Cottage!

Jul. 20th, 2016 12:23 am
przed: (maple leaf)
Finally have time to post about the cottage trip, starting with the tree! Here it is, the hunk of wood that briefly stranded us in the cottage, and the two lovely neighbours who chainsawed it to bits. (The Sweetie and I had a mad scheme to go at it with axes in the morning if we had to, but man, that would have taken a long time.)
01thetree.jpg

More cottage pics this way )
przed: (bad day-doyle (base by lynnmonster))
Yesterday was the first serious test for my black belt: four hours, covering fitness, sparring, forms, weapons and self-defence. My main goals for the test were not mucking it up, and not getting injured.

I didn't quite manage that second goal.

It mostly went well. I got through the fitness section, did well in sparring (earning surprised respect from one of the younger whipper snapper black belts I managed to hold my own against), and did all my forms solidly with only a few glitches.

Then we got to self-defence, always my bĂȘte noire. They started us off with simple shoulder rolls from the ground. Which I shouldn't have even attempted. (I don't do break falls or take downs any more, since there's a high probably of a serious back or neck injury if I do.) But I was feeling cocky, and I thought "it's just a little shoulder roll. How bad can it be?"

Pretty bad, it turns out. Though not nearly as bad as it could have been.

I got out of alignment on the first roll, landed badly, and wrenched something in my shoulder. It took a while before they could get me up off the floor, and then one of our instructors taped up my arm so it wouldn't jar, one of the school's office staff escorted me to Emergency to have it checked out, and another instructor drove my car home.

The ER doctor was a bit taken aback at my x-ray (that shoulder got completely rebuilt when I was three, so even with no injury it's a bit of a mess) but he reckons it's a separated shoulder with an associated sprained ligament. They gave me a sling, and have referred me to the orthopaedic clinic at the hospital, who I've been assured will call within two days.

A quick search on the Mayo clinic site shows it's not the worst injury to have, and they mostly heal within 2 to 3 weeks as long as you haven't ruptured a ligament. But for a few days at least, I'm going to have to a lot one handed. (This is my first foray into typing, which isn't going too badly, but I wouldn't want to be on the computer for long.)

Hopefully, this has knocked the last of my stupid pride about not being able to do certain things during training. Rolls are now officially on the no fly list, along with all the other ground work stuff.

The one silver lining to this particular cloud is that I'm going to take a day or two off work to get to the point where moving wrong and sneezing don't cause eye-watering agony, and that means a couple of days of watching TV and movies. Which I haven't done in months! Yay for silver linings!
przed: (tt ot5 puppy pile)
Since planning a birthday party the week before Christmas was insanity, I decided to forego a 50th birthday party in favour of a 50 Years and a Black Belt party in June (assuming I manage to survive that long *g*), and instead we took a family trip to New York City for a long weekend. (I've been trying to get us all to NYC for a couple of years, so it was a good excuse to finally do it.)

Photographic evidence behind the cut )
przed: (doyle fencing)
I keep thinking I should post an update (I've seen Spectre! And Take That have put out a ridiculous disco video!) but I've hardly had time to turn on my computer of late.

I've mentioned that I'm in the process of training for my black belt in Taekwando. I knew it was going to be a lot of work, but it's more than I imagined, and I'm still not quite hitting all my weekly training goals.

Here's what I'm doing (or in some cases, supposed to be doing) every week:
  • Three regular, one hour classes (Tuesday Thursday at 6 a.m.; one evening that floats around)
  • One 90 minute black belt training class every Saturday at 6:45 a.m.
  • One two hour forms practice session every Sunday morning at 8
  • Running 10K (this is the thing I'm really having a challenge fitting in between work, Ros' activities, classes, and all the other TKD training I'm doing)
  • Practicing all forms as often as possible (I've got 7 regular forms and 2 weapons forms I'm supposed to know cold; I've got 6 of the 7, and have got a good start on the bo staff form, but nunchuks are never going to be my favourite thing)
  • Doing my thousand form (I've been assigned one form, Yul-Gok, which I have to do 1,000 times before my final grading in May
  • 100 sit ups, 20 min. of skipping, 50 knees up reps (I'm way over the sit ups and knees up, but need to up the skipping)
  • Volunteering at one kids class a week, and at the occasional event at the school

