I have decided to update my other site with my recovery from my back surgery, you can find it here or here: http://p90x.iamcanadian.org
Bed was surprisingly comfortable however I still was woken up regularly by the pain and had to take pills to manage getting back to sleep. Fortunately Nicole was up early to take Elyse to daycare and I was afforded the luxury of sleeping in. Once awake, I thought it best to try to restore whatever semblance of normality I could back into my life. I was unable to shower, since I have to take 3 days off, but I tried to make it through brushing my teeth, hitting the big hole in the toilet and washing my hands and face as normally as possible. This meant standing without my cane, making sure my posture was good, not leaning over the sink and paying close attention to the distribution of weight between my two legs. I managed to make it downstairs OK, toothpaste stains and all and for the first time in a few weeks had a little bacon and egg for breakfast. My day (and for the next 3 days at least) comprised mostly of wandering doing various menial tasks around the house and then hitting the couch once my leg or back started to hurt. In fact, it was not my back that hurt at all but rather various parts of my lower body. When the urge struck me, I went outside for a walk, which happened twice. I had a goal of 1km walking today, and after both my walks I had reached a grand total of 1280m. I actually downloaded Nike+ that I had on my old iPhone so that I can keep track of my walking since the physio and EVERYONE I spoke to told me that recovery from back surgery is all about staying mobile and above all… walking. The fact that I can keep track of my walking online with Nike+ is a huge bonus too, since statistics and monitoring is one of the things I love about working out. My Nike+ account can be monitored here for those with obviously very little else to do. It’s actually pretty sad that my walking pace after back surgery is not that far off my pace when I used to walk at lunch during work…
Apart from the walking and the sleeping I was also able to make some pork in the crock pot and come up with a pretty good base for a sugar free BBQ sauce. If you add to it your favourite spice mix (of which there are many) you can come up with a pretty damn good sauce:
1 large can of tomato paste
1 400g can of crushed pineapple in juice (no sugar added obviously)
200ml of pineapple or apple juice
150g of pitted dates
Your favourite spice
Getting the pineapple and tomato paste mixed is easy, but getting the dates to cooperate is harder. I opted to put mine in the Vitamix and be done with it. You mix everything together, but make sure that you leave the mixture to sit for a while since using powdered spices takes time to dissipate the flavour. For the spice mix I have 2 that I use, both from the Bulk Barn. Once is called BBQ spice and the other is called Pulled Pork Spice. I find the pork spice to be more salty but both make equally good sauces.
On a related note, a few weeks ago Bob brought a protein bar into work that he and his wife had made and it was magnificent, I have since been playing with the recipe a little to try and get the calories down a little and to jazz it up a bit but once again, getting the dates to behave is proving problematic. You see, the recipe calls for almonds, almond butter and flax meal however I found that if I added dates, it would be tastier, less caloric and you could add pure cocoa chocolate to it for a nice chocolatey kick without the sugar. So, here is my recipe for protein bars with dates. I find the best thing to do when preparing this is to mix the dates with the coconut oil on the stove then vitamix it. Otherwise you get a very sticky ball of dates in the food mixer. I can’t actually remember the original recipe so this will have to do.
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup flax meal
1/2 cup coconut oil
touch of honey
drop of vanilla
1 cup unsweetened coconut
a couple of pieces of pure cocoa
Blend all the dry ingredients in the vitamix and then add the wet stuff, press into a pan lined with foil and if you can get a small cake tin you should be able to get about 25 cubes of protein bar at about 150 calories each. And you know what’s in it!
That was what I had written on my report cards as a child. It was a recurring theme which translated into adult speak as “lazy bastard”.
It’s something I need to do here too. Elyse is growing so fast it’s a shame to miss commenting on how it all makes me feel. Nicole and I take plenty of pictures, some videos and post on Facebook but it doesn’t say much about what happens the rest of the time. So here goes, with baby steps, and a few words more often.
