Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Grace, drama, flexibility... I see no way in which this can go wrong.

So I started a new stretching routine today.   While in most items, I will consistently pick an absolutely ridiculous challenge every time I decide to do something, this is the one area I don't generally do that.  I am one of the world's least flexible people.  I have been since I was a kid.  Like I can't even pretend "I could do that when I was 10" cause I couldn't.   😂 

Okay so before the move, I had started a new ab workout that was *awesome*.  Insanely difficult (like I almost always stuck to level 1 out of 3 -- and 3 involves things like handstand pushups?!?!), but awesome.   Was definitely getting results super fast.

But then we moved and things kinda fell apart.  And in the new house, I really didn't have anywhere to work out.  But *finally* I've set up space again, so excuses are over.  Figured I'd start abs over from day 1 (it's a 30 day program), but the same group recently published a new workout that's stretching.  Same thing, 10 minutes per day.

Alright, says me, I know I desperately need to do some stretching.  I like their other program.  This one is on sale.  Maybe worth a try.  Sure why not?

So the first warning sign should've been that it's not the same coach.  One woman does all their other programs (strength based) but this one, flexibility, they hired sisters who work together in Cirque du Soleil.  lol I see no way in which this can go wrong.  But they have one demonstrating "level 1" so maybe?  

And you know, at first it was great.  But then there was one move that I was like wtf?!?!  And when I finally figured out what they were doing and tried to put my body in that same position...  lol well suffice to say I wasn't sure I was going to be able to untangle my body after.  

I'm not convinced I was meant to be a pretzel! Ow ;)

There were a few times I just laughed - like there is ZERO possibility my body will ever go in that direction.   One was sitting down, extend one leg one direction, and "point the other knee the opposite direction".   

It doesn't look like this when I do it.

Lol that is NEVER going to happen.  BUT - I could do the same exercise, just my knee pointed perpendicular *g*.  So unlike some other exercise routines where I literally couldn't do the exercise, these ones I can do, just lacking some range of movement, grace, and drama that the demo ladies demonstrated. The one that really made me laugh had to do with bending at the waist and "try to make sure your head is on the ground, if that's really easy you can . . . "  I literally laughed out loud.  Like I'm over here proud that I can *touch* the ground.  My head is nowhere near it.

Yeah no.

BUT - I have to say this is the first stretching routine that I was never bored in.  I actually enjoyed doing it and I was surprised when it ended.  So this is just Day 1.  We'll see how it goes, but a stronger start that I expected.  We shall see ;)

Somehow the MBA didn't deign to take a break just so I could move ;-P

So this term is Strategic Management and Artificial Intelligence.  Two of the topics I was most looking forward to.  

Strategic Mgmt is okay, but imo would've been better at the start of the MBA adventure as an overview/introduction since most of the topics have already been covered in other courses.  Also, I'm pretty annoyed that one of the assessment criteria is to write and respond to a forum post.  Which, in itself is a giant waste of time, but made worse by the fact that the forum posts are all on the same case study.  Super boring and very little to respond to.  AND they still require academic sources etc so not even an opinion piece.  Definitely not a good use of my time or learning.  If they want us to write a case study response, include it in the paper.  Mutter mutter mutter.

AI I'm finding fascinating, although the prof is incredibly dry.  Disappointing as until this term, the person who taught it was amazing (I was lucky to have him for HR).  I'm enjoying the modules and the learning, but omg classes are just dude reading ppts.  No discussion, no engagement...  Admittedly I have very little to contribute to discussion on this topic, but I was hoping to learn from those that do :)

Honestly, so glad I accelerated this program, as I'm just done.   But close enough that I can see the actual end, so it's all good.   Arguably, if I weren't doing it at such an insane pace, maybe I wouldn't have burned out so fast, but either way...   I have these two classes and then the thesis -- which doesn't appear to really be a thesis, but we'll see.

Happy birthday to me :)

Today was an early start due to things happening in the house that couldn't be scheduled any other time, BUT Chris dealt with all of that, so instead of sleeping in, I started my day with a lovely long bubble bath :)    Idk why, but to me the start of day bubble bath always feels like an amazing indulgence.  

