Wednesday, July 29, 2009

there's a reason we've stayed here...

Now that you all know what I will NOT miss about this apartment, I think I at least owe it to this place (that has been my home for almost 4 years) to list what I will definitely miss about it:
  • The hard wood floors. Ok, so they aren’t the most beautiful floors…they are old, mucked up, and even have some paint on them, but it isn’t carpet…and I’ve never been the biggest fan of carpet.
  • Living on the top floor. There’s something about not hearing the people above you, and knowing you don’t have to worry about sewage backup.
  • The “street” entertainment. There is really never a dull moment around here. Sure I complain about the sketchiness of it, but at least it provides some entertainment.
  • Location. I’ve really gotten used to being within walking distance of the “upscale Rideau Centre” (it was described that way in People magazine when Carrie Underwood was spotted there) and all of the shops in the Byward Market. And Planet Coffee, that scratch bakes all of their cakes and cookies, has delicious sandwiches, and makes a great mochaccino. I’ve taken for granted living so close to the Italian market and the fish store, and not one but TWO separate cheese shoppes (oh yes, that one deserves and “e” in shoppe). There is a French bakery a couple of minutes away that has some of the best bread around…
  • LOCATION. I’ve been riding my bike to work (along the canal, not on the street luckily because the streets of Ottawa have proven to be quite treacherous for cyclists as of late) for all of July and this week I’ve realized just how much I’ll miss being so close to this part of the Rideau Canal. I took this picture the other morning after seeing the same reflection the morning before and thinking “man I wish I had my camera.” It was picture perfect at least two days in a row.(and yes, clearly location is why we've stayed in this apartment for so long)
  • This was our first apartment together…as much as I've whined and complained about it, it will always be our first home.

I’m going to go ahead and guess that this will be the last post before moving day and for at least a few days afterward. We won’t have an internet hookup until Tuesday (unless we can steal some wireless from a neighbour) so I’m guessing I won’t be back until Wednesday at the very earliest. Hopefully our new landlord has replaced the carpet, painted, replaced the screen in the screen door, and that the wood burning fireplace is now a gas fireplace. Otherwise, our first couple of weeks in our new place may be a little more chaotic than we were hoping they would be.

So, have a great weekend-it is a long one so stay safe- and we'll see you on the flip side.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

dear running warehouse

Running Warehouse:
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
  • You always seem to have my size (though I suppose if I had a more "popular" running shoe size, you wouldn't)
  • You are quick and efficient (I ordered shoes on Sunday, I got them today)
  • Your customer service is really quite good (the last time I ordered shoes from you, there was a problem with the colour- you gave me an extra discount just because you had to give me a colour other than the one I ordered)
  • Despite the crazy UPS shipping fee (which I wouldn't have to pay if I was in the US, but I'll take my universal health care and pay shipping) I still payed SIGNIFICANTLY less by getting my shoes with you than I would if I had to go into a store here and buy them (link)
I know that I should buy local, but I saved more than $60 by importing my running shoes. So keep it up Running Warehouse (and listen up Canadian running stores...)!

And yes, I buy expensive running shoes. But they are the most cushioned shoes I've ever felt and my poor bones seem to need it! After only two weeks in a less cushioned (and of course less expensive) shoe, I was already feeling some unfortunate pain...so, back to the Vomeros it is.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

forgive my silence

You'll have to forgive my silence. We're in the process of packing up to move so not only am I busy doing things other than sitting in front of the computer, but I'm not feeling very creative either. But, just for fun, here are a few things I will NOT miss about this apartment:

-The smell of the building. You walk into the building and are greeted with a really unfortunate odour. Cigarettes, old carpet, mustiness...I don't even know what other words to use. It stinks

-The chain smoking downstairs neighbours. They are the farthest apartment from us, yet we can smell them almost all the time. It has gotten better since we put some weather stripping in, but for a long time, it often smelled like someone was smoking in our living room. I got into someone's car a couple of winters ago and she said "were you somewhere where people were smoking?" Nope, it is just what my closet smells like... And I kind of feel like I'm going to get cancer every time I go downstairs to do laundry.

-The noise. We live half a block from a major trucking route that shouldn't be one. The trucks shake the apartment sometimes. They use their "loud" breaks instead of the quiet ones. This same trucking route is also a route that attracts just plain old loud people in the middle of the night.

-The drugs. Pretty much every week we see someone having a bad trip, Jordan has seen someone injecting things into their toes, there are drug deals everywhere. When we got home from being out two weekends ago, there was a guy asleep on the sidewalk right in front of the building (well, at first we weren't sure if he was asleep or passed out or dead, but we woke him up to find out)

-The colour. It is an off-white version of blue. It is terrible.

