Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cut and Dyed

7:55 sunrise
19:47 sunset

Got my hairs did tonight.

Nothing radical.  A little more blonde and I seem to be letting it grow long enough so that I can put it in a ponytail when I get up in the morning when I go to work.  I tend to shower before bed so that I can (a) sleep in more in the mornings and (b) not have my hair freeze in the winter.  Unfortunately, the result is often total chaos-head.  See this for proof.

I did briefly toy with the idea of cutting it short and dying it red.... when I told my stylist to push for change that's what she came up with.  Sneaky Julie (who kindly came with me to satisfy my desire to hear all about her wedding and honeymoon to Spain) even seemed to be encouraging me.  But I just can't, for whatever reason, commit to having short hair again.  For now we have put off the "big change" for the new year.  Maybe I'll be ready for exotic and wildly different in 2012.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Canuck reads a Limey on Yankees

7:48 sunrise
19:67 sunset

I like Americans.

I like them and it's not just because my husband was born in New York City.  It's easy to bash the land of the free, home of the brave and I find myself eye-rolling at most of their politicians and a lot of their policies at state and federal levels. (How can people like Michelle Bachmann even be considered a person you would want to run your country?!  I mean, Harper's not great but he's not that much of a nut job).  But at a personal level - the folks you meet on the street - Americans are pretty darn awesome people.

Have you read Geoff Dyer (the Brit) on Americans? I don't think my take on the U S of A is quite the same as his, but one of the things I have always loved about travelling to the States is the service industry.  (I also love the US Postal Service, booze in Costco, and a whole whack of their geography).

Here's what Dyer says about American service:

Service culture
Americans are friendly. It's not just friendliness, it is some sort of daily manifestation of American democratic principles. The first time I heard the expression "You're welcome" was in America. I really noticed the transaction being wrapped up in a nice social exchange. You can't help but notice the way that social ripples––friendly, American ripples––extend way beyond the immediate interaction that created them. I'd go for that “have a nice day” superficial friendliness over deep-seated English hostility any day of the week.

I would go even further than Dyer to say that I don't even find the American "have a nice day" friendliness to be superficial.  Most of the time - it's real.  And if the English offer up "deep seated hostility" I'd say that Canadians present a politeness that couches smug self-righteousness.

I think Canadians possess all sorts of other fab national qualities, but the service industry and friendliness just aren't one of them.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Snow in the mountains

7:43 sunrise
20:03 sunset

First snow on Golden Horn this morning.  Took this as I left the house for work.  You can see the snow a bit better if you click on the photo and make it bigger.

How long until the first flakes land down at our house level?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Berry butt

7:38 sunrise
20:09 sunset

The hazards of berry picking.  Well, hazards if you sit on the cranberry patch while picking.

The crop is plentiful this year. (Can you call it a crop if it wasn't cultivated?) I was out picking on Sunday and I'm hoping to get out again this week if the rain holds off.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Annual Mountain Hero Ride

7:34 sunrise
20:15 sunset

If you think that summer is short in the Yukon, fall is downright temporary.  You really have to pay attention or it can pass you by.  So when the Klondike Road Relay came and went and I hadn't yet ridden Mountain Hero, I figured it wouldn't happen this year.  But, the weather gods were kind and yesterday dawned reasonably bright and acceptably warm.  A small group of us headed off to Carcross to ride up and over Montana Mountain.

It was, as always, gorgeous.

And we were treated to an abundance of animal life.  And no, I am not talking about those in our group who over-dressed for the climb (for once it wasn't me!!) and had to ride shirtless for awhile.

On the way to Carcross we saw a mama black bear and two cubs.

During the ride we saw pika, ptarmigan, and caribou!

Sorry, no caribou photo.  They were too far away for a decent snapshot.  And on the way home we watched a grizzly bear stomp up and down beside the road.

