots of sun, and really no rain to speak of. So all in all a really good trip.
Saturday we flew back via Frankfurt, Germany. A bit of a detour, but Air Canada flies directly from Frankfurt to Ottawa, and it’s so nice to Ottawa, rather than Montreal. On our flight from Frankfurt we actually flew just a little south of Amerongen, but since had seats facing north, we could see Amerongen, the castle, the ‘Lonely Oak’, surrounding towns and the forest we had walked in many times during that week. Really cool to see! And what are the chances you fly over the area you just spent the last week! Ok, maybe not that impressive for some people, but I thought it was rather cool.
When we came home, the cats were completely relaxed and happy. I think we found the perfect cat sitter! Our neighbours kept an eye on the house, and their middle son looked after the cats, actually befriended them (which is not always easy to do with Murphy), and spent time with them while playing the Wii. When we asked if he would do it again, he said yes without any hesitation. It’s just really nice to see it worked out so well. Definitely one less thing to worry about.
When we returned we had to shift back to ‘spring that is about to come’; quite a change from the full blown summer feeling we had experienced the week before. However, slowly but surely spring is finding its way to our area as well. That is to say, the grass is getting greener, buds are about to burst and daffodils are popping up. If only the temperature would rise a bit, and perhaps the rain could hold of for a day or two? Is that really too much to ask for??

Our running mojo is gone, but we decided that now we’re back in Canada, we’ll get back at it. Although we won’t run the Ottawa half marathon, we will start training again, and aim for lots of trail running this summer. So May will be our ‘getting back to running and eating healthy’ month. Our vacation definitely made us fall off the wagon a bit, so many delicious foods, cheeses, and wine! Which we made sure we enjoyed…

This week, we also moved back to our totally refurbished office on Booth Street. I’m one of the lucky ones that got a cubicle with a window. That is the good news. The bad news is that is somewhat chilly here, so I might have to bring a sweater in next time…