Last night was the Aurora Children’s Centre Christmas concert and I am the same way about kids concerts as I am about kids birthdays, until they are 3 or 4 don’t bother because they really have no idea what is going on. last night I got to experience the parental side of the fence and I have to say my mind is as firm as ever. The poor little toddlers on stage, all crying because they are confused and frightened were herded like cattle for the amusement of the teachers and parents alike. Maybe it’s just me, but I was upset and angry at the fact that they were unnecessarily scaring these poor little kids but pushing them out in front of a room full of strangers with cameras. I didn’t enjoy it in the least, if only for the fact that she is so young. Had she been 2 1/2 not 1 1/2 I think I would feel differently but at her age it’s all just too predictably overwhelming. See the carnage here…
Her picture with Santa didn’t go much better last week although her first haircut was fine. Well, by fine I mean fine for her. $23 to cut 2cm of hair isn’t fine with me!
Yes we were back in Niagara again during October, this time with my parents and Elyse. I have decided there is too much going on not to keep writing something and although I post to my fitness blog almost every day, my everyday life has no record and that is sad.
The trip to Niagara was fantastic, the weather held out OK, but the rain on thursday night was a disappointment. We took my parents to the other Brazilian Steak House Brassa and in comparison I have to say I liked Copacobana better. It had a livelier atmosphere and a much more varied selection. We stayed at the Doubletree again which is now our favourite Niagara destination and it didn’t disappoint. I spent the morning we left with Elyse in the pool and we both had a fun time jumping from the side into my arms. She is gettting so much bigger now, climbing onto things, pushing stuff around and basically interacting more with her environment. The weekend was a highlight of my parents being here including the trip across the border after the passport debacle.
Yesterday started off like any other but after a visit to Occ Health to get our flu shots Nicole started feeling sick. I eventually had to take her home with a 38 degree fever and worked from home for the last couple of hours of my day. By the time I had got the baby, fed her, changed her and put her to bed Nicole had been sick in the baby bath by the bed and was in rough shape. Regardless of the house being completely dark, there were still hopeful kids knocking on the door as I snuck around the house in the dark, trying not to wake Elyse and spreading the smell of vomit throughout the three floors. It was not what I had envisioned for my halloween, but I am probably the only one who will remember this debacle in the end. Today is November, a lost month between Halloween and Christmas mostly known for Rememberance Poppies and Guy Fawkes Night. Here in North America though, it’s just a short breath of fresh air before the Christmas shopping season hits and the snow starts to fall.
White rabbits everyone.
The Keg – Niagara Falls, Ontario
It’s lobster summer which usually means an attempt to cover their insanely overpriced meals by adding lobster and giving them fancy names. However, nothing, even lobster, is going to soothe the sting of paying $45 for a plate of middle of the road restaurant food. The restaurant was packed, but we were seated quickly and our waitress was very attentive, friendly and happy to get 50% of our order right. Actually to be fair, she did put in the order correctly we can only assume that the kitchen messed up the thing. 2 of our 4 dinners were correct, but Nicole got a salad with no dressing (although she had asked for balsamic dressing which THEY DON’T HAVE!) and another of our party got a baked potato with her sides nowhere to be found. The problem wasn’t only with the order being wrong, but also with the fact it took 10 minutes to get put right. As I rightly predicted, the manager apologized and offered to pay for desserts for the whole table which we gladly accepted. As far as the food goes, I had ordered the scallops wrapped in bacon followed by the steak topped with lobster seafood mix. Both dishes were acceptable, there was a total of 2 tiny claws of lobster on my lobster dish which was a total rip off but all in all the taste was good.
For dessert I had the cheesecake but in retrospect I wish I’d had the creme brulee. I don’t know about you, but for me the Keg gives me the same feeling every time, the food is good, just good enough that you don’t wan’t to complain about the price but once you leave you realize you just got ripped off. I’m not saying the quality is bad, it’s not, but the prices are all about 20% too high.
Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours Niagara Falls Ontario
This was an amazing outing. About 45 mintues of the best laughs and thrills you can get while getting completely drenched in river water. Make sure that you plan on a warm day because even with the water being 80 degrees it was still chilly for some. The boat is a massive 3 engined 1500 HP beast that can do 360 degree turns and run level 5 rapids like they are nothing. We learned a bit about the area, the falls and the rapids themselves but the highlight is running downstream through the rapids as the boat scoops thousands of gallons of water over you. It was a great adventure, something I would recommend to anyone going to Niagara. It’ s only $60 per person so it’ s well worth the price, just remember a change of clothes!
Copacabana Brazilian Steak House Niagara Falls Ontario (Website down)
There are plenty of bad reviews for this place but we decided to go anyway since the lure of the place is too strong for a meat freak like me. The only real complaint I had is that the idiot woman who seated us complained that we couldn’t have the table instead of the booth since “everything” was reserved. Obviously she was not thrilled to have to work, didn’t care about us or the way she treated us and was basically your typical asshole twenty something stick insect who thinks the world owes her something because she thinks she is hot. Anyway, the place was pretty fun, loud and filled with good looking waiters and waitresses obviously catering to a younger crowd. The process is that you get some sides from the buffet area and wait for the meat guys to come around and cut meat off their giant skewers onto your plate. There are 17 different kinds of meat on offer and I think we tried them all. As long as you don’t expect a quiet restaurant to chat with friends and you don’t mind a fast paced and energetic vibe you should enjoy yourself here. The meat itself was, for the most part, very good. They have encrusted meats, cheese stuffed meats and good quality steaks on offer. The meat was, I have to admit, salty but not to the degree that it was offputting. The cheese stuffed prime rib was fantastic and I had at least 3 servings of bacon wrapped sirloin! I would definitely recommend that you go at least once, it’s very much like being on vacation in a tropical island, it’s loud, the wait staff are sometimes forgetful but always happy and the place itself is like a tiny getaway. I think we would try the one in Toronto to compare experiences but next time I will have to remember to 24 hour fast before hand. It did take me 2 days to get over the amount I ate, but that is a sign that we all had a great time!
Doubletree Hilton Niagara Falls Ontario
We have stayed here before and obviously since we returned we liked it enough! The room this time was a little bizarre and since we had 4 of us in one room utilizing the pull out couch for 2 of us it was a great experience. For the other 2 however, they were sleeping on a pullout that was barely a double and filled the extra room completely. There was only a single bathroom for all of us and the main room had fixed curtains that blocked the corner windows which I found bizarre. Last time was better, I have to admit, but this time was cheaper overall. I think for the future though it would be worth getting separate rooms. We had breakfast in the hotel on Sunday and once again the buffet was well stocked, had an omelette maker at their own station and the food was good quality, hot and well prepared.
P’kah seems to be the only word that really means anything to Elyse. Well, that and abdiggy abdiggy which seems to be an expression of delight. Spending time with Marianna and Violet this weekend has shown that kids develop so differently, even being so close in age. Their temperaments are already coming out and of course with that the parents’ associated predictions of their future personalities. The weekend was very enjoyable despite the drive, I was dreading the drive home the whole time we were there but luckily for us I think leaving at 10:30 got us about 30 minutes ahead of the big slowdown.
We left on Friday morning at some ungodly hour (7:30 I think) because it was July 1 and we had the day off for Canada Day. The early start meant that Elyse wasn’t going to sleep right off the bat but she was pretty well behaved until after she had her first nap on the far side of Barrie. As we got onto the 400 there was already a huge line of traffic, fortunately there had been a problem which had cleared and by Canal Road we were free and clear. Even going through Barrie there was no slowdown. Once we got to Huntsville we decided to go and see if Isabel was working at the Farmer’s Daughter however unfortunately we missed her by just a few minutes. We had coffee, let Elyse stretch her little legs and got back on the road knowing that as far as we were, we were less than half way.
