Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Three weeks in review

Somehow time becomes a void during the holidays. Andrew and I fly home to Ontario to spend the time with friends and family, and I lose track of the days of the week because my schedule and usual way of living is totally shot. I barely manage to check my email, facebook or twitter and I don't manage to sit down long enough to write a blog post. Therefore, here are my last three weeks, in review.

Sunday, December 13th, 2009
The Sunday prior to flying out Andrew and I attended the men's curling final at the Olympic trial at Rexall Place in Edmonton. Unfortunately, it wasn't a great game. Kevin Martin (the eventual winner) was in control pretty much the whole time. Even when mistakes were made, team Howard seemed unable to capitalize. Oddly, the more Howard and his team struggled the more I wanted them to pull through, but unfortunately things didn't work out. The final score was 7-3 for Martin.

Friday, December 18th, 2009
On Friday evening Andrew and I got together with my university friends, as we always do at Christmas time. We met at Caroline's place as they have a new house in Oakville. We had a wonderful time, with lots of food and drink.

Saturday, December 19th, 2009
This afternoon we got together with Michelle and Mandy to play Bridge. Mandy and I had extremely bad luck with cards that day.

Sunday, December 20th, 2009
Sunday afternoon we got together with some of Andrew's high school friends. We had a delicious lunch (cooked by Cassandra) and played cards for much of the afternoon. All of us are married, none of us have children, but all of us have cats. What did much of our conversation centre around? Answer: Our cats.

Monday, December 21st, 2009
Andrew's grandmother died on the December 14th, 2009. The funeral was delayed until all of the grandchildren (since many of them now live out West) could return home. Here Andrew's dad, David, talks about his mom, Nancy.

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009
For the last several years I've cooked a dinner for some of my family and friends at Christmas time. Since I can't hold holiday events at my own home (being in Edmonton) it's a nice way to get together (and I can show off my cooking skills). We played Wii for a while afterward and I got a chance to entertain with my nephew Alexander (14 months).

Saturday, December 25th, 2009
Christmas day, of course. We played lots of bridge in the afternoon and evening with John (brother-in-law) and his girlfriend Cindy, who he proposed to that evening.

Sunday, December 27th, 2009
The Olympic torch went through my hometown. The torch bearer waiting to receive the flame was very friendly and took pictures with several of the people in the crowd, including me.

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009
Andrew and I split for a day and a bit so he could go to North Hatley, QC for our other nephew's baptism and I stayed in KW and got together with Michelle and Josh. We spent much of the night playing the new Mario game on Josh's big screen t.v.

Thrusday, December 31st, 2009
New Years. Some people care, some don't. I like to get together with friends, although I think this was the first night I went out somewhere to do it. We went to the Whale 'n Ale in Kitchener. They held a casino night (with fake money). I had a great time, although was quite happy to go to bed at the end of the night.

Now I'm home in Edmonton, ready to start normal life again.



Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The annual Christmas show

For several years now, Andrew and I have attended the Vinyl Cafe's Christmas show (although we missed last year's). If you've never heard of the Vinyl Cafe, it's a one hour radio show that runs on CBC 2 on Saturday at 9:00 am and on CBC 1 at 12:00 pm. The show is hosted by Stuart McLean and features music from up and coming Canadian artists, and stories, some by Stuart, some by audience members who have written to Stuart. When you see the show live, it's a little like a variety performance, I suppose. Stuart will talk a little (okay, maybe a lot), and various musical guests will play in between, and usually there's at least one group number. It's a great deal of fun. Stuart's stories are often quite humours, and the musicians are often quite good.

This year's show (this past Sunday) got off to a bit of a slow start. Andrew and I made it to the theatre with about 15 minutes to spare, which was our plan, although the other 2 members of our party whom we were meeting there were running late, due to traffic. Many other people were running late, due to traffic too. We were sitting in the theatre wondering when the show was going to start when an unassuming figure walked out onto the stage. It was Stuart and he had heard that there was a huge line up for the parking garage with he figured, people yelling: "I told you we should have left earlier" at each other. So, for about 15 minutes he took questions from the audience. The first couple, very basic: What is your shoe size (10), and how old are you (it has a 6 in it). Then we got to hear about Georgie Murphy and how Stuart only ever kissed the air between him and her, and then Stuart told us his favourite story about Peter Gzowski (involving a charity bucket for Tourette's Syndrome).