There will be things I'll miss, but I'll save that for another day. Until then, sorry for my lack of creativity...trying to get organized, work, run, and still have fun since it is summer is taking as much energy as I can muster.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

a memorable meal

Most food blogs that I read are "healthy" blogs (check out "kath eats real food", "healthy tipping point", "inner workings of a college graduate" and "eat, live, run"). So although I'm not a food blogger, it seems kind of strange to blog about this meal because it is so opposite from what I usually see on blogs. In fact, it may almost belong on This is why you're fat...(and if what we ate doesn't, the foie gras poutine does). With that in mind, it really was a memorable meal and I loved it.

You see, a couple of years ago, when I was in Calgary for the bachelorette shenanigans of a friend of mine, Jordan went to the infamous Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal with some friends. Well, they haven't really stopped talking about it since. So I knew that one day, I had to get there.

Last Friday, we needed to go to Sherbrooke to take care of some stuff...so we called the restaurant the day before to see if they had any space for dinner. The only reservation they had was for 11pm. Boo. But, Jordan knew they had a bar facing the kitchen and figured we could show up at opening and see if they might have two places at said bar.

We showed up at 5 and after much humming and hawing by the hostess, we were in. Now, if you check out their Menu online, there isn't much in the way of description. Just the item, then the price. I figured they just didn't want to put the whole menu on there...but nope, that's all there is in the restaurant as well. Just the name. (and those Foie Gras Cromesquies? those are little nuggets of foie gras that are breaded and deep fried. we didn't have any, but because foie gras is just fat, it ends up being crispy on the outside and liquid fat in the middle...)

We decided to share the duck carpaccio for an appetizer. Mmmmm....thin slices of duck with little dabs of mustard, shards of sharp cheese, and then a slightly poached egg yolk to crack and mix about so that it made a bit of a mayonnaise. Oh delightful. I wish I had taken a picture.

For our main meal, after first ordering the Steak Frites (the fries are done in duck fat) but then switching before the order actually went in, Jordan decided on the namesake "Pied De Cochon" Here is how it came:
Under all those onions and tomatoes is the actual pied (and for those of you who don't parler francais, that's "foot" or "trotter" as some like to call it). The creamy looking stuff just happen to be the best mashed potatoes ever. The "fritter" on the other hand, was not the best thing ever. We both tried it and the texture was decidedly gross. We finally (after it was gone) asked what it was and the response was "pig knuckle". Yeah, it had some great "mouth feel". Ugh.

Regardless, I think he was happy with his choice and ate pretty much the whole thing- minus most of the outer layer of the pig skin and I think he left some of that oh so delicious knuckle fritter. (doesn't it sound even more appealing when I put it that way...yeah, picture that- a pig knuckle fritter. mmmmm)

I decided on the "PDC melting pot". It is what Jordan had when he went the first time and it came highly recommended. It had two types of sausage, three parts of pork (cooked three ways), some roasted cipollini (not sure if that is spelled right, but those little onions) and a single roasted mushroom (for a healthy component?) all on a bed of the delicious, creamy, cheesy mashed potatoes:
Oh man was it good. Well, all except for the boudin noir sausage (top left in the bowl), which I actually didn't expect to like but thought it was worth a try. I was right and didn't like it at all. It was mostly a texture thing for me though. I had a great time sifting my way through all of the pork products and the delicious mashed potatoes. And very uncharacteristically, at one point I found myself taking a couple of bites and then saying "why am I even eating this anymore...i'm stuffed. oh wait, i know why, because it is DELICIOUS!" Here's the dent I managed to put in it:
I was actually pretty impressed with myself (although notice that there is pretty much nothing gone from that boudin. ick) I thought about taking the rest home, but my belly full of pork felt like enough.

At about the time that my plate looked like the "after" shot, Mr "Wild Chef" himself, Martin Picard walked in. He was carrying pieces of wood that looked like they had been drilled as some sort of plating device (and the prep guys did NOT look happy to see them). Also- he had his shirt buttoned down practically to his belly button and the chest hair was a flowing. A few seconds later, in walk two guys struggling with a giant cooler and they took it directly into the back. If you have ever seen his show, you'll understand why Jordan and I were so darn curious to know what was in the cooler. We didn't ask, but I did manage to sneak a picture of the man himself:
Yeah, that poor lady in the black was probably wondering why I was taking a picture of her. But nope, I was trying to catch Picard in the mirror. I only wish you could see his chest hair.

It was actually kind of cool to be there and to have the owner/head chef walk in. Kind of like being at Babbo and having Mario Batali walk in...you just don't expect it to happen.

We skipped desert but had some coffee and then it was back to Ottawa. Not a healthy meal, but very definitely a memorable one.

