Updates – My head, Jeff, Zeus, and Montreal

My Head

Good news! I’m doing better. I guess it was due to the mild concussion, but last week work was rough! It was like working after pulling an all nighter. So exhausted, going back over and over my work, double – guessing if I had done the step previous, so unproductive. I could have taken the time off, but I had no idea how long it was going to last, so I pushed through it.

This week the brain fog has lifted! All is well, just a bit of tenderness left in my forehead and knee, and a few twinges in my neck. I’d say I’m about 95% now.

Jeff

Jeff can’t claim he is less accident prone than myself. His brother was visiting for a week. One day while I was working, they were out hiking. They came home really early. Jeff had fallen while scaling down a steep cliff in the woods to see a waterfall. He made a real mess of his knuckle:

Jeff's finger

 

Ouch!

Later in the week, up on Cape Breton Island, Jeff bent over to pick up a bottle cap on a beach, only it turned out to be a 25 cent piece from 1888! WOW! Time to head to that beach with our metal detector!

Zeus

Zeus is finally home, in his new ashen state. I was getting really worried that the vet clinic had simply disposed of him, because I hadn’t heard a thing about coming to pick up his ashes. I was getting pretty upset about it, thinking of how many times he had been discarded in his early life, just to have it happen once again moments after death. Jeff finally called the vet clinic for me and they said his ashes had only been there a couple days and were ready to go.

It’s pretty surreal holding a ziploc bag of ashes of a loved one. When it was Winger and Surf, I couldn’t bear having their ashes in the house and spread them at the retriever club’s property that they loved so much. I didn’t opt for a urn, just a little cardboard box with the bag inside.

I’m not sure what to do with Zeus yet. Maybe somewhere outside, our front lawn, or flower garden. Or maybe he’ll stick around a bit. I’ll wait until the answer is clear.

I sure do miss him.

Montreal

I haven’t done a proper Montreal post because falling took up so much of my week. I took hardly any photos – I was too afraid of pulling out my phone while walking! :)

Here’s a few:

IMG_2895

I travelled on the metro a few times, and took Montreal’s 747 shuttle bus to and from the airport. These tasks seem easy, but for a country bumpkin, a subway and bus system is a totally foreign world. Well that, and the signs were all in French! Luckily my coworkers taught me well and I even navigated it myself once!

I realized I know far more French than I give myself credit for. I wouldn’t dare try to speak it, but I did okay with signs and understanding short questions.

My hotel room at the Le Nouvel Hotel was quite nice. It was up in their attached condo building. Big room, kitchenette that I didn’t use at all (other than the fridge), and a king sized bed. Great location too for food and transit.

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I always eat new and interesting things when I travel for work. Like a big waffle for breakfast, covered in strawberries and bananas, and a lot of Nutella. I only managed to consume half of it, but I’d be willing to try again :) IMG_2907

Here’s the group of coworkers I spent the week with while we worked on a project:

Montreal breakfast

A few of us ventured to the Biodome one rainy afternoon. It is in the velodrome facility from the 1976 summer Olympics. It was SO packed. We waited in line for 30 minutes just to get tickets to get in! Way too many people. I felt sorry for some of the animals, like the seagulls and shore birds flying around this set:IMG_2916

I did watch a beaver poop though, and considered that the highlight of my time at the Biodome :)

We paid extra to go up into the nearby tower, formerly the Olympic Park Tower. The view wasn’t too great in the rain, but still pretty neat.IMG_2928

That night I learned you should not get too creative with your poutine. We were at a BBQ place so I tried one of their speciality poutines. I thought the gravy would be skipped, but no, it was guacamole, diced tomatoes, and sour cream on top of poutine. Don’t do this. It isn’t good. Not at all.IMG_2931

Some restaurants had their own speciality iced teas or lemonades. This one was really good:IMG_2935

Our special night out was to an Ethiopian restaurant. At this place, you eat with your hands. You take the roll of bread, and rip of a little piece, just enough to use it with your pincher fingers to grab some of the food. It was quite good. Here’s the first group plate: IMG_2938

On the Friday, we hit a vegetarian burrito place for lunch.IMG_2939

On the weekend, it was WordCamp Montreal. There were many of our coworkers in town so it was a great time seeing everyone again, and meeting some of our newer coworkers.IMG_2940

Here’s some of us at WordCamp Montreal:

Here’s the stiff-necked, sleep deprived version of me staffing the Happiness Bar:

Here’s the view on Monday morning from near the Bell Centre, and a couple blocks down the street from the hotel as I wait at the bus stop for the shuttle to the airport, sometime after 5:30am.IMG_2955Next trip… Utah!

 

So I smashed my face…

If we’re friends on Facebook, you might have saw my status update last week that said:

“So today I learned not to look at my phone while walking on a sidewalk. The hard way. As in the ground felt very hard when I hit it with my face.”

