Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dear Jessica Biel....

Dear Jessica Biel,

I know that you will never read this but I felt it was a very deserving post to write in your honour. I would also like to say that for the record, I very rarely dedicate posts to anyone so by just knowing that, one must understand that this is a pretty big deal. So Jessica Biel, I dedicate about 2% of this post to you and the other 98% to your ass.

I do not mean to sound crass because I have the utmost respect for the full 100% of you, so please let me explain.

Many years ago when I was just starting to learn about my love of fitness, there is that struggle that everyone goes through when you're just starting to build up your stamina. You grunt and groan and sweat like a fiend, never feeling like you're getting anywhere. I remember jogging on the treadmill, barely able to jog longer than a couple minutes at a time and in my head I would repeat, "Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming!" meanwhile maintaining an internal giggle at the stupidity of my inner mantra. But it kept me jogging and soon I could go longer and I just kept pushing myself to last another 1, 2 or 5 minutes. I just kept swimming.

Then a few years ago I saw a movie called "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" and my mantra took a dramatic turn. There is a scene in the film in which you strip down to just your bra and underwear and the audience gets several good looks at your physique. Obviously you're friggin' gorgeous in every sense of the word, but your ass is what changed it all for me.

I am lucky enough to live in a beautiful province full of hills and mountains, all of them just waiting for me to conquer. Every time that I am walking, hiking, jogging or biking up any kind of hill or mountain trail, my inner mantra is (and has been for the past 7 years),

 "Jessica Biel's ass. Jessica Biel's ass."

Every uphill battle is my time to work and strive for a butt that even slightly resembles the one that you are carrying around with you. Every time I stand there on the trail, my hands on my hips and my laboured breathing nearly drowning out my will to keep going, I just think,

"Jessica Biel's ass"

and I am always able to work up the energy to run that hill and continue my journey along the well worn trail.

Now I am absolutely not some crazy fan or a fitness fiend who obsesses about having the perfect body. I am not striving for skinny or perfection and I know that I will never grace the cover of any kind of magazine. Hell, I only just got the courage to wear a bikini in public last year! I also know that I will never have a butt as nice as yours because, well, genetics wasn't as kind to me from the get-go. I also know that you work hard to look the way that you do and that ass was not a mistake. I applaud you for making the decision to take care of yourself and for being a fantastic role models for girls and women around the world. You're not a bean pole or frighteningly scrawny female trying to fill out her size 0 jeans. You're strong and healthy and have curves to be proud of.

So I thank you for being a lovely curvy role-model and to have an ass that other people (at least 1 person) strives to have someday. Keep up the good work and I will keep trying to get there too.


- Adrienne

Friday, May 23, 2014

And It Shall Be Forever Known.... the Burger Long-Weekend.

This past weekend was Victoria Day long weekend, which I actually had it off from work! Last year I had to work the long weekend so I missed out on all of the festivities that Victoria has to offer our lovely city on the holiday weekend. But then again, last year I pretty much didn't have any friends to enjoy them with, so no big loss there.

Jaime was away for work for a few days so Saturday I had an empty house. I got up early to do a workout because I had plans for the day, so I wanted to get in a quick P90X workout before the start to the day. About 5 minutes into it I heard the garage door open and was like, "What? It's 7:00am! How is Jaime home already?" But it was actually the lady who watches Tank when Jaime is away. She was dropping him off about 9 hours earlier than I was expecting, which kind of threw a wrench in my plans for the day. The plan was to drive downtown to meet up with a friend, hit up a morning farmer's market, buy some delicious food and head to the beach for the day. Now I had to add a high-maintenance and highly demanding dog to the mix. Alright. No worries.