    I have, fortunately, been given a pass on the requirements for push ups and burpees. I irritated the osteoarthritis in my back this summer and all the instructors suggested I bail from the things that irritates it. I'm replacing them with wall pushups, tricep dips, side planks, and a very ugly, modified one-armed burpee. As a bonus for the training, my core strength is now awesome and the back pain I struggled with most of the summer and fall is now a thing of the past.

    What all this has meant is that I haven't been online, or even on my computer, much at all. By the time I've finished work, got Ros to and from her activities, made dinner, got Ros to bed, done laundry, and all the other stuff that needs doing, I'm pretty much baked. (And this even with the Sweetie earning his nickname by trading off on the Ros activities and dinner thing, picking up a huge amount of the stuff I don't have time for, and accommodating my training schedule.)

    I'm reading LJ on my phone, but haven't had the time to get on my computer to comment or post. (LJ's mobile app has eaten more than one post and comment on my, so I don't do much beside read on it.)

    I have grabbed 15 minute chunks of time for writing, but that's meant any writing is excruciatingly slow. Especially since the thing I'm working on in a heavily plotted and researched TT secret agent AU that just crossed 31K words and is heading in the direction of 40K. I am hoping, however, to write a treat or two for Yuletide, and maybe a Pros Christmas story. (I've got an idea for a manageably-sized Christmas story, so it's possible!)

    Which is all a very long-winded way of saying, if you don't see me around much, know that I'm still out here. And after next June, when I participate in our school's Black Belt Spectacular, I should be back more properly.
  • przed: (tt footie mark's feet)
    Things have been a bit mental, so it's been a couple of weeks since I've done an update.

    The team are getting better at working together and passing. And they're still really good at holding even high scoring teams to very few goals. (We still have the lowest goals against by a long shot.) But they are still having trouble turning opportunities into goals. Some of it is just bad luck--shots going wide or the other goalkeeper getting hold of a near thing--and some of it is their desire to put the ball in the goal themselves, even if someone else on the team has a clearer shot at the net. ::sigh::

    Last week we played the team that was lowest in the standings, and I thought we had a shot at winning. But they have clearly improved (they've got a three game winning streak going) and our defence fell apart at a couple of key moments, so they managed a 2 - 1 win. But Ros got our "1," so that was awesome. She's definitely become a much more aggressive player, which is lovely to see.

    This week we played the top team in our division, and they really could have killed us, but we played a really solid game. They scored early, but we kept the pressure on and our best player got a really lovely goal she chipped over the head of their keeper. (Ros also made a really lovely run and had a clear shot on net, but kicked it right at their keeper, alas.) We had them at a 1 - 1 tie for most of the game, and I thought we might keep that, but our defence fell apart two minutes from the end and they got a goal in. Still, it was a great game.

    Outside of soccer, things have been a bit crazy. I did my back in about a month ago, irritating two arthritic vertebrae doing some yoga moves after a running class. Yoga always seems like a good idea, but my crazy passing-itself-on-a-curve spine just can't handle it. This has not only meant no Taekwando until I get the pain under control, it has also meant I've been sleeping badly to not at all a majority of the time. Which means that every few nights after we get Ros to sleep I pretty much keel over where I'm standing. This has almost entirely eliminated most of the computer and TV watching time I usually eke out.

    Stupid back.

    In spite of that, there has been fun had.

    We went camping two weekends ago, which I always enjoy. Though sleeping on an air mattress really did not impress my back, and was managed only after I ventured into the nearest town to buy the strongest over the counter pain meds I could find. (It was that, or find a cheap nearby hotel so I didn't feel like someone was drilling into my spine.) The drugs were lovely stuff for knocking you out, but not a sustainable solution due to its not-so-lovely side effects.