I was in Montreal for the week for a meet-up with some of my coworkers. On Tuesday, my second day in Montreal, six of us were walking to a co-working place we had rented space in for the day. When we were within a block of where we expected it to be, someone asked what the street number of the office was. I pulled out my phone to check. The next thing I knew my foot was off the edge of the sidewalk and it felt like I was going over on my ankle and it was going to hurt. So instead of breaking my ankle, I guess I launched myself forward instead. Somehow I just couldn’t stop. I just kept going faster and faster, and on more and more of a downward angle, until the left side of my face smashed into the ground.

I rolled over and was a little embarrassed to see 5 of my coworkers there. They looked pretty concerned and told me I was bleeding. One of them ran for ice.

All in all, it really wasn’t bad. I scraped my forehead and the side of my face. I flattened my glasses and they cut the bridge of my nose. I skinned and bruised my knee.

Luckily for you, I have some photos. I took selfies and was sending them to Jeff so he could see the ridiculousness.

So shortly after falling:

IMG_2902Not too bad. Just a surface scrape and a bruised and skinned knee.

IMG_2903

 

That night, with my sore puffy face coated in Polysporin:IMG_2905

 

Next morning, complete with bed head:IMG_2933

Not too bad at all. My triceps were really sore by the second day, rendering my arms practically useless. I must have tried to stop myself with my arms before my face hit.

It was all fun and games, and just a dumb and embarrassing fall, until some time on Thursday, two days after falling, when my neck started hurting. And got worse and worse.  By Friday night I was in so much pain I couldn’t decide if I should go to the Montreal hospital or if I should just fly home. I decided both involved too much movement and I stayed in my hotel room, skipping out on dinner.

I made it through the weekend, and WordCamp Montreal, thanks to Advil. During the day I had a headache and a sore stiff neck, but at night the pain was so bad, right at the base of my skull, just to the left of my spine. Lifting my head while lying down was excruciating and I couldn’t find a comfortable position for my head. This morning, Monday, I woke up at 2:30 or so in the morning moaning and crying with the pain. I ended up sitting up straight, watching TV, until checking out at 5am and heading for the airport.

I decided to stop at our local hospital on the way home from the Halifax airport today. I’m not good at ever getting anything medical checked out, but this pain seems rather extraordinary.

After a 3 hour wait at the ER, a resident Doctor examined me. He had me do all sorts of sobriety like tests and concluded that I have a mild concussion and likely whiplash. All the pain in the back of my head is from my trapezius muscle that I somehow strained. He said it could have been triggered from hitting my face, also even from just the blow I took on my chest (it sports a big yellow bruise from hitting the ground too).

His advice is to keep up with the Advil for another week, and try heat on my neck. If it isn’t better in another week or two, then I need to go back for a closer look.  When he touched the spot on my neck that is the sorest, I was instantly nauseous. He recommended that after it isn’t so tender, and if my insurance covered it, massage therapy would likely help work it out. He even went and got an anatomy book to show me the trapezius muscle and where it goes and what it is attached to.

If you’ve been to Montreal, you know the sidewalks are a mess! Cracked, missing, heaved, uneven, holes in the middle, trees, flower pots, sewers, fire hydrants. So many obstacles, so many accidents waiting to happen everywhere! I thought the place I fell must have had all of those for such a great fall. Until we walked the same route two days later. Here is the scene of the crime:IMG_2934Whoops.

 

Faster internet achieved!

highspeed
Life is a little more 21st century around here these days :)

When our neighbour was dropping off our firewood a few weeks ago, we were yacking away and between sharing stories of the Yukon, we were talking about our internet options out here, over 20 kms from town.

Our internet service is wireless, not cell wireless, but wireless from government sponsored towers that were put up over the last 5 years. This neighbour mentioned there were speed boosts available if you asked for it.

WHAT?!?!?!?!?!

So I inquired, and found out there IS higher speed internet available here, from the same ISP. Faster than the ~1mbps up (<0.5 mbps down) we’ve been living with for the last 4 years.

Their service technicians came and played on the roof one afternoon and found out we had a great direct line with a tower and a higher speed is available for commercial customers.

Well sign me up!

So now, we have  up to FIVE mbps down and over 1 up. This is simply life changing for a person who works online all day from home. And it is only DOUBLE the monthly fee. ACK! I also found out this new antennae they installed (looks a bit like a smaller satellite dish) was able to pick up a signal around 8 mbps down, but that would cost FOUR times what we were paying, so I’ll take this jump as good enough for now :)

I feel so much more productive at work! And now Jeff and I can watch YouTube videos without buffering. We have so much internet to catch up on!
 

I’ve started Nordic Walking

Yep, I’ve started nordic walking. What’s that you say?