So I packed up Tank and headed to town. Dogs aren't allowed in the interior area of the market so I ended up just perusing the perimeter of the fence and looking at the stalls that lined the outside of the market while my friend went in to buy some delicious food for the picnic. I learned how much I LOVE the Fairfield area of Victoria because the houses are mostly all restored Historian houses and the area has a very "Nelson" feel to it. I was instantly smitten. We headed to the beach (I can't remember the name!) which was an awesome area to bring dogs to. We spent a couple hours there and at no point was not someone walking and/or playing with their dog along the shore. Tank always had someone to play with (aka, someone to bother) which was good for us because we didn't have to entertain him the entire time. Unfortunately what this meant was when we wanted to just lay in the sun and do nothing for longer than 2 minutes, Tank wouldn't allow it. He needed to see and sniff everything and I soon got a bit annoyed. He was physically tired from playing so much but couldn't relax because there was so much going on around us. I couldn't tie him up because he can slip out of his harness (damn Bulldogs not having necks makes things difficult) so after some time, I decided it would be best to drive him home since Jaime would have been home soon anyway.

So I drove him all the way back to the West Shore then headed all the way back to town.

I need to find a place to live downtown.

When I got back to town, we headed to the Inner Harbour to go meet up with some friends at the free concert that was happening down by the water. It was an online RSVP event, which works OK in theory but as soon as we arrived we learned that things didn't work out as expected. They way overbooked the concert so by the time we arrived there, the line-up was a good hour long wait. Luckily it was an outside concert and the weather was awesome, so we just found a grassy knoll nearby and enjoyed the music while sitting in the sunshine. No line-ups, elbow-to-elbow crowds, shouting at your friends or the pressures of feeling the need to cheer and clap after each song. We grabbed a beer at an outside patio pub, which was about 20 feet from the concert, and also enjoyed the show there. Good times!

After the show we headed to another pub to have some late-night dinner with a group of friends, which is where the Burger Long-Weekend all started. Every night last weekend I had a burger for dinner. Each one of them very different than the next, but all were very enjoyable.

Burger #1 - consumed at The Beagle Pub - The Bison Burger. Topped with goat cheese and a whiskey bourbon glaze...yes please! It was a lot tastier than I would have expected and I ate every last crumb of that thing. The actual patty was nothing all that special but the sauces and spreads made it scrumptious.

The next day I volunteered to help my friend Chris paint his new condo. He's been a bit of a stressball about getting all of the renovations done in time for his move-in date (which is today) so I was more than happy to help him out. Plus I truly enjoy painting. I find it very cleansing - like a fresh snowfall that covers up all of the ugly snow buried beneath it. About half way through the work day we had to go to Home Depot to pick up some more paint and painter's tape, so we decided to also take a late lunch break afterwards.

Burger #2 - consumed at the Shine Cafe - The Berkeley Veggie Burger. I heard great stuff about this place and I was not disappointed at all with my choice. The homemade patty was topped with mushrooms, cheddar, onions, pesto mayo and all the trimmings. It was falling apart all over the place and my face and plate was an absolute mess. But honestly, it was the second best veggie burger I have had on this island and dare I say the second best veggie burger I've ever had?? Yup...definitely a possibility. It was pure awesome.

After 12 hours of painting, we called it a night and I went home and crashed in bed. Two busy days in a row, plus one more before the weekend was done.

The final day of the long weekend again started in the early morning. I was feeling guilty about my shitty eating habits the past 2 days so I headed to the gym to get in a quick cardio workout. After a quick shower and change of clothes, my friend Alice and I decided to take advantage of the continuous nice weather and went for a hike up Mt. Finlayson. I've only ever done this hike once before when my parents were in town, and this time I knew what to expect. It's a crazy steep hike with some dodgy areas to get through, but the view from the top is quite lovely. While I enjoy this hike, it's really not my ideal trail because you have to concentrate so hard on where you step or else you'll plummet to your death, so you can't really enjoy the view around you until you reach the top. But it was still a fantastic way to spend some time with Alice and enjoy the early afternoon.

After another shower and another change of clothes, I headed back downtown for a few hours to hang out with friends before the weekend came to an end.

Again, I really need to find a place to live downtown.

Burger #3 - consumed at Bin 4 - The Ginger Soy Tofu Burger. My all-time favourite place to eat in the city. It never lets me down. Considering it was already around 7:30pm and I had to get up at 4am for work the next morning, I didn't want to eat a heavy burger, so I went for this one with the butter lettuce instead of a bun. As much as I absolutely LOVE the buns they have there, I figured eliminating the bun would be easier on the old GI tract since I knew I had to go to bed fairly soon. And as always, even though there was no bun for my burger, I was not let down at all by the flavours and textures of my meal. Such a fantastic place to eat.