All in all a great day.  Here are some of my favourite photos:

The only negative was at the very end of the ride - less than a kilometer to go - Paula took a huge wipeout and scared the bejeesus out of those of us behind her.  Her front wheel veered off the trail and she flew off her bike.  She says she remembers very little of it aside from her face scraping the ground.  When we came upon her she was non-verbal and was wrapped around a tree.  Flashback to my first time on this trail when our friend Tony shattered his elbow and I was afraid this was even worse.  Fortunately, Paula is okay (bruised and very sore) but it reminded me just how much damage can be done when you hurtle down a mountain at 45km/kr.  Mental note.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Online Habits

7:29 sunrise
20:22 sunset

This really great article kinda sums up how I feel about my online life.  It's a good read - really worth the time, in my opinion.  Very little of what it says is new (the idea that on the interwebs we are always mere seconds away from gratification and that our patience is being eroded in real life situations) but I really like how it is said.  I also appreciate that the article doesn't entirely dismiss "digital life."  After all, I certainly find plenty of entertainment in my blogging, facebooking, tweeting and flickering.  It's just that I hate feeling like I sometimes have too much of an online life.  That I can't tear myself away from it.  And this is coming from a person who spends a lot of time outside and who doesn't have a cellphone/mobile device of any sort.  I am more than capable of turning my online world off when I go on vacation, for example.  As the author says, "An inability to log off is hardly the most destructive habit you could acquire, but it seems unlikely there is any more widespread compulsion among the professional middle-class and their children than lingering online."


Anyhow, the whole article is good, but I also chuckled at this section, Lee Siegel's statement about online habits and bloggers:
1. Not everyone has something valuable to say.
2. Few people have anything original to say.
3. Only a handful of people know how to write well.
4. Most people will do almost anything to be liked.
5. “Customers” are always right, but “people” aren’t.
Bloggers on the whole write carelessly, their ideas are commonplace, they curry favor with readers and one another, and their popularity is no index of their worthiness. Siegel quotes Spinoza: “All things excellent are both difficult and rare.”

So thanks for reading, peeps :)  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My newest winter dress

7:24 sunrise
20:28 sunset

While I have been trying to restrain myself from unnecessary purchases, I could not resist this amazing fleur de lis dress from my favourite etsy seller Small Earth Vintage.  Karen's got a great eye for funky vintage dresses and this is the fourth one I have purchased from her.

While it's not wool (that would have made it truly perfect) I figure the 100% polyester double knit will still keep me pretty warm during a Yukon winter.  My question to you, any blog readers, is what colour tights would you pair this with?  There's the obvious black but I'm interested in another option.  Maybe mustard yellow?

I'm hoping it might arrive next week!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Building Trail

7:21 sunrise
20:31 sunset

Until last night, I had never worked on building or maintaining a mountain bike trail.  I dunno how that happened but it just did.  But I do think that since I use the trails so much, it only makes sense to spend some time, when I can, trying to build them.  So when Tony and Alex set up a night to take a group out to the still-under-development Starbuck's Revenge, I was in.

It was a gorgeous night - warm, sunny, and the colours on Mt Mac were spectacular.

The hike in was a couple of kilometres.  The trail's namesake, Starbuck the dog, is out in front.

Do you have any idea how effective loppers are?!  I didn't have a clue.  In fact, I didn't even know these were called loppers.  Now I know.  You can wreck havoc on overgrown willows with these things!

I don't think that we managed to clear any more than a few hundred metres since the sun is now setting so much earlier and it took us awhile to get to the actual trail, but I'm hoping that it was worth the effort.  I don't know if the whole thing will be finished before the snow flies, but if it is, I am going to try my best to get one ride in.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

View from the roof

7:17 sunrise
20:37 sunset

My legs are killing me!  No, really - I think something died in there.  I had to lift my legs out of bed this morning and descending stairs is practically impossible.  Who knew that running 20km for the first time since, oh the 2009 Klondike Road Relay, would result in such massive amounts of pain and disability?  (*surely it never occurred to me*)

So my hobbling around kept us close to home today.  It was gorgeous out though - lots of sunshine.  We climbed up on to our roof to enjoy the view (well, and because Ben swept the chimney).  Here's what my neighbourhood looks like from the rooftop.