Well Nordic Walking is walking with 2 poles, almost like cross country skiing. It is a full body workout and far more intensive than just walking. That said, it is also way easier to keep at it. I’m not sure if it is the rhythm, or the speed, or just having something your entire body is working at, but I’ve been going hard for 40-45 minutes at a time. Which is quite a feat for someone so incredibly out of shape :)

There are special poles for nordic walking, but right now I’m just using the hiking poles that I got for Christmas a couple years back. They are close enough until I see if I’ll stick with this. I popped the feet off so I’m just using the metal tips. They easily adjust for height and have nice wrist bands. (Thanks Brian S.!)

When nordic walking, what I didn’t expect, is that most of the time the poles are behind you on an angle. They’re never really beside you, and never in front of you, like if you were hiking a trail. It is a lot to master really. Your arms are supposed to mimic normal walking motion. To get your arms back for a full swing, you end up with a big stride and you rock your upper body, ending in a full body workout.

Jeff and I’ve been driving to a secluded gravel sideroad nearby with the dog. It isn’t a leisurely couple walk, and we’re really nowhere near each other. Jeff and the dog are way in front of me. We walk for about 20 minutes up the road, and then turn around and walk back to the car. I find I really hit in my stride in the last half of the way back. All the kinks are worked out, I’m soaked in sweat, and my pace picks up. I’m hoping that as I get better at it, my pace will pick up so I won’t be so far behind Jeff’s power walking.

It’s not like learning other sports (like when we picked up tennis in the summer of ’05) that make you acutely sore afterwards. I feel rejuvenated. It is a good cardio workout. Tonight I can feel it everywhere, my arms are heavy, my collarbones and shoulders are even feeling it. I feel it in my back, my shins, calves, even in my abs. I love it.

Today my iPhone’s step counter is at 7,010 so far, or 4.9 kilometres. That includes walking around the house and a visit to the grocery store. Still not my 10,000 steps a day goal, but a drastic improvement!

I bet my mom would have freaked out!

It was a hot humid night last night so I left our hot bedroom and went down to the living room to sleep on the couch where there was a bit of a breeze.

At 5am I was woken up by Sally pawing at me. Then I realized she was not pawing at me, but rather the mouse on my leg.

It was jumping from one side of my naked leg to the other. I moved my leg off the couch to shoo it on to the floor and went back up to bed to sleep.

Now it is up to fate. Will the mouse trap get him? Or will Sally wear him out?

Oh, and don’t tell Mom, ok?

Webcam works!

My webcam has been down for a couple of months. My desktop computer conked out and I had to re-install Windows 8 to bring it back to life. Planning to kill off Windows soon – this system has always had odd, haunting troubles, and replace our home file server with a Mac mini driven system next time the new Mac mini’s are released.

Anyway, the webcam is functioning right now. No promises for how long ;)

Here’s an image from this afternoon. Despite a brief downpour a couple days ago, we’re still bone dry here. We haven’t cut the grass in weeks, and the birch tree has lost half its leaves:

CAMWIZ_02-AUG-14_14-15-59-84 [SHOOT]

Oh! Forgot a horrible movie!

"Gravity Poster" by May be found at the following website: IMP Awards. Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Gravity (film) via Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gravity_Poster.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Gravity_Poster.jpg

In my previous post, I completely neglected to review the other Hollywood blockbuster I saw recently. Gravity!

This movie was all the rage last summer. I had theatre plans to see it after it was released, but didn’t end up watching it until it hit the movie channels recently.

Unfortunately I have nothing complimentary to say about Gravity. Instead, I will say it was dumb, ridiculous, and really nothing more than a cheesy, made for TV movie, easily seen and forgotten, like it was destined for airing on the Space channel some late night.

Hopefully you haven’t seen it yet and I’ve saved you. If not, I’m sorry.

My rating is a 1/5 stars.

I have American Hustle saved on the PVR. Here’s hoping!

Movie watching – 2 duds and a good one!

I watched a few movies lately, and I have to say all the movies heavily congratulated by Hollywood are incredibly bad. For instance:

The Wolf of Wall Street – Oh wow, this one was bad. I forced myself to stick with it through the end, thinking it was going to get better, but it did not. It was long, for no reason. I didn’t develop any care, nor hate, for the main characters. I just kept hoping for the end. I think the final fraud committed by the characters was getting people to watch this movie.  I give it a 1/5 stars.

The Dallas Buyers Club – Let’s be honest here, Matthew McConaughey is not a diverse actor. He plays just one character, over and over. And it is an annoying one. So he shrunk himself down to 90 pounds or something silly for this role. Big deal, the movie sucked. I was mildly interested in the history of the buyers clubs, as I wasn’t familiar with them, but that is still only going to bump my rating up to 2/5 stars.

Now I’m going to cheer you up and tell you what movie you should watch. Especially you Dad, I think you’d enjoy this one:

The Lone RangerThe Lone Ranger - Johnny Depp is in this one, made by Disney. What a great action movie! Funny and kinda kooky, and really entertaining! Jeff and I both enjoyed it, and I wouldn’t say either one of us is a Johnny Depp fan. I’d love to see more – a sequel perhaps? I give it a 5/5 stars!