(and lesson learned- pig knuckle fritters are not tasty treats)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

i am a geek

And I'm ok with it.

For months, there has been construction going on at what once was the Jacob store in the mall near my place (do not fear, Jacob did not leave, but rather relocated to a larger location within the mall). For months, there was no signage as to what was going in. One day early in the construction, I was walking on the level above the store and noticed that the "roof" of the construction said "Apple Canada" on it. I think my heart skipped a beat at the thought of what might really and truly be going in there.

The other day, I walked by the front of the store and what did I see, but the infamous apple logo. And finally today, the email from Apple telling me that Saturday is the day...the day I live in a city with an Apple retail store. I'm smiling on the inside.

(and I had a great weekend- stay tuned for a recap and some pictures)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

good luck heather!

Tomorrow, my little sister does her very first open water swim as a part of her sprint triathlon. I know that she's pretty darn nervous about it, so go on over and wish her luck. H-mo, you will do great! And just so you remember how far you've come, remember this?




(Before and after our first race....she beat me by the way. Not by much, just a few seconds, but she definitely beat me)

Go over and wish her luck HERE! She needs all the happy swimmy thoughts you can give her. Once she gets out of the water, she'll be golden, but she's really nervous about that swim.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

podcast

Since I'm not feeling very creative, I thought I'd share one of my favourite podcasts with y'all. If you like running, like dogs, like accents from New England, or enjoy witty banter, you might like 4 feet running. It is put out by Nik and Dan- a couple from New England. She's a marathoner, he used to be a non-runner but has now finished his first half-marathon and is training for his second. I love the banter, but I also love his story. He started with the Couch to 5K program and just kept going from there. He came in dead last in a race, and just kept going from there. She just keeps running and running... He's a newspaper man, she's an artist. I don't know why, but I just love to listen.

Anyway, you can check it out from their website, or just search "4 feet running" in itunes and it will bring up the podcast.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

sunday secrets


I was looking at the Post Secret page today, as I do pretty much every Sunday, and this one made me smile.

I hope you all have a wonderful day. I just went for a sunny Sunday run and for the first 15 minutes it felt like I had forgotten how to run. But I got through it and for now that's all that matters.

Enjoy the day and do something that makes you smile!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

feeling listy

I hope that if yesterday was a holiday for you (as it was for me), you had a fun Canada day. I'm feeling listy today, so here it goes:
  • Operation Beautiful got some great press this week. Check out the story here. Way to go Caitlin! (and apparently she'll be doing some local TV this week)
  • Just because it is highly unlikely that it will ever happen again, I thought I'd brag about my top 10 finish in my age group at the Canada Day 5K yesterday (yes, I know I was supposed to do the 10K originally, but my knee was feeling kind of crunchy all week, so I decided to listen to my body and go with the shorter distance). Sure, I was 9th out of 35 in the female 20-29 group, so percentage wise I think I was still technically better in the 10K in May, but it kind of feels cool to say that I was top 10. And on a terrible running day at that (my stomach was icky all morning and I had to slow down because I was fairly certain that I was going to throw up if I didn't). I think I would have been happier with a PR, but still fun to say top 10 (clearly...since I just said it 3 times in this bullet point.
  • My sister is going to be here for dinner tomorrow. I'm excited to see her and I'm getting ready to gluten-free it up at dinner.
  • I am going to start riding my bike to and from work for as many days as I can in July. I hope I don't end up with any sort of mechanical problems, because I will be absolutely useless.
  • I'm also starting some half marathon training starting on Sunday. If all goes well and injury free, I'll be lacing up for the Canada Army Run on September 20th. All of the pace calculators show that I am on track for a sub 2 hour finish and both Jordan and my Sunday running partner Susan think I can do go close to 1:55 (that's where the MacMillan calculator puts me too). Now I just need to believe it myself. And I kind of wish I didn't have to run it by myself, but that's just the nature of running I guess. Unless of course someone out there wants to join me? Anyone?
  • In order to try to train as smart as possible considering my history with stress fractures, I think I'll be following something very close to a FIRST plan and trying to get in as much cross training as I can. Swimming would be a good idea, but I'm kind of cheap and don't want to pay for it...I might have to relent and go for it though. (and buy a bathing suit)
  • This has been a strange week with a Wednesday holiday smashed in the middle. Today kind of felt like Monday again, but tomorrow is Friday. Regardless, I get two short weeks in a row because next week is my first Friday off in the "Summer compressed hours" schedule. So I get a birthday long weekend. Hooray!
  • We really need to start packing. July 31st/August 1st will come too soon I'm sure.
There, the lists are out of my system! Anyone else feeling listy? Feel free to give me a little list update as a comment.