After that, we went on a search for a birthday cake (strawberry shortcake for the win!) and then headed to Nickel Beach for a bit.  It was not exactly what either of us were expecting -- there was a $20 entry fee for starters, and then people drove right on the beach and parked facing the water where they would unpack their stuff.  No vendors of any sort (not even COVID related, just in general), which - if we'd known - we would've brought a cooler with some drinks and snacks.  But otherwise it was good -- water is shallow a long way out and all sand, no rocks, so that was lovely.  And the waves were turned on which was lovely to listen to (when people weren't playing their car stereos that is).   COVID restrictions still in place, so while there was a consistent line of people it definitely was not packed and the groups were quite social distanced.  I was still sort of shocked at how busy it was on a random Thursday, but yeah - fairly lovely way to spend the day.  At one point I even fell asleep on the beach :)   We didn't stay all that long -- C isn't much of a beach person, and the lack of food and beverage made it less fun as lunch time fell into the past.  But in the end just as well judging by how red my skin is now!  lol I was clearly not as careful as I often am with sunscreen since it is blatantly obvious where I screened and where I did not.

A fairly perfect way to spend the day

When we got home we changed and headed to neighbourhood taco night.  lol I'm not even kidding.  This definitely wouldn't have been my first choice for a bday dinner, but the woman who hosts invited us once before and we didn't make it, so when earlier this week she said she was having another one "on Thursday", I said we'd be there -- without cluing in that Thursday = bday.   Anyways - unlike the last neighbourhood thing, I actually had quite a good time at this one.  Even if we left about the same time the kids got banished.  lol apparently they send the kids in about 8:00 and then the adult party begins, but we went home for cake about then.  I'm sure there'll be another one.  It seems she does them every couple weeks (this is one of the people Tucker and I often see on our walks so I talk to her most days).   This woman has EIGHT kids?!?!  And most of the neighbourhood kids hanging out there as well as a result.  I can't even imagine.  But they were all well behaved, and the eldest (I'm guessing 16ish?) was lovely to talk to.  But yeah - I'm in awe of this woman's energy level; she never stopped.

We, however, definitely stopped :)  Home to super-yummy cake and just relaxed for the rest of the day.  Nothing super productive for sure, but bdays aren't about productivity.

Friends, ponies, and sunshine :)

R's text the other day: "want to go hacking on Sat?"  Yes, yes I do.  ðŸ˜‚   Like zero hesitation, that is absolutely the best idea I've heard in ages.   lol wow it's been way too long, both for the social aspect and the pony aspect.

Arrange meeting time, weather is perfect - like 28 and sunny.  Amazing.  Even just getting dressed to go -- putting on riding pants made me feel so right.  Like wtf?  Riding pants are the least attractive most uncomfortable things ever...  But they've been a part of my life since I was in single digits so, I guess they're the clothing equivalent of comfort food ;-P   Unrelated - I was awfully glad they still FIT given the amount of recently consumed comfort food *g*   I didn't try the boots - partially cause they haven't moved here yet and partially cause... I don't want to know ;)   Paddock boots and half chaps for the win.

So yeah - was a little discombobulated when I got there as I don't know the barn or where stuff lives or any of the people, but R was well into having both ponies already tacked up (luxury!) so I really didn't have much to do...

Proof!  lol R snapped this completely unbeknownst
to me while we were on our adventure.

But yeah - went for a perfect hack in amazing weather wandering around areas I don't know at all and getting caught up :)  The year that wasn't definitely taught me how much I miss my friends when I don't see them for too long.  lol I don't necessarily notice at the time, but then when I do get to see them it's like yes, that.  That is what was missing.

Anyways - was just a lovely break from reality.   And THEN, I got to go to my parents place to meet Coco!  Mum's new puppy :)   Coco is from the same breeders as Bailey, and came home today.

Introducing Coco :)

Next Saturday will be term papers.  Far less fun somehow ;-P

Where ships climb the mountain

Apparently it's actually a figure 8 -- of almost 200km if you do the full thing!

So one of the selling features of the house was the trails nearby...  I've now had a few experiences with these ;)

The entrance to the trail system is about a km away.  Not bad, but not super ideal either.  And it appears to be a "there and back again" kind of trail, which is not usually my preference.   But still, better than nothing.