    Today, I took the day off work to take Ros and a friend to the Canadian National Exhibition,a.k.a. the Ex. It's a fall fair on a huge scale, with a midway, a giant food building where you can get all sorts of crazy things like donut hamburgers (the girls had perogies; I had a yummy fish taco), and lots of shows, demonstrations and ridiculous things for sale.

    Ros loves to go primarily for the kids' circus workshop that gets put on every year. She always has done the tightrope walking and acrobatics, but this year she was finally big enough to do the trapeze, which was very exciting.

    Circus pics this way... )
    przed: (bucky)
    I had my regular acupuncture appointment last night, so I stayed up late to watch the Wisconsin v. Duke game so I wouldn't be spoiled today on the outcome.

    I was really hoping the Badgers could pull it off. Not only because they're my team, but because I don't think Duke needs yet another NCAA title. Alas, though it was a really good game and the Badgers led by as much as 9 points in the second half, they sort of fell apart at the end and Duke took the title.

    In other news, after five weeks off, I'm going back to Taekwando class tonight. I haven't mentioned it, but remember that surprise angiogram I had that flattened me for a few days? Well, I ended up getting a hematoma at the incision site. (For those of you who are lucky enough never to have had one, that's a big swelling of built up blood.) It was surprisingly painful, and since it basically meant the major artery they'd used for the angiogram was, in the words of a nurse I work with, "leaky" I didn't think throwing a bunch of roundhouse kicks was going to be the best thing in the world for it.

    There is still a tiny bit of swelling, but at least I'm not limping around anymore and by this point I gotta figure the leakiness is fixed. Fingers crossed.
    przed: (bad day-doyle (base by lynnmonster))
    For the past few months I've been going through a number of medical tests as various doctors try to figure out what the heck to do with the horrible acid reflux I've been having that's been immune to all drugs. My GP decided he was going to run some cardiac tests just to make sure there wasn't anything going on with my heart. Which led to me having a stress test on Monday.

    This did not go how I expected. )
    przed: (snowflake)
    I've got fifteen minutes before I've promised to take Ros and one of her friends skating, so I thought I'd just pop online and wish everyone a happy new year.

    We've had a relaxed and yet packed holiday season. Were up at my mom's for Christmas. I cooked the turkey (my third one ever, and the one that finally turned out well; I wish I'd taken a picture) and the Sweetie baked a pumpkin pie. Ros got a new American Girl, I got Star Trek Catan and there were lots of board games played and skating done. (I am amused that my kid is going to know Star Trek first because of the board game. Shall have to watch The Trouble with Tribbles with her one of these days.)

    Since we've gotten back to Toronto I've been off work and hanging out with Ros. We went to a figure skating show one of the big theatres put on for the holidays on Monday. I went to a uni friend's 60th birthday party. (She's ten years older than the rest of us. Which means we're all hitting 50 next year!) And there's been playdates for Ros, giving me a few hours at a time which I've been using to work on the neverending task of decluttering the house. (A friend who's starting her own speech therapy practice, having just gotten laid off from working for the city program, has just picked up boxes and boxes of Ros' old toys for her work. Win win for us both!)

    And to add some fannish content, I got a fab Strike Back story for Yuletide:

    What a Lovely Way to Burn (5653 words)
    Fandom: Strike Back
    Relationships: Damien Scott/Michael Stonebridge
    Summary: There was going to be one hell of a debrief when they got out of here. Locke had sent them back into South America knowing it was going to be a goat rodeo, but nobody had expected this level of colossal cluster fuck.

    Lots of hurt/comforty goodness, and perfect Damien Scott voice. [livejournal.com profile] msmoat you must give it a read!

    Tonight is going to be the usual low key new year for us. We were going to try and get Ros to watch A Hard Day's Night on TCM with us (the house rule is if she's going to stay up until midnight on new year she has to watch a movie with mommy and daddy) but she's discovered that there's also a Leafs hockey game on. I suspect hockey will win, though I'm going to push for recording the Beatles so we can watch after the game is over, leading up to midnight.