After that the show really did start. The lights went down Stuart came out again (wearing a vest and jacket this time) and the fun began. A word about the musicians first. This year's musical guests were Jill Barber, and Matt Anderson. I'd heard of Jill Barber before, she's played fairly often on the CBC. She has an interesting, quivery (as opposed to vibrato) voice that's reminiscent of female singers from the 1940s and 1950s. I think I like the slightly anachronistic quality of her style of music, as many of her songs sound like they should be playing on an radio with the whole family sitting around listening. The second artist was Matt Anderson. I'd never heard of him before, but WOW. That man has a voice that easily filled the entire Jubilee Auditorium. He was called back out onto the stage after both of his performances. I purchased both of their CD and listened to them on after we got home.

Stuart told 3 Dave and Morely stories during the show. The first was a re-tell of one of his older Christmas stories: Polly Anderson's Christmas Party. I've heard this one a couple of times before, but it's still enjoyable to hear again. The second story seemed to only have a fleeting glace at Christmas, beginning with a simple bike given as a gift one year to Ted Anderson. The rest must have happened several years after the Christmas gift and in the spring or summer. It described how Ted, after being given a basic 3-speed, had grown to love biking. The final story, again had less to do directly with Christmas, and more about a surprise gift that led to Stephanie's love for reading. I really enjoyed this story. It wasn't silly or ridiculous like many Dave and Morely stories are, it was just wonderful. I won't give anything else away, but the current year's Christmas concert is usually played on the CBC the weekend before Christmas. Listen in for a good time.

Finally, as a Beatles fan, since I've written a post for today anyway, I just want to note that today is the 29th anniversary of John Lennon's death. Imagine.



Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My physiotherapy experience

At the end of September I blogged about a fall I had experienced while skating. That post focused mostly on the after affects of the fall, but it seems like that actual impact itself did quite a number on my body. I'm still not one hundred percent sure that the fall lead to the subsequent problems I've experienced, but after having my first physiotherapy session it seems like a good chance. When I fell I banged my right knee and my left hip hard on the ice. I had a bump form on my hip and there's still a tiny pink mark where it hit. I took a week off from my normal running routine after this incident as I was plagued with a cold. When I got back to running, bad things started to happen. My left knee started to hurt, a lot. To the point where I feel like my knee is actually going to tear itself a part.

I visited the Health Services clinic at the U of A a week or two after the pain began. At the time I was told it was probably my IT (iliotibial) band and I should do some stretches for it. I did as I was told (although granted, perhaps not as regularly as I should have) and waited two weeks before trying to run again. The same thing happened. After about ten minutes the pain had returned and just as bad as it was before. I went back to trying the stretches and waited a further three weeks. Last Saturday Andrew and I tried to run again. We decided to try a five minute on, five minute off routine to see if easing myself back into running would help. It didn't. We agreed as we walked the rest of our route home that it was time for me to go back to the doctor.

Monday morning I headed off to Health Services and saw a second doctor. This doctor agreed with the initial assessment that it was probably my IT band and it was time to go see a physiotherapist. I set up my appointment after leaving Health Services and now I've finished my first assessment: It's my IT band. Although, instead of just in the left, it's actually tight in both hips. I suppose I should explain what the iliotibial band is. It's a large muscle that runs from the hip (why I suspect my fall may have had something to do with my current problems) to the side of the knee and also connects to the glut muscle. I've been told that my hip tends to "pop out" which pushes on the IT band and then pulls on my knee. This seems to be why I tend to only have pain while run--the constant motion builds up until it forces me to stop. The other structures of my knee are solid (yay).

I now have a specialized strengthening and stretching routine. Four different strength moves four to five times a week plus three stretching moves every day of the week. I have to go back in two weeks (just before Andrew and I head back to Ontario for Christmas) to see how things are coming along. I'm going to have to make a concerted effort make sure I go through this routine as directed. I want to make sure my IT bands get better so I can get back to running. I had hoped at the very least to run another half marathon next year, and maybe even move up to a full, plus I was toying with the idea of trying a Women's triathlon in Leduc. For now, we'll see how things go. I'll keep on with alternative forms of exercise until I'm given the go ahead to get back to running.