The drive up to North Bay was not bad, mostly for the fact I had never been up there before (why would I??) and the scenery was pretty. The traffic had tailed off to nothing until we rolled into and through North Bay coming out the far side into what is the small town of Sturgeon Falls. On the way up Nicole had found that there was a culinary battle of chip trucks going on in Sturgeon Falls between Larry’s and The Riv both located on the same small street directly opposite one another. As we cruised through town we noticed that the traffic lights were out and once we were out of the car we were informed that the power to the whole town was out. That unfortunately meant that Larry’s couldn’t cut chips so we went across to the Riv and had poutine and a pogo, both standards and the flagship items of both stores. The poutine was amazing, beefy, cheesy and the gravy and curds were all the way through the box of fries not just poured on top like most places do.
After our fill, we took the side road down to Glenrock camp ground and were greeted by what I can only describe as a gypsy site, children running around barefoot, tents and makeshift caravans parked with apparent abandon everywhere, dogs on the loose and people sitting out on their garden chairs surveying their neighbours. It was a rather disturbing site to be honest. We had a hard time finding our “cabin” or shack as I think it deserves to be called but once inside I was pleasantly surprised to find flushing toilets, hot water and electricity. Elyse immediately set about investigating the cabin as we unpacked the car and filled the fridge. I was wiped after the drive so I opted for a short nap, waking in time to be joined by the other couples and their two daughters.
The space was cramped, there is no escaping that, but since we had planned to spend most of the time outdoors, it really didn’t matter that much. We set up the chairs outside and let the girls loose to go and play in the grass and the kids playground outside our back door. They were good to each other, but as kids do they eventually upset each other, stole toys from each other and made up by feeding floorios to each other, it was really very cute! The rest of the day was spent at the shack, hanging out and doing very little. I did manage to get my kettlebell workout done much to the amusement and interest of the surrounding campers. As the evening rolled in we fired up the BBQ and got to work making dinner and getting the kids ready for bed. I was very surprised that the girls were able to sleep through each other’s crying and didn’t seem to mind the change in their bed locations from home. The site was pretty noisy but the kids slept well in any case. Because it was Canada Day, there was a small but occasionally noisy fireworks display which was in reality was more like some guy letting off a box of costco fireworks over the lake. We participated with sparklers and spent the rest of the night making s’mores, fire grilled hot dogs and debating the possibility of pulling a sparkler out of the fire with your butt cheeks. Needless to say, it was a regular campers night.
The rest of the weekend passed quickly, one of the couples left to spend time with family on Saturday leaving the rest of us to play with the girls and hang out at the site. We did return for more poutine and pogos with Larry’s failing to impress as much as The Riv did. I did manage to get another workout done since the fries were going to sit in my stomach all night if I didn’t. The evening was another BBQ, another fire and a Bingo night provided by the camp site. One of our group won $40 which was a bonus while her husband and I spent our time ridiculing the game the same way you would make fun of someone saying shuffleboard is a sport. The weekly dance was on Saturday night and provided hours of entertainment for us watching the pre-teens dancing in the bandstand, doing cartwheels and handstands to bad 80’s soft rock. Nicole and I had already done our share of cartwheels and handstands but when Party Rockers came on we delighted our travelling companions with our snappy dance moves! Some scrabble, more music and a good cigar later and I retired feeling a little under the weather.
As delightful as the weekend was, I was concerned about the drive home being very long so we opted for a very early departure with coffees in hand trying to make it to Huntsville area before 1130 when I had projected people would start to leave. The timing was good, and the traffic was not all that bad although we spent at least 30 minutes in a jam where the 400 and 11 meet. One of the other couples was about an hour behind us and spent their whole afternoon in traffic. It was so bad, they stopped at McDonalds just to get out of the throng of vacationers. Nicole, Elyse and I made it home around 2pm and spent the majority of the rest of the day recovering from the drive. As I had imagined, Sunday was a complete bust.
