Tuesday, February 28, 2012

As promised... Some photos

As mentioned in my previous post, I am planning on adding more photos to my blog, trying to keep it more fun.
Probably a good thing. I just got back from a day-long meeting in Pointe Claire, (which was really good, but wouldn't make interesting photos), that wiped me out, so whatever text I would compose right now would't make much sense anyway.

Not bad to be a cat...

Nolan with his new glasses. This photo was taken early Sunday morning before our run, hence the bad hair...

Fertile has a really thick coat, as you can see. She seems very content. 

Our amaryllis grew out of control, and now it's produced seeds. Not sure what to do with them. I guess seed them next year? 

Squirrels benefiting from our bird feeders.

And my orchid is coming back alive!

Murphy discovered the benefits of sleeping underneath chairs... 

And a couple more squirrel pictures. Just for fun. 

That's it. More photos will follow. Soon. I promise. And maybe I'll include more interesting photos as well, since cats and squirrels seem to be a recurring theme. Maybe I'll add a photo of myself. Who knows!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Photos of the Dutchland

In an effort to make my blog more fun, I decided to add more photos. So I consciously started taking more pictures (well, I started today) that people will hopefully enjoy. When I uploaded the photos to my laptop, I realized that I never posted our pictures from the Netherlands! So here you go:

My mom always dresses like this:

And my dad looks like this. Note the barcode at the front of his hat.

Without joking, the above photos were taken during their annual mutual birthday party, that attracts a lot of friends (around 40 this year, I believe). It was fun to actually participate this year.

We managed to show during the one week of cold weather the Dutch had this year. Well, at least we didn't have to acclimatize, and it made for some great photos. This is the oh so famous castle of Amerongen (above).

And cold weather is synonym to skating. People go nuts when it comes to skating, and I can't recall the number of times people asked us if we'd brought our skates. Uhm, no, we left those at home. We have a canal we can skate on as well. For a whole 28 days this year...

Here is Willem looking up to Sien, who is above him. Hiding.

Sien is evil, as you can see.

On our last day in Amerongen, we went for a nice long walk in the forest around Amerongen, and visited the Lonely Oak. We almost got lost as well. I guess I don't know the area as well as I used to.

Next up, more photos from our lives, including our cats, and our new snow blower! Yes, what a time to get a snowblower delivered. We were almost thinking winter was over, but were proven very wrong when we were treated to another snowstorm on Friday. Except for the fact that I had to miss the UofT field tour at the PRF on Saturday due to poor road conditions, we don't really mind this weather! We even managed to get a 17.5km run in this morning, despite cold wind and snowy sidewalks. The sun made up for it; we both came home with our faces covered by freckles. Time to get the sunscreen out!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Without downs, you have no ups...

It's been a week now since we returned from the Netherlands, and in some ways, we were hoping for an uneventful few weeks to come. Well, it was not to be, and perhaps we brought it on ourselves?

Early this week, I was checking the humane society website, as I do often, to see if they had any dogs available for adoption that would fit into our household. And low and behold, there was a 9-yr old lab mix, friendly and playful, up for adoption. On paper, she looked like the perfect dog for us. Since Nolan did not grow up with dogs, we wanted to be sure that the dog was friendly without any aggression. We went to see April on Tuesday, and indeed, she was a sweetheart, and we decided to pick her up on Thursday (she had a vet appointment that day, since she needed some additional medical care due to an amputated tail). When we picked April up on Thursday, it was decided we would foster her for a few days, and if all would go well, we'd finalize the adoption later this week.
We brought April home, and as soon as we got home, the cats went into hiding. It wasn't fun to see them stressed out, especially Muprhy was quite upset, but we also figured it would need some time. She was a great dog in the house, wouldn't leave your side, and slept through the night no problem.
The next day, when we tried to introduce the cats to her, it just didn't go well.  April reacted quite strongly to them, and the cats did not like her at all. Long story short, we have always said that the cats come first, and perhaps they would have gotten used to each other over time, but we did not quite trust her in the beginning. We also had some issues with Murphy about two years ago, and the last thing we wanted is him peeing all over the house again.
And the truth is that we are away during the day, and April is a total people dog! I would trust her with a baby! She loves everyone and like the attention, another reason that we thought she is better of in a family with kids, no cats, where she gets lots of attention. So sadly, we decided to bring her back to the humane society, before we would get too attached to her.