And one of us perched up there.

I don't want finter to end.  I'm not ready for snow.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Klondike Road Relay #5 in the books

7:14 sunrise
 20:40 sunset

Well, another Klondike Road Relay completed.  Phew!  I'm still of the mind the running does not deserve my time or attention but I am insanely thankful that my 20k leg 8 went better than expected this morning.  I was super worried that if my knee (IT band/hamstring/fibula?) acted up I would have to walk and I could take as long as 2:40 to finish.  Now, we are anything but a competitive team but still, it sucks to feel you can't even run because your body hurts.

So I managed a consistent pace and while it hurt (I could feel my hip flexors shouting at me early, around km 7) it wasn't unmanagemable.  I trudged along and, surprisingly, crossed the line in my hunting-themed tshirt (our team was named the "Long-gun Registry Memorial Runners") in 2:03.  Seriously - that was way better than I had hoped.  I'm not claiming to be some stellar running athlete (no, those folks sprinted past me on a pretty regular basis) but I can genuinely say I was pleased with my time - especially given my lack of focused preparation.

Now that I have stopped moving, however, there has been time to let my hip flexors really stiffen up and my knee is throbbing.  I also have a ginormous blister on one of my big toes that is giving me some grief.  Lesson learned: running can be fun but it's a lot gentler on your body if you actually practice.

It was a gorgeous day to be out on the South Klondike Highway (sun! so much sun!) and apparently the night-time runners were treated to a glorious display of northern lights.

Here's our team at 6:15 am in Carcross.

Views along the highway as the sun came up:

Carrie near the end of leg 7.

And suddenly - it was daylight!

I think I'm at around the 10km mark here.  I had to give up on the hat as the day warmed up.  Sierra sports it well though.

And now, I am off to the after party for a beer and, legs permitting, some dancing.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

BC Bike Rides in the Sun

7:07 sunrise
20:50 sunset

Gah.  Sunrise is already past 7am now.  Winter's coming.

But, we just spent a weekend of FABULOUS weather in Vancouver.  Yes, that's right, the city of rain turned into the city of sunshine for four fabulous days.

We didn't get up to too much but I wanted to share this awesome series of photos that we took on a bike ride. Ben and I shared the photography duties.


Look how clear and blue that sky is!

Plus one gratuitous flower shot from the gardens next door to our friends' house, where we stayed.  Oh Vancouver, I miss your lovely Septembers.  I don't miss a whole lot else (friends aside, natch) but the gardens - beautiful!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Food, Not Running and Bike Rides

6:52 sunrise
21:08 sunset

Today I have eaten:

2 bowls of cereal (one was granola) with milk
1 bagel with cheese and tomato
1 apple
1 apricot
a handful of almonds
couple of chunks of Oka cheese
2 hard boiled eggs
1 Reeces peanut butter cup
1 cup of coffee
1/2 a glass of red wine

I'm thinking this is not exactly a well-rounded diet.  Just wanted to mention it.  See what it looked like when I wrote it down. On twitter, Jill Homer mentioned writing a "How to Eat Without Cooking" book. Looks like I could be a target customer.  But I did boil those eggs.  Or at least, Ben did.

In other breaking news, I've given up on running.  I mean, I still have to suffer through the KRR next weekend but after that, running and I are breaking up.  Not that we were ever that close, mind you, but it's over.  I ran 15km last weekend and my left knee was killing me after about 7km.  Looks like it's probably my IT band (and the fact that I never stretch and then go from jogging the occasional 5km into experimenting with distances 3 times as far).  My plan now is to stretch regularly, get a massage tomorrow, and rest until next Saturday.   Thanks so very much to all of you for running music ideas!  I have downloaded several of your suggestions and I always like to hear what other peeps are into.

So since running and I have split up, I went for a bike ride.

Spectacularly beautiful tonight!!

And this weekend we are off to Vancouver to visit with friends.  I am hoping for warm temperatures, a little bit of city dining, and cocktails on a patio.  See you next week.