Although I enjoyed the weekend the drive was completely unnecessary. There are places just as nice close to home but since one of the couples was visiting family, we went along for the trip. I wouldn’t get roped into going up there again. Whatever Sudbury has to offer, I don’t need it. I enjoyed the weekend, and even the drive back didn’t dampen my spirits too much, although timing was everything! Elyse made it through none the worse for wear and managed to experience her first camping trip, her first exposure to French Canadians and of course her first almost 10 hour car trip.
P’kah. P’kahhhhh indeed!
8100030d error msn messenger 2011 not working under windows 7
Every website I found has links to solutions that don’t work. The ONLY solution if you have cleared your cache and deleted your contacts folder is to download and install the 2009 version under windows 7.
This is the only way! However, good luck finding the 2009 version anywhere unless you have an old drive squirreled away somewhere that has the old installer. Luckily I did.
Yesterday was the last day of the RKC Rite of Passage. It wasn’t the best heavy day I have ever done but it was a relief and a real sense of accomplishment to finish. Now at least I can pick and choose my KB workouts and throw a little spice in there.
Second, this morning I weighed in for Biggest Loser at work and won the month, not only that but I am now 239.8 which is a total of 52lbs down. Add that to the 39″ waist I discovered the other day and I am really hitting the marks here!
Third, and the really REALLY big news, Insanity:Asylum arrived last night!! I watched the fit test (or as Shaun prefers to call it: Athletic Performance Assessment) and it didn’t look super tough but I have already got an issue with the stuff they send you. The skip rope is terrible. Whoever decided to use a plastic rope instead of a leather or rope (go figure) is an idiot. So I will be going to Wallymart this afternoon to pick up a nice speed rope I saw there not too long ago. This means that today (time permitting) will be R6D1 – The IA Fit Test.
So the package included a crappy rope, an agility ladder (to put on the floor), the DVDs, a wall calendar and a couple of resistnace bands. The big deal for me at least is that the program is 30 days long but in their infinite wisdom, Beachbody have recognized that a lot of people who will be buying IA will have already done one or both of P90X and Insanity. Therefore they have put together another 2 30 day calendars, one integrating IA with P90X and one integrating IA with Insanity. Good call BB! Not only that, they will no doubt rope in the few renegades who may go straight to IA and squeeze some more BB$ out of them!
I am seriously looking forward to the Fit Test this evening before I go coaching. It is only about 25 minutes or so and I will be ready to start day 1 of IA tomorrow.
HOWEVER!!! I am going to try and dilute the 30 days of IA with some KB workouts, I am hoping to stretch it out to 60 days with the inclusion of some Crossfit / pullup workouts also. It’s not that I don’t think it will be hard enough, but I don’t want to lose my KB skill set or my pullups during the process. The biggest problem I had with Insanity was that there was no back work involved so I found myself doing extra chin ups when I could in order to get the balanced workout I wanted. Whatever I do, the day 1 workout will no doubt be a rude awakening as I move towards more mobility once again.
FOLLOW THE PROGRESS OVER AT SOMETHING TO PROVE
So I have been busy, mostly filling in the pages of my fitness blog over at Something To Prove or working on the Jeep replacing brakes in what seemed like a never ending litany of errors and mistakes. Long story short I have still got the pulsing in the brakes but I think I am getting closer to a solution.
Anyway, yesterday the MyBook stopped working. It claims that there are too many bad sectors and the unit just stops responding and I am unable to copy anything to or from it. The solution? I went to Best Buy and picked up the Aluratek Hard Drive Docking Enclosure and so far I am able to copy files off slowly. The drive still disconnects, but not as much and it looks like I will be able to rescue the files and reformat the drive. Maybe it is the fact it is always plugged in and the computer sleeps often, I am not sure, but the bottom line is that the unit has failed. No other enclosure I have bought has ever failed this way, just the WD.