So my first day I headed out and randomly picked a direction.   I immediately noticed a loud noise -- less ideal but sobeit.  The trail itself was lovely - paved and wide.  Would be good for cycling.  Walk a very short distance and find the source of the noise, what appears to be a power plant.  Less appealing.  But, the moment I passed it, no more noise.   Why?   Well the whole trail appears to be a wind tunnel.  lol so awesome for controlling noise pollution, but made me think maybe a bike would be less ideal as peddling would be *very* hard.   

The trail is gorgeous

I wandered a km or so and then found a path off to the side -- looked to be a quad or maybe dirt bike trail? Idk, but it also looked like it looped around so of course I followed it.  Right.  ðŸ˜‚   Well it *did* loop back around almost at the beginning of where I started so that was lovely.   However, it would be completely inappropriate for a bike (unmotorized) and was a challenge on foot.  Some very kind person had dropped a tree across the biggest mud / water challenge that I was able to traverse, but suffice to say there was lots of ducking, climbing, and traversing to get through it.   Honestly would've been entertaining if not for the attack-mosquitos!  I'll tell you - when I suddenly heard the power plant again, I was pretty pleased cause it meant I was just about out of my adventure trail!

2nd path was right on the water

Okay so the next time, also on foot, I turned the other direction.  This one also had a wind tunnel and no apparent side trails, but was also a prettier straight line (right on the canal).  It led to Lock 7 - which is apparently a *thing* in Thorold.  The trail continued well past there, but once I went there I saw signs for downtown, and decided since I knew how to get home from there, I'd go that way instead.  It spit me out the opposite end of town from where I was expecting, showing that I'm still very disoriented here!   But it did make for a lovely walk loop that did not involve "there and back again" so I was pleased about that.

Misc impressive graffiti 

THEN, on my last day of vacation, we got our bikes usable and went for a ride.  This was awesome.  We went the first direction again and after about 10k, the trail suddenly catches a ride on a ferry?!?!   

Seriously - you ring the triangle to summon the ferry...

... and the ferry arrives.
I couldn't make this up if I tried ;)

Yup, apparently in the 70s a ship hit the bridge and instead of rebuilding it, insurance paid for a ferry to run - for 40 years...   For those doing the math, yup - that contract is up.   So the city took it over instead.  There's a pub and an ice cream booth one the other side, aptly named Bridge 12.  ðŸ˜‚   So yeah - really enjoyed that.

Look how many bikes are parked outside here!

But then the ride back...   You see, I didn't make that title up...  "Where the ships climb the mountain" is Thorold's thing.   Definitely catchy and moderately interesting.  But the piece that didn't register is that means Thorold is at the top of the mountain (with Lake Ontario at the bottom on one side and Lake Erie at the bottom on the other.   Water may not always be south anymore, but it's definitely still down!)    But what that means for cycling is that going away from home is fast, easy, and downhill.  Coming home once you're exhausted is ALWAYS going to be uphill.  No matter which way you chose to leave.  *sigh*   Ah well, at least I should get fit out of all this.

I have no idea why there's a polar bear here,
but figured he'd fit just as well in this blog :)

I may have misread our mythological creature.

So our unicorn clearly has some faerie blood.   And not the cute Disney fairy; the traditional, slightly horrifyingly, devilish faerie.   

Or maybe our unicorn just has a dubious companion...

For those just joining in (seriously - where did you come from?  How did you land here of all the blogs?), we recently moved.   The new house was deemed a unicorn because it was both A - new (Chris' preference) and B - had a large yard (my preference).  Since they don't tend to make new houses with large yards everywhere, it must be magic.  Right?

Perhaps.  But magic is not always used for good.

So let's play the unicorn vs faerie game...

Unicorn - new house!  woohoo!  It's only a year old!

Faerie - new house needs new floors.   Faerie squared - vents for new floors "will be in in a week" -- 3 weeks ago.   Which means we have 80% of each room done but can neither finish it nor unpack nor move furniture into the right places.

Faerie the second (faeries are smaller than unicorns) - the front door is randomly smaller than every other front door ever invented?!?!   Huge credit to our fridge delivery people who defied the laws of physics to get the fridge that measured bigger than the door, through said door, without significant disassembling.

Unicorn - huge yard!