    Best new year wishes to you all!
    przed: (i spy)
    It's been a mad few days, with a bit of good stuff mixed in with a bit of bad.

    The Good
    We took Ros to a Saturday afternoon kid's screening of the original Bad News Bears at our favourite local rep house and she enjoyed it. Though, man, there's more tough stuff than even I was expecting, including a coach/father hitting his kid on the field and a tough little kid who uses the N word. Repeatedly. (Yikes!)

    At the urging of [livejournal.com profile] franzeska, I've started putting pages up on AO3 for my vids, including non-password protected links. The vids up there so far are:
  • I Would Die for You (I Spy)
  • Forget Regret (Pros)
  • Love's Not a Competition (Pros)
  • Pieces of Heaven (Pros)
  • Halo (Sherlock Holmes, Downey Films)
  • The Patron Saint of Lost Causes (Take That)

    This has led to the shocking realization that I made I Would Die for You, my first vid back in 2002! Where has the time gone?

    The Bad
    I started my Saturday with a 6:45 a.m. black belt training session at our martial arts school. And promptly started having an anaphylaxis attack after we'd completed the run at the start. Mouth swelling, eyes swelling and, most alarmingly, throat swelling. Which meant taking Benadryl, hightailing it home, waiting to make sure that my throat had stopped swelling, and then letting the drugs knock me out for over four hours. Not the way I'd planned on spending my Saturday morning. And annoyingly, it meant missing the martial arts part of the class that I actually enjoy.

    The Sweetie: You know, some people would take this as a sign that they shouldn't be exercising.
    Me: But I like exercising! I don't want this to keep happening!

    Nor was that the end of it. I woke up both Sunday and Monday with my eyes swollen again, and the Benadryl hangover was giving me a persistent headache that finally tipped into migraine territory today. Joy. Adding to the fun, the cold that's been nipping at my heels finally caught me today, so I bowed to the inevitable and took the day off.

    The Inbetween
    Since I was stuck at home anyway, and the headache wasn't quite enough to require a dark, quiet room, I decided to park myself on the couch and mainline six of the Legends episodes I had sitting on the PVR. That was...interesting. I wouldn't call it good, but it's at least amusing seeing what accents The Bean attempts each episode when he's undercover. Worst accent so far: Texan. (Who the hell thought Sean Bean doing a Texan accent was a good idea?) Most amusing: a Liverpool accent that never drifted past the outskirts of Sheffield. Oh Sean, never change.
  • przed: (damn)
    My last post was a whinge about being tired. Consider this a continuation, but with an added chemical component.

    I think I'm still recovering from the rush of getting ready for and then getting through BistoCon, because I've barely felt the urge to get on the computer, let alone post or write or anything else. It feels sort of the like ennui that hits at the end of finishing a particularly long story or a particularly difficult vid, except with that sort of ennui there's a part of my brain that's champing at the bit to just get on with things. This time I'm just aware of the need to give myself some time.

    But that's not entirely why I'm so tired today. This tiredness is connected to a stupid/weird thing that happened today.

    It's day four of the Toronto International Film Festival (which hopefully I'll find time and energy to post about soon because I've seen some brilliant stuff) and I was waiting for a movie today with a friend. Since it was a noon film, I'd grabbed a bagel to munch on in line. Unfortunately, a wasp took a liking to my bagel as I was eating. Even more unfortunately, the idiotic insect then proceeded to fly into my mouth and sting me! (The sensation was like this: why is there something fluttery-feeling on my lip? OWWWW!)

    After I spat out the offending beastie, I immediately took a half dose of Benedryl. The Benedryl seems to have kept the worst of the swelling down, but as it always does with me, it's also made me slightly stupid and exhausted all day. And the side of my mouth that got stung feels sore all the way to the bone, rather like it's had venom injected into it.