Moral? WD Drives are good as internal drives, but the MyBook is suspect in my estimation.
Last night was the end, I can feel it. The weather has been steadily improving in fits and starts as usual but we were promised a few days of normal temeratures and we got a deluge of snow. It’s 3 already this morning and by the weekend I can guarantee we will have some flowers poking their heads out of the ground. Spring is a pretty special time of year, it’s Nicole’s favourite season so she is bound to be excited. It’s nice to be able to drive with windows down and even better to have the french doors open in the house and of course, to use the new deck! Things will be extra exciting this year becasue it’s Elyse’s first spring, her first introduction to the best thing about Canada which is the seasonal changes. She is really changing herself nowadays (not literally, that would be a miracle!!) on her 9 month birthday she learned to crawl, just days after she learned to stand by herself. Nicole has her taking a few steps every day, it’s just bizarre that she can walk already! Her crawling is a bit odd, she uses one knee but one foot so she does tend to go in circles a little, one good thing though since I put the hardwood in you can hear her slapping the floor as she goes along. Once the slapping stops you need to look and see what she has found! Yesterday was another big day, she sprouted her first tooth. Illogically, I came home expecting a big shiny white tooth but of course all you can see is a tiny white dot in her gum. Still exciting though. Let’s hope she learns to look where she is crawling so that she doesn’t knock it out by banging her face on the wall…
Things with Nicole and I are pretty hectic at the moment, because I was given the Evolution Gymnastics competitive group full time. That is a 3 day a week commitment which is fine however, I am also still doing recreational on the other 2 days which means basically last week and this week we have hardly seen each other. The good news is that this week is the end of rec for me and so I will be back to just the 3 days. With the amount of working out that Nicole and I do plus the baby and the coaching our lives are pretty hectic but the one thing I have learned from Nicole over the years is not to shy away from having full days. I realize that we have financial challenges now with the baby, but having 2 jobs seems pretty normal to me now. If you had asked me before I met Nicole if I would even dream about having a second job I would have called you crazy but watching Nicole’s work ethic, and realizing that my Mum and Dad both did the same things when I was a kid makes it all make sense. It does help that I love my second job, I can’t imagine a more rewarding job than helping children achieve their goals. And it’s not just children, I derive great pleasure from helping people with their fitness and diet and for some time now I have thought that doing it full time not be a bad thing. It’s a great backup plan, and a wonderful second income but I have to admit the security of my hospital job can’t be beat. Also, if I am honest, I still really enjoy the security and technical aspects of my work. The environment could be better, and the politics could certainly be more positive but all in all, I am fortunate to have 2 jobs that interest, challenge and reward me in the way they do.
“You don’t know tired and you don’t know love until you have children”
That was a comment from my co-worker Bob that I have always remembered. He said that when his kids were born 7 years ago and he is right. It’s a different kind of love, for sure, but you have no idea the strength of the attachment you have to your child. It makes you crazy, knowing how you feel and realizing suddenly that your parents probably felt the same about you and all the things from your childhood come racing back with a different perspective. It’s so sad in so many ways that our wisdom often comes so late, but truly, better late than never!
I am running “Biggest Loser 6 – Summer Sprint 2011” at work in another attempt to help my co-workers lose their unwanted pounds and also in the process make some money off them HAHAHAHAH!!! I wrote in my fitness blog the other day about how sad it is that the Biggest Loser on TV is necessary and how people need to realize what they are doing to themselves. It was a bit of a rant, but it kind of burns me that we reward people for failing and then recovering from something that was completely avoidable. Anyway, I don’t need to climb on my soapbox today so I will let that be. BL6 weigh in was this morning and I was down 5lbs for the last 2 weeks however it’s not really reflective of my weigh since I have clothes on, it’s not an ideal time of day and so on. My weight clothed is now 249.4 which means my actual weigh is probably around the 245lb mark. That’s 38lbs down from October when I “went Paleo” with my diet but also 48lbs down from my heaviest.