Needless to say I was heartbroken. I wish we could have kept her, and provided her with a good home, but having her around did not make me happy either. I was worried about the cats, and they mean a lot to us as well. We brought her back on Saturday morning, after taking her for a long walk in the Greenbelt. I was quite upset bringing her back, but she was happy to go back, and they were very understanding at the humane society as well. They promised they'd find her another good home (it's a no-kill shelter!!), and I believe they will. When we walked by April on the way out, she didn't even really look up to us; she was focussed on everything else going on. In a way hard to see, but I'm also happy she wasn't too attached to us, because that would only have made it so much harder.  Another reason I'm glad we brought her back soon, because the longer we waited, the harder it would be, for both her and us.

It was hard, but it was good to see the cats completely back to normal as soon as we got home Saturday afternoon. I already miss not going for walks, but who knows if and when we get a new dog, and Nolan has offered to take him for a walk, so maybe I should start doing that...

I guess it was another blow after some roller-coaster weeks, and on top of that, I tripped and fell at the end of my run on Wednesday. Right in front of my office building, very embarrassing! My knee is all bruised and was completely swollen, my left wrist is bruised and my shoulder was sore, but it all feels better now, and besides a badly bruised knee, I'm pretty much back to normal. I even managed to have a great 16k run yesterday morning! The footing was so much better, temperatures were bearable (only -8 when we started) and with the sun out it was just a gorgeous morning! My knee was a bit sore at the end, but nothing too crazy. I guess I needed a good run to clear my head and reset my body. Hopefully I was able to do that.

So for the next few weeks, no more big decisions, no major (self-inflicted) changes, and just focus on us and enjoy life!

Oh, and one other, last news-worthy (at least Nolan thinks!) item, we had our eyes tested on Friday, and soon you'll see Nolan wearing glasses! For now only when he needs to read far away (presentations, etc), and when driving at night. We picked up a pair, and I'm not sure I love them, but then, Nolan with glasses is just weird... Hopefully I get used to them :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Back in October, Nolan and I came across some crazy deal for tickets to Amsterdam. Twenty minutes after hearing about it, we had purchased tickets for a trip to the Netherlands in February, to arrive on February 4th, my mom's 65th birthday. We decided not to tell anyone, and kept that up until my dad came up with the same idea. We told him about our little plan, and he thought it was a great idea. In the end we included my brother as well, just to make logistics a bit easier. It turned out to be a good thing, since he was able to pick us up at the airport. We were going to take the train, but due to some snowfall on Friday, the trains were off schedule until later this week (more about that later...).

The trip over was good but long. We had a six hour wait in Frankfurt, which I spent partly sleeping :) By the time we arrived in Amsterdam, we were pretty tired, but also excited to find out my mom's response!
When we got to Amerongen, my mom was upstairs, and when my dad said there were visitors for her birthday, and she saw us downstairs, she was speechless for a bit! Definitely a great surprise, that went over really well. I'm glad we were able to surprise her like that!
They had their annual party Saturday evening (it's my dad's birthday two days before, and they always celebrate it on the nearest Saturday), with relatives coming on Sunday. So within a couple of days, we were able to see some of the people we wanted to see.
The rest of the week we wanted to keep it pretty easy. We went on a great run Monday morning in the fresh snow, and quiet woods. This week has been very cold for Dutch standards, but since we're used to it, the shock wasn't that big. The people, however, found a common topic of discussion: the cold, snow and Elfstedentocht (for the non-Dutch, google it :) ).

On Tuesday we were hoping to head to Amsterdam to visit some relatives, a museum and have dinner with Gijsbert. However, due to the cold and snowy weather (there was snow 5 days ago...), the trains were still not running on a regular schedule. Add a broken train to the mix, and Amsterdam all of  a sudden became a difficult place to get. We decided to turn around and just head home. Just as well! We met up with RenĂ©e that afternoon, for a nice walk and cup of tea, and then went out for dinner together afterwards. A little treat :)
Wednesday we took it easy, slept in and had pancakes for lunch!! Today we saw Anja and Sjoerd, which was really nice and so good to catch up.

Tomorrow we'll see the relatives from Amsterdam, before a visit from our nan. And then Saturday we're heading back home! So fast already, time always flies! Luckily, this time we only have an hour and a half lay-over in Frankfurt, so hopefully that trip will go a bit faster! But, first one full day to enjoy with the folks!