Faerie - that we can't fence until the builder finishes their grading (that will be....?   Somewhere between Oct and next year according to the neighbour) AND the city assumes the property (which could take up to 5 years?!?!).   Now that's all very dramatic, but talking to the random people who were inspecting our back yard this afternoon, it looks like this is already in process.  The city has deemed their grading insufficient so they have to dig up some of the grass, put down more dirt, have the city review it, replace the grass, city review again.  I believe that last piece is when the city assumes the property (at which point, we can fence) and it seems like it'll be in the weeks or months timeline rather than years; however, that's still TBC.  So we shall see.

Faerie the second - the mosquitos are winning the war!   There's a vacant lot diagonally behind us with ALL the long grass and standing water, a pond next to them, and wetlands across the street.  The end result is mosquitos.  ALL the mosquitos.  Neighbours on both sides have said worse this year than last (lot is newly vacant) so we're hoping once that gets under control our mosquito problem should lessen.   We've also invested in an outdoor mosquito killer so we'll see if that helps.

Unicorn - fiber run right to the house!

Faerie - this is really a junior faerie in that the wiring is very short and limiting to where we can put our box.  Mostly though, this one is all unicorn.  We have better internet now than we've had anywhere.

Unicorn - I have an AMAZING bath tub.  It's almost exactly the right size, has perfectly located arm-rests, and the back slopes just enough that I read for over an hour there the other night.

Faerie - the tub faucet is on the side.  Np right?  Except it means while the water is running, it consistently splashes on the book :(    

Faerie the second - the washrooms have no drawers?!?!  Like how do you put in a vanity with no drawers.  And no light in the master shower (that's not glass, so kinda impressively cave-like - do fairies like caves?).  I've figured out how to live without drawers thanks to baskets and other such concepts, but meh.   We tried one light for the shower that didn't work, but the search continues...

Unicorn - our AC is amazing!

Faerie - it is also very loud :(   I don't think I've slept through the night yet.

Unicorn - living in the middle of nowhere, parking is easily available and either free or laughably cheap ($1.75/h lol or $100 for a monthly pass).

Faerie - a frustrating number of businesses (like actual businesses with store fronts even) are cash only.  C is fine with this but it drives me insane.  I really love not needing anything other than my phone to live my life.   Even cards are old-school.   Cash?  It's archaic, makes my bookkeeping exponentially more difficult, doesn't earn me any points or cash-back, and kinda gross physically.  So yeah - I'm learning what stores I can give my business to and which ones I can't.

Unicorn - a ridiculous number of pizza places to choose from (and tonight's had a marvellous invention of half pizza / half garlic bread.   Amazing).

Faerie - very few other food options.   There are a disproportionate number of hair places?!?!  Maybe some of them could be converted into other food.   We DID find *really* good donuts though, so that's a unicorn all in itself.  I see no problem with living off pizza and donuts. ;-P

Unicorn - everybody seems to be super friendly.

Faerie - every single person we've met has asked C what he does.  Not one has asked me.  In many ways this town is several decades in the past.

Unicorn - amazing cycling trails (this'll get its own post)

Faerie - everywhere is downhill from here, which means cycling home when tired is *always* uphill.

So yeah - I suspect our unicorn has some faerie blood...   All first world frustrations for sure, potentially of the slightly mischievous magical creature variety.  

Canada Day Socializing

You know you live in a small town when...

So in true small-town experience, we came home the other day to find an invite to a Canada Day BBQ stuck to our door.  We decided we should go as we've yet to really meet anybody.  It was an interesting experience.  lol while we might wander by one again, I definitely don't think we'd be seeking it out ;-P   Nice enough people for sure, but not necessarily ones we wanted to spend a ton of time with.

However, after that, for the first time in WAY too long (thanks Covid) we got to go spend time with people we actually DO enjoy seeing :)   Since C invited us and several others to mutual friends' place for a bbq *g*   Fortunately they were okay with that.  I haven't laughed that hard in a very long time.  Was a really good break from doing anything remotely productive.

And yes - both gatherings followed current rules, we were definitely outside and nowhere near 25 people at either.  Win.  But yeah - no social activities for more than a year, followed by two in one day?!?!  I feel like that could've been spread out a little *g*