    Stupid insect.

    After this, I rather feel the universe owes me a film fest random-running-into of Benedict Cumberbatch or Viggo Mortensen. ;-)
    przed: (tt footie mark's feet)
    A month ago, work announced that they were going to send me to Edmonton. For a day. For a five hour meeting. Only two hours of which actually concerned me. Oh, and the flight is four hours, each way.

    I kept trying to wriggle out of it, but never quite managed.

    And this week, to add insult to injury, I realized my flight was going to be during the World Cup final.

    I'm currently sitting in my hotel room in Edmonton, and it hasn't turned out to be too bad of a trip so far. I'm travelling with three co-workers, and we found a great little Greek restaurant across the road with a wonderful waiter who ordered us an assortment of wonderful food (saganaki and dalmades and moussaka and baba ghanouj and calamari) and also brought shots of free ouzo at the end. (I shouldn't have had the ouzo, but it was yummy. And also strong. I may still be a bit woozy. It's official; I have no head left for alcohol.)

    Here's hoping the actual meeting tomorrow turns out to be valuable. Or at least semi-useful. And that we make our airport shuttle, and the plane isn't late.

    I'm still sad about missing the World Cup final, though. I recorded it, but it's really not the same, knowing the outcome. And my vague plans to avoid finding out who won were foiled when they announced the final score on the plan. Oh, and one of my co-workers showed up at the airport wearing a German jersey, so I was always going to find out who won.

    But still, yummy food and free ouzo, yay!
    przed: (snowflake)
    Things have been a bit hectic for weeks, both at work and home, but I did manage to finish my Yuletide story, and even a bit before time.

    Today I had a bit of enforced down time, courtesy of an ice storm that's pounded Toronto and southern Ontario the last couple of days. We were lucky enough not to lose power, but a few blocks north of us they weren't so lucky. But even though we still have power, there are branches and whole trees down all over the neighbourhood. Like this:
    treedown

    More ice this way )

    Hallowe'en

    Oct. 31st, 2013 11:01 pm
    przed: (tt ot5 puppy pile)
    In spite of some rain, it was a good Hallowe'en. Ros went as Violet from The Incredibles. (Not that she's a fan of the movie, but one of her best friends at Taekwando was going as Violet to their Hallowe'en party a couple of weeks ago and they wanted to go in matching costumes.

    Here's my little superhero tonight:
    DSC_0140_2

    Ros and I carved our pumpkin this year.

    This way to a pumpkin pic )
    przed: (lawrence huzzah by crymeariver)
    After working especially hard on the Taekwando all summer and into this month, tonight was my belt grading for brown. I was a bit nervous, because this was the first official grading I've done with this school (since I kept getting sick or being away and missing gradings) but it turned out to be a blast.

    And now I'm a brown belt! Which is getting awfully close to black. Apparently this is the point where they really get you to up your game. But for now I'm just going to enjoy having made it this far.

    They always get a friend or family member to give you your belt, so here's Ros at the end of the night giving me mine.
    IMG_0452

    The Sweetie forgot to bring the good camera--after me reminding him, no I'm not bitter, it's fine, really, just fine--but he did get a couple of pics with the iPhone. This way to the pics )
    przed: (tt footie mark's feet)
    So, there was some doubt that I'd make tonight's soccer game.

    See, this morning was a Taekwando morning, and because it's summer and people are on vacation, today it ended up being just me, one other guy, and our replacement instructor. This is the instructor who makes our usual instructor, the one who regularly gets me lifting 20 pound kettle bells, look like a wimp. It was a great class, and I pushed myself really hard and totally enjoyed myself. I tripped my asthma a couple of times, but seemed to get away with it. But when I got home I went from covered in hives, to face swelling and throat doing funny things in a few minutes. Exercise-induced anaphylaxis strikes again! So it was two Benedryl for me, which meant passing out for the remainder of the day. Which is marginally better than the alternative of taking my Epipen and spending 4 hours in the E.R. whilst they make sure I'm not going to keel over.