PS. Bin 4 has my all-time favourite veggie burger - The Mr. Bean. I dream of this thing.

Honestly though, I was looking forward to getting back to work so that I could actually stop and sit down for longer than 5 minutes! It was definitely a great weekend though. Also I think that Burger Long-Weekend might need to be a new personal tradition for me. Can a person ever get sick of delicious burgers??

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Nazi Officer's Wife

Now that I have some down time from school work, I've been doing quite a bit of reading lately. It seems like I'm going through books faster than fresh green grass goes through a Canadian Goose.

Speaking of which, there were 2 Canadian Geese on the front lawn today. Very bizarre.

The 2 main reasons that I am reading like a fiend right now are,
1) I have a Kindle app on my tablet
2) I have an Amazon account

While having these e-readers is a convenient way to own books, since they are light-weight, easy to pack around and you don't need to be in a well-lit place to read them, the major drawback is that they make it way too easy to purchase books! As soon as you finish a book, hell you don't even need to be done it, Amazon will send you these little notes saying "If you liked "insert the name of the book you are currently reading" then we recommend books A, B, C and D!" So then curiosity takes over and you begin clicking on these recommended books and instantly become interested in them. From there it's just one teeny tiny step to purchase the book by clicking "Buy This Book" and WHAM! You bought it.

Too easy.

But now I'm even more addicted because they keep recommending really good books!

After watching the Academy Awards (the first time I watched it in about 15 years) I became interested in the movie "12 Years a Slave". I heard that it was a book before it was made into a movie so I decided to look into purchasing the book before seeing the movie (because the books are obviously always better than the movie).

Except for The Notebook. AWFUL book. Fantastic movie.

So I found 12 Years a Slave for a glorious $1.99 for purchase through Amazon. But I'm not gonna lie. It really wasn't that great of a book. While I enjoyed learning about the history and getting further reinforcement that white men were pure evil and committed horrible acts via slavery and stealing free men and turning them into slaves, the book was really no scream in hell. However, good 'ol Amazon was there to back me up with recommendations for more books which I might like.

The first book they recommended in the list was "The Nazi Officer's Wife" by Edith Hahn Beer. After reading the description, I thought that it looked really interesting, and for only 99 cents, how can I turn down such a deal?? And I am so glad I did make the purchase because it was a fantastic book! The Nazi Officer's Wife is a true story about an extremely brave Jewish woman who survived the Holocaust by pretending to be a loyal Aryan and married a Nazi Officer to further the fa├žade. She was a very intelligent and well-educated woman who got stripped of everything for the simple reason of being Jewish. She was taken from Austria and forced into labour camps to work in horrendous conditions for several years.

When she was finally able to go home, the life she grew up in was shattered by war and hatred, so she went underground, fled to Germany and managed to gain a new identity through the help of a couple kind-hearted Aryans who explained what to do and how to do it without being caught. The story goes on to explain her daily life and the immense fear that she lived in every single minute of every single day. She meets a Nazi party member who is a good man and he falls madly in love with her (the "her" she is pretending to be) so she agrees to marry him to further her safety in the world that is crumbling from the Second World War.

Without giving too much away, I just wanted to say that it is a great book and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes to read well written books. The detail she puts into the story and the bravery she faced to survive such a devastating time in history, I found myself cheering her on with every triumph she faced and mourning for the loss that she went through to avoid becoming one of the millions of people who were murdered for merely being alive. The book has so much history and facts, plus she told the story in a way that took me back to that time, like I was seeing it though her detailed eyes. She didn't write that book to be famous or to be announced a hero or anything of the sort. She wrote that book because her daughter asked her to because she felt that the story was too important to not be shared with the world. I finished that book with misty eyes. Sounds silly, but it's true.

But now Amazon has recommended more books to me and alas, I pressed that damned "Buy This Book" button. The extra problem is that these historical books are so bloody cheap! 99 cents? Yes please! Yesterday I bought "The Bloodletter's Daughter"  which is a story based out of Prague in 1606. I'll let you know if it's as good as my previous purchase.

I also have 4 other books to read at the I said. It's just too easy to buy these stupid things.