    All in all, I wish I wasn't allergic to exercise. Because I really, really love that class.

    Oh, well. I surfaced in the afternoon, and was alert enough to coach. And the Sweetie took over the player rotation, which was helpful. We played a really tough team (the last time we played them, when the game was over all of my players started telling me about how they'd been poked, prodded, tripped and generally roughed up by their players) and whilst we put in a really great effort, they beat us, 1 - 5. But we still all had a great time.

    Ros put in a good effort, and really got stuck in a few times, which was nice to see.

    I am, unfortunately, going to miss our next game. They re-scheduled our rain out for this coming Friday, and we're due at a friend's cottage for the weekend. Fortunately, another mom has volunteered to step in, even though we'll only be fielding five players. The other team has the same number coming, so at least it'll be even.
    przed: (tt footie mark's feet)
    I didn't get around to posting about the last game on account of it being a bit of a crazy week. I was swamped at home and at work, it was stinking hot, and Ros came down with a 24 hour fever on Monday afternoon. She was mostly over it by Tuesday night, but we didn't let her play just in case she relapsed.

    The game was made challenging by the heat, by the fact that we were down a ton of kids (everyone on the team is taking their vacation in the next three weeks), and by me missing my assistant coach (on vacation for three weeks). The Sweetie was going to be my assistant whilst the other coach was away, but this week he had to stay home with Ros. So I had to rotate the kids off, and make sure they drank enough water, and didn't make muds pies or do anything too crazy whilst they were off the field. I figured they'd all be reluctant to play, since it was so hot, but I had more trouble with kids who really wanted to stay on in spite of the heat.

    We were playing a really tough team, and are still missing our best player, but the kids came through and we won 1 - 3. We're having a great season!

    I've been on my own since Thursday night, since the Sweetie was taking Ros up north to visit his family. (After China, I've got next to no vacation left, so I couldn't join them.) I had huge plans for getting tons of stuff done and having some fun, but most of the time has been sucked up by doing a huge cleanup of our closet in yet another attempt to get rid of moths. I've pulled out all the clothes, washed down the walls, vacuumed the whole room, and I'm doing non-stop laundry, but I've just seen another one of the little bastards fluttering by. ::sigh::

    I did have some fun. I got together with a friend I don't get to see too often last night, went out for a lovely meal, and saw Casting By, a really great doc about the casting profession in general and specifically the legendary casting director Marion Dougherty. And another friend and I went for Thai and then to see The Great Gastby. I can't say I loved the film (I wanted to slap most of the characters, repeatedly) but it looked great, I loved the soundtrack, and it had some really great use of 3D. (By comparison, I could have done without the 3D is every other summer blockbuster I've seen this year.)

    Now I'm waiting for one more load of laundry to finish, and then I shall crash.
    przed: (tulip)
    Six years ago today, Ros became a member of our family. Today we had a family dinner at Ros' favourite local bistro. And on the weekend we got together with another family from our travel group and their daughter. The other dad is a fantastic photographer, and sent us a few pics of Ros from the day.

    This way to Ros pics )

    I was going to put up some Ros through the years pics, but I already put up some of the best ones last year. So I'll just say we're lucky to have her in our family, and I cherish every day with her.
    przed: (chinese snake character)
    I dashed down to the Chinese consulate office at lunch today to pick up our visas. I got out of the office, visas in hand, in seven minutes flat. Yes, I timed it. I was morbidly curious as to how long it would take. It was all rather anti-climactic after the effort it took to get to this point.

    We are now T minus 15 days to China! AIIIIEEEEEE!

    And because we're going to have to figure out what to pack real soon now, I did a quick online check of the weather in all of the places we're going to be. (That would be Beijing, Xi'an, Guilin, Yangshuo, Chengdu, Nanchang, Tonggu, and Shanghai.) So far, the temperatures range from -5 to 20 Celsius. Bringing the right combination of clothes is going to be...interesting.

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